Luke Hill is a writer and community organizer in Boston. He blogs at dotCommonweal and MassCommons.
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Pharrell Williams is arguably the most influential producer in the American music industry. He's also a talented and successful singer, rapper, songwriter and musician.
On first listen, his latest hit song, "Happy", is four minutes of pure pop confection---one written for the soundtrack of Universal Pictures' billion-dollar hit movie Despicable Me 2.
The video is a sweet confection too: shots of Pharrell and seemingly random Angelenos lip-synching and dancing around their city to the song. (Because this is Los Angeles, it also includes celebrities like Kelly Osborne, Magic Johnson and Steve Carell. Because there's a movie tie-in, it includes characters from Despicable Me 2.)
But "Happy" is much more than that, because there's "24 Hours of Happy".
"Dream Baby Dream" is a 1977 song by the more-influential-than-successful punk band, Suicide. This new version by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band meets what I've come to think of as the First Rule of Cover Songs: You've got to bring something new to it.
If Pope Francis' words really are causing Cardinal Dolan, billionaire businessman Ken Langone, and others at the heart of the fundraising campaign to restore St. Patrick's Cathedral to lose out on "major gifts" by wealthy would-be benefactors, they can take some measure of comfort from the cathedral's original construction.
In his terrific 1997 book, American Catholic, Charles R. Morris uses the dedication of the still-unfinished cathedral on May 25, 1879 as his starting point for understanding the history of the US Catholic Church.
Israel Houghton’s exuberant “Again I Say Rejoice” seems appropriate for Gaudete Sunday.
It's one thing to hear "The Lord Is Blessing Me Right Now". It's another to see it sung by the Hands of Praise Deaf Choir from Canaan Baptist Church in Flint, MI.
Yesterday, a parade of survivors made their way to the witness stand at the Moakley Federal Courthouse to deliver "victim impact statements" before convicted gangster and long-time fugitive Whitey Bulger is sentenced for crimes committed during his decades-long reign of terror in South Boston.
"With guns of love brought into battle, the nights will burn like never before;
Pride will fall and foundations rattle, when guns of love put an end to war."
The Rev. Dr. Barry Black is a Baltimore native, Seventh-Day Adventist, retired Rear Admiral, former Chief of Chaplains for the US Navy and, since 2003, the first African-American to serve as chaplain to the US Senate.
By opening the Senate in prayer each day, he's one of the few people US senators have to listen to...and to whom they can't talk back.
A trim, erect, dapper and distinguished-looking man, Rev. Black is not happy about this government shutdown.