kritikē tekhnē

I finished 2 books this week. I never finish that many books in one week - I'm too slow a reader. I also started listening to a couple bands, saw some good films, and got some good reading/listening on the web so I thought I would share...

"Girlfriend in a Coma" by Douglas Coupland
This is the third book I've read by Coupland. I would place it below both of them, but that doesn't give it a low score. I wasn't as moved emotionally as I was in Life After God and Hey Nostradamus!, but I was challenged on a level of how to live my life. The book follows 7 high school friends on the eve of their graduation and on the eve of one of them entering into a 17-year coma. Another major character is added 9 months later. Coupland walks you through their lives which become increasingly spiritually numb. The landscape of a wasteland becomes real and echoes what we can see in our very own culture. Fantastic and uplifting challenge at the end - and not an easy one either.

"What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality" by Daniel A Helminiak
Because I have learned to love homosexuals, I thought this was a must read. I didn't find Helminiak to be a very good writer, but he is essentially trying to do two things: distill about 20 research papers into a consumer read and emphasize his understanding of homosexuality in the Bible. I found the research compelling and convincing and I encourage all those who are Bible-believing and have an opinion on homosexuality to read this book - if for nothing else, then to further understand biblical culture and homosexuality.

"Happiness & Disaster" by Stabilo
I found this album on my computer after some Canadian visitors (thanks Heather and Tamara) recommended the album to me. This Vancouver band has been around for more than a decade, but was recently signed to EMI, so they are getting lots of airtime. I'm enjoying them mostly because the vocals are passionate and the music is good old rock'nroll. As a bonus, the opening track is speaks about the war in Iraq - political music, right up my alley! I hear echos of PFR and Maroon 5 in their mellow music.

"St. Elsewhere" by Gnarls Barkley
This is a great blend of hip hop, rock and soul. I was reluctant to get the whole album, though I really enjoyed their single "Crazy." After hearing a couple of their other songs and sampling them in iTunes, I was sold. The bass riffs are awesome. The lyrics are fun to sing along with. Necromancer is kind of creepy, probably some hidden message in there I'm not getting. Gone Daddy Gone, Crazy, Just a Thought, Go-Go Gadget Gospel, The Last Time and Smiley Faces are my favorites.

"Children of Men" directed by
What is the value of children? This is one of the important questions asked in Children of Men. Though it would be classified as a thriller, it is much more than that. The political intonations are a bit over the top, but I think they are not too far off what we can see in American media. The pacing is superb, as is the writing. Michael Caine is dazzling as an old hippy whose wife is catatonic and it is fun to watch Clive Owen's subtle transformation. Another great film by a terrific Mexican director.

"Babel" directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu
After watching this film, I was left in a sad place. The film did it's job. I didn't stay in a sad place, but it helped me sympathize with those in the world who suffer. Everything in this movie is top notch. Nods to Adriana Barraza who plays a wonderful illegal immigrant nanny. What I loved about the movie was how it stuck with me and didn't line up a bunch of cute solutions and explanations. I had to deal with the questions myself; a challenge for each person. Themes I picked out: vulnerability, intolerance, and solitude.

"NY Times Movie News"
I really enjoy the excellent film reviews and in-depth industry news.

"Weekly Review in Harper's Magazine
You just have to read one of these reviews and you're hooked. The irony that bleeds through each paragraph is startling - for instance this past week:
a U.S. congressional delegation outfitted with bulletproof vests, flanked by 100 soldiers in armored Humvees, and watched over by attack helicopters, visited a local bazaar to demonstrate the success of the current security plan. It was, said Representative Mike Pence (R., Ind.), just like an “outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime.”
Researchers used infrared and atomic-emission spectroscopy, mass spectroscopy, electron microscopy, pollen analysis, and the leading “noses” in the perfume industry to determine that a rib bone unearthed at the site where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake actually belonged to an Egyptian mummy.
You can sign up for a weekly email with the news in review.

"Nuclearity" by Hugh Duncan
I ran across this fantastic podcast a couple months ago with references about Bono, Contemporary Christian Music and Africa. The podcast is so much more though. Duncan works in media production, so his personal podcast is actually very professional. He addresses subjects relating to the family and to Christianity - recent ones include video game addiction, the Narnia movie, fathers, and the history of Valentine's Day.

"NYT Technology Column hosted by David Pogue
Pogue has a nerdy flair for reading his weekly column. Subjects keep me abreast on the latest camera, video, audio, and communication technology.

"Grammar Girl hosted by Grammar Girl
Grammar Girl puts together terrific, entertaining, weekly lessons on punctuation, adverbs, abbreviations and sentence structure. I find them very helpful as I am always trying to improve my own writing skills. I hope the listening audience grows as writing skills are plunging at an alarming rate with the advent of text messaging, email, and MySpaces. My generation and the next are much more visual in its communication, but with Grammar Girl beside us, we can continue to converse effectively and correctly.

1 comment:

much-ado said...

My all time favourite is still Life After God by Coupland and St. Peter Is the Devil by a really good author.