Monday, February 26, 2007

Look, It's Jake Outside Letterman

Jesus Camp - Movie Review

Filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady decided to make "Jesus Camp" after they learned how widespread the evangelical movement in the United States was. To tell the story, they chose to focus on a few people who are intimately involved in the evangelical movement as well as the "Kids on Fire Summer Camp" in Devil's Lake, North Dakota.

Levi is a young boy who dreams of being a preacher,. His mother homeschools him, and has obviously done a credible job of it. That's what makes the next scene so disturbing: she proceeds to question him on such matters as global warming and evolution, both of which he categorically denies based on biblical accounts rather than anything relating to science.

Rachael is nine. She's cute, energetic, and talks almost non-stop. In one scene, she's bowling with her family when she wanders over to a young woman at a nearby table. She very seriously tells the woman that God has told her she must speak with her, and that she must be saved. She leaves a brochure with the woman and returns to her family where her father praises her and tells her, "Way to obey!" Victory (Tory) is ten. She's a pretty blonde who loves to dance. She very soberly tells the cameras that she dances for Jesus, and then admits that sometimes she dances "for the joy of the flesh." She assures the cameras, though, that she's trying really hard not to do that.

Becky Fischer is a youth minister and the founder of the "Kids on Fire Summer Camp." In her interviews, she shares with the camera that the Muslims indoctrinate their children at an early age, and that Christians must do the same. Later, she tells a radio talk show host that if she can reach children before the age of seven, she can turn them into soldiers for God.

Much of the interviews and intertwined discussions are leading directly toward this particular summer's camping experience. At the camp, parents and children spend time in services and seminars all of which are geared to fire them up and to prepare them to overwhelm the political process to "take America back." At one service, small children are sobbing hysterically because they are made painfully aware of the fact that they're bad. They beg Jesus for forgiveness. A small blonde boy sits on the floor and sobs heart-rendingly. Soon, some children are "speaking in tongues." The adults appear pleased.

Eventually, we travel with Levi to Washington DC for abortion protests on the steps of the US Supreme Court, and to Colorado Springs for a sermon by Ted Haggard (the now discredited pastor who, after gleefully mugging for the camera, gives young Levi some advice on sermon-making). In an interview, Haggard smiles his broadest, toothiest grin and says that evangelicals, if they vote, can win any election. Because the filmmakers have given us the occasional statistic throughout the course of the film, we've no choice but to acknowledge that Haggard is probably right about that.

As a Christian, I found "Jesus Camp" profoundly disturbing. The children featured in "Jesus Camp" are smart as whips. They're also utterly convinced that everything they've been told is right, and that anything contradictory must therefore be wrong. They're intolerant of others at best because, as Becky Fischer puts it, they've "got the truth." In the case of those who are homeschooled (one of the film's helpful statistical offerings informs us that the vast majority of homeschooled Americans are evangelicals), they're grievously lacking in science knowledge and the ability to think logically which, in my opinion, seriously hampers both the individual and society as a whole.

Fischer is, unfortunately, absolutely right about one thing: If you can get a child young enough and indoctrinate him thoroughly enough, he's going to grow up just as you intend him to be. And these children are effectively intended to be weapons. Oh, they may not blow themselves up as some Muslim children grow up to do, but I'm convinced the education process and the end goals aren't dissimilar. Both appeal to the highest and the lowest of emotions. Both employ fear and guilt at least as frequently as praise. And both are looking to convert everybody they can, and to subjugate everybody who won't convert to their own religious notions by force of law.

For the most entertaining review of "Jesus Camp" please visit FourFour. While reading Camp Classic, I nearly had Iced Tea come out of my nose from laughing so hard.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Movie Review - Shut Up and Sing

When Natalie Maines told a London audience that she was "ashamed that the president of the United States was from Texas," the Dixie Chicks were thrown into a political whirlwind. With "Shut Up and Sing," directors Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck explore the fallout of this incident to make a statement on the issue of free speech in the Bush era.

"It was not a political statement, but a joke made to get cheers and applause," claims Maines, who is clearly delighted with the attention the controversy has brought upon her, even as it has threatened the career of her band. While not at all convincing as a political martyr, she is fascinating as a member of a musical trio who becomes a megalomaniac in the media spotlight.

Her attempts to turn the band into a vehicle for her personal rage fascinates because she is only an entertainer, not an artist. When the film turns to the more ordinary concerns of band mates Martie Maguire and Emily Robison, it becomes mundane and loses focus. Husbands, babies and home life cannot compete with the boycotts and death threats of life on the road.

The film suffers from its non-linear approach to the subject. It is difficult to keep the chronology straight with all the flitting back and forth in time. From its opening scene in 2005, with kids running around a recording studio during the sessions with rock producer Rick Rubin, to the infamous remark in London on the eve of the Iraq invasion, Kopple and Peck try to parallel the career of this country-western band with the politics of the Bush administration, and it doesn't work. Posters, trailers and the other marketing for Shut Up and Sing suggest directors Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck have made a big-issues film, specifically about freedom of speech.

But the moments that work best in Shut Up and Sing are the smaller ones. The filmmakers have caught candid, warm footage of the three Chicks — Maines, fiddler Martie Maguire and banjo player Emily Robison — at home. We see the gives-and-takes with their husbands, the birth of the kids, playing with those kids, getting into costume for Halloween. They read Us Weekly.
Footage from recording sessions for the band's latest album is also revealing, as the trio struggles to redefine itself and court a new audience. The candid, warmer moments in Shut Up and Sing are necessary counterparts to the outrage Maines' comment sparked.

A fairly specific death threat in Dallas seems even more ominous after we've seen Maines at play with her husband and kids. Maguire's insecurities flicker through the band's bravado throughout; they seem to be the film's heart. But the back and forth (between the home and the national stage) causes jarring continuity issues. The Dallas death threat, (clearly viewed as a climax by the filmmakers) is held until the film's end. That means recording sessions that occurred two years later, music that could have been informed by such tension, appear earlier in the film.

In essence, these are two major stories in this documentery. One about family and one about freedom. The problem with this is that the two stories never quite dovetail.

On the plus side, "Shut Up and Sing" is an inspiring story of three women who refused to lie down and be counted out. When boycotted by country radio, they rebuilt their career with a new band and a new audience. Their story is proof that integrity need not be compromised in order to stay in the game.


Saturday, February 24, 2007

Listen up Y'all, Cause Condi's Pissed!

She's Tired of You Iraq Pessimists!

I found this highly entertaining but then again I am easily amused.

Ryan's Oscar Predictions 2007

Best Picture - Babel

Best Actor - Peter O'Toole

Best Actress - Helen Mirren

Best Supporting Actor - Alan Arkin

Best Supporting Actress - Jennifer Hudson

Best Director - Martin Scorsese

Animated Feature - Cars

Art Direction - Pan's Labyrinth

Cinematography - Children of Men

Costume Design - Curse of the Golden Flower

Documentary Feature - An Inconveinient LIE Truth

Documentary Short - Rehearsing A Dream

Film Editing - The Departed

Foreign Language Film - Pan's Labyrinth

Makeup - Apocalypto

Original Score - Note's on a Scandal

Original Song - "Our Town" - Cars

Short Film-Animated - The Little Matchgirl

Short Film-Live Action - West Bank Story

Sound Editing - Flags of Our Fathers

Sound Mixing - Flags of Our Fathers

Visual Effects - Superman Returns

Screenplay-Adapted - The Departed

Screenplay-Original - Little Miss Sunshine

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Music Review - Carnavas by Silversun Pickups

This heavily-hyped band from the epicenter of heavy-hyping, Los Angeles, is likely to draw a lot of lazy comparisons to Smashing Pumpkins. Over-amped, distorted guitars, melodic songs with soaring choruses and plaintive vocals are all in evidence. On "Carnavas," their debut, they're at least closer to the Pumpkin's early albums, eschewing the grandiosity that made Corgan's later work such a chore. Actually, they seem to have more in common with another young L.A. band, Autolux. Both are clearly indebted to the noisy soundscapes of My Bloody Valentine and the more melodic moments of Sonic Youth. Listen to "Carnavas" back-to-back with SY's recent "Rather Ripped" and you'd think the two bands could be cousins. Mind you, SY's songs are stronger and their guitars more gloriously fucked up, but Silversun Pickups have plenty to offer as well. Like Autolux, the Pickups manage to fold their more experimental tendencies into their songs, and when they stretch things out, like on album closer "Common Reactor," they drone instead of jam. Sometimes they're even genuinely hypnotic, but even as Brian Aubert's guitars soar into the stratosphere, they keep their feet on the ground (actually, they kinda have to; otherwise, they couldn't reach their effects pedals). Another nice touch are the keyboards of Joe Lester, which curiously makes the sound warmer (as opposed to the chilliness of say, Radiohead). Lyrically, the band traffic in the vague, elliptical imagery that have been a staple of indie rock for more than twenty years. At the very least they're modest, not self important. The propulsive "Future Foe Scenarios" begins "The things we laid do not amount to much/made of abandoned wood and stones and such." All things considered, while Silversun Pickups are anything but original, they survive comparisons to their inspirations fairly well. While it's not something that you probably "need," you could do a hell of a lot worse.

Here is a you tube of them performing on the Late Show with David Letterman on Decemeber 1, 2006.
I saw them last night in Sacramento at a club called Harlow's. They were pretty good live. I didn't bring my camera, so here is the live performance of their lastest single, "Lazy Eye."

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Let's Celebrate

Hey Everyone - I decided it was time to celebrate Black History Month. As an undergrad I majored in History, with emphasis in African American History. I went back into my catalog of history papers and found this doozy. Hope you learn something... a rarity on my blog. Note to the reader, when I copied and pasted this from Word, the footnotes did not come with. If you are interested in any further readings on this topic, I will place a bibliography after the essay.

Ryan Schmidt
July 28, 2001
History 174B

Divine and Gravey
Black Social Uplift

The beginning of the twentieth century marked a turning point in African American social history. With the changes of American dominance on the world stage during and after World War One and the Great Depression, blacks during these decades took it upon themselves, with assistance from dynamic black leaders, to advance their social status in the United States. During World War One, black society turned to the leadership of Marcus Gravey, and a decade later, many turned to George Baker, also known as Father Divine for guidance. Father Divine’s American nationalism distinguished him from the majority of movements that shared his focus on issues of race and oppression. While contemporary movements like the Nation of Islam retreated from white society, Divine pressed integration of his followers into the mainstream of national life. Millions of poor urban blacks, as well as some whites worshiped Father Divine. During the Great Depression, Father Divine and his Peace Mission movement fed the hungry, created jobs, and led a crusade for social justice and human equality. Despite Divine’s avowed faith in America, he was also known for attracting many former disciples of Marcus Garvey, the premier black separatist of the nineteen teens and twenties. Garvey is remembered as a champion of the back-to-Africa movement. He was hailed as a redeemer, a "Black Moses." Though he failed to realize his objectives, his movement represented liberation from the psychological bondage of racism. Divine shared with Garvey some doctrines of racial uplift often associated with black separatists. Followers of both men rejected traditional Western images of a white god and the racist attitude that fostered such images. Both men spurred their followers to cultivate both mental and financial independence, and envisioned a society free of oppression.

Father Divine was unique among black leaders of the early twentieth century. He enjoyed a following of poor urban blacks as well as educated whites. Father Divine’s following started during the great migration of blacks into urban settings in the mid-nineteen teens. He claimed to have a direct connected to God, and after garnering a handful of followers, became to see himself as a savior, hence the name Father Divine. Through religion, Divine and group grew at a rapid pace throughout the nineteen twenties. He and his followers lived in communes and “lived by a strict moral code that required abstinence from sex, smoking, profanity, drugs and alcohol.” Divine had great success in lifting his followers, both black and white, from poverty and in breaking down the color line with his social movement, The Peace Mission.

Garvey had shattered the outward complacency of the ghettos in the early twenties with his massive appeals for black unity and the regeneration of the blacks’ true homeland, Africa. But his imprisonment in 1925 and deportation two years later left thousands of his followers in every large ghetto craving a successor to his dynamic leadership. Some former members of Garvey’s United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) joined offshoots of their old movement or new separatist groups like the Nation of Islam. The greatest bloc of former followers turned to the Peace Mission Movement, although Divine abhorred the racial separation that Garvey encouraged.

The seeming paradox reflects both the complex motives for joining a social movement and the inevitable similarities between the organizations responding to the common heritage and hardships of urban blacks. Yet while Divine’s ministry built on the techniques through which Garvey had drawn the ghetto’s masses, he directed their hopes in ways ultimately at odds with the black nationalist vision Garvey proclaimed. The UNIA, like the later Peace Mission, was a multifaceted social movement with a pronounced evangelical Christian character. Chaplains were prominent among the UNIA leadership. Christian hymns were integral features of UNIA meetings, and members often remarked on the spiritual enthusiasm that the rallies generated. It was also widely noted that Garvey and his aides thoroughly entwined their pan-American exhortations with biblical imagery.

The two movements also shared a cult like devotion to their respective leaders. Garvey and Devine were both objects of frenzied adulation by their masses of followers, and were equally zealous as well as skillful in encouraging such displays. Garvey, like Divine, a short but magnetic individual with a compelling speaking manner, mesmerized audiences and made his own personality the unifying center of his movement. It is true that Garvey did not hint at divinity as did Father Divine, he lashed out at Divine’s “blasphemy” on setting himself up as false god. Yet in his prime Gravy had also come to view himself as a vassal of God. He freely superimposed the life of Jesus with his own career, noting their common radicalism and suffering. He encouraged the crowds who hailed him as the savoir of the Negro race and even wore colorful military attire, complete with decorative sword, to perfect the image of a liberator. That Garvey passed up the title of God in favor of “Provisional President of Africa” may indicates he too viewed himself as a savior to his followers.

Both Garvey and Divine drew upon their charisma to generate self-respect and a feeling of community among the most disadvantaged blacks. Divine spoke often of how the need of “the most underprivileged” made the greatest before God, who “will hear their simplest cry.” Garvey, too, exhorted followers never to lose confidence in themselves for “God Almighty created each and every one of us for a place in the world.” Similarly, the shared rituals of each movement reminded followers that they were apart of a much greater social entity that recognized their common humanity.

The UNIA and the Peace Mission provided tangible benefits for their members. While the Peace Mission Movement gained lasting loyalties by offering food and shelter, the UNIA filled the more conventional functions of black fraternal orders, drawing from members’ dues to assure sums of money to their families in event of sickness or death. Edmund David Cronon quotes Garvey’s widow, Amy Jacques-Garvey, in explaining that this arrangement “was the easiest means of reaching the common man, who wanted security in his distress; hand him this first, the tell him of the spiritual, racial benefits that would come in time.”

Uplift through economic enterprise also ranked high on the list of the UNIA aims, foreshadowing Peace Mission concerns a decade later. The UNIA set up the Negro Factories Corporation in 1919, with one million dollars worth of capital, to “build and operate factories in the big industrial centers of the United States, Central America, the West Indies, and Africa to manufacture every marketable commodity.” Garvey sometimes promoted his ideas on black progress in terms of conservative American values such as Father Divine later exulted. Garvey’s advocacy of business development, seemed to be a product of the nineteen twenties. Cronon notes a stock circular for Garvey’s most famous enterprise, the Black Star Line steamship company that appealed to urban blacks. “The Black Star Line Corporation present so every Black Man, Woman, and Child the opportunity to climb the great ladder of industrial and commercial progress…The Black Star Line will turn over large profits and dividends to stockholders, and operate to their interest even whilst they will be asleep.”

Father Divine and his followers of the Peace Mission Movement were committed to being economically independent and self-supporting. The Peace Mission business ventures started small with a few restaurants located in and around New York City vicinity. As the Peace Mission grew during the decade of the thirties, other avenues opened up, and Divine and his followers opened up hotels, markets and garages all across the country. Divine did not believe in any sort of credit system, a rule which was carried over into businesses they operated, and only accepted cash as payment for services rendered. Such were the cases at the Divine Tracy Hotel in Philadelphia and Newark, where the only form of payment accepted was cash .

Perhaps the most significant common denominator of the two movements is that both advance a theology of social action, enriching the religious aspect of African Americans. Garvey stressed that God never intended that any person “should descend to the level of a peon, a serf or a slave… These different classes God never created. He created Man.” He told his followers that because they were formed in God’s image that there will be a spiritual and material resurrection among Nergroes everywhere…” Divine placed himself at the center of the most powerful component of black life, the church. His theology borrowed from the self-help ideology of the day, and presented it in a religious context for his followers.

In terms of the impact the UNIA and the Peace Mission had as American reform movements, their conflicting perspectives of white, American society proved a crucial divide. Garvey’s beliefs that blacks had to work out their aims apart from whites recluded vigorous pursuit of the integrationist goals central to most civil right leaders, including Divine. Garvey’s insistence on strictly black membership in the UNIA and investment in its financial projects further reduced his influence beyond the inner city. This deprived him of a core of politically liberal whites. In fact, Garvey courted as white “allies” mainly such extremists as the Ku Klux Klan, which he praised for candidly espousing the white man’s view of blacks and for agreeing with his aim of sending blacks to Africa.

While steep financial, diplomatic, and logistical obstacles all undermined Garvey’s ambitious plans to transport millions to Africa, an underlying problem was his severe misreading of African American attitudes. Many poor urban blacks cheered Garvey as a liberator, but only a few black intellectuals of the time fully shared his vision of restoring the black man’s African heritage. The vast majority of America’s black population had little desire to return to Africa. As a result, Garvey’s resettlement projects developed importance as a symbol of black pride in the face of white racism, without fulfillment.

By contrast, Father Divine’s own colonizing venture, which he viewed as a symbol of his wider integrationist program, was less ambitious and more attuned to mass sentiment. In setting up communes in urban and rural America, Divine aimed not to return to a particular land, thousands of miles away, but to take back the land that he was born. Divine built his utopian world out of conservative materials, i.e. careful investment by blacks and white, avoidance of debts, and self-sustaining economies. The interracial colonization project was based upon Divine’s faith that black Americans would free themselves of the ghetto lifestyle without have to reject their native land.

It remains to be explained why Father Divine, rather than Garvey held such confidence in the American people. One possible reason is that Divine reached his height of influence during the New Deal era. Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Democratic Party were viewed as a new ray of hope for African Americans and during the nineteen thirties there was an upswing in civil rights activism. Garvey’s movement on the other hand began to flourish after World War I, when racism was resurgent and the rise of poor black seemed more noticeable than in the nineteen thirties.

There were, in short, many bridges of culture, doctrine, and outlook that aided passage from Garvey’s UNIA to Divine’s Peace Mission. Whether a person joined for religious reasons, escape from society, self-esteem, racial equality, or a combination of these, the urban black citizen might find fulfillment in either one of these organizations.

Bibliography -

Sara Harris, Father Divine (New York: McMillian, 1971).

Jill Watts, God Harlem U.S.A.: The Father Divine Story (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1992).

Edmund David Cronon, Black Moses- The Story of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1962).

Amy Jacques-Garvey, ed., Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey (New York: Atheneum, 1970).

Friday, February 16, 2007

Single Review - Keep Holding On

Amid so many posers in her wake, Avril Lavigne has taken her time, stepped back and maintained her integrity, waiting for the appropriate moment to return. Soundtrack song in between albums? (Next is due in April.) Ideal. "Keep Holding On," from fantasy flick "Eragon," which opened this past December, meshes her authentic lived-it, (albeit still youthful) vocal signature with an uncharacteristic orchestral arrangement and anthemic pop chorus ("Keep holding on, cause you know I'll make it through/Just stay strong, cause you know I'm here for you"). The result sounds like cross-format sustenance. Industrywise, Lavigne is riding the delicate border between Top 40 babe and adult Top 40 mainstay ... Here, she commands both sides. Gorgeous song, probably requiring an edgy video, but in any case, it sounds like she is set to remain for the long term.

Sunday, February 11, 2007



The Dixie Chicks completed a defiant comeback on Sunday night, winning five Grammy awards after being shunned by the country music establishment over the group's anti-Bush comments leading up to the Iraq invasion. The Texas trio won record and song of the year for the no-regrets anthem "Not Ready to Make Nice." They also won best country album, which was especially ironic considering the group says they don't consider themselves country artists anymore.

"I'm ready to make nice!" Natalie exclaimed as the group accepted the album of the year award. "I think people are using their freedom of speech with all these awards. We get the message."

The Dixie Chicks won all five awards they were nominated for, sweet vindication after the superstars' lives were threatened and sales plummeted when Natalie criticized President Bush on the eve of the Iraq war in 2003. Almost overnight, one of the most successful groups of any genre was boycotted by Nashville and disappeared from country radio.

With "Taking the Long Way," the women relied on producer Rick Rubin's guidance for an album that was more rock and less country. (Rubin, who also produced "Stadium Arcadium," was honored as producer of the year.)
The standing ovations the Chicks received Sunday illustrated how much the political climate has changed regarding the Iraq war, and even Bush.

"That's interesting," Natalie crowed from the podium after the country award was handed out earlier in the night. "Well, to quote the great 'Simpsons' — 'Heh-Heh.'

"Just kidding," added Natalie. "A lot of people just turned their TVs off right now. I'm very sorry for that."

Emily said, "We wouldn't have done this album without everything we went through, so we have no regrets."

My Dixie Chicks History -

Ryan's Appearence on Storytellers: Dixie Chicks
My Night with the Dixie Chicks

Saturday, February 10, 2007

"Do Ya Like My Decaying Body?"

Since the death of Anna Nicole Smith, I have been saddened by the fact that the public will never again be able to view the train wreck moments such as this ever again. I have attached a video of Anna Nicole Smith at the American Music Awards a few years ago. In this clip Anna is introducing a performance by Kanye West. This is what I, as an Anna Nicole Smith fan, lived for!


I have also read today that the baby daddy might actually be Anna Nicole Smith's dead husband J. Howard Marshall. Supposedly Anna may have been artificially inseminated by her dead husband’s sperm, which was taken and frozen before his death. Seems far-fetched, yet totally possible.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Movie Review - Notes on a Scandal

Instead of becoming the tawdry, salacious affair it could've easily been, two masterful and textured performances from two of our greatest actresses catapult "Notes on a Scandal" to the echelon of art-house entertainment. In one corner, we have Dame Judi Dench as the lonely teacher and mentor. In the other corner, we have Cate Blanchett as the flighty but endearing new art teacher just begging for someone to take her under their wing. The film starts innocuously enough, with the two women becoming fast friends, with Blanchett inviting Dench into her home and family, and Dench all too eager to find a new best friend. Deliciously seasoned with spicy subtexts involving the bourgeois sense of entitlement, the bitterness of the lower middle class, the candidness of those with everything who never seem to be satisfied, the resentment of those sucked into this confidence, and of course, the psycho-sexual entrapments of all relationships, "Notes on a Scandal" is rife with everyday tragedy. The convoluted subtexts often take precedence over what is being seen on screen, until Dench's voice-over entrances us and sucks us in.

In the early scenes where Dench is describing her burgeoning fascination with Blanchett, the audience shares in the allure as Dench paints beautifully the appeal of Blanchett's talents as an actress. Soon, though, the fantasy makes way for reality, and Blanchett as raw and vulnerable as she has ever been falls under the spell of a troubled 15 year-old boy with whom she begins an illicit affair. Blanchett's folly is mirrored in Dench's obsession with becoming her sole confidant.

Director Richard Eyre (who previously directed Dench in the superb "Iris") structures the film in a crisp clip. As the plot quickly goes through the motions, secrets are revealed, true natures are uncovered, and the lives of both women become tragically entangled as they unravel.

Enough can't be said about Dench's performance. She could've easily dived head first into this role and delivered something akin to Kathy Bates turn as the mad spinster in "Misery." Instead, she adds subtlety, humor, and melancholy in her perfectly balanced performance that allows you to sympathize with her character for the loneliness she feels while at the same time hating her for her opportunism and bitterness. Likewise, Blanchett, manages to play to our sympathies, and it's easy to see why Dench, the boy in question, and Blanchett's husband, Bill Nighy, are completely smitten with her despite her impetuousness.

With betrayal leading to hatred and a complete breakdown of all things sacred in human connections, the climactic showdown between Dench and Blanchett is the type of goose-bump inducing acting tour de force moviegoers dream about. There's also a sense of a symbolic passing of the torch from one generation of great actresses to the next. Far from being just the highbrow version of "Single White Female," "Notes on a Scandal" entertains and provokes those willing to enjoy the psychologically complex roller coaster.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Great Duet of an Old Classic

One of my favorite artists of all time, Alison Krauss, has teamed up with John Waite in a new recording of Waite's immensely popular song, "Missing You." The pairing of Krauss and Waite is fantastic and they breathe new life into the song.

Seventy-two Virgins

Taken from The New Yorker
Issue of 2007-01-29


Virgin No. 1: Yuck.
Virgin No. 2: Ick.
Virgin No. 3: Ew.
Virgin No. 4: Ow.
Virgin No. 5: Do you like cats? I have fourteen!
Virgin No. 6: I’m Becky. I’ll be legal in two years.
Virgin No. 7: Here, I’ll just pull down your zipper. Oh, sorry!
Virgin No. 8: Can we cuddle first?
Virgin No. 9: It was a garlic-and-onion pizza. Why?
Virgin No. 10: . . . so I see Heath, and he goes, “Like, what are you doing here?,” and I go, “I’m hangin’ out,” so he goes, “Like, what?” . . .
Virgin No. 11: First you’re going to have to show me an up-to-date health certificate.
Virgin No. 12: Hurry! My parents are due home!
Virgin No. 13: Do you want the regular or the special?
Virgin No. 14: I’m eighty-four. So what?
Virgin No. 15: Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!
Virgin No. 16: Even I know that’s tiny.
Virgin No. 17: “Do it”? Meaning what?
Virgin No. 18: I’m saving myself for Jesus.
Virgin No. 19: Somewhere on my body I have hidden a buffalo nickel.
Virgin No. 20: Don’t touch my hair!
Virgin No. 21: I hope you’re not going to sleep with me and then go sleep with seventy-one others.
Virgin No. 22: Do you mind if we listen to Mannheim Steamroller?
Virgin No. 23: Are you O.K. with the dog on the bed?
Virgin No. 24: Would you mind saying, “Could I see you in my office, Miss Witherspoon?”?
Virgin No. 25: Ride me! Ride me, Lucky Buck!
Virgin No. 26: You like your vanilla hot?
Virgin No. 27: Does Ookums like Snookums?
Virgin No. 28: It’s so romantic here, dead.
Virgin No. 29: Well, I’m a virgin, but my hand isn’t.
Virgin No. 30: You are in?
Virgin No. 31: Hi, cowboy. I just rode down from Brokeback Mountain.
Virgin No. 32: I’m a virgin because I’m so ugly.
Virgin No. 33: You like-ee?
Virgin No. 34: I’ll betcha you can’t get an erection. Go on, impress me. C’mon, show me. Show me, big shot.
Virgin No. 35: By the way, here in Heaven “virgin” has a slightly different meaning. It means “chatty.”
Virgin No. 36: Sure, I like you, but as a friend.
Virgin No. 37: No kissing. I save that for my boyfriend.
Virgin No. 38: I’m Zania, from the planet Xeron. My vagina is on my foot.
Virgin No. 39: It’s a lesion, and, no, I don’t know what kind.
Virgin No. 40: I’m Jewish. Why do you ask?
Virgin No. 41: Hi, I’m Becky. Oh, whoops—you again.
Virgin No. 42: I just love camping! Camping is so great! Can we go camping sometime?
Virgin No. 43: In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m a single mom.
Virgin No. 44: You like my breasts? They were my graduation gift.
Virgin No. 45: When you’re done, you should really check out how cool this ceiling is.
Virgin No. 46: I’m almost there. Just another couple of hours.
Virgin No. 47: Get your own beer, you nitwit.
Virgin No. 48: No, you’ve got it wrong. We’re in the Paradise Casino.
Virgin No. 49: I really enjoyed that. Thank you very much. Gee, it’s late.
Virgin No. 50: You make me feel like a real woman. And after this is over I’m going to find one.
Virgin No. 51: What do you mean, “move a little”?
Virgin No. 52: Not now, I’m on my BlackBerry.
Virgin No. 53: I love it when you put on your pants and leave.
Virgin No. 54: We’ve been together twenty-four hours now, and, you know, sometimes it’s O.K. to say something mildly humorous.
Virgin No. 55: That was terrible. I should have listened to the other virgins.
Virgin No. 56: I think I found it. Is that it? Oh. Is this it? Oh, this must be it. No?
Virgin No. 57: It must be hot in here, because I know it’s not me.
Virgin No. 58: Those are my testicles.
Virgin No. 59: Did you know that “virgin” is an anagram of Irving?
Virgin No. 60: First “Spamalot,” then sex.
Virgin No. 61: Great! I was hoping for circumcised.
Virgin No. 62: Was that it?
Virgin No. 63: Dang. George Clooney was being reckless on a motorcycle, but instead I got you.
Virgin No. 64: Tonight, I become a woman. But until then you can call me Bob.
Virgin No. 65: They’re called “adult diapers.” Why?
Virgin No. 66: We could do it here for free, or on a stage in Düsseldorf for money.
Virgin No. 67: I’m just Virgin No. 67 to you, right?
Virgin No. 68: Pee-yoo. Are you wearing Aramis?
Virgin No. 69: Condom, please.
Virgin No. 70: My name is Mother Teresa.
Virgin No. 71: I’m not very good at this, but let’s start with the Reverse Lotus Blossom.
Virgin No. 72: It was paradise, until you showed up.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Do You Deserve Your High School Diploma?

You paid attention during 91% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz