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Movie Review: In The Heights Chases Nostalgia

In the Heights, the musical by Hamilton’s Lin Manuel Miranda, is bringing people back to the movie theater after the covid slump with its exciting music and dancing. If you haven’t already, I would suggest you join the fun and go see the movie. Do so before reading this review as it does contain spoilers.

Book Review: Riding to America’s Rescue

If you want to read a series of comic novels that celebrate America—the old, pre-woke America—and that skewer the insanities of modern liberalism at the same time, you could do a lot worse than The Custer of the West series by H. W. Crocker III, the second installment of which is Armstrong Rides Again!

A Bonfire of Reason

A third of the way into Tom Wolfe’s classic novel of the 1980’s, The Bonfire of the Vanities, a darkly comedic scene unfolds around Assistant District Attorney Larry Kramer shortly after he starts investigating the case of Henry Lamb, a teenager who was the apparent victim of a hit-and-run.

What Remains of The Remains of the Day?

I can see myself, standing in a local video rental store, circa 1995, holding a hard plastic covered copy of  and thinking, “How badly do I want to see this movie?”

Real Coffee with Scott Adams: A Review

Nothing about Scott Adams’ daily news and analysis show, Real Coffee with Scott Adams, should work.

Not especially telegenic (said the pot to the kettle), Adams would blend right in at an Upper Midwest accountant’s convention. His lilting voice – something he lost for a number of years – isn’t remarkable, and he is incapable of pronouncing some names. His show features no production value or set design to speak of. Bare wooden home office shelves adorned only with copies of his books form his backdrop.

And yet, once you start listening, it’s hard to stop.

Ken Burns Presents Hemingway as Bull

PBS offered a three part series last week that my husband recorded so that we could sit in bed each night hoping to learn more about Hemingway’s freshwater fishing exploits in Michigan, now that we are living only minutes away from those very same Holy Waters.

After we put the four kiddos to bed, he poured us a glass of Oban Little Bay Scotch (less peat and therefore more to my liking). We got comfy in a mess of bedding and pillows with our two German hunting dogs piled on top like a sundae. We simply don’t have much time to watch TV together and are almost never interested in the same programs. But, “Hemingway,” a new PBS documentary by Ken Burns, was something we had both been anticipating for months.

Book Review: Disarmingly Great

According to Publishers Weekly, somewhere between 1.5 million and 18 quadrillion books are self-published every year. Technology (read: Amazon) has so lowered the publishing bar that anyone with some spare time and a Pinot-fueled hallucination can see their book listed for sale within a day or two. I’ve sampled my fair share. My Kindle library is littered with self-published stories sold at a steep discount – or free – as authors fight for eyeballs and struggle to make a name for themselves.

The overwhelming majority of these are either awful (but not in a satisfying Showgirls way) or forgettable (but not in a compelling Clive Cussler way). If I finish one, it’s out of curiosity and not the result of a compelling narrative. And I never, ever find myself thinking about one of these novels over a year later.

Enter Disarming.

A Faith-Drenched View of the South

American Masters’ Flannery O’Connor documentary sheds light on the Georgia author’s unique view of life.

Growing up on the outskirts of metro Atlanta, the city of Milledgeville was the punch line to jokes for a long time. For many years, the Central State Hospital was probably Milledgeville’s claim to fame (even though the town was the state capitol before Atlanta was), and the line was that if you were crazy enough, someone would take you to Milledgeville.

The funny thing is that Milledgeville has so much more going for it than a mental institution. It’s a college town, with Georgia College & State University responsible for much of the town’s social life, and one of Georgia’s greatest writers called it home.

I’ve cherished Flannery O’Connor’s work for decades, and her name even made its way into my book (which will soon see new life) back in 2015. Her short stories, novels, letters, and published prayer journals have gripped me for their Southernness as well as her emphasis on faith, though her Catholic upbringing and my Christian Church/non-denominational background give us different approaches to Christianity.

Why Bridgerton Is the Most Subversive Show on Television

This review contains spoilers for Bridgerton Season 1

I wasn’t looking forward to watching Bridgerton, a new Netflix series which debuted on Christmas Day last year. I hadn’t read the novels – the show is based on Julia Quinn’s eponymous series – and was not familiar with Executive Producer Shonda Rhimes, who signed a $100 million contract with Netflix in 2017, even though everybody on the planet knows her work.

However, even if I had I been exposed to either of those things, I still wouldn’t have cared. There is no shortage of stories about priviledged British royals and their straphangers, and after a while the characters and plot lines all tend to blend together in my head. For me to want to be invested, I have to know I’m going to see something unique.

Downton Abbey accomplished this by focusing on the straphangers as much as the royals. That was interesting, and the entire series held my attention.

Bridgerton held my attention in perhaps the most subversive way possible in this day and age.

NEW BOOK REVIEW: Not Okay, Boomer

Helen Andrews displays the Baby Boomers’ failures for the world to see.

For years I’ve lamented the Baby Boomers’ hold on politics and culture. I was arguing for my generation – Generation X – to have a shot at the presidency before the 2012 election, and it’s easy to look back at the last five presidential terms to see what Baby Boomers in power have given us.

The Boomers have also given us the sexual revolution, rebellion for its own sake, and declining church attendance and religious adherence. The “do what makes you happy” ethos of the Boomer generation has led to countless ruined lives in the pursuit of selfishness.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t want to paint all Boomers with too broad a brush. My mom is a Baby Boomer who didn’t fall into the trap that Boomers in power seemed to (I just found out that my late father doesn’t qualify as a Boomer because he was born one year too early), and I have plenty of family members and friends who seem to have their heads on straight.

For years, the Baby Boom generation was the most idealistic group of people. Think of the hippies and the earnest middle-aged politicians who sought to transform the world. Did they? Yes, but not in ways that you’d think.

Writer Helen Andrews eviscerates the liberal Boomers in her new book Boomers: The Men and Women Who Promised Freedom and Delivered Disaster. It’s a quick read – or listen, in my case, since I bought the Audible edition. Andrews takes the tack of Lytton Strachey’s Eminent Victorians and profiled a set of prominent Boomers to peek into the legacy that this generation left on the world.

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