23 November 2009

Of cabbages and kings

The time has come, the blogger said, to speak of things no more.

When I started this blog, I was a senior in high school in Leavenworth, Kansas, applying to colleges. I find myself now a senior in college in Athens, GA, have been accepted to Emory's Candler School of Theology. And for four years, I have written for the world to see. More often than not, my posts were knee-jerk reactions to things I had seen. Occasionally, the knee jerk would transform into something more.

When I started this blog, there was no Twitter (it started a few months after I started blogging) and Facebook was just a networking tool for college students. People were not describing their every action in under 140 characters. Video blogs were very unusual.

Over the past four years, we have allowed ourselves to yell continuously in all directions. Celebrities and aspiring celebrities, news stations and gossip columns, politicians and rock stars, all utilizing the new blog for the short attention span.

What I want to know is whatever happened to the review process? There was a time when your opinion had to be well-presented and thoughtful to qualify as print-worthy. I apologize if I am ruining anyone's fantasy here, but it is simply impossible to adequately review anything in 140 characters.

What's more is that it has become so easy to present an opinion that we no longer even finish reading articles before we present our rebuttal. I am just as guilty of this as anyone else. I will read an article and before I'm done, I have a second tab open, keeping track of what I disagree with to post about it later. I'm not considering the opinion, but only finding that which I think is objectionable. The flat world, for all of its promise, has turned us into a generation that only waits to talk.

And in waiting to talk, and in blurting out our initial opinions, we talk ourselves into corners. We won't back down, but when we don't fully consider what we say, we make mistakes. We say things we don't mean, but don't want to the world to know we've made a mistake, so we just keep going with it.

So no more. Not from me at least. I know this won't make much of a difference. I don't have enough readers for it to make a big difference. But with everyone yelling as loud as they can, even one less voice will help. This does not mean that I'm giving up writing or that I will never express my opinions again. On the contrary, I have resolved to write more. But what I do write will be submitted to others for peer review. If I have an opinion, I'm going to make sure that it's worth voicing.

Now, I do not mean to imply that blogging should vanish from the face of the Earth. They provide a great way for authors, musicians, academics, politicians, etc. to communicate ideas and receive feedback. They allow for the sharing of information as never before. They occasionally even provide a deserving, unheard-of mind a chance to earn the proper recognition. I will continue reading all of my favorite blogs. As for me and my opinions, though, we will stay in the coffee shop where we belong.

12 October 2009


I'm happy for you and everything, and Imma let you finish, but Regina Spektor actually had one of the best videos of all time.

Yes, Kanye's a jerk, that's nothing new. And yes, this post is very late. But honestly, Regina Spektor has a history of interesting and creative videos, and those from her latest album are no exception.

Below is "Man of a Thousand Faces" from the new album Far.

Rock on.

08 September 2009

Why in the world...

...is "eschatology flatulence" not a Google Bomb?

It's not even close. There are over 16,000 sites that include both these words.

I don't get it.

Edit: Somehow, though, my blog is now the number two search result. Yea?

22 August 2009

Raphael's "School of Athens"

I've always liked this painting. I'm much more a fan of Michelangelo than of Raphael, but the summit of the philosophers has always seemed like one of the most amazing learning environments to ever be conceived. Well, that and I live in a little college town by the name of Athens.

The two philosophers at the center of the painting are generally thought to be Plato and Aristotle*. But it's generally thought that Raphael based certain philosophers on artists of his time. Plato is connected to da Vinci. Michelangelo is in the painting, but there is debate about who he is -- is he Aristotle, standing proud with his Ethics, debating his teacher?

Or is he the brooding figure of Heraclitus?

I think he's both. Michelangelo was certainly the dark, depressed figure that painted himself as a lifeless skin in "The Last Judgement" in the Sistene Chapel, but he was also the master who completed the ceiling of that very same chapel with almost no help from his apprentices.

But if Michelangel gets to play both roles, why does da Vinci only appear once? Where is the most famous Renaissance painter? I think he might be Pythagorus as well -- the bald, bearded figure hard at work on the foundations of geometry and architecture -- just as da Vinci is well-known for his volumes of notes on anatomy and inventions.

Rock on.
*Scholars determined the places of Plato and Aristotle by which books they hold in the scene. Plato holds his Timaeus, and Aristotle, his Ethics.

These images were retrieved via Wikimedia Commons and are in the public domain.

13 August 2009

Anonymous -- Internet Golem

A golem* is a creature in Jewish folklore made by man out of inanimate material, generally soil. Much like Dr. Frankenstein's Monster, the best-known story of a golem ends with the creature betraying its maker.

I have jokingly referred to the Pillsbury Doughboy as a golem, and along those lines, so are the fabled Gingerbread Man and his comical form, the Stinky Cheese Man.

But what would an actual 21st century golem look like? A creature made from an inanimate material brought to life by its creator, and then being set loose to destroy order and harvest chaos?

I suggest the Internet-based Anonymous, a collection of web-users from the Something Awful forums, 4chan and 7chan, and any number of other sites that compose the basement of the World Wide Web. Anonymous is not a single person, but it is not really a group, either. Anonymous has no coherent membership, no leaders, and no common goal (in fact, it often turns on itself). It is self-aware, which is, granted, rather unlike a golem. But it has a mysterious life force -- like the magic words and combinations of letters which bring a golem to life, so anonymity gives Anonymous the ability to, for better and for worse, get away with what they do. Take away the life force, take away the creature.

Now, I'm not suggesting that we grab pitchforks and torches, form a mob, and take down Anonymous. Just trying to flush out a thought.

Rock on.

*The term means "cocoon", but also "silly" or "stupid". The Hebrew root for the Yiddish word means "incomplete substance". It's likely that Tolkien's Gollum is a reference to this phrase, slipping from Smeagol, his Superego and Ego, into Gollum, his Id, becoming a baser creature

08 August 2009

Health Care Refo-oh crap, what are you doing with that noose?

From a recent NY Times article:
The bitter divisions over an overhaul of the health care system have exploded at town-hall-style meetings over the last few days as members of Congress have been shouted down, hanged in effigy and taunted by crowds. In several cities, noisy demonstrations have led to fistfights, arrests and hospitalizations.

Um...on the up-side, people are starting to take notice of politics. Yea!

On the down side, we're starting to look like those Fox specials with names like "The World's Wackiest/Most Violent Parliaments."

I understand that divisive issues will lead to frustrations on both sides. Great. Read up on the topic, take a side based on an informed opinion, and make your voice heard.

But be respectful and calm. Don't start a riot. This is not Iran. This administration did not steal an election. We are not being oppressed. We are being asked to join in a debate over the future of healthcare, like the civilized country we are.

And as a brief aside to those calling for these protests (I'm looking at you Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh, and O'Reilly): for eight years, you told protesters that they were un-American. You said dissent was un-patriotic. You questioned the loyalty of any who didn't fall in line behind the Bush administration's agenda. But now, dissent is patriotic, as your picket signs read. You organize events and encourage your followers to disrupt meetings and protest taxes, and then claim it's grassroots.

But I've never seen grass grow from the top down.

I'll let Mr. Jon Stewart explain*:
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Master Rebators - The Crank Cycle
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorSpinal Tap Performance

Rock on.

*I was going to right a brief explanation of Fox New's claim about Cash for Clunkers seen in the posted video. It took on a life of it's own and is now posted here.

On Cash for Clunkers and Why Fox News Sucks at Math

I started to write a brief end note to this post about political fist fights, town hall meetings, and the conservative double standard. The end note was going to be on an outrageous claim from Fox News that the Cash for Clunkers deal was running out of money. But the note quickly spiraled, and has taken the form you see now.

Now, on to Cash for Clunkers.

Yes, due to the program's popularity, it burned through it's allocation rather quickly, leading to additional funds being allocated. But at the time FN's claim, the math worked out like this:

The statement claims CfC was allocated $1 billion, and spent $96 million with another $96 million promised, and was therefore "basically out of money already". That's dishonesty in reporting. Let's look at this in digits.

One billion = 1,000,000,000
One million = 0,001,000,000

Notice the three extra zeros. At this point, CfC had spent $192,000,000. Out of $1,000,000,000.

Each clunker traded in is worth between $3,500 and $4,500.

Let us now consider this with smaller numbers and get rid of a few zeros. We'll move the decimals over six places. One billion becomes one thousand and one million becomes one. We will leave the percentages the same.

CfC allocated-------------$1,000.00
CfC spent-----------------$0,192.00
Each additional deal----$0,000.0045

Each additional clunker traded in costs less than one half of one percent. That means that 202,000 more trade-ins were made between Fox New's wonderful display of (willful) ignorance and the renewal of CfC.

What thinking man, given a thousand dollars, would claim that he was out of money after spending $192, if each purchase cost him less than half a penny?

Using elementary-school level math, you can move the decimal over one more place, and see that 19.2% of the allocation had been expended.

Does this mean that Fox News is a less-than-twenty-percent-of-the-glass-empty style pessimist? If this is the case, they are truly the most depressed people in the world. By the time you're a teenager, you're "basically" almost dead.

Another option is that they so incredibly simple as to not understand the difference between a million and a billion. But I would hope that "America's News Network" was smarter than that.

Instead, I see it that the network that claims to report the facts and let the viewer decided, who has taken "Fair and Balanced" to be their slogan, is so incredibly biased as to purposely misinterpret the facts to mislead the public.

Rock on.

Edited on 8 September 2009 for minor formatting changes.

05 August 2009

Did you know...

...that Christopher Hitchens sends his daughter to a private Quaker school?

That's what he said when he was interviewed by the Commonwealth Club of California.

He was asked which religion he detests the least, and gave the response that even the Quakers make the mistake of viewing faith as a good thing.

It is of the highest order of hypocrisy to claim that religion poisons everything and then send a child, your child, to a religious institution.

Rock on.

31 July 2009

Don Miller on Story and Christianity

I realize that the title is very descriptive. The point in all of Don Miller's books is the role of Story. In fact, his latest book, coming out in August, was originally going to be called Let Story Guide You, though he rewrote it and changed the title to A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.

Anyway, he gave a brief overview of the book on his blog, and laid out what he thinks is the true narrative structure of Christianity.

For more on Million Miles, see Miller's interview -- really, it's more of a video-taped conversation -- with his publisher, also on his blog.

For more on Miller himself, check out his website, his blog, or any of the many posts I've written on Miller.

Rock on.

04 June 2009

Anybody ever notice that the Pillsbury Doughboy is really just a bread gollum?

Congratulations, Pillsbury, you've created a medieval Jewish mythical monster that will eventually grow so large that it will collapse in on itself and kill whichever innocent family happened to be making cinnamon rolls that morning


16 May 2009

The Tyger

One of the gifts I received for my most recent birthday was a copy of William Blake's Songs of Innocence & of Experience.

Of the songs, perhaps the most famous is "The Tyger", which is presented below. The poem was the inspiration for several episodes of Batman: The Animated Series and the phrase "Fearful Symmetry" became a chapter in the classic graphic novel, Watchmen. The chapter is nearly completely symmetrical.

* * *
The Tyger

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies,
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb makd thee?

Tyger Tyger burning bright
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

* * *
Rock on.

13 May 2009

In All of This, There Can Be Only God

A few months ago, I posted several videos from a photographer doing some cool (no pun intended) time lapse stuff in Antarctica.

Today, he posted several new photos to his blog. Scroll down to the image of the Milky Way.

It is one of the most awe-inspiring things I think I've ever seen.

Rock on.

12 May 2009

And once again, there goes my productivity.

I discovered Hulu around this time last year.

Hulu is a web-based television and music hosting service, completely legal and free.

For college students, this is a huge service, and while I don't know how much Hulu has made, it's probably a lot.

I first heard of Hulu through YouTube.

A couple of days ago, I discovered that YouTube itself is trying to get in on the massive market for free digital media online.

I've spent the afternoon watching Nova's documentary on absolute zero.

Next up, I plan on watching a PBS two-part documentary on Martin Luther and former Python Terry Jones' series Medieval Lives.

Rock on.

10 May 2009

Where in the world is...

...John McCain?

Did the Republicans tell him to go sit in the corner after the election?

I haven't heard from him in a while.

Just wondering.

Edit: I'm bumping this because Sen. McCain was on ABC's Face the Nation today.

He seemed more like his pre-election self. He was back to being a moderate, advocating the closing of Guantanamo, but leveling a fair and valid criticism of President Obama's current plan and discussing the current state of the Republican party. He praised President Obama for putting a stop to waterboarding and admitted his own shortcomings during the election.

In short, he was not the same person who picked Palin as a running mate or accused Obama of associating with terrorists.

Welcome back, Senator. I missed you.

08 May 2009

It's hard to believe

I've been reading PHD Comics for nearly two years now, and have recently started re-reading them from the beginning.

The comic is twelve years old, so it's a lengthy process.

But that also means that when this strip was published, the world had no clue how truly horrendous Star Wars Episode I would be.

The poor fools.

05 May 2009

"Just grab a passing sagecoach..."

"...sagecoach, get it? Sage? Never mind."

Dom DeLuise died yesterday. He was seventy-five.

Mr. DeLuise, a rather prolific actor, has over one hundred roles to his credit from a career that spanned fifty-five years. His most memorable roles were smaller parts, a quick bit of comic relief, especially in Mel Brooks movies.

The title and video are taken from one of my favorite Dom DeLuise characters, Tiger from the second movie of the An American Tail series, Fievel Goes West. Dom DeLuise stars opposite James Stewart.


01 May 2009

Chicago Has Been Rescued

Oprah Winfrey will be featuring the Invisible Children documentary makers on her film today, officially rescuing the Chicago protesters.

For more than five days, people from every other city have been going to Chicago to help out, combining their food, and refusing to leave until they were noticed.

Congratulations, guys.

28 April 2009

The Rescue Update

Since Saturday, ninety-eight of one hundred cities have been Rescued.

The two remaining cities are
  1. Richmond, VA
  2. Chicago, IL
Hundreds of people from other rallies are heading to the two locations to provide support.

To see how you can help or to stay tuned for updates, visit this site.

Rock on.

Edit: Musician Gavin DeGraw rescued Richmond, leaving Chicago.

27 April 2009

The Rescue

Saturday was the national Invisible Children event The Rescue (of Joseph Kony's Child Soldiers).

The basic idea was that in one hundred cities across the world, people would gather and not leave until they were "rescued" by a celebrity and the media. For Atlanta, this meant a visit from comedian Jeff Foxworthy, who delivered a letter from Governor Sonny Perdue, an aide representing Senator Johnny Isakson, Representative John Lewis, who flew from Washington, D.C. to attend the event, and media coverage from the local Fox affiliate.

As the event drew to a close, "Rescue Riders" piled into cars and vans to head towards the nearest city not to be rescued, which was Charleston, South Carolina. Several people have vowed not to return home until all cities have been rescued (at posting, seven cities, including Charleston, await rescue -- to find out how you can support these protests, follow the link).

The Rescue Riders take their inspiration from the Freedom Riders of the Civil Rights movement, to include Representative Lewis.

On a related note, Rep. Lewis and five other members of Congress were arrested at a protest in support of the Save Darfur Coalition. The congressmen crossed a police line at the Sudanese embassy and refused to move.

Rock on.

21 April 2009

My Backwards Lent

I just left the desert on Sunday. I'm a week behind, I know.

This year, Lent seemed to be more about coming to a startling realization rather than intentional sacrifice.

I felt more like the wandering Israelites in the wilderness for forty years than the fasting Christ in the wilderness for forty days.

The things I usually give up for Lent seemed so much harder to leave behind. I felt more removed from God than connected. And as I felt the descending sense of isolation, I sat and was acted upon, rather than acting.

Now, as the Christian world celebrates the Risen Christ, I join in the jubilee, but seek the discipline I missed during those forty days.

May the Lord be with me, and all who search for submission to the Father.

Rock on.

12 April 2009

He is Risen

Pictured: Auferstehung Christi by Meister von Messkirch; retrieved on Wikimedia Commons

03 April 2009


I've said it before, I'll say it again. Living in a college town means good radio, which means underground music.

As I was driving home from a midnight run to IHoP, UGA's own WUOG was doing their usual thing, and a truly amazing song came on.

It's POS's "Never Better", off of the album by the same name. Listen to it at Pitchfork, and be sure to check out the eponymous track fourteen and track one, "Let It Rattle".

I didn't like hip-hop when I was in high school, but after listening to a few alternative artists, it has really started to grow on me. POS does a pretty good job of it. Not to mention, he sampled from and toured with underOath.

Here's his video for Optimist.

Rock on.

26 March 2009

Hosea and Wordle.net

This site is a lot of fun. Slightly addictive, though.

I ran the text from a paper I wrote for Prophetic Literature through it, just for kicks and giggles, and because after staying up until three am to turn it in at an eight am class, I needed to see it in some other form.
Wordle: Hosea and History
Incidentally, in removing the parenthetical citations before entering the text into the website, I realized that MLA format wastes a lot of space. The citations took up nearly half a page out of eight.


23 March 2009

Obama's 25 DVD Faux Pas

I know I'm a couple of weeks late on this, but people are still talking about it (for some reason), so it's still bloggable.

I know a lot of people are ticked off about Obama's gift to Gordon Brown, but it seems like a pretty good list of films. Ok, so they are only viewable on Region One DVD players, but I'm pretty sure Gordon Brown can get his hands on one. And perhaps President Obama was trying to highlight the importance of regionless DVD technology?

Or not.

Honestly, people, stop reading so much into this. It doesn't prove Obama to be incompetent, nor should it be read as some deep social commentary (my favorite one is that he's trying to communicate the importance of returning to the gold standard through The Wizard of Oz).

Maybe our president just doesn't like shopping for gifts?

Or, hopefuly, he was busy with more important manners.

But how about you? What would you have added to the list of films? How many have you seen? What would you have given in lieu of DVDs? (The list is in the linked article)

My answers:
1) The Shawshank Redemption, WALL E, Hotel Rwanda, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World and Stalag 17. Ok, so only one of mine is actually considered to be of any cultural significance, and even it is too recent to be considered a classic, but hey, at least WALL E would give PM Brown something to do with his kids.
2) I've seen eleven of the movies, and seven are on my to-see list.
3) The desk on which Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence. Ok, not really. A first-edition of To Kill a Mockingbird or The Federalist or...well, a first edition of any important book.

Edit: After a screening for my Judaism class, I'm adding Gentleman's Agreement to my list for #1.

17 March 2009

I Just Want To Point Out...

...that David Bowie did play Nikola Tesla in The Prestige, so this actually makes perfect sense.

Anyway, in my quest to become the indiest kid ever, I have discovered something truly amazing.

Did you know that you can play music on Tesla coils? At first, I thought it was mere gimmickry -- the Imperial March, the Mario Brothers theme -- stuff like that.

But people are actually making unique music with coils.

Check it out their "Creepy Circus Song":

You can find out more about the band, ArcAttack, at their website, and here some of their original stuff at their MySpace page.

Rock on.

12 March 2009

MSF Workers Abudcted in Sudan

The AP reports that several workers attached to the Belgian branch of Doctors Without Borders (Medicins Sans Frontieres; MSF) were abducted in the Darfur region of Sudan.

At present, no group has claimed responsibility for the abduction.

The attack comes just days after the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir and the subsequent ejection of aid agencies from the Darfur region, including the French and and Dutch wings of MSF.

Pray for peace.

Rock on.

10 March 2009

CoR's Sermon Archives

Spring break often yields interesting discoveries.

This year, I decided to explore the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection (better known as CoR, not to be confused with UMCOR, which is different, but probably more worthy of attention -- thus, the link on the side under Charities and Causes. But I digress...) website.

I often describe CoR to friends as the one megachurch I don't dislike. I'm not really sure if I'm joking or not. Maybe there are two. Rob Bell's Mars Hill might make the list as well. Of course, then again, megachurches are pretty popular in other countries -- South Korea has several. And megachurches do some good things; I remember reading about Rick Warren's trip to Africa. And yet more digression...moving on.

Anyway, CoR posts their sermons on their website. Pretty interesting. Right now, I'm working my way through the Lenten series, The Final Week. Check it out.

08 March 2009

Sudanese President Threatens to Expel Aid Groups, Diplomats

This recent report from the AP is very disturbing.

In the past few weeks, the International Criminal Court formally charged Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir with war crimes and crimes against humanity and formerly issued a warrant for his arrest, a giant leap forward in the six-year old conflict in Sudan's Darfur region.

In response, President al-Bashir has kicked out several aid groups, calling them "spies" and has threatened expulsion of many more if they "interfere in something that doesn't concern [them]."

Pray for peace.

Rock on.

07 March 2009

I Never Want to Hear Anything Again

I recently came across the most unwanted song ever.

It's over twenty minutes.

I'm at seven minutes, and will update when I finally give up.

See if you can beat me here.


Edit: I got through all twenty-one minutes and fifty-eight seconds of it. I'm going to go listen to nails on a chalkboard to force this abomination from my memory.
Edit 2: The Sequel: The most wanted song ever is not much better. It is highly reminiscent of something you'd hear on Delilah.

04 March 2009

We're Number One!

Apparently, my humble blog is the number one result for the Google search "judean garb" (I blogged about it here).

Oddly, the blog itself and not the specific post, is what Google turns up.

Strange, but true.

Anyway, just thought I'd brag a little.


You know it's the 21st Century when...

...bishops encourage people to abstain from text messaging during Lent.


As weird as it sounds, though, the thought behind it does make sense. If people give up Facebook for Lent, why not texting? It encourages more actual conversations -- gasp...even, perhaps, face-to-face! -- instead of short blurbs back and forth.

Rock on.

23 February 2009

Donald Miller on the Writing Process

For those who are unfamiliar with Donald Miller, you could read what I have to say about him in this post. Or you could watch him pray at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Or you could just click on the Donald Miller link on the side bar.

Miller's blog, which for some reason I only started reading this week, has a very interesting post on the creative process, specifically for writers. Enjoy.

Rock on.

03 February 2009

A Breif History of the Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo has become the center of nearly every civil war in the Great Lakes region in central Africa.

If you are unfamiliar with the history of the region, I prepared a short piece for the UGA Invisible Children blog.

Rock on.

02 February 2009


I haven't posted any bands on here lately, and it makes me sad.

Thrice is a post-alternative-hardcore band (formerly em/screamo) from California. I started listening to them when they were on tour with UnderOath promoting their album Vheissu and Invisible Children*. The first Thrice song I heard was "Image of the Invisible"**.

During their earlier years, Thrice had a much more screamo feel, and, in my opinion, was probably one of the best bands in the genre. For example, take their song "Stare at the Sun" off of the album The Artist in the Ambulance.

The album Vheissu marked the turning point for Thrice's sound and lyrics, taking on philosophical and religious content, and interesting intros for songs (my favorite might be "Music Box", as simple as it is). The album probes ideas of inherent human worth, consumerism, God, and makes allusions to the teachings of Jesus, the story of Jonah, and overcoming the trials and tribulations of the world. The last song, "Red Sky", takes its name from the old maritime saying, "Red sky at night, sailors' delight; / Red sky in morning, sailors take warning," which is quoted by Jesus in Matthew 16.

Thrice recently released a four-part concept album, The Alchemy Indexs, Vols. I-IV. The album is a series of four six-track EPs, each corresponding to one of the classical elements, Fire, Water, Air, and Earth. Each of the six songs for each element are somehow related, and the style is meant to reflect the element. And in a very interesting motif, each volume ends with a sonnet in the Shakesperean style***. Volume I - Fire has a much harder sound, often with screamed vocals and distorted guitars. Volume II - Water has a electronica vibe, featuring synthesizers. Volume III - Air has a slower pace, with very simple instrumentation. Volume IV - Earth is almost entirely acoustic, with the exception of one song, "The Earth Isn't Humming", originally written by another band. And, perhaps not of any importance to anyone but me, the album art was drawn by the lead singer, and is in a very Medieval style, reminiscent of European woodcut prints.

"Digital Sea" - The Alchemy Index, Volume II - Water

"Come All You Weary" - The Alchemy Index, Volume IV - Earth

As mentioned earlier, Thrice is heavily involved in Invisible Children, and front man Dustin Kensrue recently recorded an interview with IC, along with Aaron Weiss of mewithoutYou and Jon Foreman of Switchfoot.

Rock on.

*This, incidentally, is how I got involved with Invisible Children.
**Unfortunately, Universal Music Group has disable embedding on all songs to which they hold the copyright. They can still be viewed on YouTube, and I have linked the song names to the videos. The videos I have posted were released on Vagrant Records, and thus, can be embedded.
***If it's been a while since you've taken an English class, Shakespearean sonnets have three quattrains and a rhyming couplet and are written in iambic pentameter.

22 January 2009

The Ma-Cello Administration

For those who didn't hear, Stephen T. Colbert, D.F.A., announced that Yo-Yo Ma is officially the president of the United States of America.

His Stradivarius cello is now vice-president.

Which means we can look forward to four years of Hail to the Chief being played on cello. By the chief.

I'm OK with this.

20 January 2009

To All of Those Who Say, "I Wish Today Never Happened."

I was going to start this post off with, "I hate to break it to you, but President Obama really is in office."

Then I questioned whether or not the full extent of my sarcasm would be perceived.

Instead, I say this:

One president will not destroy the country. One president will not save the country. We need a deep cultural change. And a shift of this caliber requires a good leader -- a leader who can inspire the masses, who reflects the diversity of which this country is made and the adversity which it must overcome.

President Obama is that leader.

Politics aside -- this has nothing to do with taxation, health care, education reform, or the size of the government* -- we now have a president in office who can deliver his speeches with great enthusiasm, who can serve as a role model for young people, but especially young men, and even then, especially young black men, who is willing to take his family to serve at a homeless shelter on Thanksgiving, and who has spent time working among the disenfranchised in the inner cities.

Sometimes, an inspirational leader is need.

This is one of those times.

Many of you have spent the past four or eight years defending President Bush against statements such as, "He is not my president," or claims that he stole the White House. You have watched as people counted down the days to the end of his administration. You have said that people should express their discontent in different ways. A few of you have even dared to state that publicly questioning the president is unpatriotic. And, to a certain extent, I appreciated your devotion to the Office.

But now I ask you to not reject this line of thought just because of a shift in power. The time will come when the President will make decisions with which you will disagree, and then, I respect your right to complain, bicker, protest, and petition the government. But as of now, President Obama has been in office for less than an hour and a half. So until that time, I ask that you be happy about this historic occasion and the opportunity for new leadership. I ask that you put aside partisan bickering and exaggerated fears of a communist state, and instead join the nation and the world in rejoicing for our new, young, passionate leadership.

Thank you for your time.

Rock on.

*I make no secret of the fact that I generally agree with the new President on these issues, but I am not writing this note to argue about them.

Post Script: This post was originally published in the form of a Facebook note inspired by the statuses (stati?) of a few friends. Some minor edits have been made.

19 January 2009

Strength to Love

Today, we remember the life of Rev. King, one of the great leaders, orators, visionaries, and reformers of the 20th century.

I cannot say anything about this great man that has not been said before; instead, below, are King's own words. The first, is a video of the famous "I Have a Dream" speech, given in 1963. Second is a link to several of King's sermons in Strength to Love, provided by Google Books.

Strength to Love

Rock on.

01 January 2009

Christmaseen Costumes

This story caught my eye.

If you're too lazy to click on the link, as I often am, let me give you the run-down.

A pastor, tired of the secularization of Christmas, urged his congregants to dress as Jesus as a way to "put the 'Christ' back in 'Christmas'". They didn't preach, just wore robes and crowns of thorns. If asked about the unusual attire, they would use it as an opportunity to share their faith.

Admittedly, a return to the religious, non-commercial roots of Christmas is not a bad idea. But do you really need 400 Jesuses (Jesi?) strolling around Kansas City to serve as a reminder? Probably not.

Instead, why not get into the spirit of giving and self-sacrifice? I know from experience that Kansas City and the surrounding areas have a homeless population and high poverty rates. Why not volunteer at food banks and soup kitchens? Or do a fundraiser benefiting World Vision?

Or, if you just can't help but dress up in first century Judean garb, why not try an interactive live nativity scene? You can have Mary, Joseph, shepherds, angels, and perhaps even magi standing around ready to answer questions about their part in the Christmas story.

Actually, the interactive nativity scene sounds like a lot of fun.

Rock on.

Happy New Year

The New Year has arrived in South Korea -- fourteen hours earlier in South Korea than on the east coast of the US.

It's a new year, a new semester, and we begin to close out the first decade of the new millennium. It's a weird feeling, knowing that nine years ago, I was a sixth grader who wanted nothing more than to study volcanoes when he grew up. I was living in South Carolina at the time -- little did I know that in less than ten years, I would move to Georgia, Kansas, and back to Georgia. And before 2010 closes, I will be moving again, though to where, I do not know.

The truly weird part is that if I so desired, I could be finished with my undergraduate program in one year, though I will probably take fewer classes, take a year and a half, and enjoy my time in Athens.

2009 is going to be a time of priorities and decisions.

So here we go.