• Movie review: A leaky “Noah”

    By Jim Tortolano E Pluribus Unum The new Biblical epic “Noah,” starring Russell Crowe as a sword-swinging, hard-faced patriarch who built the famous ark in Genesis, is difficult to categorize. That’s probably as it should be, because director and writer Darren Aronofsky and co-writer Ari Handel had to tread a difficult path. They took the… [Continue Reading]

    Movie review: A leaky “Noah”
  • The crippling effects of overprotecting kids

    By Jim Tortolano  E Pluribus Unum Not all bad parenting comes from abusive parents guzzling cheap beer in a trailer park. A fair amount of it seems to spring from the educated, well-meaning and oh-so-involved fathers and mothers that you see hovering about schools, playgrounds and soccer fields. The trend which began quietly with the… [Continue Reading]

    The crippling effects of overprotecting kids
  • Movie review: “Mr. Peabody and Sherman”

    By Jim Tortolano  E Pluribus Unum Thomas Wolfe said famously, “You can’t home again,” which especially applies to favorite childhood memories. When Dreamworks undertook to make a film version of the antics of Mr. Peabody and Sherman from the celebrated Sixties animated TV series ‘The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show,” the enterprise seemed doomed to disappointment.… [Continue Reading]

    Movie review: “Mr. Peabody and Sherman”
  • The conundrum of Crimea

    By Jim Tortolano  E Pluribus Unum The latest crisis in the Ukraine and Crimea has brought about a lot of chattering and finger-pointing from the professional blaming class. It’s very high-decibel woofing, which is interesting because two weeks ago most Americans couldn’t find Crimea on a map of Crimea. Most of this manufactured anxiety seems… [Continue Reading]

    The conundrum of Crimea
  • Did Beatles change the world? Yeah, yeah, yeah

    By Jim Tortolano  E Pluribus Unum We’re in a frenzy of Beatlenostalgia, which is only fitting considering that so much of the world we live in has been shaped and soundtracked by the four boys from Liverpool. Folks like to make a big deal out of the way that the Beatles affected popular music, and… [Continue Reading]

    Did Beatles change the world? Yeah, yeah, yeah
  • Movie review: A small “Monuments Men”

    By Jim Tortolano  E Pluribus Unum You want to like “The Monuments Men,” the feel-good war story from George Clooney.  Good vs. evil. Americans vs. Nazis. An all-star cast. But “Men” ends up being a mildly-entertaining, sometimes boring movie despite the crinkly smile of Clooney and the non-inconsiderable talents of Matt Damon, John Goodman, Bill… [Continue Reading]

    Movie review: A small “Monuments Men”
  • Movie reviews: A wise “Philomena,” a touching “her”

    By Sarah Cooperman E Pluribus Unum Love not only makes the world go ‘round, it also motivates that part of the film world not focused on blowing things up.  Two films in recent release – “Philomena”  and “her” touch impressively on aspects of that emotion: a mother’s love, and the loneliness for love in today’s… [Continue Reading]

    Movie reviews: A wise “Philomena,” a touching “her”
  • It’s still Christmas, until …

    By Jim Tortolano E Pluribus Unum If you live in most of the United States in this season of the polar vortex, you may think you are trapped in eternal winter.  For those who reside in Minnesota and the Dakotas, it may seem like there are really only two seasons: Winter and Non-Winter. That idea… [Continue Reading]

    It’s still Christmas, until …

Media & Books

Sarah Palin, harbinger of disaster?

Liberal literary paranoia in “Nation.”

By Jim Tortolano, E Pluribus Unum “Christian Nation,” a cautionary novel by Frederic Rich about the possible consequences of triumph by far-right … [Read More...]

Royal Irish Rifles in the trenches during World War I.

Book review: “Catastrophe: 1914″

By Jim Tortolano/E Pluribus Unum Of all the great conflicts in the last 100 years or so, the one that seems the most pointless and heartbreaking is … [Read More...]

758px-Lyndon_B._Johnson_taking_the_oath_of_office,_November_1963

What if JFK had lived?

I was sitting in a fifth grade classroom when the principal’s voice came over the loudspeaker.  President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. He … [Read More...]

Politics

The Crimean War of 1853-56 cost over 700,000 lives.

The conundrum of Crimea

By Jim Tortolano  E Pluribus Unum The latest crisis in the Ukraine and Crimea has brought about a lot of chattering and finger-pointing from the professional blaming class. It’s very high-decibel woofing, which is interesting because two weeks ago most Americans couldn’t find Crimea on a map of Crimea. Most of this manufactured anxiety seems […]

Is Scrooge (from "Disney's A Christmas Carol") a typical capitalist?

And now a word in favor of capitalism …

By Jim Tortolano, E Pluribus Unum ‘Tis a rough time of the year to be a capitalist.  First the Pope takes a broad swipe at the practice of free enterprise in the world today, and now, of course, the constant repetition of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” which paints a successful businessman as the embodiment […]

A smokestack in Detroit.

Breathe easy, and don’t mind the raccoons

By Jim Tortolano, E Pluribus Unum A raccoon walked into our house. Brazenly strolled through the open casement doors one morning and looked around like he was a potential buyer. Then, he strolled back out. That might not seem like a big deal if you live in the back country, someplace rural and rustic, but […]

Culture

Is dodgeball a mean, violent sport unfit for kids?

The crippling effects of overprotecting kids

By Jim Tortolano  E Pluribus Unum Not all bad parenting comes from abusive parents guzzling cheap beer in a trailer park. A fair amount of it seems … [Read More...]

The Beatles arrive in America, February 2012.

Did Beatles change the world? Yeah, yeah, yeah

By Jim Tortolano  E Pluribus Unum We’re in a frenzy of Beatlenostalgia, which is only fitting considering that so much of the world we live in has … [Read More...]

The final four for the 2014 Super Bowl.

It’s still Christmas, until …

By Jim Tortolano E Pluribus Unum If you live in most of the United States in this season of the polar vortex, you may think you are trapped in … [Read More...]