Brussels sprouts — long relegated to the bottom of the culinary barrel alongside lima beans, liver and the occasional fruitcake — have enjoyed a renaissance in recent years.
But there's an enduring reason so many have wrinkled their noses at this Thanksgiving meal staple: They smell. Like broccoli, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables, Brussels sprouts are rich in hydrogen sulfide gas. When cooked, those stinky gases escape, offering a less-than-warm welcome to Thanksgiving meal guests.
The best thing about David O. Russell is that he cultivates his disequilibrium. In Silver Linings Playbook, his hero is disturbed and his heroine possibly more so, and his other characters have a grip on reality that is only marginally more secure. Russell might have made them seem the dreaded "q" word — quirky — and OK, he does, a bit, at the end, which broadly conforms to the rom-com template. But until then, Bradley Cooper's Pat Solatano is someone you'd be less likely to dream about than get a restraining order against.
This interview was originally broadcast on Fresh Air on March 26, 2012. When God Talks Back was released in paperback on Nov. 13.
While attending services and small group meetings at The Vineyard, an evangelical church with 600 branches across the country, anthropologist T.M. Luhrmann noticed that several members of the congregation said God had repeatedly spoken to them and that they had heard what God wanted them to do.