Sunday, November 29, 2009

She Waits Her Turn/She Waits Her Time

"Lisa Hannigan's breathy vocals...often shadow Rice as he sings, like remembered or imagined counterparts in an unending internal conversation."
-Rolling Stone

As a fan of Irish singer Damien Rice, I quickly became a fan of the young woman that sang on many if his songs, Lisa Hannigan. Like many I suspect, I was immediately looking up what other music this woman, with one of the most enjoyable voices I ever heard, was responsible for. Turned out, nothing.

Despite being a multi-instrumentalist, she was Damien Rice's female vocalist and that was really about it. I found I was looking forward to new Damien Rice music mostly to hear new stuff from Lisa Hannigan. Then Rice did Hannigan, and maybe us a giant favor. He fired her.

Ten minutes before a show in Germany.

Although there has never been any explanation behind the firing, Hannigan cites, or maybe assumes, creative differences.

"Looking back with some healthy hindsight, I can say it was the best thing that ever happened to me." -Lisa Hannigan

There are also reports Rice quickly regretted his decision and asked Hannigan to come back. I think he realized, he might find another female vocalist to fill Hannigan's role, but he will never be able to replace her.

For me, Hannigan is that artist you want to share with friends, but not everyone. I have the selfish desire to have her stay a bit under the radar; to stay just a bit of a secret. A secret I feel special for being in on.

"It's that moment where you see the turn of somebody's elbow or a book peeking out of someone's bag on the train," Hannigan says. "And — I do this anyway — I sort of construct a person behind it, invariably positive. And I think that song is about that moment, where you're sort of full of hope about someone you really have no idea about." -Lisa Hannigan

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The World's Greatest T-Shirt

Creativity presents itself in sometimes unlikely places. The Mountain Men's Three Wolf Moon t-shirt was released years ago. Who knew where this would wind up.

What is the appeal of a shirt that has sold so many, it is one of Amazon's top sellers of any item?

To get an idea, check out the customer reviews.

Last year, B.Govern wrote:

Pros: “Fits my girthy frame, has wolves on it, attracts women.”

Cons: “Only 3 wolves … cannot see wolves when sitting with arms crossed, wolves would have been better if they glowed in the dark.”

Then in May of this year people started responding with similar reviews.

Now there are 1563 reviews and counting, many extrememy humorous.

The Chicago Tribune dubbed this, Customer Review Comedy.

"The women knew from the wolves on my shirt that I, like a wolf, am a mysterious loner who knows how to 'howl at the moon' from time to time (if you catch my drift!). The women that approached me wanted to know if I would be their boyfriend and/or give them money for something they called mehth. I told them no, because they didn't have enough teeth, and frankly a man with a wolf-shirt shouldn't settle for the first thing that comes to him."

"Unfortunately I already had this exact picture tattooed on my chest, but this shirt is very useful in colder weather.

"I admit it, I'm a ladies' man. And when you put this shirt on a ladies' man, it's like giving an AK-47 to a ninja."

Even when given a negative review, people seem to find good things to say.

" There is one thing, though, and that is that whenever I wear the wolf shirt I have a lot less issues with involuntary urination. I have not studied it long enough, however, to establish a cause/effect relationship.

Once, however, while wearing the wolf shirt I was mistaken for Schneider, the building superintendent on "One Day at a Time.

So I guess the jury is still out. "

There is another thread of Customer Review Comedy on Amazon for, Tuscan Whole Milk.

A witty reviewer named Edgar wrote out a quite lengthy parody of The Raven.

Once upon a mid-day sunny, while I savored Nuts 'N Honey,
With my Tuscan Whole Milk, 1 gal, 128 fl. oz., I swore
As I went on with my lapping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at the icebox door.
'Bad condensor, that,' I muttered, 'vibrating the icebox door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Instead of a raven, our poem gives us a cat at the end, who has spilled Tuscan milk on the floor.

Toward the mess she showed no pity, 'til I said, 'Well, hello, kitty!'
Sought she me with pretty eyes that seemed to open some rapport.
So I pleaded, 'Tell me, tell me what it is that you implore!'
Quoth the kitten, 'Get some more.'

Catherine Swinford analogizes her Tuscan Milk relationship with the state of her marriage. That starts off so passionately, but eventually, turns sour.

After a long hard week full of days he would burst through the door, his fatigue hidden behind a smile. There was an icy jug of Tuscan Whole Milk, 1 Gallon, 128 fl oz in his right hand. With his left hand he would grip my waist - I was always cooking dinner - and press the cold frostiness of the jug against my arm as he kissed my cheek. I would jump, mostly to gratify him after a time, and smile lovingly at him. He was a good man, a wonderful husband who always brought the milk on Friday, Tuscan Whole Milk, 1 Gallon, 128 fl oz.

Then one day, he stops bringing home the milk.

That was when I knew. He was tired of this life with me, tired of bringing home the Tuscan Whole Milk, 1 Gallon, 128 fl oz. He was probably shoveling funds into a secret bank account, looking at apartments in town, casting furtive glances at cashiers and secretaries and waitresses. That's when I knew it was over. Some time later he moved in with a cashier from the Food Mart down the street. And me? Well, I've gone soy.

Poetry: "Engorging the nostrils of naughty milk maids."

Serious warning: "Do not buy this product used!"

And if you were wondering about drinking Tuscan Milk, while wearing the Three Wolf Moon T-Shirt...

“I accidentally spilled a glass of Tuscan Whole Milk down the front of this shirt, and my soul was torn from my body and thrown into heaven by a jealous God.”

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I Was Taken Out Of Context

Today is a historic day for you, the readers (usually forced) of this website. Your leader has been quoted by CNN.COM
Today we are one step closer to that Nobel Prize. And by we, I mean, me. I was just being polite.
This is what was written.

Matthew Bailey, a parishioner in the Franktown United Methodist Church in Virginia, and the genuis behind MattBaileyForthe NobelPeacePrize, believes that the meaning of the ritual is what matters.

"If people are willing to go to the trouble of giving their own Communion, then it is quite probably 'real' for them," he says. While Bailey chooses to remain at his face-to-face church, he believes any person "faithfully attending an online church service, is being more proactive, and thus probably more attentive, than many longtime churchgoers."

This is what I said.

"People who have gone to church for years often lose sight of why, beyond its routine. Someone new to Christianity, that is faithfully attending an online church service, is being more proactive, and thus probably more attentive, than many longtime churchgoers."


Check out the article at

There is also a quote from the guy that started this whole discussion (for this site). Shore native and author of SimChurch, Douglas Estes. And the only reason I got to talk to CNN.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Is SimChurch....Church?

Brick-and-Mortar Pastor Defends Virtual Church as Real

by Lillion Kwon Christian Post Reporter

The Christian church is engaging far less than 1 percent of the 70 million people who are active in the virtual world. This means the virtual world is by far the largest unreached people group on planet Earth, says one pastor.

Douglas Estes, a pastor from San Jose, Calif., has no vested interest in virtual or internet churches – a relatively new phenomenon – but given the large "unreached" population on the internet, he says he has a desire to see healthy churches proliferate "regardless of context."

Although he leads a brick and mortar church (Berryessa Valley Church), Estes defends virtual churches against critics in his newly released book, SimChurch: Being the Church in the Virtual World, maintaining that they are real churches with real people.

He summed up his argument in a recent post on Christianity Today's Out of Ur blog: "People are led to believe that members of online churches all connect to their video-game church as anonymous zombies in a Tron-like world. Supposedly these virtual (fake) Christians never really know each other, it’s all a facade, and that this is the sum and total of a virtual church.

"The real truth is that every virtual church I’ve ever attended has flesh-and-blood people in virtual (real!) community with other flesh-and-blood people whose primary meeting place is in synthetic space."

In recent years, Christians have begun to take on the internet by building church communities in virtual worlds like Second Life and The Sims and launching internet campuses where anyone from around the world can join weekend worship services live on the Web. The growth of virtual worshipping communities, however, has sparked debates on whether such churches are effective and biblical.

A major argument against internet churches is that they lack physical contact, Estes pointed out. But that same argument could be made against megachurches and any other church, for that matter, where people never really touch or come to know each other, he argued.

Virtual churches, critics say, also don't have real community.

Estes, however, pushed back by pointing out that church isn't about where it meets. "Isn't church supposed to be about people in communion with God rather than the building? ... Since when does the location of a church determine the quality of its community?"

"Virtual churches may meet for services in the virtual world, but they are not the one-dimensional illusion that critics like to easily prop up so as to knock down for their friends to applaud," he maintained. "And here’s the irony: Even as virtual churches seek to create community in both virtual and physical space, so too do their critics use virtual space when it is convenient for them in their brick and mortar ministries."

Bob Hyatt, pastor of the Evergreen Community in Portland, Ore., didn't buy Estes' argument.

He stressed, "It’s not where we meet, but that we meet," according to his post on Out of Ur.

"And whether people are actually meeting together – that is, whether you and me watching the same video stream, silently reading the comments in the chat room as we sip our individual portions of grape juice and eat crackers, rises to the level of 'ecclesia' and the picture of Acts 2:42 – has yet to be determined.

"In other words, I have yet to be convinced that simultaneity equals community," Hyatt stated

Hyatt has major concerns over the threat virtual churches or video venues represent to the overall "maturity of the Body of Christ." A virtual church, he contended, fails to engage in discipleship and leadership formation as well as church discipline.

"The worship, equipping, and discipling ministries of the church simply can’t take place through the internet. Pieces of them can, but eventually the jump has to be made," he said. "A truly biblical Church requires that we heed the biblical call of Hebrews 10 to not give up gathering together and being present to one another in real, actual life."

For Estes, as long as the people of God are meeting together for the purpose of glorifying Him, it's a real church. And in the end, he believes a local church could not really reach the whole world. Virtual churches, however, will have that kind of reach, he says in his book.

Notably, Estes doesn't believe virtual churches will or should replace real-world churches. Both accomplish ministry objectives that the other cannot. But he hopes that in the future, real-world churches will adopt more virtual elements and virtual churches will create real-world ministry teams to reach people in the real world and in the virtual world. Moreover, he hopes people will view virtual churches not as a form of church different from real-world ones, but see both as just churches.

Song of the Week (The Swell Season)