Book Review: Listen, America!

Listen, America! The Conservative Blueprint for America’s Moral Rebirth by Jerry Falwell (Toronto: Bantam Books, 1980. 237 pp) Jerry Falwell was an evangelical, fundamentalist preacher. He founded Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg Virgina, Liberty University, and the Moral Majority. Falwell attended Baptist Bible College and became an outspoken voice for conservatism in the United States. Falwell died in 2007. Thank You, Sir Well-behaved children do not find trouble. If they speak kindly in a crowd, no offense is taken. If they covet nothing, no jealousy or harm of property could ever occur. To a certain extent and from the condescending tone of the title, Jerry Falwell’s Listen, America! flows from this reasoning. If a person, community, or country acts… Read More →

Album Review: Come Back As Rain

Come Back As Rain by Good Old War (Sargent House, 2012. 38 minutes) Good Old War is Keith Goodwin, Daniel Schwartz, and Tim Arnold. The band started after they recorded free demos in a late night session at a studio. Good Old War have played at the South by Southwest festival in Texas, and toured with both Anthony Green and Alison Krauss. They are currently signed on the label Sargent House. Americana Pop Good Old War has been active since their 2008 release of Only Way To Be Alone. With an album in 2010, Good Old War didn’t change much. But, this new release, entitled Come Back As Rain provides evidence of a maturing, sophisticated sound. The band’s sound is… Read More →

Book Review: The Street Sweeper

The Street Sweeper: A Novel by Elliot Perlman (New York: Riverhead Books, 2012. 640 pp) Born to second-generation Jewish Australians of East European descent, Elliot Perlman studied at Monash University. While working as a judge’s associate, Perlman submitted a short story that eventually won The Age Short Story Award. Upon becoming a full-time writer, Perlman’s debut novel, Three Dollars, won The Age Book of the Year and the Betty Trask Prize. He lives in Melbourne, Australia. History as the Spoils of War History is written by the victor. When peace arrives and diktats emerge, the narrative that develops often becomes one sided. For this reason, we can never conclusively know history because our narratives carry bias. I vividly remember surprise… Read More →

Guest Album Review: Wrecking Ball

Wrecking Ball by Bruce Springsteen (Columbia Records, 2012, 62 min.) Bruce Springsteen, nicknamed “the Boss”, is an American songwriter and guitarist/vocalist that is best known for his working-man albums of the last 30 years, including Born to Run, Born in the U.S.A. and The Rising. Mr. Springsteen has 21 Grammy awards and an Oscar in his celebrated career. Wrecking Ball is his 10th chart-topping #1 Album, trailing only Jay-Z and the Beatles. Post-9/11 Revitalization Bruce Springsteen has hit a stride since the 9/11 tragedy re-awakened him, revitalizing both his songwriting and his purpose with the album The Rising. With similar purpose and drive, Wrecking Ball finds Bruce fighting for blue-collar Middle America in response to the Wall Street greed that… Read More →

Book Review: The Shipping News

The Shipping News: A Novel by Annie Proulx (New York: Scribner, 1993. 352 pp) Born in Norwich, Connecticut, Annie Proulx earned her B.A. at the University of Vermont and her M.A. from Concordia University. While working as a journalist, Proulx published works of fiction in various magazines before publishing her first novel, Postcards, in 1992, winning her the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. Of her many awards, she notably won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for The Shipping News and she adapted her short-story, Brokeback Mountain, into an award-winning feature film. She currently resides in Wyoming. The Dinner Table  There’s something pristine about a populated dinner table. The scent of freshly prepared food. The peace of… Read More →

Album Review: Barchords

Barchords by Bahamas (Universal Republic, 2012. 39 minutes) Bahamas is the stage name of Afie (AY-fee) Jurvanen, who is a Canadian guitarist and singer-songwriter. He is a self-taught musician who has toured with Feist and Beck. His freshman release, Pink Strat, won the 2010 Juno Award for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year. Sophomoric  Barchords is the sophomore album released by Bahamas, and it’s usually around the second release where I start legitimately listening to a musician. I’ve found that the growth from the first to second album is generally a good indicator of how successful a musician’s career will be overall. If Barchords serves as any indicator of Bahamas’ future success, he surely will be challenging the soul-and-roots… Read More →

Film Review: Hugo

Hugo directed by Martin Scorsese (Paramount Pictures, GK Films, Infinitum Nihil, PG, 126 minutes) Starring Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Asa Butterfield, Chloё Grace Moretz, and Emily Mortimer. We Always Need More Drinking Games When the cast of Bridesmaids introduced a category at this year’s Golden Globes, they ushered in a new era of award ceremony watching. Humorously, the cast suggested a “Martin Scorsese Drinking Game”, in which one takes a shot every time someone mentions Scorsese during an award ceremony telecast. The inherent joke in this game revolves around the notion that Martin Scorsese seemingly has his hand in every part of the movie business; by default, anything Scorsese touches garners critical acclaim. A Boy Named Hugo Case in… Read More →

Book Review: Hark! A Vagrant

Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton (New York: Drawn and Quarterly, 2011. 160pp) Kate Beaton was born in Nova Scotia, and has a degree in history and anthropology from Mount Allison University. She publishes a new comic to her website about once a week. Call Me Pretentious Call me pretentious, but I don’t do the whole graphic novel/comic book thing. It conjures up images of greasy-faced nerds with coke-bottle lenses eating potato chips, their mom doting on them, hand and foot, while they play another “fascinating” game of Dungeons and Dragons. Literary supremacy it most certainly is not. But, an English-teaching friend of mine instructs a graphic novels course. Upon learning of this course, I figured if it’s good enough… Read More →

Book Review: Agenda for Biblical People

Agenda for Biblical People: A New Focus for Developing a Life-Style of Discipleship by Jim Wallis (New York: Harper & Row, 1976. 126 pp) Jim Wallis is a bestselling author, public theologian, speaker, and international commentator on ethics and public life. He serves as the chair of the Global Agenda Council on Faith for the World Economic Forum. President and CEO of Sojourners, Wallis contributes columns in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe. He teaches a course at Georgetown University and lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Joy Carroll. The Sins of Prosperity  In the wake of victory in World War II, the United States encountered unprecedented prosperity. Of course, the… Read More →

Film Review: The Joneses

The Joneses directed by Derrick Borte (Echo Lake Productions, Premiere Picture, R, 96 minutes) Starring: Demi Moore, David Duchovny, Amber Heard, Ben Hollingsworth, Gary Cole, Lauren Hutton. The Hype  I’m anti-hype, or what my sister-in-law would call “hipster”. When the band, Mumford & Sons, wasn’t popular, I loved them. Now that they’re huge and trendy (at least here in Seattle), they’re no longer my favorite. Additionally, I bought a Nintendo Wii instead of the Xbox. But, American consumerism, and our economy as a whole, is based on hype, and what’s popular. In the satirical commentary on American consumerism, The Joneses, everyone looks to a picture-perfect family to discern what to buy. The Joneses (played by David Duchovny, Demi Moore, Amber… Read More →