Gimmie Your Candidates

April 19, 2007

No, this post is not about politics. Not this week. This post is about something much more important: Perfect Albums.

Along with my good friend in NYC, I have an on-going project that we work on whenever we are together and sometimes over e-mail. Its the Perfect Album List. Albums that are great from start to finish. Every song is necessary, there is no filler and the tracks work together as a whole to create a perfect listening experience.

This is not an easy list to get on and the two of us have to agree before an album makes the cut. (We do keep seperate lists as well, as our tastes wander off in different directions. I’m pretty sure I could never convince him that anything by the Grateful Dead belongs on our list). Think of an album you like a bunch and believe might belong on the list. Go through it in your head, song by song. I bet there is at least one track that you skip or tune out as it plays. Perfect Albums are hard to come by.

As an example, here is an album that many would say is a no-brainer for the list: Dark Side of Moon. Great album, but perfect? Not quite. “The Great Gig in the Sky”, while musically fitting with the rest of the songs, seems to just take up time before “Money” (or before flipping the record, if you listen to it on vinyl). Honestly, after you sing along to the “ahhhhs” for a second in your broken falsetto, the song becomes background noise.

So the album is close, but doesn’t quite make the cut. This is all subjective, of course, but that’s the fun. What I want to know is, what albums would be on your list? Here are five  that are on my list to get you started. (These are not in any order. How can you rank perfection against itself? Really?)

1. Revolver– The Beatles

2. London Calling- The Clash (A stunning achievment,  since it is a double album)

3. Utopia Parkway- Fountains of Wayne

4. Remain In Light- Talking Heads

5. Life’s Rich Pageant-REM

Have at and choose wisely.

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Back to Politics

April 9, 2007

Let’s try a little exercise in American politics.

Below I have written a number of statements in the voice of a fictional politician. Read the statements and see if you think the candidate would be considered liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican:

1. “The use of military force should always be a last resort and not used at all if avoidable in any way. The quest for peace through non-violent means must be the preferred path for any rational government.”

2. ” In the face of hostile actions to our nation the course of our leaders must still be the hope for peace and reconciliation through negotiations, not escalated violence as an act of vengeance.”

3. “The people of this country that stand up for what is right, that expose the wrong-doing of persons; companies, even their own government for the cause of true justice, despite the hardships and slander that their actions may bring are true heroes of our society.”

4. “We as a nation do not have the right to impose our will or our justice on another sovereign nation simply because an administration perceives their actions as “wrong.” We are not judge and jury of the world.  Certainly not with the checkerd past of our own country.

Have you made your call? Kind of no-brainer, huh? I don’t think this person, were they real and not a creation of mine, would be invited to Trent Lott’s new house for a prayer breakfast.

Now, below are the source quotes I used for the above fake politician’s statements.  All of them are credited to one person, from a text oft-cited by many on the right :

1. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the Children of God.” Matthew 5:3-10

2. “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you Matthew 5:38-42

3. “Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’s sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 5:3-10

4. “Let him who is without sin among you cast the first stone.”-John 8:7

I am not a religious person and I am up front about that. I do, however, try to respect the beliefs of others and hope that they respect mine.

But yesterday, as I watched our Chimp-in-Chief coming out of an Easter Sunday service and started to remember all of the times he has evoked God or Jesus or the Bible and told us all how devout he is, I realized that he has no respect for Christians. His actions prove that. At this Easter time I offer up to Mr. Bush a lesson that I learned during my own religious education: Believing in the resurrection of Jesus is essential to being a Christian, but does not make you one by itself. Trying to understand and live by the teachings of Jesus is equally essential. I don’t think being the kind of Christian you claim to be allows you to pick, a la carte, the things you will or won’t do or believe.

I do not call myself a Christian because I don’t believe many aspects and tenets of the faith, but I do believe there are some damn good ideas in the New Testament with Jesus’s name on them. I can’t help but wish that Mr. Bush, and many others in Washington, would read those parts once in a while.

The above example is overly-simple, I know, but it gets the point across.

Sorry to say it, George, but the T-Shirt is right: Jesus is a Liberal.


Opening Day!!!

April 2, 2007

I am a fan of Baseball. More specifically I am a fan of New York Yankees baseball. I lived in NYC for many years, including during the most recent Golden Era in the ’90’s(there have been many Golden Eras in the Yankees’s history) and had the privilege of seeing some extraordinary baseball played.

But my Yankees fandom goes back further. I am from Northern Ohio originally and grew up in a small rural community on the shores of beautiful Lake Erie. As a youngster I spent many summer afternoons sitting on a bench behind my Great-Grandparents house with my Great-Grandfather listening to Yankees games on the radio. (There was a Canadian AM station that played Yankees games. I don’t know why). He was a huge Yankee fan and by extension so am I and others in my family. While my Great-Grandparents had a television, Little Grandpa (As we called him. His son, my Grandfather, was a much larger man than his father, thus becoming Big Grandpa when distinction was necessary) preferred to listen to the games, saying it was more exciting to see it in his head than with his eyes.

So for myself, for all the other Yankees fans stranded here in the “Red Sox Nation” (Oh, please) and especially for Little Grandpa I say:

Go Yankees!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!