18 September 2009

RECENT LISTENING: Phoenix / Derek Webb


Here are two album I am listening to of late. One is a inventive pop masterstroke featuring the husband of director Sophia Coppola and the other beat infused protest album informed by American Christian culture. I will leave you to guess which is which.

06 September 2009

Video: Dawkin's on his new book


Here is further information on Richard Dawkin's new book, in his own words.

01 September 2009

September Media of Interest

Music: CURSE YOUR BRANCHES - David Bazan (releases today / September 1, 2009)

If you ever heard of Pedro the Lion and never picked their music up, David Bazan was the band's only mainstay and has been one of mine ever since their first EP came out in the 90's. Bazan's talent for a turn of phrase and forceful arranging make these songs ring as true as the most powerful religious (-like) experience while questioning perhaps those very experiences in light of the world we live in and the foundations of our faiths.

Check out this great feature on Bazan for more background: Chicago Reader: The Passion of David Bazan.

Film: COLD SOULS (in select theaters now)

From Quicktime.com: Is your soul weighing you down? Paul Giamatti has found a solution! In the surreal comedy COLD SOULS, Paul Giamatti plays an actor named… Paul Giamatti. Stumbling upon an article in The New Yorker about a high-tech company that extracts, deep-freezes and stores people’s souls, Paul very well might have found the key to happiness for which he’s been searching. But, complications arise when he is the unfortunate victim of “soul-trafficking.” Giamatti’s journey takes him all the way to Russia in hopes of retrieving his stolen soul from an ambitious but talentless soap-opera actress. Balancing a tightrope between deadpan humor & pathos, and reality & fantasy, COLD SOULS is a true soul searching comedy. Also starring David Strathairn, Dana Korzun and Emily Watson.

Book: THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH - Richard Dawkins (September 22, 2009)

I read and listened to Dawkins a good bit during the height of a personal theological crisis a bit ago. While I don't always agree with his conclusions, usually the more generalized ones, I found his use of reason, logic, and humor to be enlightening and entertaining. Whether one believe in evolution or are a denier, everyone ought to have a good understanding of the hows and the whys that make it function. That is, if one WANTS to have an educated opinion and I realize some may not. In that pursuit, I am looking forward to this late September volume.

From the publisher: In 2008, a Gallup poll showed that 44 percent of Americans believed God had created man in his present form within the last 10,000 years. In a Pew Forum poll in the same year, 42 percent believed that all life on earth has existed in its present form since the beginning of time.

In 1859 Charles Darwin's masterpiece, On the Origin of Species, shook society to its core. Darwin was only too aware of the storm his theory of evolution would provoke. But he surely would have raised an incredulous eyebrow at the controversy still raging a century and a half later. Evolution is accepted as scientific fact by all reputable scientists and indeed theologians, yet millions of people continue to question its veracity. Now the author of the iconic work The God Delusion takes them to task.

The Greatest Show on Earth is a stunning counterattack on advocates of "Intelligent Design," explaining the evidence for evolution while exposing the absurdities of the creationist "argument." Dawkins sifts through rich layers of scientific evidence: from living examples of natural selection to clues in the fossil record; from natural clocks that mark the vast epochs wherein evolution ran its course to the intricacies of developing embryos; from plate tectonics to molecular genetics. Combining these elements and many more, he makes the airtight case that "we find ourselves perched on one tiny twig in the midst of a blossoming and flourishing tree of life and it is no accident, but the direct consequence of evolution by non-random selection."

The Greatest Show on Earth comes at a critical time: systematic opposition to the fact of evolution is menacing as never before. In American schools, and in schools around the world, insidious attempts are made to undermine the status of science in the classroom. Dawkins wields a devastating argument against this ignorance, but his unjaded passion for the natural world turns what might have been a negative argument into a positive offering to the reader: nothing less than a master's vision of life, in all its splendor.

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