27 August 2008

Regina Spektor

Over the summer, I lived with my friend Evander. Evander has weird taste in music.

By weird, I mean he listens to a lot of jazz. And video game music. And N*Sync. And Christmas music. Oh, and choral pieces. As I said, weird - or, at least, unexpected.

Anyway, he and I usually end up either reminiscing about 90s one-hit-wonder alt-rock bands or giving each other new CDs to listen to.

I introduced him to piano-rock group Mae. He introduced me to Regina Spektor.

He let me borrow her first CD, and I listened to it at least every day for two weeks. So now, I pass this musical addiction on to you:

This is her song "Samson"

And this is one of my favorite music videos ever, "Us"

Rock on.

Post Script: I was going to write about a artist I discovered on NPR's Echoes about a month a go. The artist's name is Alu, and while she was introduced to me as "Alice in Wonderland in hell", she manages to avoid YouTube - an impressive feat. Anyway, check her out at www.alumusic.com

26 August 2008

Donald Miller Prays at the DNC

As I've mentioned before, I like Donald Miller. Perhaps it's because I agree with him more than I do with Rob Bell (no offense to Mr. Bell). Maybe it's his writing style. Maybe it's because he lives in Portland. Or some combination of the three.

Regardless, I was pleased to see* that Miller had been invited to say the benediction at the Democratic National Convention's opening night. For those who haven't heard and don't want to click on the link, the founder of Relevant, Cameron Strang, was invited to say the benediction, but turned down the opportunity in the interest of staying neutral and not showing favoritism. According to one source, Strang also changed his political affiliation - from Republican to independent.

Miller, a registered Democrat and the man I consider to be the leading voice of 21st century Christianity, was asked to take Strang's place. And, as tends to happen with these things, it was put up on YouTube. So without further ado, the prayer:

Rock on.
*This link also includes an interesting interview with Miller concerning his political views.

Edit: ThinkChristian has posted the transcript.

20 August 2008

Qinsoc's Miniluv Declares Unyoung Women Doubleplusungood

For those not fluent in Newspeak, the People's Republic of China's police force has arrested two elderly women and sentenced them to "reeducation by labor". The two women, both approaching eighty, applied for a permit to protest during the Olympics - in zones set up for just such events.

The Chinese government has received more than seventy applications and approved exactly none.

Read more about this and several other attempts to make crimethinkers regood in this article.

Rock on.

*Interested in Newspeak? Read the Appendix to Nineteen Eighty-Four and sound like an arrogant conspiracy theorist today!

18 August 2008

Saint-Saëns and Babe

Last semester, I discovered French composer Saint-Saëns' piece "Danse Macabre" - a wonderfully dark tune that reminds me of the large carvings in medieval cathedrals. This piece was the first I had ever heard of Saint-Saëns, and my immediate reaction was one of wonder - mostly wondering about why nobody had introduced me to the "French Beethoven" before college.

Luckily for me, NPR was on the ball - about a week after my discovery, the UGA NPR affiliate was broadcasting a special from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. One of the pieces performed was
Saint-Saëns' third symphony, the "Organ Symphony". But before the orhcestra performed, the commentator mentioned one of the defining movies of my childhood - Babe. In the scene, Farmer Hoggett* sings to Babe, then does a little dance.

Of course, this scene was mentioned because the tune comes from one of the greatest parts of the third symphony - the performing organist that night said he loves playing this opus because it gives him a chance to play without holding back. To see just what in the world I'm talking about, just click the video link.

That'll do, reader. That'll do.
Rock on.

*Arthur Hoggett is played by professional Hollywood "That Guy" James Cromwell, perhaps better known to Trekkies as Zephraim Chochrane. Or to Aasimov fans as Dr. Robert Lanning. Or to Oliver Stone fans for his upcoming role as George H. W. Bush. Or...yeah. That Guy.

17 August 2008

New Academic Year Resolutions

I think I may have made some promises to myself back in January. Though, as I cannot clearly recall these promises, it should be understood that, if I had made a resolution or two, I didn't keep up with it very well.

But tomorrow marks the start of a new semester and my third year in college (Ich bin sehr alt!). I'll be taking some interesting classes (two of which will focus on feminism and music in religious culture - I cannot begin to express the eagerness with which I anticipate these classes). Anyway, along with resolving to spend more time doing the assigned reading and working on my German vocabulary, while balancing this with involvment in the tutoring program and campus minstries in which I participate, I've decided that I should also make some changes to the way I blog.

So, to you, my loyal reader(s?), here are my promises.
  1. I will devote more time to writing and editing posts. I usually hear something in class or on the radio, jump on the computer, and give the post thirty minutes of my time. Which works well for some things. But there are some topics - especially in an election year - that deserve more thought.
  2. In that same line of though, I promise to use sources other than Wikipedia. When I was in elementary school, my teachers spoke as if the Internet would give every person access to every resource one would ever need. Instead, we got Wikipedia. I live within walking distance of the UGA Main Library. The sixth floor (home of the religion and philsophy texts) is one of my best friends. I should really visit it more.
  3. In my attempt to spend more time editing, I also hope to improve my grammar. It'll be awkward at first. That's about it.
  4. More music! I discovered some of my favorite bands because of hours of aimless wandering through the Internet. I should share the wealth.
  5. More Bible! Shortly after I started this blog, I decided that I was going to use it as a means of making sure that I was reading the Bible and thinking about what I read. It went really well for a while, but slowly died off. In response to my spiritual complacency, I will start using that format again. It worked pretty well in high school; I can only hope that it will be better in college. Wow. I just realized that was almost three years ago. Once again, ich bin alt.
So. Yeah. There's that.

Did I mention I'm taking a course on music in religious culture? Awesome.


08 August 2008

Fundamental Principles of the Olympiad

2. The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.

5. Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.
As found in the IOC Charter; emphasis mine. Read the entire document here.