Seven 9s and 10s

Why I go to church on Easter morning.

Back by popular demand for its 5th year… though I did not go to church this year, so I’m just a big hypocrite now.

  • Out of a deep respect for my mother, who might very well be next in line to be pope after this dude dies.
  • It’s a genuinely awesome story. Whether or not we choose to believe it, none of us should deny that it’s pretty awesome, and perhaps even more impressive if it’s all invented (The Greatest Story Ever Told?). All religion is pretty interesting when you really dig into it.
  • I usually go alone which means I don’t really have to talk to anyone and I can stand in the back or on the side and just observe the proceedings. Yes, I’m judging most of the people there, like the parents with their flamingly gay son wearing a bright purple shirt under a white jacket, and the old people who themselves sit there judging everyone else for not wearing a suit or a dress or not following along with the traditions (even though their religion tells them not to judge others), and the parents who let their teenage daughters wear too much makeup and too short skirts in a so-called holy place of worship.
  • To see (watch) people I knew in high school. Maybe they were friends, usually they weren’t, but I like to see how they turned out.
  • It’s usually true when they say the “hot girls” get “uglier” and the “ugly girls” get “hotter.” I don’t feel guilty for thinking about that kind of stuff in a church.
  • Oh, she appears to be single… nice. If you need me I’ll be available on Facebook chat while I see what she’s been up to for the past 10 years and then close the page without making any attempt at communication with her because I’m anti-social to a fault.
  • Stop judging me!
  • I like when the priest walks by and sprinkles holy water on everyone. It’s like we’re the fans at a sweltering rock concert and he’s in the band spraying us with his water bottle.
  • What? It’s not like that at all? Yes it is. Shut up.
  • The body of Christ is the most delicious little cracker in this world. I wish I could buy those wafers and put cheese and pepperoni on them to make little tiny Jesus Pizzas.
  • I’d probably put Nutella on the wafers too. I bet that’d be delicious. Nutella Jesuses.
  • What was I talking about?
  • Now I’m gonna go listen to Jesus Christ Superstar for the millionth time.
  • Maybe Ian Gillian is actually the second coming of Jesus and his gift to the world is Smoke On The Water, Highway Star, and the rest of his excellent work with Deep Purple. And maybe the day of reckoning will come at the hand of his servant Richie Blackmore’s blistering riffs.
  • Oh look! I found some jelly beans!

(Originally posted 20090412.)

Is there such thing as being too kind?

It’s an honest question and I’m looking for your honest opinions.

I was raised Catholic and I think it’s the primary reason that I have such a difficult time believing “too kind” is a thing*. Being selfless and giving all that you can, regardless of its impact on your own life (whether positive or negative), is just the way you’re supposed to act - it’s “the right thing to do” and maybe even a ticket to Heaven.

Regardless of your beliefs - or as a result of them (or lack-thereof) - what are your thoughts on being too kind? Use the answer box below, leave reply, use the comment box on the blog page, or use my askbox or email if you’d like to have a private dialog.

Why I go to church on Easter morning.

  • Out of a deep respect for my mother, who might very well be next in line to be pope after this dude dies.
  • It’s a genuinely awesome story. Whether or not we choose to believe it, none of us should deny that it’s pretty awesome, and perhaps even more impressive if it’s all invented (The Greatest Story Ever Told?). All religion is pretty interesting when you really dig into it.
  • I usually go alone which means I don’t really have to talk to anyone and I can stand in the back or on the side and just observe the proceedings. Yes, I’m judging most of the people there, like the parents with their flamingly gay son wearing a bright purple shirt under a white jacket, and the old people who themselves sit there judging everyone else for not wearing a suit or a dress or not following along with the traditions (even though their religion tells them not to judge others), and the parents who let their teenage daughters wear too much makeup and too short skirts in a so-called holy place of worship.
  • To see (watch) people I knew in high school. Maybe they were friends, usually they weren’t, but I like to see how they turned out.
  • It’s usually true when they say the “hot girls” get “uglier” and the “ugly girls” get “hotter.” I don’t feel guilty for thinking about that kind of stuff in a church.
  • Oh, she appears to be single… nice. If you need me I’ll be available on Facebook chat while I see what she’s been up to for the past 10 years and then close the page without making any attempt at communication with her because I’m anti-social to a fault.
  • Stop judging me!
  • I like when the priest walks by and sprinkles holy water on everyone. It’s like we’re the fans at a sweltering rock concert and he’s in the band spraying us with his water bottle.
  • What? It’s not like that at all? Yes it is. Shut up.
  • The body of Christ is the most delicious little cracker in this world. I wish I could buy those wafers and put cheese and pepperoni on them to make little tiny Jesus Pizzas.
  • I’d probably put Nutella on the wafers too. I bet that’d be delicious. Nutella Jesuses.
  • What was I talking about?
  • Now I’m gonna go listen to Jesus Christ Superstar for the millionth time.
  • Maybe Ian Gillian is actually the second coming of Jesus and his gift to the world is Smoke On The Water, Highway Star, and the rest of his excellent work with Deep Purple. And maybe the day of reckoning will come at the hand of his servant Richie Blackmore’s blistering riffs.
  • Oh look! I found some jelly beans!

(Originally posted 20090412.)

Truthful Tuesday

I promise you that within 24 hours of saying (or even thinking) “I can’t remember the last time I saw a spider in my house…” you will see one.

I think that’s proof that there is a god, and that god is a spider, and if heaven is ruled by a spider then dear god I can’t even comprehend the terrifying figure that must rule hell.

Naturally, not everyone will necessarily support Bazan’s new outlook, as illustrated during a recent show in Portland, Oregon: “Someone (there) asked me, ‘Are you a Christian?’ and I replied, ‘No.’ They said, ‘That’s okay, we like you, and we’re praying for you.’”


Despite the fan’s verbal support, Bazan was convinced it was delivered with disdain. “The way they said it was really condescending. I began a song, but it started steaming inside me, and I thought, ‘You know what? Fuck those people,’” he recalls. “After the song, I said, ‘I’m not, like, trying to be a dick, but fuck you guys for assuming that you’re right and I’m wrong and that I’m the one who needs to change my thinking.’ I realize that’s part of the program, but it’s shitty to say aloud.”

Interview: David Bazan

Every time I read a new Bazan interview I find another story or quote that reaffirms why I like the guy so much - not just as a musician, but as a human.

Track:
Hard To Be

Artist:
David Bazan

Album:
Curse Your Branches

David Bazan - Hard To Be

6:24 for June 24th

I can’t choose a favorite song from Bazan’s 2009 masterpiece, Curse Your Branches, but I find that the lyrics to this one, the albums opener, are particularly impressive. They perfectly lay the groundwork for the many soul-bearing and faith-bending songs that follow.

You’ve heard the story, you know how it goes
Once upon a garden we were lovers with no clothes
Fresh from the soil we were beautiful and true
In control of our emotions till we ate the poison fruit

And now it’s hard to be a decent human being

Wait just a minute you expect me to believe
That all this misbehaving grew from one enchanted tree
And helpless to fight it we should all be satisfied
With this magical explanation for why the living die

And why it’s hard to be a decent human being

Childbirth is painful
Toil to grow our food
Ignorance made us hungry
Information made us no good
Every burden misunderstood

I swung my tassel to the left side of my cap
Knowing after graduation there will be no going back
And no congratulations from my faithful family
Some of whom are already fasting to intercede for me

Because it’s hard to be a decent human being

Why I go to church on Easter morning.

  • Out of a deep respect for my mother, who might very well be next in line to be pope after this dude dies.
  • It’s a genuinely awesome story.  Whether or not we choose to believe it, none of us should deny that it’s pretty awesome, and perhaps even more impressive if it’s all invented (The Greatest Story Ever Told?).  All religion is pretty interesting when you really dig into it.
  • I usually go alone which means I don’t really have to talk to anyone and I can stand in the back or on the side and just observe the proceedings.  Yes, I’m judging most of the people there, like the parents with their flamingly gay son wearing a bright purple shirt under a white jacket, and the old people who themselves sit there judging everyone else for not wearing a suit or a dress or not following along with the traditions (even though their religion tells them not to judge others), and the parents who let their teenage daughters wear too much makeup and too short skirts in a so-called holy place of worship.
  • To see (watch) people I knew in high school.  Maybe they were friends, usually they weren’t, but I like to see how they turned out.
  • It’s usually true when they say the “hot girls” get uglier and the “ugly girls” get hotter.  I don’t feel guilty for thinking about that kind of stuff in a church.
  • Oh, she appears to be single… nice.  If you need me I’ll be available on Facebook chat while I see what she’s been up to for the past 10 years and then close the page without making any attempt at communication with her because I’m anti-social to a fault.
  • Stop judging me!
  • I like when the priest walks by and sprinkles holy water on everyone.  It’s like we’re the fans at a sweltering rock concert and he’s in the band spraying us with his water bottle.
  • What?  It’s not like that at all?  Yes it is.  Shut up.
  • The body of Christ is the most delicious little cracker in this world.  I wish I could buy those wafers and put cheese and pepperoni on them to make little tiny Jesus Pizzas.
  • I’d probably put Nutella on the wafers too.  I bet that’d be delicious.  Nutella Jesuses.
  • What was I talking about?
  • Now I’m gonna go listen to Jesus Christ Superstar for the millionth time.
  • Maybe Ian Gillian is actually the second coming of Jesus and his gift to the world is Smoke On The Water, Highway Star, and the rest of his excellent work with Deep Purple.  And maybe the day of reckoning will come at the hand of his servant Richie Blackmore’s blistering riffs.
  • Oh look!  I found some jelly beans!

(Originally posted 20090412.)

41 in 47 or 1 in 6?

So, my astute readers will probably realize that today is, in fact, not Easter Sunday. It is, actually, 6 days before Easter Sunday.

But" they’d ask, "if Lent is always 40 days long, how did you managed to record 40 days worth of songs, starting on Ash Wednesday, and not end up on Easter Sunday?

Well, as it turns out, Lent is longer that 40 days. In fact, it’s always 46 days in length.

But" they’d continue, "how is that possible? Why don’t they just tell us it’s 46 days long?

Little did I know, the six Sundays that occur between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday are not counted. I guess I repressed that fact along with countless other facets of my catholic upbringing.

Huh." they’d quip.

Yup. Huh. Indeed.

"So what does that mean for your 40 in 40 project? Will you be recording 6 more songs and re-branding the project to 46 in 46?”

No. I will not. Sorry. Instead, here’s what I’ll be doing:

I’m going to spend the days between now and Easter Sunday working on one song. I’ll give my full attention to one song to see how much better I can do when I’m more relaxed and not scrambling to finish recording by midnight each night.

"What song?!?!?"

You’ll just have to wait and see. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Track:
Curse Your Branches

Artist:
David Bazan

Album:
Curse Your Branches

David Bazan - Curse Your Branches


 

Digging up the root of my confusion
If no one planted it, how does it grow?
And why are some hell-bent upon there being an answer?
While some are quite content to answer “I don’t know”

To anyone that has struggled or does struggle with faith and belief and religion, I offer you those words.

The reason David Bazan’s music means so much to me is because his struggles, in large part, parallel my own.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: do yourselves a favor and pick up his 2009 album, Curse Your Branches. I’m not sure a better album about losing your faith has ever been made.

High-res tonedeaf:

inky:

The Good Atheist, via Travors.

An invisible sky daddy didn’t save all those Chilean miners; real people with science and technology got it done!


I agree.

Somewhat related to what I tweeted that night: “The most refreshing part about this rescue is that I haven’t heard “God” mentioned. Man rescued these men, and they all know it. Fantastic.”
The next time someone tells you God rescued these brave men, or that their rescue was a miracle, ask them if they can explain why God trapped them down there in the first place. Some religious folk are so quick to praise God that they completely ignore past events.

tonedeaf:

inky:

The Good Atheist, via Travors.

An invisible sky daddy didn’t save all those Chilean miners; real people with science and technology got it done!

I agree.

Somewhat related to what I tweeted that night: “The most refreshing part about this rescue is that I haven’t heard “God” mentioned. Man rescued these men, and they all know it. Fantastic.

The next time someone tells you God rescued these brave men, or that their rescue was a miracle, ask them if they can explain why God trapped them down there in the first place. Some religious folk are so quick to praise God that they completely ignore past events.

dwineman:

apethink:

A video of Frank Zappa interviewed in 1989 on “CBS This Morning”, in which he discusses the synclavier, raising children, and listening to music. You may note that the time is 8:50 am eastern, and that Frank is in a bath robe and giving curt answers, since it was 5:50 am in Los Angeles.

Curt answers? I think Zappa showed remarkable patience. That interviewer (Harry Smith) was about as ignorant of his subject as an ignorant person can be of a subject he quite transparently doesn’t give two shits about.

“What’s it like working with real artists?”
“Name some musicians you admire who are less obscure than yourself.” (Zappa names a more obscure one, probably on purpose)
“Do you like Philip Glass? Even though you once hooked a stuffed giraffe up to an industrial whipped cream dispenser and blew its ass out with a cherry bomb onstage I’m going to ask you if you’re into minimalism, because that’s something I’ve heard of.”

Somehow I doubt he’d have asked Philip Glass whether he was a “good father.”

And after the interview, the jackass actually takes out his cigarette lighter and waves it around “like they used to do at the end of rock concerts.” What a condescending douche.

How utterly unfair that Frank Zappa is dead yet Harry Smith is still embarrassing himself on television.

(emphasis mine)

I couldn’t have said it better myself, Dan.

Zappa’s words on religion were so refreshing. I can’t imagine someone going on TV today and saying the same thing without facing a post-interview media shitstorm.

I definitely need to spend more time with his extensive catalog. He’s surely one of the greatest musicians in American history.

I’m thankful that I’m not one of the people I just drove past: standing in the rain, 42° and falling fast, outside of Toys R Us.

Some parents are certifiably insane - but mostly I blame Mary for giving birth to Santa Claus* a couple thousand years ago.  None of this madness would exist if it weren’t for that.




*That’s the story, right? There was no room at the Holiday Inn so Mary had to go to the Super 8 down the road and then she pooped out jolly old Santa Claus and then he grew up and the Jews killed him and now he comes back every December and gives presents to everyone except the Jews…?