31 December 2008

Secrets Are Dying

I love (read: hate) that this article from the AP's headline is Officials: tracking bailout money is difficult. It really is scary that money is flying out the proverbial door and the Fed is answering to no one and providing no information about where the money is specifically going and how it's being used and how it's being regulated.

I wish we could get our congress to pass H.R 2755 already. Ron Paul has been trying to push this since 2002 and no one listened. Especially those in congress whose campaign dollars would have been pulled from the banks that supported them and coincidentally own the Federal Reserve.

Check out this link about why the Fed is corrupt and why we cannot allow fractional banking to continue in the country. And the bailouts and stimulus packages...we wouldn't need that if the central bank didn't make up money and pull our country into debt and potential bankruptcy.

Some Food for Thought:
“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have raised up a monied aristocracy that has set the government at defiance. The issuing power should be taken away from the banks and restored to the people to whom it properly belongs.”
- President Thomas Jefferson

“History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit and violent means possible to maintain control over governments by controlling the money and the issuance of it.”
- President James A. Madison

“We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.”
- David Rockefeller, June 1991 - Baden, Germany

Seriously. Read all of those articles and let's discuss.

30 December 2008

You Keep Us Going On

Nerd Alert: I spent more than 14 hours this past Saturday at the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville viewing all three Lord of the Rings films back-to-back-to-back. That's right...all three (the first two were the extended cuts) in a row with "Middle Earth" meals served in between. Nerdy? Yes! Awesome? Also yes!

I must admit that seeing all three films in a row - a feat I'd never undertaken before - is quite beneficial to fully grasping the entire story. Having never read all three books, this was a very good thing for me to do. Tiring, indeed, but an excellent day of great film on the big screen.

We're nobody's robot

Make haste to your nearest theater to see Danny Boyle's new film Slumdog Millionaire. It's an amazing film, brilliantly told, wonderfully shot and being set in India takes the viewer to unfamiliar lands and lifestyles.

With great music accompanying the film and great actors in place, the story takes you through a young man's performance on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and his chance to be the first winner of 20 million rupees (a true millionaire). And after being accused of cheating to know the answers, you are taken back through Jamal Malik's childhood and adolescence to understand his knowledge of the answers and his passion to find his lost childhood friend and love.

I really don't want to give too much detail, because going into the film not knowing much made is unfold much more beautifully. Check out the preview via the link above and seriously make an effort to get to this film.

29 December 2008


The New York Times has posted their 2008 - The Year In Pictures. It's quite spectacular and, if viewed the right way, can help you see that the things that are of this world are fleeting and we need not put too much hope in the things of this world. Just a thought...

23 December 2008

Break Every Chain

Head over to Windsor Drive's myspace to listen to their new tune "In Dreams." It's really great.

Pay the Bills

The documentary (and partial reenactment) Man on a Wire is fantastic! Check out the link and you'll see the preview and learn more of the dreams of Phillippe Petit realized.

The reenactments add tension and drama to the story of Petit and his attempt to tight rope walk on a wire between the World Trade Centers. And the story of his life is simply inspiring.

There's not much else to say about the film. Go check it out.

20 December 2008

You Guide Me

When you have a week or so to dig into a great book, do so by digging into Jon Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith.

While convoluted with intertwining stories, histories and personal accounts the book takes you from a violent murder in the 1980s and traces the reasoning back to the inception of Mormonism and its Saints by "the prophet" Joseph Smith. And if learning about the bizarre foundation of the religion weren't enough, Krakauer takes you all the way through the religion's violent history and seclusion including the splitting of the church into many different sects.

You'll learn of the traditional aspect of the church, the historical and philosophical beginnings or the belief as well as different aspects that evolved from Smith and following leaders such as Brigham Young (don't worry, polygamy and bigamy are fully covered in the book). And a deeper understanding of the Morman belief that God's law is inherently higher than the law of man provides a fuller understanding of the continued defiant mindset of the Latter Day Saints.

The book walks the reader through the inspiring and the frustrating aspects of the faith and ultimately let's each person make form their own opinions about Mormonism. It's most definitely worth reading.

17 December 2008

My Iron Lung

Ok, I had to do it. A Top 10 list. Not the definitive best. Not my favorite (although they mostly apply). Simply my attempt at objectively relaying what I found to be the 10 best records of 2008.

Criteria for this list includes instrumentation, lyrics, recording (mixing and mastering), originality and the collection of solid songs throughout the record.

On the list you will not find Bon Iver, She & Him, Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Girl Talk or The Hold Steady (much of what you'll find on lists compiled by Rolling Stone, Paste, Spin and other like and narrow-minded folks. Yeah, I went there).

First let me speak to Relevant selecting Bon Iver, For Emma Forever Ago, as their No. 1 record of 2008. Well, that's just ridiculous. Seriously. Not No. 1. Not number 15. Top 20, maybe. And, while it's a well written, haunting and passionate album, it lacks depth in most songs (the occasional trombone won't cut it) and is overall one-dimensional. Let me point out that I really liked this record, but this is my attempt to be objective even at the risk of putting down something I like.

Second, let me talk about Kanye West's, 808 and Hearbreaks. The only positive about this thing is West' non-superficial lyrics. But his heartfelt and very personal lyrics can't compensate for a very musically poor record and the monotonous tremble of synth and auto-tune. He did stick to his guns, which was bold and requires a tip of the hat, but as a whole, not one of the best of 08.

Now we're ready. On to my Top 10.

10.1) Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue
Simplicity - both vocally and musically - stripped some of Jenny Lewis' ego out of her music and allowed a strong grouping of songs to really shine. Taking hints from the like of Emmylou Harris and Elvis Costello, Lewis put together a record that will make you pine for the good ole days of music.

10.2) Death Cab For Cutie - Narrow Stairs
Hey, it's my blog and I'll have two number 10's if I like. I just listened to this one again and cannot deny the power behind Ben Gibbard's lyrical composition and generally perfect storytelling. On top of that, DCFC really did what most bands don't: they took all the strongest parts of their last several records and pulled them together to make a series of great tunes.

9) Kings of Leon - Only by the Night
Keep in mind that I have never been a fan of King of Leon. I honestly despised their last two records. I thought they were lame and mildly pretentious. However, 2008's Only By The Night made me a believer. Every song is not only well written and performed but also very enjoyable. The kids from Columbia, TN sure took a turn for the better this year.

8) M83 - Saturdays = Youth
L'homme Francais, Anthony Gonzalez, did this year what many talented artists dare not do: make a thematic, concept record. Based on the film and music of the 1980's, Gonzalez took it upon himself to create a record of songs that walk you through the halls of The Breakfast Club, make you want to slow dance in a shower costume at Daniel Larruso's high school dance and make you feel as though you are giving Molly Ringwald her sweet 16th birthday cake. And, save one track, the entire record consists of amazing and enjoyable songs. And he did it very blatantly with no hidden agenda. If you haven't, pick up this homage to John Hugh's movies and Psychedelic Furs songs.

7) The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely
Jack White and a cast of Greenhornes. It's awesome. Enough said.

6) Norma Jean - The Anti-Mother
This is not a joke, my friends. Perhaps this could fall a bit closer to the 10 spot, but nonetheless, this record is metal-core at its best. Daring chord progressions, collaborations with Chino Moreno and Page Hamilton, and a slew of deep and personally aching lyrics make this one hit my list.

5) Coldplay - Viva la Vida
I'm not too proud and certainly not too indie to say that this legitimately is one of the best records of the year. If you disagree, I would beg to check your ears. Produced by ambient music great, Brian Eno and combining a world of different influences, Viva la Vida hit the nail on the head. Let's not forget that Coldplay is an insanely talented quartet who've composed a comprehensively great record.

4) Portishead - Third
Strange, beautiful and powerful. This record was worth the wait. Oh, and it's really, really great, too.

3) Al Green - Lay It Down
This collection of all new and original material stands out among every other record released this year. You may never assume that hiding behind the drums and the mixing board is ?uestlove - a man whose addition to this record are remarkable. And man does Al Green bring it. His vocal performance is unparalleled in music this year.

2) MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
This one is a stretch for me, because I didn't really fall in love with this record, but in my attempt to be as close to objective as possible, I had to put this one near the top. It's a well-written, well-produced and a really fun record. It definitely stands alone as one of the best of the year, no doubt.

1) Sigur Ros - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
An unbelievable departure from their previous recordings and a shift in thinking musically, this record pulled Sigur Ros from their comfort of shoe-gaze, post-rock into a musical world of celebration and praise. The diversity in song styles combined with an impressive collection of compositions are what drive the album. And while - with the exception of the last track "All Alright" - the lyrics are all Icelandic, the vocal progressions and hints of imperfection actually make the record better and truer to form. It just so happens that this great compilation of songs is what I've been enjoying week on end since its release.

We made it. I'm done. Comment or email me to discuss.

My buddy Matthew Paul Turner posted this over at his blog Jesus Needs New PR. It's from our great friends at Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas. You know, the ones who protest US soldiers' funerals stating that their death is God's wrath for our sins.

They are such a great face for Christianity in American today. And what's horrible is that this is the kind of thing the media will cover.

In the words of Dan Merchant, "Lord, save us from your followers."


Check out this great piece in the Charleston City Paper regarding America's failed attempts at wars on poverty, terrorism and drugs.

That's all I have. It's worth your time.

11 December 2008

Modern Guilt

Take a few minutes to look over this New York Times Editorial Piece to learn more about the current state of Darfur and the delays in aid from the US and the UN.

It is a complete atrocity that the people of Darfur are still suffering the ways they are even one year after President Bush recognized the actions in Darfur as "genocide." And what's sadder is that there's not a whole lot we can do until the US and the UN make intentional efforts to move in and rectify the situation.

I you do feel so compelled, you can give any amount of money to help with aid relief specifically in Darfur. Donate HERE through Samaritan's Purse.

10 December 2008


Tonight came with an early feature. JCVD was showing at the Belcourt Theatre and alongside Bloggy Carl I was privileged (?) to see this film which kind of, sort of lets you into the washed-up mind of Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Great coloring and lighting, an intriguing plot and frequent action made this odd film seem more than tolerable. Perhaps enthralling, at times. Some have compared it to Being John Malkavich, but I feel that the personal pain and regret revealed in JCVD stands alone in its uniqueness in a semi-autobiographical flick like this.

There's not a lot of detail to go into. I think it's worth a view and will keep you wondering till the end. Possibly beyond the end, even.

08 December 2008

Wrong Body

Make haste to rent or see or buy Let the Right One In. A Swedish, vampire film set in the midst of a snowy winter in Sweden, this film is one of the best I've seen in a long time and definitely one of the best in the vampire/thriller genre. And the film keeps true to the vampire in making sure that in this case Eli - the vampire and female lead - does not see her own reflection and keeps tightly out of sight of any rays of sunlight.

Every aspect of the movie - the lighting, the sound, the cinematography, the sporadic dialogue - combine to make the film tense, beautifully suspenseful and often times oddly romantic. Let me justify that last description. The film - while ultimately a true vampire film - includes the sub-plot of a true romance between the boy (Oskar) and the vampire (Eli). And, while they're still adolescent pre-teens, the truth and purity of their love is undeniably romantic.

Check out the official trailer HERE and make sure to add it to your Netflix cue or head to half.com and purchase it there. If you're a believer in good vampire movie or just good movies in general, then Let the Right One In will do the trick.

04 December 2008

Jesus sought me when a stranger

Detroit is at it again, now asking for an inflated $34 billion rescue package. If you have 10 minutes, please reach out to anyone you can - here's a list of federal and state officials. Reach out to them and say NO, NO, NO to the auto industry bailout.

This is really ridiculous.