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Showing posts from 2017

Our Waking Hours

"Whatever hour you woke there was a door shutting"
- Virginia Woolf, A Haunted House
Thursday, August 3rd, at 9:51pm, I was sleeping. It had been a long day that constituted a segment of an even longer week, thus, an hour or so earlier, I comfortably put head to pillow and entered a period of restfulness. Across town, a 53-year-old man named Gus Edwards was breathing his last breath, the victim of a gunshot wound inflicted earlier in the evening. The dichotomy of these two situations is something that occurs all too often in our world, and will, I fear, continue to do so for as long as humanity resides upon this earth.
There is always a twinge of guilt that occurs whenever I learn of someone's premature death, especially somebody local. Awakening contentedly in my bed that Friday morning and reading the news of Mr. Edwards' death on my phone induced a momentary pang of remorse, coupled with gratitude. Remorse because it felt almost like an affront to having been aliv…

Pic of the Week

Here is actor Tom Glynn-Carney, who plays Peter, one of the heroes of the movie Dunkirk, currently in theaters.



Past is Past

To some, knowing their heritage is of paramount importance. The countries their ancestors came from is knowledge that simply must be known. For those like Alice Collins Plebuch, learning that their ancestry has a different narrative than they'd previously assumed is earth-shattering. Heck, they've written an article about it. Me? I'm a mutt, and that's fine.

I read the piece about Plebuch's world being turned upside down by her DNA results, so of course I have some interest in all this. I guess it just doesn't matter to me all that much where my genetic predecessors came from. Evolutionary science is of interest, but not recent ancestry, such as where my great-great-great-grandparents were from. And, if I did find out such information, I would like to think it wouldn't upset me like it did Plebuch:

At the Movies

IndieWire recently featured an article asking if movie tickets should cost less for independent films than they do for high-profile blockbusters. You know the type of movies we're taking about: a low-budget flick that may or may or not feature big name talent, often made outside one of the major studios, featuring careful pacing, lots of scenes where characters talk with one another, a discernible plot, and not very many (if any) things getting blowed-up real good. In other words, a movie that requires thought and careful viewing by the cinema-goer, which is probably why such films don't often rake-in the dough.
A lot of people seem to want a movie-going experience to be some sort of escapism. Indeed, much of cinema is exactly that. Documentaries aside, a majority of films take us to the fictional lives of others, allowing us a window into their goings-on, glimpsing -- if only for a couple of hours -- the situations they encounter and how they grapple with them. And that's…

Pic of the Week

Here, again, is Pic of the Week stalwart Tom Daley. Here we see Tom relaxing a bit, looking somewhat contemplative.




A Valley Between the Peaks

Last night's episode of Twin Peaks, the ninth in the revival series, was without a doubt my least favorite since its return. There are many reasons for this, which I'll touch upon shortly. I want to be clear, however, that I didn't hate the episode, just that it frustrated me to no end. That's a mark of how good the show has been so far. Too bad last night's entry dropped the ball.

Midpoint

We're just a little over halfway through 2017, and I've seen 20 of the year's films (so far). I thought that now would be a good time to rank those movies! Of course, this is just my opinion, one of many. But if you haven't seen some of the films in, say, the top ten, they try and watch them if/when you can.
Ok, here we go....

Pic of the Week

Actor Ansel Elgort is our latest Pic of the Week. Currently starring in the most excellent film Baby Driver, Elgort also explores his musical side, as well. Earlier this year he released a single titled Thief. This picture is from a new photo shoot he did for Wonderland magazine. Enjoy.


Good News, Bad News

Social media can be a mixed bag. On the one hand, it allows us nearly instant communication with friends and family as close as the same town and as far as countries that are thousands of miles away. Sadly, there is also the reality that not everyone we are connected with online are truly friends. Add to that the sensory overload that can occur with updates, notifications, etc. and social media can be both a blessing and a curse. It is the negative aspect of this dichotomy that has led me of late to unfollow certain people, though not without a wringing of the hands.
Failed relationships, be they romantic or platonic, are never something one feels good about. Whenever an unfriending occurs on Facebook (whether I am the one unfriending someone or vice-versa), it never feels good. Perhaps this is why I have taken lately to simply unfollowing people? This allows for the illusion of an online 'friendship' to continue, all the while I can no longer see the unwanted information ema…

Pic of the Week

Our latest of Pic of the Week is singer Aaron Carter. Aaron has been to Champaign-Urbana a few times to perform and, unfortunately, has been the subject of some body-shaming recently. Goodness knows why. Enjoy.



If You Could Read My Mind

Dance clubs are a funny thing. They contain within their walls a life force and vibrancy sometimes unmatched anywhere else. When dusk settles and the lights come on, people will flood the dance floors to gyrate to music with hypnotic beats and songs about love, lust and fun at the disco. At gay bars, this sort of scenario usually increases ten-fold. It isn't for everyone, but for many it is a respite from the harsh realities of the real word. It is a place that isn't just a structure, but a sanctuary where folks -- minorities in their own communities -- can take shelter and unwind with abandon, at least for a few nighttime hours.
As someone who benefited greatly from such an aforementioned gay dance club, you can imagine my dismay at news of the closing of Chester Street Bar. In business for over three decades, gay-owned and operated, there was a time when C-Street (as it was known by most) was the only haven for those in the LGBT community, near and far, to enjoy themselves …

The Relaxed Reassurance of Twin Peaks

I've been enjoying Showtime's revival of Twin Peaks this past month. We are now seven episodes in to an eighteen-episode season, and I am actually looking forward to a Sunday evening for a change. The mood created within the world of David Lynch's creation can at times be mesmerizing, and the plot is progressing, albeit slowly. It's that slowness that is perhaps one of the key reasons I'm enjoying the show so much.
We live in a fast-moving age. Our Internet connections move in the blink of an eye. The service industry caters to an ever-increasing society that is on-the-go. Movies and TV shows have all but done away with opening credits, fearing that a viewership with short attention spans won't want to wait through such tedious trifle. Camera shots in film and television are so fast now, down to low-end single-digit seconds. And the hype machines are out in full force. I never remember producers being interviewed about the shows they were in charge of, explain…

Why Can't We Be Friends?

I was somewhat taken aback recently when I learned that a single friend doesn't care very much for the company of couples. It is difficult not to take personal offense at this, being part of a couple, but then I took a step back and thought about the various types of people who I know and prefer to associate with socially. And the reasons why. It was an enlightening self-analysis.

The Twenty-Five Best Films of the Century So Far

Lists, rankings, etc. are, despite how much some may claim objectivity, very much a personal thing. We bring our own lives and bias to the list-making process, though there is nothing wrong with that, as long as we're honest about it. Such a curation should also attempt to provoke. Not in a violent manner, obviously -- but in thought. It should nudge us to think upon what our own lists would be for the same scenario.
To that end, Richard Brody's rather pretentious list of his Top 25 Best Films of the 21st Century (so far, of course) has done its job. I see a lot of movies, dear reader, but have not heard of most of the ones on the list. This isn't said with any pride, more of a quizzical cocking of the head, and a desire to make my own list of what I consider to be the best of the 21st century through 2017. It is, of course, the definitive list.
And so, the best of the century so far...

Of Matts and Ashleys, Churches in New England, and Other Doppelgangers

The dream recurs on at least a semi-monthly basis, always a mixture of familiarity with alarming disorientation.

From the very first time the dream occurred, I felt at home within the small New England church. And, for whatever reason, I immediately understood where I was. Starting in an abrupt stupor, I was immediately seated roughly two-thirds from the altar, in about the tenth pew toward the back. The rustic church was made mostly of wood, some of it stained, other parts (such as the beams and rafters) painted a gleaming white. There was stone, too. You could tell it was before a service was to begin. People were milling about, generally making their way into the structure.
Somehow, I knew the location, but not why I suddenly found myself there. This caused some considerable consternation, as you might imagine it would. The church looked to be like what I imagine those centuries-old old Protestant churches are like in New England, hence the sense of knowing where I was, or at least…

Pic of the Week

Hope everyone is enjoying their month of June so far! Here is our latest Pic of the Week, actor Ben Rosenfield. He has appeared in HBO's Boardwalk Empire, last year's film Indignation, and in the first two episodes of Showtime's Twin Peaks revival this year.




The Best Science-Fiction TV Shows of All-Time

It isn't a giant leap of a statement to say that we're shaped very much by our childhood. Our parents and home life play a major role in development, along with friendships and, for most, pop culture. This includes TV viewing and, growing up during the 1980s, my television habits included  a lot of comedies, some drama (it was the era of nighttime soaps, after all) and, most notably, science-fiction & fantasy shows. Of all of the programs I have enjoyed over the years, it is the latter that has been most prominent in shaping my entertainment outlook. To this day, I'll take a sci-fi/action thriller over a romantic comedy.
Given that my favorite television shows are often science fiction & fantasy, what, then are my favorite programs of said genre? Which ones stood-out as the best of the best over the years? I'm glad you asked, dear reader, because following is a break-down of my Top 10 favorite ones (in alphabetical order). Let's get to it.

What We Leave Behind

Periodically my mom will give me some mementos, heirlooms, documents and photographs of our family history. I've enjoyed receiving them, though with more than a pinch of wistfulness included. The handing-down of treasured familial possessions is always a bit of rite of passage, a quiet signifier of aging and our own mortality. The keepsakes are wanted, yet there is almost the urge to reject what their receipt symbolizes.
It occurred to me that there is another, even more personal, reason that I grow rueful whenever the subject of fondly-held items arises. I have no children to leave anything to. Now, admittedly, that is perhaps the most selfish reason to have a child, but then it can be argued that people have children for a variety of reasons. Some wish to carry-on their lineage, others want another human to love and care for. A few didn't expect to have a child, and are making their best go of it. So on and so forth.

I Love How You Love Me

Episode five of the new season of Twin Peaks was overall another good entry for the revived program. We were treated to a progression (albeit a slow one) of the plot lines previously dangled before us in episodes one through four, as well as some new elements that were introduced to keep us guessing. I could have done without the sadistic violence and profanity, but am resigned to expecting such things with David Lynch, especially when he's unshackled from the constraints of network television.
It is pretty well-known that David Lynch's works don't always make a lot of sense. To this day, almost two decades after its release, people are still debating what the heck his movie Mulholland Drive is about. Lynch was also reticent to reveal the killer of Laura Palmer which, you know, is kinda the reason millions of people initially watched the original series of Twin Peaks. With that, I was a bit apprehensive going into this new season, as devoting several hours of one's ti…

Thoughts on Wonder Woman 2017

With an opening in the very respectable range of $100 million in North America, the new Wonder Woman movie is certainly taking the world by storm (the overseas box office is in the $122 million range). Critics and audiences alike appear to love it And I? Well, what follows are my (spoiler-filled) thoughts on the film.
First, let's open by saying that I'd give the new Wonder Woman movie a 7 out of 10. If you want something even simpler than a numerical system, I give it a thumbs-up. Having said that, there are a lot of minor criticisms I have about the film, things that could have made it better.

Wonder Woman Story

As a kid, I wanted to be Wonder Woman.
This isn't a confession of some sort of sexuality (not more than what regular readers and friends already know). I simply liked the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman TV series (1975-1979) and, like most fantasy characters that kids enjoy (Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, etc.) I wanted to dress-up and role play as them. In the case of Wonder Woman, it would have meant wearing a more feminine-defined garb.
Such childhood thoughts came back to me recently, no doubt spurred by the Wonder Womanmovie released in theaters this week. That movie may be good, but it will never be the show that first introduced me to the character, in all its '70s glory. When I watch it now its corniness bleeds through, but as a kid, it was pure gold. Lots of fun and adventure.

Pic of the Week

British Olympic diver Tom Daley turned 23 this past Sunday, so he's our Pic of the Week. Enjoy!



Moore, Roger Moore

The suave, debonair, tough-as-nails British spy James Bond has been gracing the silver screen for over half a century. In total, six actors have officially portrayed the character (EON productions hold the rights to character, so anything made outside of their realm isn't consider canon). Of those six incarnations, Roger Moore was by far my favorite Bond.
Everyone has their favorite actor who played the super spy. For many, it's Sean Connery. Some are perfunctory about acknowledging it. Many are smug and defensive. The folks who prefer Moore often do so effusively and with a spring in their step. Perhaps that's a difference between the two characterizations? Perhaps, ultimately, it doesn't matter.

It Is Happening Again

Last night I watched the first four new episodes of Twin Peaks since 1991. A show whose influence still echoes in modern day television, I was curious to see how it would perform a quarter-century after it left the airwaves. Overall, it did not disappoint.
The first thing to know is that I am not a devout Twin Peaks fan. It was a phenomenon difficult to escape in the early '90s, and I'd tune-in every now and then to see what the denizens of the 51,000 populace 'small town' were up to. It wasn't until years later that I gave it more attention, as my spouse is a huge fan of the original program. So, last night, with our newly-minted Showtime access via streaming in place, we watched the first four episodes of the new show.
Some spoilers follow from here onward, so turn away now if you don't want to know anything about the new version.

Pic of the Week

Our latest Pic of the Week is British singer Harry Styles. Formerly of the group One Direction, Styles' new solo single, Sign of the Times, is already one of my favorite songs of the year.





In Residence

Everyone has a favorite home. Of that, I am convinced. This can manifest itself in different ways, from being an abode that that one would move back to in a heartbeat, if they could, to simply being the dwelling they have the fondest memories of. Sometimes, it's more than one place that we would call our favorite. Regardless, I think -- or at least hope -- that this is a near universal sentiment.
Oddly enough, my favorite homes are the most humble. Removing childhood homes, and the small little house I lived in ages 19-25, perhaps my best-loved abode -- the place I think of the most warmly when it comes to life with Ashley -- is the apartment we first lived-in together in Bloomington. A second-floor flat with two bedrooms and one bath, it was certainly modest, and we had our issues while living there, but we also had some good memories there, too.

"The Force Will Be With You, Always"

It's May the 4th, which means that it's (national? international?) Star Wars Day. Pretty much a hype tool for the movie/TV show/book franchise, Star Wars Day is nevertheless an awesome 24 hours of remembrance because, hey, it's Star Wars. I thought it would be a good time to do a ranking of the best of Star Wars, so, here again is another List of Truth, courtesy of yours truly.
Let's start-off with where it all began -- the films...

Pic of the Week

Actor Jamie Dornan, probably most famous for his role in the Fifty Shades movies, turned 35 earlier this week, and he's our Pic o' the Week. Enjoy.


Livability

What is your ideal living situation? Is it influenced by how you were raised? Do you come from a large family where having others around is pretty much all that you know? Or is your background more of an only child situation, and you enjoy peace and seclusion when you can find it in your adult life? Or are you someone who can bebop along and go with the flow? Roommates/no roommates, doesn't matter. These may seem like fairly innocuous questions, but our living situation can be of great importance to our everyday well-being, so it's sometimes worth a look.
I was raised as an only child, for the most part. Technically, I have half-siblings, but they are from different marriages my father had, and we were not raised together. Being raised without siblings could be lonely at times, but it was all that I knew, and so it worked. When I wanted company I would seek out playtime with friends. Sometimes it was successful, other times not so much. Kids can sometimes be cruel, or bullyin…

Opening the Door

I've sometimes wondered how I would have functioned as a gay man born, not in the latter-half of the 20th century, but during a time when seeking the partner of one's choice was simply not allowed. At least, not legally. How would I have behaved? Would the repression of my sexuality have proven to be too much? Or would I have settled down with a woman, perhaps had children, and soldiered on?
The closing film of this year's Roger Ebert Film Festival, the 2004 musical biopic De-Lovely, focused on the life of lyricist and composer Cole Porter, and provided another opportunity to ponder the aforementioned thoughts. Though fraught with a narrative structure that was almost clunky enough to derail the overall experience, the movie succeeds in spite of its flaws, and was an enjoyable, moving motion picture. There was a sophistication to the performances of Kevin Kline (as Porter) and Ashley Judd (as his wife, Linda Lee).
Somewhat familiar with Cole Porter, though unfamiliar with…

Pic of the Week

It's been a little while, but we have a new Pic of the Week to share. This time it's actor Dylan Minnette, star of the 2016 thriller Don't Breathe, and this year's breakout TV hit, 13 Reasons Why



I (Don't) Remember Mama

One of the sad realities of life is that, while we may be, say, 40 years of age, we only retain firm memories of perhaps 33 to 35 years of those four decades. Of course, memories of being diapered, laying in one's own poo and unable to articulate thoughts aside from the occasional (frequent?) bawling or tantrum session may not be quite what we want to hold on to.
Of course, there are things I wish I remembered. Mama, for example. She was my maternal, Hungarian-born great-grandmother who emigrated to the United States in the early 1900s. She and my mom were very close, and mom has made it clear how much mama (real name Marie) loved me. She'd come to visit us and thought the world of me. She died when I was a little over three years old, so there are no memories of her, just some pictures and what mom has told me.
There are snippets of memory. There's the brief remembrance of toddling across the ranch house my parents and I lived in during the '70s and '80s, from th…

Facades

The news -- "breaking news" in some quarters -- that pop singer Barry Manilow is gay got me thinking about the whole notion of a public image. We all have one, from the mega-famous to the demure wallflowers. We all present what we want to the world, and hide the rest. There are those who decry such measures, preferring, I suppose, to lay bare their souls for all and sundry. There's something to be said for raw honesty, though perhaps in small doses.
Something to consider is the different spheres within which we operate. No doubt Barry Manilow has been out to friends and, perhaps, family for a long time. The recent revelation is most likely a public one. There's no dishonesty there, just a lack of information. That is, of course, Manilow's choice. I do find it somewhat sad and slightly odd that he'd been afraid to come out due to anticipated negative reactions from fans. His sexuality has been one of the worst kept secrets around.

The Valley of Dry Bones

A recent NPR article about the possibility of moving the remains of U.S. President James K Polk reminded me what an odd concept the grave is. A descendant of our 11th president, dead now these 168 years, is quoted as saying how much Polk wanted to remain in Nashville. This was apparently requested in his will, as though his corpse, obscured underground, might enjoy its time more in Music City than elsewhere.
It is true that cemeteries/graveyards served a useful purpose at one time, as they stand as historical records during a period when such records weren't always well kept via other methods (paper, digitally, etc.) In today's age, we have much better ways of keeping track of who has come and gone on this earth. Putting a body into the ground and marking it with a headstone simply isn't necessary.

Pic of the Week

Our latest Pic of the Week is British diver Matty Lee, who seems like an all around good bloke. Enjoy.



When You're 64, Minus 12

Twenty years ago today, my father turned 52 years of age. It would be his last birthday. Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer late in the preceding year, Lewis likely knew there wouldn't be many more (if any) birthdays, though he kept up a fairly good facade. Oh there were times it cracked, certainly, but then I've never understood why we seem to demand stoicism from the terminally ill.
Too ill from chemotherapy treatments to do much celebrating on March 21st, we actually celebrated dad's birthday on Sunday, the 23rd. Truthfully, the entire event was somewhat up in the air, depending on how Lewis felt at the time. I was working at Garcia's Pizza, and had a boss who would bend your ear at the slightest query about how her mom died of cancer. When I made the request to take-off that Sunday for what would likely be my father's final birthday, the manager gave me grief. So it goes.

Sweet Tooth

Having brunch at a local restaurant recently, I took notice of the music being piped-in through the discreetly positioned speakers while we dined. The songs were predominantly from the 1950s and '60s. Oldies, if you will. There's nothing wrong with that, per se, though it reinforced an opinion I have about modern society, that we are, for better or worse, wrapped-up in nostalgia.
"If we were sitting in a restaurant in the 1960s, do you think they would have been playing music from 1910?" I asked my brunch companion. Ashley responded that it would have been less likely, though he countered with the fact that the curation of things (not just music) in recent decades has led to easy access to older material. It simply wouldn't have been as easy during the 1960s to have access to a recording from 1910.
Perhaps accessibility is the driving force behind the lingering presence of what is, frankly, old culture? If so, is that a good, bad, or neutral set of circumstances?…

The Wearing of the Green

Margaret Elligham lay sprawled across the parquet floor of her house's grand living room, a look of terror upon her face. The Shamrock Charlatan (as he or she had been dubbed by the press) had struck again. This time, however, there had been a twist. Someone had died. The wealthy victim not only lost her jewelry, but her life.
For months the thief had carefully broken into houses in the wealthy part of town, stolen several items of valuable jewelry, and left without a trace. The residents were none the wiser until they found their belongings missing, and the police were baffled. Unfortunately, for Ms. Ellingham, she must have caught them in the act, and the burglary had escalated to murder.
"What's been taken?" sniffed Detective O'Malley, peering over the corpse with his hands clasped behind his back.
A bald, upper-middle-aged man stepped forward, clearing his throat. "Madame's necklace, sir. It was her prized possession. It was so beautiful, too... &qu…

How Long Have You Been Together?

We all mark time in different ways. Anniversaries and celebrations for this or that event, or a particular occasion. Relationships are often top of the list. Growing up, wedding anniversaries were often the major milestone I witnessed people took the most note of. There are even particular gifts designated for each year of wedded bliss.
Unfortunately, society was to erect roadblocks to marrying the person of my choice, at least for several years. Same-sex marriage was something done piecemeal for awhile, before finally being legalized nationwide by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015. And let's not forget the precursor to same-sex marriage, civil unions. Those were also done haphazardly, on a state-by-state basis.
What the aforementioned scattershot approach has meant for same-sex couples across the nation is that there are often several different anniversary dates, and not borne of choice. Ashley & I alone have four anniversary dates (when we met, a commitment ceremony, civil uni…

The Classic Syndrome

This year's TCM Classic Film Festival will feature, among other things, a Q&A with actor Michael Douglas, following a screening of his 1979 film The China Syndrome. Also scheduled are interviews with the casts of Kentucky Fried Movie (1977) and Best In Show (2000). Now, I haven't seen Kentucky Fried Movie, but China Syndrome and Best In Show are fine films. But are they classics? Eh...
The Oxford English dictionary defines 'classic' as "judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind." The phrase "period of time" is meaningless. It can be stretched to mean anywhere from five years to fifty. The three films mentioned in regards to the TCM festival range from 17 to 40 years in age. 17 years seems, at least to my mind, a tad too recent to consider classic status, though 40 years would seem to be long enough ago.

Evolving Door

My late, maternal grandmother, Gummy, whom I loved very deeply and still miss to this day, was a bit of a conservative. On the one hand, that isn't so odd, since she grew up and lived most of her life in rural Illinois, during a time (she was born in 1928) that was already more traditionalist than the world we live in today. She also believed in life after death, reincarnation and alien visitations, so conversations with her ran the gamut, and that's one of the things I liked about her. I mention Gummy because film aficionado and TCM host Robert Osborne passed away yesterday, aged 84. That may seem like a non sequitur, but the one made me think of the other because the two came from the same generation, and it has come to (public) light that Osborne was gay, and I remember how my grandmother treated the subject of homosexuality on occasion.

Pic of the Week

It's pop singer Justin Bieber's 23rd birthday today, so we'll celebrate by having him be our pic of the week! Enjoy.


Greatest Hits

Today marks the sixth of anniversary of this blog. After six years and (counting this one) 507 posts, I thought it fitting to celebrate the day by going over the Top 25 most popular posts. This was determined by the number of views each post has had. Note: I have the settings arranged so that my own views are not counted. To be truthful, the takeaway was a tad surprising. A few things of note:
- Readership-wise, the blog's best days are behind it. None of the Top 25 posts are from after 2013.
- I have purposefully not included any of the Pics of the Week, mainly because they're done as kind of a joke. For the most part, this doesn't impact the list, except for a few early ones which, somehow, garnered a lot of views.
- Pop culture seems to help with readership. A good half of the Top 25 are about movies, music and TV shows.
- 2012 appears to have been the blog's zenith, as 8 of the top 10 entries are from that year.
With those observations out of the way, let's de…

Getting Out

Like many others, I saw the new Jordan Peele movie Get Out over the weekend. It has (mistakenly, in my opinion) been referred to as a horror/comedy mash up. There is definitely humor in it, but it doesn't really fit into the defined boundaries of what constitutes a modern day horror movie. There isn't much blood, it isn't scary, per se, there is no supernatural or paranormal element. Get Out is predominantly a thriller, and a very good one.
Get Out also provides some commentary on race in America, though it does so (for the most part) in a subtle way. There are no grandiose speeches, we aren't hit over the head with preachy sermons. The film makes its points with a palatable smoothness. There is a black protagonist who is dating a white woman. He goes out to the country to visit her (ostensibly liberal) parents, and then an unsettling creepiness ensues.
Peele's dialogue and direction manages to convey an awkwardness and uncomfortable truth which we too often overlo…

Pic of the Week

Our latest Pic of the Week is Tom Daley and a puppy. Enjoy.



Generations

"I'm talking about my generation
Talking about that newer nation
And if you don't like it
You can beat it
(Beat it, baby)"

Brooklyn Baby, by Lana Del Rey

One wonders if inter-generational warfare is as old as time itself? It seems like every day there is a new article, argument or opinion espoused regarding Millennials, the generation of human being who have been categorized as being born between 1977 and 1994. I'd always thought that was Generation Y, though perhaps it's been renamed? Regardless, it would seem to be the whipping boy in the latest battle of the generations.
Millennials are often described as lazy, entitled, coddled, and I'm sure "whiners" has probably made its way into the critique at some point. Much of this has been done without a whiff of irony, though I can remember the same criticisms being labeled at folks from my generation (X) a scant two decades ago. Now (again, with no irony whatsoever), the Generation Xers are leveling tho…

After the Funeral

Recently I read a piece from NPR that, in a nutshell, suggested we always attend a funeral if at all possible. Not every funeral, of course, but the ones for those we knew in life, or (perhaps especially) the funerals for loved ones of someone we know. Our attendance can mean so much during those occasions. The piece is almost twelve years old but, as with most things these days, nothing truly dies on the Internet. It was resurrected recently on social media, and I read it with interest.
Over the years I have attended funerals and visitations that ran the gamut from sparse to overwhelming attendance. Some funereal proceedings were an odd mix of fire & brimstone religiosity that decided to use the occasion to touch upon seemingly every hot button topic except for the deceased, to ones that were intimately personal ceremonies that provided those present with comfort. memories and closure. I've even been to one where a group of my cousin's peers performed a beautiful renditi…

Pic of the Week

This week our focus is on Pietro Boselli, who has been dubbed "the world's sexiest maths teacher." Enjoy.


What Does It Mean to Be Black?

"Is you mixed?"
"You know you're black, right?"
Those are just a few of the things I heard growing up, from my black peers, as a biracial kid who thought of himself more as Matt, rather than about his racial identity. If anything, the more pressing minority status at the time was being homosexual, as it seemed to create more issues with people than anything else. Regardless, I've always struggled with what it means to be black and, as time has gone on, it has oddly not become any easier to navigate.
One thing to understand first is that, aside from the obvious biological aspect, there is a personal component to my desire of having the biracial definition applied. My father was black. My mother is white. With them come the requisite lineage. Whenever someone refers to me as being either "black" or (a lot less common) "white," it engenders a mental and, sometimes, physical pain. I think of the parent that such a label erases, of the aunts, …

Pic of the Week

We are once again graced with everyone's favorite gold medal diver, Chris Mears.