Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I Believe In Singing

I agree with what Brian Eno believes about music. Incidentally, it's one of the reasons I think that corporate music is so important to Christian community. Churches that allow music to become a spectator's sport are missing out on something very important.

Listen to Brian Eno's Essay on This I Believe.

Monday, November 17, 2008

This American Life

I'm a big fan of the This American Life radio show hosted by Ira Glass from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio. I listen to (and save) every podcast because I find them to be such a wonderful view into the lives and perspectives of so many different kinds of people and circumstances.

Thanks to Netflix, I just watched the entire first season of the new This American Life television program on Showtime. I found the production values to be extremely good and they succeeded in translating the personality of the radio program into the visual format of TV.

I enjoyed the series for the most part, but didn't find it to be as consistent or compelling as the radio show. In fact, I didn't care for a few of the stories at all--something that almost never happens when I listen to the radio show. I would expect TAL on TV to improve in future seasons, simply because I believe the TAL crew is brilliant.

I'm not sure, however, the TV show will have enough of a following to keep it going. Is the TV audience mostly made up of listeners? I'm all for TAL to have success on TV because I don't think the world can have too much TAL. On the other hand, I'm so satisfied with the radio show, I don't really need the TV program to be happy. But if you take away my radio show, I'll be blue!

The first season of TAL on Showtime is worth a watch, but it's not worth as much as listening to TAL every week on the radio.

◊ ◊ ◊ • • 3/5

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Reading the Big Weather

Mornings we see our breath. Weeds
sturdy for winter are waiting down
by the tracks. Birds, high and silent,
pass almost invisible over town.

Time, always almost ready
to happen, leans over our shoulders reading
the headlines for something not there: "Republicans
Control Congress"--the year spins on unheeding.

The moon drops back toward the sun, a sickle
gone faint in the dawn: there is a weather
of things that happen too faint for headlines,
but tremendous, like willows touching the river.

This earth we are riding keeps trying to tell us
something with its continuous scripture of leaves.

"Reading the Big Weather" by William Stafford, from Scripture of Leaves, ©1999, Brethren Press.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Literature: International Fiction

Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino
(1965 / Harcourt)

This strange and wildly inventive fantasy uses a first-person memoir style as a medium for relating complex concepts of cosmology to human experiences of the heart and mind. It is genius and surprisingly effective.

I heard about the book by listening to "You Must Read This" on National Public Radio. It was praised and highly recommended by the Salman Rushdie.

My favorite chapters were, "The Dinosaurs" and "The Light Years." The latter gave me insights to human relationships that I think will stick with me for life.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ 4/5