Flotsam & Jetsam (4/30)

Reading and Its Seasons – “I asked a fellow book-lover whose recommendations always impressed me how she chose her next book.  She said, ‘I follow the trail.  I try to find out what my favorite authors were reading.  I scan bibliographies and footnotes.  I pray and wait.  I ask the people I like what they’re reading.'”

A Cry For Justice – Persis shares her thoughts on a book by Jeff Crippen and Anna Wood.

The Purge (2013) Official Trailer #1 – This could be excellent, but I’m not sure I’m buying the premise (only one night of criminal activity? seriously?). Still, there could be more to the story than the trailer is revealing, so I’ll withhold judgment until I see the film. If they give more attention to the film’s moral and psychological themes than to the body count, it might be a winner.

Manly Character Matters – A stirring testimony to “the enduring power of virtue and character, the world-defying grandeur of fatherhood that kills sin.” Read and be inspired.

Exercise Extreme Care – Amen

Our Babel Moment -“This is our Babel moment, but when the dust settles, the enemies of God will flee in terror, and the city will be given into our hands. And we know this because the city has already been given to our Lord Jesus Christ. It was purchased with His blood.”

Why Baptize Babies? – I like this. A lot.

“Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.” – Chesterton

An Interview with Robert Whitehill, Author of Deadrise

I wrote in January about how much I enjoyed Robert Whitehill’s debut novel, Deadrise. Pirates, buried treasure, stuff that goes boom – what more could a guy want? I had fully intended to feature this interview immediately after my review, but life happened (funny how it does that) and my plans fell by the wayside. Better late than never, though, right?

Mr. Whitehill grew up in the Chesapeake Bay area – where the events in Deadrise take place – and earned his B.A. in creative writing at Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges. He also trained as an actor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, and at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City. His screenwriting has garnered him a number of film festival wins, and he has a feature script currently under option with producer Bill Jarblum (Charley Bartlett, The Little Traitor). Be sure to check out his website at www.robertblakewhitehill.com.

2000105059TIS: Who or what inspired your interest in writing?

RW: My parents inspired me to write. My father wrote award-winning short stories for Ellery Queen and Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction, as well as two novels. My mother is a wonderful poet, a keen editor, and rich correspondent. They showed me what a writer’s life looks like from day to day, morning to night. They also revealed to me the riches of close attention to the written word. They also read aloud to me, and before I could spell, I fell in love with storytelling.

Continue reading An Interview with Robert Whitehill, Author of Deadrise

Content With This One Thing

“Thus it is that we may pass through this life with its misery, hunger, cold, contempt, reproaches, and other troubles – content with this one thing: that our King will never leave us destitute, but will provide for our needs until, our warfare ended, we are called to triumph. Such is the nature of his rule, that he shares with us all that he has received from the Father. Now he arms and equips us with his power, adorns us with his beauty and magnificence, enriches us with his wealth. These benefits, then, give us the most fruitful occasion to glory, and also provide us with confidence to struggle fearlessly against the devil, sin, and death. Finally, clothed in his righteousness, we can valiantly rise above all the world’s reproaches; and just as he himself freely lavishes his gifts upon us, so may we, in return, bring forth fruit to his glory.”

– Calvin, Institutes (p. 499)

Book Review: The Right Stuff

Have you ever read a book where the author was so obviously in love with his subject it just brought a smile to your face? I have. As you turn the pages, you realize that the man behind them doesn’t simply know what he’s talking about it, he loves what he’s talking about. His is no mere cold technical expertise, but a living breathing passion of the “stay up late and talk about it for hours” variety.


Tom Wolfe is an author like that and The Right Stuff is a book like that – an epic account of the birth of America’s manned space program, an enthralling character study of seven exceptional Americans, and an adventure story jam packed with thrills. Aviation buffs will love it, but they’re not the only ones.

And the writing… boy oh boy, the writing. Smashing stuff. Ambitious, cheeky, poignant, learned, and shimmering with enthusiasm. Wolfe resurrects the past so thoroughly, and with such style, it’s intoxicating. Open this book and you’ll swear you’ve stepped into another age: The Space Age.

The book is written from several perspectives, beginning with that of Jane Conrad, a test pilot’s wife, as she grapples with the horrific possibility that her husband has perished in a plane crash. Wolfe then moves on to the legendary Chuck Yeager and his exploits in breaking the sound barrier. The perspective shifts once more as we’re introduced to the seven astronauts of Project Mercury: Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra, Gordon Cooper, and Deke Slayton.

“This book grew out of some ordinary curiosity,” writes Wolfe in the Forward. “What is it, I wondered, that makes a man willing to sit up on top of an enormous Roman candle, such as a Redstone, Atlas, Titan, or Saturn rocket, and wait for someone to light the fuse?”

It is in answering this question – in helping the reader appreciate what drove these pilots and astronauts into the heavens – that his pen shines brightest. You might say he has the right stuff to write about the Right Stuff:

As to just what this ineffable quality was… well, it obviously involved bravery. But it was not bravery in the simple sense of being willing to risk your life… any fool could do that… No, the idea… seemed to be that a man should have the ability to go up in a hurtling piece of machinery and put his hide on the line and then have the moxie, the reflexes, the experience, the coolness, to pull it back in the last yawning moment – and then to go up again the next day, and the next day, and every next day… There was a seemingly infinite series of tests… a dizzy progression of steps and ledges… a pyramid extraordinarily high and steep; and the idea was to prove at every foot of the way up that pyramid that you were one of the elected and anointed ones who had the right stuff and could move higher and higher and even – ultimately, God willing, one day – that you might be able to join that special few at the very top, that elite who had the capacity to bring tears to men’s eyes, the very Brotherhood of the Right Stuff itself.

Flotsam & Jetsam (4/25)

Weeping Or Lost You, American Mouth” or Just Lyrical Nonsense? Pt. 1 – I love this: “Lyrical poetry is now the art of saying nothing beautifully. Relativism beheaded truth and all of us kept singing.”

MovieByte: Oblivion – An encouraging review. I’ve been looking forward to this one for awhile now, and intend see it sometime this weekend. Be sure to read Chad’s review as well.

The Humble Pope – Good words to consider.

Advice for Raising Godly Children – Ten pithy sayings from the impeccable John Witherspoon. I especially love this one: “The best exercise in the world for children is to let them romp and jump about, as soon as they are able, according to their own fancy.”

One Additional Thought on Paedocommunion – A hearty amen to this excellent piece.

A Fixed Given – “Advocates of same-sex mirages point out that homosexuality occurs in the animal kingdom. Sure it does, but so does cannibalism. We need more than monkey see, monkey do. We have to have a personal God who reveals His will – in His Word, and in His world.”

“A wise man ought always to follow the paths beaten by great men, and to imitate those who have been supreme, so that if his ability does not equal theirs, at least it will savour of it.” – Machiavelli