Crunch time means devoting an inordinate amount of mental space and physical exertion to “stuff” for a while. One function of the Incarnation, I’ve been thinking, is that we are constantly constantly carrying stuff from one place to another. Take a look around next time you’re out. Guys with plastic bags dangling from their handlebars, kids with backpacks, mothers with strollers, pickup trucks laded with rakes, shovels, trash barrels, all of us hauling bags of groceries into the kitchen after a Trader Joe’s run.


WOMEN’S PRISON MOVIES: Caged (1950) Eleanor Parker, Agnes Moorehead. “She’ll be back.” Don’t miss the scene where butch sadistic prison matron steps out for her Saturday night date, lording it over and leaving the love-starved inmates to twist and turn. Turn the Key Softly (1953), dir. Jack Lee; British drama starring Yvonne Mitchell, Joan Collins (surprise) as a prostitute, Kathleen Harrison and Terence Morgan. Three women from different backgrounds are released from prison over the course of 24 hours each face a struggle to avoid returning to her criminal ways.


His capacity to conjure landscape is alone astounding. Add to that an astonishingly wide-ranging grasp of geography, geology, natural history, cartography, and literature. Throw in the fact that he’s no mere scholar or armchair philosopher: every book is grounded in his willingness to take on the physical hardship of mountain climbing, hiking, camping, sailing, and tramping. But what makes Macfarlane sublime is the aching longing for a lost Eden that sounds like a bass note beneath all his work.


Holiday was no poster child for political correctness. She frequently chose—in fact, sought out—men who abused her physically and emotionally. She was notoriously profligate with money, food, and space, sharing her apartment at times with pimps, prostitutes, addicts. Her fondest wish was to have kids, open a home for orphaned children, and have her own little supper club, maybe 200 seats, where she could feed people and sing.

Instead, she was “existentially correct”….