A Man Called Peter

man called peterI didn’t know what to expect when I started watching A Man Called Peter (1955). It turns out it’s a biopic about Peter Marshall showing his life from the seminary. Of Scotch descent, Marshall (played by Richard Todd, whom I’ve never seen before) comes to America for seminary and by dint of his riveting oratory, becomes a popular preacher in Atlanta, New York and then Washington, DC. He preaches real deal Christianity, which is hard to take, especially for some a rich society lady who donates a lot of money Marshall’s unapologetic about his bold ministry but the main theme isn’t rebellion so eventually the movie doesn’t dwell on that conflict.

We see a minister who’s a whirlwind, so energetic it’s exhausting to watch. His wife was captivated by his charisma but soon he wears her out. It’s not that they divorce, but she does get ill and I don’t know how I’d deal with someone who’s constantly in motion. She does manage though.

In Washington, DC Marshall is named chaplain of the U.S. Senate and I loved watching him challenge the powerful. It was a shame that his life was cut short. That came as a complete surprise, but you can’t rewrite biography to suit your wishes.

The film would mainly interest Christians as Marshall’s pretty earnest. He’s very dynamic, but doesn’t go through any periods of doubt or dark night of the soul, which I think many modern viewers expect in their cinematic (or televised) clergy.

About these ads

Preparing for Halloween


At least the merchants are preparing for Halloween. It’s not celebrated in a big way, but it interests some folks.


Poem of the Week

The Students

by Mark Halliday

The students eat something and then watch the news,
a little, then go to sleep. When morning breaks in
they find they have not forgotten all: they recall
the speckle of words on certain pages of
the chapter assigned, a phrase of strange weight
from a chapter that was not assigned, and something
said almost flippantly by a classmate on the Green
which put much of the 18th century into perspective.
Noticing themselves at the sink they are aware
the hands they wash are the “same” hands
as in high school—though the face is different.
Arriving in the breakfast hall having hardly felt
the transit, they set down their trays on one table;
presently, glance at another corner of the space:
that was where we mostly sat two years ago,
that was where Gerry said what he said
about circles, the concept of, and Leonardo da Vinci.

Travel Theme: Broken

Broken Buddha

Broken Buddha

Near Datong

Near Datong

Longmen Grottoes

Longmen Grottoes

Each week Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack? challenges bloggers with a creative word. This week we’re to post photos inspired by “Broken.” That took me in a few directions as we’re invited by advertisement, friends, temptations, and commerce. I hit a few of these possibilities with the photos above.

What do you find inviting? If you want to join the fun, follow these steps:

  • Create your own post and title it Travel theme: Inviting
  • Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
  • Get your post in by next Thursday, as the new travel theme comes out on Friday
  • Don’t forget to subscribe to keep up to date on the latest weekly travel themes. Sign up via the email subscription link in the sidebar or RSS!

Check out Where’s My Backpack for more photos interpreting “Broken.”


His Family

Ernest Poole, author of The Harbor and Giants Gone was the first novelist to win the Pulitzer Prize and he won it for His Family. In His Family, Roger Gale tries to live out his promise to his dying wife to keep his daughters together, to really know each one. Each young woman is distinct and unless they were sisters they’d never cross paths. Set in New York around the time of WWI, the novel follows Gale and his three daughters through a tumultuous era. Deborah throws herself into her work as principal for a tenement school. Edith obsesses over being the perfect mother making sure her children have the perfect childhood and Laura flits about as a “modern woman,” which by her definition means being a fashion plate who dances a lot.

Roger owns a clipping service, not the usual business featured in novels. His perspective of his daughters and life in this era was perceptive and genuine. He cares and yet feels unable to influence or understand his daughters. Life hands them surprises and tragedy, catching everyone off guard. Roger is as shaped by his daughters, particularly Deborah, as they are by him.

Here are a few favorite quotations:

“He saw each of his daughters, part of himself. And he remembered what Judith had said: ‘You will live on in our children’s lives.’ And he began to get glimmerings of a new immortality, made up of generations, an endless succession of other lives extending into the future.”

“Queer, how a man can neglect his children, as I have done … when the thing he wants most in life is to see each one …happy.”

“He had thought of childhood as something intimate and pure, inside his home, his family. Instead of that, in Deborah’s school he had been disturbed and thrilled by the presence all around him of something wild, barbaric, dark, compounded of the city streets, of surging crowds, of rushing feet, of turmoil, filth, disease and death, of poverty and vice and crime.”

Let me get this straight

CBS is advertising a new streaming service. For $5.99 a month, you have access to their programs, old and new. Why would people pay when they can watch network TV for free? Why would they pay for online viewing from a network whose current online viewing buffers so much? Is there that much programming on CBS that people would pay for it? Most of their shows are like each other.

As for the old classics, are there that many people who want to rewatch all the Mary Tyler Moore or All in the Families, good as they were?

Does CBS think people will pay for Netflix, Hulu or Amazon and their network, with its smaller set of offerings?

I wonder how this will shake out. I wouldn’t bet on this as a success.

Silent Sunday

Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 10.48.38 PM



Word of the Week

rhopography, n.
[‘ Chiefly in painting: a depiction of subject matter considered insignificant or trivial, as still life, the domestic interior, animals, etc.’]
Pronunciation: Brit. /rəʊˈpɒɡrəfi/, U.S. /ˌroʊˈpɑɡrəfi/
Etymology: < German Rhopographie (1813 or earlier; 1830 in the passage translated in quot. 1847) < Hellenistic Greek ῥωπογραϕία (apparently only recorded as a Greek word in the classical Latin author Cicero), probably < Byzantine Greek ῥωπογράϕος artist who paints petty subjects, such as still life (see rhopographer n.), although this is apparently first attested later + -ία -y suffix3; compare -graphy comb. form. Compare French rhopographie (1840 or earlier).
Art Hist. Chiefly in painting: a depiction of subject matter considered insignificant or trivial, as still life, the domestic interior, animals, etc.Freq. with reference to Ancient Greek art.
1847 J. Leitch tr. K. O. Müller Ancient Art §163. 122 Rhopography [Ger. Rhopographie]..denotes the representation of restricted scenes in nature—a small portion of a wood, a brook and the like.
1880 E. J. Poynter & P. R. Head Classic & Ital. Painting ii. 35 Grotesque interiors, quaint sketches of animals, flower and fruit pieces, and still life generally, seem to have come under this denomination. Rhopography was in fact exactly what we are familiar with in the modern Dutch school.
1959 J. Emmons tr. C. Sterling Still Life Painting from Antiq. to Present Time (new ed.) 11 A still life painting was originally designated in Greek by the term ‘rhopography’ (i.e. depiction of insignificant objects, of odds and ends).
1990 N. Bryson Looking at Overlooked 15 Painting is itself divided into two sectors: one dealing with the exceptional act and the unique individual, with the narrative and the drama of ‘greatness’ (megalography), and another dealing with the routines of daily living, the domestic round, the absence of personal uniqueness and distinction (rhopography).
2007 B. Costello in J. N. Serio Cambr. Compan. Wallace Stevens xii. 178 Stevens unites an interest in the ordinary detritus of life (here pots and vases), which art historians, following the Greek, call ‘rhopography’, with a desire for the momentous or spiritually significant, or ‘megalography’.

Travel Theme: Interior


Peace Hotel Lobby

Peace Hotel Lobby

Humble Administrator's House, Suzhou

Humble Administrator’s House, Suzhou

Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack invites bloggers to post travel photos each week. This time she’s given us “Interior” for a theme because the first week of August is Simplify Your Life Week.

If you would like to join in (everyone’s welcome!) here’s what to do:

  • Create your own post and title it Travel theme: Interior
  • Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
  • Get your post in by next Thursday, as the new travel theme comes out on Friday
  • Don’t forget to subscribe to keep up to date on the latest weekly travel themes. Sign up via the email subscription link in the sidebar or RSS!


Please click to see more Interiors.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Refraction

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 12.21.00 AM

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced. 2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag. 3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great photos from each month’s most popular challenge.

Other great photos:

Previous Older Entries


Dear Fellows, The State Department has requested that any Fellows who maintain their own blog or website please post the following disclaimer on your site: "This website is not an official U.S. Department of State website. The views and information presented are the English Language Fellows' own and do not represent the English Language Fellow Program or the U.S. Department of State." We appreciate your cooperation. Site Meter

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 839 other followers

%d bloggers like this: