Instead of a rant

28 09 2007

I started writing a rant today about my day job, subjected to annoying office gossip every Friday afternoon since I have a cubicle rather than an actual office like most of the people at my workplace. Once I started writing it, however, I decided that it was rather pointless and I don’t really want to write up something that’s essentially wasting space. Instead, enjoy this Fountains of Wayne (they hail from New Jersey, from a certain town that starts with a “W” I think…) song that sums things up rather nicely entitled “Hey Julie”;

And now that I think of it (and can’t think of much to write about at the moment), here’s some other music that’s been on my Shuffle as I’ve gone back and forth to class this week;

Ben Folds – “Bastard”

Weezer – “The Good Life”

Protest the Hero – “Heretics and Killers”

Thrice – “Deadbolt”

New Found Glory – “Failure’s Not Flattering”

The Living End – “Who’s Gonna Save Us?”

Bad Religion – “Honest Goodbye”

Those are the ones I could find videos for at least. Believe it or not, there was a time when I’d play guitar and focus on writing songs more than I read science books (or any books), and even though I still pick up my telecaster every now and then, I’ve somewhat outgrown my indie rockstar dreams. Still, maybe someday I’ll record some of the old songs I have lying around (although some updates to the lyrics would definitely be needed), and if I can I’ll upload some of my old demos when I get the chance.

Recycling an old meme

25 09 2007

I’ve had this one in my pocket for a bit in case I wanted to write but couldn’t come up with anything original. Pass it along if you like…

If your life was a movie, what would the soundtrack be?
So, here’s how it works:
1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle/random
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that’s playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don’t lie!
*Optional: Add in a YouTube video or two (if there is one) for some of the songs, or even some sample lyrics to flesh things out a bit

Opening Credits
“The Waiting” – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Waking Up
“The Suffering” – Coheed & Cambria

First Day of School
“Fighting” – Yellowcard

Falling in Love
“Broken Heart” – Motion City Soundtrack

Fight Song
“Angels of the Silences” – Counting Crows

Breaking Up
“Superstition” – Stevie Wonder

“King of Wishful Thinking” – New Found Glory (originally by Go West)

“Kiss Me Deadly” – Reel Big Fish (originally by Lita Ford)

“Bad Moon Rising” – Creedence Clearwater Revival

“Gimme Some Money” – The Thamesmen (= Spinal Tap)

Getting Back Together
“Learning How to Smile” – Everclear

“Slide” – Goo Goo Dolls

“Baby Please Don’t Go” – Aerosmith (originally by Big Joe Williams)

Birth of a Child
“Just What I Needed” – The Cars

Final Battle
“Drones” – Rise Against

Funeral Song
“Gone” – Matt Nathanson

Ending Credits
“Nine Days” – Revolve

I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies…

5 03 2007

I’ve had the song “Holiday” by Green Day (off American Idiot, in case you’ve been living under a rock on Mars for the past 2 years) on in my car a lot lately, making me think about the ever-rising death toll, wasting so many lives because of lies and incompetance. It’s easy to be desensitized to numbers; 4 dead in a helicopter crash doesn’t especially resonate with people, especially when the government bans any media coverage of flag-covered caskets coming home. CNN has a list of coalition forces killed in Iraq thus far, and who knows how many civilians have been killed. While the report about the Iraqi death toll that may have influenced the midterm elections is still being disputed, there can be no doubt that many more innocent people have been killed for a war they didn’t ask for.

I remember when the question of war was first raised a few years ago, protests going on nearly constantly, people on both sides of the argument trying to make their case. Now, it seems America is war-weary, many wanting an end to the war and devastation, but what can anyone do to end it? Indeed, I’m not a strategist or politician, but we’ve created a huge mess in Iraq that’s going to take many years, even decades, to straighten out and will require considerable commitment from the US; I don’t think the government put in place in Iraq is ready to take charge and they could very well be thrown out (or taken out) of their positions of power. It’s heartbreaking to know that we are truly damned if we do, damned if we don’t when it comes to the mess Bush’s crusade created, and while I don’t know if the troop surge will have any benefit or not, the country is going to need long term aid if anything good is to come out of this mess. It’s simply amazing to me what is allowable under the banner of war; guns, missiles, tanks, and hi-tech weapons allowing for as little conscience as necessary to be involved in killing other people just because your government told you it’s permissable. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate soldiers, if anything I think the government should take more responsibility in caring for (especially psychologically) those who have served, but I am apalled by the way so many lives can just become statistics because a few government officials didn’t think things through. Surely, if I someday have children they’re going to learn about this dark time in history and ask why we allowed such a horrific mistake to be made, a mistake that “The Decider” was endorsed by God. The more I think about it, the more it seems we’ve moving backwards into the Dark Ages, Christians acting more like Pharisees than the person they’re suppossed to admire. Perhaps there are people in every generation who are ill-at-ease with the state of things and worry about the coming years, but that’s of little comfort to me right now. Even though the technology to kill someone on the other side of the world gets better and easier to utilize, the conscience that’s suppossed to keep that finger off the button is increasingly ruled by superstition and stupidity. The question I have to ask myself is, what am I doing about it?

We need to wake up

28 02 2007

I hadn’t heard the song before Dan put it up on the ever-wonderful Migrations, but I love this song. It’s good to actually hear something with some substance (unlike the HUGE disappointment the new Ataris album, Welcome to the Night was). I have to agree with Dan, however, in that just “waking up” is not appropriate at this stage of the game. He writes;

I understand focusing on one issue, but I’m not content with just “waking up” on the issue of climate change. The issue is larger than that – we as a society need to operate less on superstition and magical thinking, and more on facts and reason. Yet we still live in a society where the popular discussions of science are dominated by global warming skeptics, creationists, and Right-wing (for a lack of a better term) bioethics (e.g. the stem cell issue); about one in six Americans is scientifically literate. Why is this situation tolerable?

Indeed, just being aware there is a problem is no different from being complacent. Even so, I think there are plenty of people in the scientific community not pulling their weight to communicate how important ecology is to everybody, and the popular media constantly fumbles the ball through error or giving cranks and crackpots “equal time.” A free press is not about making sure everyone has equal time; it’s about reporting honestly and accurately. Anyone can criticise any given point, but not all criticism is equal. When it comes to climate change (and ecological destruction, which has been going on for far longer in general terms) no one is innocent, and people need to hear how we are at a critical time when it comes to preserving ecology. Perhaps one of the most striking images from Gore’s film had less to do with climate and more to do with population; there are more than 6 billion people on the planet, the result of a tripling of global population in one generation. Such fast growth does not come without consequences, especially when many of us require far more resources than we need to survive (we may be small in relative terms, but in terms of the resources an individual consumes we have no equal in all of history). Hence, not only does the public and government officials need to “wake up,” but more and more scientists need to speak out about important issues like global climate change, evolution, etc., otherwise we’ll simply be left to lament our own complacency.

It must be Friday…

16 02 2007

Surely, it must be Friday, for on what other day of the week would NYC Catholics condom consternation and North Dakota’s rejection of Bono make headlines? As for the first story, in an attempt to keep people safe and relatively disease-free, the city of New York started handing out newly designed, subway-themed condoms (lord knows I’ve seen enough discarded ones while in the subways) on Valentine’s Day. Cardinal Edward Egan and Bishop Nicolas DiMarzio, the progressive and contemporary Catholics that they are, said in a joint statement:

Our political leaders fail to protect the moral tone of our community when they encourage inappropriate sexual activity by blanketing our neighborhoods with condoms

Indeed; it’s slippery enough out there without a blanket of lubricated rubber making things all the worse for everyone. Apparently, such a large distribution of rubbers is expensive, costing $720,000 according to the Yahoo!News article (imagine the cost if they were producing Magnum-sized protectives), money that according to the church leaders “would be far better spent in fostering what is true and what is decent.” Well, let’s think about this logically then. People like sex, people are going to continue having sex (even *gasp* unwed Catholics!), sexually transmitted diseases are a problem, condoms can help lessen the prevalence of STD’s, the urge to be intimate with a loved one (or acquaintance, as they case may be) isn’t going away, married people might actually use them (silly, I know right?), and we all can’t be like St. Benedict and throw ourselves onto rose bushes in a display of masochism whenever we feel tempted. Abstinence-only policies do no work because it requires a puritanical mindset that is not natural, as well as opening up society to disease. Remember, when you use a public toilet, you’re sharing that seat with everyone who went before you and some hitchhikers (i.e. crabs) may see it fit to catch of lift with you. People are still going to keep going at it, protected or not (hence many an unwanted teen-pregnancy), and I would much rather two people have the means to protect themselves than “succumb to temptation” that results in spreading an STD or causing an unwanted pregnancy.

Given these truths, the “decent” thing to do would be to provide people with condoms (in the off chance they forgot to buy them, are too embarrassed, etc.) so that they act like mature and responsible adults. The continual pigheaded prudishness of the Catholic church (along with their rather bloody and deceitful history) was one of the reasons I was turned off by religion in the first place, and their continual archaic attitudes are not doing much to help anyone.

As for the other story, somehow related as Bono is praised as a paragon of virtue in many contemporary-minded evangelical churches, North Dakota lawmakers decided not to honor the singer for his advocacy involving debt relief for third world countries, primarily because Bono has no connection whatsoever to North Dakota. Yes folks, these are the types of things your government officials are spending their time on, rather than… oh, I don’t know… doing something to help the poor, spearheading ecological initiatives, working to better the education in our dilapidated public school systems, etc. The unwillingness of politicians and the people they govern to demand positive change absolutely baffles me; if half the time and effort spent in the gay marriage non-issue (because to me, there should not be an issue there) was spent trying to take care of any of the things I mentioned above, we’d all be better off. I don’t want to become a cynical young man, but the more I learn about what people are doing to the planet and each other, the harder it is for me to find any good in it all.

Here it goes again…

11 02 2007

When I first bought Ok Go’s latest album Oh No last year, I did’t really care for it. I’m not sure why, it didn’t really stir very much in me, but after seeing this video (done entirely on treadmills) I fell in love with the song and the album it’s off of has certainly grown on me. Enjoy!

Highway to Hell

25 01 2007

I never knew listening to Queen put me within reach of hellfire and damnation. As Orac alerts us, someone was thoughtful (and homophobic) enough to post a list of bands that will turn your child gay if they tune in. Such idiocy reminds me of a stand-up I once saw where Lewis Black suggests that homosexuals are going around, door-to-door in grey trench coats, trying to turn each household gay. Scary, I know. Anyway, the list is here (ironically on a page that entitled Love God’s Way), and let’s have a look at what bands I listen to/have in my collection that could possibly contribute to my backsliding;

Queen, Metallica, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Interpol, The Doors, John Mayer (?!), Elton John, The Killers, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Nickleback, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

There’s plenty more on the list (Elton John is listed twice, by the way, apparently because he’s “(really gay)”), but the inclusion of Barry Manilow and Frank Sinatra perplex me, so I’m guessing someone saw how terrible this idea was and submitted Frankie as a joke. At least, I hope so.

The list of “Safe Music” is short by comparison, ironically counting Underoath (a metalcore band who are all Christians) alongside Jars of Clay. Weird. While looking over all this, I saw a link on the left entitled C.H.O.P.S., standing for (hold on to your hats) Changing Homosexuals into Ordinary People (no mention is made as to what the S stands for). I’m not even going to go into the fallacious ideal that people choose to be gay or that they are not acceptable to God unless they become heterosexuals (it’s too early to rant that much), but I am so saddened and disheartened with the state of Christianity right now that I sometimes wonder if we’ve become nothing more than the Pharisees of the New Testament. If God is love, why all the hate?