The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the Pope’s recent comments on condom use have ignited a “firestorm” and sparked a “frenzy” as the Vatican rushed to clarify his comments.
I have to confess that I found the article somewhat baffling, especially in consideration of the highly specific, convoluted hypothetical [...]
The blue and red state color scheme when appli…
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“In conclusion, I’d like to say I’m glad that despite our differing opinions on these issues, we’re all able to remain friends.” That was the relevant, if awkwardly delivered, closing remark of my friend as four of us discussed our differing votes on the three Massachusetts ballot questions yesterday.
A few of my good friends espouse Libertarian views, though they are not Tea Party members. They were Libertarian before being Libertarian was hip. As a former Christian Anarchist, I’m intrigued by their views and would like to subscribe to their newsletter (ten points if you get that reference).
Yesterday, they voted to cut the state sales tax in half (they failed) and eliminate the tax on alcohol (they succeeded). They’ll vote for anything that lowers taxes. And at first pass, I’m with them. As my friends explain the trickle-down benefits of the free market system, their theories make sense. But upon further reflection, I have a few unanswered questions for my right-leaning brothers and sisters that prevent me from joining their ranks.
I enjoyed both “The Town” and “The Social Network”, but I was struck by each film’s treatment of women. I’ve seen a lot of articles online bemoaning the sexism of The Social Network, specifically that such a significant film contains no significant female characters.
Rebecca Davis O’Brien writes in the Daily Beast, “Women [...]
I don’t know how this happened, but somehow Stephen Colbert ended up testifying before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law. I first became aware of this breaking news while on the elliptical machine at Planet Fitness. Unfortunately, the TV was on mute, so I Googled it.
After spending a day working with migrant field workers in Upstate New York as part of a segment for his daily program, Colbert testified in character, saying his experience was “really hard” and gave him a small understanding of “why so few Americans are clamoring to begin an exciting career as Seasonal Migrant Field Workers.”
This may be a fake-news bit for his show taken a little too far, or it may be a lead up to Colbert ’s October ‘March to Keep Fear Alive,’ which I will be attending. Some protested that Colbert’s appearance made a mockery of our Legislative system as he literally mocked our legislative system. But lighten up. We all know the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law has always been a rascally bunch.
My favorite message board quote goes all the way back to a defunct site called skanjska.com. Someone contributed this gem:
Ska New Jersey Ska was my first introduction to the world of anonymous web posting. It was a fan site devoted to publicizing upcoming underground punk/ska shows taking place in firehouses, Elks’ lodges and VFW halls across the state. The message board was really an afterthought, but it soon turned from a place to talk about the latest albums and shows into an active web community in which people discussed music, movies, politics, religion, philosophy and pretty much anything else these burgeoning web users/ska fans could think of.
I met a lot of people through that old, rudimentary message board. It got to be that if you bumped into someone from the site at a show, you felt like you already knew them. But at the same time, giving a bunch of punk kids a venue to express their feelings led to some heated discussions, which often devolved into fruitless insults, threats of violence and requests for real names and addresses so that various ass-kickings could be doled out appropriately.
We were all thinking it. Leave it to Christopher Hitchens to go ahead and say it. Glenn Beck and the Tea Party are all about preserving white privilege.
I have to admit that phrases like “The Real America” and “Main Street USA” have always sounded to me like codewords for white people. And the “way of life” and “traditional values” that Tea Partiers want to preserve often seem to mean opposition to the perceived encroachments by Muslims, immigrants and other minorities on the traditions of white Americans.
Followers of the movement insist that these inklings are way off base. But the reemerging conservative values of strict adherence to the constitution, personal liberty and small government do seem to be applied rather selectively in some instances.
The two proposed amendments to the constitution – the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman, and the denial of citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants – have both come from the conservative side of the aisle. And conservative support of the Arizona Immigration Law and opposition to the Ground Zero Mosque also seem contrary to the aforementioned principles. We don’t want the government hassling us, but they can hassle Hispanic people. We don’t want the ‘secular socialist’ government limiting our religious expression, but they can limit religious expression for Muslims…
On the ride home from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Weezer’s “Only in Dreams” came on the radio. Let’s forget for a moment how amazing it was that the obscure final track on Weezer’s Blue Album was being played randomly on the radio some 16 years after its release, and focus on the fact that in high school, I had assigned this song to one of my many ‘dream girls,’ Carolyn Ross.
Carolyn was smokin’ hot and a year older than me. We went to the movies once, she came to one of my band’s gigs and she even went to the Christmas Dance with me. Around the time I was obsessed with Carolyn I was also obsessed with the Blue Album and “Only in Dreams” was her song.
Carolyn would pick me up in the morning in her giant Buick, which she would drive at breakneck speeds through the windy, Northern Jersey back roads leading to our school. One morning, a cop car pulled up in front of my house right behind her with its lights flashing as my dad and I looked out the window. “Well,” I said awkwardly, “that’s my ride.”
“It’s okay,” Carolyn assured me as I got in the passenger seat. “I can’t get a ticket in this town.”
Sure enough, the cop took one look at her license and said, “Ross, huh? Your father’s done me a lot of favors. So I’ll do you one and let you go.”
So that was sketchy. Other sketch-factors included the fact that she had a boyfriend who was in college and spent most of the evening of my band’s show flirting with the bouncer after he confiscated her fake I.D. Oh, and I almost forgot how her cousin threatened to beat me up after he saw us leaving the movie theater together.
How did I dedicate such a great song to this person? Looking back on it this past Friday night, I felt ashamed of myself.
You have a hunch Scott Pilgrim will feel the same way years from now when he looks back on the time he fought seven evil exes to win the heart of Ramona Flowers, the new girl in town with hot style (snow melts when she rollerblades through it), a cool demeanor and a questionable past…
Like it or not, we are judged by headlines. “America Invades Iraq” or “United States Passes Health Care Reform” can be the only impression people in other countries get of our complex political and military systems. The headlines that accompanied our election of an African American with a Muslim name changed the world’s perception of America. And simply being that man seems to have been enough to garner a Nobel Peace Prize.
Headlines matter. Currently, we are questioning the potential headline, “New York Builds Mosque Near Ground Zero.” Personally, I believe that headline would send a positive message to the rest of the world about the United States. But many oppose the project…
File this one under ‘Mind-Blowing Stuff That Shows Up on my Facebook News Feed.’ Yesterday, a friend shared the following video, purportedly a worship song entitled “I Think I’m Gonna Throw Up.”
Of course the punchline is delivered as the verse ends with “…my hands to the Lord.” And just in case you were tempted to believe that the lyrics were an unfortunate oversight by a sincere lyricist, the second verse hammers home the premise by starting with “I think I’m gonna hurl.”
A recent Daily Beast article notes that in the wake of Mel Gibson’s recorded rants of misogyny, violence and racism, his usual defenders, namely conservative evangelicals, have fallen silent. Apparently, after his drunk driving and anti-Semitic tirade, Christians were quick to forgive. But these audio recordings are so distressing, not even conservative talk radio hosts dare to defend Mel.
To many believers, Mel’s horrifying rhetoric has undermined their experience of Gibson’s 2004 film The Passion of the Christ. What, to so many people, was such a deeply moving experience now seems irrevocably tainted by its creator’s malevolence. Personally, I’m sick of hypocrites like Mel Gibson hijacking my faith, and the idea that he is some sort of figurehead for Christianity in this country infuriates me to no end. Having never seen The Passion, my motivation to watch it is at an all time low.
But what most people don’t realize is that these recent tapes are just the tip of the iceberg. They don’t even hold a candle to some of Mel’s darkest moments…
Let’s just get something straight right off the bat: The Gaslight Anthem has been the soundtrack to my life for the past two years.
It’s rare for me to run out and buy CDs, but when I heard “The ‘59 Sound” coming through my car radio on the way into the office one morning in ‘08, I said to myself, “I must have that album immediately.” I hadn’t fallen head-over-heels for a band like that since I was introduced to the Murder City Devils, and that was way back in 2002.
So when the Gaslight Anthem released their second album, American Slang in mid-June, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. It probably was too much to expect it to be as good, from beginning to end, as The ‘59 Sound. To be fair, the band exploded when that album came out. The pressure to do another record of that caliber was probably tremendous and unrealistic.
Surprisingly few rockers can be described as ‘exuberant.’ But every so often a musician comes along who just loves playing music so much that he just exudes joy with every performance. I have always been drawn to this type of artist because I, myself, find the act of creating music to be profoundly joyful.
These acts tend to sneak up on me. But once they do, they stick in my mind forever. For instance, I remember crowding around a friend’s TV set on another dull Saturday night at Gordon College to watch SNL. When they introduced the musical act, Andrew W.K., I was ready for a white R&B singer to take the stage. What happened next was something completely different – and it stunned at least a dozen college students into awed silence for the duration of the performance.
Waiting for They Might Be Giants to perform at Avalon in Boston, the audience was serenaded by a no-less-compelling oddball sporting an accordion and accenting his choruses with a tiny splash cymbal he operated with a foot pedal. He went by the name of Corn Mo and he made this inspired speech which made me love him, even if I wasn’t completely sold on his music.
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