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For All the Saints

By Andy WhitmanNovember 2, 2011

When I was growing up in the Catholic Church, November 1st was a Holy Day. All Saints Day, they called it. Aside from the obligatory Mass I attended, it was a day to stop, to take time out of our busy lives to remember, to pray for, and to be thankful for all the saints…

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A Bluegrass Wake

By Andy WhitmanOctober 18, 2011

My sister died on a day when I was in Nashville. She went to be home, and I was five hundred miles from home, and another two thousand miles from my sister. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. A one-to-three-months-to-live death sentence wasn’t supposed to only last two weeks, and vacations—taken in part as…

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The Four-Day Layover

By Andy WhitmanSeptember 27, 2011

I am between flights. It’s a four-day wait in this case, and I can spend it at home, so it probably doesn’t constitute a proper layover. But it feels like a layover, and I have a difficult time concentrating on anything but my connecting flight, the one that will unite me with my sister. I’m…

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By Andy WhitmanSeptember 8, 2011

For the third time this week I’ve encountered someone who wants to talk about music. And I’m delighted. I love to talk about music. He’s just found out that I write about music for one of my paychecks, and he’s eager to engage in a spirited conversation. “So,” he says, “do you think there’s ever…

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The 27 Club

By Andy WhitmanAugust 2, 2011

When I heard about the death of pop singer Amy Winehouse, age 27, I immediately had two reactions. The first was great sadness. You can see the train wreck coming, but that doesn’t make the resulting smashup any less tragic or senseless. It is always sobering to witness great talent and the waste of great…

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Starbucks and the Liberal Arts Major

By Andy WhitmanJuly 12, 2011

My wife and I have seven college degrees between us. We share more layoffs than that. All those degrees, minus the dubious M.B.A. I earned a few years back, are in liberal arts fields. This may also help to explain those layoffs, although I suppose that sheer workplace incompetence can never be ruled out entirely.…

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Acedia, Philip Marlowe, and Me

By Andy WhitmanJune 17, 2011

In IT terms, I am an asynchronous reader. I frequently read two or three books simultaneously, and that can sometimes lead to strange juxtapositions. I’m currently reading Kathleen Norris’s Acedia and Me and Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep. It’s the monastic tradition and seedy L.A. detective grit. And it’s creating some fairly bizarre cognitive dissonance…

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Letting it Rip

By Andy WhitmanMay 23, 2011

There is no more divisive topic in Christendom than the music we employ to worship the creator of the universe. We may co-exist in uneasy unity in the midst of our differing views of the Eucharist, or baptism, or Rob Bell, but nothing predicts a surefire church schism more accurately than a preening church organist…

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Battle of the Bands

By Andy WhitmanFebruary 10, 2011

Back when garage bands actually used to practice in garages, my local swimming pool sponsored Battle of the Bands nights. Sixteen-year-old boys with hair hanging down in their eyes used to flail away on their guitars, spurred on by visions of appearing on Shindig or American Bandstand, or, failing that, winning the adulation of a…

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Walking to Nowhere

By Andy WhitmanNovember 29, 2010

I don’t know who came up with the idea; probably some urban hipster. Figure out those goods and services you need to survive, ditch your car, and then see how far you have to walk to arrive at those places that meet your basic needs. Put it all together, divide by the unsquare root of…

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