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Showing posts from May, 2010

Housekeeping

Is it just me or does everyone think that their house is not clean enough?

I hate housekeeping. I really do. So I avoid it. So my house probably isn't clean enough, but even when I feel that I really clean, I sit down only to look over and see dust on some surface that I missed.

Part of it is not maintaining. Part of it is living in an old house where there are uneven surfaces and cracks and crevices where dust can hide. I have white stairs--well, they were white when I moved in. Even getting down on my hands and knees with a bucket doesn't seem to make a difference. Part of it is having a dog and a cat and the slow detritus of hair and skin that makes up dust--but other people have children AND a dog and a cat and seem to keep up.

Part of it is simply having too much stuff--too many books, too many figurines with tiny nooks and crannies. I can't dust them all every week, let alone take the books out and dust behind them, so the dust remains and contaminates my clean…

The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power

Also watched “Fraility” a disturbing little film about faith and families—don’t know what else to say about it.

And finished “The Family…” Is it paranoid? Conspiracy theorist? It seems well-researched and has certainly taken on great meaning in light of recent events to pundits of the left such as Rachel Maddow whom I respect (and—full disclosure--kind of lust after because I love smart nerds).

According to the book, there is a quiet, not-quite hidden or secret, but shadowy nevertheless, organization, known now as the Family who works behind the scenes of Washington politics and from there the world. In it’s guise of innocent prayer groups it places “influential men in key places” thereby spreading JESUS throughout the world. But theirs is a Jesus unrecognizable to me or to most Christians whether they be holiday Christians or Evangelicals.

Theirs is Jesus unfettered by scipture, focused on the 'global picture' and therefore unconcerned about the tiny players (read you and me, th…

American Actresses vs. the Brits

Past weekend, watched “The French Lieutenant’s Woman.” I had read the novel ages ago, and the screenplay even further back.

Must say that I was disappointed. I found it very flat with the exception of Jeremy Iron’s rformance. I love Irons (Brideshead, of course, and in Reversal of Fortune) but have found him passionate only in this Elizabeth I.

It was amusing to see British actors who went on to bigger and better or at least more amusing roles--Leo McKern, Richard Griffiths, and Penelope Wilton known to Doctor Who fans as Harriet Jones. But I was very disappointed in Meryl Streep. For all her fame in accents, I found hers uneven and unconvincing in this.

Which brings up the question, why, when Hollywood is perfectly willing to cast British actors as Brits (and often as Americans) is it so reluctant to cast British actresses as Brits??? Particularly iconic British roles—like this one or Bridget Jones for example. Australians as Americans thrive in Hollywood, and it does not turn around an…

Even More on Social Media and Human Behavior

Do you casually put up anything that comes to mind on Facebook/Twitter, Twitter being designed for this, or do you put some thought into provocative, humorous or controversial statements, hoping for comments or re-Tweets?

I prefer Facebook because a) more of my friends are on it, and b) because it invites lengthier and more diverse conversation, sometimes between friends who don’t otherwise know each other from different parts of one’s life, between high school friends, college friends and Boston friends for example. I prefer the conversation. And find myself irrationally unhappy when I don’t get it.

Do you also worry about when to stop commenting? If you have the last word have you been selfish, or so dull that you are conversation ending? If you do not leave the last comment, then have you been rude and abrupt?

If no one comments then are you unpopular, dull or simply lost in the rush. Which leads to my own low-self esteem general question, “Do my friends really like me?”

I find it humo…

A Musical Hierarchy

Do other people have a music hierarchy? When listening to the radio in the car and you are faced with the choices of two acceptable songs or even two songs in general, what determines which one you stop on?

For instance, for me from this past week, Muse trumps Red Hot Chili Peppers but loses to Death Cab for Cutie, particularly if it’s from the new album of both, but Red Hot Chili Peppers would come before Oasis, for example. Alternative 80’s (Cure, Depeche, Duran (of course), Human League (except for Human—God, I hate that song), etc. wins out much of the time except for really new songs that I adore.

Between “Sometime Around Midnight” by The Airborne Toxic Event and “Little Lion Man” by Mumford and Sons, both songs that just slay me, the later would probably win because it is newer and I haven’t heard it as much.

There are artists who, if they are the only choice, lose to commercials or even to silence. Coldplay, for example, or James Taylor or (shudder) John Mayer. And this isn’t even…

English vs. the World

Part of my curiosity about language stems from a book that I’m reading called “The Story of English” from the 80’s BBC series of the same name.

In it, it is postulated that English is uniquely capable of expressing such nuances because it is such a polyglot language—sometimes welcomingly and sometimes hesitantly or even actively resisted—developed from multiple sources and languages and is therefore so vocabulary rich that it is (arguably) unrivaled in its ability to say the same thing in multiple ways and as in my previous post, to say something different with the same words.

According to the book, the OED lists 500,000 words and there are almost a million technical and scientific specific words uncatalogued, with new words being developed every day. And this book dates from the 80’s. As science continues to expand the number is probably higher now.

In contrast, the estimates for German are 185,000 words, and for French, 100,000 including borrowings from English. The French have, of cou…

Nuances of meaning

This previous post is one of my favorite David Sylvian songs and I was thinking about it's meaning. There are such subtle shadings in English, for example:

His world is suffering
Her world is suffering

Our world is suffering

They can all mean that THE world is suffering, mother earth physically suffering, but it can also mean that all he or she knows is suffering, that all of the world means suffering.

Likewise, in The Cure song, "The End of the World" Robert Smith sings:
‘I couldn't ever love you more’

Meaning I could not love you more than I do. It is impossible for me to love you more.

Later, he sings:
‘It’s not my fault, you couldn’t love me more’

Meaning isn’t it sad that you couldn’t love me more. You were incapable of loving me more, or as much as was needed. Of course, it is possible that she couldn’t love him more because it was impossible for her to love him more.

Also, in The Barenaked Ladies song, “Tonight is the Night I Fell Asleep at the Wheel” Steven Page sings:

‘…

When in doubt, David Sylvian

World Citizen


World Citizen
(Words by David Sylvian)

There goes one baby's life
It's such a small amount
She's un-American
I guess it doesn't count

Six thousand children's lives
Were simply thrown away
Lost without medicine
Inside of thirty days

In the New York harbour
Where the stock's withheld
It was the price we paid
For a safer world

World is suffering
World is suffering
World is suffering
World citizen

In Madhya Pradesh
Where they're building dams
They're displacing native people
From their homes and lands

So they hunger strike
Cos they believe they count
To lose a single life
Is such a small amount

In the name of progress
And democracy
The concepts represented in name only

His world is suffering
Her world is suffering
Their world is suffering
World citizen

World citizen

And the buildings fall
In a cloud of dust
And we ask ourselves
How could they hate us?
Well, when we live in ignorance and luxury
While our super powers practice
Puppet mastery

We raise the men
Who run the fascist states
And…

King Jesus

Robert Graves' King Jesus is a dense, sometimes difficult, thought-provoking and ultimately frustrating novel. Written as a history by one Agabus some 50 years after Jesus' death, it posits several controversial ideas about the life and death of Jesus.

First he discards the virgin birth (let alone the Catholic addition of the Immaculate Conception), suggesting instead that Jesus was the product of a secret marriage between Mary, a temple Ward, (whose own parentage owed more to ancient pagan sexual rites, than to Jewish custom) and a son of Herod, and therefore had the earthly right to be called the King of the Jews. But the historian also makes the argument that Jesus was the Messiah based on many writings of the Jewish prophets. Interestingly, while he dismisses the virgin birth as too mystical, comparing it to Greek and Roman mythology--making Jesus no more than Perseus, fathered by Zeus in the form of a shower of gold (I don't think there's a 21st century meaning the…