OK Go

OK Go rocks! I found this band through a post on NRO’s the Corner and they are awesome. The first video is from their first album, Oh No, which is a pretty straightforward power-pop record (for an interesting story about the group’s videos and the music biz in general check out this Op-Ed NY Times piece by the lead singer). The second is from their latest effort released this year, Of the Blue Colour of the Sky, which is very eclectic, very cool and completely different from the previous album. Anyway, I’ve been listening to both albums non-stop for the last two weeks. Enjoy.

Happy Halloween!

Since it’s Halloween I thought I would post some of the things that scare me the most…

These people are running our country…oooohhhh…it gives me chills just thinking about it.

Be safe and have a happy Halloween!

Magnificent Monday Quotes – One Great Quote

I can’t remember when I first stumbled across this one…but it’s a doozy.

“He is a man with a gun. He is a killer, a slayer. Patient and gentle as he is, he is a slayer. Self-effacing, self-forgetting, still he is a killer. . . All the other stuff, the love, the democracy, the floundering into lust, is a sort of by-play. The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.” — D. H. Lawrence, Studies in Classic American Literature (1923)

Magnificent Monday Quotes – Anglosphere Edition

Since I’m currently reading The Decline and Fall of the British Empire, 1781-1997 by Piers Brendon, I thought that I would do a post of quotes about and from the Anglosphere.

“God bless America. God save the Queen. God defend New Zealand and thank Christ for Australia.”– Russell Crowe

“Seldom have so few done so much for so many” – Winston Churchill

“Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.” – Thomas Jefferson

“If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will Lose its freedom: and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that, too.” – William Somerset Maugham

“None can love freedom heartily but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license.” – John Milton

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” – Thomas Paine

Breathes there the man with soul so dead

Who never to himself hath said,

This is my own, my native land!

Whose heart hath ne’er within him burn’d

As home his footsteps he hath turn’d

From wandering on a foreign strand?

Sir Walter Scott

Our hearts where they rocked our cradle,

Our love where we spent our toil,

And our faith, and our hope, and our honor,

We pledge to our native soil.

God gave all men all earth to love,

But since our hearts are small,

Ordained for each one spot should prove

Beloved over all.

Rudyard Kipling

Magnificent Monday Quotes – George F. Will Edition

“A politician’s words reveal less about what he thinks about his subject than what he thinks about his audience.”

“A society that thinks the choice between ways of living is just a choice between equally eligible ‘lifestyles’ turns universities into academic cafeterias offering junk food for the mind.”

“Americans are overreaching; overreaching is the most admirable and most American of the many American excesses.”

“As advertising blather becomes the nation’s normal idiom, language becomes printed noise.”

“Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal.”

“Being elected to Congress is regarded as being sent on a looting raid for one’s friends.”

“Childhood is frequently a solemn business for those inside it.”

“Conservatives define themselves in terms of what they oppose.”

“Football incorporates the two worst elements of American society: violence punctuated by committee meetings.”

“If you seek [Alexander] Hamilton’s monument, look around. You are living in it. We honor Jefferson, but live in Hamilton’s country, a mighty industrial nation with a strong central government.”

“If your job is to leaven ordinary lives with elevating spectacle, be elevating or be gone.”

“In the lexicon of the political class, the word “sacrifice” means that the citizens are supposed to mail even more of their income to Washington so that the political class will not have to sacrifice the pleasure of spending it.”

“Leadership is, among other things, the ability to inflict pain and get away with it – short-term pain for long-term gain.”

“Pessimism is as American as apple pie – frozen apple pie with a slice of processed cheese.”

“Politicians fascinate because they constitute such a paradox; they are an elite that accomplishes mediocrity for the public good.”

“Politics should share one purpose with religion: the steady emancipation of the individual through the education of his passions.”

“Some parents say it is toy guns that make boys warlike. But give a boy a rubber duck and he will seize its neck like the butt of a pistol and shout ‘Bang!'”

“The future has a way of arriving unannounced.”

“The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised.”

“The pursuit of perfection often impedes improvement.”

“There may be more poetry than justice in poetic justice.”

“Today more Americans are imprisoned for drug offenses than for property crimes.”

“Voters don’t decide issues, they decide who will decide issues.”

“World War II was the last government program that really worked.”

Happy Easter!

This link will take you to a story by Leo Thorsness about a church service that he and his fellow POWs had in the Hanoi Hilton in 1970. The story should give us a fresh perspective here in America as we dress up in our Sunday best and go to church, unhindered, to Easter service tomorrow. Let us be thankful for the freedoms we have as Americans. But more importantly, let us be thankful for the freedom that Christ’s death and ressurection has given us as Christians. Freedom from sin and hope for eternal life.

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

Salvation is of the Lord.
May your salvation O Lord be ever with us.

From St. Patrick’s Breastplate

Happy Easter everyone.

Common Phrases You May Not Know Are From The Bible

The other day I heard someone on the news use a phrase about the current financial crisis. Basically he said something like “We should have seen the writing on the wall when…blah, blah, blah.” As I listened I wondered how many people watching that program would know that the phrase he used had it’s origin in the Bible. Even devout Jews or Christians might not consciously realize it because the saying has been so adopted by our present culture. This got me thinking about all of the other phrases that have Biblical origins that most people probably don’t know about. So below, I have listed a few of the most common ones.

Am I my brother’s keeper? (Genesis 4:9) – This is what Cain said to God when God asked where Abel was. Let me just say that Cain must have had a set of stones on him as big as basketballs! I mean, you’ve just commited the first murder in the history of mankind and it’s your own brother. Now God Himself is asking you where your brother is and that’s what you throw out? Really? I feel that Cain was actually pretty lucky to get off with being branded and roaming the earth for the rest of his life.

The writing is on the wall (Daniel 5) – We use this phrase in a milder way than the Bible story it is derived from. When we say the writing is on the wall we mean we can see something coming. But in the Bible the writing on the wall was a little more, shall we say, lethal. In Daniel 5 we see king Belshazzar partying with his nobles, wives and concubines (now that’s my kind of party) when he decides that the Solo cups he’s using just aren’t up to his kingly standards. So he calls for someone to fetch the silver and gold goblets that his father, king Nebuchadnezzar, had stolen from the Temple in Jerusalem. Since this story is from the Old Testament you can guess that this was probably not a good move. The New International Version of the Bible tells what happened next this way:

 5 Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. 6 His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way.

The king tries to find someone to interpret the writing saying that anyone who can will be rewarded with the 3rd highest office in the kingdom. No one can except Daniel. The king is relieved when he learns that Daniel can indeed interpret the writing but that relief is very short lived. Daniel basically says that God doesn’t like you, your partying days are over and your kingdom is going to be divided by your enemies. Even though this probably isn’t what he wanted to hear, the king lived up to his word and made Daniel the 3rd highest ruler in the kingdom. Oh yeah, and that night the king was killed.

By the skin of your teeth (Job 19:20) I didn’t know about this one until a friend of mine told me about it. We use this prhase to mean a narrow escape. But Job uses it to say that he has come away with nothing.

20 I am nothing but skin and bones;
I have escaped with only the skin of my teeth.

The note for the verse says that the skin of the teeth can be translated as “gums”.

Go the extra mile (Matthew 5:41) The actual verse that this phrase comes from says it this way (NIV):

If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

Back in the day, under Roman law, a Roman soldier could compel you to cary his pack for one mile. Jesus used this analogy to tell his followers that they should go beyond expectations in helping people and demonstrating love to their neighbors. This verse is part of the Sermon on the Mount that included the Beatitudes (Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth) and saw Jesus radically re-interpret Jewish law.

Thorn in the side (2 Corinthians 12:7, Numbers 33:55, Judges 2:3) This meaning is pretty obvious and while we still use this phrase, it has been replaced in more informal settings by the phrase “pain in the ass”. The Corinthians verse is the most famous of the three and reads:

6Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say.
7To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

There has been endless scholarly debate about what the “thorn” was. The following is from Coffman Commentaries of the Old and New Testament:

Tertullian thought it was a headache.
Klausner believed it was epilepsy.
Ramsay identified it as recurrent malarial fever.
Chrysostom said it was “all the adversaries of the Word.”
John Calvin made it “fleshly temptation.”
Martin Luther considered it “spiritual temptation.”
John Knox decided it was “infirmities of the mind.”
Catholic commentators generally say “lustful thoughts.”
McGarvey: “acute, disfiguring ophthalmia.”
Macknight spoke of some who believed it was “the false teachers.”
Lightfoot suggested “blasphemous thoughts of the devil.”
Alexander was sure it was “Malta fever.”

I took New Testament class in college and my professor told us there were many scholars who thought the thorn was Paul’s wife. But maybe they were just projecting.