Friday, December 12, 2008

My terminal truancy...

My rather conspicuous absence here is about to end...and there is all of maybe 10 folks left out there that would even care. Nonetheless, blogging should begin anew some time before Christmas. Until then, here is video of a couple of songs that I've grown to appreciate. Both are performed with an iconic aura...and a serious weight problem. Enjoy.
* i've also included a brief clip from a movie that i had no idea that i would like...and did...that includes a very brief rendition of my favorite secular Christmas song.

Friday, July 18, 2008

In my ears, eyes, and mind (in Herodotus' absence)

Mere Christianity – I’ve finally begun reading Mere Christianity after having purposed to do so somewhere between ages 15 and 17…I will be 28 in October. My lack of motivation notwithstanding, it has been a while since I started a book with this level of expectation and excitement. I have read here and there and found works, like Lewis’ The Great Divorce, that I read at someone else’s behest and finished with excitement, but not for a long time have I began reading something anticipating its greatness and relevance from the outset…Also, an unwelcomed restructuring of my budget is calling for me to cut off my cable which means my literary intake should increase by about 4000%, and it should be this way for a while. At this, there are so many books I’ve planned to read through the years and never have…Any suggestions where to start?

La Vie En Rose (Louis Armstrong) – This is a wonderful song, my favorite version of which would be Mr. Armstrong’s…My jazz season has started early. Usually about the time the first cold spell of fall hits, I go through a personal season where my jazz collection takes center stage, but for some reason, I am there early.

Faith and Reason – I’ve been thinking a lot lately on the relationship between our ability to reason and necessity to have faith. For a Christian, my beliefs about God, humanity, etc…necessitate my “suspending disbelief”, to some degree, to accept the “absurd” idea of God taking the form of man and then dying and resurrecting to redeem humanity. So it seems obvious that, at the base level of belief, faith requires the suspension of my rational capability, but I know a lot of Christians who operate on this notion in all aspects of the faith, their argument being that, since humanity is inherently sinful, our sense of reason is polluted thus requiring the life of faith being based solely on belief in the absurd. It’s almost as if they see reason like a bent shovel no longer useful for digging. They carry this mentality into some of the very practical practices of faith like, for instance, in how they interpret and, thus, apply scripture. To me, accepting the need for and/or possibility of the absurd is very different than assuming that possibility as denouncing the practical. I guess my tendency is to see my reason not as a “bent shovel” but as a sound one needing faith to be the map that shows me where to dig. Now, I know at least one person who has been, literally, at the point of death from cancer and been miraculously, instantaneously, and wholly healed by God. I know this person well. I know that he is not crazy, and, further, I know other people who also are not crazy that can verify his story. That is absurd. I have no problem with that, but does that mean that when I read Paul’s Epistles I should forego my ability to process and apply information (i.e. reason) and rely simply on my expectation of the absurd?...Thoughts?

"Lost" – I recently decided, with some friends, to start at the beginning and work my way through to catch up on this show. I usually don’t get sucked into shows and am typically skeptical when they’re praised as much as this show has been. However, I simply had too many people with opinions I value and trust in these things recommend, almost demand, that I watch this show. Well, here I am almost done with the second season and I have two thoughts:

1. I can’t believe I haven’t been watching this show.

2. With the reality TV mess that we’ve created, it’s nice to turn on a show and actually be entertained. Call me prudish, but I am simply sick of turning on my television only to find a bunch of idiots running around in their underwear and poking holes in the moral fabric of our next generation. Not only is it raunchy, but it’s just not entertaining. I don’t watch TV to be reminded of how ridiculous life can be. I watch TV to be entertained and escape that. So, ultimately, it doesn’t matter if Michael gets Walt back or whether Jack finally realizes that Kate is the devil because they’re not real…I can get into the story then shut it off and go to sleep unlike when I see the 19 year old "reality star"getting ripped and taking her clothes off on national TV that hopefully won’t be one of my nieces, cousins, or, gulp, daughters some day.


Friday, June 27, 2008

A few more weeks... has been a while since I've been in contact. And...really...this site isn't under construction. Rather, my computer crashed, and I am in the process of getting another. Until then, blogging will be sporadic at best. Still, if there needs to be a post that lingers at the top of the page...the most recent post more than suffices. But this too shall pass....Hope you are all well.

Monday, June 2, 2008

LOVE/LO-OVE! Or, A Five-Year Plan of My Very Own...

It's been nearly twenty years since the Soviet Union and its associated satellites fell. In the aftermath, Western Europe braced itself for a deluge of political and economic refugees with advanced mathematical training, but debilitating fashion sense (their union with the West at the "height" of the mullet's popularity has caused ever-so-many cultural misunderstandings ever since). Now, as le printemps turns to l'été in Paris, two decades later, Western Europe again girds its loins for a fresh invasion from the East. "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming!"...and they brought friends. The French Open is being dominated by hot, young Slavs. For you see, as the Patsy Ramseys and Dina Lohans of this country were shuttling their daughters to and from child beauty pageants and The New Mickey Mouse Club auditions, the new kids on the (post-)Soviet bloc were being groomed by far more sensible showbiz parents, hardened by the harsh realities behind the Iron Curtain. They knew their daughters could never land speaking or singing roles if a Slavic tongue were spoken in the home, and in any case, family pride objected to casting agencies shortening Sharapova to Sharp. Instead, they gave their daughters the gift of tennis. And that gift, as of June 2008, just keeps on giving.

In the spirit of 2007's "Sweet 16 of Love," I unveil for you the 2008 French Open...Women's Seeding...of, er...Love. Now sadly, I've not posted with enough foresight to allow for any voting results on matches to be tallied before the end of the current Grand Slam (next weekend). I expect, however, that the field will be largely unchanged by July's Wimbledon tournament---played on grass---and the matter could easily be revisited then. The only criteria I set for the selection of this pool of 16 were that (1) either the player be ranked in the top 100 as of the start of the French Open, or (2) she make the draw for the French Open; all in all, a pool of 138 from which to choose. No consideration was given performance on the court (in terms of a player's tennis game) in selecting the 16. Only physical beauty qualifies an individual for this draw, the purpose of which is not to objectify or degrade these successful young women, but to expand our culture's "narrow"---and often harmful---ideals of feminine beauty to include the specific allure of the female athlete...and then to appreciate such. The fierce Olympian physique of the great Steffi Graf was a welcome transition from the Sanchez-Vicarios of yesteryear, and now we are witnessing the erection of a new paradigm in the evolution of women's tennis. This shift, as I wrote at the beginning of this post, has taken a while to develop, but, in the end...isn't "nearly twenty years" just about right? I hope everyone enjoys this final week of the French Open, and if a reader has not yet had the pleasure of embracing tennis...perhaps these sixteen will entice you.

The draw (in no particular order):

Ana Ivanović---ranked #2, Serbia
Daniela Hantuchová---ranked #10, Slovakia
Alyona Bondarenko---ranked #27, Ukraine
Petra Cetkovská---ranked #77, Czech Republic
Nicole Vaidišová---ranked #16, Czech Republic
Ashley Harkleroad---ranked #61, United States
Serena Williams---ranked #5, United States
Dominika Cibulková---ranked #31, Slovakia
Gisela Dulko---ranked #40, Argentina
Sania Mirza---ranked #32, India
Tatiana Golovin---ranked #21, France
Sabine Lisicki---ranked #83, Germany
Elena Dementieva---ranked #8, Russia
Marta Domachowska---ranked #73, Poland
Maria Kirilenko---ranked #23, Russia
Maria Sharapova---ranked #1, Russia

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Not Miss Saigon...and I'm thankful for it.

I just finished a documentary on PBA (or PBS for some of you folks)... and a surprisingly good one at that. The film is narrated by the child of a an ex-South Vietnamese military officer who fled the country ( with family in-tow ) in 1975 and settled in Louisville, Ky. is very good...and I would suggest it to anyone. A few more in-depth thoughts:

1. The story: The story told here is one of thousands. There were so many families displaced by that war...and that relocated...that it has a historical addition to the personal. A military officer...his socialite wife...their children...all moved here with nothing, and made a life...a comfortable life...but something was missing...they left their homeland.... their homeland...their family....their world. Which leads me to...

2. True immigrants: Most who know me...know...that I lived in Asia for a time. Subsequently, I have an affinity for that culture (specifically, Chinese...but many Asian cultures share common traits...)...and some ask, " why?" . There are things that I say...a love for culture, family, nation...that resonate with me. If you watch this might understand. Do me a, do yourself a favour, and watch this film...

3. Political: I'm not going to diatribe ...though I'm tempted...but there was a moment that was poignant for me...politically. You see...the couples' eldest daughter was left behind in the chaos of leaving there country. As one might imagine, this becomes a big part of the story. At one point, when speaking about this (and let me say...Asian people are not very verbose or emotive about these things ), the mom says, about leaving her daughter behind , " if the Americans hadn't abandoned us, I wouldn't have had to do the thing that I did.".
The point is this: This is relevant to today's struggle in Iraq. There are those who say we must leave...immediately. These are the same people that want to repeat the mistakes of 1975. Folks...there are consequences...both Geo-political...and personal. . Think about it.

my computer screen is dying...which keeps me from proof-reading or spell-checking...apologies.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day.

We have no idea what it takes from those who serve our country to keep us safe and free. Yet, we can take a moment of recognition and appreciation to show that we are aware. To the men and women that have given their lives...both past and present....thank you.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

In my's been a few weeks since I committed words to pixel here, so I figured I would give a few brief musings. Though...brief is the key word. Work is kicking my arse this week...and tomorrow is a full day:

1. Radiohead. What a freakin concert. The playlist was heavy on Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief...which is o.k....but, I was really hoping for more of The Bendz and O.K. Computer...but still...definitely top 3 best shows I've ever seen. Truly, as complicated as the music is amazing...that they can reproduce it live with such quality. Simply...musical greatness.

2. Female Drama. Now...I'm not going into detail. Let's just say there is plenty of it in my life right now...and it is ridiculous. All you fellas out there...I know...what I'm talking about.

3. Music. What I've been listening to most: Al Green, Whitesnake, Sugarland, Les Miserables, Roberta Flack, The Cure...and lots of Sinatra.

4. A Liberal Challenge. I was thinking the other day...and I challenge any of our Liberal friends to answer there a policy initiative or political idea for fixing problems...that the current Democrats have that doesn't include raising taxes? I ask this sincerely. Meaning...surely they have some part of their agenda that doesn't include taxing U.S. citizens.

5. Movies. I'm extremely stoked about the Indiana Jones movie coming out (I think it is the most underrated trilogy)....and I can't wait to take my see his face...the way he watches the screen with anticipation...the way my brothers and I did when we were kids. Also, I saw Wicker Park again the other day. I might have written about it before...but let me is still that good....which is amazing... because the cast is shite. Be warned is dark...with an ounce of redemption.

6. Bring out the brooms. My Hotlanta Braves will sweep the hated Mets tonight...just you wait and see...

7. Reading. I have been consumed...or should I say re-consumed... by the works of Herodotus. For those that know me well, it is common knowledge that I discovered the 'father of history' about 11 years ago, and still love reading his incredible...and mostly unbelievable stories. This said, my good friend Vox Meridies, and his lovely bride, bought me a very nice bound version of The Histories for my birhday. If you are looking for a good story to read...check out books 1, 3, and 5. I can't get enough.

8. Finally...Family Reunion. family is coming to town this weekend for an inaugural Memorial Day tradition...or, so it seems. Now...I love my family...but some of them are crazy. No...I mean really"is she alright?"...type crazy. Anyway...most of it will be fantastic...but there will be, my point is this...even though things might not be perfect...take a breath...look around...appreciate the good in your life...thank God...and enjoy it.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Good Times, more good times, and really good times.

1. Good Times. I'm talking about that iconic t.v. show from the 70's. One of my favorite shows in syndication, it had been a while since I'd seen it...but freaking good. I was watching an episode the other night...the one about Michael being bused to a "white" school...and lo and behold...within 5 minutes Jesus, corporal punishment, and the need for a good education were all referenced...and in a positive light. Now, juxtapose that with some of the more popular themes emanating from...say BET/106 and Park/ and The Wire (for example)... materialism, sexualism, and "keepin it real"...what has happened? What went wrong? I ask...not rhetorically, but genuinely. The Waltons with MTV...and you get the same thing....maybe, more so. So, I ask again...Are we that far gone? My guess is that James and Florida Evans wouldn't look at our culture and call it progress.

2. More good times. As most know here, while in Grad school, one can't read(for pleasure) or play sports(or do much of anything... save binge drinking) as much as one would like to. This said, having left school, and now that I am gainfully employed, my appetite for such things has returned. My point is this...recently, I've read, and played more golf, than I have in years. And you know what...I am better for it. Specifically, I played golf with a good friend the other day (who is finishing law school...congrats m3), and it was a very much needed catharsis, of sorts. So...go out...rediscover, and take the time to enjoy, the things that enrich your life. We only get one chance. Which leads me to...

3. Really good times. This week...a few very good friends...testudineous, vox meridies, and that 70's guy...will all descend on my fair city to see one of the greatest bands ever...Radiohead. My expectation is that we will recall, share, and make new memories. And just for the record...I hope they play at least 3 songs from The Bendz...the greatest album of the 90's.

I highly recommend...

“Quiet is the new Loud” by Kings of Convenience – Picture a Norwegian Simon and Garfunkel only heavily influenced by Stan Getz. I wouldn’t compare these guys to Simon and Garfunkel because I wouldn’t compare most people to Simon and Garfunkel, but that description best paints the picture. The title “Quiet is the new Loud” is spot on as there is not a loud moment on this album. If you need adrenaline and something to pump you up, this is not your group, but if you like simple production that’s mellow and emotive…Buy this album. Also recommended by KOC, “Riot on an Empty Street”.

“Those the Brokes” by The Magic Numbers – Their first album was good. This one is great. Two sets of siblings. They’ve got a very unique way of blending their influences and are one of the truly unique bands out there. I love, love, love this album. It has moments both poppy and soulful and neither seems forced or out of place.

BUY THIS ALBUM!!!! (edit)

“Trials of Van Occupanther” by Midlake - Go buy this album. They sound like a modern band sounding like a 70’s band that doesn’t try to sound like a 70’s band. I can’t analyze too much of it because I haven’t had it for long…All I know is that this is one of my new favorite bands.

“Rabbit Fur Coat” by Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins – I caught Ms. Lewis’ primary group, Rilo Kiley, at a Coldplay show which they opened. I was impressed so I bought their album current to the time named “More Adventurous”. It was good. There are about four or five songs on there that I really like; whereas, the rest seemed like a misfire of an attempt at imbedding humanistic doctrine in not-so-catchy pop songs. However, I was very excited when I heard that Ms. Lewis had released a side-project bent more toward her “down home” side that subtly undertones Rilo Kiley’s stuff…Still though, as excited as I was, I was very wary of pumping the whole “I’ll question God loud enough so I don’t have to hear His answers” schtick into my ears that I was sure would be on anything she did so it took me almost two years to get myself to buy it…I am surprised. What I found is a brutally honest work by a woman who seems more desirous to reflect her life in song rather than just poke fun at all the “dumb Christians” out there, and I can certainly appreciate that. I could be wrong, but so far that’s my take, and I’m loving this album. It’s truly a post-modern folk masterpiece.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Questions I'm asking...

1. Obama v. McGovern - It looks as though, barring some incredible turn of events, Barack Obama will win the Democratic Nomination. Anyone who reads political literature that’s even remotely objective now knows that he is, by his record as a legislator, one of the most liberal elected officials in our federal government, and that, because of this as well as the manner in which he has captured his party, he has drawn comparisons to George McGovern whom we know was perhaps most instrumental in the Democrats leftward sprint in the late 60’s and 70’s. I’ve had a number of conversations with fellow onlookers many of whom are confident that Obama’s fate in the general election will resemble McGovern’s in that he is just too far left for moderate America to accept….My question…Do you gentlemen agree with this?...Or do you believe that it’s only taken the general electorate this long to move just left of center enough to accept an Obama/McGovern type?

2. YFZ Ranch – Ever since the state of Texas raided that ranch I’ve had an uneasy feeling about the whole thing. First, I know there were allegations of abuse and sexual misconduct with minors made, and if they are true, which at least some surely are due solely to their marital practices, then the perpetrators should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. However, something just doesn’t sit right with me in how this whole thing has been executed. As I watched the footage of the raid, I couldn’t help but picture a not-too-distant future in which secular society imposes upon any religion that is outside or challenges the norm. Rest assured, I’m not equating my practicing my Christian faith with one of these alleged instances where teenage girls were forced to marry middle-age men, but I’ve watched the law enforcement proceed as ineptly and questionably as possible with few actually questioning them because the ones in subject are “weird”. It’s almost as if one can see secular society positioning itself to come under the type of leadership that would bring persecution to any who refuse to adhere to, say, a certain economic identification system, especially if for religious reasons. Any thoughts on this?...To those who may read and think I’m a doomsday-ist, I would ask…Do you think it more likely that this world will, over-time, view those who would separate themselves from it less and less favorably?...Do you think that, over-time, your faith will require you do so with increasing regularity and intensity?...For me and my understanding of Scripture, my answers are…yes…and yes.

3. Jimmy Carter – Is Jimmy Carter the dumbest man to have ever served as President or does he really harbor some sort of evil intent within him?...I really don’t know anymore.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Paint me incredulous...

Tim Robbins is as famous for his outspoken political he is for his body of celluloid work. Let me say definitively...there aren't many around in film today that I respect, admire, and look forward to seeing in a movie more than Mr. Robbins...and there aren't many around that I respect, admire, and look forward to hearing from less than Mr. Robbins, when it comes to or international. In the very appropriate words of one Bugs Bunny..."what a maroon!". This said, he recently gave a speech before the National Association of Broadcasters... and I have to say....kudos Mr. Robbins. Now, my guess is that his idea of "a perfect union" is much different than mine. Still, the general sentiment of his words should soak in, as it were. I just hope they were listening.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Masters 2008!

My favorite time of the year is upon us...and no...I don't mean the American Idol Finale. Alas, it is time for the greatest sports event of the year...The Masters tournament. I wrote last year about the special nature of the thing...with a brief description of the, I'm not going to repeat myself. Except to say...this year we are looking for a little rain...possibly a good deal of rain...during the tourney, and this could change the entire character and outcome. Here is a brief list/summary of those who should contend for the green jacket:

1. Tiger Woods. I could write an entire post on his chances here...but let's just say that, if Tiger doesn't win...that might be as big a story as who actually does win. That is how dominant he has been. Remember...if he is is over.

2. Geoff Ogilvy. This guy has really played well of late, and could very well win. Don't be surprised if he is there on Sunday afternoon.

3. Zach Johnson. The defending champion continues to be a crowd favorite...and win a few things. It is doubtful, statistically and historically, that he would win....but....

4. Phil Mickelson. 2 green jackets in 4 years prove that he can win here. Still...Tiger is all in his is his melt down a few years ago at Shinnecock Hills. He's got the game....and the mental deamons to boot. If he plays within himself, he has a shot(ha.)

5. The Usual Suspects. Goosen, Els, Singh, Harrington, Olazabal, Furyk....all these guys are in on a leader board somewhere in the world...on any given week. They have the game to win...but do they have the game to beat Augusta...and Tiger.

The Europeans and Australians. Rose, Poulter, Scott, has been said of all of these folks that "it is only a matter of time". Meaning, they can win....and should have a breakout win sooner than later. Of these guys..I would give the nod to Poulter and Scott as the possible Sunday players(ha, again).

7. Sentimental favorite: Fred Couples. Perennial fan favorite...with a non-chalant swing and attitude...and very bad back...Boom Boom played well last week....does the '92 champ have enough left? Man...wouldn't that be something...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Thoughts and conjecture....

1. Champions League. My adopted team, Liverpool, beat the disdained Arsenal the final leg of the round of 16...and will face the hated Chelsea on April 22 in the semis. This was somewhat of a surprise, but not a shock, as the reds have played well of late...and Arsenal hasn't. Still, a very good win...and we play another day. Please....for all that is right in the universe....please...please beat Chelsea.

2. China, the Olympics, and the world. There are going to be many....many people offering opinion...some more informed than others...about the upcoming Olympic Games. If I may say, as one who has spent significant time there, we..."the world"...have no idea what this means to China's idea of pride and "gaining face". Make no mistake...China...and her people...believe that this is their century... and that this is the beginning. Anything, or any nation, that acts in a manner that is seen as an affront to Chinese prestige will be the recipient of residual action. With this in mind, the "free world" has a chance to make a statement....but do we have the courage, will, and strength of character to do so? This is the question.

3. The Stranger. Now....Micah thinks this a reference to something else...but, alas, I'm speaking of Camus' work. After a conversation with the Black Rabbit the other day, I revisited this page-turner...before schedule(note: 2008 reading list on homepage)...and thoroughly enjoyed it. Let me say...while I completely disagree with the academic interpretation and extension often prescribed, I love the witty, frank, and obvious way it is written. If you are looking to read a very good...and brief...fiction, choose this little gem.

4. Iran and centrifuges. So...Iran is, by most reports, only a few months away from developing nuclear capability. I the only one that finds this alarming? I mean in an eschatological sense?'s not like the President of Iran has threatened the destruction of America, Israel, or any other free country....oh...I forgot this. And yeah....Obama wants to "talk" to these folks about regional stability.

5. Music to my ears. Most know the name Edith Piaf...and those who might not ...should. This lady dominated....and I mean dominated... the European music scene in the early 20th century...and then became famous in the U.S. in the 1980's when Hollywood directors realised that she is a great addition to any soundtrack. With the recent Academy award winning film about her life...she is now certainly "available". Folks...she deserves the acclaim, honour, and prestige. I heard her again last night...and wow.

6. Freaking... American Idol. I am going to get so much grief about this.....but yes...I have been watching this season's show(thank you J and E). And...I have to's pretty effing good. Right now my favorite is the dude from Australia....but there are a couple of others that aren't bad. I hate that I just wrote that....

7. Finally...Faith, Friends, and Family. I say far too few words here about how blessed I am...with the friends that I've met along the way...with the brothers that I've been given...and with the unfailing love of my saviour. So...let me say...thank you to my friends...for continuing to choose me as a friend, Thank you to my brothers for loving me...honestly...and permanently. Most of all...thank you Jesus...for the ultimate sacrifice. I fail you often...but my heart...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

"Why Don't We Throw a Little Nazi Party?"

Just recently came across this old video...thought I'd share. I suppose it has little in common with the incumbent Nostalgic Artist of the Week, except perhaps for some of the excessive trappings of the '80s. Not much else to say...I think the video speaks for itself. Mel Brooks' "To Be or Not to Be" from his so-titled 1983 movie. Enjoy.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Nostalgic Artist of the Week... The Deele!, that last post by Dr. Z has completely consumed me these last few days. Meaning, I've probably spent more than 5 hours, or so, on Youtube...treasure hunting for those old-school R&B gems that have faded from memory....and I have to has been the happiest 5 hours for me in recent memory. This said, as I've rediscovered artists, the Artist of the Week was begging for a new designee.

Now, they wouldn't normally I am loathe to give this esteemed title to a "one hit wonder", but, here, an exception is required. You see, if you go back and look at the list I compiled(and Dr. Z's) of the "Slow Jams 85-95", it is a fairly decent list....and while I still give "Shake You Down" the title, this classic deserves and commands note and recognition. Every single school dance played this song for years, and kids everywhere pathetically slow-danced the night away. One is hard pressed to find another single song that dominated that arena the way that this song did for a time...Ladies and gentlemen...and especially...the ladies....I give you The Deele.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Top 5 Favorite Slow Jams

I’m calling a pause on my overrated/underrated/aptly rated post as it is, and has been pointed out, really three posts in one. All three categories deserve more attention and should be covered in later posts. My apologies, in hindsight it was foolish of me to think anyone else would care to or would have the time to tackle all three in one post.
That said, I offer another “music list” post:

Top 5 favorite slow jams from 1985-1995.

I meant to do this list a couple of weeks ago but was sidetracked by other thoughts.

My reasons for choosing 1985-1995 are:

1. Most everyone I know would agree this was the best period for the “slow jam”.
2. The 15-20 songs I thought of and chose my 5 from were all released in this time period.

Further, I’ve wanted to post this because I’m a complete sucker for slow jams…One of the first cassette tapes I ever owned was “Johnny Gill” by Johnny Gill…I still don’t remember how I got it…I was a little kid so I didn’t have money…Anyway, this has been part of my musical appetite for a while. So if right now you’re wondering what a “slow jam” is, this isn’t for you, but if you’re like me…let the apostrophes and slang prepositions start flyin'!

My top five all time slow jams in ascending order:

5. “Rock Witcha” by Bobby Brown – Before Whitney, the rise of Hip-Hop, and an obvious drug problem Bobby Brown released one of the best R&B albums ever made called “Don’t be Cruel”. The two standout slow jams from the album were this selection and a song called “Roni”…I really had a hard time choosing between the two.

4. “Your Body’s Callin’” by R. Kelly – Before trials, reinvention, and urinating on minors R. Kelley released another one of the best albums (12 play) for slow jams the best of which, in my opinion, is inarguably “Your Body’s Callin’”.

3. “My, My, My” by Johnny Gill – Off the aforementioned “Johnny Gill” by Johnny Gill album, this was one of his biggest hits. Not to encourage immoral behavior, but if you find yourself with a lady and in need of a song to get things moving, this song will not fail you. She may laugh at the obvious 90’s R&B vibe to start with, but she’ll stop when she finds herself doing exactly as Johnny commands when the first verse starts…If you can’t tell, Johnny Gill is one of my favorite 90’s R&B men.

2. “Night and Day” by Al B. Sure” – 1988 may be the banner year for R&B. It not only gave us Bobby Brown’s “Don’t be Cruel” but also yielded Al B. Sure’s “In Effect Mode”…Anyway, “Night and Day” is one of those songs that I never turn off…Doesn’t matter where I am, who I’m with, or what kind of mood I’m in…it’s probably one of my favorite 100 songs of all time and maybe would crack the top 60. This was a close second to…

1. “Feenin’” by Jodeci – If I had to pick a favorite R&B act, I love Johnny Gill and Al B. Sure, but Jodeci takes it hands down. As I’ve said before, I could do a top-5 favorite Jodeci songs so it was especially hard to choose which song by them would fall here. “Forever My Lady”, “Come and Talk to Me”…both great songs, but “Feenin’” off of 1993’s “Diary of a Mad Band” is easily my favorite of all the slow jams.

Honorable mentions: “Knockin’ Da Boots” by H-town and “Lady Du Jour” by Johnny Gill.

That’s it…My favorites.

What are yours?


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

(watch this kid this year)

Here's my prediction for the impending baseball season...

...Division winners and playoffs scenarios.

N.L .East

Braves – Now bare with me here…We have an offense that will be and already has been plenty potent enough to compete (people forget we only finished 5 games back last year). The difference this year will be our starting pitching. Whereas we went 2 deep in our rotation last year, we’ve got 3 guys (Glavine, Smoltz, and Hudson) that have been durable, steady, “give them the runs and they’ll win” starters (except for Glavine’s every fourth start rule). Leaving Jair Jurrjens whose looked good so far and, of course, Mike Hampton. Not saying I expect it to happen, but IF Hampton can make just 20 starts this year, we’ve got 4-5 deep solid, not spectacular, rotation which neither the Phillies nor Mets can say…So what about the Phillies and Mets?...No pitching. Everyone forgets that they both fell apart last year only Philly fell apart less than N.Y…All I’m saying is they better not sleep on my Braves cause I think we’ve got at least 2 more division round losses in us.

N.L. Central

Cubs – Yeah, big shock…I know money doesn’t buy rings, but dear God!...If they can’t win with this team, they really are cursed.

Do see the Reds contending right in there with Brewers

N.L. West

D-Backs – I love this team. Young, scrappy with solid pitching that got just close enough to get a taste but not close enough to satiate the hunger…O.k. enough of the feely stuff…If we learned anything from the Beckett-Willis Marlins Championship it’s that young teams with solid pitching that also excel at moving on the bags and producing scoring opportunities always play well down the stretch which is exactly when the inevitable blood bath that is the N.L. west will be decided.

N.L. Wildcard

Dodgers – Conventional wisdom says don’t count the Padres out of the playoff race cause they always find a way in, but I think the Dodgers pitching carries them to the stretch which is precisely where the youngsters and Andruw Jones go to sleep relegating them to the Wild Card as the D-backs small ball themselves into the division crown.

And, no, I'm still not convinced that the Rockies are that good.

A.L. East

Red Sox – Everything in me says the Yanks blow up after the break and take the division, but I’m looking at this lineup and just don’t see too many holes while the Yanks have one glaring deficiency...their pitching, and just like a good front seven in football, pitching wins Championships.

A.L. Central

Tigers – Do I even need to write anything here?...

A.L. West

Mariners – I think adding Bedard will be huge in what I see is the weakest division in baseball. I also think King Felix ascends the throne this year. They’ve got a decent lineup capable of producing runs…I think this division will ultimately be decided by who is less injured and the Angels are just too old not to expect Vlad or somebody very important to go down in mid-summer.

A.L. Wildcard

Indians – Not much to say here, I think they’d take the division if not for the Tigers.



Cubs def. Dodgers in 5
D-backs def. Braves in 4

D-backs def. Cubs in an epic 7 games.

Indians def. Red Sox in 5
Tigers sweep Mariners

Tigers def. Indians in 6

World Series

Tigers def. D-backs in 6.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Thoughts and Musings.

1. Obama and race. We've been hearing for a while now that Obama's campaign represents something in change...that amorphous thing that crops up every 4 years...except when the Dems are the incumbents. Specifically, the idea here is that he is the first "post-racial" candidate. I've touched on race-relations before, so I'm not going to re-hash that whole thought....but there are a few things that need to be said:

A. Obama is anything but a "post-racial" candidate. 90% of African-American voters vote for him, 75% of Hispanic voters vote against him....the only folks split are the Caucasian voters. of two things is true: 1. White voters determine what is and is not "post-racial", and are held to a different standard...or 2. He is very much a racial candidate, by statistical definition.

B. In this whole Rev. Wright fiasco there is one thing that struck me....mainly, that he rolled his grandma under the bus as a racist. Now....she might have said some derogatory things with a racially prejudiced charge...and I would never defend such things. However, in doing so, he equated a statement made 40 years ago to something said in a pulpit some 3 years ago...accusing the U.S. government of creating AIDS for genocidal purposes in the Black Community. Unbelievable....

C. I Think I would like Obama as a person, and he is better than this. As I've written here before, we are in this American experiment together, but to have an honest discussion, we need honest participants.

2. March Madness. Not much to say other than this annual phenomenon always surprises...and it shouldn't. This year Davidson and Western Kentucky are the 'Cinderellas'... and madness has ensued.

3. Theatre. No...I'm not going to write anything about the proper theatre...though I am due to attend the opera soon, and am viscerally excited. No, this is about celluloid theatre. Namely movies that I have seen recently and had forgotten for a time. First, The Sound of Music was on last night...and wow...what a great movie....they truly do not make'em like that anymore. Then today...I saw Bull Durham ... say what you want about Kevin Costner... and most of it would be accurate...but that movie is darn good. One thing about that guy...he can make a good baseball movie.

4. Illegal immigration and Crime. On March 3 of this year Jamiel Shaw, 17, was shot and killed by an illegal Mexican immigrant in L.A. This Mexican citizen was one day removed from getting out of jail for a felony weapons charge. Shaw was, by most accounts, a decent student...and was college bound, as Rutgers and Stanford were offering football scholarships. So...think about this....a Mexican citizen enters this country illegally, joins a gang, is arrested on a felony weapons charge(we pay the taxes for his stay, by the way), is released...but not to ICE...but on the streets...then murders an American citizen....all because the Mayor of L.A. designated the city as an "sanctuary city". So...they protect Mexican citizens...but not American citizens? Does anyone in L.A. not see the disconnect here? Oh...I forgot to mention that Shaw's mom is in Iraq serving our country.

5. Tiger Woods and "greatness". Woods just lost for the first time in 7 tournaments. He his standards...abysmally...yet, finished on the leader board. Make no mistake....Tiger is poised to do something amazing...historical...unprecedented, these next few years. Folks, when greatness appears, stop...take

6. Democrats as "the party of the people"? I have a few pithy thoughts here:

a. Is it not poetic that the supposed "party of the people" is about to possibly nullify all of the cast primary favor of unelected "superdelegates"...aka party officials? Almost a Homeric tragedy...

b. Why can't Florida Dems hold a freaking election? Seriously....

7. Finally, Music. I see that Dr. Z had a very nice post below...which I will get to in due time. But...I have to say something about the new Allison Krauss and Robert Plant production. To say I was skeptical...would seriously underestimate my feelings at the time. To say that I now am a fan...would egregiously underestimate my feelings. Folks, it is that damn good.

Also, Happy Belated Easter. Christ be with you...that is my prayer.

Underrated - Overrated - Aptly Rated

I awoke Saturday to a crippling hunger as Friday night I replaced what should have been dinner with a couple glasses of red wine. While on my way to get lunch, I had one of those “zen” like moments of musical enjoyment where one hears a song they’ve heard all their life only to have it strike them as though it were the first time they had ever heard it. The song for me last Saturday was “Lady” by Styx.

As undoubtedly comical as that thought alone will be for some who read here, this experience motivated me to go to my local Walmart and purchase their greatest hits. I figured I’d drop $8-$10 essentially to purchase “Lady” which, to those who know me, is a perfectly reasonable price to pay for possession of a song I really love. To my surprise though, I worked my way through the cd and track after track were songs I’d always loved but never knew were by Styx, which got me thinking about…

My most underrated, most overrated, and most aptly rated artists/bands from 1970 until now.

The only criteria for these lists:

1. Must be able to make a thoughtful argument that the artist/band should be more recognized, less recognized, or are justifiably widely recognized.

2. The artist/band must have achieved their zenith since 1970. (ex. Zeppelin released I and II in 1969 but didn’t reach the peak of their relevance until after 1970).

3. We’re talking about people who actually created music…I don’t even consider the Fergie’s of the world to be artists.

My Most Underrated Artists/Bands

Bread – You know if things like melody, harmony, and lyrical intuition mattered to the average music “lover”, Bread would be one of the most notable bands of the 70’s. Instead, they’re “that band that sang ‘Guitar Man’”. (sigh)

America – Everything that I just said about Bread only they’re “that band that sang ‘Horse with No Name’”. An aside, I have a friend from college who gloats that I’ve never beaten him at Trivial Pursuit but that also spent the better part of an afternoon arguing with me that Neil Young wrote and sang “Horse with No Name”…

Styx – No, I am not just on a Styx high. “Best of Times”, “Renegade”, “Babe” – these are all songs that I always loved and never knew were Styx. I just missed these guys somehow, but the harmonies and ultra-cheesy rock piano ballads…I mean, come on…

The Cars – I know they were huge in the 80’s, but they have fallen prey to the 80’s band stigma (as my friend Robbie put it) in that people have forgotten that they wrote some great songs and were a pretty good band just because they happened in the 80’s.

Fleetwood Mac – I know they were and are big…I just don’t think they’ve ever been as appreciated as they should be…They probably never will be.

Alice in Chains – In my opinion, easily the most talented of the Seattle bands. They put out 5 great albums before succumbing to the usual trappings of rock stardom and were never fully appreciated. I know very few people around my age that didn’t like them, but still, every time I hear Nirvana or Kurt Cobain thrown around as “King of the Seattle movement” it makes me cringe.

Travis – If you love Brit-pop rock…You should love Travis. They’re one of these enigmatic bands to me in that I know loads of people that, by their usual tastes, should absolutely love them but don’t own any of their albums. They’ve released 5 remarkable albums which is more than most bands ever do. Still though, if I could have any band’s career, it would probably be theirs because they’re just big enough to make a ton of money and play to big crowds yet small enough to still live life on their own terms. As in, I’ve three of their albums, have been a fan for almost a decade, and probably couldn’t pick one of them out of a lineup.

David Gray - In my opinion, the best lyricist of my generation. Most people disagree. Most people have never really sat down and listened to him. I say David Gray and they think “Babylon” which could not be a poorer representation of his talent. His ability to say what you feel in a better way than you yourself is rare and should be celebrated. Songs like “Shine”, “Lead Me Upstairs”, “Gutters Full of Rain”, “As I’m Leaving”, “Falling Down the Mountainside”…I really could name about 20 more.

Hall and Oates – Like The Cars…Huge in the 80’s but hindered by the 80’s stigma…They were two soulful white guys who wrote a ton of great songs. I’m firmly convinced that everyone is a Hall and Oates fan…Only there are those of us who admit it and those who don’t.

The Black Crowes – A band that’s overlooked a lot because of their characterization as gritty, southern rockers. ..Which they are and is exactly my point…They’ve consistently done what no one else has consistently done since Skynard’s plane crash.

My Most Overrated Bands/Artists

Nirvana - Treated as rock royalty when really at best they were mediocre musicians who rode the credibility coat tails of their Seattle counterparts. (Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, etc…)

Green Day - Proof that all one has to do to get Rolling Stone in your corner is write an album criticizing any or all of the following: Republicans, Christians, or any other idea rooted in thoughtful moral consideration.

The Clash – I actually like the Clash. I just don’t think they should be as celebrated as they are. Other than that, I’ve nothing much to say about them.

The Sex Pistols – Proof that ignorant, unjustifiably angry people will always choose to listen to other ignorant, unjustifiably angry people, regardless of musical ability, instead of educating themselves to the point that they realize they’ve no reason to be so angry.

The Ramones – These guys just sucked. I’ve never understood the appeal. They’re just BAD musicians.

Note: I don’t hate punk, just bad musicians who were famous for being bad musicians.

My Most Aptly Rated Bands/Artists

Led Zeppelin - Every bit as legendary as they should be.

Boston – There’s a reason their debut album held the record for such a long time (“it’s been such a long time…”). For most of my teen years I criticized them as being overrated…then I listened to them.

U2 – Over the last twenty-seven years or so, these guys have earned their status as legends. I think history will prove them as such.

Guns and Roses – Easily the best hard rock band in an era dominated by hard rock bands. I have no doubt that one day I’ll come home from work to hear “My Michelle” blasting from my son’s room…and commence worrying about him much like I’m sure my dad worried the first time he came home to the sound of me wood-shedding to his Zeppelin cd’s.

Pearl Jam – I may be a little biased here, but in terms of rock “movements”, I think the Seattle scene was huge, and PJ is the best of the few bands from that movement to consistently put out good music over an extended period of time. Now, of course, I’m sick of the whole political rock schtick that has replaced what was once the 90’s best band, but I believe they can and will eventually get it back at which time history will judge them as one of the greats.

Simon and Garfunkel – “I hear the drizzle of the rain, like a melody it falls…” If you can’t listen to “Kathy’s Song” (my personal favorite) or any of their other many, many great songs and not be drawn to some strong emotion, you’re dead inside…Now, if you cry profusely and writhe about on the floor upon hearing any part of a particular of their songs…You’ve issues.

The Bee Gees – Scoff if you must, but they achieved their notoriety for being an extremely talented dance music band which is precisely what they were.

Dave Mathews Band – I know it’s too soon for it to be cool to admit that you liked them, but they were the best group of musicians to have gained the kind of notoriety that they did since the 70’s, and they wrote some very intriguing stuff accomplishing what few others have…Creating music that both the “top 40” listener and the hyper-critical musician could enjoy.

Note 1: These are my MOST overrated/underrated/aptly rated, not my ONLY overrated/underrated/aptly rated.

Note 2: The lack of presence of more ethnic artists is not due to any racial bias. Rather, I tried to focus more on rock/pop-rock artists and feel that the R&B, Soul, and Hip-hop genres deserve their own lists.


Monday, March 17, 2008

The little team that could...and still could...

For those that don’t follow college basketball too closely, something of such an improbable nature happened this weekend that I wanted to write about it but was also surprised that no one had yet done so.

This past weekend my beloved Georgia Bulldawgs entered their conference tournament in last place in the conference boasting an atrocious conference record of 4-12…and won the whole freakin thing.

Round one –Thursday night, they beat Ole Miss in an overtime nail-biter.

Round two – Their second round game against Kentucky, scheduled for Friday night, was rescheduled, seemingly by the hand of God, for Saturday morning setting them up to not only play a game in which they were a complete underdog, but also put them in a situation where a win buys them a second game against an even better team later Saturday night. They won…How? A freshman guard that doesn’t start and averages just over 4 points per game hits a turn around three with someone’s hand in his face and very little time left, once again, in overtime.

Round three – After having already played one game on saturday afternoon, they play a Miss. State team saturday night that had a better record than any other western division team and beat them in a game that was decided by fewer than 5 points and one in which had State been able to make anything in the closing 2 minutes, they win and I’m not writing this right now.

The Championship game – They draw an Arkansas team that was absolutely lights out the night before, establish an early lead, surrender early lead, and pull away at the end not only winning the SEC Championship but also getting a punched ticket to the DANCE!


1. What makes this scenario even more absurd is the production that put them over the top in all four games was from guys that couldn’t do anything all year…They get in the conference tourney and all of the sudden Terrence Woodbury turns into about a 60% three point shooter, Albert Jackson develops and milks a little hook shot finally doing something to take advantage of his size, and Billy Humphrey and Corey Butler start drawing charges and making things happen in the clutch?!!!!!....Really?

2. The sweetest thing about this is the fact that you have a senior point guard (Sundiata Gaines) who has absolutely played his heart out and a coach (Dennis Felton) who was hired to clean the program up and has done so often at the expense of winning (i.e. the Mercer and Brown incidents) and they not only are pulled from depths of a wasted year (in Gaines’ case, a wasted last year) but are also Dancing!...How awesome is that? Two class acts winning in the end…I thought that sort of thing only happens in movies…

3. I’ve said it at least 35 times over this weekend, but I firmly believe this was a turning point for this program. The kids that are coming back next year, which is most of them, will show up to camp knowing that if they put it together they can beat anybody in the conference, and that goes a long way.

4. I’ve been fortunate to watch my Dawgs win two SEC championships in football over the last 8 years, but if you had told me that I’d see them win a conference title in basketball, I probably would have given you the blank-face (as I’ve been told it is) before betting you $100 that it wouldn’t happen before I turn forty (in 13 years), and it just happened.

5. This is why I love sports…because you never know. Sure 99% of the time we assume the outcome and are correct, but there’s always a Boise St. fiesta bowl, or a Sid Bream, or a David Tyree catching a ball against his helmet in the biggest moment of his career, or a Valparaiso, or a Jim Valvano, or a ’99 Ryder Cup team out there…and now, there’s the 2008 SEC Champion Georgia Bulldawgs.

So, they’re dancing, and they‘ve drawn Xavier in the first round…Thoughts?

And if they beat Xavier they’ll likely get Purdue…Thoughts?

And if they were to beat Purdue, they’d likely get Duke in the sweet sixteen…Thoughts?


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I love this game!

So, I completely destroyed my ankle playing tennis last week which prompted me to take two and a half days off from work (Yes, it’s that bad). I spent that time doing what a sub-thirty year old male does when he’s off work and principally immobile...I watched ESPN, the weekly showing of “The Godfather” I and II on AMC, and played an absurd amount of “March Madness ‘08”. Much like Peter from “Office Space”… “I did nothing, and it was everything I always thought it could be”.

Anyway, perhaps the most intriguing thing I watched during that whole time was an NBA classic films spot chronicling Jordan’s 63-point game in the Garden against the Celtics in the ’86 playoffs.

Now, facts of interest:

1. This was just Jordan’s second year in the league, and he sat out most of the year with a broken foot that doctors advised him to rest through the end of the season and offseason. So, he did this while recovering from an injury.

2. That Celtics team is easily one of the top three best teams in the history of the NBA. Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parrish, Danny Ainge, Dennis Johnson, and an aging Bill Walton. In fact, they were so good that they won that game in overtime. Which leads me to…

3. The Celtics swept Chicago in that series. SWEPT Chicago in that series…If that’s not a testament to the fact that a superstar scorer does not guarantee wins in basketball, I don’t know what does.

4. Larry Bird was quoted after the game as saying “…I think that was God disguised as Michael Jordan”…Larry freakin’ Bird!...That’s not exactly Craig Ehlo saying that. That’s Larry Bird, inarguably one of the top ten, probably top five, best players ever, and Jordan so demoralized anyone put in his path that night that the only way Bird could describe it was to say that it was like watching God play a basketball game against humans.

Now, my point in all this is that I’m very excited about the NBA playoffs for the first time since the ’98 finals, and that was due to being able to watch Jordan in what we all knew would be his last and that one of my favorite players of all time, John Stockton, had a shot to win a ring.

Why am I so excited?...

1. Because I’ve run through every possible first round matchup in the West and I would refuse to bet on a single one of them…And that’s the first round!...Not that there won’t be favorites, but, as Golden State reminded us last year, the West is just that deep.

2. Because watching that clip of Jordan’s 63-point game made me think that today’s equivalent would be Kobe or Lebron dropping that kind of performance on the Spurs (who will eventually go down as one of the ten best teams ever) or Celtics, respectively…AND THAT TOTALLY COULD HAPPEN!…I don’t know maybe I’m just jonesin for baseball more than I realize, but I can’t shake the feeling that one of those guys is going to assume the throne during this year’s playoffs just like Jordan did that year which, just like Jordan, may not translate to a title run… yet (I do realize that Kobe has three rings, but everyone knows that never happens without Shaq in his prime).

3. Because the thought of having a Lakers v. Celtics finals matchup excites me. You’ve got Kobe and Gasol, a dominating, prima-donna superstar and a weird Canadian that should not be as good as he is, going against Allen, Pierce, and Garnett, three sincere, legitimate stars that all suddenly find themselves resurrecting a great franchise after having to waste most of their collective prime on bad teams (sorry T).

This is going to be good because you don’t know what’s going to happen...What if the Celtics draw Cleveland in the second round of the East playoffs and Lebron decides to drop 63 on them in game two at the Garden?...Have you noticed what he's been doing to his opponents lately?...That could really happen!…I’m excited.


Thanks for nothing, Andy...

I started playing tennis about a month ago. I've got a friend who plays, and we average about three nights a week on the court (until I suffered a severe ankle sprain which I am currently nursing). Tennis is a sport I've always had an appreciation for but never followed closely or paid too much attention to with football, baseball, basketball, and golf consuming what attention is left over from Christ, work, music, and my girlfriend. However, as with anything, the more I play the game and the more I improve at it, the more I want to follow it. I even watched a couple sets from a match in Dubai last week between two eastern European guys with names I had neither heard nor could pronounce.

My point, I'm getting into tennis hardcore, and I just saw a headline that not only disrupts my newfound interest in the game but also my overall philosophy for international sports which basically is that I first always want "the Amercian" to win, and if there is no viable American competitor, I'll pull for a Brit (especially in tennis, they need to win Wimbledon), then an Irishman (Scot or Welshman), then a German or an Eastern/Nor-Euro, then an Italian, then an Asian, then a Spaniard, and then a Frenchman in which case there is nothing but Frenchman left and I can't imagine that being a sport I would care about.

Anyway, my point is that my main criterion for choosing whom to support in international sports are based on patriotism. That said, what is the biggest patriotism-fueled sports event in the world?...The Olympics, of course.

Well, Andy Roddick just announced he's skipping the Olympics to gear up for the U.S. Open.

I understand that he wants to win the Open because he's an American and it's the only major he stands a chance in right now, and that the Olympics aren't as big a factor in Tennis as, say, javelin throwing, but still, this pisses me off.

Represent your country, Andy!

Set aside your carreer for pride in your country every four years. That's like three times in the average career.

This also bothers me because there are major athletes that take immense pride in representing our great country in the Olympics. Take Lebron James, for instance. He's arguably the biggest athlete in this country right now, and I've heard him equate his desire to win Olympic gold for America to his desire to win an NBA championship for Cleveland, which he's very passionate about.

There's always been something that bugged me about Roddick. I just could never put my finger on it. Well, now I have a reason.

Say, who's the top Brit in tennis right now?


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"Shame On You, Barack Obama!"

The CDC has just released its yearly report, and the STD infection rate is, again, accelerated and disturbing. Reading the piece on the CNN website, however, I was completely distracted by the accompanying photo. Does anyone else feel like Team Clinton might be behind this one?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

This week's headlines from the "You don't say!" category.

Nobel winner: Hillary Clinton's 'silly' Irish peace claims

- You mean First Ladies don't broker international peace agreements...and never have? You dont say...

Hampton injured in second spring start

- Mike Hampton is hurt? What...?

Private Eye Accused of Spying on Targets

- A Private Eye actually is stealthy? No...

Rice, Abbas Urge Resumption of Talks

- Palestinians shell 2 Israeli cities...then, murder 7 teenage seminary students...Israel gets pissed and threatens action....and Abbas wants to talk. Really...?


- You mean there actually is an axis of evil? Seriously...?

And, Finally.....Record snowfalls mean big meltdown

-Snow melts? Huh...?

Monday, March 3, 2008

On Flatulence and Faithfulness

I’ve been thinking a lot about a conversation Herodotus and I had during Blog Summit 2008 in Savannah. We were discussing women, relationships, and such when I revealed what, to him, was an astonishing revelation. I told him that I had yet to fart in front of my girlfriend. He responded with the question “Then how do you know if the relationship is real or not?”. I, then, revealed that passing gas is something I’ve always tried to avoid regardless of the length and depth of the relationship in question, and his response birthed an internal conversation I’ve been having over the last few weeks. One that has culminated with the following:

If the emotional oil to the engine of relationship is humility, and humility toward someone is only attained through true vulnerability to the same, how could I have ever counted a relationship real without ever compromising myself to the point of even something so menial, and often comical, as timely flatulence?

Further, if vulnerability is the springboard for true spiritual/emotional growth with someone and spiritual/emotional growth the only real way to ensure the longevity of a relationship, how could I have ever expected to openly seek the face of God with a woman through prayer, confession, etc...if I lack the stones to even gas her every now and then?

So I realized the irony in that we close ourselves off in order to avoid being vulnerable to the emotional loss of being left by someone we love while vulnerability is the most needful quality if one hopes to avoid such a loss.

I guess no one ever said it would be fair or easy.


'Crime and Punishment' or 'How the West Was Won'?

The following is a video of A Russian rock band playing 'Sweet Home Alabama'...with the Red Army Choir(Hat tip: NRO). It is a passable rendition of the song, but I find the mere idea of the thing as the most interesting aspect here. We tend to forget how the world has changed over these last 18 years...which, in historical/chronological terms is almost nothing. Nevertheless, a change has come...and speaks to possible future changes. What do these next years hold?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Artist of the Week...Ray Lamontagne.

I've referenced him recently in this space, but decided that he deserved his own post. I don't have much to say about him, as I don't know much, and am new to his music, but I am very impressed...and grateful for this addition to my listening rotation. Ladies and gentlemen...your Artist of the Week....Mr. Lamontagne. And by the way, you are welcome....

William F. Buckley Jr., R.I.P.

There are many things one could say....and many will say much in these next few days and weeks.....about Buckley, but the one thing that comes to mind for the word erudition. A true 'Renaissance Man', he embodied a higher order in thinking and action. Whether sailing, debating, writing, or playing the harpsichord, there was a sense that he was the best at it.

One of my first memories of Buckley was on his show Firing Line. He was interviewing Norman Mailer....and boy was it a verbal donnybrook. Other than Reagan, he was the first unrepentant conservative I'd heard...and I loved it(even though he and Reagan disagreed on the Panama Canal thing). Simply, his contribution was this...while Europe sailed towards a socially and economically crippling socialism, Buckley uttered those famous words of commandment....'to stand athwart history, and yell stop!'. He did....and now it is our turn. God bless you and your grieving family, Mr. Buckley....and thank you.

Here is Buckley taking on Noam Chomsky:


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Random Thoughts...

Nothing to say...that really means anything. Here are a few random thoughts tumbling around the ole' bacon-eater:

1. I hate it when the MSM reports on 'consumer confidence' as a news story...primarily, for two reasons: 1. It's never good news....which leads me to this...2. If the MSM constantly reports that consumer confidence is falling....wouldn't consumer confidence...fall further? I mean, what would be the purpose of reporting...oh, yeah...

2. There's a big argument as to whether...'Tiger is that good', or 'does his competition lack that much'. I doesn't matter. In fact, both are true. My guess is that if Tiger at his best(have we even seen it yet) played 'The Golden Bear' at his best....well, who knows...

3. I hate Tennessee. But I kinda like their basketball team.

4. Kosovo. No one wants to talk about it. Why? I have a guess...regardless, it's a big story.

5. Shooting that 'rogue' satellite down might be the coolest thing that has happened in a long, long time. In one fell swoop we proved Missile Defense capabilities...and took Brittany Spears out of the headlines.

6. Good friends with taste are invaluable. Testudineous just sent me some music, and in this veritable treasure trove of auditory pleasure is the voice of Ray LaMontagne. Seriously....a white Otis Redding...and I say that with all deference due Mr. Redding.

7. Diane Lane is still beautiful.

8. I took my oldest nephew to a movie this week. He's only, I had to find a movie that he could see...and that made me think...something as seemingly innocuous as going to the movies...and children still need to be protected...amazing. What have we come to...? But we had a good time. We saw National Treasure 2. He really didn't get the story...but he loved the adventure and visuals....and I think he dug hanging out with his uncle. That won't last long...

9. Anyone who knows me....and who would listen...knows that I've always said that Hillary Clinton is a weak candidate. She had to go to N.Y. to run for the Senate...because the more people see and hear her, the less they like her(NY became a natural habitat, because they don't like anyone). I completely disagree with Obama on every issue...except for maybe 'energy independence'...and would probably never vote for him...but I like him. Hillary is toast.

10. Here's a quote...let's see who can guess it first...if you are kin, you better get this: "I would like to direct this to the distinguished members of the panel: You lousy cork-soakers. You have violated my farging rights. Dis somanumbatching country was founded so that the liberties of common patriotic citizens like me could not be taken away by a bunch of fargin iceholes... like yourselves."