The crippling effects of overprotecting kids

Is dodgeball a mean, violent sport unfit for 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 […]

Did Beatles change the world? Yeah, yeah, yeah

The Beatles arrive in America, February 2012.

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 […]

It’s still Christmas, until …

The final four for the 2014 Super Bowl.

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 […]

Movie review: “American Hustle” depresses

Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence in "American Hustle."

By Pete Zarustica, E Pluribus Unum If you don’t believe in heroes, “American Hustle” is the movie for you. In this comedy-drama set in the late Seventies and early Eighties, everyone is on the make from crooks to government agents to elected officials. It’s technically proficient, but downright depressing. David Russell directs this story about […]

Movie review: “The Wolf” runs well, but too long

Leo DiCaprio stars in "The Wolf of Wall Street."

By Sarah Cooperman, E Pluribus Unum Ever go to a really good play, party or concert and at some point think to yourself, “This thing is starting to drag.” That’s the sensation I got when watching Martin Scorsese’s latest epic, “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Based on the book by Jordan Belfort, the original “wolf,” […]

Movie review: A ground-floor view in “Saving Mr. Banks”

Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson in "Saving Mr. Banks."

By Sarah Cooperman, E Pluribus Unum Like most young girls growing up in America (or for that matter, anywhere in the Western World), I thrilled to the adventures of women in the world of Disney.  While the heroines were not always all that heroic, it was difficult to resist the temptation of imagining yourself a […]

And now a word in favor of capitalism …

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

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 […]

Movie review: “Catching Fire”

Stanley Tucci and Jennifer Lawrence in "Hunger Games: Catching Fire."

By Sarah Cooperman E Pluribus Unum For too many years, the narrow portfolio of female action heroes was limited to stars like Angelina Jolie, who had to fight in tight tank tops and short-short-shorts. While Jolie is not a bad actress, she was often cast in roles in which her spectacular, uh, assets were best […]

Movie review: “The Book Thief”

Geoffrey Rush and Sophie Nelisse in "The Book Thief."

By Sarah Cooperman/E Pluribus Unum Just before the deluge of “holiday blockbusters” composed of dumb sequels and kid’s books, comes a trickle of intelligent, thoughtful movies that will no doubt get squashed at the box office. “The Book Thief” is one such film. Adapted from the novel by Markus Zusak, it tells the story of […]

Obamacare’s “Mickey Mouse” rollout

Walt Disney shows plans for Disneyland to Orange County officials in 1954.

By Jim Tortolano/E Pluribus Unum A charismatic leader overreaches, or seems to.  His biggest accomplishment starts disastrously.  Poor planning, a fistful of first-day glitches and disappointed customers.  Media criticism, finger-pointing and near-panic. Sounds an awful lot like a description of the bumpy rollout of “Obamacare,” as one portion of the Affordable Care Act is popularly […]

Should you be a veteran?

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By Jim Tortolano/E Pluribus Unum Are you a veteran? Should you be? Monday is Veteran’s Day, an observance that began after World War I as Armistice Day.  It is an event featuring remembrance of Americans who served in the armed forces in our many wars, with speeches, flags and ceremonies. But the number and percentage […]

What’s really scary this Halloween week

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By Jim Tortolano E Pluribus Unum It’s a doubly scary week. Not only is it Halloween on Thursday, we are now steeped in a culture wherein monsters and terrors are all the rage. Books, movies and TV series celebrate the shivery appeal of vampires, werewolves, zombies and such.  Who you gonna call? After I passed […]

Pope Francis Re-Opens the Doors

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It’s been said that the largest single religious denomination in the United States is “lapsed” Catholics.