Book Review: Cities of the Plain

Cities of the Plain by Cormac McCarthy (New York: Knopf Publishers, 1998. 292 pp) Cormac McCarthy was born in Rhode Island in 1933. One of six children, Cormac’s family moved multiple times in his childhood as his father accepted different occupations. In 1951, McCarthy attended the University of Tennessee majoring in Liberal Arts. Midway through his studies, McCarthy served in the Air Force for four years. After his service, McCarthy returned to college, writing his first short stories. In 1959 and 1960, he won the Ingram-Merrill Award for Creative Writing. Mccarthy’s first novel, The Orchard Keeper, was published in 1965. Several years, grants, and fellowships later, McCarthy published Suttree, Blood Meridian, and All the Pretty Horses marking his rise in literary… Read More →

Film Review: Visioneers

Visioneers directed by Jared Drake (Fireside Film and Mayfly Films, R, 94 minutes) Starring Zach Galifianakis, Judy Greer, and Mía Maestro. Absurdity Since the birth of existentialism, absurdity has worked as a delightful comedic medium. In low brow settings, Monty Python (let’s not fool ourselves, the troupe is brilliant despite their silly sketches) explores absurdity when is depicts a couple of safari men performing the fish slapping dance. On the other side of the spectrum, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot is a play that portrays two men with minute attention spans waiting for God. In both instances, the writer finds comedy in the absurdities of life. When considered deeply, life contains many strange and downright silly aspects. In a similar… Read More →

Book Review: The Hole in Our Gospel

The Hole in Our Gospel: What Does God Expect of Us? the Answer That Changed My Life and Might Just Change the World by Richard Stearns (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2009. 352 pp) Richard Stearns is the president of World Vision (US) and former chief executive officer of Lenox Corporation, a luxury tableware company. He attended Cornell University as an undergraduate and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania for his MBA. The Hole in Our Gospel won the 2010 Christian Book of the Year. The World versus the Pulpit A few years ago, my theological convictions about the world shifted. Born and raised in a conservative evangelical church, I found the things I observed in the world to differ… Read More →

Television Show Review: Breaking Bad: Seasons 1-3

Breaking Bad: Seasons 1-3 created by Vince Gilligan (High Bridge Productions, Gran Via Productions, and Sony Pictures Television) Starring Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, and Aaron Paul. Dexter Morgan vs. Walter White As I watched the first three seasons of Breaking Bad on Netflix, I couldn’t help but compare the series to Dexter, television’s other critically acclaimed series featuring a protagonist with dark secrets. Where Dexter Morgan is a serial killer vigilante, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) is a down-on-his-luck chemistry teacher who utilizes his scientific expertise to cook methamphetamines. Although it may sound astonishing, I argue that Dexter functions as a more likeable character than Walt. In spite of its dark content, Dexter carries an air of levity. In between murders,… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead: Season Two created by Frank Darabont; produced by Gale Anne Hurd, David Alpert, Robert Kirkman, and Charles H. Eglee (Circle of Confusion and Valhalla Motion Pictures) Starring Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn, Steven Yeun, and Chandler Riggs. A Premature Review Partly because I’m currently engaged in some lengthy books and need to post some content, I am reviewing the current season of The Walking Dead despite the fact that it is early in its second season. As I mentioned in my review of the show last year, I am not a fan of the zombie genre. Yet, the more I consider the subtext beneath these post-apocalyptic narratives, the more the genre… Read More →

Television Show Review: Doctor Who

Doctor Who created by Sydney Newman, C.E. Webber, and Donald Wilson (British Broadcasting Corporation) Currently starring Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill, and Alex Kingston. His Name Is the Doctor Currently listed as the longest-running science fiction television show by the Guinness World Records, Doctor Who follows the adventures of a time-traveling alien named The Doctor. Traversing the universe with a time machine called the TARDIS which possesses an outward appearance of a blue police box, the Doctor typically travels with a female human companion and, together, they encounter numerous villains and work toward saving people groups, worlds, and righting injustices in the universe. Although the series began in 1963, the current version of Doctor Who premiered in 2005. With… Read More →

Looking for a Job? Consider Writing a Personal Biography

We all want to grab the attention of someone we hope to impress, and we’re tempted to do just about anything to be noticed. Remember Elle Wood’s pink and scented resume in Legally Blonde? She is not alone; officious employees have tried a myriad of attention grabbing techniques over the decades. Photo by Jason Tavares With a new crop of fresh graduates submitting resumes on the open market, Michael Margolis at the 99% suggests in a recent article entitled, “The Resume Is Dead, The Bio is King” that job applicants should reconsider submitting a weighty resume in an effort to impress. Instead, a well-crafted narrative will do a better job of piquing the interest of potential business associates. On the surface, the reason for the shift in… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Killing

The Killing: Season 1 developed by Veena Sud (Fox Television Studios, KMF Films, and Fuse Entertainment) Starring Mireille Enos, Joel Kinnaman, Billy Campbell, Michelle Forbes, and Brent Sexton. To Speak Frankly Veena Sud, developer of The Killing, a U.S.-based version of the Danish series Forbrydelsen, needs to go away. In an article penned by Tim Appelo for the Hollywood Reporter, Sud responded to the significant critical and popular backlash to her show with the notion that the public does not understand her greatness. Relating her show to The Sopranos, Sud proclaimed, “The fact that people love us or hate us is a beautiful thing. I don’t want to be kinda liked.” What is this backlash? Well, for most viewers, it… Read More →

Television Show Review: Modern Family: Season 2

Modern Family: Season 2 created by Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd (20th Century Fox Television and Lloyd-Levitan Productions) Starring Ed O’Neill, Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Eric Stonestreet. Base Humor, Smart Writing Disclaimer: Modern Family is my favorite comedy on television at the moment. Where most sit-coms repeat tired scripts of “character A” lying to “character B” with hilarity ensuing, the writers of Modern Family connected low brow humor with humorous references that required a certain amount of intelligence. Stated differently, this show is the unusual comedy that mixes base humor with smart writing. Although the consistency of each episode varies from week to week, Season 2 of Modern Family reminds me of Seinfeld in… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Office

The Office: Season 7 created by Greg Daniels, Ricky Gervais, and Stephen Merchant (Reveille Productions, NBC Universal Telecom, and Deedle-Dee Productions) Starring Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, and Steve Carell. Jumping the Shark When Fonzie literally jumped over a shark on water skis in the premier of Happy Days: Season 5, a new idiom was born. Signifying the moment when a television show moves beyond the signature characteristics that made it a hit, jumping the shark occurs in every television series if the station allows the show to air long enough. While some shows choose to end early in order to maintain creative integrity, other shows increase a character’s unique traits in order to capture the laughter of a… Read More →