• As I was breaking the news to my wife about the death of Robin Williams, there was a knock at our door…

    Aug
    16
    2014
  • By calling me back to the important things in life, my sister seemed as wise and stern as Amma Syncletica, a desert monastic of fourth-century Egypt, who said that “it is impossible for us to be surrounded by worldly honor and at the same time to bear heavenly fruit.” Syncletica sums up, I believe, the difficulty writers have in America in surviving success: to keep bearing fruit one must keep returning, humbly, to the blank page, to the uncertainty of the writing process, and not pay much heed to the “noted author” the world wants you to be.

    -

    Kathleen Norris in The Cloister Walk.

    Feeling it.

    (via sarazarr)

    Feb
    10
    2014

  • sandandglass:

    For a little background on Mitch McConnell’s strategy, here’s a New York Times article

    Feb
    09
    2014
  • Evangelical theology cannot be ‘pro-gay’ – but neither can it be ‘pro-straight’. As I understand it evangelical theology is, or should be, opposed to all idolatries indifferently. This is precisely because it is, or should be, ‘pro-human’. I’ve argued before that classical evangelical practices of holiness in the nineteenth century involved profound subversions of then-standard ideas of masculinity and femininity. There is plenty of good scholarship on the reconstructions of femininity away from the domestic sphere into political and social activism. The reconstructions of masculinity away from celebrations of machismo, violence, and alcohol consumption and towards a more submissive, gentle, family-oriented life have not been quite so well studied. But they too are clear. Evangelicalism in its classical forms undermined and reconstructed the culturally normal gender roles of the day; it will do the same in our day, if it has an adequate grasp of the gospel.

    - Steve Holmes (via ayjay)
    Feb
    09
    2014
  • Oh god. Well, in my opinion it’s the idea of the free individual. That’s a very overrated aspiration and American society is full of its symptoms. There’s a very limited sense in which people differ from one another and those differences seem to me to be fairly superficial. There are many more ways in which people are similar but the whole accent of this culture has been to stress those differences and understress the similarities. People are encouraged to want their own this and their own that, and led to believe that those external things are all attributes of their individuality and they aren’t complete without them. And such is the basis of a consumer culture.

    -

    Brian Eno, when asked, “What is the the most overrated idea currently held by western culture?”

    Brian Eno: His Music and the Vertical Color of Sound Eric Tamm

    (via simhanada)

    (Source: promo17)

    Jan
    12
    2014
  • 0002 - TPS - Hannah Faith Notess from Ghost House

    Artist: Thomas Parker Society
    Album: The Thomas Parker Society 2013
    Plays: 92

    thomasparkersociety:

    A poem by Hannah Faith Notess - “Saint Augustine Enters the World’s Largest Pac-Man Maze,” from her book Ghost House (Floating Bridge Press, 2013).

    Nov
    12
    2013

  • fyeahjonathanlewis:

    Today in Unmade Walt Disney World History:

    This is concept art for what was going to be The Great Muppet Movie Ride and Disney’s MGM (now Hollywood) Studios. It was to go in the the Muppet Studios section of the park which was abandoned when Jim Henson passed.

    Disney blogger Jim Hill documents what Muppet Studios was to be in a 2001 article (http://www.laughingplace.com/News-PID115400-115400.asp) and this is what he had to say on The Great Muppet Movie Ride:

    Personally, I think that one of the funnier aspects of Disney/MGM’s proposed “Muppet Movie Ride” ride is that this attraction was clearly a parody of another ride at that same theme park: The Great Movie Ride. Just like at the show that was being presented just up the street inside the Chinese Theater, guests would slowly glide through the enormous show building aboard giant theater cars past these highly detailed recreations of great moments from famous Hollywood films.

    Only in the Muppet version, something just off-screen would go wrong … and then the fun would begin.

    Take — for instance — the tribute to Hollywood’s classic horror films that the Imagineers & Henson wanted to do as part of the ride. This sequence’s set was deliberately designed to ape the art direction of James Whale’s 1931 version of “Frankenstein.” So picture a secret laboratory hidden away in a cobweb-filled dungeon of a huge stone castle. Bizarre electric equipment flickers and sparks in the dark, as the mad scientist makes ready to bring his evil creature to life.

    Only in this version of the movie, it’s Miss Piggy & Kermit who are the heroes who have just discovered the fiend’s lair. As they stand on the stone staircase — agape with horror — looking down into the lab, the frog & the pig realize that they’re too late. The mad scientist makes ready to throw the switch …

    So who’s the mad scientist? Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, of course. Which means that the monster laid out on the slab is — you guessed it — Beaker. Only a 10 foot tall version of Beaker with bolts sticking out of his neck.

    Okay, that already sounds funny, doesn’t it? But just wait ‘til you see what’s going on behind-the-scenes as this particular sequence in the “Muppet Movie Ride” attraction is being filmed. Our director (Indeed, the host of the entire attraction) is the Great Gonzo. Dressed in a beret and jodhpurs (with his trusty script girl — Carmella the Chicken — at his side), Gonzo shouts stage directions to his cast through a megaphone. Rizzo is sitting behind the camera, while Scooter works the boom mic.

    This sequence’s truly brilliant touch? Fozzie Bear is in charge of the sequence’s special effects. But — in true Fozzie fashion — things aren’t quite going according to plan. Fozzie holds the power cord from the studio’s generator (which is evidently powered by two rats running inside an exercise wheel) in one paw and the extension cord that leads to all the electrical equipment in Bunsen’s lab in the other. But every time the Bear tries to plug one cable into the other, someone on set accidentally throws the switch.

    The consequences were supposed to be as dazzling as they were comical. Fozzie’s eyes light up, his bow-tie spins around wildly and his fur stands on end as the electricity surges through his body. With smoke pouring out of his wiggling ears, the world’s worst comic shouts “Wacka-wacka-wacka!” And our theater car rolls on into the next sequence for the ride …

    [A] Why for? Because that sequence in the proposed Disney / MGM attraction was going to take you on the soundstage where a big screen version of “Pigs in Space” TV show was being filmed. And our theater car was going to roll right through the middle of the set where the intrepid crew of U.S.S. Swinetrek was locked in mortal combat with a scurvy bunch of space pirates.

    Sorry. Excuse me. I mis-spoke myself there. The above sentence has a teeny tiny typo. I didn’t really mean to write “space pirates.” I meant to type “space pie-rats.”

    Rats. As in Rizzo and all his relatives.

    So picture — on one side of the soundstage — a full-sized version of the U.S.S. Swinetrek. Link Hogthrob, Dr. Julius Strangepork and Piggy — all dressed in spacesuits & wearing clear plastic helmets — stand on the exterior of their spaceship, laser pistols blazing away. On the other side of the soundstage … Well, picture a space-going Spanish Galleon. Covered with rats who are dressed as — well — space pirates. Striped bandanas tied around their heads, cutlasses in their teeth. Also with laser pistols a-blazing.

    Our theater car goes right through the thick of the battle. With laser blasts flying all over the place, rats swinging on ropes — just out of reach over our heads — as the rodents try to board the Swinetrek. It’s a wild, wild scene.

    And maybe even a little dangerous. For — as we ‘round the corner and head off to the next soundstage — we see Statler & Waldorf in their golf cart. (These two elderly hecklers were supposed to have been a running gag for the Muppet Movie Ride. Literally. At various moments in the attraction, Statler & Waldorf were supposed to have rolled up next to our theater car, offered a few caustic comments, then zoomed off into the darkness again.) It seems that a stray shot from one of those laser pistol has sliced the curmudgeons’ golf cart right down the middle. The only things that’s now keeping the vehicle from falling apart is that Statler & Waldorf are now holding hands.

    How could the Muppets possibly top a scene that puts you right in the middle of an epic space battle? How about a scene where Kermit & Co. make fun of the Mouse?

    Picture — if you will — that your theater car now rolls on to a soundstage where the nursery set from Disney’s 1953 animated classic, “Peter Pan,” has been lovingly recreated down to the last detail. As we arrive, Peter has just taught the Darling children that when “you think of the happiest things, it’s the same as having wings.”

    Only these aren’t exactly the characters as we remember seeing them in Disney’s animated classic. Sure, the costumes look the same. Only … Since when is Peter Pan played by Kermit the Frog? Wendy by Janice (the girl singer from the Muppet’s house band, Dr. Teeth & the Electric Mayhem)? The be-spectacled and top-hatted John is played by Scooter. And — dressed in footie pajamas and clutching a teddy bear — Fozzie Bear plays Michael.

    Each of these Muppet characters hang from painfully obvious flying rigs, wires which are secured to elaborate pulley rigs which dangle down from the ceiling of the soundstage. Rat technicians high above tend to these rigs, which allow Kermit, Janice, Scooter & Fozzie to gently bob up and down in the air.

    But wait! Didn’t Tinker Bell play an important part in the “You Can Fly” number in Disney’s version of “Peter Pan”? Sure she did. Which is why the Muppet’s grand dame — Miss Piggy — has strapped on a pair of wings & squeezed herself into a tiny spangly green gown to try & play the flying fairy.

    Only — in poor Miss Piggy’s case — there have obviously been some problems with her flying rig. As the hog sized holes in the scenery can attest to, the crew seems to have had trouble controlling this over-sized sprite once she gets up in the air. As our theater car goes ‘round the corner, we see that there’s about a half dozen rats along with Sweetums — straining to hang on to Miss Piggy’s control rope as she swoops through the air.

    With Miss Piggy screaming at Gonzo to get her down, our theater car moves on …

    You see? The Muppet Movie Ride would have been a comic triumph. A real break-through for the Disney theme parks. An attraction that was just as ambitious as “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “The Haunted Mansion.” But funny.”

    Nov
    05
    2013
  • Oct
    28
    2013
  • There is a common quality in all art; in a sense that really good paintings, sculpture, music, writing have. I can’t name it. It has something to do with God-given spirit, going beyond oneself. I think it’s possible to write something, for me to write something, that even God might like. It’s possible for me to hit a note, to get in a mood, to write something that is worthy of God’s attention. Not as a soul seeking salvation, but just as entertainment for God. This may be blasphemous to say, but I do believe it. I don’t think God is there and we’re here—and there are no connections. I think there are connections, and I think art is certainly one.

    - J. F. Powers in “The Gospel according to J. F. Powers” by John Rosengren (via garbandier)
    Oct
    28
    2013

  • rj-anderson:

    courageforourfriends:

    evanpalmercomics:

    Part 1 of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Ainulindalë. 

    Read part 2.

    This is the most amazing thing I have ever seen.

    BRB, crying over the first two pages of Part 3 forever.

    Sep
    18
    2013

  • image

    Paging J. J. Abrams. Don’t you think Tyra Banks has earned Jedi status at this point? Surely there’s a place for her…

    (Source: makebeleafs)

    Sep
    18
    2013
  • 0001 - TPS - Scott Cairns on Poetry

    Artist: The Thomas Parker Society
    Album: The Thomas Parker Society 2013
    Plays: 19

    thomasparkersociety:

    Scott Cairns on Poetry, from A Syllable of Water

    Sep
    14
    2013
  • Write beautifully what people don’t want to hear.

    - Frederick Seidel, on his disagreeable poetry (via theparisreview)
    Sep
    14
    2013
  • I live in the hope that the God in whom I believe is the redeemer of the cosmos, that this God is never not redeeming in one way or another. There is, of course, a sense in which I’m willing to sing, as the words go, ‘I know that my redeemer lives.’ I believe it enough to try to act accordingly, to remember my baptism, to pray the Lord’s Prayer, to say a number of creeds, to seek first God’s kingdom and the righteousness of God in what I say and do, and to try—it’s all trying—to bear faithful witness. I believe that I believe, and I believe, by God’s grace, that I need not trouble myself with trying to believe more intensely. In matters of belief and knowing, I try to refrain from oaths, pledges, and swearing, lest I bear false witness, lest I claim falsely that I know something when I don’t. Do I walk around knowing that my redeemer lives all the time? No. Do I think Isaiah and Paul and John the Baptist did? No. Do I still believe I’m being saved? Yes.

    This business of having to feel a particular way or to feel a sense of absolute confidence in God or to pretend to know that God is there all the time is one of the things I’ve actually been saved—and am being saved—from. I’m not called to pretend at belief ever. I’m only called to try, with God’s help, to be faithful; to try to love, and to try to tell the truth. I often feel a strong sense of confidence that the one who began this redeeming work in me will bring it to completion. As I understand it, this is how salvation gets worked out. I’m not required to cut off my questions or try to uncritically place my faith in particular doctrines. The call to worshipfulness is a call to employ my imagination and therefore the whole of my practice. This call is a summons to mindfulness in all I say and do, a mindfulness that requires an engagement, a questioning of everything. It’s a call to bring my wits to bear on the whole of life—be it ‘politics,’ ‘spirituality,’ ‘business,’ or that especially tricky area of ‘religion.’


    - David Dark, on his understanding of his believing agnosticism, in his great book The Sacredness of Questioning Everything. Cosigned. (via sarazarr)

    I love this book, and I love David Dark. But thank you for posting this on Tumblr and bringing it to my attention again, Sara Zarr. - Jeffrey
    Aug
    19
    2013

  • neil-gaiman:

    wordsthatfit:

    sandandglass:

    Jessica Williams proposes applying New York’s Stop and Frisk policy to Wall Street bankers. 

    This all day.

    Oh yes.

    Aug
    14
    2013
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Jeffrey Overstreet, Gradually Dazzled.

Jeffrey Overstreet is the author of a four-volume fantasy series called The Auralia Thread, which includes Auralia's Colors, Cyndere's Midnight, Raven's Ladder, and The Ale Boy's Feast - as well as a memoir of "dangerous moviegoing" called Through a Screen Darkly, which has become a popular university textbook on film interpretation and faith.

He is also a contributing editor to Seattle Pacific University's magazine Response, and a blogger at LookingCloser.org.

He reviews movies twice a month for Image.

Here's a full bio.

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