Friday, March 24, 2006

Super-Jerks is more like it!

According to BoingBoing (who I trust with my life, I Swear! Ok, I lied.), Marvel and DC Comics are jointly putting in a trademark for the term super-hero.

Oh, Aquaman, where are you when we need you?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Music Mash

I don't have an iPod. At this point, I can't justify spending $200 on something I know I will break within weeks. But I do have iTunes. Not the best thing, but decent.

Here's a random 10 songs playing on the "Party Mix" this afternoon (I decided not to repeat artists):

  • "How Long" - Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Long Walk to Freedom. I just think they have phenomenal voices. I'm not a big fan of world music as a genre (the world is just too big for me to delve into it without much prior knowledge), but the percussional tendencies of some of the African singers that I have witnessed are mixed with beautifully dry vocals and great pop compositions (many of which are culled from their work on Paul Simon's Graceland, but without Simon's gratuity thrown in to interrupt). "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Feet" is absolutely joyous.
  • "B Part: A Beautiful Collision" - David Crowder Band - A Collision. It's... I don't know. It's deliberately worship music. But that's kind of like saying something's Christian music - you have in your mind substandard crappola music. But with Crowder (this is really the only thing I have with him), you get the idea that he's in it for all the right reasons. His worship is introspective and resonant (or so I pick up) and the music is genuinely challenging, somewhat reminiscent of Wilco, with some folk, rock, bluegrass and hip hop elements. Thankfully, they decide not to rap.
  • "Paranoid Android" - Radiohead - OK Computer. The best Radiohead album. I believe. It also betrays my love of pop produced unconventionally.
  • "Ashes to Ashes" - David Bowie - Best of Bowie. Too short an album. But it goes up there with The Best of the Ramones for slaphazard retrospective greatness.
  • "Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Raiders' March" - Cincinnati Pops Orchestra - Star Tracs. Don't ask. Please. Ok, I did it for my students as part of a presentation example on heroes. Happy? (And, yes, I skipped over it within twenty seconds.)
  • "Evil and a Heathen" - Franz Ferdinand - You Could Have It So Much Better. Not my favorite track on this album. But honesty's the key, eh?
  • "Crumbs" - Deepspace 5 - Unique, Just Like Everyone Else. Yes, as my girlfriend has pointed out, I do like the hip and the hop. Of course, this being the first hip hop representation on this list betrays, I believe, other tendencies.
  • "Fairpoint Diary" - Over the Rhine - Films for Radio. Some fans hate this record. It's like Dylan's "electric" period. Which I also love. They both belong to the "I-can't-believe-you-made-a-pop/rock-album." A bit like giving Jesus a hard time for having a drink with the guys.
  • "She Belongs to Me" - Bob Dylan - Bringing It All Back Home. Speaking of the dever... My favorite record from this iconoclast (who I discovered well into my twenties, despite the hoopla of the Baby Boomer Machine to make everything of their generation The Greatest Ever!) is actually the follow-up, Route 61 Revisited. R61R shared a fate with OtR's Films for Radio and Hezekiah Walker's A Family Affair (The Funkiest black gospel I've ever heard!) and landed somewhere outside route I-94 on a long road trip some years ago. But honestly, this is electric??
  • "Plan B" - Mutemath - Reset. I really haven't listened to this much. They're decent. They loooove to mix and mash styles. And their performances seem to be top-notch (not much of a technicalities man. It's just my opnion, what I think I hear.) But I don't care too much for the songs.
I don't have too much music on my iTunes, as it turns out. It's hard to negotiate, to be honest, and I'm still an album man. So, next time, from the WMP, m'kay?

Currently reading: Anything I can get my hands on about Mexican history.

Now, here's a great idea!

The McPassion is a four-minute long commercial for the greatest marketing ploy ever concocted.

The greatest story ever told
and a fast food giant unite
to deliver the tie-in of tie-ins.

While supplies last.

If you're as ticked-off with all the marketing going on at churches these days (for good, bad or ugly merchandise or movies), then this is the product for you!
I've been reading from and been delighted by N. T. Wright for the last half year, but realized I've never blogged about him. Anyway, he's a New Testament scholar (and a high ranking Anglican), specializing in the first century Jewishness of Jesus and Paul. One

...The biblical texts upon which Jesus seems to have drawn saw the restoration of the land [of Israel], which was of course part of the whole agenda of the return from exile, as closely bound up with the restoration of broken and damaged human beings. When the wilderness and the barren land were summoned to rejoice, as in Isaiah 35, it was time for the eyes of the blind to be opened, the ears of the deaf to be unstopped, for the lame to leap like a deer and the tongue of the dumb to sing. Jesus' healings, which formed a central and vital part of his whole symbolic praxis, are not to be seen, as some of the early fathers supposed, as "evidence of his divinity." Nor were his healings simply evidence of his compassion for those in physical need, though of course they were that as well. No: the healings were the symbolic expression of Jesus' reconstitution of Israel. This can be seen to good effect in the contrast between Jesus' agenda and that of Qumran. Read the so-called "messianic rule" from Qumran (1QSa). There the blind, the lame, the deaf and the dumb were excluded from membership in the community of God's restored people. The rigid - ruthless, one might say - application of certain purity laws meant a restrictive, exclusive community. Jesus' approach was the opposite. His healings were the sign of a radical and healing inclusivism - not simply including everyone in a modern, laissez-faire, anything-goes fashion but dealing with the problems at the root so as to bring to birth a truly renewed, restored community whose new life would symbolize and embody the kingdom of which Jesus was speaking.

From The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is, InterVarsity Press.

I'd also like to thank iTunes for making Over the Rhine's Films for Radio available for $9.99. Although I bought the album a long time ago, and lost it a few years back, it's still familiar to me. I guess those songs haunted me, but this time in a pop-py sense (not to be confused with the seeds).

Monday, March 20, 2006

What?? You put how much down on an all Big Ten Final Four

Considering how well the Big Midwest (+ one) did last year, I would've never figured we'd see such an early exit (of course, being a University of Illinois at Chicago alum, I don't know where I get this "we" language from. Not to mention, I don't play collegiate ball). I mean, second-flippin'-round!

And I was picking OSU for a FF appearance. O well, the other three teams are in it. (One of my co-teachers - we'll just call him New England - is going for UConn over everybody. But he's wrong. Dead wrong. (I hope.)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Pics of My Babies (from my youth group. Hands off, pervs! I'll break your collarbones!)

Miss Mooshie in her b-boy stance (I betcha can't do like us.).

I took some of my kids to Pizza Hut today. I was left with the bill (of course). But the adults I also invited to hang out with them bolted for the first open table before we even got there - without calling me. Hah! Jerk roommates and assorted friends! That's why they get no camera love. (You can argue I don't get no camera love either. But I think I'm dead sexy!)

That's me, Pete and li'l Trenise, Pete's cousin's daughter. Yeah, we're b-e-a-u-tiful.

Camera-shy Darshay's sipping some Pepsi. Jemel looks positively ghastly in the light back there. Everybody else weaves... I mean, says hello from the back o' their heads.

Chicago's famous Lou Malnati's for an after-party for a church. (Although this particular restaraunt... meh.) I love it when the photo-genic comply and stay put, even if it's for a cheesy black&white from a cheesy cam-phone in a night shot on a cheesy, greasy table (thanks to us, btw.)A cam-phoneninja attack. Markisha and Trenise. Both compound names. End the Madness!

Did you seriously think I was gonna end this post by saying something cheesy like, "Best Friends Forever?" No, instead,

Don't ever let me see you in this place again, sucka!

Monday, March 13, 2006

March Geekness

  • I got 'Zaga and Ohio State in the 4inal 4our on my brackets. I went for the conservative upsets this year. {Does that make me a nerd or a dweeb? I'm thinking dweeb since I didn't crunch any numbers, or watch any full basketball games this year (college or otherwise).}
  • Oh, and tomorrow's my birthday.
  • And Friday's St. Patrick's Day. He's the guy who got all the snakes out of Ireland so that the citizens can freely, openly, and drunkenly brawl. And sometimes maybe worship Jesus. And leprechauns while smoking shamrocks.
  • Saturday's McDiaz day, where Irish-Puerto Ricans celebrate our freedom from the tyrrany of living with our parents. Well, four of us, anyway.

Current artificial flavor: Strawberry

I forgot how cool Pop Rocks are.

It's like a Mozart symphony in your mouth.

Get a whole box of them, and it's like a John Williams soundtrack in your mouth.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The three most important songwriters of the rock age

Bob Dylan

Stevie Wonder

David Bowie

Sorry, Beatles and James Brown fans.

Something else to bide my time...

My classroom, a minute before the chaos ensues:
Seeking entrance to the skating rink-a-dink with my youth group:

Two of the more photo-ready girls from my youth group, a guy with a camera phone, and a pizza place that was willing to stay open late night, just for us - and about two dozen other post-late night hip hop church attendees:

Now, if only I could figure out a way to make myself semi-popular on the blogosphere again. Do you think that if I put in more humorless rants and pictures that only interest me that eventually everybody'll find out how interesting and truly original I truly am and will want to be my friendster?

That's the ticket!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Meme about memememe

Ok, here's a little help in that department, a stolen meme. And since no one really continues these anymore, consider yourself tagged, sucka!

Four jobs I’ve had:

  1. janitor
  2. caterer
  3. youth minister
  4. teacher

Four movies I can watch over and over:
  1. Dumb & Dumber
  2. Napoleon Dynamite
  3. Star Wars IV
  4. Star Wars V

Four TV shows I love to watch:
  1. The Simpsons (more of the classic-era episodes)
  2. Conan O'Brien
  3. Final Four (gotta let this one in for March)
  4. The Office

Four places I’ve been on vacation:
  1. Oklahoma (family. Really, does this count?)
  2. Southwest Missouri (Kids Across America camp.)
  3. The ATL
  4. Toronto and the Atlantic states (all in a blaze of a week)

Four favorite dishes:
  1. Deep Dish Chicago-Style Pizza (preferably Giordano's)
  2. PB&J
  3. Mexican (preferably Lazo's Tacos' burritos)
  4. Jibarito y arroz con gandules (preferably El Borinquen) -->

Four Web sites I visit daily:
  1. My email page
  2. Most of the blogs on the right
  3. yeah, that's about it
  4. Maybe
Four places I’d rather be:
  1. With my girl
  2. With my girl
  3. With my girl
  4. In heaven

Four bloggers I am tagging:
Y'all, suckas!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Life's a Beach*

Sorry I've turned this blog into a teenager's rant-xanga the last week. It probably explains why readership is down this week. But, the truth is, I've always been a bore.

Anyway, time for a little comedy. haha. I looked funny before shaving (this morning). And at the end of the school week.

In other news, see a girl jump through a basketball hoop. If you haven't already, that is. Un-flippin'-believable. (Is that a curse? I'm trying to give those up for Lent, at the least.)

And then there's this live action re-sequencing of The Simpsons' opening.

*An ESL student of mine thought she had to convince me that she said beach, with a long e, not a long i.

By the Rivers of Babylon

1 Beside the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept as we thought of Jerusalem.
We put away our lyres, hanging them on the branches of the willow trees.
For there our captors demanded a song of us.
Our torment
ors requested a joyful hymn:
"Sing us one of those songs of Jerusalem!"
But how can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill upon the harp.
May my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth
if I fail to remember you,
if I don't make Jerusalem my highest joy.

Psalm 137
let me see your face
if you would decide to deride,
to call out heavy names
names i cannot bear,
that i do not dare
call another without proof that would
stand in court
the vindicative and dericisive
land in our lands
fight for our ports
go inland and kill all in sight
with a thrill that entices
and spits in the face of all
that dare to look in the eyes,
let dusk be still for one night

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


I don't normally use this blog (or really any of my blogs) as a diarrhetic diary. I don't like to spill my beans or business in public (though I do like to engage in dialogue and, yes, arguing), or get all emotional. But I was called a racist today. Not for the first time. And, of course, being white (with a slight mix that is indecipherable through my physiology) in an Puerto Rican and African-American neighborhood causes a lot of stares and suspicions and presuppositions (from all sides of the racial divides), but rarely have I had people accuse me of being a racist - to my face.

And then I started teaching. And it hurts. Like he++ (for the Holy Season, I'm trying to Lent cursing. Although, I think I'm gonna keep a**. It's just too funny to abandon.)

In one of my classes (that I teach), I was accused of being a racist because the majority of punishments levied were given to the Black students. In the next class, I was accused of being a racist because a majority of the punishments were levied to the Latino students. But this was a couple of months ago. Unfortunately, not much has changed. I still have to give out a lot of detentions. And I largely give them to those who catch my attention. So, whoever is most vocal in the class (in disruptive matters) is going to catch my eye and ire. In the first class, there is more of a mix (although again, the majority of punished is African-American) and the students tend to be more empathetic towards me (if less so to their other teachers, much to my chagrin). In the next, it's still the Spanish-speaking that grab the most attention, and thus, the most punishment.

And, as I'm typing this, I can see real obvious connections between this and law enforcement. Which makes me all the sadder.

Today, I was accused of racism. And I can't do much about it. It's not the type of fight I can engage in during the time it's brought up. And the thing is, I don't believe that a person should have to fight such criticisms, or prove that they're not racist - like Eminem or Michael Rappaport. Their life should testify. You can't say, "Some of my best friends are black and/or hispanic." Or name who, of a different race, you hang with. As a friend of mine said, if you can count the amount of black friends you have, don't bother.

Engaging in race relations - and the discussions that travel alongside it - aren't negotiable. You can't not talk about them. You can't ignore it. But it sure ain't easy, even for us who have been facing it and fighting the good fight our whole lives.