A 30 second review of Inside Out

“Inside Out,” Pixar’s newest way to fleece parents of a buck, is brilliant and everyone should see it–even people who think a movie about emotions and core memories is a bunch of psychobabble.

There you have it, the only 30 second review you will ever need for “Inside Out.”

inside outTrust. It’s kind of like when you read Suess’s “Oh the Places You’ll Go.” You thought you were wading in some unexpectedly deep waters of truth. You’ll get that feeling again, times forty five.

I will add that one of my favorite parts (no spoilers) is when Bing Bong, an imaginary friend from a girlhood of yore, is riding the Train of Thought and accidentally spills chips that represent facts and opinions. In case you are a robot hard-wired to not experience the blurring of what feels like actual fact and what might be merely an opinion, this moment was a thrill. Because everyone concedes “These facts and opinions look so similar!” I felt so vindicated, having lived with a therapist for ten years. See? SEE! Sometimes they get mixed up, even for animated Pixar people feelings figures, too!

P.S. And yes I do have my next outfit picked out for the costume party.


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What #ALLinCLE means to me

I’ve been digging deep trying to figure out why this NBA championship means so much to me, why every floor seat of my heart seems sold out to the Cavs. It’s an odd condition, this late b-ball season fever. Especially now, when I’ve lived the better part of my life away from Cleveland, Ohio. My reason is, superficially, one that many who grew up in Cleveland share–few of us have ever seen a pro sports championship for our hometown in our lifetimes. But I think this particular championship speaks to a larger narrative, the bigger story that kids from the rust belt know well. When you grow up in a place (think: Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh) where the industry has been steadily leaving since WWII, where the white flight epidemic has been dismantling the rich cultural vestiges of a city, where the uniform offered to the majority of black men is an orange jumpsuit or a suit for his funeral, the hope that Lebron James has offered to Cleveland is a hope of a certain resurrection. His story, the son of a single mother who was given a remarkable athletic gift, inspires us to remember not to buy the lie. The lie that steel was our only export when we know that we manufacture more heart, more resilience on any given day as gritty Mid-westerners than Steph Curry pops out his mouthguard. The lie that bombed-out neighborhoods preyed upon by subprime lenders cannot recover when we know our incredible power to hold Wall Street accountable and to do right by our neighbors. The lie that young people are all bound for destruction, corruption, or death when we know that Gina deJesus, Amanda Berry, and Michelle Knight survived the worst kind of evil and haven’t moved elsewhere–they’ve remained in the city that loved them and will continue to honor their matchless courage. No man or woman, not Lebron James, not Amanda Berry, not Moses Cleveland (the guy who “invented Cleveland”), can single-handedly lay claim to the renaissance of a city or its industries. It is by our hope — an illogical, irrational, indefatiguable hope–by which we will be known.


It hurt when Lebron James made his Decision to “take his talents to Miami.” At the time, it seemed like an impossibly arrogant statement. (The man never runs the risk of being humble.) In retrospect, I hear the echo of a different chorus, though. He may have taken his talents to Florida, but he stored his beating heart in the Ohio that raised him, a state whose monicker was once “the heart of it all.” To me, “All in CLE” is more than a clever hashtag that will earmark a certain set of games in history. It’s not just the condition that we fans are “all completely invested.” It’s that we all, we in every zipcode and every exurb and every far-removed pocket from Cleveland, are actually all IN Cleveland. Because that is where our hearts live and from where our exhaustless hope derives.


Back to Believeland Tuesday. I’ll hear you there.

Photos by Fr. Patrick Anderson

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When your kids’ jam is not your jam

Our girl has been singing Dynamite all day. When she is not singing that Taio Cruz song using all the wrong lyrics except for a strong repetition of Dynamite/AY-O/Let Go, she is humming it. Or whistling it. There is only one person who enjoys whistling and it is the person whistling.

Everyone else is:


Pow-pow with that Dynamite. It was really proud-making, hauling my kids en route to Vacation Bible School this morning where they would spend the morning with throngs of children named Josiah and Jedediah and Jeremiah, all rocking their VBS camp shirts, eating little campfire-themed snacks and doing mini-campsite lantern crafts, singing around the proverbial campfire at the top of their lungs, “God’s love is like an ocean!”, while, in preparation, my kids were belting out:

Death Disco at the Arches, Glasgow // October 2011

We gon’ rock this club,
We gon’ go all night,
We gon’ light it up,
Like it’s dynamite!

I think it set just the right tone.

By dinner, Baby Girl was still doing her best rendering of Dynamite and, oddly, I was experiencing a similar set of explosives igniting in my frontal lobe. I usually have no problem in asking my children to cease doing the annoying thing, but the girl was just beyond. She didn’t even realize she was singing it on loop, muttering unconsciously. Finally, as I stared across the table, I was trying to piece together a diversion from her club-thumping rhythms, when Little Man had just the right words.

He said, “Sis, do you have another jam?”

I wanted to smother-hug him and cover him with thousands of kisses. How sweet and polite is he? And also, how hip, to just ask little miss pop songstress if she had another track in her rotation.

Then, I realized. He was wondering if she literally had another jam.


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