Archive for August, 2010

Do you hate people because of their religion?

Posted in Reflections on August 9, 2010 by Verge

Quick!  What religion was Timothy McVeigh?  How bout his co-conspirator Terry Nichols?  You know the guys.  There the ones who blew up that building in Oklahoma city a few years back.  Can you remember why they did it?  Why did they kill hundreds of people?  And what God did they worship?

How bout those kids at Columbine?  Do you know what religion they were?  Who did they worship come Sunday, or Saturday, of any day?  Do you remember why they killed all those kids in the library that day?

Oh, and don’t forget the Unabomber (Ted Kaczynski), the Anthrax mail sender and the DC Snipers, too.  What religion were all of them?  Can you remember?  Do you remember the reasons that all of these people did what they did – harm and kill innocent people they didn’t even personally know?

Maybe their all too small.  Okay.  How bout this one…when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, what God were they worshiping?  Seriously, do you know?  What religion did most Japanese people follow in 1940?  And, can you remember why they decided to bomb the United States, a country that had not attacked them in any way ever?

There is a good reason you probably can only, at best, make a guess to any of these questions of religion.  That’s because you probably just view these characters of history as brutal murderers, simple as that.  They had their reasons to do what they did.  Not one of them, though, decided to kill because they wanted to wage a religious genocide.

The reason I bring up all these acts of terrorism is to point out that religion didn’t really play into any of their decisions.  And I want to further point out that, when we look back on the 9/11 attacks, we should also not view it as the acts of a group of Muslims.  Recently protesters have gathered in lower Manhattan to vocalize their disgust that a Mosque is going to be built within sight of the former World trade Centers.  They say that this is disrespectful and tasteless.

While I cannot possibly argue that they shouldn’t feel offended, I can argue that they should not protest.  Have they forgotten that the same document that allows them to protest allows anyone to worship as they please?  Muslims own the land that they want to build on.  If the protesters are so offended, they can raise funds and buy the land and build whatever they want on it.  A church, a Starbucks, a school…whatever.  But the fact remains that they don’t own the land and a group of Muslims want to build a place of worship there.

To be afraid of Muslims because of 9/11 is ridiculous.  Nearly all Muslims are peaceful, well-adjusted people.  Just like nearly all Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and even Atheists are peaceful, well-adjusted people.  Being Muslims is just one of many characteristics that the terrorists of 9/11 shared.  What it all comes down to is that the thing the terrorists all shared, and what we should all fear, is deranged terrorists.  Not Muslims.  Not Men.  Not Saudi Arabians.  Not Pilots.  Not 30-50 year olds.  Not people with Black hair (yep, they all had black hair!).  We need to be afraid of radical extremists who are willing to kill for their own, twisted reasons.

The terrorists that participated in the 9/11 attacks weren’t bred to be that way.  Many of them were raised in normal, middle to upper class families, and were well educated and well adjusted. At some point, they became ensnared in rhetoric and were convinced that Americans were evil.  They hated America, capitalism, freedom.  They did not target Christianity.  If they had wanted to wage war on Christianity, they could have flown a plane into the Vatican.  They did not.  They flew it into a financial center, and the Pentagon, two institutions that have nothing to do with religion.  To further point out that they did not target Christianity, I remind you that the victims of the September 11 attacks were from all religions, from over 70 countries, young and old, dark and light skinned.  And, if you’d like to see some evidence of some ridiculously crazy people who raise their children to wage a religious war, watch Jesus Camp.

To think that Muslims should not be allowed to build a Mosque anywhere they want is simply ridiculous.  Christians of various sects bomb abortion clinics.  Does that mean we should protest church’s if they anywhere close to a Family Planning Center?

Both groups are right and both are wrong.  Muslims have every right to express their religious freedom just as the protester have every right to legally and peacefully assemble.  And both are wrong.  The Muslims should have had the forethought to imagine that their chosen location may have raised more than a few eyebrows.  The protesters have clearly forgotten the foundations on which our country was formed.  However, there is one huge difference.  Only one of the two groups has taken the acts of an insane few and assumed that ALL members of that group will act in the  same way and manner.  That is called bigotry.

By the way…Timothey McVeigh and Terry Nichols were both Christians, Ted Kacznski detested religion, the kids at Columbine were both raised Catholic (Christian), the Japanese are a sort of mix of Christianity, Buddhism and Islam, among others, the DC Snipers were John Allen Muhammad, a Muslim, and Lee Boyd Malvo, a Christian, actually aProtestant,  actually a Seventh Day Adventist,… not that it matters.  And for the record, Muslims love Jesus.

The Eighth of August, Two Thousand and Ten

Posted in Daily Pictures on August 9, 2010 by Verge

hangin' with the Sculls and friends

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The Seventh of August, Two Thousand and Ten

Posted in Daily Pictures on August 8, 2010 by Verge

eno relaxes

bounty

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tonight, we party

The Sixth of August, Two Thousand and Ten

Posted in Daily Pictures on August 7, 2010 by Verge

We had to celebrate Marla's succesful eye surgery

Biggest Martini ever!

Monika and the Dude

The Fifth of August,Two Thousand and Ten

Posted in Daily Pictures on August 5, 2010 by Verge

it's a science

short hair sisters

they look pretty damn happy to me

making liquor...

I love violiet gum...

The Fourth of August, Two Thousand and Ten

Posted in Daily Pictures with tags , , on August 4, 2010 by Verge

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our tickets, along with some of the confetti from the finale

Tonight, we went to see Paramore at Festival Pier in Philadelphia.  Tegan and Sara opened.  We ran into our friends Uriah and Shannon.  Great times.

More (Better) Pictures Here courtesy of Maya

The Third of August, Two Thousand and Ten

Posted in Daily Pictures on August 3, 2010 by Verge

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monika's new hair cut

Spiritualized @ Radio City Music Hall

Posted in Good Times with tags , , on August 2, 2010 by Verge

Friday night midtown Manhattan welcomed Jason Pierce for his most ambitious show in, well…ever.  As the man who literally is Spiritualized, Pierce brought with him a band, a choir, a string section and a horn section for one night, and one night only.  One could only assume that this show was staged for something more than just for the hell of it.

Dressed in all white and practically sitting in the wing, Pierce commanded the attention of all 30 people on stage who watched his every move.  It was clear that no matter how “not important” he tried to make himself appear, he was the dominating force of the evening.  Spiritualized never reached the popularity that Oasis or Coldplay or even The Verve enjoy, but the songs wore the air of divinity, instead of mere shallow, emo-ish British Rock.

Spiritualized at Radio City Music Hall 2010 (I took this photo with a phone)

And with the iconic sample that begins “Ladies and Gentlemen, We are Floating in Space,” so too began the evening.  We knew what we were going to see, but no one really knew what to expect.  I soon learned that I should have known exactly what to expect all along.  Simple, elegant beauty.  The choir backed up Pierce’s longing, desperate vocals perfectly.  The strings and horns weren’t over dominating at any time but instead blended into the rock band with ease.  It was a pleasure to hear real, live instruments instead of lifeless keyboards and samples.  It was how  Spiritualized always wanted their music to sound – Huge. Soaring. Epic.

Highlights included the anthem “Come Together,” the haunting “Cop shoot Cop,” and a 2 song encore of “Out of Sight” and “Oh, Happy Day.”  The lights were vague and subtle.  There were no gimmicks or lasers or props, just the music to speak for itself.  Surely you can always tell that the words written 15 years ago still meant something to little J.  They still speak to me.

okay, not the best seats in the house, but they were at least in the house!

It would be almost impossible, at times, to convince someone unfamiliar with the band that it was indeed not religious music, per se.  The emotional ebb and flow, the choir robed in white, and the soaring crescendos  are reminiscent of a classic spiritual.  The only difference is that the preacher crones his message softly while sitting, squeezing every bit of catharsis from his guitar.

In reality, Spiritualized is a veiled reference to Absinthe, and Pierce worships escape from reality.  The story behind the album is certainly depressing (although he still denies it)A.  After literally turning a dysfunctional experiment into one of the best selling British acts along side his girlfriend, Pierce’s wife secretly married Richard Ashcroft from The Verve 4 days before the two bands shared one stage.  It’s hard to believe Pierce still has it in him to want to relive that mess in it’s entirety at all.

The show was not without flaws.  A false opening of the curtain at the beginning teased the crowd before closing abruptly again.  There was a sprinkling of speaker feedback that I’m sure will be gone when the dvd is released.  Who could blame them with all those microphones on stage anyway.  And the crowd was an uncomfortable mix of pleasant fans who wished to sit and enjoy the music (us) and those who thought that if they could only clamor 10 rows closer, the music would sound so much better and photos would be so much cooler when they showed their friends on Facebook the next day (assholes).

In the end I don’t know if a dvd will be coming.  They had the cameras there for Spin, so it could be easily done.  I’m not really sure why Jason Pierce put the band back together, in this grand fashion, to play just one show across the pond.  He could have sold out a dozen shows I’m sure.  Being able to see the only one is, quite simply, monumental.  In the end, though, I don’t think Mister Spaceman staged this show for his fans…he staged it as a sort of therapy for himself.

Pierce, J Spaceman, Legend

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