Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday 80s Flashback for August 30, 2013

File:Lewis Hine Power house mechanic working on steam pump.jpg
Power house mechanic working on steam pump 
by Lewis Hine, 1920. (Wikipedia)

[Your Mighty Labors!] -- I originally posted these particular songs on May 20, 2011. On that date, the Flashback theme was inspired by Judgement Day. Why? Well, there was a (ha!) chance the world would end on May 21, 2011. And I figured there are the two events that can bring an end to the drudgery of working day to day: one is winning the lottery, and the other is ... the end of the world. However, I need a new post for this weekend, and I find that the songs from that previous Flashback work pretty well for a Labor Day Weekend! I have three songs about workin' for a livin' that you can enjoy while you take a break from your labors. (That is, if you get to have a break). Either way, some great 80s music will help you through the weekend, so read and hear more after the break!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Friday 80s Flashback for August 23, 2013

[Double Drumming] -- Many bands have a drummer as well as one or more additional percussionists. In double drumming, however, we're focusing on bands that have two drummers playing two drum kits at the same time. The intent could be to lend a fatter sound (if they mirror each other on the rhythm) or to add complexity or interest to the main rhythm, but I'm guessing that it's mainly done because it looks cool on stage. Now, double drumming has not been all that uncommon in music history, but it was not all that wide spread a technique in the 80s, so it was a bit difficult for me to come up with three good examples for you in this week's 80s Flashback. I have prevailed, and present a trio of instances of double drumming. Perhaps you can chime in with additional examples in the comments. To see what I found in the 80s vault, read and hear more after the break.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Friday 80s Flashback for August 16, 2013

This Flashback was originally posted on August 12, 2011.

[Summer - Redux] -- I heard a back-to-school radio ad the other day. You know what my first thought was? No, it wasn't that I needed school supplies, or that I dread the return of school buses on my morning commute. No, it was that the school season is just around the corner and I've yet to post a summer-themed flashback! So I'm going to remedy that error right now. Back in the 80s, summer was always a great time for music. And there are far too many great summer classics to fit in one flashback, but I'll do my best to share some of my favorites. What hot tunes made the cut this week? Read and hear more after the break.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Friday 80s Flashback for August 9, 2013

1985 Typography by Jan Avendano

[When I Was 17 / 17 Years of Love] -- So, it's @Dangrdafne and @brainwise day today -- 17 years ago, my wife and I had our first date together. And four years later, we were married, but that's a story for another time. Today, however, I decided to use the number 17 in my latest Flashback post. Now, 17 years ago, we were in the 1990s, which are out of scope for this aspect of my blog. However, I could simply go back to the year in which I turned 17 years of age -- that would be 1985. There was a lot of great music in '85. If you're wondering what three tracks I selected to mark my own 17th year as well as celebrate 17 years with my love, you can read and hear more after the break. (Note: @Dangrdafne turned 17 in 1986, but I already did a series of posts about music that year and you can check it out if you want).

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Book Review: "Religion Gone Astray"

Religion Gone Astray: What We Found at the Heart of InterfaithReligion Gone Astray: What We Found at the Heart of Interfaith by Don Mackenzie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a well-written exploration of -- and the interactions between -- Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The three co-authors (a pastor, a rabbi, and an imam) candidly look at the serious issues of exclusivity, violence, sexism/inequality, and homophobia within their religions' scriptures and traditions, and they share related personal experiences. They also review what they feel to be the core teachings shared among their religions (oneness, unconditional love, and compassion) and use those teachings to ... disarm(?) ... the uglier aspects of the divisive issues. Each topic concludes with exploratory questions and suggested spiritual practices to continue the work on your own (or in a group).

Although I enjoyed this book, and I do recommend it, I must take at least a little issue with its titular claims of getting to the "Heart of Interfaith." Each of these gentlemen espouse, at least in passing, that monotheism is superior. And, aside from a few one-liners about Buddhism, Hinduism, Atheism, and ... um ... environmentalism, this book is squarely in the camp of Abrahamic traditions. So, at best, these authors got to the heart of Ecumenicism. Still, it's a far deeper Ecumenicism than I've seen up to now. And, perhaps, this book, with its arguments against Judaism, Christianity, and Islam's claims to an exclusive Truth, represents a necessary first step in Abrahamic reconciliation that must occur before adherents of the Big Three and join in true Interfaith dialog.

View all my reviews

Friday, August 02, 2013

Friday 80s Flashback for August 2, 2013

[Pure Energy!] -- Earlier this week, I listened to the Mission Log Podcast's review of Star Trek (TOS) episode #26, "Errand of Mercy." Now, what does a 1967 sci-fi television episode have to do with 80s music? Well, "Errand of Mercy" featured Mr. Spock describing an advanced race of alien beings as being pure energy: "Fascinating. Pure energy. Pure thought. Totally incorporeal. Not life as we know it at all."

Fast forward 21 years, and synthpoppers Information Society (or InSoc to the initiated) samples "pure energy" for their 1988 hit, "What's on Your Mind (Pure Energy)" which appeared on the band's second full-length, albeit self-titled, album. And, of course, it's the one song just about everyone knows: It shot to #1 on the Dance chart and peaked at #3 on the Hot 100 pop chart. After name-checking this pop classic, Ken Ray asked his Mission Log Podcast co-host, John Champion, if he could name any other songs by InSoc. Ken was certain John didn't know even one other song, and he was right. Ken took this as irrefutable proof that no one could possibly name other InSoc songs. Of course, as soon as I heard this, I easily rattled off at least five other tunes. I immediately realized I had a theme for this week's Flashback. Regulars to the Flashback know I just love to avoid a band's more popular tunes when there are also overlooked yet wonderful gems in their catalog. If you'd like to check out a few of these lesser known, but no less awesome, songs, just read and hear more after the break.