Thursday, January 29, 2009

"What Is Going On In the World" (1933)

Ever relevant word's of wisdom from H. L. Mencken in the midst of the last Great Depression:

"The psychic effect of the depression, it seems to me, is generally a good one.... It has taught people the difference between speculative values and real values. It has hastened the death of sick industries, and proved the vigor of sound ones. It has blown up the old delusion that the amount of money in the world is unlimited, and that every American is entitled to a police captain's share of it. Best of all, it has taught millions that there is really no earthly reason why there should be two cars in every garage, and a chicken in the pot every day.

A few years back we were all leaping along after the pacemakers, and making shining fools of ourselves. Life in America had become an almost unanimous effort to keep up with the Joneses, and what the Joneses had to offer by way of example was chiefly no more than a puerile ostentation. So many luxuries became necessities that the line separating the one from the other almost vanished. People forgot altogether how to live well, and devoted themselves frantically to living gaudily.

It seems to me that the depression will be well worth its cost if it brings Americans back to their senses. Once they rediscover the massive fact that hard thrift and not gambler's luck is the only true basis of national wealth, they will discover simultaneously that a perfectly civilized and contented life is possible without the old fuss and display. (Courtesy of NPR)"

Here's to hoping we learn a lesson or two in the years to come...again.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Presidential Transition

After the Jon Stewart clip I posted yesterday, I just couldn't resist:

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Jon Stewart Nails It!

This is amazing:



Tips to my old soc prof.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A.P.A.

"stands for A Pain in the Ass"

I was born and bred on M.L.A. For the first time in my life I have to write a paper with A.P.A. formatting - I loathe it!

So glad I decided not to be a psychology major.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Psychologists

All they do is play mind games and call it a professional career.

Link-O-Rama 01/19/09

It's that time again, my tab bar is busting at it's seams:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It All Started in the 1880's

College life as we know it, greeting cards, the coffee addiction, adolescence, shopping malls, eating disorders, rampant consumerism and the resulting outrageous debt - it all started in th 1880's.

I never knew.

I thought most of the cultural and social patterns of today started in the mid 20th century. The more I read the more I am seeing America (post Civil War) has remained very similar through the decades - the same values, same traditions, same mistakes, same problems.

In one sense it is depressing; knowing we had $11 trillion in private debt in 1890, knowing there were adamant Christians calling out rampant commercialism to be undermining the faith and condemning the mind that is worldly, living mainly to see its own pleasures instead of living to please God.

When will we learn?

I'm taking a course on Cultural History of America in 1865-1905. And I thought this was the most mind numbingly boring period of American history!

Everything I stated was from a brilliant book by Rebecca Edwards - New Spirits. It is slow as any history book is, but for me is bursting with new insights and knowledge never covered in mainstream.

By the way, I'm not even halfway through the book. I can't even imagine what's still to come!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Russia/Ukraine Oil Fued

I linked to an article about Russian turning off the gas pipes through Ukraine in my last Link-O-Rama. I said I would post the sentiments of my brother in Ukraine.

If you are interested, Serhiy clarified:

"Russia did not shut off the pipes with gas, it just lower the amount. For now Ukraine has some gas in store on it's territory, so we don't feel any changes. And we already used to the "gas problems" at the beginning of each new year. It's some sort of game -- Russia tries to make of it the most money or political influence on Ukraine and Ukraine is trying to prove that it has no financial debt for gas and do not steel gas from the amount intended for Europe. Somewhere at the end of January both sides will calm down."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Internet Monk Reviews Lord Save Us!

There is a wonderful review of Lord Save Us From Your Followers over at InternetMonk. After 10+ viewings of this movie and countless hours of discussion since October of 2007, I am quite weary of the documentary myself. However, I can still whole heartedly agree with Michael Spencer's recommendation to watch this movie, and watch it with lots of people - Christians and non-Christians alike.

$0 on Textbooks!

If there is one things all college students love to complain about, it is expensive textbooks.

This term I am officially spending $0 on textbooks.

Nada.
Nill.
Zilch.
Null.

I am accomplishing this through a combination of interlibrary loans, campus in-library course reserves, and the public library. Many of the tricks that made this possible were introduced to me by Elena. I love that woman!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire: Golden Globes and a Critique

I watched Slumdog Millionaire just in time. It was just revealed that it scored four golden globe wins - "Best Director", "Best Screenplay", "Best Score", "Best Drama Motion Picture". From my review, you can guess I wholeheartedly agree with every bit of praise it received.

After watching Slumdog, I did have one critique. The life portrayed is far from a true portrait of life in India. The experiences portrayed are extra-ordinary to say the least. There is an intruiging rant over at Cinema Blend which dances around the same theme. If you read the rant, be sure to check out the comments (specifically by Libero) at the end as well. A strong defense is made for the art form of cinema and points to an often forgotten thing in our society known as personal responsibility.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

Elena first introduced me to Bollywood through the hilarious and playful Bride & Prejudice, the Indian spin on the classic tale Pride and Prejudice (It has Sayid from Lost, need I say more?). As a result, I was eager to follow my friend Kyles recommendation to watch Slumdog Millionaire. Elena and I watched it this last week and absolutely loved it. Grim, funny, suspenseful, stark, moving, gripping, thought provoking; this definitely made its way to my top films of 2008.

This is a great trailer that captures the movie:



The trailer makes excellent use of Sigur Ros in the last half; even though it fails to find its way into the film or the soundtrack. However, the music in the film was superb. Their use of M.I.A. was spot on.

Tyrone introduced me to M.I.A (Click link at your own risk - she must be competing for "most seizure inducing web design ever") a few months ago. The much celebrated Paper Planes makes an appearance. Previously the song always evoked somewhere between a grimace and a grim at it's use of children singing the refrain:

"All I wanna do is (BANG BANG BANG BANG!)
And (KKKAAAA CHING!)
And take your money"

But the movie uses it brilliantly to convey the injustice, pain, and brokenness of the world.

Slumdog Millionaire even ends with the obligatory Indian dance; complete with dance moves like ‘screw in a light bulb with one hand and pet the dog with the other’ and more! Gotta love it:

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Life at Barberry

If you haven't been following what has been happening at our apartments (Barberrian Villagers), we had a lot of firsts this last weekend bringing in what I'm sure will be an exciting 2009.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Christmas in January

I recently (accidentally) discovered Portland's local Catholic Radio station. Today I flipped over to 88.3 and was surprised to hear Joy to the World and Silent Night which was then followed by many more Christmas songs. But this does not even compare to the astonishment that followed.

Even more surprising then hearing Christmas music after the Christmas bustle has passed was that my psyche was at peace with Christmas songs that often seem to bring agitation in the weeks leading up to Christmas Day. Even more then peace was a joyous overflow of worship and praise.

How great it is to sing in celebration of Jesus birth after the day of presents, stockings, and fruitcake has passed!

This epiphany, it is January 6th after all (liturgical folk will find irony in this statement. If you are confused, refer to wikipedia), sparked further reflection on how much I have come to appreciate the depth and substance of Catholic Radio (despite being heavy on Mary) over the shallow, often me centered, attractively packaged and easily consumable nature of the evangelicals counterparts. I have also found the regular prayers and liturgical Scripture readings to be bolstering to my soul and meaty substance for meditation and reflection.

The first time I stumbled across 88.3 I was struck by the piercing lyrics of The Chaplet of Divine Mercy. You can hear a preview of it on Donna Cori Gibsons website. It is track 3 - The Sung Chaplet.

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is opened with the Apostles Creed and continues from there:

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day He rose again. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

O Blood and Water that gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of mercy for us, I trust in You.

Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion --- inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Link-O-Rama 01/03/09

First Link-O-Rama of the new year (Though some of the links are from the last)!
  • For any Mac user new or old, MacYourself is a great resource. I highly recommend their RSS feed.
  • I'm confused, intrigued, scared, and excited by this Tim Burtons latest. Check out the short animation that is is based off of with the same title: 9.
  • Russia finally did it, and at the worst time of the year. They shut off the pipes to Ukraine. I sent a message to a friend in Ukraine. I'll post how it is affecting people if he gets back to me.
  • Ever wonder why that Ox and Ass appear in nearly every nativity scene portrayed in the last 2 millenia? Hint: The donkey is not there because that's what Mary road (It's nowhere in Scripture, look it up). Scriptorium Daily has an excellent short essay on the deeper historical theological significance of their presence.
  • U.S. becomes worlds largest wind power producer.
  • A local Taliban leader in NW Pakistan ordered parents to stop sending girls to school by January 15th with threat of death to children. The group destroyed 130 schools this year alone. 17,000 students have been deprived of education. (BBC News)
  • Are you bored by the old way of studying your route on google maps before jumping in the car? Try the fun new exciting way to actually drive your route with Real World Racer. You can even drive the roads of faraway lands that you have only dreamed of driving!
  • I'm excited to be following TallSkinnyKiwi in his Great Commision Vehicle in 2009.
  • The InternetMonk makes a list of the Top 10 Best Gifts for a Fundamentalist Young Person. The interesting thing is secular music, fantasy books, and actually reading the Bible were all pivotal in my spiritual growth.
  • Wow. Excess at it's worst. Versace is constructing a cooled beach in Dubai. Also in being considered are giant blowers to blow a cool breeze over beach-goers.
  • Now I know why physics was so hard for me - I made it too complicated.
  • Auto sales plunge in Japan. 'The sales outlook is so bleak, in fact, that the Japanese automakers even have a word for it: "kuruma banare," or "demotorization."'. Youth are dropping cars in favor of expensive electronics. It's expected sales will drop below 5 million for the first time in 3 decades. (Autoblog) It will be interesting to see if this is a sign of things to come in America.
  • This article was written before anyone knew Elena and I would be engaged before Christmas (and consequently: kissing).
  • I'm still trying to figure out what to think of this comic. I keep tossing back and forth between brilliantly humorous or terribly conceited.

MLK Jr. Found at Goodwill

I found great respect for Rev. King Jr. after stumbling across Search For the Beloved Community: The Thinking of Martin Luther King Jr. three years ago in the Mt. Hood Community College library. I tore through the pages and immediately purchased a copy for my own library. Consequently, for the last 3 years, I have been searching for a picture of King.

Disappointed by years of shoddy quality, poor selection, and outrageous prices my search came to a thrilling conclusion when I was digging through the picture frames at Goodwill (looking for the perfect frame for Elena's birthday present) and found this half off for $3.99 - framed and all: