Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Paris - Sonic Jihad
David Bazan - Fewer Moving Parts
Todd Steed and the Suns of Phere - Heartbreak and Duct Tape
Starflyer 59 - Leave Here a Stranger
Mustard - Eureka Grande
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Location: Illinois, United States

The peaches, apples, plums and pears are guarded by ferocious bears.

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J.K. Rowling
My Secret - Frank Warren
Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi

31 December 2005

The Twelve Brews Of Christmas: Day Seven

Jones Soda Turkey and Gravy Soda

OK, so technically it's not a brew, not in the alcohol sense anyway. But the holiday beers I received only had 10, so I have to make up the slack somewhere. Plus, on New Year's Eve I'm drinking enough alcohol to set aside beer for one night.

And, yes, Turkey and Gravy soda tastes just as putrid as you think it does. But the Brussel Sprouts soda tastes even worse.

30 December 2005

The Twelve Brews Of Christmas: Day Six

MacTarnahan's Brewing Co.'s Mac Frost Winter Ale

Mac Frost is a big, rich beer in the tradition of English strong ales. We begin with pale and Munich malt along with three varieties of caramel malt for gusto and big, creamy flavor. For balance we add Northern Brewer hops for bitterness and East Kent Goldings for aroma. We take it even further in the finish by dry-hopping Mac Frost with Oregon's own Willamette hops and English Colthup Goldings.

The result is tantalizing; a big beer that delivers with savory malts and complex, lingering hop spice on the tongue and in the nose. This beer will complement your holiday cheer like no other.

Friday Comics Blogging

29 December 2005

The Twelve Brews Of Christmas: Day Five

Left Hand Brewing Company's Black Jack Porter (it's pdf)

Black Jack's initial slight sweetness is followed by roasted malt flavors. A blend of dark chocolate and espresso fills the palate and then yields to an incredibly smooth, surprisingly clean finish. Pairs with beef or buffalo.

28 December 2005

The Twelve Brews Of Christmas: Day Four

Avery Brewing Co.'s Ellie's Brown Ale

This beautiful, deep russet brew has the sweet and somewhat nutty character of Adam Avery's late (1992-2002) Chocolate Lab, for which it is named. Crystal and chocolate malts give this beer a brown sugar maltiness with hints of vanilla and nuts, while subtle hopping gives it an overall drinkability that's second to none, just like Ellie!

27 December 2005

The Twelve Brews Of Christmas: Day Three

Boulder Beer's Planet Porter

Planet Porter is a remarkably smooth dark ale. The generous use of black malt gives this brew a hint of coffee. Planetary: a big beer for everyone.

26 December 2005

Monday Lyrics Blogging

Cake - Rock 'N' Roll Lifestyle

Well, your CD collection looks shiny and costly
How much did you pay for your bad Moto Guzi?
And how much did you spend on your black leather jacket?
Is it you or your parents in this income tax bracket?
Now tickets to concerts and drinking at clubs
Sometimes for music that you haven't even heard of
And how much did you pay for your rock'n'roll t-shirt
That proves you were there
That you heard of them first?
How do you afford your rock'n'roll lifestyle?
How do you afford your rock'n'roll lifestyle?
How do you afford your rock'n'roll lifestyle?
Ah, tell me

How much did you pay for the chunk of his guitar
The one he ruthlessly smashed at the end of the show?
And how much will he pay for a brand new guitar
One which he'll ruthlessly smash at the end of another show?
And how long will the workers keep building him new ones?
As long as their soda cans are red, white, and blue ones
And how long will the workers keep building him new ones?
As long as their soda cans are red, white, and blue ones
Aging black leather and hospital bills
Tattoo removal and dozens of pills
Your liver pays dearly now for youthful magic moments
But rock on completely with some brand new components
How do you afford your rock'n'roll lifestyle?
How do you afford your rock'n'roll lifestyle?
How do you afford your rock'n'roll lifestyle?

Excess ain't rebellion
You're drinking what they're selling
Your self-destruction doesn't hurt them
Your chaos won't convert them
They're so happy to rebuild it
You'll never really kill it
Yeah, excess ain't rebellion
You're drinking what they're selling
Excess ain't rebellion
You're drinking
You're drinking
You're drinking what they're selling

The Twelve Brews Of Christmas: Day Two

Great Divide Brewing Co.'s Saint Bridget's Porter

St. Bridget, a legendary Irish saint, created a sensation by turning her bathwater into beer. What better way to celebrate her worthy miracle than with our zymurgistic tribute to her feat: St. Bridget’s Porter. St. Bridget’s is a smooth and elegant brown porter. Brimming with coffee and chocolate characteristics from dark barley malts, St. Bridget’s is carefully hopped to provide the perfect complement to its malty robustness. This beer is a “must have” beer for all porter lovers.

Prepare yourself for a religious experience.

25 December 2005

The Twelve Brews Of Christmas: Day 1

I may be the only person I know who received beer as a Christmas gift. I'm not what this says about Mrs. Wasp Jerky and I.

MacTarnahan's Highlander Pale Ale

Highlander is a remarkably unique ale that combines the fruity character of authentic Scottish ale yeast with the delightful hop bouquet of our own distilled hop oil and a "kiss" of Highland heather. Used in Highland ales throughout the centuries, heather adds a touch of herbal sweetness that blends beautifully with the floral hop aroma to produce an exceptional infusion of fragrance and flavor. The result is an extraordinary crisp and refreshing pale ale.

24 December 2005

Christmas Mix

In case you needed some extra Christmas tunes. Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it. (Update: I added a second Fleming and John song: Winter Wonderland, to the tune of Led Zeppelin's Misty Mountain Hop. Also, many of these songs are hosted over at Tim's blog, as well as a bunch more, so stop by there while you're at it.)

Cocteau Twins - Winter Wonderland
Belle and Sebastian - O Come O Come Emmanuel
Pedro the Lion - I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Bright Eyes - Blue Christmas
The Polyphonic Spree - Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
U2 - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
The Southern Sea - Reluctant Father
Sixpence None the Richer - You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch
Jennifer Daniels - O Holy Night
The Beautiful Mistake - A Cradle in Bethlehem
Fleming and John - Carol of the Bells
Pedro the Lion - The First Noel
Death Cab For Cutie - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
Starflyer 59 - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Over the Rhine - Thank You My Angel
Quasi - Merry X-mas
The Flaming Lips - White Christmas
MXPX - Christmas Day
Weezer - The Christmas Song
Something Corporate - Forget December
Sufjan Stevens - Once in David's Royal City
Half-Handed Cloud - Asian Meteorologists Predicted the Heavens to Snow-down a Child a Child to Us (Plant a little Fir Tree)
Brad Wofford - Away In A Manger
Fleming and John - Winter Wonderland

23 December 2005

Friday Comics Blogging

Free CD

I've got an extra copy of Ester Drang's Rocinate, which won't officially be released until 24 January. It doesn't have liner notes, but it's free. First person to claim the disc in the comments gets it. Ready? Go.

21 December 2005

The War On Hannukah

Now that the War on Christmas™ is over, it's time for a War on Hannukah:

The Tennessee ACLU is using a menorah display at the state Capitol to advocate for a forum for other groups and individuals to express their beliefs and opinions.

Hedy Weinberg, executive director of ACLU-Tennessee, sent a letter to Gov. Phil Bredesen Dec. 12 suggesting the annual menorah display and candle-lighting ceremony would violate the separation of church and state unless it occurred in a public forum where other displays could take place. The menorah has been displayed at the state Capitol since 2003, at the request of the Center for Jewish Awareness.
Impossible. The ACLU clearly has an agenda to eradicate Christians. Even though they keep defending us.

(h/t: Washington Rox)

19 December 2005

Monday Lyrics Blogging

Three songs again this time. The first is by a band called Low from Duluth, Minnesota. The second was written by a French socialist named Adolphe Adam in 1847 and translated into English by John Sullivan Dwight in 1855. The third was written by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow during the American Civil War. I'm included the two verses that reference the war that are usually excluded.

Long Way Around the Sea - Low

We've come so far
We've followed the star
Harod heard
Said, "Bring me word"
Take the long way around the sea

Here for us
A humble birth
The son of God
Descends to earth
Take the long way around the sea

On Christmas day
On bended knee
Please accept
The gifts we bring
Take the long way around the sea

We turn to go
An angel shone
Said, "Don't go back
to Harod's throne"
Take the long way around the sea

O Holy Night - Adolphe Adam

Oh holy night! The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear'd and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices
Oh night divine, Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine, Oh night devine

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming
Here come the wise men from Orient land
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our friend
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend
Behold your King, Behold your King

Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us praise His holy name
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever
His power and glory evermore proclaim
His power and glory evermore proclaim

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men

And thought how as the day had come
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men

Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day
A voice, a chime
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men

Then from each black accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good will to men

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good will to men

And in despair I bowed my head
"There is no peace on earth," I said
"For hate is strong
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep
The wrong shall fail
The right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men"

16 December 2005

Friday Comics Blogging

Cookie Jar

The other day I linked to three free Sufjan Stevens Christmas albums. If that wasn't enough for you to gorge yourself on, I've stumbled across some other cool free stuff lately:

• There's a high quality Pedro the Lion show from earlier this year, recorded at Calvin College. It's actually just frontman David Bazan playing solo. It's a great show, too, with a lot of unique stuff, including two Headphones songs (played acoustic!), covers of Randy Newman and Neil Young songs, a brand new song called "Track Review Mother Fucker," a hymn, and, most importantly, David's take on Blockbuster and the importance of having a beard. The show is only online for a limited time, so grab it while you can.

• If you're up for a quirky Christmas album by some obscure artists you've never heard of, grab Krismus Karuls. If nothing else, snag the two Half-Handed Cloud tracks. He's on the same label as Sujfan Stevens, lives in Berkeley, and is amazing. Seriously, how can you go wrong with a song called "Asian Meteorologists Predicted the Heavens to Snow Down a Child to Us (Plant a Little Fir Tree)?" (And if you happen to live in Seattle, Half-Handed Cloud is playing at the Crocodile Cafe in early January. You should go. You won't regret it. You know who you are.)

Flux Blog has live tracks up by Kanye West and U2.

Zalm points to a live Over the Rhine show. Actually the Archive archive has nine OTR shows, a couple of which were recorded in Chicagoland.

• Phenomenal L.A. rap act L.A. Symphony has a new Christmas track out. There aren't too many good Christmas rap songs out there, but this one isn't bad. Download it here.

• Back in the early 90s a band called Chagall Guevara put out a really amazing self-titled album. They soon dissolved dues to problems with their record label. That album is now long out of print, but you can download the entire thing here. Think The Clash but more rock, less punk.

That is all. Happy weekend.

15 December 2005

You Are What You Buy

Last year I stumbled across an organisation called Buy Blue. Buy Blue is a non-profit formed in the wake of the 2004 Presidential election to encourage Democrats to vote with their wallets. The group’s web site has a well-researched database of companies and their political contributions. The database also rates companies based on how they pay their workers, how they treat the environment, and other such factors. Naturally, the site encourages Democrats to shop with companies that donate to Democrats, that treat their workers fairly, and that are generally socially responsible.

This is an important thing for Democrats to be doing. It’s an important thing for all of us to be doing. We have a tendency, in this country especially, to be extremely short sighted about the way our decisions impact others, particulary over the long haul. We act first and think about the consequences later, if at all. So what if Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan pour tax dollars into training, arming and financing freedom fighters in Afghanistan? That couldn’t possibly come back to bite us in the ass. So what if we pour billions of dollars into an unsustainable automobile culture, instead of preparing the way for a day, a few decades from now, when we will have to live without oil? So what if we ignore the horrible poverty, genocide and disease in Africa? A continent that is 40 percent Muslim surely won’t hold a grudge against us a generation or two from now for failing to act.

Likewise, we don’t really pay attention to the products we buy. We don’t really know who owns which brands, who makes the clothes we wear, how much the workers were paid, or how many gallons of pollution were dumped into our drinking water for those products to make it from point A to point Z. Somehow we think that these products just appear on the shelves, that there is no vast structural process by which we receive our Nikes and our McDonald’s cheeseburgers. Say what you will about Focus on the Family and other such organisations. But at least they’re paying attention to the who owns what part of the equation.

If you consider yourself to be a civic minded person, it’s important to understand how campaign contributions impact later policies. It’s important for you to know who is bankrolling your candidate and what they will want in return later. It’s important for you to be aware of which corporations own which media outlets and how that affects the news you consume. It’s important for you to know who makes your voting machines and the political party to which they send their cheques.

We should also be putting our money where our mouths are. You say you aren’t a racist? Prove it by buying clothes from American Apparel or No Sweat Apparel, instead of from companies that use sweat shop labor. You don’t like kids smoking? Stop buying products made by Kraft. You don’t like Wal-Mart’s horrendous business practices? Shop at CostCo, which pays its workers 38 percent higher wages and provides its employees with decent health care. Don’t want your money going to Focus on the Family? You probably shouldn’t buy your pizza at Domino’s.

If you’re a Christian, especially, you have a responsibility to use your money wisely. Part of that means being aware of how the goods and services you purchase impact the world around you. This isn’t about being a Democrat or a Republican. I’m neither. This is about being a responsible human being.

14 December 2005

War Is Over

The war on Christmas is over. Sigh. And I had just found my rocket launcher.

13 December 2005

Speaking Of Christmas

Hark the herald Sufjan sings...

The War On Christmas

I don't know how many of you were aware of it, but apparently liberals like me are waging something known as a War on Christmas. I was a bit shocked to hear this. Normally when the Left engages in strategic action, that action is carried out, at least in part, through the use of the Internets. Blogging, e-mail petitions, PayPal donations, these are the radically subversive tools of the New Left. Having not received an email from John Kerry or Howard Dean imploring me to crush the nativity, I didn't realise I was supposed to be doing so. But when both Jerry "the ACLU is trying to stamp out Christianity, though it once defended me" Falwell and Bill "sexual harassment is good for America" O'Reilly say it is so, then it must be so. The time has come for me to start lobbing grenades at Christmas carolers.

The War on Christmas seems to be based on the idea that wishing someone "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" is just one more banana peel littering the slippery slope that is turning the United States from a Christian nation to a soulless secular humanist state. Soon we who are Christians in the United States will be executed on the spot for declaring allegiance to Jesus. After all, it's not like our President, Congress or half the Supreme Court claim to have faith. It's not like many of our schools want to teach Creationism in classrooms. We are nearing the end of our Christian nation.

What it boils down to is that many Christians in this country want to have their cake and eat it, too. They want to be a persecuted minority, fighting the uphill battle to take Jesus to every tribe and nation. They want to be able to have Jesus' words about being persecuted for his sake be true for them. But those words are not true for them. For most of them they never will be. Most of them will never know what it's like to be sodomised with a light bulb simply because they are Christian. They will never be forced to stand naked for hours with black bags over their heads while soldiers beat them and take photographs. They will never be urinated on for Jesus. And most of them are glad for it. It's much easier, much more comfortable, to invent persecution where it doesn't exist, than, say, to face the threat of execution for being a Christian peacekeeper in a hostile foreign land.

But it looks like we're not alone in the War on Christmas. It seems that even our President hates Christianity, which I find particularly interesting. Bush has incurred the wrath of some on the Right for using "Happy Holidays," not "Merry Christmas," on the White House's Christmas cards this year.

"This clearly demonstrates that the Bush administration has suffered a loss of will and that they have capitulated to the worst elements in our culture," said William A. Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. "(Bush) claims to be a born-again, evangelical Christian. But he sure doesn't act like one," said Joseph Farah, editor of WorldNetDaily.com. "I threw out my White House card as soon as I got it."

It's good to know that this is what Farah finds unchristian about our President. Not the blatant lies, not the unjust war, not tax cuts for the wealthy, not skyrocketing national debt, not smear campaigns against political opponents, not pushing to eliminate overtime pay for workers, not blatant disregard for international law, not presiding over the illegal and treasonous leaking of a covert CIA agent's identity, not sweeping cuts to veterans' benefits in a time of war, not rolling back environmental protections, not incessant fearmongering. Nope, it's those damn holiday cards. Good thing we have our priorities straight.

12 December 2005

Monday Lyrics Blogging

In the interest of trying to squeeze all my favourite Christmas songs in before the holiday, I'm posting three songs today. The first is a Lennon classic. The second two are a little more traditional, but have additional verses by Pedro the Lion's David Bazan.

Happy Christmas (War Is Over) - John Lennon

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear ones
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The road is so long
And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let's stop all the fight

And so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so happy Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

War is over if you want it
War is over now

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Traditional and David Bazan

God rest ye merry, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay
Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day
To save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

And after Thanksgiving, our folks unpacked the manger scene
With Mary, Joseph, shepherds, and three kings on bended knee
But left the manger empty til we slept on Christmas Eve
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

And now my wife and children dream of gifts beneath the tree
While I place in the manger baby Jesus figurine
Sipping Christmas whiskey wondering if I still believe
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

Silent Night - Josef Mohr, Franz X. Gruber and David Bazan

If good will to men and peace on the Earth
Are how angels announced our Savior's birth
Then isn't it strange
How many we have beaten and maimed
And how many more
We have hunted and tortured and killed
In this baby's name

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

09 December 2005

Friday Comics Blogging

08 December 2005

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Narnia

06 December 2005

Naivety: 1 Church: 0

(h/t: A Little East of Reality, Simply Put)

05 December 2005

Monday Lyrics Blogging

The Christians and the Pagans - Dar Williams

Amber called her uncle, said "We're up here for the holiday,
Jane and I were having Solstice, now we need a place to stay."
And her Christ-loving uncle watched his wife hang Mary on a tree,
He watched his son hang candy canes all made with red dye number three.
He told his niece, "It's Christmas Eve, I know our life is not your style,"
She said, "Christmas is like Solstice, and we miss you and it's been a while."

So the Christians and the Pagans sat together at the table,
Finding faith and common ground the best that they were able,
And just before the meal was served, hands were held and prayers were said,
Sending hope for peace on earth to all their gods and goddesses.

The food was great, the tree plugged in, the meal had gone without a hitch,
Till Timmy turned to Amber and said, "Is it true that you're a witch?"
His mom jumped up and said, "The pies are burning," and she hit the kitchen,
And it was Jane who spoke, she said, "It's true, your cousin's not a Christian,"
"But we love trees, we love the snow, the friends we have, the world we share,
And you find magic from your God, and we find magic everywhere."

So the Christians and the Pagans sat together at the table,
Finding faith and common ground the best that they were able,
And where does magic come from? I think magic's in the learning,
Cause now when Christians sit with Pagans only pumpkin pies are burning.

When Amber tried to do the dishes, her aunt said, "Really, no, don't bother."
Amber's uncle saw how Amber looked like Tim and like her father.
He thought about his brother, how they hadn't spoken in a year,
He thought he'd call him up and say, "It's Christmas and your daughter's here."
He thought of fathers, sons and brothers, saw his own son tug his sleeve, saying,
"Can I be a Pagan?" Dad said, "Well discuss it when they leave."

So the Christians and the Pagans sat together at the table,
Finding faith and common ground the best that they were able,
Lighting trees in darkness, learning new ways from the old, and
Making sense of history and drawing warmth out of the cold.

04 December 2005

Old Sparky

On Friday, the United States reached a milestone of epic proporations. On that day, 57-year old Vietnam veteran Lee Boyd became the 1000th person to be executed in this country since 1976, when the death penalty was reinstated. I don't really have a lot to say about it at the moment. But I thought I'd post a few statistics that I found interesting:

• In 2004, according to Amnesty International, 97 percent of all known executions took place in China, Iran, Viet Nam and the U.S.

• Eight countries since 1990 are known to have executed prisoners who were under 18 years old at the time of the crime: China, Congo (Democratic Republic), Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, USA and Yemen. The U.S. executed more child offenders than any other country (22 since 1976).

• Since 1973, 122 prisoners have been released in the U.S. after evidence emerged of their innocence of the crimes for which they were sentenced to death

• Since 1976, 34 people have been executed in the U.S. who displayed evidence of mental retardation

• Number of males executed in the U.S. since 1976: 989

• Number of females executed in the U.S. since 1976: 11

• Number of blacks executed in the U.S. since 1976: 337

• Number of whites executed in the U.S. since 1976: 577

• Number of blacks executed for murdering white victims since 1976: 203

• Number of whites executed for murdering black victims since 1976: 18

• Number of executions in Texas since 1976: 355

• Number of executions overseen by George W. Bush since 1994: 155 (152 while governor plus 3 federal executions while President)

• Studies in Texas, California, Florida, North Carolina, Indiana, and Kansas have concluded that the death penalty is far more expensive (often by millions of dollars) than life in prison

• According to the FBI's Preliminary Uniform Crime Report for 2002, the murder rate in the South increased by 2.1% while the murder rate in the Northeast decreased by almost 5%. The South accounts for 82% of all executions since 1976; the Northeast accounts for less than 1%.

• Data released by the British Home Office reveals that the United States, which retains the death penalty, has a murder rate that is more than three times that of many of its European allies that have banned capital punishment.

It appears that our President is a serial killer.

(h/t: Washingtonrox)

03 December 2005

Mix CD #3

You know the drill.

Jennifer Daniels - Rage (live acoustic)
Chase Pattison - Like the Fall
Mountain Soul - Foggy Mountain Special
Chagall Guevara - Monkey Grinder
Bound Stems - Crimes and Follies
Angel and the Love Mongers - It's Love
Catfish Haven - Please Come Back
Plan A - My Heart Tonight
The Rockwells - Matters to Me
Twinkiebots - A Pretty Day Is Just Ugly Without You
Tim Lee - Any Part of This
Eggs - Songs With Contemporary Influence
Apelife - Tina Wesson
Harry and the Potters - The Wrath of Hermione
Aberdeen City - In Combat
Lost Cowboy Heroes - Hate Is Coming
Milemarker - Frigid Forms Sell You Warmth
New London Fire - Different
Sleep Station - Caroline

Bonus Track:

Pledge Drive - Christmas Rhapsody

02 December 2005

Friday Comics Blogging

Can Somebody Anybody Tell Me...

I usually ignore Spam (both the potted meat and the insidious mailed variety). But this one has me curious. So, um, what exactly is a penis launcher?

01 December 2005

The Anniversary Party

I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right. It is truly enough said that a corporation has no conscience; but a corporation of conscientious men is a corporation with a conscience. Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice. -- Henry David Thoreau

Rosa Parks has been in the news a lot lately, first because of her death in October, and now because today marks the 50th anniversary of the day she refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Parks' act of civil disobedience will perhaps forever be remembered as the cornerstone of the civil rights movement. Her action will also spur countless others on to protest acts of injustice (like those who protest a certain invasion and occupation fueled by our tax dollars).

I certainly think Parks should be given her due. But I also think it's important to remember that she was not the first black woman in this country to stand up to a white male bus driver. Parks was following in the footsteps of another woman named Lizzie Jennings.

Jennings was a 24-year old schoolteacher living in pre-Civil War New York. At the time, bus transportation in New York consisted of large horse-drawn carriages. African-American New Yorkers, who paid taxes and were allowed to own property, were permitted to ride buses bearing signs that read "Colored Persons Allowed." On all other buses, whip-carrying drivers determined which passengers could and could not ride.

On July 16, 1954, Jennings, on her way to play the organ at the First Colored Congretional Church, attempted to board a bus without the "Colored Persons Allowed" sign.

The New York Tribune, by way of Mickey Z's 50 American Revolutions You're Not Supposed to Know, describes what happened next:

She got upon one of the Company's cars...on the Sabbath, to ride to church. The conductor undertook to get her off, first alleging the car was full; when that was shown to be false, he pretended the other passengers were displeased at her presence; but (when) she insisted on her rights, he took hold of her by force to expel her. She resisted....

The conductor got her down on the platform, jammed her bonnet, soiled her dress and injured her person. Quite a crowd gathered, but she effectually resisted. Finally, after the car had gone on further, with the aid of a policeman they succeeded in removing her."
Jennings, a well connected woman, did not let the matter end there. After a rally at her church the following day, Jennings hired a law firm and took the Third Avenue Railway Company to court.

Represented by Chester A. Arthur (who would go on to be the 21st U.S. President), Jennings won her suit. Judge William Rockwell, in his decision, wrote, "colored persons if sober, well behaved and free from disease, had the same rights as others and could neither be excluded by any rules of the Company, nor by force or violence." Jennings was awarded $247.50 (she had asked for $500 in damages). One day later, the Third Avenue Railway Company ordered its buses to allow African-Americans on their buses. By 1860, all of New York's street and rail cars were desegregated.