29 May 2011

WHAT HAPPENS TO MY PROJECTS

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If you ever wonder why I rarely finish the things I start or properly record and/or release almost any of the vast cache of music I have written, here is the answer. Minus the getting drunk part.Warning to the young or easily offended: therein is one swear word.


21 May 2011

BRIEF THOUGHTS: THE ISRAEL/PALESTINE CONFLICT AND CHRISTIANITY

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There has been much talk in the media and among the common person about the unending conflict in Palestine. Self-righteous and religion laced rhetoric has exploded in the wake of last week's speech on the topic by President Obama. If you don't know the details, you can read about it via NPR: http://www.npr.org/2011/05/20/136491809/obamas-ideas-on-israel-face-tough-reception .


The strain of Christianity I grew up in largely saw Israel as always good and the Palestinians, led by Yassir Arafat, as always bad and not on the side of God. As I grew up I started to question this more and more. I don't assume  that stance anymore nor do I assume a stereotypical  "liberal" view of the opposite. Instead I view it politically through the lens of ethics and religiously through arc of the Biblical narrative and the teachings of Jesus and together I end up with something messy and incredibly un-simple. This is how life is and how we must look at any conflict whether it involves our best friend or whom we perceive as our enemy.


Here are some of my brief thoughts, culled from internet discussions, on the Israel/Palestine conflict in how it relates to Christianity in its varied forms.




"The Israelites aren't the original inhibitors of that land nor is anyone that is alive today. 


Notice a major motif of the Biblical narrative is that Israel tries very hard to follow God's way but fails and so over and over again they are removed from the land and/or lorded over by the powerful empire of the time. A specific way that Israel, according to Isaiah and Jeremiah, brings this upon themselves is in how Israel treats the foreigner (or 'the other') living in their own land. Interesting isn't it? And this continues today. I honestly don't think Israel will be at peace until this changes.... that is if you want to take the Biblical narrative as literal and apply it today.


[In the Old Testament of the Bible]... "God's covenant with Israel is always conditional in the Biblical texts. If they don't hold up their end of the bargain God doesn't either. 

Also of note is that while Christians today seem to be rather passionate about Israel taking all of Palestine back even if by force, Jesus, the founder of Christianity, over and over forbade his followers, some of which were part of the violent Zealot freedom fighters, from using violence to reclaim Israel from Rome. As followers of Jesus I find
it curious that many people ... feel they are more entitled than Jesus or His disciples to break with Jesus' Way on this."



08 May 2011

A SUPERHERO SUMMER 2011

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This summer at a theater near you comic book are coming to life. Moving superheros from their known medium with the creators that know them best is a risky endeavor both creatively and financially. The best intentioned and most skilled filmmakers can easily make a mess of a solid character's universe that they either just don't understand or their idea doesn't line up with the times.

With that said, I start with something coming to a regular bookstore near you by one of comics most gifted storytellers and eccentric personalities named Grant Morrison. Grant, having started his Batman work in the late 80s, is most responsible for guiding the major arc of the caped crusader's world for more than the past five years as well as the groundbreaking Animal Man, the modern twelve part classic All-Star Superman, a very fun silver-age styled Flash run, a reinvention of the X-Men franchise, and many many more.

In Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Humanshis debut non-fiction book-length work coming this July, Grant Morrison writes how "these heroes are powerful archetypes whose ongoing, decades-spanning story arcs reflect and predict the course of human existence: Through them we tell the story of ourselves, our troubled history, and our starry aspirations." This I can't wait for and by then we'll know how these next latest film adaptations turned out. 

Being primarily a fan of DC comics I was initially elated to learn that one of my favorite comic scribes, Geoff Johns, was overseeing the production of their film slate including this summer's first Green Lantern film who Johns helped bring back from the bottom of the sales charts in the comic world. The first images of the movie costume, CGI in an odd shade of green, and the frat-boy attitude from Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan highlighted in the initial trailers really had be doubting that this world work. More recently trailers have highlighted the multi-specie space policeman aspect of the comic's mythology which has gotten me at least a little excited about seeing what they can do with it. Yeah I have a lot of doubt about this interpretation, but it'll be nice to see some kind of version on the big screen. I am impressed to see DC go out on a limb on this storied character that up until recently was considered B-list (see my post on Blackest Night).


Without a doubt though, Marvel Comics will make the biggest bang this summer with three films starring three A-list characters: Thor, Captain America, and the X-Men. Both Thor and Captain America have received great response from avid comic readers based on clips and trailers not to mention all the excitement over their team's franchise, The Avengers, which is slated to be released in summer 2012. And while X-Men: First Class, the fourth or fifth in the franchise if you count the Wolverine film, garnered a lot of skepticism based on a perceived lack of respect for established X-Men continuity, since then the trailers have shown that if nothing else it will be a stirring visual super-hero flash-back piece.



Oh and I almost forgot. This summer's semi-annual DC Comics event, Flashpoint by Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert, stars my favorite superhero since I was twelve: the Flash. According to the press (USA Today), one can pick up the first of the five issue mini-series with almost no knowledge of the universe or characters because in this series we learned that the world and all its heroes have been altered save for a few including Barry Allen as the Flash. There is plenty more back story if you want it but even without it's a mystery of an alternate but present reality and what it means to the people in it. I'm not sure if actually sounds intriguing to her or she is just trying to participate a little but my wife even said she'd read it with me. I'll take her up on it either way. You can pick up Flashpoint #1 this Wednesday at a comic book shop near you and enjoy the miniseries even if you pick up no other connected titles ever. Or so they say.



It will surely be an exciting summer.
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