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The Seventh Seal

Looking Back at Bergman's Classic and Questions of Existence

By Jason Kettinger | Mar 09, 2021 at 5:48 PM

I watched this film for the first time on Ash Wednesday. In the context of the present pandemic and its deadly effect on our lives, it is all the more compelling to view this film at this time. Also, as any good Catholic on that day, I was hungry, hoping to kill time until I could eat a hamburger or something. The Black Death served as part of the setting, and even as we are thankful that the present crisis is not of the magnitude as that, it was hard not to notice the existential dread, and to recognize that we are living with it, just as these characters were.

Robin Williams Was an Underrated Actor

By Jason Kettinger | Dec 13, 2020 at 2:38 PM

On the release anniversary of one of my favorite Robin Williams films, I want to revisit that film and two other underappreciated films in his career. These films may have been missed by large portions of the viewing audience and so I commend them to your viewing.

NYT Tracks the President Using Publicly Available Info

By Timothy R. Butler | Dec 20, 2019 at 8:52 PM

Stuart A. Thompson and Charlie Warzel write for the New York Times:

If you own a mobile phone, its every move is logged and tracked by dozens of companies. No one is beyond the reach of this constant digital surveillance. Not even the president of the United States.

The interactive graphic at the top of the article is enough to show just how alarmingly accurate tracking data on cell phones can be. If the president can be tracked this easily, it should be a sober reminder to all of us to care more about electronic privacy.

Start Christmas Sentimentally

By Timothy R. Butler | Nov 29, 2019 at 9:33 PM

A couple of holiday commercials released this week pull all the right levers to make them tear-worthy and, really, almost mini-Christmas specials. If you are looking for a short break from the hustle and bustle this weekend, check out these two instant classics from Comcast and Apple.

The Quiet Liturgy of Mister Rogers

By Timothy R. Butler | Nov 27, 2019 at 5:32 PM

Ryan J. Pemberton writes:

Enter Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. “We had a director who once said to me, ”˜If you take all of the elements that make good television, [and] you do the opposite, you have Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,’” Margaret Whitmer, one of the show’s producers, shares in the 2018 documentary. “Low production value, simple set, unlikely star. Yet, it worked. Because he was saying something really important.”

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood is so counter to almost everything we would say a children’s television program — much less TV in general — “should” be. The resurgence of interest over the course of the last two years via last year’s documentary and this year’s Tom Hanks-starring drama show that we often have a pretty poor sense of what “should” be.

The Procrastinator's Last Minute Gift Guide

By Timothy R. Butler | Dec 24, 2012 at 5:27 PM

So, the time for shopping is quickly coming to an end. Even if you are headed to a Christmas party later in the week, it still may be hard to order something online. Here are some great last minute ideas that you can pick up at many retailers and will not feel very last minute at all.

Federer Asks If We've Forgotten Kinshasa, 1974

By Jason Kettinger | Sep 04, 2012 at 3:25 PM

I'd like my crow steak medium-rare, Roger. The greatest tennis player of all time showed us why when he played at Wimbledon. Quite frankly, Andy Murray never really had a chance. And when he did, he was the one who cracked. Federer had an edginess about him; he dared Murray to play the match of his life, the match of the tournament, really, betting that he couldn't do it. And he was right.

The View from Mudsock Heights: The More Political Scandal Changes, the More It Stays the Same

By Dennis E. Powell | Jul 18, 2012 at 4:12 AM

Time passes so quickly. I’ve had chance once again in recent weeks to be startled by that fact, as I watched history repeat itself and noticed the number of people who weren’t born when it happened the first time.

The View from Mudsock Heights: The Exciting New Flying Car -- Invented in the 1950's

By Dennis E. Powell | Jul 07, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Persons of sufficient age will remember how, 50 or so years ago, we looked forward with excitement to a truly remarkable future. There were from time to time world’s fairs which demonstrated how things would soon be. We couldn’t wait to get there.

Boom and Bust

By Timothy R. Butler | Jul 05, 2012 at 4:32 AM

The night is filled with the pop-pop-pop and occasional, ever satisfying thud of fireworks. For someone who has spent every Fourth of July with a punk in his hand since he was old enough to shoot off fireworks, those sounds seem a bit out of place tonight. None of them were coming from my fireworks.

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