Friday, August 21, 2009

Song of the Week

If you haven't heard of Sly and the Family Stone, you've been missing out. The epitome of the '60's funk/soul movement, they had big music and bigger hair.

'If You Want Me to Stay' comes from their 1973 release 'Fresh,' around the time the band started to get heavily into cocaine, but before it could too heavily affect their music as it did later. The leadman, Sly Stone, was the primary contributor, leaving out his 'family' for much of the album; in 'If You Want Me to Stay,' he did the vocals, guitar, bass, and keyboards.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

How People Spend their Time

The New York Times has put together a very nice graph that shows how different groups spend their time throughout the day. It lets you view the graphs of 18 different categories that include sex, employment status, race, and more. I could try to explain it all in great detail, but it's much better to just experience it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Song of the Week #???

Quiet, you.

I have lately gotten really into Icelandic music (partially due to a documentary I highly recommend entitled 'Screaming Masterpiece') so you can expect to see several Icelandic songs in the next few weeks.

This week's song is 'Romantica,' by The Apparat Organ Quartet. This Icelandic band is comprised of four people playing on various electric organs (and occasionally a vocoder) and a drummer. Their album can be bought here.

"One by one, million by million, in the prescience of dawn, every leaf in that part of the world was moved." --James Agee

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Irony of Religion

The irony of religion is that because of its power to divert man to destructive courses, the world could actually come to an end. The plain fact is, religion must die for mankind to live. The hour is getting very late to be able to indulge having in key decisions made by religious people. By irrationalists, by those who would steer the ship of state not by a compass, but by the equivalent of reading the entrails of a chicken. George Bush prayed a lot about Iraq, but he didn't learn a lot about it. Faith means making a virtue out of not thinking. It's nothing to brag about. And those who preach faith, and enable and elevate it are intellectual slaveholders, keeping mankind in a bondage to fantasy and nonsense that has spawned and justified so much lunacy and destruction. Religion is dangerous because it allows human beings who don't have all the answers to think that they do. Most people would think it's wonderful when someone says, "I'm willing, Lord! I'll do whatever you want me to do!" Except that since there are no gods actually talking to us, that void is filled in by people with their own corruptions and limitations and agendas. And anyone who tells you they know, they just know what happens when you die, I promise you, you don't. How can I be so sure? Because I don't know, and you do not possess mental powers that I do not. The only appropriate attitude for man to have about the big questions is not the arrogant certitude that is the hallmark of religion, but doubt. Doubt is humble, and that's what man needs to be, considering that human history is just a litany of getting shit dead wrong. This is why rational people, anti-religionists, must end their timidity and come out of the closet and assert themselves. And those who consider themselves only moderately religious really need to look in the mirror and realize that the solace and comfort that religion brings you comes at a horrible price. If you belonged to a political party or a social club that was tied to as much bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, violence, and sheer ignorance as religion is, you'd resign in protest. To do otherwise is to be an enabler, a mafia wife, for the true devils of extremism that draw their legitimacy from the billions of their fellow travelers. If the world does come to an end here, or wherever, or if it limps into the future, decimated by the effects of religion-inspired nuclear terrorism, let's remember what the real problem was. We learned how to precipitate mass death before we got past the neurological disorder of wishing for it. That's it. Grow up or die.

[disclaimer: I didn't write this monologue. It was written by Bill Maher for his documentary 'Religulous,' which I very highly recommend if you aren't a closed-minded prick. The simple fact that you've made it this far indicates you probably aren't. So congratulations. I've embedded the original clip below if you'd rather hear it narrated by Mr. Maher himself.]