Thursday, November 29, 2007

Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping

So I looked into Reverend Billy and he and his movie "What Would Jesus Buy" will be at the Landmark Theatre in Chicago tomorrow night! Check his website out, Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping.

You can also check out his blog here.

I've Found Religion!!! Halleluia!!

I found this at the blog: A Pagan's Desire of Simplicity

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Swell Season

Maggie and I went to see The Swell Season perform at The Vic last Saturday evening. The show was amazing. I like to sit at shows because I am lazy and we got there too late to grab a chair so we had to stand. By the time The Swell Season came on stage I was ready to fall over, but as soon as Glen Hansard started playing his Willie Nelson like beat up guitar I lost all my tiredness. Wow! A wonderful show. And the cover of The Pixie's Gigantic with the Glee Club was awesome! Here's a pic from the Sun-Times. And here's a link to the Sun-Times' review and the Tribune's.

The Times They Are A Changin'

I used to have a dream of going completely off grid and living off the energy from the sun, the earth, and my own body, but that seems like a far off dream (but not totally gone). Maggie and I are trying our hardest to live more simply. We have made a point of spending money on only those things we need. Of course "need" is a relative term. I need good books, food, art, music, movies, and beer! But there are ways to get those things for free or discounted. The library, free days at museums, the garden, coupons, etc... Maybe some day we will live here --

I did find this site, Off Grid--life unplugged, that I enjoy. There are hundreds of sites on living simply. I know if you walk down Michigan Avenue it is hard to believe, but there really is a movement happening. You can call it whatever, green, living simply, slow food, whole earth, Gaia, whatever, but people seem to be changing slowly. Maybe we are just scared of dependency on Mid-East oil or we feel something is missing in our lives, whatever the reasons it feels like something is happening. I hope so. It needs to happen for MANY reasons. We need to take responsibility for our actions. Where does our food come from? Our fuel? Electricity? Who profits from our purchases? Why can't we recycle Starbucks cups? Why does the guy on the El platform dump the recycled paper into the "regular" trash? Why is their regular trash? We try to insulate ourselves from everything. We want convenience, not questions. But we are slowly asking these questions. We are starting to need a connection with family, community, and the earth.

Personally I don't think a person needs to ask these questions so we can prevent global warming and the degradation of natural resources, but because these questions need to be asked to help us become better. These global problems won't be changed until as individuals we feel it is an imperative to do so. And until we question how we live that won't happen.

In college I was a member of Earth First, if there was such a thing. I was just a kid in Kansas pissed at what was happening. Pissed at how stupid we could be. But I am starting to see that our actions and motives behind those actions just aren't that easy to discern, even as the individuals that have the motives and take the actions! It takes a LONG time for groups of people to open their eyes. There are a lot of people to blame (yes I am looking over at big business and our quivering government), but like I said I think it is happening. And it is an accumulation from Aldo Leopold to Rachel Carson to the Beats to hippies to Ralph Nader to Al Gore to any classroom of 3rd graders that start a recycling program.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Maria Bamford

Maggie and I are going to see Maria Bamford tonight!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

We Are At War

I recently read a NY Times review of Nina Berman's photographs of injured Iraq War Veterans called Purple Hearts. One of the photos they showed (not on the front page) was so disturbing that I had pushed it out of my mind until I was rereading Owen's poem. I know it shouldn't take these kinds of images to help me realize we are at war, but sometimes it does.

Nothing Changes

Wilfred Owen's poem Dulce Et Decorum Est (It is sweet and right) was written during World War I. Owen died a few days before peace was declared. His mother was notified on the day peace was declared. The entire saying the title comes from is Dulce et decorum est Pro patria morito (It is sweet and right to die for your country)

Dulce Et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

With mustard gas the effects did not become apparent for up to twelve hours. But then it began to rot the body, within and without. The skin blistered, the eyes became extremely painful and nausea and vomiting began. Worse, the gas attacked the bronchial tubes, stripping off the mucous membrane. The pain was almost beyond endurance and most cases had to be strapped to their beds. Death took up to four or five weeks. A nurse wrote:

I wish those people who write so glibly about this being a holy war and the orators who talk so much about going on no matter how long the war lasts and what it may mean, could see a case--to say nothing of ten cases--of mustard gas in its early stages--could see the poor things burnt and blistered all over with great mustard-coloured suppurating blisters, with blind eyes . . . all sticky and stuck together, and always fighting for breath, with voices a mere whisper, saying that their throats are closing and they know they will choke."

This passage is from John Ellis, Eye-Deep in Hell: Trench Warfare in World War I, (1976), pp. 66-7.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Poem O' The Day

We Owe the Dead

this much at least, to wonder
what to call them. From Eve
to just this evening, more than
100 billion—give or take
some millions, depending on when

we start to imagine,
shriek of Australopithecine,
murmur of Homo sapiens.
The din swells with the O, O
of each act of generation,

decibels of mortality, furtive
or brazen. Some signed in,
but most left no way to say
them. Crawling from oceans,
lungs filling with the bloody froth

of moments, they lived only
to be swept into the brine
of dissolution, their unspoken monument
the brittle script of bones.
Who becomes our tribal duty.

Listen. Singing from that oak,
from cave, river rock, fallow field,
spume of sea, the wild wind's guttural.
Every storm and dream roars out
the dear names of the lost.

--David Citino

Friday, November 02, 2007

Halloween Night

We had a great Halloween night giving candy out to the kids. The kids were too jittery from candy to get non-blurry photos! Hope everyone had a fun Halloween!