Monday, May 30, 2005

In case you missed it...because I did, too.

Johns Hopkins won the men's lacrosse national title today, defeating Duke University 9-8.

Oh yeah, and Danica Patrick (the sole reason I'm interested in Indy racing, or any auto racing for that matter) finished 4th in the Indy 500 yesterday.

Also, I heard there was some basketball and baseball, too.

Friday, May 27, 2005

vitreous humor

I feel like if I ever saw the Decemberists in concert my heart would break and my limbs would fall off and my face melt into a puddle of cellular goo. Does anyone know if this has actually happened before? I can be mildly paranoid at times, but I'd rather err on the side of caution and rule it out if at all possible.

The funny thing is, you probably think I'm kidding.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Warning! Geek alert! Film snobbery to follow.

So I saw a couple of movies this week -- Star Wars Episode III last night and Kingdom of Heaven tonight. Star Wars just seemed to limp along with occasional flashes of digitally enhanced brilliance, while Kingdom of Heaven actually took the time to build a story, invest in its characters, and move its audience with a grand cinematic scope.

The whole Star Wars franchise has just simply lost its steam. The original films has a wit and self-awareness that never seemed to dare you to take them too seriously. They also had a cast of characters that were well worth an effort to invest in. Plus, some pretty kick-ass effects (for their day, at least). The prequels, save for the all-new eye-popping effects, lack the humor and adventure of those originals.

In fact, the only emotional moments in Episode III were those that hearkened back (or forward?) to the original films -- snipets of John Williams' score and scenes of Tatooine from the originals near the end were the closest Episode III got to moving me. But those moments weren't original moments, they were nostalgic ones. Looking back/forward to other moments that actually did mean something to me. Episode III wrapped things up the way it was supposed to, but that didn't really make it all that satisfying. It's one thing to know the facts of how we get from A to B. It's another to use film to tell the story in a compelling way. Lucas told us the facts, but forgot how to weave the facts into a compelling story.

Watching Kingdom of Heaven just reinforced this whole idea. Here are the facts of the Crusades. Now here is the Crusades condensed into a logical, cohesive, yet entertaining narrative. Characters are created and plots are simplified. Wooden dialogue is rewritten craftfully then put into the hands of capable actors who make it sound all the more fantastic. And finally, a master storyteller weaves it all together with cinematic flair.

Where George Lucas turns every actor into a piece of cardboard, Ridley Scott gives them a stage on which to win Oscars. Where Lucas overwhelms the audience with CGI shot after CGI shot, Scott blends the terrain of Morocco seamlessly with his CG effects. Where Lucas' cinematography is clumsy (especially when on actors and not on effects), Scott's shines and shimmers with a life of its own.

If there's a point, I guess it's this. Anyone can make a movie. But not everyone can direct a film. Anyone can tell a story. But not everyone is a storyteller. Lucas, while wowing us with his ILM tricks, fails on both accounts. Scott does not.

Which is why I eagerly await some future date when the "Special Edition" of these prequels are released -- with all new actors, dialogue, and directing -- at some point in the distant future, where seemingly all things are possible.

And that is why I'm not an amillennialist.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

good kitty

Can't figure out life. Having trouble motivating myself to do things other than listen to music. Would they call the cops if I just stopped paying school loans?

Kind of curious.

Friday, May 20, 2005

watch this trailer.

Have you freaking seen this?

It's like dreams come true.

Looks like something pierced the hull. Super good!

I found Liz Hurley-Osberg, Paul Steurnhagel, Jamie B. and Erica A. on myspace tonight. Liz doesn't really count because I saw her last Saturday. And Erica and Jamie were never really lost in order to be found. But we all thought Paul, my roommate from freshmen year, was dead. He isn't. Keith Goldfuss should be real jealous of me right now, and my awesome detective skills.

Also, I found Katie Paris on xanga. Then started a new blogring about Audio Adrenaline concerts. I should get sick more often.

p.s. I might be going back to Montana in two weeks. Maybe. If everything in my plan goes according to, erm....plan.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Recent reflections, shared elsewhere, on my dissatisfaction with Ben Folds' post-Five output.

"Maybe someday, when Jesus comes back, everything will be like 1996 again."


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Plowshares to Swords

In the spring of 1994, half a world away in the heart of Africa, some 800,000 Rwandan Tutsis were killed (butchered might be a better word, with most of the work done by machete) for the rather simple reason that they were Tutsi. At the time we ignored it. Today we call it genocide.

Something that's not mentioned too often for reasons that are beyond me is that Rwanda is the most Christianized nation on the African continent. Before the genocide, some 75% of Rwandans called themselves Christians. The Catholic Church had been at work in Rwanda for nearly 100 years, but the country had a growing Protestant population in its western provinces. Although Catholics outnumbered Protestants 4-to-1, religious differences played little part in the genocide. Rather, the Rwandan Hutu majority (Catholic and Protestant) reacted with a carefully manipulated act of violence against the Tutsi minority. The reasons for it are many, and had everything to do with social inequalities, the polarization of Hutus and Tutsis under Belgian rule, a rise in post-colonial tensions between the two peoples, border attacks from without by Rwandan rebels, the propaganda and racism of the Hutu elite, massive amounts of weaponry imported from France and the French government, overpopulation, extreme poverty and a recent economic collapse (just to name a few).

The killings happened across religious lines. Catholics hacking Catholics. Protestants raping Protestants. (Did I forget to mention that? Many Tutsi women and girls were raped, the men tortured, losing their limbs, before they were allowed to die.) This -- out of everything that hardens my heart and brings bile to the back of my throat -- this is what scares me the most: That a people of faith were overcome by racial tension and nationalistic fervor, turning on friends and neighbors because their government told them to.

Many try desperately to compare Adolf Hitler's policies in the 1930s to our own government's policies today. But we need not look back to WWII to find a time when nationalism took the place of religious fervor and mutated into something new and old and dangerous and more than just a little bit evil. We need only look to Rwanda to see what happens when tenuously fragile ethnic and political tensions explode, causing Christians to turn against each other in blind hatred.

In early April of 1994, not long after the genocide started, almost 2,000 Tutsi refugees sought sanctuary in a hospital run by a local Protestant denomination. For a few days they had money enough to pay the police to protect them. The local doctor, a Hutu and son of the local head pastor for the region, refused to treat the wounded because they were Tutsi. When the money ran out, the police left and the genocidaires surrounded the hospital. Seven Tutsi pastors appealed to the regional head pastor in a letter for some measure of support in their time of need.

Our dear leader, Pastor ------ -----------,

How are you! We wish you to be strong in all these problems we are facing. We wish to inform you that we have heard that tomorrow we will be killed with our families. We therefore request you to intervene on our behalf and talk with the Mayor. We believe that, with the help of God who entrusted you the leadership of this flock, which is going to be destroyed, your intervention will be highly appreciated, the same way as the Jews were saved by Esther.

We give honor to you.

Two Tutsi eyewitness accounts give the pastor's response as follows: "Your problem already has a solution. You must die....God no longer wants you."

The next morning, armed Hutu militiamen stormed the hospital with guns and hand grenades. Local citizens followed behind armed with machetes and clubs. The Tutsi refugees, weakened by the siege and a lack of food and water, couldn't even fight back. They were slaughtered -- killed by their brothers and sisters in Christ.

Call it what you will -- nationalism, patriotism, political ideology -- any system of pride in country that is stronger than our faith in Christ is an idol. The Bible, even the covenant found in the New Testament, is clear that idolatry is an offense that God does not suffer lightly.

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

What we need isn't simply a "separation" of Church and State. What we need is for Christians to prioritize their loyalties in such a way that faith is not confused with patriotism -- where faith overcomes ethnicity, politics, ideology, and social standing, and does not suffer to make such divisions worse.

Our country does not come first. Our national security, while the priority of the State, is not he priority of the Church. Americans are not a people favored by God. The United States is not a nation upon which God blesses above all others. In fact, due to our political bickering and racial injustice, we most likely fall onto God's "unfavorable" list. For all our soup kitchens and quilting clubs and relief organizations, we're nearly an assassination away from full-scale civil war -- pitting red state against the blue state, faith and religion be damned. If you don't believe me turn on talk radio for a few minutes, where the hate and rhetoric are so fierce that it makes otherwise sane men dizzy with superiority.

Faith, overrun by hate and patriotism, is no real faith at all. It is a false idol, waiting to explode under the guise of loyalty to god/country.

"Your problem already has a solution. You must die...God no longer wants you."

believe what i sing

I am sick today. And full of sickness. But I can't call in tonight because I haven't worked since Friday night. Must. find. will. to. breathe.

Okay, so now that the dramatics are over, I should say that I finally heard the new Weezer album, Make Believe, and was a little thrown. What people were saying was that it sounded like a mix between Maladroit and Pinkerton. It doesn't. I can't say it sucks because it's not awful. But I can't say I'm going to listen to it more than five times this summer because I won't.

That being said, I feel terrible for not seeing Micah Joe Beckwith and Erica Ann Anderson on the day of their graduation. Maybe that's what this giganto cold is about....commencement karma.

Okay, now it's time to get depressing and a little bit self-righteous. Tune out if you want. I won't mind.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Antichrist Superstar

Someone with political affiliations finally stands up to Jim Dobson....then kind of backs down. But an "E" for effort!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Things we did in the past 48 hours

In no particular order:

  • Watched three episodes of Six Feet Under (mildly disappointed).
  • Did four loads of laundry (greatest sense of accomplishment this month so far).
  • Downloaded A Ghost Is Born, Uh Huh Her, A Grand Don’t Come For Free and No Wow (finally ready to compile my favorite albums of 2004 list).
  • Took pictures with my handy picture phone (see above).
  • Listened to the Stars' Set Yourself on Fire with headphones, twice (wanted to move to Montreal with headphones, twice).
  • Drove to Lake Zurich, had a smoothie, read the newest issue of Law of Inertia (fantastic Weezer interview with Brian Bell and Pat Wilson; ready to admit that Rivers is somewhat of a prick).
  • Drove to McHenry, had green tea, read the newest issues of Magnet and DIW (two, count ‘em two, cover stories on Sleater Kinney!).
  • Totally realized I had a crush on the girl who sold me the green tea (anyone who sells me tea is a-okay in my book).
  • Broke down and bought the new issue of Paste (even though I let my subscription expire).
  • Did the dishes (broke no glasses).
  • Watched PTI twice (entertained and informed).
  • Enjoyed Some Cities by the Doves while driving to and fro (wished U2 would just die and Doves would take their place).
  • Remembered how to email (sort of).
  • Watched A Love Song for Bobby Long, in half an hour blocks, savoring the backdrop, the white-haired-fatty of John Travolta and the mesmerizing Scarlett Johansson (still not finished).
  • Tried the new Chinese place in Lake Geneva (too soon to give a meaningful grade; the eggrolls were rad, though).
  • Finally started reading Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (something I meant to do last year in Montana).
  • Pissed off Noel when I said “Beverly Hills” kind of sucked (it does).
Now that my "weekend" is over, works beckons in less than 45 minutes.

And btw, knowing really is half the battle.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Beverly Hills

I just spent the last hour channel surfing between VH1, MTV, MTV2 and FUSE trying to catch a glimpse of the new Weezer single. And after seeing it, I have to admit that Jake Sikora was right, it does kind of suck. But there's something like 11 other songs on the new cd. They can't all suck, can they?

....Fuck! Can they!?!?

Friday, May 06, 2005

these sound beads for our delicate ears!

Sunday night I heard a song that went like this:

It is such a goodnight to kiss,
It is such a good night to dance,
It is such a good night to scooby-dee-doo-dee-doot,

So I searched for the lyrics and got a few useless hits, until I came across the same lyrics in a customer recommendation on the German version of Yahoo handily translated the page for me so that I could read it...sort of. As you can see from the header, computer translations are some of the most amazing things ever.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

too soon, Serpentor, too sooooon!

The GOP already have certain someones on the case of crushing Hillary Clinton's credibility should she run for president in 2008 (in case you're counting, it's only 2005). I'd been hoping not to have to comment on election-type-things for another year at least, but Hillary is up for re-election in the Senate come November 2006, and Republicans believe if they can hurt her there, she won't stand a chance two years later. So much for "changing the tone" of Washington politics.

Related question: Is there a way to vote for president without completely hating everyone on the ballot? Maybe it's time we opened up public office to fictional characters, otherwise, I don't know how I'm going to get through another election year.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

well that's funny like crutches, but loud actions speak words

My favorite thing about Ft. Wayne, Indiana:

Driving into downtown from Coventry-side-of-town, when Jefferson splits off into a one-way street, just past the park that floods all the time when it rains, you can sometimes small bandaids. It works best late at night or early in the morning. But more often than not the smell of fresh bandaids rests in the air. I'm totally serious.

p.s. That's my brother chopping broccoli. And what follows was totally stolen from Hitchcock. It made me laugh real hard.

I am:
"You're probably one of those people who still thinks that getting a blowjob is not an impeachable offense."

Are You A Republican?