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Philip Martin

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Clean off shelves, stuff the stockings

I gave away a few thousand books this fall, mostly to the Central Arkansas Library System but to a few other institutions and individuals as well, clearing out more than half of our shelf space and physically and psychically lightening the burden that pins us to the world. I feel good about it now, though I admit it was difficult to begin the process. I have always lived with walls of books, and stripping the cases in my office at first felt dangerously wrong.

Good News near the National Mall

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Ten minutes before the Museum of the Bible opens, the line wraps around the block. It's about as long as a grown-up par five, maybe 600 yards. But we got our timed tickets months ago, so there's no cause to worry.

PHILIP MARTIN: A kid could do it

I watched Steven Spielberg's The Post last night.

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Hollywood humbug: Christmas movies mostly lumps of coal, but once in a while there’s a gift

While I try not to indulge the (boring, reflexive) newspaper columnist's curmudgeonly instinct in these pages, I just don't care for most traditional Christmas movies.

When crossing lines gets easy

For the record, Penn State got off easy.

No time to re-watch movies for retrospective

I rarely watch movies twice for a couple of reasons. The first ought to be obvious -- movies consume time. And since a lot of my movie watching is professional, once I'm done with them I'm done with them. I've no desire to watch The Hitman's Bodyguard again; I'm fine wondering what percentage of Ryan Reynolds' Amsterdam footage was shot in front of a green screen.

PHILIP MARTIN: About the pain of others

I wasn't going to write about it but here we are; I've been consumed by it all week and I've got a column due. So, sisters and brothers, let me share a little about my pain.

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Is R.E.M. still important as rock 'n' roll?

"Just for the sake of provocation ... let's say this: If R.E.M. isn't the most important rock 'n' roll band this country has produced, it is at least the most consistently interesting and serious rock 'n' roll band this country has produced since the Velvet Underground. Adults can listen to R.E.M. without feeling embarrassed or making excuses. The music they make is emotionally complex and open-ended, artfully indirect and intellectually rich. While people who write about rock 'n' roll are always slipping into hyperbole and cant in an effort to make what is basically meaningless mean something, R.E.M. is the rare rock 'n' roll band genuinely worth thinking about."

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Batesville native Woody Skinner tells our stories

I don't know that I've ever met Woody Skinner.

The "human" side of Charles Manson?

Bobby Beausoleil has a Facebook fan page. And a website where you can go to buy his music and his artwork.