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she shall overcome

according to jermaine, michael's arrest is "nothing but a modern-day lynching."

which is obviously true because, back in olden tyme, they didn't lynch 45 year old white women:

when will you sistas rise up and take back the powah?

locdog hopes it's not too late



i've got a feeling

i've got a feeling
a feeling deep inside oh yeah

went and bought let it be... naked yesterday. ok, ok: stupid name, but it's a great album. it feels like the world has been given a brand new beatles LP.

the idea behind the let it be sessions (paul's, as usual) was that a back-to-basics approach could rekindle the flame. so leaving behind the meticulous mutli-track recording method that had served them so well on previous efforts, the beatles went back to the garage, so to speak.

the result was rough and ragged, but deliciously so. nothing like the albums listeners had come to expect from the band that invented album rock, let it be was a humble, bare-bones effort that emphasized four men in a recording studio rather than the elaborate post-production that had won them such acclaim.

when the group sessions deteriorated into the old ways once more (the product of which was abbey road), there were reams of tape but not much in the way of an album. producer phil spector, rightly blasted for his infamous tamperings, is to be commended overall for salvaging an album which wouldn't have even existed otherwise.

my first impressions of the original let it be was that it was a rock-solid blues offering hamstrung by apathy and an ad hoc approach to engineering. the album soared through let it be but sputtered through the soporific across the universe, a chained melody. it felt, at times, like it was trying to be a beatles album when it was clearly nothing more than a few guys who loved good music hammering out some tunes the old fashioned way. there was a creepy, schizoid air hanging heavy over the whole thing, and it snuffed a genuine flicker.

when i heard that paul mccartney was going to release a de-spectorized version, i decided to approach let it be... naked as though i were hearing let it be for the first time, and judge the album that should have been released three decades ago as if it were.

you done good, paul.

a quibble or so aside, the re-worked play-list is perfect. get back grabs you and hurls you into a march that will decidedly not be to sgt. pepper's beat. if you had any doubts, dig a pony--a song that sounds like the beatles covering joe cocker covering the beatles--will quickly assuage them. the lyrics are somewhere between a yoko-babble neverland and lennon at his most vulnerable and poignant:

all i want is you
everything has got to be just like you want it to

for you blue is a funky, primitive george harrison offering which will become--if you let it--one of the album's buried treasures. paul's long and winding road has a few bumps along the way, but is navigable. think of it as an on-ramp to the king's highway, two of us, an ebullient, folksy lay that must have been written while driving down a sunny country lane.

if that lane has a destination, it's the heart of naked. i've got a feeling will give you chills. paul's silky vocals hover above sweat-stained guitar licks before crashing into gritty shrieks which herald the force-of-nature dynamism he would channel on abbey road's forgotten oh! darling. one after 909 is a smoking-hot throwback to the mop-top days. it bounces you back to a time when acid was what you tried not to spill on yourself in chemistry class, and most people thought a guru was something you'd see on safari--yet, somehow, you never lose site of paul's scraggly beard or john's gandhi glasses. don't let me down is a triumph. if warm soup on a cold city corner had a sound, it would be billy preston's liquid-velvet organ--a sound that, more than any other, is responsible for the stand-out nature of let it be, but never once steals center stage: when it takes it, it's ripe for the taking. lennon's raw, pleading vocals make good on his unabashedly naive verse: he's been hurt before, but isn't giving up. the optimism of it will have you snuggling up with yoko if you aren't careful.

george kicks in another with the jaded i me mine.

all through the day
i me mine
i me mine
i me mine
all through the night
i me mine
i me mine
i me mine

his voice swirls around you like a wraith, hinting that this can't go on forever. george's preachiness can be a put-off at times (think piggies from the white album) but here he sounds tired, frustrated, angry, trapped...everything but preachy. it's a sad song, but expertly followed by lennon's trippy across the universe. with spector's heavy-handed accompaniments pried off, you're left with a plain and beautiful acoustic piece. it sounds like a rainbow and smells like the freshness after a storm:

jai guru deva om

lennon thanks dev, the guru of his guru, the fallen maharishi mahesh yogi, and never sounded more at peace with his faith.

the album culminates, as it should, with its title track. there are many times when it becomes difficult to reconcile the beatles' turbulent final days with the hopefulness of let it be the album, but nowhere is this more keenly felt than with let it be the song. it's one of the greatest rock anthems ever written, a soothing balm of patience and light that sounds better than ever. you simply must hear it for yourself. just ask yourself when you do "how could things have been that bad when they were this good?"

anyway, locdog thinks they should knight mccartney again



gay marriage means no marriage

don't have time to study the ruling, so i'll offer a few general thoughts, with more to come, perhaps, at a later date.

let's say that every state passed a civil union law in which gays could enjoy all of the legal and economic benefits of marriage (even the tax hike!) the only difference between this union and "marriage" would be the name. would this satisfy most gay activists?

i doubt it. howard dean is routinely blasted for trying to do that very thing while he was governor of vermont.

through nearly all human history, marriage has existed as a union between a man and a woman. if any social institution can have an objective meaning, surely this one does.

what gay activists seek, then, is not a state equal with marriage, but the redefinition of marriage. they must obliterate the original concept, and erect a new one in its place. should they succeed, they will have rendered marriage per se utterly meaningless. here's how.

we start with the common, rough'n'ready definition of marriage that most americans hold:

it's a permanent legal/spiritual union granting certain civil benefits entered into by a man and a woman who are in love, and is the means by which people are to procreate.

can this definition survive gay marriage?

1. since the civil benefits of marriage can be achieved through civil unions, this cannot be the essential part of the state they envision.

2. nor can the core of the current definition of marriage as a legal/spiritual union between a man and a woman, for obvious reasons.

3. ditto procreation.

4. as divorce statistics attest and gay marriage advocates must surely recognize, permanence has nothing to do with marriage in 21st century america. (this last one is the fault of us heteros, and shame on us for it.)

what we're left with is a public expression of love between any two people. very touchy-feely, but short on substance, and a long way from marriage.

you can publicly declare your love without uprooting civilization's longest-standing pillar. a gay couple could even do it in the context of a ceremony by which the other, less ephemeral benefits of marriage are bestowed--and many have.

gay activists have argued that all they want is equality, but the "equality" they seek doesn't mean equal treatment under the law--which is all anyone has a right to ask from the courts--it means that they want some sort of cultural vindication for their lifestyle which is then to be forced on all americans equally. they've gone beyond freedom from discrimination and the enjoyment of legal conveniences, which is as far as civil unions will carry them, to demanding that america as a social entity actively bless their lifestyle.

if the supreme court were to someday ratify gay marriage, how would the lives of gay couples be any different than under the civil union scenario proposed above? the answer is that they wouldn't be, not in any tangible sense. the court would have made a purely symbolic gesture, one that all americans would then be obliged to participate in, regardless of their own moral, legal, or religious convictions, that is, the court would be dictating appropriate forms of thought.

what if those who disapproved of this hypothetical ruling got together and simply changed the word "marriage" to something else--some other word that dealt exclusively with unions between men and women. would gay activists sue for that word, too? no matter what, there will always be a difference between homosexual and heterosexual unions, if by biology alone. but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. if gay activists are willing to accept that not everyone sees the world as they do rather than trying to force conformity, separate really can mean equal.

locdog's $0.02



al sharpton is a neanderthal

civility in political discourse sucks. civility is hypocrisy. democratic and republican politicians hate each other with the undying fury of a thousand suns, but they're expected to behave as though the business of hammering out the future of what is arguably mankind's crowning achievement, the united states of america, is an episode of barney. it should be more like an especially grumpy afternoon in valhalla, or, failing that, a rowdy redneck bar brawl. we need more bar brawls in american politics.

instead, we have poll after poll telling us that the american people want nothing more than for our politicians to just be nice. just be nice? not get the job done. not find the truth. not fight the good fight or stay the course or, Lord forbid, go for the throat, but be nice. apathy, thy name is fat american slob.

in recognition of the above, we therefore shall rise to embrace ted kennedy's contribution to the Great Debate wholeheartedly:

"What has not ended is resolution and determination of members of the U.S. Senate to continue to resist any Neanderthal that is nominated by this president of the United States for any court," said Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass.

emphasis added.

unless you're watching your fox news each day as you should be, odds are you probably haven't heard kennedy's quote. a google news search for "kennedy" and "neanderthal" scores about a dozen hits. a lexis-nexis search for the same over the past month in major u.s. papers finds two mentions. boy, it's so quiet out there that you could hear a car careening off a bridge into the murky depths of a chappaquiddick pond.

you don't have to be madam cleo to see what would have happened had trent lott or rick santorum or some such referred to the field of democratic hopefuls as neanderthals:

"why, there are two african-american candidates in there. that's racism...isn't it? close enough!"

it seems then that, once more, ted kennedy will be given a free pass. don't know if any of you got to see daschle defending kennedy's remark on fox news sunday, but it was a real hoot. something about the definition of a conservative being regressive yada yada yada. this from the party who has indelibly etched the words "hate speech" into the minds of the american public, and has even attempted to etch it into our legislation through various hate crime bills. more on that in a bit.

in the meantime, why aren't you democrats out there hopping mad? the problem with limbaugh, after all, wasn't that he took drugs. liberals love drugs. the problem was that he condemned drug use and then took drugs. and who cares if bill bennett gambles? certainly not you liberal democrats. high-falutin' philosophizing aside, your moral frame work is dressed-up sixties hedonism: if it feels good, do it. but bennett had dared defend classical virtues, and, well, that's all she wrote. the problem with bill clinton wasn't that he boffed every trailer queen this side of the muddy mississip, it was that he swore a vow to God and hillary that he wouldn't, wagged his finger in the face of the american people and with full haughty indignation declared that he hadn't, then went for the hypocrisy trifecta by performing a mexican hat dance on the oath he took in federal court. oh, wait, that last one doesn't bother you guys.

but ted kennedy should. hey, don't get mad at me, you democrats. i'm cool with what he said. but there's no way you should be. kennedy sponsored senate bill 625, the so-called "hate crimes" bill. if passed, it had the potential to open up worlds of litigation against those who verbally intimidated minorities. and what constitutes intimidation? that's for the government to decide. quite a "book of virtues" wouldn't you say?

locdog would