18 May 2006

Hello lads I'm back for another post of generally ponderous and shallow drivel. Let's start with the more intellectual crap and move on to the unimportant banter (saving the best for last).

C.S. Lewis has always been one of my favourite writers and lately I ran across a very interesting article regarding his views on pacifism. All the more interesting as I was having an internal debate (and still am, as a matter of fact) on acceptable use of force, and moral implications of both self-defence and defence of innocents for a Christian. It is a complicated subject, to say the least. C.S. Lewis as always has seemingly radical views that shock you at first (such as the thought that killing should be neither loved nor hated...you'd have to have context for this, honestly). There is a lot to consider in this area, and I've heard good arguments from what I would call "semi-pacifists" that I don't consider to be incorrect or anything, but while their particular philosophy (which I'm not going to take the time to spell out) works under many situations there are some situations that I think they would either act differently or perhaps be morally at fault for not doing so. All very, very complex. Let's put it this way...a guy has a gun on you, you have the capacity to draw and take him down. The argument would be, you are
going to heaven, you don't know about him, so your life is a fair sacrifice. That is fair. When you start to talk about home invasions, and the threat of death or worse to your family, things get a bit dicier. An innocent on the street about to be murdered, when you have the capacity to draw your weapon and intervene, or simply look away and walk on. What would the Christian do in that case? What is the selfless act, and what is the selfish act? Lewis makes an interesting case
regarding killing, and the difference between murder and killing. If a woman desperately fights off a man attempting to rape her, and he is pushed back, strikes his head on a rock and dies, she has killed him. Or if you're going to say "that's an accident" let's change it slightly...a woman about to be raped at knifepoint, grabs a rock off the ground and strikes her attacker on the head, killing him. Has she sinned? She committed an act of violence and killed a man, albeit in the most dire of self-defence situations. There are countless scenarios that could be presented, but enough with my one-way internal debate.

24 is a very tense show. I would not recommend that anyone purchase the DVD sets, because if I had all of the DVDs at one time I would stay up a very very long time and stay home from work, and probably start to hallucinate. I'd also start to believe that I worked for CTU and that President Palmer had authorized me to hunt down Sayed Ali and dispatch him. Just not safe, hehe. But one thing that cracks me up is how women are portrayed on the show, in two areas...the IT workers, and the terrorists. The IT workers are comically mostly women, which is almost exactly the opposite of the real world. Computer techs and specialists tend to be geeky left-brain guys, and we all know this. I grant you that Chloe is a funny and worthwhile character to have on the show, but all of the rest of them, its just a bit unlikely. And the other part is the "femme fatale" thing they have going through the series. Each season has at least one twenty-something American woman who apparently is a trained, heartless, and ruthlessly efficient killer-for-hire. How many twenty-something American women do you know who have even fired a pistol before, I ask? I can vouch for at least one, my wife, but the generally the only interest she has in guns is a sweetly sympathetic interest to share with her husband. Am I a chauvinistic bigot? If you say so. But I'm just being realistic. I'm not saying anything bad about women; in general women tend to be less interested in combat, violence, and using terrorism to accomplish political goals. Obviously there are exceptions but in 24 it is more the rule than the exception. Oh well, its just a show.

Still haven't taken my Kel-Tec out...maybe this Sunday? I should get some more ammo for it. I need to clean it fully before getting it out there. I broke it down and reassembled it, which is ridiculously painless in comparison to field-stripping a 1911 or my Ruger .22 MkII. The Kel-Tec PF9 looks good too...an extraordinarily small and lightweight 9mm handgun. Single-stack, it holds 7 rounds in the mag and 1 in the chamber. Double action only. Weighs about 1 lb (16oz) fully loaded, 13oz unloaded.

And lastly, Chicago II is a great album. Musicians don't do work like this any more. I'm sorry, I know it isn't the proper thing to say, but I'm not going to couch it in the premises of preference or evolving styles or any of that...modern music is lackluster, hit-and-mostly-miss garbage with sporadic moments of at least mediocre quality music. And it isn't just the music styles...musicians today just suck in comparison. Name a single guitarist played on modern rock radio who had the chops of Terry Kath. Or a bassist as good as Peter Cetera. YES THAT PETER CETERA. If you get outplayed by a guy who did a DUET with AMY GRANT what does that say about you. I mean, even though we are talking about the same guy who sang "You're the Inspiration"...he can hit the groove hard on the bass and lock in with a drummer, without being locked in to a song structure. "It Better End Soon", "I'm a Man", virtually anything of the first several Chicago albums, its all a showcase of some excellent bass chops. And let's get right down to it, you snivelling talentless hacks whose greatest musical achievement so far was learning a few Weezer songs from online tablature...you wouldn't know a groove if it was wedged up yer arse, sodding wankers. *ahem* No, but let's have some exemptions. The Chili Peppers definately have chops...they are a modern day AC/DC, good chops, good sound, but not too innovative and they tend to sound the same on each song. Radiohead was marginally technically gifted but only in comparison to the morons that surrounded them. They can play but they avoid anything too challenging (and then claim that choice to be motivated by artistic sensibility and not by technical limitations). Cake is good, they know how to groove and balance creativity and instrumental ability very well, and above all they don't take themselves too seriously (one would assume). The bassist who played with Ben Folds reminded me of my own style, due to his notey playing and use of fuzz. Maybe we both dug Chris Squire?

If you wanted to know who the REAL musicians were, take away the stages, take away fans who knew your names and your songs, take away all hopes and aspirations for success, recognition, and even the possibility that anyone would take the time to listen to your music. Strip all of that away, and you'd find untold numbers of musicians, particularly rock musicians, walking away. But jazz musicians...real jazz musicians...there is something about the way a guy who has unbelievable skill can sit in the corner of a restaurant with a small combo and groove and play these mind-blowing things that everyone else in the room just thinks of as "background music". No recognition, nothing. He's not going to get a record deal. He does it because his instrument is his voice (and for singers the reverse is true). I don't know, I'm a rocker by nature but I get so tired of the gigantic ego stuff that is pretty much the petrol in the tank of the rocknroll bus. To all the musicians I've ever known, I quote the aforementioned Radiohead: "ambition makes you look pretty ugly".

But even that stuff doesn't interest me all that much. Musicians ought to be free to do what floats their flotilla, I admit.

We have reached the end of my rant.

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