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

29 September 2006

American Blackout

This may be the most important American film that comes out this year.

28 September 2006

Responding To Anonymous

So I got an anonymous comment extolling the virtues of voting Republican, as apparently this is the Christian thing to do. Normally I don’t put much stock in anonymous comments. I have the balls to back what I write up with an email address and an established location on the Web. I have little patience for people who leave comments without doing the same. It strikes me as cowardly.

That said, this anonymous commenter managed in three paragraphs to satisfy nearly every stereotype about conservative U.S. Christianity’s relationship with Republican politics.

To whit:

As a Christian, I will support the Republican party every time I head for the polls. And I don't really feel like I need to research the candidates.

The reason is, like it or not, Republicans best represent the moral values of Christians.
Which moral values? Election fraud? Lying? Tax cuts for the rich? Unjustified wars based on falsified evidence? Adultery? Fearmongering? Racism and xenophobia? Torture? Increasing the national debt by trillions? Or do the ends justify the means in such a way that all these things are acceptable and necessary to accomplish the greater good of ending abortion?
There is no such thing as a pro-life democrat!
Because you say so? You should speak to Tony Campolo, Billy Graham or Jim Wallis. Or my mother. Or my grandmother. They would all tell you differently.
The abortion issue, I think, is the most important issue to be considered. I may not agree with all the policies of a particular party, but one that endorses the killing of innocent children purely out of self-interest is not a party I can endorse, no matter what other issues.
Except, apparently, the killing of innocent children who live in Iraq.
Who will support heterosexual marraige?
You tell me. Christians have higher divorce rates than non-Christians. Many of the Republicans who will be in the ’08 presidential race are divorced. Massachusetts, that immoral blue state that supports gay marriage, has the second lowest divorce rate in the country. Maybe conservative Christian Republicans should be taking marriage lessons from godless liberal Democrats.
Who will protect unborn children from abortion and being sold for stem cell research?
Stem cell research can be done on fetal tissue that is already earmarked for destruction. It’s not as though fetuses would be harvested specifically for the purpose of stem cell research. It is tissue that will be discarded anyway. It sounds like you should start doing research.
Most Republicans will support the Christian values which are most important.
What are Christian values? Do they differ from regular values, or are they special? Perhaps these values have been saved?
Democrats will not.
If the current Republican administration represents Christianity, I’d rather be an atheist.
And don't talk to me about social justice issues either, because Democrats play that card to get votes.
But Republicans play the abortion card because they are so virtuous and moral? Funny that in 33 years of standing up against abortion they haven’t been able to do a damn thing to stop it. Funny, too, that abortion rates dropped more significantly under Bill Clinton than they have under George Bush. And funny that Jesus talked about those social justice issues all the time, but didn’t have a thing to say about gay marriage or abortion.
Government assistance is handing out so much money to generational welfare recipients, it is rediculous.
That’s the Christian position, is it? I seem to recall Jesus saying to sell your things and give the money to the poor. He didn’t qualify that position. He didn’t say give your money to the poor only if they deserved it, or only if they could prove they were looking for work.

25 September 2006

Just Resting My Eyes

Not dead yet. I'm out of town, working on a freelance writing assignment. The folks at Panera Bread are probably sick of me by now. Consequently, I'm a little too fried to write anything else. I'll post again. Maybe sooner than later. Or later than sooner. Stay tuned.

19 September 2006


So I forgot to record Prison Break last night. Fortunately I use Shareaza to download television shows from channels we don't get (which seems to make a lot more sense than paying for cable). So after I finish downloading, I double click on the video to make sure it's the right episode. It isn't. In fact, it isn't Prison Break at all. Oh, the file was named Prison Break. But it's really a naked guy touching himself. And he's wearing a top hat. I'm not kidding.

This And That

Gorilla vs. Bear reports that Sufjan Stevens played a new song at his Austin show last Friday. It's called "Majesty Songbird," and you can watch a video clip here. Stevens has already written a song called "The Lord God Bird." Could a bird-themed album be far behind?

• Expect a "new" J.R.R. Tolkien book next year, involving elves and dwarves.

Over the Rhine reported at their show last weekend in Chicago that they'll have a new Christmas album out this December. And a new studio album in the spring.

Sol.iLLaquists of Sound are amazing. And in town Friday. That is all.

15 September 2006

Friday Random Ten

Over the Rhine - Ohio
Nada Surf - I Like What You Say
The Soft Drugs - Crack in the Lens
Otis Redding - Satisfaction
Scout Niblett - Hot to Death
Bob Dylan - With God On Our Side
Tim Easton - J.P.M.F.Y.F.
Counting Crows - Angels of the Silences
Eminem - Freestyle
The Postal Service - We Will Become Silhouettes

12 September 2006

Olbermann: 2 Bush: 0

07 September 2006

God's Own Party

A recent post at Jesus Politics caught my eye. The post quotes a middle aged woman from Georgia named Clydeen Tomanio. Here is what she said:

There are some people, and I'm one of them, that believe George Bush was placed where he is by the Lord. I don't care how he governs, I will support him. I'm a Republican through and through.
There are really two separate positions here. The first is that God places world leaders where they are, and that we ought to support them, no matter what they do. The second is that when God fills out her voter registration card, she checks the box marked Republican.

There are probably quite a few Christians in the United States who believe the first position. This is curious. You will understand the reason why this is curious when you take the words "George Bush" out of the quote above and replace them with "Saddam Hussein" or "Adolf Hitler."

As for the second position, if you believe that God is a Republican, I can only offer you this:

06 September 2006

Orwell Rolls In His Grave

Earlier this week, President Bush gave a speech urging those in the U.S. not to underestimate Osama bin Laden. As such, it was a delightful piece of irony.

Said Bush:

History teaches that underestimating the words of evil and ambitious men is a terrible mistake. Bin Laden and his terrorist allies have made their intentions as clear as Lenin and Hitler before them. The question is: Will we listen? Will we pay attention to what these evil men say?
That's a fair question. But it's not a question he should be asking us. Rather, it is a question we should be asking him.

After all, it was Bush, and not us, who failed to take seriously a briefing entitled bin Laden determined to strike in U.S.

It was under Bush's leadership, and not ours, that dozens of warning signs went unheeded in 2001.

It was during Bush's presidency, and not ours, that planes were hijacked and crashed into buildings.

It was Bush, and not us, who afterwards said that he "doesn't spend that much time on bin Laden."

It was during Bush's presidency, and not ours, that a CIA unit set up to hunt down bin Laden was disbanded.

It is Bush, and not us, who has in five years failed to capture the man he declared he would get dead or alive.

It is Bush, and fortunately fewer and fewer of us, who considers his dismal failure to be a resounding success.

Olbermann: 1 Bush: 0

Today, in the same subtle terms in which Mr. Bush and his colleagues muddied the clear line separating Iraq and 9/11 — without ever actually saying so — the President quoted a purported Osama Bin Laden letter that spoke of launching, “a media campaign to create a wedge between the American people and their government.”

Make no mistake here—the intent of that is to get us to confuse the psychotic scheming of an international terrorist, with that familiar bogeyman of the right, the “media.”

The President and the Vice President and others have often attacked freedom of speech, and freedom of dissent, and freedom of the press.

Now, Mr. Bush has signaled that his unparalleled and unprincipled attack on reporting has a new and venomous side angle:

The attempt to link, by the simple expediency of one word—“media”—the honest, patriotic, and indeed vital questions and questioning from American reporters, with the evil of Al-Qaeda propaganda.

That linkage is more than just indefensible. It is un-American.

Read the rest of the transcript...

Christmas In September

Sufjan Stevens's label, Asthmatic Kitty, has announced that it will be releasing a box set of five Sufjan Christmas EPs on 21 November. Read more about it here.

At least the first three EPs have been floating around the Internet for quite a while now. Still, it sounds like a cool set, and it's probably a better collection of songs than Avalanche was.

Now if David Bazan would only release his Christmas singles on an EP. Sigh.

(Crossposted at Analog Rhombus.)

04 September 2006

Your Commitment To Sparkle Motion

I don't think that you have a clue what it's like to communicate with these kids. We are losing them to apathy... to this prescribed nonsense. They are slipping away. -- Karen Pommeroy, Donnie Darko

One of my favourite films has stirred up some trouble. According to a recent article in AgapePress ("Reliable News from a Christian Source"), a Los Angeles pastor and his wife are suing a school "for showing an obscene, sexually explicit, R-rated movie in their daughter's ninth-grade English class last February." In other words, for screening Donnie Darko.

Notes the article (original spelling errors intact):

According to Pastor Brian Lewis and his wife Tara, Animo Venice Charter Public High School, a school serving the city of Venice, California, and the Los Angeles Westside, violated their parental rights when school officials failed to inform the parents that the school would be showing his daughter Alexis and fellow students the R-rated movie, Donnie Darko.

The Motion Picture Association of America gave Donnie Darko the restricted rating "for language, some drug use, and violence." But the Lewises say the movie is filled with all kinds of offensive subject matter, including "gross obscenities, various types of deviant sexual activity, and misogynistic fantasy."

The Internet Movie Database describes Donnie Darko as the story of "a troubled teenager who is plagued by visions of a large bunny rabbit that manipulates him to commit a series of crimes." Tara Lewis says the film's disturbing and obscene content has negatively affected her daughter both spiritually and emotionally.

"My daughter likes to write. She generally writes poems and things of that sort," Tara explains. "And right after she saw the movie, I started seeing poems with profanity, sexual content -- things that I have never seen her write before, never even found in some of her poems," the distraught mother says. She has no doubt Donny Darko was the source of this new and disturbing bent in her daughter's writing, she says, "because this movie was pretty graphic."

Brian Lewis is likewise convinced that his daughter's mind was invaded by the film's explicit content; he even goes so far as to say that Animo Venice High School officials are responsible for the "emotional kidnapping and psychological rape" of his daughter's "Christian innocence," which is why he says he and his wife plan to sue the school for showing Donnie Darko to their daughter without giving them prior notice.

The California pastor notes that he has rejected an offer from the school's insurance company to settle his complaint out of court. Far from being prepared to settle, he says he and Tara would like to bring others into his fight with the school over its decision to allow the inappropriate film to be shown to kids without giving parents advance warning and an opportunity to opt their children out.

"We would love to launch a class-action suit," Brian says, "because it was shown to approximately 148 fifteen-year-olds. And the thing is that they violated the law when they showed it without parental consent. You know, these movies are restricted for a reason, and these guidelines are put there for a reason. You can't just show anything to a teenager."
A few assorted thoughts on this:

1) This is some of the worst reporting I've ever read. I'm hardly a fan of the mainstream U.S. media, but this makes even its pathetic claptrap look good. The writer of the article, Jim Brown, apparently made no attempt to get the school's side of the story for this piece, which is atrocious by both Christian and journalistic standards. Brown obviously didn't watch the film before writing his story either, or he would have known that there is no "deviant sexual activity" in the movie, except perhaps a frank discussion of the mating habits of Smurfs. That is unless he considers teenagers having sex to be deviance.

2) If these parents, Brian and Tara Lewis, have in fact watched Donnie Darko, they have missed one of its most important themes. The film concerns itself with clueless parents who do not know how to communicate with their children. In other words, it concerns itself with them.

3) If the Lewises are worried about "gross obscenities, various types of deviant sexual activity, and misogynistic fantasy," I hope they haven't left their daughter alone with a copy of the Christian Bible.

4) Many Christians believe that people don't like them because they are Christians. In fact, many people don't like Christians because many Christians are assholes. This is a perfect example of that. It may indeed have been a mistake for a school to show an R-rated film to a group of 15-year olds. But bringing a class action lawsuit against the school six months after the fact is the act of a bully. And most people find great satisfaction in seeing a bully fall on his ass.

03 September 2006

Scariest Movie Of The Year

Train up Brainwash a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. -- Proverbs 22:6

02 September 2006

Saturday Comics Blogging

01 September 2006

A Brief Interlude

If you've noticed a sudden flood of anonymous comments today, it's because I'm apparently using up the 15 minutes of fame allotted to me by Andy Warhol. Netscape appears to have featured my recent This Is What A Terrorist Looks Like post on their web page. You can go there to vote for me if you'd like. Currently I'm losing to Keith Olbermann.

So far fame has exponentially increased my blog's traffic, and not much else. I'd always kind of hoped that free beer would be involved.