Wednesday, November 30, 2005

"I'll take 'One-Man-Glam-Rock-Step-Aerobics' for 10 dollars..."

This Guy! - Click Me!

What an incredibly profound combination of bad ideas! His little white socks, the hair, the muscles, his cover of "Rapper's Delight", etc... JZ

Favorite new word: Archigram

This past weekend, at the Pompidou, I was extremely taken with an "Archigram" by Peter Cook, called "Plug In City" (it's the large-ish middle section of the image above). If that interests you, then look at this building he designed in Austria: Click Me!

How cool!

"The Hallmark of the Underclass" (from the WSJ, 9/29/05, pg A18):

The Hallmark of the Underclass

Watching the courage of ordinary low-income people as they deal with the aftermath of Katrina and Rita, it is hard to decide which politicians are more contemptible -- Democrats who are rediscovering poverty and blaming it on George W. Bush, or Republicans who are rediscovering poverty and claiming that the government can fix it. Both sides are unwilling to face reality: We haven't rediscovered poverty, we have rediscovered the underclass; the underclass has been growing during all the years that people were ignoring it, including the Clinton years; and the programs politicians tout as solutions are a mismatch for the people who constitute the problem.

* * *

We have rediscovered the underclass. Newspapers and television understandably prefer to feature low-income people who are trying hard -- the middle-aged man working two jobs, the mother worrying about how to get her children into school in a strange city. These people are rightly the objects of an outpouring of help from around the country, but their troubles are relatively easy to resolve. Tell the man where a job is, and he will take it. Tell the mother where a school is, and she will get her children into it. Other images show us the face of the hard problem: those of the looters and thugs, and those of inert women doing nothing to help themselves or their children. They are the underclass.

We in the better parts of town haven't had to deal with the underclass for many years, having successfully erected screens that keep them from troubling us. We no longer have to send our children to school with their children. Except in the most progressive cities, the homeless have been taken off the streets. And most importantly, we have dealt with crime. This has led to a curious paradox: falling crime and a growing underclass.

The underclass has been growing. The crime rate has been dropping for 13 years. But the proportion of young men who grow up unsocialized and who, given the opportunity, commit crimes, has not.

A rough operational measure of criminality is the percentage of the population under correctional supervision. This is less sensitive to changes in correctional fashion than imprisonment rates, since people convicted of a crime get some sort of correctional supervision regardless of the political climate. When Ronald Reagan took office, 0.9% of the population was under correctional supervision. That figure has continued to rise. When crime began to fall in 1992, it stood at 1.9%. In 2003 it was 2.4%. Crime has dropped, but criminality has continued to rise.

This doesn't matter to the middle and upper classes, because we figured out how to deal with it. Partly we created enclaves where criminals have a harder time getting at us, and instead must be content with preying on their own neighbors. But mainly we locked 'em up, a radical change from the 1960s and 1970s. Consider this statistic: The ratio of prisoners to crimes that prevailed when Ronald Reagan took office, applied to the number of crimes reported in 2003, corresponds to a prison population of 490,000. The actual prison population in 2003 was 2,086,000, a difference of 1.6 million. If you doubt that criminality has increased, imagine the crime rate tomorrow if today we released 1.6 million people from our jails and prisons.

* * *

Criminality is the most extreme manifestation of the unsocialized young male. Another is the proportion of young males who choose not to work. Among black males ages 20-24, for example, the percentage who were not working or looking for work when the first numbers were gathered in 1954 was 9%. That figure grew during the 1960s and 1970s, stabilizing at around 20% during the 1980s. The proportion rose again, reaching 30% in 1999, a year when employers were frantically seeking workers for every level of job. The dropout rate among young white males is lower, but has been increasing faster than among blacks.

These increases are not explained by changes in college enrollment or any other benign cause. Large numbers of healthy young men, at ages when labor force participation used to be close to universal, have dropped out. Remember that these numbers ignore young males already in prison. Include them in the calculation, and the evidence of the deteriorating socialization of young males, concentrated in low income groups, is overwhelming.

Why has the proportion of unsocialized young males risen so relentlessly? In large part, I would argue, because the proportion of young males who have grown up without fathers has also risen relentlessly. The indicator here is the illegitimacy ratio -- the percentage of live births that occur to single women. It was a minuscule 4% in the early 1950s, and it has risen substantially in every subsequent decade. The ratio reached the 25% milestone in 1988 and the 33% milestone in 1999. As of 2003, the figure was 35% -- of all births, including whites. The black illegitimacy ratio in 2003 was 68%. By way of comparison: The illegitimacy ratio that caused Daniel Patrick Moynihan to proclaim the breakdown of the black family in the early 1960s was 24%.

But illegitimacy is now common throughout the population, right? No, it is heavily concentrated in low-income groups. Perhaps illegitimacy isn't as bad as we used to think it was? No, during the last decade the evidence about the problems caused by illegitimacy has grown stronger. What about all the good news about falling teenage births? About plunging welfare rolls? Both trends are welcome, but neither has anything to do with the proportion of children being born and raised without fathers, and that proportion is the indicator that predicts the size of the underclass in the next generation.

The government hasn't a clue. Versions of every program being proposed in the aftermath of Katrina have been tried before and evaluated. We already know that the programs are mismatched with the characteristics of the underclass. Job training? Unemployment in the underclass is not caused by lack of jobs or of job skills, but by the inability to get up every morning and go to work. A homesteading act? The lack of home ownership is not caused by the inability to save money from meager earnings, but because the concept of thrift is alien. You name it, we've tried it. It doesn't work with the underclass.

Perhaps the programs now being proposed by the administration will help ordinary poor people whose socialization is just fine and need nothing more than a chance. It is comforting to think so, but past experience with similar programs does not give reason for optimism -- it is hard to exaggerate how ineffectually they have been administered. In any case, poor people who are not part of the underclass seldom need help to get out of poverty. Despite the exceptions that get the newspaper ink, the statistical reality is that people who get into the American job market and stay there seldom remain poor unless they do something self-destructive. And behaving self-destructively is the hallmark of the underclass.

* * *

Hurricane Katrina temporarily blew away the screens that we have erected to keep the underclass out of sight and out of mind. We are now to be treated to a flurry of government efforts from politicians who are shocked, shocked, by what they saw. What comes next is depressingly predictable. Five years from now, the official evaluations will report that there were no statistically significant differences between the subsequent lives of people who got the government help and the lives of people in a control group. Newspapers will not carry that story, because no one will be interested any longer. No one will be interested because we will have long since replaced the screens, and long since forgotten.

Mr. Murray, W.H. Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is the author, most recently, of "Human Accomplishment" (HarperCollins, 2003).

Remember "I'm a Morman"?

I'm a Morman -- Click Me!

Excerpt from Phillip Johnston, OT notes (on Joshua):

--Many today troubled by violence of OT. Several factors to note:

(i) Divine punishment on sin. Canaanite religion seen by biblical writers as thoroughly debased and contaminating.
(ii) God equally hard on Israel, subjecting apostate cities to ban. Israel eventually exiled because of sin.
(iii) OT had no developed concept of afterlife, so divine punishment or reward was applied in this life, not the next. In the NT, God's punishment of the impenitent is equally severe, if less immediately obvious.

Knock, Knock...Who's there?...Aw, it's just Jesus, knockin' on the door of the heart (of the United Nations).

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Shooby Taylor

Shooby Taylor was the world's most peculiar scat vocalist. See him boo-ed off the stage at the Apollo in 1983. Shooby Live -- Click Me! You can find out more about him at

Here he is, "singing" along with How Great Thou Art: Click Me!

Belinda, the Croatian Keytar Master:

Amazing Video -- Click Me!

I'm back.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Off to Paris!

Dear Readers,

I'm off to Paris with my girlfriend, Deirdre. I return to Oxford on Monday, and will have more for you then.

Love, Jx

p.s., I am going to miss blogging! You can almost hear the snip of my umbilical chord, no?

(Either this photo is of Simeon Zahl at birth, or was just taken by him. I can't remember which.)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Richard Hooker quote:

"My eager protestations, made in the glory of my ghostly strength, I am ashamed of; but those crystal tears, wherewith my sin and weakness was bewailed, have procured my endless joy; my strength hath been my ruin, and my fall my stay."

(I must admit, every time I read Richard Hooker, I think of that part in The Two Towers when Mr. Bunchweather the Schmalcauldren of Wickern plays that killer guitar solo under the waterfall, right before Robin Hood rescues Bryan Adams from the Mirror Queen...No, I'm not a fan of the LOTR)

David Cross' hilarious parody of the world of music criticism:

Albums to Listen to While Reading Overwrought Pitchfork Reviews

Story by David Cross

Hi, I was a somewhat surprised that would ask me to participate in this. Here's why:

"The devastating paradox of David Cross' pre-recorded comedy: Is it funny that everything Cross says is nauseatingly smug, yelped out in smarmy, supercilious prose? Or is David Cross just a giant fucking asshole?"

"That Cross is such an immensely unlikable live performer-- condescending, defensive, arrogant, patronizing-- is both his greatest asset and his most crippling flaw."

And while the above review of my second cd It's Not Funny is certainly more thoughtful than, "David Cross? Yeah, he's funny" or "He sucks", it's still a bit shitty. "...immensely unlikable"? The paradox is "devastating"? How is it devastating?

And that's just one reviewer, Amanda Petrusich.* There's another one, William Bowers, who claims to: "...having developed a strange, extra-textual concern for David Cross. Likeminded futon-psychoanalysts fret over his fluctuating weight, his fitfulness, and despondence..."

Fretting over my weight? Oh well. But regardless of their opinion of me and/or my act, they've asked me for my Top Ten List®, So here is my contribution to the Top Ten List® For

Top Ten CD's That I Just Made Up (and accompanying made-up review excerpts) to listen to while skimming through some of the overwrought reviews on

1) While reading over's review for the Arcade Fire, here's a brief excerpt: "Our self-imposed solitude renders us politically and spiritually inert, but rather than take steps to heal our emotional and existential wounds, we have chosen to revel in them. We consume the affected martyrdom of our purported idols and spit it back in mocking defiance." May I suggest listening to Until it Happens/You Let it Happen, by Maximum Minimum. The fourth album (not counting the re-release of the first three 7-inches on HugTown Records) reaffirms the band's status as the godfathers of the Taos, N.M. "crying scene." Like a gilded phoenix rising from the toxic ashes of the death of mercurial lead guitarist, Peter Chernin, Maximum Minimum snarls back like a taunted tiger on steroids (also on acid). RATING: 8.2

2) While reading the review of Daft Punk's Human After All: "Ideally, the physics of record reviewing are as elegant as actual physics, with each piece speaking to the essence of its subject as deliberately and as appropriately as a real-world force reacting to an action," is a real albeit brief excerpt. May I suggest listening to Elegant Nuisance by ButterFat 100. With this, their second album since signing with Holive Records, ButterFat 100 return to their psychobilly/emo core roots. Let its volcanic rapture overwhelm you like a 19th century hand-woven blanket made of human hair might have done back in the days when they enjoyed such things. RATING: 5.5

3) While reading the review Animal Collective's Sung Tongs. (Here's a brief excerpt): "'The Softest Voice' layers clear-toned guitar figures upon each other, as Tare and Bear whisper in harmony above, as if singing to the vision peering back at them from the skin of a backwoods creek. The rustic, secretive manner of their voices and the barely disturbed forest around them suggests that whatever ghosts inhabit these woods are only too happy to oblige a lullaby or two. Likewise, the epic 'Visiting Friends' gathers in faceless, mutated ghosts (i.e., oddly manipulated vocalizations from the duo) to hover over their dying fire in visage of nothing better than the tops of trees." Why not listen to As I Became We by Tishara Quailfeather.

The virulent and hermetically sealed pinings of the world's only triple gold selling Native American artist living in an iron lung. It's as if newly dead, and thus still pure angels, reached down into The Virgin Mothers throat and gently lifted out the sweetest and most plaintive sounds man will ever hope to hear in this life. RATING: 7.17

4) While reading the review of Blonde Redhead's Misery Is a Butterfly: "The word 'lush' doesn't quite capture the fluttering whirls of strings, keyboards, and delicately plucked guitar that open 'Elephant Woman'; I'd go so far as to label such enveloping richness of instrumentation 'baroque,' perhaps even 'rococo.'" is but a brief passage. Give a listen to Turndown Service, the forthcoming album by Hopefully this foray into the electronic sector of the British no-fi/wi-hi scene (with apologies to Dr. Reverend Billy) is only a temporary diversion and not a full-fledged career move for Bix Xhu and friends. With a nod to early Creatures via the Monks, manages to wrench what little empathy one might have for the entire British working class (nothing you wouldn't find at an "Alive With Pleasure" show) and sashays it right up and down Trafalgar Square. RATING: 6.22

5) While reading the review of The Boards of Canada's Music Has the Right to Children: "The incredibly simple melody of the short 'Bocuma' becomes a lump-in-the-throat meditation on man's place in the universe through subtle pitch shifts and just the right mist of reverb. The slow fade-in on 'An Eagle in Your Mind' is the lonesome sound of a gentle wind brushing the surface of Mars moments after the last rocket back to Earth has lifted off." Why not listen to, Only the Proletariat Floss's by Screaming at the Mirror. With a truncated syncopation and approach that rivals only Tosh Guarrez pre "FartFlap", "S.A.T.M" has taken steps to dismantle what was previously only dared mantled by the great Gilda Thrush when she fronted "Cycle Clause". It's as if Genghis Kahn got together for breakfast with Oliver Wendell Holmes and Virginia Wolfe and ordered just a bowl of homemade granola and then skipped out on the check. RATING: 11.-111

6) When you're enjoying the review of the M.I.A. / Diplo album, Piracy Funds Terrorism, Vol. 1. Here's the beginning of that one: "Santa Claus, the Virgin Mary, and Terrence 'Turkeytime' Terrence just got the shaft this holiday season. Why bother with presents? 2005's Tickle Me Elmo was supposed to be a chicken-legged Sri Lankan with so much sex in her self-spun neons you might as well get wasted off penicillin with Willie Nelson at a secret Rex the Dog show." Huh? Check out University of Blunts' Dirty Dirty Dirty Dirty Dirty Dirty. It's like a 505 Groovebox as designed by someone who reads only Braille. Actually, to clarify, only if that same designer got caught in a transformer with Brindle Fly and decided to travel 50 years into the future and bring back what might have sounded retro thirty years from now if the future takes it's more than lugubrious, predictable course. RATING: 4.001

7) Hey, are you reading the review to The Mountain Goats' CD The Sunset Tree": "As one would hope from a songwriter as smart as Darnielle, The Sunset Tree comes from a 19th-century religious song, 'The Tyrolese Evening Hymn'." Why not have the latest Wittgenstein's Mistress CD playing in the background? On Gift Code, WM's latest offering, we find flutes a flutter, strings a stringin' and melotrones a melotronian. In what is likely to be remembered more for its' chorus of "Get on the bed!" then it's subtle and rich tapestry woven, (most likely by candlelight) and suffused with an undercurrent of malaise and ennui, the titular track bends, breaks, and ultimately regenerates into a malevolent whirlstrom of angst and twee. RATING: Four Point Six and One Half.

8) Trying to make sense of the review of Autechre, Untitled? It's a one-act play that starts with:

(Sitting in the dormitory room just after class on Thursday, Achilles changes into his gym clothes as his roommate Tortoise bursts through their door in a fit of happiness.)

Tortoise: Achilles, have you seen this?

Achilles: What?

Tortoise: Do you see? Yes? I'm referring to the object, though small in size, quite interesting in stature, I am holding in front of you now.

Achilles: It's a CD.

And ends with:

Achilles: And my point is, if it's driven by form, it's a pretty messy, lazy form-- certainly no more structurally sound than any other software wank music. On top of that, if I'm supposed to "feel" this, to pick up on some obscure metaphysical in-joke, I'm not-- isn't it the job of a good artist to make that shit clear? Either way, it fails for me. Autechre decided to go their own way, fine, you know, just don't expect me to call them "geniuses."

Tortoise: [Sigh] Alright, Achilles, I can see we're going to have to agree to disagree. I'm sorry to have wasted your time.

Achilles: Oh don't worry, dude, just wear headphones when you play that stuff.

(With all apologies to Douglas Hofstadter and Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid, which I'd send you if I had an extra copy.)

Why not give a listen to: Pillow Logics new disc, Treason to Live, a wiry concept album that gives new meaning to the phrase, "Now, I've seen everything!" Ostensibly about a young girl who loses her shoes in a cockfight she mistakenly attends during Thanksgiving 1959, it's really about the universal themes of loss, angst, candy and damp clothing. Taking its cue from the early commercial work of Deloite and Hughey and filtering it through the "I cut myself shaving" piousness of Throm Tillson, Pillow Logic re-works early sock hop chop flop and allows people like me to enjoy enjoying it. RATING: Two T-Shirts and a cup of jizz.

9). Slogging through the review of Emperor X's Central Hug/Friendarmy/Fractaldunes (And the Dreams that Resulted) (sample: "...the aesthetic of Emperor X's recording belies its craft. Homemade and sometimes grungily recorded, the latest record by Chad Matheny's one-man band delivers jitter-- and indie pop that practically gnaws its own arm with excitement") to try to find out if you might like it

Then don't listen to: ThunderPussy When the Wild Birds Sing. You can only shine a turd so many times before it gleans as bright as a six-year-old girl's ass cheek on Christmas morning. ThunderPussy answers the question, How many times does one need to shine a turd before it gleans as bright as a six year old girls ass cheek on Christmas morning? The answer according to ThunderPussy is, 12. 12 is the number of tracks on this cd each one of the same song, "Star Wars!" And they all suck except for the last one which shines just like a six-year-old girls ass on Christmas Morning. It's true. RATING: 4.Point

10). Enjoying the self-referential Franz Ferdinand review which includes the following: "Ryan, that cow is dried up. It's Gordita meat. I've even done the I'm-not-going-to-do-a-concept-review-anymore concept review," I said.

"Hear me out. I'm seeing a comeback for one of your zany characters," Ryan said, making stupid TV-producer gestures with his hands. "I'm seeing the interpretive dancer Santa Schultz, the Revolutionary War soldier Ham Grass, advice columnist Professor Rok, Diapers the glam-loving lab monkey, Justin Davies the bass player of The Hold My Coat, The Bummelgörk, Kelly the Masseuse, Volodrag the Yugoslavian sycophant, Paul Bunyan, Wolfie. Besides, you promised me the Franz Ferdinand review months ago."

Then don't listen to Thar She Blows, the terrible new cd by The Original Apple Dumpling Gang. If you like shitty, regurgitated slop as evinced by the overlauded production team of Dr. Snagglepuss and Oppressor, then you're gonna love this. Daring to delve into his worn out bag of used tricks, Dr. Snagglepuss turns to his old SugarSnaps partner, TreacherousFace ZombieHead, and spits out beats that sound like two dying frogs farting in your face. If that's your idea of an aural good time then you're probably the kind of person that likes early Faust meets pre-post-op Neutron Bitch also meets Blunder (with a nod to Iceland's Achilles Healed) but then a fight breaks out and DNA Groove comes over and separates everybody and quickly escorts Neutron Bitch out through the service entrance where they make love on a pile of day old lettuce (like in the movies). Either way, T.A.D.G. do themselves a disservice by trying to milk some more milk from an aids infested cow called "their old music". All in all it's a big disappointment, but then again if you like aids milk then I guess this is for you. RATING: 2.shit

*One part of Amanda Petrusich review I would like to respond to (and several people made this mistake it wasn't just her) is the misinterpreted intent of the title of my second cd, It's Not Funny, of which she said, "(oh, and the knee-jerk critical reaction to pre-emptive album titles? It's not funny)". It was meant to be a reflection of my feelings about the subject matter I was covering. Like when you're a kid and you're trying to tell people something that's important to you but no one is taking you seriously and everyone keeps laughing and your response might be, "Guys come on!! I'm serious! It's Not Funny!" So there's that for the record. I could quibble about some other stuff but just clearing the title issue is excitement enough for one day.

from archives (5/17/05)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Star Jones:

Some thoughts on action/consequence.

"The Gospel is death to action/consequence thinking."

I don't want to debate whether or not the above quote is truly reflective of an idea found in the Bible, though I'm sure it is. But if it is, then what? Does the death of action/consequence have relevant implications, and, if so, do these implications necessarily trump the other thoughts with which they grapple? Me thinks yes.

Remember Rod Rosenbladt (the teen-ager)? He gets drunk. He totals his father's car. His dad picks him up at the scene of the accident, drives him home. When they get home, they go into the living room where the father asks: "How do you feel?" Rod breaks down in tears, knowing full well that he is now officially "grounded" for the rest of his life. His father looks at him and says: "Do you know what I think? I think you need a new car. I'll meet you at the automobile dealership during my lunch hour tomorrow." Rod gets a new car, better than the one he totaled. !!!

The Gospel is offensive. It kills action/consequence. Does God really reward ungodliness? (Romans 5:6)...or likewise, "Are you saying I'm incapable of doing anything good on my end?" Yes, exactly. These questions are implications of the notion, certainly. Similarly, this (so-called) Good News views the guilty as being presumed innocent, with the penalty being paid by one who deserves it not at all. Are you kidding? No, this is the radical nature of the Gospel, which states that "Christ died to save sinners".

Did you read the article on with the headline: "Is Martha Stewart getting the cush treatment in jail?" We don't want her getting off lightly for what she did, now do we? That would be an improper expression of justice, where she would not be fully paying the amount of debt she deserves,...or so the thinking runs. I remember seeing two young children on a playground. One of them was crying. The other, a slightly older girl (most likely the older sister) was saying: "You go ahead and cry. You're just mad that you're gettin' what you deserve for doin' what you did!" Again, an expression of action/consequence, and, in this instance, found already as a naturally occurring thought in the mind of a young child. One might say we are wired to interpret life in the light of a law of action/consequence.

Strangely, or at least consistently, when the paradigm of action/consequence is strayed from, people always get pissed off. Things are not supposed to happen unfairly. But they do. Mom used to tell me that, "life isn't fair", and she was right. Welcome to a fallen world, one where effort is often rewarded with poor results, one where class stratifications rise unjustly to the fore, based upon unmerited achievement (i.e., blood and crest). How frustrating that so few good jobs are won by hard work, but, rather, are had through a complex network of "connections". Not fair!

But what else does this idea imply? Well, for one thing: if I do something, a certain outcome (or consequence) will follow. This is how the train of thought goes. Thus, we spend a lot of time viewing our lives through the lens of "decision-making". Show me a contemporary Hollywood movie that does not appeal to ideas of "choice" and "decisions" whenever it tries to get wise. The idea is that, in front of all people lay a certain number of anticipated options, A, B, C, D, and the like. Usually most people think there are either two, or three options, and that they have to figure out which one is the best, or the right choice, etc. Subtext: "If I choose A, things will work out best for me...I just have to figure out which choice is A."

But here is where the waters get murky. Say you choose A correctly, having actively asserted yourself in the opposite direction of choices B and C. Isn't that supposed to work? It never does, but, by that point, we once again appeal to the same mode of thought in order to deal with the unfair outcome. Either I go for it again, trying this time to leave no stone unturned (which was the mistake I made last time), or I find some new choice that needs to be made in order for me to be able to fully appreciate the positive outcome of the initial choice I made accurately. But there is never an oozing into the comfort that comes from having finally made the right choice successfully. This stupid creature of thought always gives birth to a new, seemingly more advantageous "opportunity" upon which I must seize. It's like the father in Woody Allen's 'Radio Days' who always comes up with a new, "better" get-rich scheme for his family, one that will insure comfort and success, finally.

(For me, it runs like this: "I got a 5% cashmere-blend sweater...but what I didn't realize at the time was that I really just needed to get a 100% pure cashmere sweater from the get-go,...but then I get the pure cashmere sweater, and I love it, don't get me wrong, it's just not the right color; it doesn't look or fit the way I thought it would..." Suddenly I've got a parenthetical "63" next to my ebay username! You think I could make this story up? This is the stuff that all tragedy is made of. Missed opportunity, and/or next opportunity, etc. Choices, decisions, choices..."I can't win!" Why do I need a gosh-darn vacation in order to recover from the highly-anticipated vacation I finally got to take? Same thing. And the thing is not a fun thing, no, the thing is an ugly thing, my life, I hate the thing. Why don't I learn from my mistakes? Stupid Romans 7 again!)

The (AA) Big Book asks a wonderful question along these lines: "Was I not a victim of the delusion that I could wrest (i.e., wrestle) happiness and satisfaction out of this world if I only managed well?" What a quote! If I manage well, happiness and satisfaction will follow. The sentiment is a perfect description of what most people believe. "The reason life hasn't worked out better is because I have made poor choices, ..." by reasserting one's self more carefully and/or deliberately, will not better results follow? Well, if experience is anything to go on, the answer is a disappointing "No." The idea is a "delusion".

It is when attempts fail repeatedly that this more realistic/pessimistic vantage point starts to gain sway. But where does this leave us? How does this cause us to view our lives? Are they just supposed to unravel? Well, in an important sense, the Christian response answers this (desperate) question affirmatively. The idea is that an individual has very little power, or, rather, lacks the only kind of power that they actually need, that kind which makes and discerns the right choices. This is the ground upon which ethics (of any traditional variety) are slain. This is the most vulnerable of all places on earth, man at the end of his rope. But it is a good place. "Godly sorrow produces repentance, leading to salvation, leaving no regret" (2 Corinthians 7:10). It is the only zone that rightly addresses the problems of life, all-the-while acknowledging the only possible solutions to them (i.e., those that intervene upon us). Would that we could all become so appropriately unbound. When choice dies its painful death, right ethics begin to flow. I promise. As Fitz Allison says, "you know you're getting close to the Gospel when people start worrying about things atinomian."

Consider the words of the Psalmist: "This poor man cried out, and the Lord saved him from all his troubles." (34:6)


Alister McGrath quote (on Augustine):

from "Christian Theology"--

(p.13) "Augustine may also be argued to have made key contributions to three major areas of Christian theology: the doctrine of the church and sacraments, arising from the Donatist controversy (see pp. 478-80); the doctrine of grace, arising from the Pelagian controversy (see pp. 443-9); and the doctrine of the Trinity (see pp. 331-4)."

Can we not infer much from this little excerpt? I find it interesting that he devotes more than twice as much of his written thought in this basic text book on introductory theology to "the doctrine of grace, arising from the Pelagian controversy". Don't you? What are his ratios? Are they your's? --JAZ

What the heck!

Weird, Boring Blog -- Click Me
Can anyone figure out what is going on at this blog?! It's the weirdest, most boring blog ever!
If you speak German, that's an unfair advantage. You're opinions (Jeff, Simeon, David) will not be helpful. We -- those of us who don't speak German -- would much rather guess. I like the segway from stereo, to cuckoo clock, to book shelves. The order seems fitting, not too over the top, but still bemusing. What do you think? (Stand up straight! Are you trying to pass me a foot-stool?) JAZ

From a recent interview with Bishop Ed Salmon:

TLC: The Diocese of South Carolina enjoyed an increase in both active baptized membership and average Sunday attendance for the third year in a row. At a time when nearly every other diocese declined in at least one of those two categories, what are you doing differently?

Bishop Salmon: What we’re trying to do is make the main thing the main thing. That is the message of the Good News of Jesus Christ.

--I'm happy to call this (SC) my diocese! JZ

Monday, November 21, 2005

The kind of description that gets me excited about an album:

(quoted from

"Knowing the perversity of Frank Zappa, it is highly possible that his hit song "Bobby Brown" was a secrete tribute to this artist, whose album The Enlightening Beam of Axonda would be a candidate for the most obscure album of all time, if only such a nomination could be guaranteed not to backfire."

sample: Bobby Brown: I'm Believe (Click Me!)

A favorite piece of dialogue from "The Royal Tenenbaums":

Margaret: "You probably don't even know my middle name."

Royal: "That's a trick question; you don't have one."

Margaret: "Helen."

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Show Me On The Doll (online mix of unposted favorites pt. 2)

Show Me On The Doll (Online favorites pt.2) -- Click Me!

1. Johnny Hammond: Why Can't We Smile
2. Koushik: Be With
3. Joe Pass: A Time For Us
4. Lyndsey Buckingham: D.W. Suite (pt. 1)
5. Matmos: Lipostudio
6. Andy Gibb: Desire
7. Hexstatic: Deadly Media
8. Tom Tom Club: Wordy Rappinhood
9. Christina: Things Fall Apart (a.k.a., Christmas Angst)
10. Captain Funkahoe: My 2600
11. Danger Doom: Benzi Box (feat. Cee-Lo)
12. Yoko Ono: Walking On Thin Ice
13. Anubian Lights: Smoke and Mirrors

total length: 43 and 1/2 minutes

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Important issues considered: pre-marital sex, marriage, rules and discipline, ministerial ethics, etc.

Listen to these two points of view, and think about them. Where do you stand? What would you do?

Debate Excerpt (Click Me)

p.s., Personally, I listened to this weeks ago, but have found it hard to shake, so I'm sharing it with you! JAZ

Friday, November 18, 2005

I recently heard a person describe ECUSA in the following , semi-prophetic words:

"An eccentric sect of liberal catholics who combine high church liturgy with whatever ideas are strongest in the surrounding culture. ECUSA was once a full part of the worldwide Anglican Communion."

Fitz Allison quote:

(written in response to a question asked about the term: "Children of God")

"I don't recall what I've written about being 'Children of God'. I hope I haven't claimed that for our Natural state. In my debate with Paul Moore, he was maintaining that All people are naturally the 'Children of God' whereas I was claiming that we all are Creatures of God, but Children only by adoption and grace (John 1, "...and as many as received Him gave He the power To Become the Children of God..."

5 questions non-Muslims would like answered:

By Dennis Prager

November 13, 2005

THE RIOTING IN France by primarily Muslim youths and the hotel bombings in Jordan are the latest events to prompt sincere questions that law-abiding Muslims need to answer for Islam's sake, as well as for the sake of worried non-Muslims.

Here are five of them:

(1) Why are you so quiet?

Since the first Israelis were targeted for death by Muslim terrorists blowing themselves up in the name of your religion and Palestinian nationalism, I have been praying to see Muslim demonstrations against these atrocities. Last week's protests in Jordan against the bombings, while welcome, were a rarity. What I have seen more often is mainstream Muslim spokesmen implicitly defending this terror on the grounds that Israel occupies Palestinian lands. We see torture and murder in the name of Allah, but we see no anti-torture and anti-murder demonstrations in the name of Allah.

There are a billion Muslims in the world. How is it possible that essentially none have demonstrated against evils perpetrated by Muslims in the name of Islam? This is true even of the millions of Muslims living in free Western societies. What are non-Muslims of goodwill supposed to conclude? When the Israeli government did not stop a Lebanese massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra and Chatilla refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982, great crowds of Israeli Jews gathered to protest their country's moral failing. Why has there been no comparable public demonstration by Palestinians or other Muslims to morally condemn Palestinian or other Muslim-committed terror?

(2) Why are none of the Palestinian terrorists Christian?

If Israeli occupation is the reason for Muslim terror in Israel, why do no Christian Palestinians engage in terror? They are just as nationalistic and just as occupied as Muslim Palestinians.

(3) Why is only one of the 47 Muslim-majority countries a free country?

According to Freedom House, a Washington-based group that promotes democracy, of the world's 47 Muslim countries, only Mali is free. Sixty percent are not free, and 38% are partly free. Muslim-majority states account for a majority of the world's "not free" states. And of the 10 "worst of the worst," seven are Islamic states. Why is this?

(4) Why are so many atrocities committed and threatened by Muslims in the name of Islam?

Young girls in Indonesia were recently beheaded by Muslim murderers. Last year, Muslims — in the name of Islam — murdered hundreds of schoolchildren in Russia. While reciting Muslim prayers, Islamic terrorists take foreigners working to make Iraq free and slaughter them. Muslim daughters are murdered by their own families in the thousands in "honor killings." And the Muslim government in Iran has publicly called for the extermination of Israel.

(5) Why do countries governed by religious Muslims persecute other religions?

No church or synagogue is allowed in Saudi Arabia. The Taliban destroyed some of the greatest sculptures of the ancient world because they were Buddhist. Sudan's Islamic regime has murdered great numbers of Christians.

Instead of confronting these problems, too many of you deny them. Muslims call my radio show to tell me that even speaking of Muslim or Islamic terrorists is wrong. After all, they argue, Timothy McVeigh is never labeled a "Christian terrorist." As if McVeigh committed his terror as a churchgoing Christian and in the name of Christ, and as if there were Christian-based terror groups around the world.

As a member of the media for nearly 25 years, I have a long record of reaching out to Muslims. Muslim leaders have invited me to speak at major mosques. In addition, I have studied Arabic and Islam, have visited most Arab and many other Muslim countries and conducted interfaith dialogues with Muslims in the United Arab Emirates as well as in the U.S. Politically, I have supported creation of a Palestinian state and supported (mistakenly, I now believe) the Oslo accords.

Hundreds of millions of non-Muslims want honest answers to these questions, even if the only answer you offer is, "Yes, we have real problems in Islam." Such an acknowledgment is infinitely better — for you and for the world — than dismissing us as anti-Muslim.

We await your response.

Dennis Prager's nationally syndicated radio show is heard daily in Los Angeles on KRLA-AM (870). He may be contacted through his website:

Ernest Becker quote:

"Hedonism is not heroism for most men. The pagans in the ancient world did not realize that and so lost out to the 'despicable' creed of Judeo-Christianity. Modern men equally do not realize it, and so they sell their souls to consumer capitalism or consumer communism or replace their souls with psychology. Psychotherapy is such a growing vogue today because people want to know why they are unhappy in hedonism."

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Show Me On The Doll (online mix of unposted favorites pt. 1)

Show Me On The Doll (Online favorites pt. 1) -- Click Me!

1. The Herbaliser: 40 Winks (No Sleep Vadim remix)
2. RJD2: Making Days Longer
3. ? (BBC radio excerpt): Soft Weade Factor
4. ?: It's Beautiful
5. Hairy Diamond: Givin' Up
6. Foster Sylvers: Misdemeanor
7. Waajeed and the Bling 42 Orchestra: Scales
8. Madvillain: Brain Damage
9. Electric Chairs: So Many Ways
10. Colourbox: Speaker
11. Prince: The Ballad of Dorothy Parker
12. Japan: My New Career
13. Strafe: Set It Off
14. Liquid Mask: Just a Moment
15. Dennis Wilson: Companion

total length: 42 minutes

(cover photo by D. Colligan)

Super Greg!

Super Greg (Click Me)

(thanks to D. Potter)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Remember Starpoint?

Eagerly anticipated (J Dilla: Donuts):

"When Pharrell Williams was asked about his favorite hip-hop producer during a BET interview in 2004 he replied, “You may not know his name, but J Dilla, Jay Dee from Detroit.” Indeed, the interviewer didn't know – J Dilla has eluded the spotlight, preferring the studio to the stage or video. His work is mostly released by independents, for different groups, and under different names, but his core audience and cult status has grown. His pirated beat tapes (instrumentals, raw working material for rappers) have become something of urban legend, as their circulation from hand to hand and over the internet have led to a black market of Dilla beat tape collectors.

"A cover story in URB (Mar 2004) made public his recent, sudden struggle with illness, and recently rumors began circulating again about health emergencies and hospitalization. Asked about this in XXL (June 2005), Dilla himself partially confirmed these stories. “The rumors were like, ‘Jay Dee is dead’ and all that, but I was just in the hospital. I was in ICU, with all types of tubes. It was crazy.”

"Working both from his home studio and while hospitalized – from a portable sound system including turntable, samplers, and small boxes of vinyl brought in and out from visitors – Dilla continued making music at his usual non-stop pace, circulating beats to MCs, and coming up with the foundation of what would become "Donuts".

"Begun simply enough as a production beat tape, "Donuts" evolved into a project as unusual as the environment in which it was created. It's a hip-hop album without MC's. An album of electronic music that at times sounds like a 70s soul mixtape. Its abrupt transitions and numerous interludes might make you think you're rapidly turning the radio dial in some strange city where every station is programmed by a certain Detroit hip-hop producer. "Donuts" is J Dilla doing what he does best – crafting hip-hop, soul and electronic music into his own sound.

"And a few have asked, “What's up with the title?” Easy explanation. Dilla likes donuts."

Read more at:

An album made largely from the confines of a hospital bed? How cool! Here's my favorite song by this guy: J Dilla Sample (Click Me)

(unrelated) footnote: Also, yesterday at Wycliffe Hall, "Fish Pizza" was served for lunch. Disgusting. --JAZ

Monday, November 14, 2005

Don't miss the music!

If there is anything that I have worked hard on in the last month, it's the musical segments that are to be found on this blog! Neurotically, I worry that I have buried them amidst too much other blog fluff and palaver, and that people are not listening to them. Consequently, I want to underscore their significance in my own life as this-here-blog-master. Don't miss out on that which has come hard-earned, at the work place of my entire life's favorite distraction and hobby; obscure music. Here are the links to each of them, reposted for your convenience (from the guy who loves "ya", JAZ):

The Most Disturbing Song Ever Recorded! (Click Me)

Show Me On The Doll (Online favorites pt. 1) -- Click Me!

Show Me On The Doll (Online favorites pt.2) -- Click Me!

Post-Punk Mix (Click Me)

Abstract Mix (Click Me)

80s-Stlye Hip-Hop Mix (Click Me)

Electro-Pop Mix - pt. 1 (Click Me)

Electro-Pop Mix - pt. 2 (Click Me)

(unrelated) footnote: What do my two favorite movies (Waiting for Guffman & Last Days of Disco) have in common?

answer: This guy, Matt Keeslar -->

Sunday, November 13, 2005

PZ on Anne Rice:

I have been reading Anne Rice's new book on the childhood of Christ, which was given to me by some lovely friends from Jersey City last week. What is most interesting to me, initially at least, is the personal testimony of her return to the church, which she gives at length at the end of the book. She has returned to a conservative and orthodox form of Christianity, and from the pit of adversity. This is very touching and very striking – and even the photographs of her seem to be of a different person than the Anne Rice who wrote "The Vampire Lestat." I believe her story.

There is one important fact about her new search, however, that distresses me. She has become a serious student of earliest Christianity and has therefore read, with sincerity and dedication, all the latest views of Jesus, especially "conservative" views and not "Jesus-Seminar" views. This means that she has been thoroughly and one-sidedly influenced by the "Jewish Jesus" of contemporary scholarship. This is simply because just about all conservative books about the historical Jesus take the now standard line that Jesus was thoroughly Jewish not only in his background but also in his teaching; and that Christianity began really as a variant of Judaism for Gentiles. This is the contemporary teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, and also of such scholars such as N.T. or Tom Wright. They are so busy being guilty over the Holocaust that they have become very reticent about those things that distinguish Christ's teaching from Judaism, those themes within his teaching that oppose or are in discontinuity with Judaism.

Thus we have a semi-Pelagian Jesus, who existed purely to take Jewish monotheism and present it in a form accessible to non-Jews. The current semi-Pelagian Jesus is a Second-Temple Jew who had a messianic self-consciousness. The idea that Jesus broke with Jewish teaching concerning the Law, and that this break with his inherited religion resulted in his death: such an idea is not allowed today.

I do understand why it is not allowed. I think we all recognize not only the self-evident fact that Jesus was Jewish, but also the fact that the Holocaust destroyed the credibility of all the Christian churches in many eyes. But it is a bad thing to water down or soften the real edge of the Christian Gospel in the interest of making the teachings of Jesus more Jewish than they were, and are.

Honestly, I wish that Anne Rice's tutors – because I feel certain she had a few tutors after her conversion, or re-conversion – had provided her with some alternative interpreters, and not just the very recent reigning voices. I see nothing, not a word or a phrase, of the Reformation sola gratia in her Jesus. So her picture of him is wanting…much as I recognize the power of what has happened to her!

Whit Stillman interview:

__Salon interviews Whit Stillman, the director of

____________"Metropolitan" and "The Last Days of Disco."

___BY LAURA MILLER | Although Whit Stillman claims to long in vain for the wit of his own characters, he does pretty well for himself. The simplest question will set the boyish-looking 46-year-old off into long arcs of highly amusing talk, often about the most surprising topics. Between explaining his habit of reading the middle of a book first ("there's all this stuff going on that you don't understand and that's kind of exciting") and his childhood devotion to a "Whig hero" he refuses to name (but who may well be the subject of his next film), Stillman had plenty to say about the lost age of disco, the fleeting pleasures of group social life, the sometimes harsh honesty of his characters and his own antipathy for a certain full-length animated feature about canine romance.

How nostalgic are you for the disco era?

Well, I'm not insane. But I liked it. I like disco music and would love it if something growing out of disco music would happen now. In a new period, you can often go back to something and make it new. It would be great if this summer became "Disco Summer" and they were more imaginative about what they play in nightclubs. After midnight it's really dreary. There's an old guard of DJ stars who are committed to a kind of music and have a lot invested in not being retro at all.

Where have you encountered this?

In the past year we've had a number of parties for this film, and to get them to play disco music is like pulling teeth. We were having a party in this one club and it was so great when they were playing the best of this music. Then, they put on their techno music and just killed it. We asked them to put the disco back on and it revived the party. Some of these guys are pretty narrow and prejudiced and so ignorant. All they could figure out to put on was the most obvious "Saturday Night Fever" music. It would be great if our movie and whatever else of its ilk is going on prompted a return to music that's more melodic, more romantic, more interesting lyrically. What people criticized disco for at the time is much more true of techno than disco. Repetitive, boring, percussive, mechanical -- that's techno.

Were you part of the disco scene yourself?

I didn't have the exact experience in this movie. I didn't have a gang of mine at Studio 54. I went to Studio 54, and to other clubs, and at other times I had a gang of mine. It pulls together different elements. There's a writer trying to piece together the different nonfictional elements of this for an article, and at times I have to remind them that this is a fictional story. I don't want people to think I experienced all this stuff.

The New York Times has described Chris Eigeman as the actor who plays your alter ego.

I love that character he plays in my films, but actually that isn't me. I'd love to have that way of talking. When he says, "I'm not an addict, I'm a habitual drug user," I love that way of thinking. But actually I'm not an addict or a habitual drug user because I've almost never used drugs. In real life, Chris has become my best friend among actors, but the characters Chris plays would be the older, impressive, funny cousins that I had -- people in college who were two years older than me. Now I'm 20 years older and still they're the cool older people who say funny things.

You've made three films about group social life. What makes the topic so compelling for you?

It's pining and wish fulfillment. I've always felt that we lacked that. There's too little of it in our country. I think that we're kind of square and solitary in a way. We go about our business and don't see each other very much. At any excuse we'll cut out our social life to head toward our family life or our working life. There's something very nice about finding the right person and being in a couple, but there's also something that's being lost. There's a nexus of life, from age 17 to 28, where a lot of decisions are being made, identities are being formed, a path in life is being chosen. I'm also writing about it because that's the period 10 to 20 years before the time I'm writing. As a writer I like to look back. I don't write about right now. Once I'm looking back from, say, 12 years later, it seems dramatically interesting, but at the time I wouldn't have felt that way.

Do you want to stick with ensemble pieces?

No, I'm trying to make a radical, probably foolish, departure in the next film. It's going to be a historical adventure film, which I hope to make for a low budget, set during the Revolution with Whigs versus Tories. I think it's time we had a good Whig hero in American cinema. We haven't really had that except for "Drums Along the Mohawk," a rather slight John Ford film. It will be a real departure, and I'm definitely unqualified, but that doesn't mean we can't pull it off. I was unqualified to do "Metropolitan" until we did it.

Why has it been so long between films? You've completed three in the past eight years.

I get frustrated because I do observe procrastination and lazy behavior, stuff like that, disorganization. Then sometimes I think that that's a mechanism to take the time to get the right ideas and have things develop and grow. I put it aside, I pick it up. Maybe it's just how I have to work. I find I don't really like the combination of two and a half years of total solitude, a year of frenzied production warfare and however many months of being in the feeding pen of the editing room. That's like you're European veal being fattened for the slaughter, immobile in a chair, eating and worrying. The best part of film for me is a combination of individual effort and group effort.

Are you nostalgic as a general rule?

Yes. I'm even nostalgic before moments actually pass. I get nostalgic for the future. I kept trying to write a piece for the New York Times op-ed page that would be published on January 1 and would be nostalgic about the coming year. We had a press junket recently and we were together with these journalists for three days, an intense thing, and it was kind of fun. Then on the day they were starting to pack up I thought [dejectedly], "The junket's over." I was nostalgic for a press junket!

Does that make you a melancholy person?

Not at all. It's a positive thing. It's not that you didn't like it and you're sad about it -- you're just sad that it's ending. There's also a nonpandering, anti-schmaltz element to the films. So, yes, there's nostalgia but also a coolness -- I hope not a coldness -- in our approach to things. We're not checking our brains at the door or losing our critical faculties.

There's an edgy quality to "The Last Days of Disco" that keeps it from being sentimental. Sometimes the characters are quite cruel to each other

That's naturalism. That's accuracy. I get, "Oh they're so mean to each other," and then I'm just observing the wrangles people get into with each other and ... [shrugs]. People get into real wrangles. At least I do.

Alice mostly doesn't do that, though.

There's a scene early on that I thought might make people find Alice unsympathetic. She's telling Charlotte that she didn't like the guys at Hampshire because they were hippy-dippy and they thought that the guy who created Spiderman was a serious writer. Some people are going to hear that and think she's just a snot. But I want people to see that she was hurt, rejected. She didn't have a good social life. She's being defensive. If people are criticizing other people because they're feeling threatened, I think that's sympathetic.

What was the origin of that incredible "Lady and the Tramp" argument between Des and Josh?

I have small daughters, so I've seen the source material a lot. I've always had a bone to pick with that movie. When I was a kid, I guess I liked it, but then it started to really irritate me. I see it as a sort of template for all Hollywood movies, with the Tramp character and the Lady character. It's a national archetype. And since I really identify with the Scottie dog, my nose is out of joint.

Whenever people are talking about something like that, they're really doing something else. In this case, Josh, who's ordinarily very nonaggressive, is using that conversation to very aggressively attack Des and convince Alice of the value of his courtship.

Some characters from your earlier two movies appear in "The Last Days of Disco," but the one I really wanted to see, the archfiend Rich Von Sloneker, from "Metropolitan," doesn't.

He's dastardly! Actually, that actor, Will Kempe, showed up on our set, but he's in a soap opera now and he had to leave before we could shoot him going into the club. Rich really would have gone to that club. He and Van, the awful doorman, would have been friends.
SALON | May 28, 1998

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Great Photo of Dad at the Anglican Communion Network Conference in Pittsburgh:

Also, you can see the entire 12-minute procession at the following link: Click Me! I found it very moving to watch. You can spot PZ at 10minutes40seconds into it. But, as far as I'm concerned, the whole thing peaks at the 7-minute mark with an incredible specimen of a Bishop. Does anyone know who he is?

Am I wrong in thinking that there is something touchingly Christian about the Episcopal Church having to rally its troops (so to speak) in what looks like an airport hangar in Pittsburgh? --JAZ

Peter Stuhlmacher quote:

from "The Purpose of Romans"--

(p. 231) "In most editions of the Bible the Pauline collection begins with the letter to the Romans. This is no accident. Of all the Pauline letters we possess Romans is without a doubt the most important...Anyone who wants to become acquainted with Paul's gospel must above all study Romans."

Arguably the Most Disturbing Song Ever Recorded:

Like many, I too had underestimated the volatile power of Christian ventriloquism. Then I heard this: Click Me!

p.s., please comment on your initial reaction to it if you feel so moved.

Abstract Mix (click on th title below):

Abstract Mix

1. Koushik: Younger than Today (pt. 1)
2. Isotope 217: Hodah (edit)
3. ? (low-fi funky instrumental)
4. ? (multi-layered gorgeous instrumental)
5. Fugazi: Version
6. Kraftwerk: Stratovarious
7. Gang Gang Dance: Glory in Itself/Egyptian
8. ? (crazy dualing bass excerpt)
9. DJ Food: Cookin'
10. Monk Hughes: A Piece for Brother Weldon
11. New Area: (drum solo)
12. Miles Davis: Sivad (edit)
13. Madvillain: Meat Grinder (Four Tet remix)
14. Quasimoto: Chippin'
15. Up, Bustle & Out: An Unmarked Grave in Memory Of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
16. Faust: Just a Second (Starts Like That!)
17. ?: Sputnik
18. ? (weird ditty a la skip spence/syd barrett/jj cale)
19. ? (guitar riff beat)
20. ? (picked guitar loop beat)

total length: 48 minutes

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Amazing Maggie Thatcher interview with Barbara Frum (on Canadian TV, 1983):

click this link:
Maggie Thatcher -- blankin' blank and takin' names (in 1983)

Blurb: "It is one of Barbara Frum's most combative interviews for The Journal: her conversation with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Frum had meticulously prepared for the interview with the "Iron Lady" by watching Thatcher skewer a British journalist. Despite Frum's preparation and determination to not let the interview get away from her, Thatcher ends up bullying Frum as well.

The Journal's executive producer Mark Starowicz would later recall how the two women instantly disliked each other. As evident in the clip, there is no love lost between these two powerful women. The tension is thick, the mood is hostile and both sides are out for blood. It makes for an unforgettable interview."

--I think she comes across as being both extremely bright and attractive. JAZ

Hairy Back + Strong Trinitarian Faith =

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Canada's best rapper:


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Hip-Hop Mix (with 80s-style production, i.e., lots of synth, bounce, casio, vocoder, beat box, hand-claps, etc.) - click the link below:

Hip-Hop Mix

1. Latyrx: Lady Don't Tek No
2. Asheru: Mood Swing
2. Phil Da Agony: Net Weight
3. Quasimoto: Greenery
4. De La Soul: Shopping Bags
5. Blackalicious: Whole House Freeze
6. Madvillain: Money Folder (Four Tet remix)
7. Eric Sermon: Get the Money
8. ?: Ghetto Dwellers (Madlib remix)
9. Raekwon: Rap Niggaz (Madlib remix)
10. Slum Village: Let's
11. Four Tet (feat. Percee P): A Joy (Koushik remix)
12. Killah Priest: Greyhound pt. 2 (freestyle)

total length: 32 minutes

note: This mix contains a lot of foul language, lewd morality, and mature content. If that kind of thing disturbs you normally, please don't listen to it, as I doubt this will prove exceptional. The emphasis here, is on 80s-style production in hip-hop, not lyrical content. JAZ

p.s., If the link doesn't work, I can email you a copy. Just put your address in a comment, and I'll delete your comment once I've sent it to you.

Post-Punk Mix (click on the link below):

Post-Punk Mix
1. Roxy Music: Love Is the Drug
2. Faust: The Sad Skinhead
3. Pere Ubu: Ubu Dance Party
4. Magazine: Song from under the Floorboards
5. Gang of Four: Is It Love
6. A Certain Ratio: Shack Up
7. Material: Reduction
8. Liquid Liquid: Out
9. The Raincoats: Fairytale in the Supermarket
10. The Homosexuals: Astral Glamour
11. Vitesse: When Nothing's Changed
12. Wire: The 15th

total length: 40 minutes

Folks, hold on to your seat belts! I've got three new mixes in the immediate works (Hip-Hop, Christian, Quirky/Humorous), plus a 7-part series for those interested in probing the relationship between (failed) works-based-righteousness and the phenomenon of the "One Hit Wonder." Coming soon! JAZ

p.s., If the link doesn't work, I can email you a copy. Just put your address in a comment, and I'll delete your comment once I've sent it to you.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Roland Bainton quote:

from "Here I Stand"--

(p. 168) "God is in all this. He is in every creature, inwardly and outwardly, through and through, over and under, behind and before, so that nothing can be more inward and hidden in any creature than God...The trouble with Erasmus is that he is not stupefied with wonder at the child in the womb. He does not contemplate marriage with reverent amazement, nor praise and thank God for the marvel of a flower or the bursting of a peach stone by the swelling seed. He beholds these wonders like a cow staring at a new door. The deficiency of faith is made evident by a lack of wonder, for nature is a revelation only to those to whom God has already been revealed (i.e., in Christ)."

The Chicken or the Egg?

Anita Thompson (Hunter S. Thompson's widow, age 33) quote:

"Hunter's motto was: It's wrong when it stops being fun (i.e., drug use). It was fun for him right up until the very end."

--The end came last February, when Thompson shot himself through the head while she was at the gym, which leads me to believe that just maybe he wasn't actually having "fun" at the end, at least not "up until the very end". JAZ

Outer Space and Hebrews 11:13:

"And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth." (Hebrews 11:13)

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Stephen Westerholm quote:

from "Perspectives Old and New on Paul"--

(p. 445) I summed up the issue that divides the "Lutheran" Paul from his contemporary critics as "whether 'justification by faith, not by works of the law' means 'Sinners frind God's approval by grace, through faith, not by anything they do,' or whether its thrust is that 'Gentiles are included in the People of God by faith without the bother of becoming Jews.'" As I see things, the critics have rightly defined the occasion that elicited the formulation of Paul's doctrine and have reminded us of its first-century social and strategic significance; the "Lutherans," for their part, rightly captured Paul's rationale and basic point. For those (like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and Wesley) bent on applying Paul's words to contemporary situations, it is the point rather than the historical occasion of the formulation that is crucial.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

(no comment)

Quote from The Big Book (of Alcoholics Anonymous, 1939):

(pp. 60-62) "The first requirement is that we be convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success. On that basis we are almost always in collision with something or somebody, even though our motives are good. Most people try to live by self-propulsion. Each person is like an actor who wants to run the whole show; is forever trying to arrange the lights, the ballet, the scenery and the rest of the players in his own way. If his arrangements would only stay put, if only people would do as he wished, the show would be great. Everybody, including himself, would be pleased. Life would be wonderful. In trying to make these arrangements our actor may sometimes be quite virtuous. He may be kind, considerate, patient, generous; even modest and self-sacrificing. On the other hand, he may be mean, egotistical, selfish and dishonest. But, as with most humans, he is more likely to have varied traits.

"What usually happens? The show doesn't come off very well. He begins to think life doesn't treat him right. He decides to exert himself more. He becomes, on the next occasion, still more demanding or gracious, as the case may be. Still the play does not suit him. Admitting he may be somewhat at fault, he is sure that other people are more to blame. He becomes angry, indignant, self-pitying. What is his basic trouble? Is he not really a self-seeker even when trying to be kind? Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if he only manages well? Is it not evident to all the rest of the players that these are the things he wants? And do not his actions make each of them wish to retaliate, snatching all they can get out of the show? Is he not, even in his best moments, a producer of confusion rather than harmony?

"Our actor is self-centered, ego-centric, as people like to call it nowadays. He is like the retired business man who lolls in the Florida sunshine in the winter complaining of the sad state of the nation; the minister who sighs over the sins of the twentieth century; politicians and reformers who are sure all would be Utopia if the rest of the world would only behave; the outlaw safe cracker who thinks society has wronged him; and the alcoholic who has lost all and is locked up. Whatever our protestations, are not most of us concerned with ourselves, our resentments, or our self-pity?

"Selfishness, self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt.

"So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kill us! God makes that possible. And there often seems no way of entirely getting rid of self without His aid. Many of us had moral and philosophical convictions galore, but we could not live up to them even though we would have liked to. Neither could we reduce our self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on our own power. We had to have God's help.

"This is the how and the why of it. First of all, we had to quit playing God. It didn't work. Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal; we are His agents. He is the Father, and we are His children. Most Good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which we passed to freedom."

Friday, November 04, 2005

Andre 3000 buys (rare) El DeBarge-tribute rug from like-minded fan, Belgian singer, Seal:

Christoph Blumhardt quote:

from "Christoff Blumhardt and His Message"--

(p. 98) "The history of God's help is shown in deeds which we have done nothing to bring about. When the day comes that we are in the kingdom of heaven and when the last jolt has come, we will be surprised, if we look back once more, at how much God had to intervene for us. Even against our will He had to use His power to save us. God, who is in heaven, comes to meet us. He forces His way more and more toward us until He breaks through into this world.
"This is God's intention in His efforts for us. Help will be delayed, and misery will not be overcome, until the barriers between eternity and this world are broken through. A hole must be made from above downwards, not from beneath upwards. Christendom sees it just the other was round. Chistians see nothing but holes upward to get away from the world; they want to fly away like doves and be saved. But according to the Bible the holes must be broken through from above downwards, in order that help can fly down to our earth. At present it costs a terrific fight for that to happen again. Do you know why? Because nobody believes it. They all want to get away and be saved, and they don't even know what is beyond. They even hurry to die; but when they get there they rub their eyes. It hurts me that Christians generally don't understand this. That is why things go from bad to worse."

Thursday, November 03, 2005

An illustration that perfectly portrays the Christian ethic (red=good works/fruit of the Spirit):

"We love because he first loved us." (1 John 4: 19)

Notice where the individual's attention is focussed (i.e., not on the self). This is not one of those "in-order-to-love-another-person,-you-must-first-love-yourself" ideas! --JAZ

footnote: I use the word "perfectly" (above) somewhat liberally.