Monthly Archives: December 2011

The Mechanical Magic of the Movies

Martin Scorcese’s “Hugo” pays homage to fantasist Georges Méliès and the history of the movies.

Posted in Hugo (film) | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Time, You Old Gypsy, Will You Not Stay?

Poet Ralph Hodgson compares time to a caravan that will not stop for us.

Posted in Hodgson (Ralph) | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Quiz: Identify These Famous Figures

Two wonderfully light poems give readers a chance to test their knowledge of cultural history.

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Velvet Shoes, Walking in Snow

“We shall walk in velvet shoes,” writes poet Elinor Wylie, describing the experience of walking in snow.

Posted in Wylie (Elinor) | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

The Brainiest Detective and the Brain

How well did Sherlock Holmes anticipate future studies of the brain? Not very well.

Posted in Doyle (Arthur Conan) | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Holly & Ivy Dance to the Music of the Moon

A Scott Bates version of the “Holly and Ivy” carol shows how multiple religious traditions blend seamlessly in Christmas rituals.

Posted in Bates (Scott) | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Braveheart Is NOT a Christmas Movie

GOP members of the House were citing “Braveheart” in their recent battle with the Senate, but “It’s a Wonderful Life” is the movie we should be talking about at this time of year.

Posted in Braveheart (film), It's a Wonderful Life (film), Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Dickens Helped Shape Our Christmas

Charles Dickens helped solidify the idea of Christmas in the minds of 19th century England by his descriptions in “The Pickwick Papers.”

Posted in Dickens (Charles) | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Night before Christmas on the Moon

Scott Bates’s “The Night before Christmas on the Moon” delightfully sets Clement Moore’s beloved poem in a lunar landscape.

Posted in Bates (Scott) | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

College on a Boat

The Sea Voyager, temporary home to St. Mary’s students after we were hit with a bad mold problem, left campus on Sunday, bringing to mind an Alfred, Lord Tennyson poem.

Posted in Tennyson (Alfred Lord) | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Hitchens: A Life Lived in Literature

Even in his final days, Christopher Hitchens was having active discussions about novels, poems and plays. He understood how much was at stake in literature.

Posted in Hitchens (Christopher) | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Mary’s Irrational Decision to Have Jesus

As Madeleine L’Engle writes, “Had Mary been filled with reason/There’d been no room for the child.”

Posted in L'Engle (Madeleine) | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Christmas Life in the Face of Death

Comparing the Japanese film “Departures” with “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” give special insight into the meaning of Christmas.

Posted in Departures (film), Sir Gawain Poet | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

If Jane Austen Used Facebook . . .

To update Jane Austen, my class took eight of her characters from “Sense and Sensibility” and put them in Facebook conversation with each other.

Posted in Austen (Jane) | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Deficit Plan: No Food Stamps for the Rich

The “New Yorker’s” Hendrik Herzberg has a perfect Anatole France quotation for Republican plans to pay for extending the payroll tax exemption.

Posted in France (Anatole) | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Healing Power of Talking about Race

Race, as we learned from watching a play based on student experiences with the subject, is more painful when we avoid it than we we confront it head-on.

Posted in Jennings (Caleen Sinnette) | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Move with the Wind, Sleep under the Snow

Here’s a non-Christmas tree poem by Scott Bates for friends of the environment.

Posted in Bates (Scott) | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Reaching Out for the Anchoring Pole

In “Vineyard Stories” poet Anne Higgins combines three of Jesus’s parables to imagine a vineyard where all can come and feast.

Posted in Bible, Higgins (Anne) | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Harpo Marx, Unbridled Id

It stands to reason the beat author Jack Kerouac would be a fan of Harpo Marx’s anarchistic energies.

Posted in Kerouac (Jack), Night at the Opera (film) | 3 Comments

The Presidential Candidates in Wonderland

Should we dismiss all the rhetoric coming from the Republican presidential candidates as the gryphon in “Alice in Wonderland” dismisses the “off with their heads” commands of the Queen of Hearts?

Posted in Carroll (Lewis), Eliot (T.S.) | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Steinbeck Makes Microeconomics Real

Economics teacher Steve Ziliak uses Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath” to teach the human side of microeconomics.

Posted in Steinbeck (John), Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Grapes of Wrath Fermenting in Alabama

Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” allows us to see some of the dynamics that the tough new anti-immigration law in Alabama has set into play.

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Gingrich Auditions for a Dickens Villain

Newt Gingrich’s proposal that poor children be allowed to serve as janitors in their schools calls for a Dickensian response.

Posted in Dickens (Charles) | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

The Rest between Two Notes

A Rilke poem captures the spirit of Advent when he describes his life as “the rest between two notes.”

Posted in Rilke (Rainer Maria) | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Marilyn Monroe Died for Our Sins

Ernesto Cardenal poem “Prayer for Marilyn Monroe” sees the actress sacrificed on the altar of our own longings.

Posted in Cardenal (Ernesto) | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

A Poem for Those Feeling Dragged Down

In “The Fascination of What’s Difficult,” William Butler Yeats gives us a poem that will help get us through end-of-the-year workplace fatigue.

Posted in Yeats (William Butler) | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

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