Thursday, January 3

William Kienzle, author of The Rosary Murders and a slew of other mystery novels, has died. I've only read his last two books, and found them to be rather tendentious - slight plots used as hooks on which Kienzle could hang endless discussions of the latest ecclesial issue to nag at him. The one published last year - don't have the title in the front of my brain right now - concerned an Episcopal priest about to convert to Roman Catholicism and the bomb that goes off in the church right before his profession of faith. Who set it? His hierarchy-climbing priest son? His lesbian priest daughter? Some rat of a retrograde Catholic? You get the idea.
Excellent essay on God and journalism and the importance of having informed reporters doing religion stories. Here's the piece which contains one minor error. The "Thomas Groom" referred to late in the piece should be "Thomas Groome," a well-known expert on religious education. Don't know if it's the author's fault or CNN's fault - however, it's certainly CNN's fault for interviewing Groome as a source for a piece on Opus Dei, of all things. Oh well. At least they didn't use Francis Kissling of Pseud-Catholics for A Free Choice Except for Pre-born Humans.
Finally. Good movies are opening in Fort Wayne. Michael and I always go on movie-binges when we're (sort of) alone, so in the few days after Christmas we saw three: two duds and one just okay. The duds? Ali and Vanilla Sky. (Don't ask me why we went to see the latter. It was, I admit, my fault. I hadn't read reviews of it, vaguely recalled hearing something about complexity, yada, yada - in reference to it, and despite the fact that Tom Cruise is so void of talent, I said, "Let's go." So sue me. It was Monday afternoon, and it sounded better than an afternoon of mediocre football games.)

The sort of okay one was Kate and Leopold, which would have benefitted from a little more complexity and a lot less Meg Ryan. Like none.

(Did I tell you how many years it took me to tell her and Melanie Griffith apart?)

Well, this weekend, things are finally getting rolling. The Man Who Wasn't There has come back, after what seemed like a one-day engagement at one theater in the north part of town. It's back at our local art film joint. The Royal Tennenbaums has also arrived, and since I thought the director's Rushmore was a winning, if flawed film, I'm looking forward to that. The Lord of the Rings has, of course, been here Since The Beginning, but I've not yet seen it - tomorrow is my day, going with David (who has not yet started back to school), for whom this will already be the fourth viewing.

Two planned spiritual landmarks competing for your donations

Exhibit A:

The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors:

The Sacred Mirrors series is a totally unique work of contemporary sacred art created by Alex Grey. This installation of 21 framed images, consisting of 19 paintings and two etched mirrors, examines the anatomy of body, mind and spirit in rich detail. Each painting presents a life-sized figure facing viewers and inviting them to mirror the images, creating a sense of seeing into oneself.


The life-sized representations of the human body, portraying its physical and energetic systems, are both rigorously precise and vividly visionary. The Sacred Mirrors dramatically reveal the miracle of life's evolutionary complexity, the unity of human experience across all racial, class and gender divides, and the astonishing vistas of possibility inherent in human consciousness. Alex Grey has combined ancient wisdom, anatomical accuracy and post-modern eclecticism to produce elegant, universally accessible, eternally relevant and resonant symbols.

(Via an article in the New York Times)

Or -

The Arch of Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and The International Shrine of the Holy Innocents :

...a truly world-class, globally significant shrine, to be located on the shore of Lake Erie adjacent to downtown Buffalo. The shrine will feature primarily a monumental, ascendable, golden triumphal arch, The Arch of Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to be the world’s tallest monument measuring 700 feet to the tip of the golden Cross that will surmount its peak (seven being the mystical number of perfection, as Mary represents the perfection of humanity)....

Take your pick.

A good link: For news about the arts: Arts Journal, which collects stories on the arts from media around the Web. Like Arts and Letters Daily, but with more links, and a bit more newsy in orientation.
Back from Joseph's nine-month checkup. He's fine, which is no surprise, and his weight has finally crept up to the middle of the graph - he's almost twenty pounds now. He'd been hanging around a line or two below the median from the beginning, but I guess now that he's stuffing crackers into his mouth with great abandon, the pounds (ounces?) are just piling on.
Children left alone at Indiana casinos. One more reason to hate gambling. I've been to casinos - in Biloxi and Montreal - and I find them incredibly depressing places. Huge cavernous rooms, cheaply decorated with fake luxury, filled with people staring at machines with big cups of coins next to them, feeding the machines, which are never satisfied. And yes, church-sponsored bingo is just as bad, in my opinion. Church leaders, of course, regularly oppose state-sponsored gambling or expansion of gambling (to riverboats, etc). Much of the time, this opposition isn't rooted in a concern for the poor or the effect of gambling addictions or children abandoned while Mom plays the slots - it's because they fear that gambling enterprises will cut into bingo profits. Sad, but true.

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