Archive | September, 2013

Song of the Week: “The Hunter” – Marnie

30 Sep

With Ladytron taking a break after releasing Gravity the Seducer and completing a supporting tour, lead vocalist Helen Marnie decided to write and record a solo album. Produced by Daniel Hunt, Crystal World sounds a lot like a Ladytron record, though perhaps lighter in tone. It was released in June 2013 and “The Hunter” was the debut single. Other favorite tracks for me are “High Road” and “Submariner.”

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Living Scripture

24 Sep

Twelve tasks for the esoteric re-Creationist. 

The Holy Bible has been used for centuries both to justify the greedy, murderous acts of despots as well as to motivate great numbers of people to do good deeds, live peacefully, and sincerely claim a deep knowledge of the scriptures even though they haven’t really read them. If you’re looking for a path to Biblical understanding that’s more reliable than an excitable man wearing a white suit and a Rolex, try the Maximum Know-How 12-step method of scriptural scholarship. 

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12 Ways to Understand the Bible Better

1. Do one of the following:

  • Fast for forty days.
  • Fast for one day.
  • Skip dessert.

2. Develop 800 different ways to prepare and serve manna.

3. Explain why it’s usually a good idea to extinguish a burning bush, especially in an arid region.

4. Prepare a plan for housing at least two of every type of land-based animal in a confined, ocean-going craft for approximately six months. Ensure the following:

  • Carnivorous predators are not located near the antelope section.
  • Elephants, hippos, rhinoceroses, and other heavy creatures are distributed evenly around the ship.
  • The giraffes will not bang their heads.
  • Cicadas, kookaburras, peacocks, turkeys, roosters, and those really loud monkeys they always use in jungle movies are all stored as far as possible from the human sleeping quarters.
  • Animals prone to vandalism (e.g., raccoons, goats, kias) are kept away from vital areas of the superstructure.
  • Wasps, hornets, biting flies, etc. are given constructive, emotionally engaging group projects to keep them occupied and out of everyone else’s life.
  • Animals used as a food source for the human passengers are organized so that a measured decrease in population doesn’t incite suspicion among the general population.
  • Cute little fluffy kitty-cats can sleep wherever they want to.
  • [Insert dragon/unicorn joke here.]
  • Mongooses are housed near the serpentarium to ensure general peace of mind.
  • Everybody leaves the skunks alone.

5. If you have an amazing ability and your girlfriend is always trying to get you to reveal how to overcome it and then, the very night you tell her how (in strict confidence), some guys show up knowing your “secret” and you end up having to kill them (because you actually lied about your vulnerability), and your girlfriend gets mad that you don’t trust her and asks you again—dump her!

6. So, it took Moses a river of blood, then frogs, lice, flies, hail, darkness, etc.—all just to convince Pharaoh to give the Israelites a few weeks off of work. Have you ever had to deal with a boss like that? Explain.

7. Organize an agenda for holding a family conference with a thousand wives.

8. Come up with ten clever, face-saving ways to ask locals for directions just after you’ve been vomited onto the beach by a giant fish. (E.g., “That’s the last time I take the Carnival cruise to Ninevah! Could you point me to the docks, please?”)

9. Compose a psalm. Throw in a few selahs for the band.

10. Participate in a “Biblical suffering tour” of the Mediterranean and Middle East that facilitates at least five historically accurate experiences of being:

  • Enslaved in Egypt.
  • Chased through the Sinai.
  • Besieged in Samaria.
  • Dragged against your will to Babylon.
  • Starved in Syria.
  • Imprisoned in Jerusalem.
  • Blinded on the road to Damascus.
  • Beaten with stripes in Macedonia.
  • Stoned in Lystra.
  • Shipwrecked on Melita.
  • Exiled to Patmos.
  • Executed in Rome.

11. Practice walking on water to determine if it’s really as difficult as the “religious right” makes it out to be. 

12. Be good. Or at least don’t kill anybody… on purpose.

Song of the Week: “Jackie” – Sinéad O’Connor

24 Sep

The first Sinéad song I got was “Jump in the River” on the Married to the Mob soundtrack—in fact, it was one of the reasons, along with Debbie Harry’s cover of “Liar, Liar,” that I purchased the album. Eventually I picked up a copy of The Lion and the Cobra at a used-music store downtown. I popped it into the tape player as I was leaving the parking lot but didn’t make it to the street. This first track on the album, a ghostly tale of love lost on the sea, astounded me and I parked again to wait until it ended. The video below is a live version from her Value of Ignorance video.

Song of the Week: “Rivers of Babylon” – Boney M

19 Sep

With lyrics taken from Psalm 137: 1–4 and Psalm 19:14, “Rivers of Babylon” was written and originally recorded by a reggae band called the Melodians. It was covered by the disco band Boney M (a construct of German record producer Frank Farian) in 1978 and hit #1 in several countries. According to Wikipedia, it’s one of the top-ten all-time bestselling singles in the UK.

Song of the Week: “Heartbreak Beat” – Psychedelic Furs

9 Sep

So, I just saw the Furs in concert last week and they of course played this song—it being their highest charting hit in the U.S. I enjoyed much of the concert, but this was the only song that really brought me back to my youth. From saxophonist Mars Williams’ first few notes that heralded the song, I was 17 again for just a few minutes.

Song of the Week: “Sinners and Their Repentances” – Bob Mould

3 Sep

I am not a Hüsker Dü fan. Friends in high school were constantly raving about their greatness, but I’m apparently too white-bread to grasp the appeal. That said, a recommendation from a classmate led me to purchase Bob Mould’s debut solo album, Workbook. This excursion away from punk into rock (almost folk) singer-songwriter mode produced great results, such as “Wishing Well” and “Lonely Afternoon.” My favorite track from the album is “Sinners and Their Repentances,” stripped down and lyrically compelling. His follow-up album, Black Sheets of Rain, was much heavier than Workbook and didn’t capture my interest. From there, of course, he formed Sugar, which found commercial success in the grunge era.

The link above is to the album version, but in looking for a video I found this wonderful “almost live” version.