The Eagle (Der Adler, auf Deutsch) just sent me This Super-Sweet Article about the Zeppelin revival movement. Let me just say that I would travel by Zeppelin rather than heavier-than-air craft any day of the freakin' week! I'm not as big an airship nerd as the person who wrote the wikipedia article I've linked the title to (homeslice went so far as to quote airship-related portions of the Treaty of Versailles. Big Nerd Alert!!!), but even a novice like myself can appreciate how great airship travel could be. My last flying experiences? Sucky. Thanks for the cookies, Midwest Express, but too little, too late. I would gladly tack on an extra day or two to any travel I did if it meant: comfort, space, human interactions, ability to open the windows (!!!), and a sense that as a passenger I was more than a seat-filler.
Incidentally, how sweet is this photo?!? (Thanks, wikipedia!) The majestic, perfectly streamlined USS Los Angeles cruises peacefully above the nascent …
The Rock and/or Roll band Radiohead has just announced (as of two days ago--so I'm a little behind the times) that they will be selling their next album online, for no fixed price. A prospective consumer has the option of paying anywhere from 99.99 GBP to, well, 00.00 GBP. I'm no economist, but it doesn't take Milton Friedman to tell you that a contract with Generic Big Record Company, Inc., is a bad deal for just about any music making organization: all the revenue from units sold gets chewed up by dozens of middle-person companies. I don't remember the exact figure, but a band makes pennies of royalty on every dollar's worth of sold CD. This is one reason bands like Metallica were so anti-file-sharing: despite being a huge, world-famous rock band, they need every income stream they can get, and get very sensitive when said income streams seem threatened. I've always thought that the internets, rather than being the net-negative bands like Metallica (and …
You, as a right-thinking, good-hearted person, must watch this short film by the Cuarons about Naomi Klein's latest book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. My beloved and brilliant father long maintained that, basically, it was all Reagan's fault. Pretty good general rule. In every father-child relationship, however, the child must define per/him/her-self against that dominating parental energy. This is my moment, late in my twenty-eighth year, the time when I step over the line from dutiful child to rebellious, self-defining adult. I'm my own man now, Father! It wasn't all Reagan's fault--Milton Friedman did it, too!
ESPN, bless them, is showing the UW Badgers football game today! Right now it's about two minutes from the end of the third quarter, and UW is up 34-24 over Michigan State. Not too shabby! Wisconsin's defense has stiffened a little in the second half, and PJ Hill is running like he has an extra leg. In other news, the Brewers are losing to the Padres in the eighth inning. Kind of hard to invest emotionally since the Cubs have clinched the division, but sheesh, you would hope they'd at least finish over .500. One game left after this one, one chance to finish with a winning record for the first time since 1992, one chance for the team that started the season 24-10 to grasp one tiny piece of redemption and not finish the season on a five game losing streak. What a disappointment. One of the all-time great choke jobs. On the plus side, who's looking forward to tomorrow's Packers-Vikings game? This guy!!! I'm heading over to Alameda to catch the game and…
Ooog. I caught Sarah's cold during our getaway this weekend, and all my running around yesterday just brought it down on my head like a sack of doorknobs. I feel like crap, and I've got a ton of homework dangling over my noodle. And yet, I just spent the last hour reading and commenting on an AV Club blogpost about fantasy and sci-fi novels. I'm a firm believer in double-dipping, and here's what I wrote:
Wow! This thread's got legs!
I feel like I'm reading a forum on my non-school reading from the past few years. Stephenson, Donaldson, Jordan, Gaiman, Mieville, Pratchett, Adams... An embarrassment of riches!
Before I get into my own nerdy list of loves and hates (and indifferences), I want to direct the attention of the assemblage to this article about the curse of World-Building, courtesy of boingboing.net:
I love seeing Oberlin get recognition. And I love its art rental program. But this article is just terrible. Typos, bad sentence construction, you name it. It looks like it was written by a child. Very disappointing, WKYC.
In other news, Sarah and I are going away for our 5th wedding anniversary, so don't expect anything before Sunday!
Well, maybe a little looked-for. I flipped on the TV yesterday morning, curious to see who was playing, and what do I find but the opening minutes of Packers v. Eagles! On live TV! In Oakland!
Actually, save for a few moments of excitement courtesy of Ol' Number Four, the (really-really-outstanding-looking) Packers Defensive Line, and the Eagles special teams unit, it was a pretty boring game. The Packers offense didn't drive for any touchdowns (and I think the three field goals came off of turnovers). Most of the game was a push, honestly. But it was tied up to the last minute, when Green Bay punted, the Eagles receiver muffed the punt, Green Bay recovered, and then...
And then Fox announced they were taking us to the beginning of the local game. So rather than the gripping, chilling, suspense-filled final seconds of action (which I found out later culminated in Mason Crosby's 43 yard game winning kick) I got fifteen minutes of dull, dull, dull pregame covera…
I came across a great post at HooptyRides (blog of fixit-genius Mr. Jalopy) on the subject of classic cars, and whether or not any of today's cars will ever be considered "classic". It's the August 21 entry, and well-worth the scroll-down. Mr. Jalopy was inspired by this article in the Wall Street Journal. I agree with Mr. J's critiques and insights, particularly regarding the extensive use of plastic in modern cars as impediments to their classic status. He's right: pretty much every car you see on the road today is one or two decades away from cracking, crumbling, and being scattered by a light breeze.
That said, I considered it a supreme injustice that neither of these two mentioned two current cars that *I* consider classics, plasticity notwithstanding:
The Honda Civic SI (all three major iterations):
The BMW M-Class Z3/4 Coupe (In its older and soon-to-be-released versions):
#2!!! A revisiting of Rain Man from the Onion's wonderful pop-culture studies site, The AV Club. Highly recommended because of the perspective of its author, and because of said author's insights (which I guess must stem from that perspective...I guess I have only one reason to recommend it, but it's a reason that branches and evolves in beautiful ways...).
#3!!! An essay by genius Bill Watterson (creator of Calvin and Hobbes). Watterson embodied a perhaps never-to-be-repeated synthesis of brilliant draftspersonship (control of line, depth, and gesture), insightful and understated use of color, and penetrating worldview of sufficient depth to grasp the mind of a brilliant and hyper six year old and those of his parents with equal sensitivity and wit. That might be the worst sentence I've ever writte…
BoingBoing.net, my fave blog, has been posting about Cayetano Ferrer recently. His stuff is thought-provoking and beautiful, and I think I might be able to use it in my thesis! Click the title of this post for a link to his site. You can also go to BoingBoing and search their site for "Cayetano Ferrer" for photos of a cool project he did by painting billboards with the images of the landscape they obscured. Yeah. Not only is it a neat way to explore the presence/absence tension and the illusory nature of our ideas of permanence and possibility, it also is a great subversion of the advertising media in service of art rather than the vice versa.
Bad few weeks for the GOP and the administrationEither this rabbit hole goes deeper than humanly imaginable, or the wheels have finally come off the noise machine. Or this is a statistically meaningless cluster of bad news for the Prez.
This decent article from Huffington Post shoots two fish in the same barrel: Karl Rove and American journalists.
Bill Moyers speaks to the base and utter cynicism that drove Rove and Bush to brief political victory, at great cost to, well, the world.
Just a few late-nite links in between folding the laundry and cooking a late, local, stir-fried-veggie dinner in case Sarah's hungry when she gets home from bartending at a wedding in Sonoma. Mouthful of a sentence!
What happened is that I double-booked myself with catering jobs today, so Sarah, bless her, took the bartending-wedding job, while I worked at a Bat Mitzvah over in Walnut Creek.
!!! Gerhard Richter, one of my fave artists, just finished a stained-glass window commission for the Super-Cathedral in Cologne, Germany (going with the Francophile spelling since I don't know how to do umlauts in Blogger). Click the link for high-res, high-rad photo of said window. And don't worry, there's nothing wrong with your computer; it's supposed to look like that.
"Kitsch is imitative, cheap, sentimental, mawkish and incoherent, and derives its appeal by demeaning and degrading genuine standards and values, especially those of modernity. While the proponents of the faux retro style claim to uphold tradition, they are inherently reactive and parasitic, their words and products a tawdry patchwork, hastily assembled as declarations against authentic complexity and ambiguity, which they stigmatize as threats to the sanctity of an imaginary harmonious order of the past that they insist they and their works represent. Kitsch presumes to be based on old rules, but constantly traduces them.
jiggety-jig. Whew. So that's it for the crazy summer travels (at least, the planned-out ones). Sarah and I got home a few hours ago. We woke up this morning at 3 am (pacific time), so I'm gonna try to keep this one short and sweet.
1: Paul and Ali's wedding was amazing. Expect more post in the coming days. Long story short, they are now married and honeymooning up in Door County; a good time was had by all; I did a better-than-adequate job officiating my first wedding, and I mailed the wedding certificate on time.
2: On Sunday, the day after the wedding, we drove up to Rochester, MN, as a family to visit my mother's mother, the venerable Grandma Karlson. We rushed up to see her because on Monday (yesterday) she had a long day in the hospital, with blood tests and biopsies to determine if growths recently found during a CAT scan are cancer; if so, what type; and then, what treatment (or non-treatment) action to take. Grandma had asked me to perform her Memoria…
Rats. Maybe since I was travelling most of the day yesterday, I can get a free pass this time.
All is well at Becky and Andy's new place--it's on a knoll, so there are great mountain views on all sides; it is open and light all day; and Maddie and Carly are super happy. What a blessing to have two such sweet nieces!
I went to Target down in Littleton today, to buy myself a minister suit for this weekend--[gulp]! I found a really nice dark grey number (with pinstripes--very refined, though), plus belt, tie, and nice shirt for $200. Not bad. While I was browsing the racks I got a call from my mom--sad news, that I'm not really ready to write about yet.
On the way back to Evergreen I met up with Becky and Sarah and the girls at TinyTown, a local tourist attraction--miniature houses and buildings, with a train and a playground. Way cute, and a real spirits-lifter for me.
Now I'm about to homilize; Sarah and Becky are evaluating the plant-life and garden-potential…
The only part of this video I don't like is right before the the start of the second verse, where West utters the words "Me Likey" while images of an Asian woman dance on screen. I expect more from someone as smart and politically active as West, especially in light of his call for HipHop to abandon anti-gay language.
That said, I can't stop watching this one. Daft Punk have captured cycle-punk gang member Kanye West and are in the process of rewiring his brain, allowing him to tap into his immensely powerful latent psychic powers in order to become an unstoppable, superhuman party machine. Honestly, though, any video that does a halfway decent job of reenacting scenes from Akira is gonna tickle my nerd buttons, and this video nails it.
This [click on the post title for the link] can't really be called an article; it's more of a stream of thematically linked factoids about one of the late 20th century's perfect objects: the CD. My Dad got the family's first CD player when I was in first grade ('86, I think--I seem to remember it was in the Spring) and I'll never forget climbing up the back porch steps with Simon and Garfunkel's The Boxer blasting through the very walls of our house--it was right at the chorus, "Lie la lie [BOOOOM!] Lie la lie lie lie la lie; lie la lie [BOOOOOM!]" etc. I read later that they used a ridiculous huge drum that had been installed in the bottom of an elevator shaft in an office building in New York City for that [BOOOOM!]. I hope they recorded on a weekend.
By the time I was in high school Dad's CD collection was the thing of legend. My jazz-loving friends would come over and marvel at it--easy to do, as it covered an entire wall of the living …
Fuck. The first half of this post just got bloggered. I can't reconstruct it tonight, or ever probably, but just to provide a little continuity with the surviving portion, I wrote about the death of my favorite PSR professor, Doug Adams, and how taking his class Modern Art and Religion in America changed my life. I will write more about him tomorrow, since I can't do him justice tonight.
Doug died in late July, and less than a week after his death I got an email from Gergo, the German Dept. PhD student (and friend of our friend Sabrina's!) who had taken over our Hungarian classes after Professor Mihalik was diagnosed with lung cancer. He said that no-one had expected it to happen, and so soon, but Agnes had died at about 6 that morning, July 31. Agnes was in her 40's, and while Doug's death was expected to a degree, or at least led up to, her death was a total surprise to me. She told us about her diagnosis in class just four months before her death, …
While I was pretty harsh on Clapton in my previous post, I feel compelled to note that, in my opinion, Duane Allman's soaring slide guitar solo in the second half of the song is one of the most transcendent moments in ...I was going to say popular music, but I think I can lump unpopular music in with that, and declare it one of my favorite musical moments, ever.
Here's a photo titled "Wacka Wacka Wacka. Your guess is as good as mine.
In a conversation last weekend (with Frunchy? Damn it all, I can't remember! Sorry if I've misattributed this...) my conversation partner remarked that the hallmark of a good blog is consistency, that one should be able to check it daily and have something new to read. Otherwise there's just no incentive. So forthwith, I resolve to post at least daily. There's always something worth thinking and writing about, even if briefly.
So here's a (very) brief bio of Charles Finney, Oberlin Patriarch. I always get a tickle out of the great changes undergone in Christian Evangelism in the last 150 years. And the swap of the core values of the political parties.
Next, here's an excerpt from Pattie Boyd's autobiography, from the Daily Mail. In Britain. Pattie Boyd, if her name doesn't ring a bell, is the ex-wife of both George Harrison and Eric Clapton. Truly, a modern-day Alma Mahler-Gropius-Werfel (I knew of some of the others, but had no idea that sh…
Last night, in San Francisco's ATampersandT park, Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron's all-time home run record. Thank God that this media circus can now dissipate. The Chronicle devoted its entire front page to a huge photo of the triumphant slugger, going so far as to replace its banner with a "756!!!" logo. Classy. Lost in all the hubbub was a tiny detail that, for me, sums up the entire Bonds home run saga, and also the Giants' season this year: Giants lose to Nationals, 8-6. Is this not the epitome of the current "There's no team in me!" ethic that permeates almost all of pro-sports? I mean, yeah, great job, Barry, but it's not like y'all are going to the playoffs this year, is it now?
When Sarah was in New Zealand, Flight of the Conchords performed for her group thanks to ...not nepotism, as I understand, but rather connections. Here they are performing their signature hit, Bowie's In Space.
Flying makes me crazy. Here's the president of the Airline Pilots Security Alliance explaining why the system we're operating with is inadequate and insecure. Sarah and I have been doing a lot of flying in the past few years, and it seems like every time we set foot in an airport the bullshit gets thicker to wade…
Sarah and I landed in Minnesota around this time last night--now she and Areca are out on the town with Suzanne as part of a "Ladies' night out". Me? I've been reading magazines and comic books and drinking a few beers. If Frunch and Gabe had arrived a day sooner I would have had some company, but honestly, I've had a great night. Once we get back to the Bay, expect some great shots of Areca in her wedding dress. Until then, I got nothin'.
Super-friend DJ PM Funk sent me this article a few days ago, and I finally held down my vomit long enough to finish it. Don't get me wrong, it's a great article--it's the subject matter that is so vile.
Johann Hari reports from The National Review's annual cruise, and it's a horrifying, shocking, and devastating story. When PM sent it my way it was with the message "See if you can make it past the second page." I'm glad I did, if only to read about the rhetorical throwdown between Norman Podhoretz and William F. Buckley Jr. It's a testament to how off-the-charts Podhoretz is that he makes Buckley look positively sane in comparison.
Long story short, it's a great article, and well-worth the read, even if you do have to shower afterwards.
I miss fireflies. I miss cardinals. I miss seasons. And man, o man, do I miss thunderstorms. We got a couple of real serious t-storms one of the days we were cleaning out Gaga's apartment. Here are some photos from that evening.
We came into Lansing at a little after midnight. Barry and Sandy picked us up and we drove back down to Jackson. We went to the hospital the next day to see Gaga. I don't really know how to write about seeing her. She looked so different from the last time we'd seen her, at Christmas. Her vitality was gone, maybe everything that made her her was gone, or maybe it was invisible, or resting in a hidden place. She had dozens of get well soon cards taped to the cabinet doors of her room, and framed pictures of herself and her husband, her kids and grandkids and greatgrandkids and greatgreatgrandkids (!) on all the available surfaces. Sarah's sister Rachael made a collage of family photos from the last fifty years. The hospital staff were so kind and conscientious, checking in to see how everyone was doing, bringing breakfast and snack trays, and just being really warm and supportive. Thank God for good people.
Gaga died a few days after we arrived, the day before Adam …
So I was 0-for-2 in predictions in my last post. No Olympic Peninsula, no GA.
When we left Oakland, we drove more than 12 hours up to Breitenbush Hot Springs in southern Oregon, where we tried our damnedest to relax, without really succeeding. Then we visited good buddy Shauncito in Corvallis, where he is finishing his PhD, and living with his PhD advisor and the advisor's family. Great to see Shaun, and wonderful to meet his hosts, but by the time we were driving North, backpacking was the last thing either of us wanted to do, much less any more time in the car, plus Sarah was sick and feeling crappy. So we detoured to Seaside, OR, and a youth hostel we'd stayed at on our bike trip. Man, did we stay there! Four nights, altogether. We cooked, read, hiked, canoed, went out for dinner...really swell, low-key vacation.
Where the River Meets the Sea
Sunset From the Back Porch of the Seaside Hostel
Shipwreck @ Fort Stevens State Park, North of Seaside
My word! Like Tolkein said, it's dangerous business walking out your front door--you never know where the day will take you.
This whole thing has been my first introduction to the "UU Blogosphere", and a good reminder that the creative conflict inherent in forging and leading in liberal religion can be messy business. One point made by many folks I've talked to about this is how different the tenor of the conversation would have been had it been conducted face to face. With some trepidation, given the amount of misinterpretation, projection, and sensitivity that has characterized so much of this online conversation, I offer the following cartoon from Penny Arcade:
Just to reemphasize: I am not calling anyone a "fuckwad." I offer the above cartoon because: it's hilarious; and because it is a powerful explication of an internet-characterizing phenomenon. PeaceBang herself, over the course of the last few d…
This is a cross-posting of a comment I left on peacebang.com's recent post about my school, Starr King School for the Ministry. PeaceBang, who is apparently a UU Minister in the Northeast, posted a few days ago an item about my school's supposed "banning" of the term, "brown bag lunch," because of the racialized connotations of brown bags.* Her post was, to my reading, haughty and dismissive, and she seemed awfully pleased with her own wit and ability to take cheap shots at others with little to no basis for her opinions. I think the comments for that post are up to 40, and it's a pretty lively back and forth. So, here is my contribution:
"This may not be the ideal forum for “deep, serious conversation,” but one of the cornerstones of Educating to Counter Oppression is the importance of having deep, serious conversations wherever they happen. The status quo of “waiting for the right moment or forum” to engage with these issues too often leads to…