The late morning Friday session included a talk and book signing for Dr. Tony Pasquarello, author of the new “Altar Boy Chronicles.”
Dr. Pasquarello is an emeritus Professor of Philosophy at The Ohio State University, and a professional pianist, boasting a repertoire of over five thousand works of the jazz, pop, and classical genres. His quasi-autobiographical “The Altar Boy Chronicles” has just been published by the Gustav Broukal Press, an imprint of American Atheist Press. A native of Philadelphia, Tony studied piano and theory at the Settlement School, the Philadelphia Conservatory and the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the author of numerous technical articles on philosophy and the teaching of philosophy; he has written popular pieces such as “Proving Negatives and the Paranormal.” Once an altar boy and possible candidate for the priesthood, he evolved into a skeptical philosopher whose delightful-but-trenchant writings are eagerly sought after by a variety of freethought publications.
Did someone really set a pornographic stained-glass panel in a window of a Philadelphia Italian Catholic Church? Or did a preadolescent surge of hormones merely make it seem so? Can you really get syphilis off a toilet seat? How can a really good Catholic boy be thinking of sex all the time, yet have as his personal hero that zany third member of the Trinity -- the Holy Ghost? Can a child who is both brilliant and artistically gifted grow up Catholic -- and stay Catholic all the way?
Tony Pasquarello has written an affectionate and often hilarious memoir on what it was like to grow up in a Catholic Little Italy during World War II. The head-on collision of inscrutable dogmas with a mind that is reflexively logical is an immensely amusing spectacle. Add to this the bewildering perplexity of pubertal transformation going on in the midst of the most sexually repressed culture since Victoria’s England -- and you have “The Altar Boy Chronicles.”
“The Altar Boy Chronicles” is available through the American Atheist Press on-line catalogue.
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