John Owen

Recent

What I Recalled Watching Netflix

[Television is educational.]   One Saying the same stuff over and over looks like you have different things to say. Two If you’re ever in a below-average film or streaming series, and you beat the tar out of a guy, in a house, and you gaze down in both some shock as also a certain

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Seeking the King

A line everywhere misattributed to Chesterton reads thus: The young man who rings the bell at the brothel is unconsciously looking for God. This line is not from the great [several senses of the word] man who recently celebrated his 150th birthday, but the mid-century most unmodern novelist Bruce Marshall. The words — which do

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He’s the Guy

Those social media posts of ‘this moment in this famous film was totally unscripted!!!’ as if that by itself makes it better miss the point. Moat unscripted material, like most ideas, inventions, ideas, notions, &c … fails — such is the nature of creativity: the best stuff, it is devoutly to be wished, sticks around;

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‘Round Here

Imagine someone, potentially anyone, even you, perhaps, but let us, in any case, say. Yes, you. You pull into the diner – Earl’s, Norm’s, Dinah’s, something like that. A sort-of Googie architecture … but maybe not quite, as if it’d been a little late for the Space Age, and late is the one thing you

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Random

Like A Rolling Stone

A totally unscientific survey — texted my brother-in-law on the other coast — shows [my] fears of the death of the ice cream cone have been at least mildly exaggerated … tho looking, literally, a little topsy-turvy. A’course, I’d not heard anything specific; the reports were only in my head because about nothing from this

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Cursing With God

More battle scenes please Once teaching a high school American Literature class — and let me tell you, once is enough —a student he says, “I don’t understand The Red Badge of Courage.  It’s a war book, but there are hardly any battle scenes.  I don’t get it.” So we did a little Socratic dialogue, and

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Columbo: Why It Matters

This is part two of a two-part post on why, some 45 years later, Columbo still matters. Part one is here. This essay is excerpted from The Columbo Case Files: Season One, found here. Thank you. * I now have the entire collection, all 35 years, nearly 70 episodes in all, and I’ve seen each

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Mad Men: The Imploding Don Draper

It took me the better part of two seasons to realize the story of “Mad Men” was the story of the self-destructing Don Draper. Then again, it took Draper himself at least three. And as the bright and shining lie he’d crafted, arced and crashed at his feet — represented in real time by his

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