Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Stop Grinning at Persians

1) I very nearly got into a email discussion about Protests: Pros and Cons (the opposite of protests, of course, are contests but we didn't discuss these). As it turns out people don't tend to like email discussions. So, rather than bringing up the topic again, I thought I'd bring up Mr. Woody Allen's take on the matter from his 'A Brief, Yet Helpful, Guide to Civil Disobedience' in the section 'Demonstrations and Marches':

A fine example of a demonstration was the Boston Tea Party, where outraged Americans disguised as Indians dumped British tea into the harbor. Later, Indians disguised as outraged Americans dumped actual British into the harbor. Following that, the British disguised as tea, dumped each other into the harbor. Finally, German mercenaries clad only in costumes from The Trojan Women leapt into the harbor for no apparent reason.

When demonstrating, it is a good to carry a placard stating one's position. Some suggested positions are: (1) lower taxes, (2) raise taxes, and (3) stop grinning at Persians.

For Civil Disobedience, Mr. Allen also recommended 'Dressing as a policeman and then skipping.' This is good advice.

2) Speaking of that, at this time of year it is my custom to watch Allen's 'September.' A chamber piece, set entirely in a Connecticut cottage, really interesting, but not exactly funny. It contains this uplifting piece of dialog--

PETER: You feel so sure of that when you look out on a clear night like tonight and see all those millions of stars? That none of it matters?

LLOYD: I think it's just as beautiful as you do, and vaguely evocative of some deep truth that always just keeps slipping away, but then my professional perspective overcomes me, a less wishful, more penetrating view of it, and I understand it for what it truly is: haphazard, morally neutral, and unimaginably violent.

Anyway, good-bye summer.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Thank you, US Postal Service, in advance...

1) Great news everyone! Illinois is on it's way, thanks to our helpful friends at! And already I can't wait for Vermont...

2) In is about the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII, and our good president is expected to start comparing this war and that war in upcoming speech. [Pause, to roll eyes] I think this is a good idea, but I am afraid we might hare learned the wrong lesson. Rather than 'Even well intentioned members of a great generation end up doing terrible, wicked acts in the name of God and Country and Power' but instead the Administration learned only 'The ends justify the means.' A bad business.

(I just got a new translation of 'The Brothers Karamazov' so I'm going to be posting what my hero Alexei Fyodorovich (Alyosha) has to say on the matter soon...)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

'Truth turns into Beauty in unexpected ways.'

'I didn't care what they said, I just couldn't believe that this was what the worship of the early church looked like--all the cluttered doodads of gold, incense, and fancy vestments. My vague assumption was that early Christians just sat around on the floor, probably in their blue jeans, talking about what a great guy Jesus was. It was embarrassing to review Scripture and realize that from Exodus to Revelation worship is clothed in gold, silver, precious stones, embroidery, robes of gorgeous fabric, bells, and candles; I don't know of an instance of scriptural worship that doesn't include incense. God ordered beauty, even extravagant beauty, in worship even while his people were still wandering the desert in tents. Beauty must mean something that no-nonsense, head-driven Christians fail to grasp.'
-- Frederica Mathewes-Green. (in Facing East)

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Tables and Chairs


1) I have been really into Andrew Bird's latest album lately. Here is a review:

It raises an interesting point: if the record companies really wanted to get rid of music pirating, they would put more effort into making quality CD jackets...

2) I just read on BBC that there has been a proposal to introduce big game back into the American west. It is a insane idea, but I hope they pull it off.

3) Also from BBC, the great Italian Cinematographer Tonino Delli Colli has passed away. We should all rent a few Italian movies as a tribute. Actually, I think Life Is Beautiful is the only one of his movies I've seen. Here is a list of them all.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

'thanks for the tunes, and thanks for the time'

So, I haven't been writing much of late and I'll try to do better, but for now...

1) I meant to say earlier, but Monday was the Feast of the Dormition of Mary.

2) More on the end of the war (60 years ago):[1]

3) He says it's not a 'serious blog', but why not check out our old friend Leigh's web log?

4) My iPod Top 25 Most Played:

1. Dry The Rain. The Beta Band.
2. Big Boat. M. Ward.
3. Goodbye West Coast. Matt Sharp.
4. Hear Comes The Sun Again. M. Ward.
5. A Summer Wasting. Belle & Sebastian.
6. Beverly Hills. Weezer.
7. Radio Campaign. M. Ward.
8. Wake Up. The Arcade Fire.
9. Hear Comes the Sun. The Beatles
10. The Cemetery. Architecture In Helsinki.
11. Maxwell's Silver Hammer. The Beatles.
12. Sovay. Andrew Bird.
13. Wishbone. Architecture in Helsinki.
14. Do the Whirlwind. Architecture in Helsinki.
15. Cathedral 4 (The Unbreaking Branch And Song) Castanets.
16. Sebrina, Paste And Plato. Jellyfish.
17. Fake Palindromes. Andrew Bird.
18. Tables and Chairs. Andrew Bird.
19. The Boy With The Arab Strap. Belle & Sebastian.
20. Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels). The Arcade Fire.
21. Sweetness. Dan Bern & The IJBC
22. Masterfade. Andrew Bird.
23. It'5! Architecture In Helsinki.
24. It Could Have Been a Brilliant Career. Belle & Sebastian.
25. Sleep The Clock Around. Belle & Sebastian.

I'm now going to reset the counts and see what happens. I am still not convinced that these counts are accurate, by the way. Still I'm okay with the list. A bit worried about 'Beverly Hills' being at number 6. So, please pretend that number 6 is actually 'Sister Jack' by Spoon. Thanks.


[1] Thanks to my brother for sending this to me. I've actually heard of this guy before. It is a pretty moving testimony.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

have mercy on us

It is the 60th anniversery of the Nagasaki atomic attack.

'Nagasaki mayor Iccho Ito asked US citizens whether their security was enhanced by their nuclear arsenal.

"We understand your anger and anxiety over the memories of horror of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Yet, is your security actually enhanced by your government's policies of maintaining 10,000 nuclear weapons, of carrying out repeated sub-critical nuclear tests, and of pursuing the development of new 'mini' nuclear weapons?"'

Some thoughts:

1) Such will probably not change the hearts of the Administration with it's perverse moral system, which claims to favor a culture that errs 'on the side of life' while simultaneously pouring billions (or your money) into Nuclear Arms research.

2) The comparison between 9/11 and Nagasaki is apt: in terms of human life, the United States Government's terrorist attach against that City was about 50 times worse than what happened in New York a few years ago (over 100 times if you include Hiroshima). The OED defines terrorism as "a policy intended to strike with terror those against whom it is adopted; the employment of methods of intimidation; the fact of terrorizing or condition of being terrorized." When it comes down to it, it is difficult to distinguish Truman from Bin Laden...