Culture

Joshua Witchger 4-16-2012

With tax day approaching, read about some of the more bizzaire tax laws. X-ray images of deep sea creatures. House pets meet their mirror images in plush form. Flying car to visit International Auto Show. Explaining the smell of old books. Garth and Kat sing into springtime ... Discover these and more links in today's Links of Awesomeness ...

 

Christian Piatt 4-16-2012
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

New York premiere of HBO's 'Girls' at the School of Visual Arts Theater on April 4. Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Two things leap off the screen while watching the debut of “Mad Men;” first, everyone drinks and smokes. All the time. Second, women are treated like so much property, and though they seem complicit in their subjugate role, they also have a racket of their own going, using their feminine wiles to work their way up alongside the mean of greatest means and power to enjoy both by association.

It’s hard to believe only two generations ago that an executive was within his purview to suggest to his secretary that she hike up the hem of her skirt a bit and fetch him some fresh ice for cocktails with the boys.

Or is it?

Joshua Witchger 4-13-2012

Stream Coachella this weekend in YouTube, 17 musicians inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, playable Star Wars organ, signs of the apocalypse, art installations, and LOST as a sitcom. See this and more in today's Links of Awesomeness... 

Anna Broadway 4-13-2012
Caine's Arcade in his dad's auto parts store

Caine's Arcade in his dad's auto parts store

In case you missed it, the viral video of the week is a delightful short film called Caine's Arcade. In the video, a 9 year old from East L.A. constructs an elaborate cardboard arcade in his dad’s used car parts store and dons a custom-made shirt on days the arcade is open for business.

But because of their location and changes in the parts market that have moved his dad’s business mostly online, Caine gets no customers until a filmmaker named Nirvan walks in one day.

At long last, Caine gets to present the ticket options (a handmade fun pass costs $2 for 500 turns) When Nirvan wins a game, Caine crawls inside the box to manually dispense Nirvan’s winnings from a the roll of tickets.

Watching the film for the first time this week, I was filled with a joy so overwhelming it eventually brought tears.

Joshua Witchger 4-12-2012
Four Square image via Wylio/Creative Commons. (c) Andrew Yee

Four Square image via Wylio/Creative Commons. (c) Andrew Yee

Infographics on chimpanzees -- the Titanitc -- outer space -- zombie survival -- fictional birthdays. Plus, an NYU listserve experiment, thoughts from Radiolab's Robert Krulwich, Wes Anderson's newest film, and getting ready for April 16 (4/16, Four Square Day). See this and more in today's Links of Awesomeness... 

Joshua Witchger 4-11-2012

Jon Stewart compares Easter and Passover, The Lion King surpasses The Phantom of the Opera in sales, Central Africa's only all-black symphony gaining attention, Rube Goldberg machine sets new world record, electronic music made from fruits, a fish delivers a TED talk, Webby Award nominees announced, local Chicago music, The Hipster Games, the joys of a nine-year-old's cardboard arcade, and a dramatic twist of events on a quiet square... See this and more on today's Links of Awesomeness...
 

Duane Shank 4-11-2012

Among my must reads are the Sunday New York Times Book Review and other book reviews I come across in various media outlets. There are too many books being published that I would love to read, but just don’t have the time. So, I rely on reading book reviews as one way of keeping in touch with what’s being written. 

Here are my picks in this week’s books of interest:

Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation

By Elaine Pagels, Reviewed by Dale B. Martin

Joshua Witchger 4-09-2012

30 ways to celebrate National Poetry Month, after Easter take a look at some of the sketchiest bunnies, post-apocalyptic artwork, Alec Baldwin interviews Kristen Wiig, Jimmy Fallon revisits his news anchor position, "Walden Pond" to become a digital reality, robots make furniture, and 36 big names in their humble beginnings...   
 

the Web Editors 4-06-2012

 

“When you remember me, it means that you have carried something of who I am with you, that I have left some mark of who I am on who you are. It means that you can summon me back to your mind even though countless years and miles may stand between us. It means that if we meet again, you will know me. It means that even after I die, you can still see my face and hear my voice and speak to me in your heart. For as long as you remember me, I am never entirely lost. When I'm feeling most ghost-like, it is your remembering me that helps remind me that I actually exist. When I'm feeling sad, it's my consolation. When I'm feeling happy, it's part of why I feel that way. If you forget me, one of the ways I remember who I am will be gone. If you forget, part of who I am will be gone. "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." the good thief said from his cross (Luke 23:42). There are perhaps no more human words in all of Scripture, no prayer we can pray so well."

~ Frederick Buechner

 

 

Joshua Witchger 4-05-2012

Google Street view goes to inside the White House. Painting walls by whipping hair. President Obama gives the Vulcan salute in the Oval Office. Woody Allen's new film. Marshall amplifiers. The Beatles' sons. And a remix of the Pixar film Monsters Inc
 

Cathleen Falsani 4-04-2012
Darren Morfitt as Jesus and Keith Allen as Pontius Pilot. Image via the BBC.

Darren Morfitt as Jesus and Keith Allen as Pontius Pilot in 2006's Manchester Passion. Image via the BBC.

The music of Manchester, England is, for me, the soundtrack of my college years. The Smiths. Joy Division. Oasis. James. The Happy Mondays.

It was the music I danced to in Chicago nightclubs, the songs of seeming disillusionment that I walked around campus listening to (on cassettes and "cassingles" -- remember those?) on my Sony Walkman.

I love that music that put a spring in my step and gave voice to my youthful ennui. But I had never thought of it as particularly spiritual music...that is until earlier this week when my charming British colleague, Jack Palmer, brought to my attention The Manchester Passion, an hourlong 2006 BBC special broadcast of a massive public reinactment of Christ's passion and crucifixion staged in a public square in Manchester set to the music of that enigmatic northern city in England.

The Manchester Passion took the music and lyrics of The Smiths and their Manchunian contemporaries and used them -- brilliantly and powerfully -- to retell in a thoroughly modern milieu the greatest story ever told.

Jack Palmer 4-04-2012
Alain de Botton. Image via www.alaindebotton.com.

Alain de Botton. Image via www.alaindebotton.com.

This is not another book that simply critiques religion. In Religion For Atheists: A Non-believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion, Alain de Botton, a noted author on a wide range of themes – from architecture to the works of Proust – examines those engaging and helpful aspects of religion (particularly focusing on Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism) that might, as he puts it, “fruitfully be applied to the problems of secular society.”

Anyone who might be offended by a work that from the outset (indeed on its very first page) asserts that “of course no religions are true in any God-given sense”, is encouraged to steer clear of this book by the author himself.

It is a book that seems to swing between revulsion of religion and the “religious colonization” that atheists are charged to reverse and a recognition that all is not well in the secular world, and that these ills may be somewhat righted by looking toward religion – let me clarify – toward those aspects of religious traditions that de Botton believes are relevant to the world today: community, kindness, education and art, for example.

The very first subject to be tackled is that of community – something that Sojourners knows a little something about (check out Nicole Higgins’ recent review of Wanderlust for some insights) – and what strikes me as interesting is that de Botton’s hypothesis on the loss of community mirrors a phrase often spoken by Sojourners CEO Jim Wallis:

Did we lose our sense of community when we began to privatize our faith?

Sandi Villarreal 4-03-2012
My family attacking each other with cascarones. Photo by Jesse G. Villarreal

My family attacking each other with cascarones. Photo by Jesse G. Villarreal

Growing up, Easter weekend meant a giant family party at my grandparents’ house complete with a piñata, Easter egg hunt, possibly a mariachi band, and – on at least one occasion – my younger cousins dressing up to perform the Passion play.

But the best part (you know, besides celebrating Jesus resurrecting from the dead, providing salvation for the world)?

Cascarones!

Dick Staub 4-02-2012
Angela Weiss/WireImage

A general view at 'The Hunger Games' opening night midnight showing. Angela Weiss/WireImage

The Hunger Games books are wildly popular - and controversial. The American Library Association ranks it fifth on the list of most banned books for 2010, mostly because of parental complaints that the books are sexually explicit and violent.

Author Suzanne Collins said she conceived of The Hunger Games one night as she flipped television channels from teenagers on a reality TV to teenagers serving in the Iraqi war. She couldn't shake this jarring juxtaposition.

So does the popularity of The Hunger Games offer good news for those of us concerned about American civilization and the younger generation? I say yes, for a few reasons.

Joshua Witchger 4-02-2012

All videos on today's Links of Awesomeness. Watch a legless skateboarder show some incredible tricks at a contest in Tampa. OK Go debuts a new colorful music video, Improv Everywhere shows some impressive video editing, Jimmy Fallon and Charlie Sheen advertise a new cologne, and Admiral Ackbar becomes a singing wall fish. 

Julie Polter 4-01-2012

Worship Across the Racial Divide: Religious Music and the Multiracial Congregation, by Gerardo Marti; The Forgotten Bomb; Let It Burn; Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis.

Gandhi and the Unspeakable: His Final Experiment with Truth, by James W. Douglass.

Cathleen Falsani 4-01-2012

The lesson for me, as the parent of a middle school child, was to pay closer attention.

Julie Clawson 4-01-2012

What The Hunger Games and the gospels have in common.

Ed Spivey Jr. 4-01-2012

In fact, my knowledge of Brazil is limited to that tall Jesus statue overlooking a city, and the fact people can be naked on the beaches while speaking Portuguese.

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