Book Review: Between Heaven and Mirth

Between Heaven and Mirth by James Martin

Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life by James Martin, SJ (New York: Harper One, 2011. 272 pp) Rev. James Martin, SJ, is a Jesuit priest, editor at large of America Magazine, and bestselling author of Jesus: A Pilgrimage, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, and Between Heaven and Mirth. Father Martin has written for many publications, including the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and he is a regular commentator in the national and international media. He has appeared on all the major radio and television networks, as well as in venues ranging from NPR’s Fresh Air, FOX’s The O’Reilly Factor, and PBS’s NewsHour to Comedy Central’s… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 1

The Handmaid's Tale Season 1

The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 1 created by Bruce Miller (Hulu, MGM Television) Starring Elisabeth Moss, Yvonne Strahovski, Max Minghella, Amanda Brugel, Joseph Fiennes, Madeline Brewer, O-T Fagbenle, Ann Dowd, Samira Wiley, Tattiawna Jones, and Alexis Bledel. Facial Expression: A Necessary Component of Verbal Communication Most people can read the temperature of a room without hearing a word. Words have meaning, of course; it’s literally their definition. But, words often don’t communicate the entire picture. In my consulting work, we begin our projects with a series of interviews. This primary research expands on organizational story. We want to hear people talk about their work using their own words, ideas, and stories. Yet, at the same time, we want to see what’s… Read More →

Television Show Review: Silicon Valley: Season 4

Silicon Valley Season 4

Silicon Valley: Season 4 created by John Altschuler, Mike Judge, and Dave Krinsky (3 Arts Entertainment, Altschuler Krinsky Works, Judgemental Films, Inc.) Starring Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller, Josh Brener, Martin Starr, Kumail Nanjiani, Amanda Crew, Zach Woods, Matt Ross, Suzanne Cryer, and Stephen Tobolowsky. One Step Forward. Two Steps Backward. Season 4 of Silicon Valley offers more of the same. If you like the template of one step forward, two steps backward, this show has enough humor to satisfy you. It makes me chuckle. That’s good enough for me.

Television Show Review: Fargo: Season 3

Fargo Season 3

Fargo: Season 3 created by Noah Hawley (FX, MGM Television) Starring Ewan McGregor, Carrie Coon, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, David Thewlis, Michael Stuhlbarg, Goran Bogdan, Shea Whigham, Andy Yu, Ray Wise, and Olivia Sandoval. The Problem of Success Success often creates new problems. The lottery winner quickly encounters a relational shift with family and friends. When money enters the equation, relationships transform from intrinsic to instrumental quickly. Success in television also causes problematic tension. Does the show lean on the elements that launched it into the stratosphere? Or, does the show use its acclaim to expand its creativity? Season 3 of Fargo, aims for the latter. The Fargo Template In truth, Fargo holds an air-tight template. As an homage to the… Read More →

Book Review: Pattern Recognition

Patter Recognition by William Gibson

Pattern Recognition: A Novel by William Gibson (New York: Putnam, 2003. 362 pp) William Gibson is an American-Canadian science fiction novelist. A pioneer in the genre of “cyberpunk,” Gibson has earned numerous awards including the Nebula Award, the Hugo Award, the Philip K. Dick Award, the Ditmar Award, the Seiun Award, and the Prix Aurora Award. Form and the Unreliable Narrator Sometimes I take minor joy in the serendipitous connections between my reading and television consumption habits. Currently, I’m diving into Mr. Robot, the critically acclaimed hacker drama. Taking a chapter out of the cult classic, Fight Club, Mr. Robot uses an unreliable narrator to question toxic masculinity and the expectations of the dominant culture. With visual cues corresponding to… Read More →