Live long and prosper
In recent years, we have taken to occasionally diverging from this space’s primary purpose – heaping scorn and mockery onto the foibles and misdeeds of the rich and/or famous – so that we might celebrate the lives of certain beloved celebrities who have passed away.
Hell is many things to many people. For centuries, writers have been using their notions of Hell as settings to tell their tales. Works such as “Inferno” from Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy” or John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” illustrate the far-flung ancestry of literature’s introspective (and occasionally illicit) affair with Hell.
Modern authors often choose to represent Hell not as a place of fire and brimstone and screams of torment, but rather as enormous bureaucratic machines embodying a vast absence of meaning. In these reimagined Hells, the suffering of the damned is not called forth through physical methods, but rather more existential ones.
There’s no disputing the relative harshness of this winter. We’ve seen roughly 10 feet of snow and we’ve just said goodbye to a February that is the coldest month on record for the City of Bangor. It has been a rough road for a lot of us – a road whose end might finally be in sight. But this winter also resulted in a revelation for me, a revelation that I might never have had without the extreme nature of this particular season.
You see, I have some phenomenal neighbors. One in particular warrants mentioning.
Remember when Will Smith was a movie star?
One might argue that he remains a movie star, but the truth is that since 2008, Smith has appeared in just a handful of movies. That list includes a cameo in “Anchorman 2” and an extended cameo in the execrable “Winter’s Tale.” Other than that, there was a phoned-in return to the “Men in Black” franchise and the well-documented nepotistic cautionary tale that was “After Earth.”
STAMFORD, Conn. - A man who was unhappy with his haircut faces criminal charges after police say he became enraged and threw items around a Connecticut salon.
Ice Ice Burglary
One of the weirdly endearing side effects of our cultural obsession with reality television is that is has offered opportunities for the once-famous to cash in on the last tattered vestiges of their celebrity in order to reinvent themselves. Fallen stars can carve out a nice niche for themselves, be it through competition shows or dating shows or home life shows. It’s a dual opportunity, allowing people to not only put food on the table, but also pretend that they are still somehow relevant.
Jonathan Lethem has long been gleefully subverting the tropes of genre fiction and using them to amplify the impact of his own writing. His expert folding of the weird into the everyday makes his work a reading experience like no other.
His latest story collection is “Lucky Alan: And Other Stories” (Doubleday; $24.95) – an assemblage that duly captures the anarchic spirit of Lethem’s work. While these nine stories aren’t perfect, their imperfections are a very real part of the book’s overarching success. The variation from piece to piece comes not in terms of quality – excellence is definitely the watchword - but rather in terms of style, voice and/or choice. There’s a wonderful disparity – these tales are tied together despite often presenting themselves in wildly different ways.
‘101 Baseball Places to See Before You Strike Out’
In a nation as sports-crazed as ours, it’s no surprise that the respective histories of our games have become well-chronicled. However, there is little doubt that baseball is the sport whose history is held in highest regard by its fans. The game has been around for so long that it has become sweetly tangled into the fabric of our country, its influences leading to institutions large and small devoted to the sport’s past and present alike.
‘McFarland, USA’ a sweet, serviceable sports movie
I’ve made no secret over the years that I am a sucker for inspirational sports movies. Give me underdogs overcoming insurmountable odds to achieve victory – victory not just over the competition, but over their own personal obstacles. Pile on the clichés; there is no genre of which I am more forgiving.
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