Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sorry folks. More politics.

Pew Research findings on the Democralypse Now gives cause for celebration (well, for us Obamites) and pause. The race-baiting is plum scary.

[W]hile Obama's personal image is more favorable than Clinton's, certain social beliefs and attitudes among older, white, working-class Democratic voters are associated with his lower levels of support among this group.

In particular, white Democrats who hold unfavorable views of Obama are much more likely than those who have favorable opinions of him to say that equal rights for minorities have been pushed too far; they also are more likely to disapprove of interracial dating, and are more concerned about the threat that immigrants may pose to American values. In addition, nearly a quarter of white Democrats (23%) who hold a negative view of Obama believe he is a Muslim...

One-in-ten voters believe that Barack Obama is Muslim; 14% of Republicans, 10% of Democrats and 8% of independents think he is Muslim.

(AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAArrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggghhhhhhhh! Not that it should matter. But the guy constantly states that he is NOT a Muslim. Hillary Clinton's "not as far as I know" doubt-infusing comment notwithstanding.)

Nearly six-in-ten Democratic voters (57%) believe that Obama is most likely to win the party's nomination, while 28% expect Clinton to prevail. Last month, 70% said Obama was most likely to win, while 17% expected Clinton to win.
h/t to Art Levine at Huffington Post

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

We have choice...

Among other dirty, low-down, deceitful tricks and messages that the Clinton campaign has brought us recently, here's one of the lowest:

``He would not have been my pastor,'' Clinton said at a press conference while campaigning in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. ``We have a choice when it comes to our pastors and the churches we attend.''

Thanks for once again adding to the noise and confusion of race tainted by doubts, race-baiting, xenophobia, allegations of disloyalty, fear-mongering...

Is Barack a Muslim?
"Not as far as I know."

On "remembering" being under threat of sniper fire a decade ago in Bosnia (and her claims of experience):
"I may have misspoke."

On the fact that her campaign has gained no traction since early February:
"You know, the people of Ohio spoke. And the road to the presidency goes through Ohio."

On the fact that she has an outside (10%'s the buzz-word) chance of securing the nomination:
"And also remember that pledged delegates in most states are not pledged. You know, there is no requirement that anybody vote for anybody. They're just like superdelegates."
[Which is what this whole smear-campaign is about, anyway. Make Obama look so bad that the delegates will have no choice but to switch allegiances to Clinton.]

Former President Bill Clinton putting down the Obama campaign for a charge that, really, his wife's campaign is accusing Obama of:
"This is what this should be about, two people (McCain and Clinton) who love America. Not all this other stuff that gets in the way of it."
[And then he says the same thing today about getting back to the "real" issues. Which, btw, Obama has been doing but has largely been ignored for, since it's really just not sexy enough.]

A top, top aide (hound-dog Jimmy Carville) on New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson's timely endorsement of Obama:
"He's a Judas."

Let's hold up there.

A Judas is one who betrays who he loves, one who betrays her cause. I'm sorry, but looking at the fact that the Democratic Party is internally bleeding right now and what looked liked a freight train to the White House is now looking like a streetcar named Desperate, I think I know who the traitors are. If John McCain is leading in the popular opinion polls (by two points in a head-to-head match-up against either Dem candidate) and he hasn't even started flinging the mud yet, if Rove's job as-is is phenomenally too-easy, I think we all know who's been stabbing who in the back.

I choose not to listen to your garbage anymore, political machine. Please, let Barack Obama be Barack Obama. Take the high-road for a turn. We do have a choice. I think that America is ready to be treated as adults. Please stop treating us as children. Call out to our better selves. We just may listen, this time.

Thank you, Bill Burton, for this:
After originally refusing to play politics with this issue, it’s disappointing to see Hillary Clinton’s campaign sink to this low in a transparent effort to distract attention away from the story she made up about dodging sniper fire in Bosnia. The truth is, Barack Obama has already spoken out against his pastor’s offensive comments and addressed the issue of race in America with a deeply personal and uncommonly honest speech. The American people deserve better than tired political games that do nothing to solve the larger challenges facing this country.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Weekly Links We Like to Link to - Post-Easter Edition

Easter weekend was weird for me. I didn't post not because I was being extra sanctimonious, pietous, meditative or even fasting from posting. I was just out of sync. And I guess I might just use the Pentecost season as the time to contemplate the death, resurrection of Christ and also how it affects me in the world around me. Here's some starter kits, though:

Andy Whitman uses T. S. Eliot's "Four Quartets" to understand why "We Call This Friday Good".

N. T. Wright - I don't think I'd trust another theologian to write a better piece on Easter than he, but I haven't read this one yet. So, it's here so that I will. "The Uncomfortable Truth of Easter." (Btw, I'm not sure if what's at the bottom half of the page should be there. I may just copy and paste it somewhere else before someone takes it down...)

An older post of mine on Easter.

And, finally, a reminder to unconsciously live the Resurrection in day-by-day exchanges.
h/t to I Am JoshBrown.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

National Awkward Moment Day

I peed in my pants today...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

News of the Weird 13 (Unlucky? You decide.)

While driving home from a night out at a bar in January, 51-year-old Pat Dykstra of Fox Lake, Wisconsin, was persuaded by her boyfriend that she might be too drunk to drive (by his own admission he was in no condition to take over), so she did what she apparently thought was the sensible thing; without leaving the road, she called 911 and explained the situation, providing her name, a description of the vehicle, their location, and the time they'd likely make it home. Sheriff's deputies arrived at the house not long after the couple did and gave Dykstra a breath test; sure enough, she was well over the legal limit and soon faced a $740 fine and the possible loss of her license.*

This story leaves me just a bit conflicted. On the one hand, I hate drunken driving with a passion. On the other, I like honesty. So, let me weigh the balance here:

Yeah... she's dumb.

But wait... there's more! ("More?" you ask. "How can there possibly be better news than this? Is everything all right in Fox Lake?")

Apparently, Ms. Dykstra drunk-dialed 911.

The call came in at 12:29 a.m. Sunday on the county 911 line as a hang-up call from a cell phone, [Sheriff Todd] Nehls said.

Dispatchers used a reverse 911 directory and called the phone, which was answered by a woman who identified herself as Patricia Dykstra, 51. She said her boyfriend made her call, because "somebody seems to think I can't drive home straight. "

Well, she can't think straight. But who says you need judgment to drive? Ha-ha, that's just ludicrous.
When the dispatcher asked her why, she said, "He seems to think I'm too intoxicated to drive. "

During a relatively pleasant conversation with the dispatcher -- a recording of which Nehls released Monday -- Dykstra gave her name, location and vehicle description before saying she should probably hang up because "I don 't like being on the phone while driving. "

Asked by the dispatcher if she had too much to drink, she said "I don 't think so, ma'am. "

And if you thought that that was a deal, well, hold on to your seats, folks!

She said she was almost home and gave the intersection. Throughout the 3 -minute call, however, the dispatcher did not suggest the woman pull over. Nehls said the dispatcher assumed the woman had already stopped, although her last advice to Dykstra was, "So Pat, drive carefully, OK?"

Yeah. That and the woman said that she's "driving"!

One last piece to close the deal here, folks:

Sheriff Todd Nehls says Dykstra did the right thing by calling them. “I think a judge will look at her and say 'you know what, you stepped up to the plate. You did the right thing.' I think it’s commendable,” he said.
She did??

*"News of the Weird", Chuck Shepherd; The Chicago Reader; March 13, 2008; p. 133.

Weekly Links We Like to Link to - The Religious Edition

Because what better way to honor a Saint?

Speaking of which, Dan Kimball at Vintage Faith has a post on the Missional St. Patrick, noticing how he had been scorned by the officials in Rome and England for hanging around scoundrels and sinners, rather than making enclaves in the pagan Ireland. (And yes, this is being posted on Tuesday - sadly, late - while St. Pat's day was supposed to be celebrated on Saturday due to Holy Week. But I think it's a nice culmination of events.) Here are a couple other links on poor misunderstood St. Patrick, the one-time Briton slave and then missionary to Ireland (who did not, apparently, drive out the snakes via the Pied Piper). Blarmey!

They're magically delicious.

Tony Jones is considering why Liberal and Conservative Christians are so boring.

James Dobson wonders, "Where have all the cowboys gone?" No, wait. Who will lead the conservative Christian movement now that the Grahams, Falwells and Colsons are fading away? Here's another question: Will there be a conservative Christian movement in a similar form as there is now in the next generation? Or will American Christianity (in particular, Protestant Christianity) be more fractured than ever before. Or rather, hopefully, find more common ground and begin acting as a large unit?

The Christian Vision Project this year is asking, "Is our Gospel too small?" I think that's a great question. Tim Keel responds that the word "Gospel" is now short-hand for many of a truncated view of how one gets to heaven.

Asking "Is our gospel too small?" implies that something is off kilter—that somehow we have gone off course in the way we answer "the gospel question." But it may not be just our gospel that is too small. It may be that we have been living in a world that was too small—the small, reduced world of modernity.

One of the features of the modern world was "reductionism": the belief that complex things can always be reduced to simpler or more fundamental things. To reduce something is to take it out of context and to take it apart. Church leaders have become experts at reductionism. Ministries that are successful in one context are reduced to "models" that we try to duplicate in other contexts. Sometimes such reductionism is effective. But when we use reductionism indiscriminately, we end up in a world so simplified it is barely recognizable.

So in a modern world, we tend to reduce the complexity and diversity of the Scriptures to simple systems, even when our systems flatten the diversity and integrity of the biblical witness. We reduce our sermons to consumer messages that reduce God to a resource that helps the individual secure a reduced version of the "abundant life" Jesus promised (John 10:10).

And the gospel itself gets reduced to a simplified framework of a few easily memorized steps.

Scot McKnight's response is that our vision of the gospel needs to be more robust, more fully-dimensional. I'll include two of his "8 Marks of a Robust Gospel":

2. The robust gospel places transactions in the context of persons. When the gospel is reduced to a legal transaction shifting our guilt to Christ and Christ's righteousness to us, the gospel focuses too narrowly on a transaction and becomes too impersonal. We dare not deny transaction or what's called double imputation, but the gospel is more than the transactions of imputation. The robust gospel of the Bible is personal—it is about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. It is about you and me as persons encountering that personal, three-personed God.

Indeed, more often than not in the New Testament, the gospel is linked explicitly to a person. It is the "gospel of Christ" or the "gospel of God." Jesus calls people to lose their life "for my sake" and, to say the same thing differently, "for the sake of the gospel" (Mark 8:35; 10:29). Paul preached the "gospel of God" (1 Thess. 2:9) and the "gospel of Christ" (3:2) and "the glorious gospel of the blessed God" (1 Tim. 1:11). Paul tells us that the gospel is the glorious power of God's Spirit to transform broken image-bearers into the glory of God that can be seen in the face of the perfect image-bearer, Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 3:18–4:6). In our proclamation, too, the focus of the gospel must be on God as person and our encountering that personal God in the face of Jesus Christ through the power of the Spirit...

7. A robust gospel includes the robust Spirit of God. How often do we hear about the Spirit of God in our gospel preaching? To our shame, the Spirit has been defined out of the gospel. But notice these words from the New Testament's most notorious gospeler, Paul: "For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to win obedience from the Gentiles, by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and as far around as Illyricum I have fully proclaimed the good news of Christ" (Rom. 15:18–19). For Paul, the gospel, the power of God unto salvation (1:16), was also the "power of the Spirit of God." Again, "In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God's own people, to the praise of his glory" (Eph. 1:13–14). Jesus, too, said, "But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you" (Matt. 12:28). The gospel is animated by God's powerful Spirit, and its result is Spirit-empowerment for new living.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Listen (oo-ah-oo) listen closely and I'll tell you a secret

Having been a youth leader and teacher most of my adult life, in a sense, the secret lives of girls isn't really new to me. After all, having read so many barely-shielded journals of teenagers (and definitely hearing more than my share of unsolicited out-loud thoughts), nothing should shock me anymore. But yet, I'm always shocked, frustrated, angry and saddened reading these types of thoughts (which mostly 10-15 year old girls posted on a page in Allykatz).

“Some times I want to shoot myself...”

“I'm sick of being lied to. I'm sick of being betrayed. I'm sick of putting other people's burdens on me and thinking it won't hurt me. I wish I had some true friends, not just one or two. I wish I could have one of those big groups of friends like EVERYBODY does at school. I wish. But I only wish...”

“all right i am in love with a guy who has a gf and i dont know if i still like this other guy my family drives me nuts and when i get annoyed by them they yell at me and i just wanna go into my room and cry sometimes but when i am in my room sometimes my dad will walk in and see what i am doing so i cant cry because they will find out i just need him so much i want him to be able to tell me everything is okay. ”

“i have a crush on my brother”

“my bffs mock me, we wer @ a slep ovr an di was asleep but 1/2 awake.. my eyes closed i herd the mtalk about me lke "yea hshe listens 2 since u been gone! lol" and then moked the song!!! i hte u guys now! 2 of ya r on here! and omg, this all sucks.......i wanna die.... like suicide now! and i wanna b out of this house.. free on my own! w/ my frends u kno rent a duplex w/ my bff she shares the house w/ me.. omg we even r plannning on that! =) good times...... until my BF and ibroke up got back 2gethr and stuff ever since that....... they hate me, sadly they(my bff and othr bff) got him & me 2getrhr!!!!! it makes me wanna kill myself”

But some of the secrets posted here (for the benefit, btw, of other female teens and tweens who are going through similar emotional turmoil) are funny -intentionally or not.

“im goth on the outside but on the inside im a preppy. Like secretly if i could paint my room i woould paint it pink.”

“I lyke a jerk!! Dunno y either! Just so hot i guess!! ”

“I want to be emo but I want to be preppy. sometimes I 'll wear stuff from AERO or abercombie and fitch. And sometimes I'll wear stuff like skelanimals and I just dyed my hair black... EMO OR PREPPY????* UGHUGHUGH”

“don don doooooonn guess what my secret is? i want a pet MONKEY!!!!!!!!! but everyone thinks im CRAZY!!!!!! oh and im obsessed with saying i like pie!**..."

h/t to Marko

*Aren't they the same?
**I, also, like pie.

1,610 to 1,496

If the superdelegates take away the lead, I think we can all cry foul.

I know that I'll at least be crying.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Happy Palm Sunday / St. Patrick's Eve

IM with my wife last night:

Jennie:I forgot tomorrow was palm Sunday!
I can see why all the Catholics were flipping out of St. Paddie's Day. The streets are crazy here.
me: yeah, and me without my colt
you mean kilt?
12:49 AM me: all the irish wannabees
why, did jesus ride to jerusalem in a kilt?
i missed that translation!
Jennie: hah!
me: find something new all the time.
Jennie: right! no, act I think the colt had the kilt. ;)
me: new irish translation
Jennie: hah!
12:50 AM me: best in show?
Jennie: the celtic gospel
me: gospel according to scrooge mcduck

It's amazing that we conversed so much via instant messenger before we got married (really, for like five months, it was our main method of communique).

Friday, March 14, 2008

For my birthday

Jocelyn started crawling.

She's been turning over and wiggling her little way all over town for about the last month.

Of course, this would happen on the one day of the week when I'm not at home...

(cue the violins)

Now, what this means in practical terms is, we gotta start baby-proofing. And fast!

Weekend Links We Like to Link to - the non-political edition

The Packers tell fans that Favre went away to live in a farm. (from The Onion)

"Don't be sad," Packer head coach Mike McCarthy told fans, many of whom began crying audibly, shaking their heads, or turning away at the news. "You should be happy for Brett. He is in a much better place now. He has many of your other favorite Packers, really great Packers like Reggie White and Ray Nitschke and Max McGee, to keep him company. And he even has a coach—Vince Lombardi is on that farm, too."

Although Packers officials gave no specific details of the farm, its location, or the family who will now take care of Favre, Thompson confirmed that it is "far, far away, beyond the football fields we know, in a very happy place where Brett will never be cold or get sacked ever again."

"There are no winters there, and no injuries, and no interceptions, and even though people will play football with Brett all day, they all have so much fun that no one remembers who won or who lost," McCarthy added.

The penny-farthing for extremists:

According to Brad [the creator], the 12-foot SkyWalker is so strong that it can
easily take a 500-pound pilot, a little trivia fact that makes me imagine a
Fantasia hippo driving one.
h/t to Mark o

On teens and the amount of time watching tv and internet (i.e., screen time):

"Girls that lived in more disadvantaged neighborhoods were four times more likely to be in these high viewing groups. And boys in disadvantaged neighborhoods were two to three times more likely to be in this high-risk group," said Barnett.

h/t to YPulse

Thursday, March 13, 2008

News of the Weird (dozen) - Too much freedom?

Scott Gomez filed a lawsuit in January against authorities in Pueblo County, Colorado, alleging (among other things) that they failed to take precautions to prevent him from breaking out of the county jail. Gomez claims he injured himself in January 2007 when he fell 40 feet while trying to climb down one of the building's exterior walls. The suit contends that the facility was easy to get out of, but they "did next to nothing to ensure that the jail was secure and that the Plaintiff could not escape." *

It couldn't have been that easy, no? I mean, dude had to scale down at least one four story building. That would be my argument.

From the police blotter:

On January 10, 2007 at approximately 11:30 P.M., two inmates escaped the custody of Pueblo County Jail. Medical personnel working in the jail reported to security that they had heard a loud “thud” on the outside of the building.

Sergeant Mark Lightcap immediately responded to the outside of the facility and apprehended an injured Scott Anthony Gomez DOB 03/22/1985. Sergeant Lightcap then preceded obtaining medical assistance for the injured Gomez and activating security procedures in the jail.

Gomez, as you may recall, was one of the two men that previously escaped through the ventilation system of the Pueblo County Jail and was being held on escape, parole violations and aggravated robbery...

The alleged escape route includes an area of the jail that is currently under reconstruction efforts. The entire ceiling area in all secured areas of the jail is being fortified to prevent escapes. This particular area of the jail was identified by security and maintenance as needing repairs...

Preliminary investigative effort indicates the inmates removed a vent screen from the shower area and climbed through utility and venting areas to the roof.

*"News of the Weird" reported by Chuck Shepherd; Chicago Reader, p. 101; Feb 14, 2008.

For the Love of All that's Decent, Stop Wasting Our Time, Billary

Because my computer's at the shop again, I haven't really been able to write nearly as often as I would like to. Subsequently, most of the blogging that I have done has largely been politically-motivated - because I am filled with fear, dread, anger and - most importantly and relatedly - hope. It seems that a historic campaign is turning into another precedented campaign (or rather, campaigns), one that took place some forty years ago. I'll let Stephen Colbert explain the relationship between George McGovern and Barack Obama.

(Sorry, video won't work. Click here for the page.)

Add to that, the Clinton's lack of response to a bone-headed and stupid ploy to race and gender-bait Obama's supporters. So, it worked; I'll bite. I'll add one more piece of noise to this ongoing argument:

It is because Obama is a black male that he has the experience that he does - that has helped to make him into the person that he is, and in his case, would make him a truly great candidate.

But, let’s take another spin at this, eh? If he were white and still came across the way he does now, still have the ambition, charisma, intelligence, talents, and dreams that he does? That’d still be historic - after all, the last two white men with that combination were assassinated in the '60s. But they had the extra backing of a paternity that designed itself from day one to reach the highest public places. You see Obama would most likely have less opposition and fewer people nipping at his heels. This election would be a rollover and my guess is that Ms. Clinton would beg to be his running mate.

John McCain has just recently got Karl Rove on his side. I don't think he needs him. The Democrat Machine is doing a fairly good enough job of imploding on its own.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Does anybody else out there think that we've lost our voice?

Seriously. I don't think that this administration has as much power to shine out human rights violations as - well, the Land of Lady Liberty should.

And ignoring China? Good call on Russia and Putin, though. Especially since they're not economically viable to us...

"Countries in which power was concentrated in the hands of unaccountable rulers remained the world's most systematic human rights violators," said the report.

Yes, exactly.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Weekly Links We Like to Link to 4

Remember the first time you heard "Smoke on the Water"? Now you can relive that glorious moment in all of its ancient Japanese splendor.

h/t to MarkO

10,000 B.C. inaccurate? So it ain't so...

For the first time since Johnny Cash died, I picked up a copy of Rolling Stone magazine. I'm a bit giddy about their endorsement of Barack, and I'm loving their coverage of the technologically-savvy grassroots campaign he's got going.

Stop... Hammer Dance Video Time! (M.C. Hammer's started up a dancing YouTube, complete with battles [disclaimer: the one battle I saw was retrograde lame]).
h/t to Ypulse.

RC has an intriguing post on responding (or the lack of responding) to the Iraqi War docu No End in Sight (again, view here for free).

Friday, March 07, 2008

Quote of the Week

I'm just outright stealing this quote from Josh Brown, who got it from Abraham Heschel, who, I believe, I quoted at length here before. Rabbi Heschel was a Hebrew scholar whose works and work had a tremendous influence on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. But this is beautiful and I think that every Literature (and Math, Science, Spanish, History, Social Sciences...) teacher should have this committed to memory and hanging above their workspace.

The Greeks learned in order to comprehend. The Hebrews learned in order to revere. The modern man learns in order to use. To Bacon we owe the formulation, “Knowledge is power.” This is how people are urged to study: knowledge means success. We do not know any more how to justify any value except in terms of expediency. Man is willing to define himself as “a seeker after the maximum degree of comfort for the minimum expenditure of energy.” He equates value with that which avails. He feels, acts, and thinks as if the sole purpose of the universe were to satisfy his needs. To the modern man everything seems calculable; everything reducible to a figure. He has the supreme faith in statistics and abhors the idea of a mystery. He is sure of his ability to explain all mystery away.

Between God and Man.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Weekend Links We Like to Link to - 4

Oops. National Grammar Day (i still don't know how to spell grammar. Bad English teacher I is.) has passed and I failed to mention that there momente-ous ocassion. Worry not, dear sailors. Their's still time for yous. Hopefully, you won't be to effected to do something about it.
h/t to Relevant

Also, courtesy of Relevant:

"Cyberspace can be very useful for [Buddhist] monks," Ladda said. "But it's wrong to use it to pick up girls."
So true, so true...

And to round up the trifecta of links courtesy of Relevant:
Has it gotten this bad? Streetposts padded to protect inattentive, texting pedestrians.

A scary case where autism in one child is linked to her vaccinations.

And now for something a bit more political:
  1. Hillary's surge is like the surge in Iraq: costly, bloody, won't win the war.
  2. Is Clinton supported by the Archie Bunkers? Says one Chicagoan (who probably didn't vote for Harold Washington either), "If Obama gets in, it's going to be a black thing and it's going to be all blacks for blacks,'' said Victoria Mikulski, a 63-year-old clerk in Edison Park. "Everything's got to be equal.'' (I think I'd stick with the Meathead vote, if that's the case.)
  3. And, just in case you didn't know: Republicans may echo attacks on Obama made by Clinton (Duh!).

Those were the days!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

o My God. What is this woman thinking?!

Hillary Clinton was up early today, appearing on the morning television
shows a day after her primary wins in Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island and
suggesting that she and her opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, might share the
Democratic ticket -- with her in the No. 1 slot.

"That may be where this is headed," Clinton said. "But of course we have to
decide who is on the top of the ticket. I think the people of Ohio very clearly
said it should be me."

Yes, and as Ohio goes, so goes the nation? She's a bit... nervy I guess is the word for it.
Maybe she just needs more sleep...

At least the cartoonists aren't as pro-Clinton biased.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Both Starbucks and I Needed to Get Our Priorities Straight

The coffee is still bitter

And so am I

Weekly Links We Like to Link to 3

Win Ben Stein's Intelligent Design! (Actually sounds smart and enticing, according to this review at least.)
h/t to Jeffrey Overstreet

Moms Everywhere and the Lone Ranger (hmmm... maybe I should rework that description...).

Apparently, this is a hit with middle-aged moms and the morning talk-show crowd. It's pretty funny. I saw a little bit of her other stuff, but I really could not relate to that. It's not as mainstream.

And another vid for my man, Obama:

Not as catchy, but emblematic of the raw hope he is giving to people. Btw, one of the biggest reasons that my wife and I are such supporters of him and his movement is because we believe he can help to reshape the image of the U.S. Something that Jessica Alba, of all people, brings up. I also like the fact - although it may or may not be too late - that there are a lot of Latino voices in this video.
h/t to Staycspits

And speaking of Obama and Clinton, are Ohio and Texas Republicans crossing the party line tonight to "bloody up Obama"?
That's foul, man. Is Karl Rove in Columbus?

Monday, March 03, 2008

Albums by Christians that Rock, vol 2 - Chagall Guevara & Steve Taylor

Chagall Guevara - Chagall Guevara

Like an artist making headway into your personal and social realms using guerilla tactics, this semi-celebrated semi-supergroup burned out before they faded. Or maybe they faded out into obscurity when their rabid fan base was ready to chew them down.

Chagall Guevara begins the album with a "Murder in the Big House", a death knoll for, well, maybe pop Western society, maybe for the music industry these CCM vets just left for MCA, maybe for the status quo. It seems that Steve Taylor and Co. are serving notice to listeners with ears: This may be you. It's an apocalyptic call worthy of Marley and the Clash, with shimmying and rollicking guitars riding over a thick-as-walls bass line put down by____. Recalling the last night of Babylonian rule recounted in Isaiah and Poe's "Fall of the House of Uscher"

"Escher's World" is a tour-de-force of mismatched lyrics decrying the insanity and inanity of the world we occupy and define, using a few lyrical and musical twists and turns inspired by the artist and his stairwells.

A host of swirling and crunching guitars supplied by guitarists and backing vocalists Lynn Nichols (who, among other things was an A&R rep and a producer for Phil Keaggy's seminal Sunday's Child, as well as a song-writer and guitarist in his own rights) and Dave Perkins (who helped to produce Taylor's iconoclastic I Predict 1990 and was in the same label group as Mark Heard back in the mid-80's that tried to break out of the Christian music ghetto) and a backbeat to beat the dead skins from your ears.

"Hey, don't I know you
from some other life
you were wide-eyed and green
and a little bit taller
and you didn't look away
when spoken to...
deaf from the din of your self-righteous babble...
I think you've been blinded
by your own light

And like a surgical cut in a back-alley, Taylor breathlessly asks, "Was it sudden / was it clean / were there a lot of shades in between" before he implores, begs and demands his subject to "step away... and looose yourself".

Musically, "Play God" is the most intriguing, with a horn section arranged and played by Taylor, Nichols and Perkins to send chills down the spine of music geeks everywhere. The song is another sarcastic masterpiece, evocative of Dylan during his electric years. Taylor sneers, "And you still play God / how'd you get so good / so almighty / so mighty misunderstood." "You ought to swim the Channel / you stroke so fine." The horns twirl and flut away to a swirling oblivion.