Put another dime in the jukebox, baby

The losses to COVID-19 continue to pile up, now exceeding 43,000 deaths worldwide, and over 4,000 in the United States. I put in a link so that the total can be tracked in real time, but it’s going to be an awfully big number by the time it is all over. Awfully bigger, I shouldContinue reading “Put another dime in the jukebox, baby”

I spent the 80s in purple

Prince died today, at the age of 57. Coming on the heels of the deaths of David Bowie and Glenn Frey already this year, I didn’t think there would be any more meaningful musical deaths for some time. Apparently I was wrong in that belief. This one really left me stunned. The high school I attendedContinue reading “I spent the 80s in purple”

All your strength, all your power, all your love

The Rocky series is my favorite film franchise of all, with Star Wars a distant second. I’m hoping Stallone wins an Oscar tonight for CREED, and that he gives Ryan Coogler some props for revitalizing the franchise in his acceptance speech. We’ll know soon if that’s what comes to pass, but that’s my happy ending.Continue reading “All your strength, all your power, all your love”

Art, Religion, and David Bowie

 This is a tale about art and religion, with some David Bowie added in for good measure. The story begins in a Catholic grammar school during the 1970s and early 1980s. The pastor of my parish was an elderly man who called every boy “Butch” and every girl “Sissy.” The priest’s name will not beContinue reading “Art, Religion, and David Bowie”

2015 is slipping away

Now that Christmas is behind us, there’s just a few days left in 2015. It’s been quite a year, as I suppose is true of every year on the crazy blue marble we call home. Our losses this year included Ernie Banks, Minnie Minoso, Stuart Scott, Dusty Rhodes, Roddy Piper, and lots of people whoContinue reading “2015 is slipping away”

A victory for weirdness

I’m very glad that Birdman won the Oscar for best picture tonight. The director admitted it was a crazy idea, but somehow the film got made. I’ve never seen a movie quite like it, and this award will hopefully inspire more people in the movie business to follow their weird ideas until they make itContinue reading “A victory for weirdness”

Radio Raheem for a new generation

Twenty-five years is a long time. I have many memories of the Summer of 1989, and one of them was going to see a movie that shook me up, Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing.” And apparently, the current president and his then-girlfriend saw the movie too that summer, as evidenced by the film clipContinue reading “Radio Raheem for a new generation”

As fresh as a Foghat concert

I was on my way to work yesterday when, for reasons I’ll likely never understand, one of the greatest movie insults I have heard came to me. It happened in the movie Kingpin, where Woody Harrelson’s character is told that his act is “about as fresh as a Foghat concert.” The implication is that Foghat,Continue reading “As fresh as a Foghat concert”

The best film ever made

Sometimes my daughters ask me questions about what my favorite things are. When they ask about my favorite song, or my favorite book, or my favorite food, I usually give some sort of dodgy, non-committal answer because I like many songs, and many books, and too many types of food, but none really stands outContinue reading “The best film ever made”

Roger and Me

As a college student in the late 1980s, riding the el was an entirely new experience for me. I secretly envied those who hailed from New York, or Chicago, or any place large enough to have a train service in operation. There were a few bus lines in Springfield, Illinois, where I grew up, but nothing remotelyContinue reading “Roger and Me”

Irreverent to the end

What made Harold Ramis and his collaboration with Bill Murray so special was the irreverence that was infused into their films. Whether it was the country club in Caddyshack, the military in Stripes, or the Greek system in Animal House, there was a gulf between those who played by society’s rules, and the heroes ofContinue reading “Irreverent to the end”

He made the movies funny

Everyone in my generation who likes to laugh owes an enormous debt to Harold Ramis. The challenge of putting that debt into words is very daunting, but I’m going to take it on, anyway. When Ramis’s classic work was produced in the late 1970s and early 1980s, I was too young to see them inContinue reading “He made the movies funny”

A eulogy for Brandt

As a member of the Dudeist clergy–the only such group I would ever belong to–I feel a need to say a few words on behalf of Philip Seymour Hoffman, who so brilliantly played the part of Lebowski’s manservant, Brandt. I have been fortunate enough to never get mixed up with heroin. And even though HoffmanContinue reading “A eulogy for Brandt”

A poignant reminder

The movie theater above is the closest one to my house. Cineplex Odeon, the chain that ran it last, hasn’t existed for many years. I could google it to know for sure, but it wouldn’t matter. It’s a relic from another time now. As I stood in the parking lot of this desolate place yesterday,Continue reading “A poignant reminder”

Don’t you forget about me

There’s a Chicago radio station that I don’t much listen to, but they’re having an 80s-themed weekend. I’ve written about 80s music before, because music mattered to me more in that decade than it ever had before, and more than it ever has since. And I doubt I’m the only one who’s like that, either.Continue reading “Don’t you forget about me”

Link to a post on ThroughTheFenceBaseball

Last night I sat down to reflect on the passing of Dennis Farina. I liked his work in the movies and on television, of course, but the fact that he was a life-long Cubs fan is what hit me the most. So I tied his passing to the recent sing-along with Eddie Vedder and ErnieContinue reading “Link to a post on ThroughTheFenceBaseball”

In memory of the 54th Massachusetts

Back in the days when I was still teaching, which was more than a decade ago now, I always made it a point to show the movie Glory to my students. But I never went the route of just putting the tape into the VCR (it wasn’t quite DVDs back then) and pressing play. ThatContinue reading “In memory of the 54th Massachusetts”

Operation Goose: An Introduction

Ten years is long enough. Ten years can sometimes feel like an eternity. And yet, for an event that took place almost a decade ago, the 2003 NLCS still feels close at hand. That’s because we have collectively frozen the moment in time, as if to preserve it somehow. It’s a natural response to somethingContinue reading “Operation Goose: An Introduction”

Just keep truckin’ on

With May now behind us, and June coming into view, there are a couple of significant dates ahead this month. The 11th will be the two-year anniversary of this blog, and the 14th will be my birthday. I’m sure that the proximity between the two is accidental, but I like it, anyway. I never expectedContinue reading “Just keep truckin’ on”

A movie worth looking forward to

When I was teaching many years ago, I would go on and on about Jackie Robinson. One of my favorite quotes is his: “A life is only important for the impact that it has on other people.” And in a few days, we’ll get to see his story told on screen. Last year was AbrahamContinue reading “A movie worth looking forward to”