Book Review: The World is a Ball

The World Is a Ball: The Joy, Madness, and Meaning of Soccer by John Doyle (New York: Rodale, 2010. 352 pp) Born in Ireland, John Doyle currently works as the television critic for Toronto’s The Globe and Mail. Holding a B.A. in English Literature and an M.A. in Anglo-English Studies from University College, Dublin, Doyle moved to Canada in order to pursue a Ph.D. at York University. Doyle writes about soccer for many publications and has worked on location at multiple World Cups and European Championships. In addition to The World Is a Ball, Doyle published A Great Feast of Light in 2005. Doyle has won two internal Globe and Mail awards for his writing. Culture Soup I’ve always thought it… 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 →

Album Review: Strange Negotiations

Strange Negotiations by David Bazan (Barsuk Records, 2011. 41 minutes) A prolific songwriter, David Bazan began his career as the front man of Pedro the Lion and continued playing in the band The Headphones. Located in Seattle, Washington, Bazan currently works as a solo artist. Known best during his Pedro the Lion days for his theologically rich lyrics, Bazan’s time in The Headphones and as a solo artist depict a philosophical shift as his lyrics combat his problems with alcohol and Evangelical Christianity. Curse Your Branches – considered by many, including myself, to be a masterpiece, is Bazan’s first full-length record as a solo artist. Bazan lives in Edmonds with his wife and daughter. A Complicated Relationship I have a… Read More →

Book Review: The Spirit of Food

The Spirit of Food: 34 Writers on Feasting and Fasting toward God edited by Leslie Leyland Fields (Eugene: Cascade Books, 2010. 284 pp.) Residing on Kodiak Island Alaska, Leslie Leyland Fields and her family operate a commercial salmon fishing business. On top of the family business, Fields teaches Creative Nonfiction in the Master of Fine Arts program at Seattle Pacific University. She has written seven books and numerous essays. Our “Thing” When I was dating my wife, I would often hear the question, “What do you two have in common?” While we enjoy similar bands, movies, and comedians, we do not have a “thing” that defines us. Some couples’ “thing” is theater, for others, it is season tickets for a… Read More →

Album Review: Helplessness Blues

Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop, 2011. 50 minutes) Based in Seattle, Washington, Fleet Foxes is a folk rock band lead by vocalist Robin Pecknold. In addition to Pecknold, Skye Skjelset, Josh Tillman, Casey Wescott, Christian Wargo, and Morgan Henderson comprise the full band lineup. Fleet Foxes released their self-titled, full-length first album in 2008 to much acclaim. Helplessness Blues is the band’s sophomore effort. Hate the Art, Not the Artist During my undergraduate years, I enrolled in a philosophy of art class. With a foundational principle based in the ad hominem fallacy, my time in this class reinforced the idea that one should never evaluate the merit of art through the life of the artist. In other words,… Read More →

Book Review: A Visit from the Goon Squad

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010. 352 pp.) Born in Chicago, Jennifer Egan spent her formative years in San Francisco. She majored in English literature at the University of Pennsylvania. Then, she accepted a fellowship at St. John’s College, Cambridge. Egan has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, and a Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library. Her first novel, The Invisible Circus, became a feature film starring Cameron Diaz. Her latest book, A Visit from the Goon Squad, won the 2011 National Book Critics Award for Fiction, a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and the LA Times Book Prize… Read More →

Album Review: Wasting Light

Wasting Light by Foo Fighters (RCA, 2011. 48 minutes) Foo Fighters are an American rock band formed by lead singer and guitarist, Dave Grohl. Established in the wake of Nirvana’s end, the band’s current members are Grohl, Chris Shiflett, Nate Mendel, Taylor Hawkins, and Pat Smear. Of the seven studio albums released, six of them have been nominated for a Grammy Award and three – There Is Nothing Left to Lose, One by One, and Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace – have won Best Rock Album awards. Rock-Star-Ness As a junior high student learning guitar, I enjoyed spinning my portable CD player with headphones enveloping me like ear muffs and imagining that I was playing in a band in front… Read More →

Book Review: A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1962. 220 pp) Born in 1917 as John Burgess Wilson, this English author, poet, playwright, composer, linguist, translator, and critic published under the name, Anthony Burgess. Though he dismissed it as a lesser work, Burgress is best known for A Clockwork Orange, more than likely due to the controversial Stanley Kubrick movie of the same name. In his youth, Burgess attended Xaverian College and later studied at Victoria University of Manchester receiving a B.A. in English. In addition to his publications, Burgess composed many musical pieces in his free time. During his career, Burgess was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and earned honorary degrees… Read More →

Book Review: God and the Evil of Scarcity

God and the Evil of Scarcity: Moral Foundations of Economic Agency by Albino Barrera, O.P. (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2005. 272 pp) Albino Barrera teaches economics and theology at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island. In addition to God and the Evil of Scarcity, he wrote Modern Catholic Social Documents and Political Economy (Georgetown University Press) in 2001. It Begins with Malthus For Albino Barrera, God and the Evil of Scarcity is essentially a response to the Malthusian understanding of theodicy.  While most consider resource scarcity and population control when Thomas Malthus comes to mind, Barrera explores Malthus’ foundational views of God that lead him to his conclusions on resource scarcity. Simply put, Barrera understands Malthusian theodicy as a source… 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 →