Archives for November 2008

Live From The YouTube Music Video Archives: You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere by the Byrds, Live From The Playboy Mansion

Groovy video of the Byrds performing the Bob Dylan classic. This clip also includes This Wheel’s On Fire, another great one.

Ride so swift, rain won’t lift Gate won’t close, railings froze Get your mind off wintertime You aint going nowhere. Ooh, whee, ride me high Tomorrow’s the day my bride’s gonna come Oh, no, are we gonna fly Down in the easy chair. Buy me a flute and a gun that shoots Tailgates and substitutes Strap yourself to a tree with roots You aint going nowhere. Ooh, whee, ride me high Tomorrow’s the day my bride’s gonna come Oh, no, are we gonna fly Down in the easy chair. I don’t care how many letters they sent Morning came and morning went Pack up your money, pick up your tent You aint going nowhere. Ooh, whee, ride me high Tomorrow’s the day my bride’s gonna come Oh, no, are we gonna fly Down in the easy chair. Ghengis Khan, he could not keep All his kings supplied with sheep We’ll climb that hill no matter how steep When we get up to it. Ooh, whee, ride me high Tomorrow’s the day my bride’s gonna come Oh, no, are we gonna fly Down in the easy chair.


I read a book!

The Catholic Club

Featuring Cathoilcs you might not have known were Catholics!

Yes, yes, one P Diddy Halloween costume does not a Catholic make! But then there’s this, from a listing of shocking music videos (don’t ask):

“Nas ft P Diddy: ‘Hate Me Now’ – Nas wearing a crown of thorns and being crucified? Anticipating the inevitable controversy of his 1999 video, the rapper issued a statement to precede it saying ‘Nas believes in the Lord Jesus Christ and this video is in no way a depiction or portrayal of his life or death…’ Yeah right. In the original cut P Diddy also appeared on a cross, but as a devout catholic he asked for this to be omitted. (Empahsis mine.)


The Return of Controlled Cinematic Haiku

The Visitor


Needs just one more scene:
Home, after drums in subway:
Call Air Syria

Also: not sure fairness is the issue. But so, so many beautiful scenes.

My Own Mutterings About Pascal’s Wager

… were recently added to some others’ various mutterings at Argumentum ad Infinitum–a blog where a zealously long-winded atheist and his Christian buddy have at it. What I offered to the discussion follows. The original blog entry, which actually focuses more on the topic of transgenderedness than on Pascal’s Wager, may be found here.

Where I see a problem with the wager is in the notion that my belief or unbelief will necessarily result in salvation or damnation. We all fall along a spectrum of belief and unbelief and surely if there is a benevolent God who created us in this condition of uncertainty and confusion, mercy will be extended to those of us who have fallen prey to the lies and obfuscation and bad philosophy that lead to unbelief.

On the other hand, I think it makes sense, existentially, to embrace the humility that our condition in the universe so clearly calls for–to commit oneself to God or some notion of God, even if it’s just the undefined “higher power” of Alcoholics Anonymous. If, as it seems clear, there is one uncreated being who created everything and everyone else, then it makes sense to acknowledge that. If there are signs and hints in the history of the world suggesting the possibility that this being is personally interested in our lives, then, yeah, it makes sense to bet on that. In those terms, I think the wager is on the right track. Kierkegaard may come to the aid of Pascal here.

Cf. also Peter Kreeft’s excellent little essay on Pascal’s Wager.

La Mancha Media

Tired of reading about Catholics and their frustrations in the public square, but unable to stay away from your computer? Check out the locals at La Mancha Media! From the website:

“La Mancha Media was created to film in missions, orphanages, and other service projects throughout the Americas, without regard to creed, in order to help those entities in their own fundraising efforts by way of creating video shorts in high-definition that they can use for their own purposes.”

The first video series highlights Rivers of Mercy:

“Rivers of Mercy Children’s Home is a Christ-centered orphanage in the colonia of Anapra in Juarez, Mexico. Their desire is to show Christ’s love to the neglected, mistreated, and suffering children there. They want to provide the children in their care with a safe home where they feel loved and where they can know the love of Christ…Emmanuel (Emmis) and Kristin (Kristina) Robles founded and currently run Rivers of Mercy. They held a dedication service at the children’s home in April 2007 and received their first eight children in May 2007. Since then, they have provided a home to over twenty-five children, ranging in ages 3 to 9. They love each child as if he/she were their own.”

Do go take a look.

The Family Report

From Aunt Cheryl:

“My latest painting, which was accepted into a show that opened on Saturday called ‘Hidden Hudson’ – artwork that was inspired by the things that make Hudson the interesting place that it is. At the very foot of the main drag in Hudson, Warren Street, is a very old park that overlooks the Hudson, called Parade Hill, dedicated in the late 19th century. And standing there is a statue of St. Winifred! I didn’t even know that there was such a Saint! (and of course has Mom’s name!). I have always taken it as a sign that I was in the right place…”

Black Man Given Nation’s Worst Job

Tell President-elect Obama you’ll pray for him

Spider, Having Killed Horned Tomato Worm in the Godsbody Garden

The Family Report

I did not attend this taping of Austin City Limits featuring My Morning Jacket. This is sad. But hey – that’s my uncle!

Birthday Haiku

Jack jumps, nimble, quick,
over six candles in cake.
Makes a mid-air wish.

Save the Date

Korrektiv Celebrates Its Five Four-Year Blogaversary on November 19.

O Henri Young, where art thou?

My Argument With Quin About Facebook

Quin and I both have Facebook accounts under our real names. (I know, it may come as a shock to some of our readers that Quin Finnegan and Rufus McCain are noms de plume.) I was telling him on the phone the other day that if he would check my Facebook status updates I wouldn’t have to waste time chit chatting with him on the phone about trifling matters.

The thing is: I love Facebook. In particular, I love posting status updates and I love reading others’ status updates. Quin hates Facebook and in two months he only updated his status once with the clever but unenlightening statement: “Quin [except of course it was his real name, Brian] is facing the book.”

So, after our telephone conversation, he logged on and viewed my status update, which read: “Rufus [except of course it was my real name, Jonathan] is taking Joan of Arc [except of course it was her real name, Dylan] on a nap ride.”

The following argument ensued in the form of comments on my status update:


Actually, I’m not going to comment on [Joan of Arc]’s nap ride, which sounds quite nice, but on this whole Facebook thing, which is something of a crap shoot. Emphasis on crap.

I don’t get it. One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot more advertising has creeped in since I first signed up. It may not be my Clearwire connection that’s slow, but my facebook page.

And it seems like there’s a lot of crummy little timewasters going around – some passed on by friends, which can be kind of fun (Q: Which Sondheim musical are you? A: Pacific Overtures!), but a lot of them just seem to be floating through. Probably helping somebody make a few bucks, as some that I’ve seen are just the beginning of a scam.

I spend 10 minutes just trying to bring my Books thingum up to date – what a waste of time. What do I fail to understand about facebook? It’s better than MySpace, I guess, but other than that? I’m going back to reading a real book now. Yeesh, I’m a grumpy old man.


No, no, no! You don’t get it — you got that right. Yes, there are a bunch of stupid little time wasters on Facebook. But that’s not what it’s all about. It’s about having this running ticker-tape of micro-blog entries that provide glimpses into the lives of friends from a weird bunch of overlapping spheres of your life. It’s not about anything productive like you seem to be striving for, but of forming a connective tissue with friends. That’s the addictive part of it for me.

Write In Rufus

You don’t even have to use the write-in line. Just cross out (or white out) John and write Rufus.

Birthday Haiku

Almostgotit sits
beside a crackling wood stove
spitting cherry pits.

Birthday Haiku

Ursula rambles
down a leaf-strewn path between
grapevines and brambles.

Responding to Rufus and Silverback

A conversation of sorts has followed the posting of the “Sanctuary” video, which is what I was hoping for. Vanity demands that I post my latest response as it’s own post, having spent too much time on it to leave in the comments (and perhaps beyond the reach of web browsers Anonymous searchers everywhere).

Anyway, here’s the last of those comments:

Rufus McCain said: OK, well … a word or two of commentary might have helped in this case. I wasn’t familiar with the hymn, so it didn’t cause idolatry bells to go off for me. Now I get why you and CNB would react to it that way.

On the other hand, I think some of the giddiness among Obama supporters — and maybe this is an example — is not so much idolatry but a merging of the political and religious that goes back to the civil rights movement along the lines of Martin Luther King Jr. and what it means to have a black president with regard to our nation’s race problem. I think there are sincere Christian folks who see Obama’s presidency as the turning of the page in complex variety of ways from a bad chapter in our nation’s history to something they can feel hopeful about — in terms of their faith. I’m not sure that the makers of this video aren’t in fact Christians or at least working in a Christian tradition. Even if they are bastard liberal new age atheists, I’m not sure that it’s all that bad to borrow a hymn to evoke a sense of hope. I still think it is naive, but I don’t think it’s necessarily idolatrous or cultic or creepy in the sense that a lot of commenters (now that I’ve gone and looked at references in the rightwing blogosphere) on this video want to make it out to be.

Silverback said: I voted early– against I-1000. I took one look at the I-1000 piece– didn’t read it completely, and assumed it was “tongue in cheek”. That’s “satire” in old cowboy language I suppose. When you read the economic data either from the Hightower website or when Rufus emails it to you, I’ll be interested in your comments. Are you saying Obama’s campaign is rabidly anti-Christian? Surely you aren’t being so presumptuous as to question whether or not Obama is a Christian. Now that would be messianic.


Your moderate view might well be the right one, and I’ll say again that maybe I’m the one missing something here. I didn’t know that the song was originally Christian either, but the words “pure and holy”, interspersed with “President Barack Obama” really bugged me. It was a visceral reaction, really.

I take your point about MLK and the possibility that Christians made the video – I’d thought of it myself, but as a way of second guessing the visceral reaction I had. Second guessing isn’t always bad. Indeed, I hope President Obama takes the MLK tradition seriously. One thing I will dare to hope for is a plurality of opinion within the black community, such that the voices of Sowell, Ward Connerly, and other black conservatives are heard more. It’s disgraceful that Clarence Thomas has had to endure public humiliation and insult since his nomination – initially from Joe Biden himself – just for the fact that he holds different opinions than Jesse Jackson or Farrakhan or Obama.


Had a look at the data; thanks for sending it along. Some of it is certainly damning, I’ll admit – National Debt in particular. Some of the numbers I take issue with – Pharmaceutical profits in particular. I’m not uncritical of “Big Pharma” in some ways (although those adds for Restless Leg Syndrome are always good for a laugh), but the fact is that a lot of people are alive because of the medical advances made under capitalism. And think of all the success we’ve had against the E.D. pandemic that has swept the country over the last 10 years.

On a serious note, “profit” just isn’t the dirty word that it’s being turned into these days. And the speciousness of the term “non-profit” is something to keep an eye on. A friend of mine suggested the other week that I get into non-profit “because there’s a lot of money in those businesses”. Struck me as odd.

Lastly, No, I am absolutely not suggesting that Obama is running a “rabidly anti-Christian” campaign – far from it. Biden and Pelosi have thankfully stopped blowing their Catholic kazoos, but I think the Dems are looking for all the Christian votes they can get. Nor am I saying that he isn’t a Christian (although I don’t understand your use of the word “messianic”); he’s said he is a Christian, and I take his word on that.

But a couple of items worth noting: (1) As a politician, it would idiotic and even insane for Obama or anyone else to run a rabidly anti-Christian campaign. There’s just too many Christian voters. But this hardly needs mentioning, since, as I’ve said, Obama identifies as a Christian.

(2) Whether or not Obama identifies himself as a Christian or not is less important than whether the policies he wishes to enact reflect Christian values. They do not, and Christians need to remind him of that – insofar as he identifies as a Christian.

The more germane point here, I think, is that many of the policies he wishes to enact are unreasonable on purely rational grounds and will do our body politic great harm. This is true whether he or you or anybody else is a Christian. While I don’t believe the soundness or unsoundness of any particular political policy lies outside the provenance of Christian revelation, neither do I believe it requires Christian revelation to see political policy as sound or unsound.

At least I hope it doesn’t.

But I may be wrong on that, too.

Glad and frankly relieved that you voted against I-1000. And thanks for saying “tongue in cheek” – I appreciate the cowboy talk; it beats academic speak hands down.