Archive for October, 2007

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Dancing to the end of the world.

October 29, 2007

Sometimes I feel like I’m watching people talk about the end of our civilization. They just don’t realize it yet. This video is about the fact that for the first time in Canadian history the marriage rate is below 50%. It also discusses the already well known fact that Canadians, and I might as well add most of Western civilization, is experiencing a negative birth rate.

One would need to research it much more fully to say anything with confidence. It does seem however that these discussions are all on the wrong topic. Saying something along the lines of, “women should get married and have children in their 20s because they are most fertile and it is important to our civilization” is beyond the point. The real question that needs to be asked is why are people not having babies? They hit on it a bit in the video but I don’t think they get at the substance of it.

I would agree with the one commentator who said that there is a selfishness to our civilization, but this doesn’t paint the full picture. The real issue I think is one of confidence. During the decline of the Roman Empire birth rates dropped. Some Academics say this is a factor of the decline but could this drop not also be seen as a response to the sunset of their civilization? Is it possible that in our own age we have a subconscious unease about the future? An unease that leads us to wonder about the wisdom of having children. An unease that leads to an Epicurean attitude toward life, instead of desiring committment and thinking to an increasingly uncertain future, we instead party in the present to ignore our collective unease.

I believe there is a decline in optimism. We are no longer buoyed by the nobility of the human spirit. Voter turnout decreases as people feel less and less confidence in their governments. We witness a rapidly changing environment, one likely caused by human means. We see a world where battles are no longer fought in specific places but instead wrought wherever people, military or civilian, are. All of these are reminders that there is no certain future, so why look to it?

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To Teachers

October 27, 2007

Specifically the prettiest lady in the world.

You’re going to make a difference.

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Friday Five # 5

October 26, 2007

This was originally a fairly bitter Friday Five entitled “pet peeves” written for last Friday. I decided against that idea and so today we have my top 5 live Youtube performances. There really isn’t any consistence to these. Three of them are covers done in unique ways. One is from a musical I am now quite desperate to see. The other is from a band that is easily the best rock act of our generation.

#5 What I know about Tim Reynolds is this. He encouraged Dave Matthews to form a band and play. Occasionally he plays with Dave Matthews. He is a brilliant guitar player. Apart from that I don’t know much. I found this video while looking for Peter Gabriel performing “In Your Eyes.” It would be higher on this list but the video quality is kind of shoddy. The brilliance of the performance shines through though.

In Your Eye, Tim Reynolds

#4 I really enjoyed Wicked as a book. My sister and I were both keen to see the musical but missed it both times in Toronto and when in New York, apparently it is sold out 3 months in advance. This song features the best parts of the songs I’ve been listening to from the Soundtrack: Humor, killer melodies, amazing arrangement, and wonderful vocal harmonies. This is “What is this feeling?” From Wicked.

What is this feeling?, Wicked

#3 This differs from the other covers in today’s 5 as I hadn’t heard the original before hearing this version. Andy McKee is another musician I know very little about. That being said he manages to get all the good parts of “Africa” by Toto onto one acoustic guitar, simultaeneously destroying all the terrible 80’s parts of the song.

Africa, Andy McKee

#2 I had a moment a few weeks back where I started watching as many Blue Man Group songs as I could find. One such video was them doing a very cool version of “Baba O’Riley” by The Who.

Baba O’Riley, Blue Man Group

#1 I had the privilege of seeing Muse perform in Toronto over the summer. These guys are especially brilliant. Not only is the singer an amazing singer, but he is also a genius guitar player and pianist. The rest of the band serves as catalysts to this as well as true talents in their own rights. This is them performing what is still my favorite song of their’s: “Hysteria”

Apparently WordPress only allows you to embed one video. Anyway, that concludes this weeks Friday Five, I hope you enjoyed at least one of these performances. I think “What is this feeling?” is probably the most irresistable of them.

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2 Tired 2 Think

October 25, 2007

Thank goodness for these guys.
They’re called Flight of the Conchords, I’d introduce them to you but this video does a good enough job. I’ve got to give a hat tip to Ruth formerly of Augustine, now of Oswego for pointing them out to me.

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Emmy Rossum

October 24, 2007

I just heard “Slow Me Down” the new song by Emmy Rossum. I really like this song; even if it does sound startlingly like “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap. There is something about layered voices and the almost gregorian chantlike quality they take on in this song.

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Nobody Listens.

October 22, 2007

Blah blah blah blah blah.

It frequenly feels like that’s all I’m saying. Even scarier though is it often feels like what I’m hearing.

Listening is a lost art. Somewhere amid Facebook, Messenger, TV, and Cellphones we forgot how to listen. We hear, usually enough to come up with something to say in response, but do we listen?

Today I had the privilege of having dinner with some really cool people. We had a number of pauses in our conversation, and I felt a bit of tension during them. In these silences there is a slight awkwardness that happens. The question for me is are these silences awkward or natural? Am I so used to noise that if there isn’t any I have to make it? I think the understanding of silence, once something natural and even beautiful, has been lost to us. With this loss has been the loss of time for reflection, the time to wait after someone has said something to fully digest it and respond.

Apparently Thomas Aquinas was known as the Dumb Ox because when someone said something to him he wouldn’t respond right away. Instead, he would think long and hard and give the perfect response. The response that took everything you said and processed it. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to do that. Would people even give me the chance?

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A New Career Goal

October 21, 2007

My new career goal is to become a senior pastor at a megachurch. Essentially a megachurch pastor is the closest you can get to being a medieval bishop. You get a six day weekend by milking your congregants for all they are worth on Sundays. It’s almost like feudalism with the congregants as voluntary serfs. With the added bonus of being able to get married too. How ideal is that?

The similarities to bishopdom don’t end there. Beyond financial gains you also get authority gains. The church becomes your fiefdom, with you its true ruler. With enough lip service to God you can say and do whatever you want. With even more lip service you can claim that your orders are in fact the voice of God. Even more advantaegeous is that your role becomes hereditary. You can pass on your title to your children. Who are most likely already employed in your church. This is something even bishops couldn’t claim.

Yup, I think that once I achieve senior-pastorhood at one of these megachurches I will be set.  I can become a best selling author, be revered by thousands, and enjoy one of the shortest work weeks in the western world.  The perfect life.