Saturday, March 31, 2007
Tocotronic - fun, electronic rock. A good beat, you can dance to it! On iTunes, so you can get it legally for yourself.
Blumfeld - I like it! Also on iTunes, so you can check them out there.
The Notwist - Trivial Knowledge describes them as "Moody, gorgeous electronic pop" and I agree, having listened to the little bits on iTunes. The iTunes description of their album Neon Golden begins: "Neon Golden was a subtle rewiring of the Notwist's long-established baroque hip-hop post-rock fetishist technique." Intriguing ...
Danke, danke für die Vorschläge, Trivial!!
But more than that, it always gets me thinking. Especially the "StoryCorps" and "This I Believe" segments. And it almost invariably leads me to new music and musicians. This morning they featured Susan Werner, and I'm going to see if her music is available on i-tunes. I love the way she sings about church and about faith, without being trite.
There was also a cool new novel presented, with an excerpt read by the author: Foaling Season by Aryn Kyle. It's the little things like having an author read her work that make the difference.
And they also featured a Swedish band, "Peter Bjorn and John", who recently sang at SXSW in Austin. Of course, they did say that it's easier for a Swedish band to be accepted in the U.S. than "a German band, which is almost too foreign", because Sweden is so influenced by what we do. I don't know if I agree with that, entirely. Although there are certainly more Swedish bands famous here than German bands. We'd be hard-pressed to make the argument that Germans are NOT influenced by U.S. culture, and there are a number who only sing in English. What I love, though, is that there is now a movement in German music to actually sing in German. Here are some German bands and German music you might enjoy:
Silbermond - go to the audio section and listen to clips from their new album
Fettes Brot - a little harder than what I usually like, but great texts.
Roger Cicero - fabulous crooner, if that's what you go for. And funny texts. Here's a video!! And here's Germany's 2007 Eurovision entry. I don't think it will win, but the song's ok. The comments prove the general ignorance of a deplorably large number of people.
Juli - best website of all of them. And great music! Happy to help translate the lyrics, just let me know...
Wir sind Helden - probably the best known or one of the best known in this group. But I couldn't get the music to play on their website. Someone else might have more luck, or know where to find it?
Nina Hagen - not new music, really, but I love her stuff. Here's my favorite video. It always makes me think of Berlin ... and the movie "Sonnenallee".
Xavier Naidoo - he's pretty. Check out the vidoes.
Ararat - very cool site; they actually provide the lyrics and the whole song. German Christian music.
Wolf Biermann - read this article about his take on the recent Stasi movie, "The Lives of Others"
There are surely more excellent German bands out there. If you know of someone I should check out, I'd love to hear about them.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
View from the Reichstag dome down into the chamber.
View from hotel room over the city of Berlin-Spandau, where we were staying.
Margrave Joachim II., the first of the Brandenburg Margraves to convert to Protestantism. No one is really sure where he first took communion "with both the bread and wine", but the Nikolai church in Spandau jumped at the chance to claim the honor by putting up a statue. Oh, this was in 1539 (the 95 Theses were posted in Wittenberg in 1517).The Pergamon Museum!!
Pericles ... in the Pergamon Museum, with a rather large assortment of other heads, famous and othewise.
And who might this be?
Poor guy lost his hands in some sort of a mishap. Well, he's better off than some of the other statues I saw.
No, wait ... THIS is Caesar. Who's that other guy?
Sorry about the expressionist effect ... but I couldn't leave Nefertiti out of the line-up!
And this, of course, is the famous "Berlin Goddess" -- no one knows if she was a goddess, or just some girl who died. But a very cool statue, nonetheless. One of very few to retain some of the original paint, because she was encased in lead.
Umm, I don't really see the pomegranate...
Hair in scallops ... check.
Sandals .. check.
More famous bits at the Pergamon.
And why do these look so familiar? Oh, yeah ... that new movie: 300.
Nikolaikirche in the Nikolaiviertel -- site of the original city of Berlin, right across the river from Cölln. This church was originally built in the 13th Century, but has been rebuilt / refurbished a number of times. Extensive bombing will do that.
Part of the medieval wall --- right next to the oldest Kneipe - "Zur Letzten Instanz".
A rather more recent wall - the rest of the 1961-1989 Berlin wall. Ironic that it was built right over the ruins of the Prinz Albrecht Strasse building that once housed the Gestapo. This picture looks at the back of the wall, which is right over the cellars of the Prinz Albrecht building, which is now an exhibit called, "Die Topographie des Terrors".
Zur Letzten Instanz. Not quite sure how it got it's name ... last chance to drink before heading out of the city? Because the courts of justice were nearby? The Bar of Last Resort? We found out the hard way that it's best to reserve if you plan on eating dinner there....
My travelling companions:
On the Cölln side of the river:
I took a picture of this just for the Cute One and the Engineer. Can you name that embassy?
This is the Märkisches Museum. It houses the history of the Mark Brandenburg, but primarily focuses on the history of Berlin. There are prehistoric remains, but also incredible evidence from the daily lives and homes of Berliners throughout the centuries. And they have fantastic little models of the city that show the development throughout.
Pictures of Berlin wouldn't be complete without a little graffiti. It says, "Jesus lives in the [people's] heads, and Elvis lives in my cellar." -- I think the second part was added by a different artiste, but I'm not certain.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Bella, wondering why we won't just let her sleep in peace.
The moment between Lasagna and Nachtisch.
Replacing the screen on his cell phone ...
The new stovetop --- five burners that ALL WORK. The Kettle is ready to go for a spot of tea. Looseleaf goodness on a Sunday, of course.
The new oven --- thus far the source of a chocolate cake, cinnamon rolls, today's spinach lasagna, and Mom's world-famous mandarin roll-up cake.Essence of Ferguson --- lasagna, tea cup, and mandarin orange cake.
Wish you were here for a slice =). There was even lasagna left over....
Prost und alles Gute.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
UPDATE: I laugh every time I read the guy's name. Wow.
UPDATE2: The town is not too far from Salzburg.
Monday, March 12, 2007
It's not like I haven't done any of those things. It's not as if everything I do isn't based on learning stock phrases and then learning how to change them up just a touch to suit their needs (today we focused on Ich suche -- I'm looking for... and Ich trage -- I'm wearing. The vocab were common everyday items and articles of clothing ---lots of pictures). And we've used basic little dialogues to learn phrases they might encounter and how to respond to them.
Ugh. It's painful to think that I'm just not getting through to them....
Enough whining, already -- it's late on the Monday after the end of Daylight Savings, and I haven't eaten yet, so I'm a little punchy. There are of course ways to include more signs, and make the signs more explicit; and there are all kinds of "learn German in 30 days" books full of the phrases they crave. And I can be a stickler about full sentences without too much difficulty as well.
Time for some pasta (Mueller's Tri Color Rotini "America's Favorite") and a steaming cup of Moroccan Mint tea -- very yummy.
Addendum ... ok, I really was having a long, bad day and I hadn't eaten; and they're all very nice people and one of my favorite classes ever. Truly. In spite of or including this particular day. And can I point out that my sleep schedule had been messed up by all of that daylight savings time business? I don't do well when the government randomly steals an hour of my sleep. I ended up making all of the changes they suggested, and the rest of the semester was fun, especially the day we met at Joe Muggs'.
O Lord, you search us and know the secrets of our heart.
You know them even better than we do.
You know how we have turned away from Your call.
You known how embarrassed we can be to be Your followers.
Yet, in mercy You continue to receive us.
You remain ready to use us.
Despite our inclinations to wander, You still see us as vessels fit for good purposes.
Indeed, You continue to entrust to our care the treasure of the good news,
that Christ has come to redeem all that has been broken and lost.
May we find, in Your grace,
a desire to be worthy of such trust.
-- Roger Paynter (I think)
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Friday, March 09, 2007
As a review, here's the question:
Who was the last person to leave his footprint on the moon?
A. Frank Borman
B. Alan Shepard
C. Michael Collins
D. Eugene Cernan
And the answer is.....
D. Eugene Cernan.
Here are his last words (thanks to Wikipedia):
"As we leave the Moon at Taurus-Littrow, we leave as we came, and God
willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind. As I take
these last steps from the surface for some time to come, I'd just like to record
that America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow. Godspeed
the crew of Apollo Seventeen."
It's an interesting report to listen to, but one part really got my attention: Mayor Lee Swaney explaining why the field where the students wanted to play was closed to them. Apparently there was a misunderstanding, and the town thought that adult immigrants were part of the Fugees team. It's funny to listen to the mayor explaining, because he keeps going on about how "strange" it is for "grown men" to want to play soccer. Well, that's a completely normal thing in some parts of the world. It's not unheard of here for "grown men" to get together for basketball, softball, touch football, or any old kind of sport. In most of the rest of the world, soccer is the game of choice.
Now I suppose I can understand keeping a field for "youth use" only, especially if there are a number of possible playing fields around town. But in many countries, people are accustomed to just picking up and playing wherever there's enough grass available.
I'm glad they're taking care of the kids, but there should be a place for the men to play as well --- or grown women, even. Imagine. And wouldn't we all be healthier if we'd get out and run around and play on a regular basis? I know I would.
Bill Gates is top dog again, no surprise, but the top 10 are otherwise fairly international. The highest ranked German is # 15. Discount grocery store chain Aldi, developed from his mother's corner grocery store, rocketed Karl Albrecht to #15 and his brother Theo to #20 (Theo also has connections to Trader Joe's) -- they are both ahead of the Waltons....
Here are some other cool stats, from the NPR broadcast this morning:
America is #1 with 415 billionaires
Germany is #2 with 55
and Russia is #3 --- to quote NPR, it is not a wealthy country, but rich in Oligarchs. So, crime really does pay.....
The richest person in China is a woman, Yan Cheung, who made her fortune in paper. The Chinese billionaries are my favs, I think --- there's also a man who made his fortune in Dumplings. Gotta love it -- and he's the official provider of dumplings to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Go, you, dumpling man.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
1) There were 68 million workingwomen in 2003, a
significant increase from 18.4 million in 1950.
11) If women received the same salary as men who
work the same number of hours, have the same
education or union status, are the same age, and
live in the same region of the country, then these
women’s annual family income would rise by
$4,000, and poverty rates would be cut in half.
29) In 2002 in the Fortune 500
companies, women held 16% of the
corporate officer positions compared to 13%
in 2000. It is estimated that women will hold 27%
of all corporate officer positions by 2020.
45) Today women earn more than half of all
bachelor’s degrees compared to 43% in
1970. It is projected that by 2011
women will outnumber men in under
graduate and graduate programs by 10.2
million to 7.4 million. Women also earn
57% of master’s degrees and 42% of
64) 86% of women say they give to organizations
about which they are passionate.
65) Women’s philanthropy has increased by more than
$15 billion annually since 1996.
Monday, March 05, 2007
James Dobson went so far as to say that international regulations of emissions backed by Cizik and others targeting America were "anti-capitalistic and an underlying hatred for America."
I don't know what your Bible tells you, but mine tells me that God gave his creation to us to take care of, not to destroy. And I've looked and looked, but have found not a single verse telling me to be a capitalist and love America.
I'm not a scientist, but it doesn't take a genius to recognize that all of the trash we toss out into the atmosphere might actually affect the environment. Give me a break. There are, what, a little over 6 1/2 billion human beings at this point?
A. Frank Borman
B. Alan Shepard
C. Michael Collins
D. Eugene Cernan
WITHOUT CHEATING, who do you think it was? Write your best bet in the comments and I'll post the correct answer on Friday. Winner gets a prize...
To quote TexasInAfrica ... "We won't know if you cheat, but Jesus will..."
Sunday, March 04, 2007
TC: Michael and I got arrested together. A few years back, Jim Wallis organized this demonstration in opposition to the welfare bill that was passed, and forty of us got arrested. Michael Lerner chose to get arrested with us. Were you there?
SC: No, back then I still thought good Christians didn't go to jail. Now I know better.
TC: So we got arrested, and they put us all on a bus and they took us to the police station. We're all on the bus at the police station for quite a while, because they are processing us one by one. We are all giving testimonies of how this works into our Christian faith. Finally John Engel from a missionary organization called Beyond Borders looks over and says, "Michael how do you feel about all this highly evangelical talk?" Michael says, "Oh, I don't like it when I am with liberals who just compromise everything they believe to make me feel good. I think that the way we are going to have peace and brotherhood is if you go to the core of what you believe, and I go to the core of what I believe. And when we get to the core and live it with true love and true peace, there will be a coming together in spite of our differences." That is a very powerful statement. He did not feel the least offended. What offended him was liberals who try to say there are no differences between us.
But it's not enough to just point out the mistakes made by us and by our administration. Campolo and Lerner also have a plan to get American troops out of the Middle East with a minimum loss of life, and without making the situation in Iraq even worse: get the Arab League to send in soldiers to police the area while and after we pull out.
Maybe the current talks between us, Iraq, and their regional neighbours will come to the same conclusion. We did make the mess, but staying there to clean it up is not the answer. It just leaves us there as targets. (Thanks to "He Who Obeys SWMBO" (my Dad) for posting a link to the article on his blog).
Jodi Magness does an excellent job refuting claims made in the recent James Cameron documentary about the discovery of the tomb of Jesus. I recommend reading the whole article, but just in case you don't have the time, here's her conclusion:
To conclude, the identification of the Talpiyot tomb as the tomb of Jesus and his family contradicts the canonical Gospel accounts of the death and burial of Jesus and the earliest Christian traditions about Jesus. This
claim is also inconsistent with all of the available information — historical and archaeological — about how Jews in the time of Jesus buried their dead, and specifically the evidence we have about poor, non-Judean families like that of Jesus. It is a sensationalistic claim without any scientific basis or support.
Well, it's time to start thinking about vacations. Over Spring Break, I'll be visiting Berlin and Weingarten, Germany. Berlin is ... well, everyone knows where Berlin is ... and Weingarten is down south, not too far from Lake Constance and the town of Ravensburg. Ravensburg is best known as the source of some of the best puzzles in the world.
The preacher this morning is Archbishop Elias Chacour, a Palestinian Christian who lives in Northern Israel. According to the introduction, he's been called the "Desmond Tutu" of the Middle East.
Attending via webcast is not the same as being in church, communing with other believers, but it can be a worshipful experience nonetheless, and the preaching at Duke is always of high calibre. The choir this morning is an incredible experience as well.
In case you're wondering, yes, I'm blogging while listening to the service. They are singing the first hymn right now, and processing in. The sound is great, but the picture is a bit jumpy, because I don't have the best connection.
From the Prayers of the People:
"Holy Spirit, for the times we have known what your gospel requires of us, but have been too tired or too lazy or too distracted to do it, Lord have Mercy."
From the Old Testament: "None but your own issue shall be your heir" [God to Abram, from Genesis] - but Hagar's son WAS Abram's issue. He just wasn't Sarah's issue. Interesting.
From the New Testament reading: "Their end is destruction, their God is the belly..." [The belly, as in our physical and wordly appetites? I've never heard this Philippians passage quite this way.]
Now they are singing "Dona Nobis Pacem" -- always beautiful. More processing with the cross and candles and what-not. Ooh, and the Bible. I really like liturgical churches. The girl reading the Gospel message is standing in the middle of the church with the Bible, Cross and the candles. Today's gospel lesson is a reading of the Beatitudes.
"Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the Children of God" -- "You are the light of the world" [this passage makes me think of the Marianne Williams quote about "Our greatest fear" - about letting God's light shine through us, rather than hiding it...]
From the sermon:
"Today we are here with millions of other Christians to celebrate the breaking news that has changed our lives, our vision, our hope and our relations with each other. Not long ago a man from back home, a countryman of mine, was crucified, died and buried. And on the third day he was risen. This is the breaking news I am called to remind you of: why you are here, and why do you invite a Palestinian a Christian from Israel to remind you of this fact."
"The sermon on the mount is not a statement to sit quiet and happy and wait for God to act .. but a calling to us to get up to move to get out and do something"
"Really and truly, we are calling for justice. Do not contemplate the beauty of Peace. Peace needs no contemplator. Peace needs people to get up and storm the world."
"I am your forgotten and ignored brother. I am a Palestinian. I have no bombs. The only power I have in my hand is this man Jesus Christ. I was not born a Christian, I was converted to Christianity."
"For us Palestinians, 1000 years is like one day before the Lord. So 2000 years is like the day before yesterday ... when he was using the lives of my ancestors to bring the good news ... some of them were Jewish, some of them were Greek, some of them were Romans, some of them were Arabs ... there were no Americans."
"There should no privilege between Jew and Palestinian; both are children of God."
"Whatever we do should bring us to be plugged into God, and to be able to adopt this prayer of the Lord: Father in heaven, you are blessed...."
"Cross over from our Galilee to your own Galilee here ... where someone is waiting for you to listen, someone is waiting for you to hear, someone is waiting for you to share the story of good news."
"It is impossible that any one of us over there survive alone. Either we go hand-in-hand, or God forbid we shall be hanging next to each other."
"Your solidarity is vital. You can make a difference, a big difference."
"I encourage you ... continue supporting your friends the Jews. They need your friendship now more than ever. But please don't equate your friendship with the Jews with an enmity of the Palestinians."
They are about to start Communion, and are saying the Apostles' Creed right now, so it's the thought with which I'll leave you. Have a blessed day.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day He arose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.
Saturday, March 03, 2007
In the Klezmatics song "I ain't afraid", they say: "I ain't afraid of your churches, I ain't afraid of your temples, I ain't afraid of your schools, I'm afraid of what you do in the name of your God." By fostering ignorance in our own society, and allowing others to foster (and applaud) ignorance in theirs, we perpetuate fear, we perpetuate danger, and we perpetuate needless death.
In his recent op-ed piece, Thomas Friedman quoted Mamoun Fandy, who put it like this: "Nobody in the Arab world
'has the guts to say that what is happening in Iraq is wrong — that killing schoolkids is wrong,' said Mamoun Fandy, director of the Middle East program at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. 'People somehow think that killing Iraqis is good because it will stick it to the Americans, so Arabs are undermining the American project in Iraq by killing themselves.'”
Friedman was just looking at the situation in Iraq, and at the case of suicide bombers and their exploits. But Americans who applaud anything an American President does, just because he's American and a Christian, or who will blithely accept any behaviour by our administration, because "we're the good guys" are just as bad. There is no time for us to remain stuck in an "us v. them", "rah, rah we're the greatest" high school mentality.