Download free lectures from The Teaching Company:
1 ) - Walt Whitman
2 & 3 ) - The DaVinci Code
(Two lectures: 'Constantine and the Formation of the Christian Canon' and 'Jesus of Nazareth and Mary Magdalene')
RTG ponders the offspring of the World's Worst Dads.
Past Music Mondays:
From The Federalist Patriot Friday Digest No. 05-25 of 24 June 2005, quoting an editorial from the Minneapolis (Red) Star Tribune last week, in which the Leftist Loonies in the Editorial office at the Strib lamented the fact that Senator Durbin had actually apologized for his outrageous and defamatory statements made against the US and its armed forces:
"[Sen. Dick Durbin] should have hit back hard, just as the Amnesty International did when its comparison of Guantanamo to the Soviet gulag was attacked. By caving in, Durbin did just what the orchestrated right-wing smear effort required to succeed: It made him the story rather than focusing further attention on the outrageous violations of international law and human rights being perpetrated in Guantanamo and elsewhere in the name of the American people." --Minneapolis Star Tribune
I went to a Garage Sale this AM and bought a computer chess set - hardware, not software - and spent a couple of hours this afternoon teaching 6 year-old AE, Daughter Number One, to play. She can now set the pieces up correctly, and seems to get the gist of game play. No doubt in short order she'll be able to whip her Daddy's patootie. Very Cool.
I regularly buy copies of British Music Magazines such as Q, Mojo and Rip&Burn at Barnes and Noble, because, well, the Limeys put out some of the coolest and best specialty mags in the world. And one of the very best is Uncut, which like most BritMags, comes with a free compilation CD each issue, containing great new and old tunes.
It's a great read, well-written and presented, chockful of great interviews and articles, and is nearly perfect, but for one thing: like its Jurassic American cousin, Rolling Stone, Uncut is staffed by Looney Lefties of the loopiest kind.
Here we have a British magazine, devoted to music, film and books, yet the editors cannot let an issue go to press without publishing several gratuitous and nonsensical political quotes from dopey drug-addled Lefty Americano musicians, thundering that the United States today is virtually a police state under its Smirking Chimp of a President, that life in the US is appalling, that dissent is no longer allowed in this fair land, and - what else? - that the last election was stolen. It's almost as if Uncut were the publishing arm of Air America Radio.
Uncut is a bit like that Crazy Drunken Uncle who comes to every family reunion: he's a pain in the rear, and annoys everyone much of the time, but he has such great stories to tell. It was through Uncut's pages that I've come to know of many of my current favorite singers and bands: Lambchop, The Flaming Lips, Elliot Smith, Four Tet, Sigur Ros and so many more.
So, no matter how moronic, and no matter their foolish Lefty sentiments, I will continue to buy the mag each month, with my gratitude intact. In fact, I bought the latest issue of Uncut last night, knowing full well that I'd have to read past the BS, because the it's still one of the best magazines I've ever read.
I've got no corsage for her to place on her wrist, but I must at least offer a laurel and hardy handshake to Emily, on the occasion of her induction to The Cotillion Ball. Congratulations Missy. And the rest of you, if you haven't done it already, go add her - and them - to your blogroll. Really. Do it. Right now. Go on. There's nothing else to see here.
Laugh, if you will, but I bought this yesterday:
You thought Idol Habit would fade away, just because the AI is over? Wrong, Grasshopper. Idol Habit has the stories you want, like Bo and Carrie, hitting the charts, with dueling singles, both recording the same song: Inside Your Heaven. (Bo's version is at number 2 and Carrie's is at number 10, on Amazon.com.)
Emily, of Portia Rediscovered tagged me for this, and when Emily commands, I gotta obey, cause it's the law.
What is the total number of books you have ever owned?
My wife and I have a basement library in our home that holds somewhere between 5000 and 7500 books, but I also have several thousand magazines stashed in the basement, as well. I would say I own about 60 percent of the total number of books in the house, but most of mine are history and political science, while my wife's collection runs towards science fiction and mystery novels.
So, how many of my books have I actually read? -mumbles-
What is the last book you've purchased?
Oh, lordy. I dunno. I buy so many, all the time. I think the last book I bought was at a garage sale, a couple of weeks ago, Bruce Catton's Civil War masterpiece: A Stillness at Appomattox.
What is the last book you have read?
My problem is that I am afflicted with some kind of ADD, and can't focus long enough to actually read a book through, start to finish, in one swell foop. I think I'm in the middle of a dozen books at present, some of which I haven't touched for weeks. Most recently - and currently - I've been going through:
A Mencken Chrestomathy - H.L. Mencken
God in the Dock - C.S. Lewis
Art - A New History - Paul Johnson
A Nietzsche Reader - Friedrich Nietzsche
Ayn Rand Reader - Ayn Rand
A Stillness at Appomattox - Bruce Catton
Why Orwell Matters - Christopher Hitchens
The Soul of Battle - Victor Davis Hanson
The Dilbert Principle . Scott Adams
Munich: prologue to tragedy - Wheeler-Bennett
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire - Edward Gibbons
What are five books that mean a lot to you?
Miracles - C.S. Lewis
Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis
A Mencken Chrestomathy - H.L. Mencken
The 48 Laws Of Power - Robert Greene
The Art Of War - Sun Tzu
Since this meme has been around for a while on the net, and since I can't remember who has already done it, I am not tagging anyone with it at this time. If you have not done it, and wish to answer the questions on your blog, please comment here to let me know, so I can read your answers.
Past Music Mondays:
I wrote this to post for Father's Day, this coming Sunday, but I decided to pre-date it, and post it today:
In the summer of 1998 I found out that I was going to be a dad. It was not a surprise. We'd been planning to have a baby that following year, and my wife became pregnant within the first couple of months of trying. Still, the knowledge and realization came as a bit of a shock: I was afraid of becoming a dad. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that I was terrified. I think my fears were multi-layered, and diverse.
There was an overwhelming fear of the sense of responsibility: 18-22 years of financial and moral care for another person is a HUGE committment, not to be entered into lightly.
There was a fear of disliking my own flesh and blood. Most parents love their children. But some don't. What if I was to be one of those who didn't?
Conversely, there was a fear of being utterly besotten with my kid(s) - and then losing them, having them taken from me by accident or illness.
(That fear was not entirely far-fetched: when I was 9 years old, my nearly-7 year-old sister drowned on a sunny day, in late July, 1966. I witnessed the whole thing, and I saw the effect her death had on my parents, particularly my Dad.)
In the next few weeks, we told most of our circle of family and friends about the pregnancy. They all offered their congratulations and well-wishes. Some even offered unsolicited, but well-meaning advice. Yet all I could think of was how massively unfit I felt to be a parent.
In the fall of that year my wife went overseas to visit friends and relatives for about 6 weeks, and during that time alone I had ample opportunity to brood and fret. It's strange, really. In thinking back, one of the two or three things that I fretted most about was that my kid(s) might be born Autistic. As a matter of fact, both my daughters DO have a form of high functioning Autism known as Asperger Syndrome, and it bothers me very little now. They are delightful children.
AE is now 6 years old, and her little sister LK was born in January 2003. They both seemed to be developing normally enough until they were about 18 months of age, but then we started noticing little things: in AE's case, she wouldn't look us in the eye, would face away from us she'd speak to us, she'd not try to get our attention when speaking to us, and would use odd speech patterns. With LK, the impairment was much less obvious, but we were paying closer attention, and had her diagnosed earlier.
After several false starts, AE was diagnosed as mildly Autistic at about 30 months, and LK was diagnosed at around 18 months. We got both of them into speech and physical therapy, as well as a special program through the local school district, and they have made tremendous strides. AE just finished Kindgergarten - she is reading at about a 6th grade level - and will be taking a Karate classes for the summer. LK is doing summer school, and still has her speech and occupational therapy sessions, twice a week each.
What's odd is that when my wife was pregnant (again) with LK, I found myself worrying - once again - that my unborn child might be Autistic. But this time I was conflicted: I actually worried that LK might have a more serious impairment - as opposed to her sister's - but oddly, I also worried that she'd be completely normal. I'd grown so used to the AE's wonderful eccentricities that I wondered how I might deal with a thoroughly normal child. And, although LK is radically different in so many ways from her big sister, she is a wonderfully gifted child, as well. They are both very cool.
All during the Fall and Winter of the year before my first daughter was born, I spent my time taking care of affairs for my mother, who was ailing in a nursing home. And I spent much of the rest of my time working on finishing my (second) college degree. I believe Mother tried to hang on to see her third grandchild, but she died 10 days before AE was born.
I was in the delivery room when AE came into this world on April 13, 1999, assisted by her Nurse Midwife Grandmother. I was too squeamish to cut the cord myself, so I let Grandma do the honors. Yeah, it kind of freaked me out. But at some point shortly after I first held my baby girl, I realized it was going to be all right. I was now a Dad, and was determined to be a good one.
Anyway, I'm now 6 years into this Daddy Thing, and - at the risk of sounding like a bit of a braggart - I think I'm a Pretty-Good-Dad. In fact, I actually think I'm better at being Dad than at anything else I've ever been in my life, including spouse, friend or employee. What surprised me the most about all this was how much I really do like my kids. I think Fatherhood has grounded me, and helped me understand a little better what's really important in life. Even though I knew such things, intellectually, I didn't always understand them. I think I understand now.
I blame Doug for this:
You Are From the Moon
You can vibe with the steady rhythms of the Moon.
You're in touch with your emotions and intuition.
You possess a great, unmatched imagination - and an infinite memory.
Ultra-sensitive, you feel at home anywhere (or with anyone).
A total healer, you light the way in the dark for many.
I got this from my brother. I'm sure it's as old as the hills, and twice as dusty, but I'd never seen it before. Enjoy.
His dizzy aunt ---------------- Verti Gogh
The brother who ate prunes ------ Gotta Gogh
The brother who worked at a convenience store --------- Stop n Gogh
The grandfather from Yugoslavia ---------- U Gogh
The cousin from Illinois --------------------- Chica Gogh
His magician uncle ----------Where-diddy Gogh
His Mexican cousin ----------------A mee Gogh
The Mexican cousin's American half-brother ---------- Gring Gogh
The nephew who drove a stage coach-------------- Wells-far Gogh
The constipated uncle -----------------Cant Gogh
The ballroom dancing aunt -----------Tang Gogh
The bird lover uncle -----------------Flamin Gogh
His nephew psychoanalyst ---------------E Gogh
The fruit loving cousin -----------------Man Gogh
An aunt who taught positive thinking ---------------- Way-to Gogh
The little bouncy nephew ------------------------------- Poe Gogh
A sister who loved disco -------------------------------- Go Gogh
His niece who travels in a van -----------------------Winnie Bay Gogh
"And there ya Gogh"!!!!
UPDATE: OK people, as of 5:45 pm, Minnesota time, today, Colorado is ahead by only 101 votes, so I'm posting this again. Get up off your liquid assets, and vote!
It's hard to say goodbye to good friends, and today I did just that.
I first met Max in 1979, just after I graduated from college. Although he is younger than I am by three years, we hit it off from nearly the get-go, and we've been close friends ever since. Our lives have been intertwined for over a quarter-century.
He and I shared an apartment for a time; we dated some of the same girls (or at least I probably wanted to); I introduced him to the woman he married; he was Best Man in my wedding; I photographed his wedding party when he got married; he and his wife are my daughters' godparents; I've watched their son and daughter grow up into bright and lovely teenagers; Mrs. Max and Mrs. Muzzy have become friends, as well. Although they have lived across town from us all these years, we have managed to see each other regularly. And all that changed today.
Earlier this year the company Max works for closed its local office, and he was able to secure employment in another business unit with the same outfit, but only on the condition that he move to North Carolina. So, he and his wife sold their home, bought a new house in Dixie, and are picking up stakes to start a new life there. It is with great sadness, then, that I bid Max and his family farewell and Godspeed: they loaded up the family cars today, and are even now, as I write this, driving across the continent to their new home in North Carolina.
Yes, I know our friendship is not over. We will see each other again, from time to time. Max and Mrs. Max will come back through town to visit their respective family members who still live here. And who knows? I might even manage someday to cast aside my aversion to travel to visit them. But things will never be quite the same. I will miss them, and I will miss him.
Happy Trails, sir.
Past Music Mondays:
Free MP3 Download of the week:
Look, I know it's a repeat, but you didn't download this one when I told you to the first time, did you? Well, go do it, now. I'll wait.
Lua - Bright Eyes.
“Sabbatum” is a tribute album like no other – 12 Black Sabbath classic songs played by early music band Rondellus and sung in Latin language.
Can You imagine what Black Sabbath would have sounded like if Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward would have formed the band in the 14th century? Would “War Pigs” or “The Wizard” have been as powerful if played on medieval instruments like lute, fiddle and harp?
Curious? So was Rondellus, the renowned Estonian medieval music band. They took 12 Black Sabbath classics and turned them into something totally unheard.
You don’t have to take history lessons to get the feeling. It’s all on the new CD Rondellus recorded – “Sabbatum”. An amazing collection of Black Sabbath tunes played on medieval instruments and sung in Latin language.
Stolen off ASCIIFarts:
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From the LifeGem website:
A LifeGem is a certified, high quality diamond created from the carbon of your loved one as a memorial to their unique and wonderful life.
The LifeGem provides a way to embrace your loved one's memory day by day. The LifeGem is the most unique and timeless memorial available for creating a testimony to their unique life.
We hope and believe that your LifeGem memorial will offer comfort and support when and where you need it, and provide a lasting memory that endures just as a diamond does. Forever.
The summer before my six year-old was born, I was hanging out at Roseville's Central Park one Sunday PM, and saw a rock group playing in the Bandshell. Rock concerts in the park aren't unusual, but what was different about this one was that the whole of the audience was made up small fry and their parents. Watching from afar, it looked like a sea of little ones, jumping up and down to the sound of rock tunes, written and performed for the young set, and all involved looked to be having a grand old time. I told myself then and there that when my kids were old enough, I would take them to the park to see the Teddy Bear Band. I think this just might be the year.
This one is especially for the Hometown Crowd: I was walking down 3rd Avenue on my way back to my car from work last Monday, when I came upon a sign for Mike Malloy's Air America Radio show [pictured below], propped up against the wall, exactly as you see here. It pretty much tells you all you need to know about how well the moonbats at AAR must be doing in this market. The only thing that could have made it more precious would have been if the sign had been for Saint Nick's show, with him sitting beside the it, tin cup in hand. (Click the photo for a larger version.)
For most of you, the name Cornerstone likely means nothing, but it's one of the premier music and arts festivals in the Christian youth world. C-Stone, as it's also known, was founded by the good folks at Jesus People USA, held originally just outside Chicago, and since relocated to a large property in Bushnell, Illinois. I was going through an old journal today, and found the following piece, written on June 7, 2003 about my memories of C-Stone:
I recently received in the mail a booklet calling me to join the throng at the 20th Cornerstone Festival, at their permanent site in central Illinois. 20 years... Has it really been that long?
I was at the first C-Stone, in 1984, when it was held at the county fairgrounds in Greyslake, just inside the Illinois border from Wisconsin. There were probably only about 4000 in attendance that year, with most folks camping in the field, taking meals with the handful of food vendors selling burritos and chicken fried rice.
The festival was a modest affair, as I recall, with only one side stage, in addition to the main one in the field. The C-Stone folks had gotten a variety of acts for the main stage: Randy Stonehill, Daniel Amos, 77's, Degarmo and Key, Mylon Lefevre. And the side stage hosted such alternative luminaries at Youth Choir (later known as The Choir), Undercover, Altar Boys and Wild Blue Yonder.
(I recall Kaiz saying backstage - mostly in jest, I suspect - that they had thrown a huge party, invited their favorite musicians to play, and had charged admission to everyone else to pay for it all.)
Memories of that year's fest:
Getting a speeding ticket in Wisconsin on the way to Cornerstone [with fellow blogger Sola-Man], for going 46 mph in a 35 mph zone. I was told by the copper that I would have to spend the night in jail if I didn't pay the ticket on the spot. I protested that I didn't have the cash on me. The Sheriff's Officer told me he took credit cards, and on my next Visa bill was a charge for $44.50, from the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department.
Cold showers and stopped-up toilets. The event planners had not foreseen the problems with the plumbing, and most of us ended up using Chemical commodes for the rest of the three days.
Helping out at the Progressive Pacer booth, running the Steve Taylor 'Meltdown Video,' over and over, and over, and over. It was groundbreaking at the time - no one in CCM had ever made a video that clever and witty before - and it always drew a crowd, every time we played it.
Meeting Miss S for the first time, in the crowd, at the Progressive Pacer booth. I was smitten, and spent much of the next year trying to win her heart. In fact, I don't think I had ever tried as hard at anything in my life. And I failed. Utterly.
While Daniel Amos played "Mall All Over The World," I was introduced by a man and his wife to their 3 year old son named: Daniel Amos. Yup. They had named him for the band. I took a photo of the kid, with band playing in the background, and sent copies to the band, and the kid.
Hanging out backstage - and in the press trailer - with much better-known and better-financed photographers and journalists. I was acting as a photographer for the Progressive Pacer and had an all-access pass. It was pretty cool to have that level of access at a rather large event.
Steve Taylor - who years later was Executive Producer for Sixpence's breakthru album - jumping off the main stage during his gig into the grassy roped-off area in front, only to break his ankle in the process of trying to avoid Quincy's kid, who was running around where he shouldn't have been.
A chill running down my spine hearing Randy Stonehill sing 'Hide Them In Your Love,' from stage left, onstage, beside the mammoth speaker stack. I'd seen Randy in concert before and - except for the Randy and Amos tour in 1980 - it was the best I'd ever heard him.
Hearing Youth Choir for the first time, and thinking that they made dreamy synth sounds that Flock of Seagulls could only hope to create. In years to come I would actually become a good acquaintance of several of the band members, and would see them many times in concert. But hearing them the first time was a bit of magic.
Running into reporter CoraAnn Mihalik, backstage, doing a report on the festival for a Chicago news show. She'd been a news anchor in my home town, and I'd always liked her camera presence. (OK, I thought she was cute.) I'd wondered where she'd gone when she disappeared from the local airwaves. She flew into the event on a helicopter and did her 'CCM Goes Wild' angle for the 6 o'clock news. And, yes, I got her to autograph her business card for me.
Hearing the 77's do 'Unguarded Moment' in the afternoon sun, on the mainstage. And looking on in amazement at Mike Roe, writhing on his back onstage, playing some wicked blues lick that I think was from 'You Don't Scare Me.' (The 77's were then and remain today one of the most overlooked and underappreciated bands in the US of A, regardless the genre. Just try telling me their version of 'Nobody's Fault But Mine,' isn't even gnarlier than Led Zepplin's.)
Although I later went back to Cornerstone and actually interviewed many of the bigger name performers, I was a bit star-struck and awed that first year, meeting so many of the people whose albums I'd bought, and whom I'd seen perform onstage over the years. Although I don't remember exactly what I said, I recall saying some things to some of the performers that made me feel like I was out of my league by even being there. (Actually, I felt pretty stupid.)
It was gratifying several years later, after I'd been back as an independant journalist, covering the event for a fanzine, to read my name in the Cornerstone Magazine referred to as the one who asked the best questions in the press trailer. I guess I'd gained some composure by then, although I still remember feeling a bit awkward in the press groups.
I only went back to C-Stone two more times: in 1989 when I went with The Swoon, and when I first met Beki Hemingway. And then in 1990 when I went with Daniel T. (The 1989 trip was particularly eventful, since The Swoon won the Best New Band competition. They played brilliantly, full of piss and vinegar, and even The Lonely Now, though technically superior, had nothing on the Cottonwood Gang's songwriting and stage presence.)
Anyway, it's all a memory, now. I might take my daughters to the event, some year in the distant future, when the girls are old enough to enjoy the Chautauqua-like atmosphere that has grown up around the festival. But it's a long way to drive to get there and I don't have the ambition to travel like I once did.
Doug, from Bogus Gold, posts an interesting piece on Evolution, Intelligent Design, and Scientific Inquiry
Past Music Mondays:
Michael Spencer writes of his father, depression and the boat in the backyard.
Fully aware of how it feels to have been caught being Bad, Jesse Jackson explains Michael's future to Dan Abrams, on MSNBC:
I think he is convinced of his innocence and convinced that those who made the charges did not stand the test of cross-examination. So frankly, we're looking forward more to his being acquitted than his being found guilty. But no matter what happens, Michael has amazing strength and resilience. While he looks kind of delicate, and dances, and talks in a kind of high-pitched voice, he's really a very tough and smart guy.
This Blog's stats, since inception in September 2004 - and as of 9 PM tonight, Central Daylight Time, US - show 9993 hits. To celebrate, the 10,000th hit gets a Free Access Admission Pass to Blogizdat, good for the next 10,000 hits. It could happen to you:
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