Glossary

2001: A Space Odyssey – A 1968 movie by Stanley Kubrick about a journey to the far reaches of the Solar System to find a connection to a mysterious monolith. 

All Quiet on the Western Front – A 1929 novel by Erich Maria Remarque about the individual and collective aftermath of World War I in the German psyche.

Arthurian Legend – A series of stories about a legendary British king and his Knights, the Knights of the Round Table, notably the Sirs Galahad, Gawain, Lancelot and Percival.  Their most holy quest was for the Holy Grail which was the cup from which Christ drank at the Last Supper.

Baseball as a Road to God – A book by NYU President John Sexton about the mystical, magical elements of the game of baseball as he sees it.

Brooklyn Dodgers – The MLB National League team that played at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn until 1958.

Brooklyn Preparatory School – A Jesuit prep school in the Crown Heights area of Brooklyn which closed in 1971.

Buck Rogers – A fictional space warrior who was the subject of 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s newspaper comics, radio, movie, and ultimately television series about space travel.

Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) – An American mythologist, writer, and lecturer, best known for his work in comparative mythology and religion covering many aspects of the human experience. His most famous book is The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949), in which he discusses his theory of the monomyth of the journey of the archetypal hero found in all world mythologies.

Clean and Sober – A 1988 movie starring Michael Keaton about the effects of alcoholic rehab.

Clockwork Orange – A 1962 novel by Anthony Burgess and a 1971 movie by Stanley Kubrick about a horrific crime spree of a gang of thugs in a dystopian Britain.

Copley Square – The site of the finish of the Boston Marathon.

Days of Wine and Roses – A 1962 movie starring Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick about a couple’s descent into alcoholism.

Divine Comedy – A lengthy narrative poem by Dante Alighieri, written between 1308 and 1320, about the author negotiating the regions of Hell, Purgatory and Heaven in an effort to find God. 

Django Unchained – A 2012 movie by Quentin Tarantino, starring Jamie Fox and Leonardo DiCaprio, about a freed slave in the pre-Civil War South who engages in a series of bloody conflicts to free his wife.

Dogon – An ethnic group, and their mythic stories, living in the central plateau region of Mali in West Africa.

Drinking Life: A Memoir – A 1995 memoir by Pete Hamill , columnist for the New York Post, about his family and their multi-generational battles with alcoholism.

Dune  – A 1965 science fiction novel by Frank Herbert, which spawned a number of literary and video sequels, all about a futuristic feudal society in which the protagonist battles for control of the mining of a psychotropic spice used for various mind control processes.

Fisher King – A knight of the Round Table who is charged with protecting the Holy Grail, the cup from which Christ drank at the Last Supper.

Ghostbusters – A 1984 movie starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, and Rick Moranis, about a evil deity trying to invade Manhattan.

Harvey – A Category 4 hurricane which caused extensive damage in SE Texas, mainly as a result of historic flooding.

Holy See – The official name for the sovereign entity that houses the governing body of the Catholic Church.

Iliad – A companion piece to the Odyssey about the last few months of the Trojan War, at time in which Achilles, the most prominent Greek warrior goes on a rampage of killing to avenge a close Greek companion.

Jonah – An ancient Israeli prophet and the protagonist of the Biblical Book of Jonah who is swallowed by a whale and must surrender to God’s ministerial mandate in order to be rescued.

Lao Tzu – An ancient Chinese philosopher and contemporary of Confucius, the founder of Taoism, and the reputed author of Tao Te Ching.

Leaving Las Vegas – A 1995 movie starring Nicholas Cage and Elisabeth Shue about an individual who, in a fit of depression, tries to drink himself to death.

Lord of the Rings – An epic trilogy written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in 1954, followed by a movie trilogy produced in 2001, about a fantasy land called Middle Earth and a hobbit named Frodo Baggins, who is charged to destroy a magical Ring with the help of a Fellowship, formed by a Council of Leaders, to prevent the Ring from getting into the hands of an evil Dark Lord Sauron.

Mahabharata – An ancient Hindi mythic story about a giant war, not unlike the Trojan War, fought at Kurushetra in northern India, in which two rival families, together with all the prominent communities of India at the time, fight to settle a multi-generational conflict.

Marathon – A village in ancient Greece where the Battle of Marathon was fought between the Athenians and the Persians in 490 BCE.  News of the Athenian victory was carried to Athens by a messenger/runner named Pheidipedes and the word became the name of a modern Olympic footrace. 

Matrix – A 1999 movie about an elaborate system that has enslaved the human race and a group of rebels, led by Morpheus with Neo as the prime progenitor, who are trying to defeat the system. 

Moby-Dick – A classic American novel by Herman Melville about a whaling voyage on the ship Pequod, told by a first time whaler named Ishmael, in which a masterful skipper named Ahab pursues an enormously powerful albino sperm whale named Moby Dick only to be destroyed by the whale in the end.

Mono-myth – A template for a series of mythic stories about a central core subject, such as the Hero’s Journey.

Mythology – The study of Belief Systems of various cultures which are contained in the epic stories, sometimes supernatural ones, emanating from that culture.

Odyssey – An early Greek epic, reputedly authored by a blind minstrel, Homer, about a warrior, Odysseus, who is trying to return home to his island kingdom, Ithaca, from the Trojan War, a War in which all the city states of Greece spent 10 years conquering the ancient city of Troy.

Omaha Beach – One of the central landing beaches in Normandy on June 6, 1944, D-Day, in the Allied Invasion of Europe that was the beginning of the end of World War II.

Popol Vuh – A mythic cultural narrative about an ancient people that inhabited the regions of Southern Mexico and the Guatemalan Highlands.

Saving Private Ryan – A 1998 movie starring Tom Hanks and Tom Sizemore about a unit of Army Rangers, part of the first wave across Omaha Beach in Normandy on June 6, 1944, who are sent to find a Private Ryan of the 101st Airborne because his three other brothers had just been killed in the War.

Siegfried and Brunhilde – Protagonists of a mythic Norse series of stories about star-crossed lovers, a story that was the basis for the Wagnerian operatic trilogy, Der Ring des Nibelungen.

Slaughterhouse Five  – A 1969 World War II novel by Kurt Vonnegut about Billy Pilgrim, an ill-trained, disoriented and fatalistic American soldier who refuses to fight, is captured during the Battle of the Bulge, and experiences fantastic flights of fantasy during and after the War. 

Star Trek – A television series beginning in 1966 created by Gene Roddenberry and starring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy about a series of exploratory voyages through Space by the Starship Enterprise.

Star Wars – An ongoing movie series of base story, sequels and prequels which began in 1977 about a series of galactic conflicts between the forces of good and evil, the central theme of which is the idea of a Force, with a Light and Dark Side conveying supernatural powers to certain warriors.

Tender Mercies – A 1983 movies starring Robert Duvall about a country singer trying to recover from alcoholism.

Wellesley College – A women’s college in Wellesley, Mass, on the route of the modern Boston Marathon.

Wizard of Oz – A 1939 movie about a young girl, Dorothy, played by Judy Garland, who has a dream about being transported to a fictitious Land of Oz, where, to find her way home, she must go through a series of adventures involving a lion, a tin man and scarecrow; a Wizard; a good witch, Glinda; and a horrific Wicked Witch of the West.

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