What You Will

Another Burma Shave billboard on the information superhighway. Random thoughts about arts, faith, culture, music, language, literature, and the shortcomings of the Hegelian dialectic. (OK, just kidding about that last bit.)

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Location: Edmonds, Washington, United States

I wonder what goes in this space?


Let Sebastian wake!*

Posted by Hello

Maybe you saw this entry and were wondering about the outcome.

So here's the scoop: Sebastian Horatio was born on Father's Day, June 19, 10:07 p.m., weighing 9 lbs. 10.8 oz. and measuring 21 inches long. I got the best Father's Day present ever.

Everybody's thrilled.

*The Tempest, II.i.


Steve Bell shoots—and scores!

Excerpts from Canadian singer/songwriter Steve Bell's recent profile in Christianity Today:
I'll be very surprised if this season isn't one of the low points in the history of music writing. It's all because of an unbridled market economy where absolutely everything gets commodified within seconds—no matter what you do, it is a product in a very short time. Everything becomes cheapened and market-driven. That's what happened in worship music—it's been commodified, and the same forces that are driving the market are driving the music. That always, always means dumbing down—it's a homogenization, a flattening of imagination. And when sales become the indicator that something is good, right away it's sort of the death of the form. ...

I think pastors have to get a little bit more bold to say we do not support poor work, poor theology, poor poetry, poor melody. There's nothing about the music that's coming out that's even remotely reflective of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. There's no mystery. There's no nothing. It's just all platitude after platitude after platitude. And half the time one line actually is not a logical flow of the last one. It's just bizarre—but it sounds right, so everybody goes for it.

Wow. And for once, it's coming from someone with the chops to back up what he says. There are any number of jeremiahs lamenting the current state of CCM/worship music, but Steve is one of the few actually doing something about it.


Ridiculous Web site of the month, part 2

Or, Hark! How the heav'nly anthem drowns all music but its own

I know there are a lot of ways to waste time on the Web...

But blogging the entire text of a Jimmy Swaggart book has got to be one of the silliest.

If you thought Swaggart just had it in for rock'n'roll, you're mistaken. The book also heaves a few brickbats at Southern gospel. In fact, my favorite bit so far is this exchange between the book's co-author, Robert Paul Lamb, and Janet Paschal, a singer who at the time (1986) had ended her six-year tenure with a Southern gospel group called The Nelons for a brief stint as a soloist on the Jimmy Swaggart Evangelistic Team:

R.P. - If you could change the gospel music circuit in any way, knowing what you know today, what changes would you make?

Janet - I would probably eliminate about three-fourths of the people now singing gospel music.

Gotta love that. I just can't shake the image of Janet bursting into an SGMA convention with an assault rifle. Of course, shortly after the book was published, Janet left Swaggart's team and went back to Southern gospel, where she's been quite successful. Those gospel folks must be a forgiving bunch.


A poetic question of ethics

Just after Cleopatra had surrendered to the asp,
Her personal physician heard her give a stifled gasp.
He rushed into her chamber and assessed the situation;
From his robe he drew a flask of antivenin preparation.

With his staff he slung the snake into the corner of the room
And, hoping still to save his queen from her reptilian doom,
While praying that his potion would be equal to the task,
He knelt beside her bedside, and offered her the flask.

“Quick—take and drink,” he pleaded, “it’s the only certain cure.”
Instead she knocked the flask aside; it shattered on the floor.
Before he could obtain more antivenin, Cleo died—
So was the doctor guilty of assisted suicide?

He didn't beat her, choke her, hang her, slash her wrists, or drown her—
But then again, he didn't force the antivenin down her.