Friday, April 23, 2010

Meet the NLM Writers: Some of Our Extra-Liturgical Interests

The NLM has always attempted to maintain a fairly tight focus. This is quite intentional and we do not intend to alter this. Indeed, the NLM's very nature is that it is a site which is specifically devoted to the topic of the sacred liturgy and the liturgical arts. That said, while the individuals who write for it are people who have a profound dedication, interest and focus on the sacred liturgy, they are also people who have a broad range of interests outside of this great passion.

Accordingly, as a light Friday evening diversion, I thought it would be of interest to some of our readers to make a rare personal digression, having various of the NLM writers to speak about some of their extra-liturgical interests -- though a couple of our writers weren't available to participate.

(Similarly, it would be interesting to hear from you, our readers, as well, so do feel free to answer some or all of these questions in the comments as well.)

* * *

What are some of your favourite films?

Fr. Thomas Kocik: The Godfather, Goodfellas, Sling Blade, Platoon, A Beautiful Mind, The Red Violin, and A Raisin in the Sun, to name just a few.

Gregor Kollmorgen: Il Gattopardo, Star Wars, and La gloire de mon père.

Jeffrey Tucker: Gladiator and Memento. Other than that, I like just about all 1930s musicals and 1940s film noire.

Shawn Tribe: Dead Poets Society. Hamlet (Mel Gibson). I also enjoy period films generally, and also television adaptations such as Brideshead Revisited (Jeremy Irons), the Sherlock Holmes Mysteries (Jeremy Brett), and Horatio Hornblower. For lighter entertainment, I generally enjoy the science fiction genre and those based on the classic Marvel or DC comic book figures.

Deborah Morlani: Life is Beautiful, Julie and Julia, For Richer or Poorer, The Emperors Club, The Ten Commandments, and The Sound of Music

Matt Alderman: Casablanca, A Man for All Seasons, and anything involving the Marx Brothers. The Indiana Jones films (save the 4th) are also favorites of mine, and I also very much enjoyed Secondhand Lions, with its very good but strangely overlooked performances by Michael Caine and Robert Duvall.

Br. Lawrence Lew: The Name of the Rose, Moulin Rouge, and House of Flying Daggers.

Fr. Augustine Thompson: Jumangi and The Big Bus.

David Clayton: Easy going non-taxing with a happy ending or thrillers. Strictly Ballroom, About the Boy and The Godfather trilogy.

Arlene Oost-Zinner: Classics - Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyk, Max Steiner scores, etc. Fleshed out stories with lots of subtlety, great characters, good writing.

Gregory DiPippo: Holiday - Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, Shakespeare in Love, Fearless.

* * *

What are some of your favourite books or literary genre outside the liturgical sphere?

Fr. Thomas Kocik: Philosophy and theology (all branches). Just finished re-reading Colin McGinn's The Making of a Philosopher: My Journey through Twentieth-century Philosophy. Elegant and absorbing.

Gregor Kollmorgen: Lord of the Rings, Brideshead Revisited, Der Großtyrann und das Gericht and Radetzkymarsch.

Jeffrey Tucker: I can't get enough in the field of economics, but my dream is to read more fiction - all the books I should have read but haven't.

Shawn Tribe: Josef Pieper's, Leisure the Basis of Culture. I generally enjoy books on culture, the university, and philosophy. I like to read any of the literary classics and try to keep in touch with some of the major 20th century modern writers as well. From an illustrated perspective, I also enjoy The Adventures of Tin Tin and Calvin and Hobbes for a very light diversion.

Deborah Morlani: Generally theology, especially apologetics.

Matt Alderman: This is not including more explicitly "religious" though not "liturgical" authors like Chesterton, Lewis, et al., who I also read voraciously, of course. PG Wodehouse - anything involving Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, or Lord Emsworth and his pig. Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. Patrick O'Brian - Aubrey and Maturin novels. Umberto Eco, Foucault's Pendulum (darkly hilarious parody of conspiracy novels in the Dan Brown mode, written long before the current vogue in that regard) and his collection of essays How to Travel with a Salmon. Some Graham Greene work, like Our Man in Havana. I have also been, at various moments, a travel writing junkie, a mystery fiction enthusiast, and occasional dabbler in science fiction.

Br. Lawrence Lew: Historical genre; Catholicism by Henri de Lubac, and Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Fr. Augustine Thompson: Patrick O'Brien, Aubry-Maturin series, Evelyn Waugh's, War Trilogy. Any detective fiction.

David Clayton: Mostly theological and philosophical Catholic books and then Michael Connolly crime thrillers for relaxation.

Arlene Oost-Zinner: Anything by Willa Cather. Dracula; Frankenstein; Laura Ingalls Wilder's Farmer Boy, the least read and most underrated in all of the Little House series. Run and read it now. Do not let your girls think it is a boy's book. It is one of the funniest things I have ever read. And of course Louisa May Alcott's Little Men. I defy anyone not to roll on the floor with laughter at the antics of the naughty kitty mouse. The poetry of John Donne.

Gregory DiPippo: Science fiction within very limited parameters - Tolkien, Lewis, early Terry Pratchett, Susanna Clarke, all of the Harry Potter books, Barry Hughart. Every other novel by Douglas Coupland, starting with Shampoo Planet. Cold Mountain by Charles Frasier (loved the movie too.)

* * *

Favourite musical genres or musicians outside liturgical music?

Fr. Thomas Kocik: Baroque and Classical are at the top, but I also like a good deal of pop/rock, New Wave (early 80s), alternative, electronica, and smooth jazz.

Gregor Kollmorgen: Haydn, Rossini, Keane, Travis.

Jeffrey Tucker: I've played dance and bebop professionally in the past but now it's all about liturgical music. When there's a vast expanse of space and time, it's all about Mahler.

Shawn Tribe: I enjoy certain types of classic and modern Jazz (John Coltrane, Louis Armstrong, etc.), music of the baroque era and chamber music generally. One specific piece I have always enjoyed is Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.

Deborah Morlani: Jazz, though not Jazz which sounds like elevator music. Classical. Shania Twain. I also like some pop music.

Matt Alderman: Opera (particularly Mozart and before), renaissance secular music and a rather limited appreciate of 1960s British folk rock (which is nothing like American folk rock of the period, really).

Br. Lawrence Lew: Andreas Scholl (countertenor), Classical Chinese, Jazz and Swing.

Fr. Augustine Thompson: Gilbert and Sullivan and anything baroque.

David Clayton: Classical before it went atonal, Appalachian oldtime, Bluegrass ( I pick at the banjo occasionally) and 1970s Genesis (from Nursery Cryme to Wind and Wuthering) - a hangover from my school days.

Arlene Oost-Zinner: 1840's German piano repertoire. I like playing music (or studying and singing it) more than I enjoy listening to it. And old musicals with lots of tap dancing.

Gregory DiPippo: New Order, Depeche Mode, J.S. Bach.

* * *

Favourite past-times or hobbies outside the area of the liturgy?

Fr. Thomas Kocik: Movies; reading and writing; dining with friends.

Gregor Kollmorgen: Bicycle tours, excursions and sight-seeing, skiing.

Jeffrey Tucker: I like writing of course but also cooking, baking in particular. It is a fantastic diversion. I also love to learn new software.

Shawn Tribe: I have always enjoyed art, including pursuing my own drawing, painting and photography. I also enjoy being in the countryside enjoying nature. Browsing second-hand book shops also ranks high as a weekend diversion.

Deborah Morlani: I am interested in aspects of the Waldorf philosophy of childhood education, the Amish lifestyle, hiking through the woods, entrepreneurial enterprises and real estate. I am also interested in home design and gardening.

Matt Alderman:I have in the past dabbled in photography, writing fiction and even poetry, and had some (tolerable, though perhaps not spectacular) free-verse poems published here and there, though that was many years ago. I am quite fond of the occasional hike, as well as bicycling. As someone with a professional interest in art and architecture, I enjoy sketching and watercolor when I can find the time, and also have a fondness for old books, having built up a fairly large library of texts on architecture and the fine and decorative arts.

Br. Lawrence Lew: Photography.

Fr. Augustine Thompson: Model railroading, walking and hiking.

David Clayton: Walking in the country.

Arlene Oost-Zinner: Running in the early morning (about 30 miles a week), swimming (must have my chlorine at least every other day), and drinking coffee. Yes, coffee is a past-time.

Gregory DiPippo: Reading, watching movies, travelling to new cities.

* * *

Who are your favourite artists or what are your favourite art styles?

Gregor Kollmorgen: Del Piombo, Veronese, Vermeer, Monet

Jeffrey Tucker: I'm not enough of an expert here but I can hang around in museums and galleries forever, just looking and thinking.

Shawn Tribe: Wide-ranging, including earlier art periods (e.g. Greek/Roman, Celtic and Saxonic, early Christian, and certain Oriental art, especially Japanese); Botticelli is a particular favourite from the Renaissance and I have a general interest in medieval art, especially "carpet pages" from manuscripts and tapestries and sculpture. I also have an interest in the work and theory of various artists and movements of the 20th century avant-garde -- such as Wassily Kandinsky for example.

Deborah Morlani: Still a neophyte in this area, but certainly appreciate art and design.

Matt Alderman: As someone who engages in liturgical illustration part-time, this is probably more work-related than leisure-related, but some favorites are the Roman and Spanish Baroque (particularly Velazquez and Ribera), late Medieval Netherlandish painting (van Eyck, van der Weyden, etc.) are art deco and art nouveau graphic arts, the Arts and Crafts movement, Burne-Jones, Japanese woodblock prints, Tibetan and other East Asian art, and ancient Roman and Egyptian work.

Br. Lawrence Lew: Pre-Raphaelites, Impressionists, Michelangelo

Fr. Augustine Thompson: Byzantine, Cioni Brothers, Orcagna, Sienese and any post-Giotto pre-Renaissance Italian painting,

David Clayton: Fra Angelico, Velasquez, Gregory Kroug in the sacred. Sargent and Turner for profane art.

Arlene Oost-Zinner: Northern/Flemish painting.

Gregory DiPippo: International Gothic, (e.g. Gentile da Fabriano), 15th century Dutch and early Italian Baroque (Guercino, Caravaggio)

* * *

What are your academic or other interests outside the liturgical?

Fr. Thomas Kocik: Theology (in general), philosophy, history and music. My undergraduate degree was in computer science, and while it's been a long time since I've written programming code, I retain an interest in the high-level thinking that that involves (algorithms, data structures, etc.).

Gregor Kollmorgen: History, especially late medieval/early modern, languages.

Jeffrey Tucker: The social sciences intrigue me to no end, and while I love dreaming of stateless societies, I have an aversion to politics.

Shawn Tribe: Astronomy, classical and mediaeval literature, patristics, the philosophy of science, and philosophy generally, including the relationship of faith and reason -- both generally, and as manifested in ecclesiastical history, such as with regard to Galileo -- are of great interest.

Deborah Morlani: Childhood education, apologetics, sacred scripture, medicine and health.

Matt Alderman: Heraldry, graphic arts, typography, geneology, architectural history, military history, the study of chivalric orders, medals and decorations, the history of South America (especially Paraguay), the Hapsburgs, Venice, the Balkans and the Near East, Central Asia, the US Founding Fathers, the history of ballooning, early music, Athanasius Kircher, and discredited scientific theories.

Br. Lawrence Lew: Dogmatic Theology, of course; Aesthetics, and the history and culture of Imperial China

Fr. Augustine Thompson: Medieval Italian history, and the history of canon law.

David Clayton: Art, harmony, proportion, and creativity as taught in traditional art training, but applicable in modern life - for example, business, science.

Arlene Oost-Zinner: I translate from German to English. Interested especially in language structure, differences between German and English syntax and thought patterns, idiomatic usage, etc.

Gregory DiPippo: Politics (specifically, anti-communism and anti-socialism), Latin Patristics and Classics (Augustan poetry and Homer).

* * *

How do you enjoy relaxing?

Fr. Thomas Kocik: Having a martini (vodka or gin) before/with dinner; sipping a scotch, brandy or cognac while reading or watching TV before bed; watching movies; taking leisurely walks; perusing the books and journals in my library while listening to classical music.

Gregor Kollmorgen: Reading, being with friends.

Jeffrey Tucker: Nothing beats kneading dough and making breads come into being. It's makes you feel like you have made a difference in the world.

Shawn Tribe: I enjoy a cream tea (tea with scones, strawberry jam and clotted cream) or a nice glass of wine, port, a hard cider, etc. Pursuing a good book, enjoying a movie at home, or good conversation. Meandering about in secondhand book shops.

Deborah Morlani: In the morning, opening the windows and listening to the birds while reading the news and enjoying a cup of tea. In the evenings, listening to some Jazz, having a glass of red wine or a cafe mocha. Eating a nice dinner with the family in the dining room on a Sunday evening. Watching home and gardening programmes in the evenings.

Matt Alderman: Certainly a good meal among friends is my favorite way to relax (especially Sunday brunch), though taking a long walk in the park in good weather or sitting down and sketching something just for fun can also be a good way to relax as well.

Br. Lawrence Lew: Listening to music, watching movies and DVD's, having coffee with friends.

Fr. Augustine Thompson: A Bombay Sapphire Martini straight up, very cold, olive on the side.

David Clayton: I love conversation and dinner parties. I enjoy watching reruns of Frasier.

Arlene Oost-Zinner: Only two places I can truly relax: in church and at the beach.

Gregory DiPippo: Cooking for or going out to dinner with friends. More of the latter, since it is so easy to do in Rome.

* * *

What is your favourite food or type of food?

Fr. Thomas Kocik: I enjoy all kinds of food, but am partial to Italian (northern and southern) and French. (My ideal lunch: escargot, a Caesar salad, some French bread and red wine.) About ten years ago, I overcame the last food-related psychological hurdle and decided to try sushi; I'm glad I did.

Gregor Kollmorgen: Wiener Schnitzel, Szegediner Gulasch, Cheesecake, Semolina pudding (Grießpudding)

Jeffrey Tucker: Several times per week, I get a hankering for the same thing: sausage with red sauce and pasta.

Shawn Tribe: Italian, Indian, a medium-rare steak off the barbecue. I also enjoy nice cheeses such as a Shropshire Blue, English Stilton, Brie and the like. Monastic fruitcake is also a favourite sweet enjoyment.

Deborah Morlani: Italian food, Indian and most anything barbecued. Caesar salad. Anything chocolate.

Matt Alderman: Paella and other Spanish cuisine, though it's rather hard to get. Good Italian and Cuban cuisine is also a favorite of mine, and while in New York I became rather fond of Thai food.

Br. Lawrence Lew: Italian, good Chinese food, curry.

Fr. Augustine Thompson: Italian, espescially Bolognese.

David Clayton: More is better - struggle to distinguish between quantity and quality.

Arlene Oost-Zinner: Yogurt and Coffee.

Gregory DiPippo: Cannot answer. I like everything except broccoli and cauliflower.


Our Ambrosian contributor Nicola de Grandi also submitted his list!:

1. Favourite films

"The Remains of the day" by James Ivory, "84 Charing Cross Road" by David Jones and "La valle di pietra - Kalkstein" by Maurizio Zaccaro

2. Favourite books or literary genre outside the liturgical

"La Divina Commedia" by Dante Alighieri, "Gerusalemme Liberata" by Torquato Tasso and "Myricae" by Giovanni Pascoli

3. Favourite musical genre or musicians outside liturgical music

Baroque music in general

4. Favourite past-times/hobby outside the area of the liturgy

Collecting prints from the 17th to the 19th century.

5. Favourite artists or art styles

Gentile da Fabriano, Antonello da Messina, Caravaggio

6. Academic or other interests outside the liturgical

Ancient Languages, Roman History and Linguistics.

7. How do you enjoy relaxing?

Walking in the country or in the mountains.

8. Favourite food or type of food?

Italian, of course!

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