October 18, 2006
Only 68 Days Until Christmas!
I was in J C Penny this evening, and while browsing around I noticed that the background music sounded familiar. For a minute I thought that it was some song that had a melodic phrase similar to a very popular piece of music; just an interesting coincidence. But as I listened to see if the melody changed, I realized that what I was listening to was the more popular tune.
"Angels We Have Heard On High".
I said to the guy at the register, "Christmas music? Already?" He gave a light-hearted roll of the eyes and said, "Tell me about it." I love Christmas music, don't get me wrong (my father is a non-repentant Christmas-aholic), but this does seem a little early.
So you know what that means, right? When you start hearing Christmas carols played in the stores, it's almost...
October 09, 2006
Tom Lehrer and Political Satire
As part of a chemistry "assignment", one of the teachers for our homeschooling "co-op" gave her kids the URL to an old Tom Lehrer song where he sings many of the elements to the tune of "Modern Major General". In doing that, we looked up some information on Lehrer, who's songs I'd heard here and there as a kid. Funny stuff.
Lehrer was quite the Harvard liberal. On Wikipedia, it says he quipped that political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973. I just wonder if good ol' Tom had anything to say when Yassar Arafat won it. Just wondering.
June 15, 2005
The Meaning of X &Y
My blogging comrade Abigail Brayden pointed me to this article concerning the interesting cover art on the new Coldplay record. The artwork, once decoded, simply means "X & Y." How appropriate. Coldplay, meanwhile, is still passionate about making trade fair.
Look. I buy fair trade coffee. It's a voluntary thing on my part to pay a buck or two more for the java, and it always taste better than the cheap dreck. (Community Coffee being the notable exception) But that's a willful act, and it's not a massive reorganization of trade agreements. Using an international framework to artificially inflate prices may help third-world workers in the short term, but it is a horrendous long-term solution. It just doesn't work. Eventually the market will collapse on such prices, and then we're back to square one. Not a good idea, folks.
So how to help the third world? I can support some debt relief, on the agreement that the relieved funds go to develop infrastructure. It is important that developing nations have a free government, a free press, the rule of law and freedom of religion. Without those things, a stable economy will not develop for any significant amount of time.
June 07, 2005
My thoughts on the new Coldplay release can be found at Matt Crash!
Keep scrolling for my humble opinions on the best rock bands in the world, Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson in Birmingham and my first viewing of the Grant/Hepburn/Stewart classic the Philadelphia Story.
March 08, 2005
War and Bleach
I hope to find out soon enough.
I've been enjoying Bleach's music for many years. Though Bleach hasn't jumped on the "Let's Put Out a Praise and Worship Record!" bandwagon like so many others artists have done in the last decade, I think they've had a number of incredibly worshipful songs. (For an emo-geek-rock band anyway.) Their 1999 self-titled CD (their third) was much maligned, but it's always been in regular rotation in my CD player. "All That's Sweet," "All to You," and "Good" are outstanding expressions of worship -- the last two in particular could and should be Praise and Worship standards by now.
But I digress.
In searching for a review of the new CD, "Farewell Old Friends," I came across this interview from September of 2003, done upon the relase of their previous CD, "Astronomy." (Second favorite of mine.)
In the liner notes for "Astronomy," the band notes that the brother of band members Jared and Milam Byers, was killed in Fallujah in July of 2003. In the interview linked above, Jared and Milam share a bit about their brother, Captain Josh Byers, and his thoughts on our military actions in Iraq.
Do you remember the last time you spoke to Josh?
Milam: Yeah, it was April 2, the night before he flew to Iraq. He called all of us as a family to say goodbye. That was a hard thing. When your brother goes to war, all you can think about is, "Will I ever talk to him again?" He also wrote us every week or two, so we have letters that will just forever be special. My parents got a letter he wrote the day before he was killed. It's just amazing, because in the letter he talks about how our security is not in our circumstances but in God and a great faith-words that mean so much now, you know?
Obviously, Josh might still be alive today if not for the war in Iraq. Do you think his death was a necessary part of a necessary war?
Milam: Yes, because he believed it. For me to think any different would mean that he died in vain. Before he left for Iraq, he said, "The reasons I'm going is not the things you hear on CNN. It's not about oil, it's not about policing the world, it's not about weapons of mass destruction. It's about freedom. It's about us wanting to afford these innocent people a freedom that we Americans enjoy, and it's about people like Saddam not being able to bully the world around and kill innocent people anymore." That's what it was about. It wasn't any of that political propaganda bull that we're flooded with. It was about him wanting to free those people and genuinely caring for those people.
Jared: Josh was fighting to free those people and to free our country from terrorism. Josh believed in what he was doing, and I did too. I know why he was over there, and I know what he believed in. He felt it was a necessary cause, so I do too. I hate the war; nobody wants war. But I know that Josh believed he was there for a good cause.
Here is a military family who has lost a son and a brother. Anyone would understand if they reacted strongly against the war and against the administration that sent him there. But they don't. And this scenario is repeated countless times among countless military families. I'd like to think that I would continue to support our military presence in Iraq if such a tragedy would affect my family, but I fear that I might become bitter instead.
"Understand there are reasons beyond ours," goes a line from the title track of "Astronomy."
I don't know how they do it.
If "Farewell Old Friends" is, indeed, the final album from Bleach, I'm going to miss them. But these guys miss their brother every day.