Kabul: The New Live Music Capital Of The World

Look out Austin, you might have an usurper to your “Live Music Capital of the World” throne in the form of Kabul, yep, that Kabul.

At least judging by the enthusiasm and moxie of bands such as “Kabul Dreams”.  Check out their YouTube page here unless you think the Taliban’s ideology is just peachy keen.

They are profiled in the following story,

We’re the Tali-band! Afghan rockers challenge hardliners to a duel… with electric guitars

Bands such as this would have been jailed under Taliban rule, no doubt for using corrupt Western practices to pollute their religious utopia. In fact, when the Taliban were in power,

Playing musical instruments was banned. Singing was allowed, but only songs praising Allah or the Taliban.

Gee, that sounds like a lot of churches here in the States, not to mention universities, looking at you Bob Jones. Same tune, different key.

As for the music that is making the rounds in Afghanistan,

Rock music has made inroads since the fall of the Taliban. A smattering of music shops sell pirated CDs of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and other bands. Indian and Pakistani groups also are popular among the youth.

What? No one’s thought of slipping The (now disbanded) Afghan Whigs in to the mix? Or  at least Mr. Mister (below)


♫Take, these broken Whigs…♫

[Photo Credit: Tonymix’s Blog]

Friends are Friends Forever

Artists strive to em, evolve and reinvent themselves while staying true to their roots. Israel Houghton is a worship leader at Lakewood Church as well as a Grammy-winning recording artist.

Personally, I enjoyed his oft-covered hit, “Friend of God”. I don’t keep up with Houghton, don’t know what he’s currently up to but I have a project for him.

In the spirit of Jaime Escalante’s brilliant cover of Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up”, I propose that he do a rewrite of “Friend of God”.

To what? Well, the inspiration sprouted from this press release:

Darwin Stands Tall in Texas!

3 professors from Texas universities have won the coveted “Friend of Darwin” award for:

  • Making “evolution education safe for kids throughout the Republic of Texas”
  • Standing “tall for evolution”
  • Fighting “the good fight for science”

Frankly, they also deserved the Presidential Medal of Freedom for their courage in the face of such “adversity” AND a $25 Starbucks gift card , but I digress.

♫Friends are friends forever, if Charles’ is the Lord of them♫

That’s the inspiration, here’s the result:

I am a friend of Chuck
I am a friend of Chuck
I am a friend of Chuck
He calls me friend!

Really though, I think the NCSE might be better served adopting Pearl Jam’s “Do the Evolution” as the official song (and video) of the “Friend of Darwin” award.

Fe-y

With the acquisition of a new iPod comes the Herculean task of loading it up with one’s CD library. One of the CD’s in my library is Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy and while I was ripping it, I perused the album notes.  By the way, like a fine wine, “Betterman” gets better with age.

Vitalogy

The copy of a petition is found in the album’s booklet. The lyrics to “Whipping” (one of the tracks) are written on the same page. It is my understanding that the song is a protest against the murder of David Gunn, an abortion doctor, by an “anti-abortionist”. Marilyn Manson also wrote a missive against this crime and correctly called this murder the “ultimate hypocrisy”. Wow Manson and I actually agree on something.

Here’s the petition:

PRESIDENT CLINTON,
I AM OUTRAGED BY THE SHOOTING OF DR. DAVID L. GUNN WHO PERFORMED ABORTIONS. IN SIGNING THIS PETITION I AM DEMANDING FEDERAL INTERVENTION INTO THIS PROBLEM. CERTAIN PRO-LIFE PROTESTERS ARE GOING BEYOND VERBAL PROTEST AGAINST DOCTORS AND PRACTITIONERS WHO PERFORM ABORTIONS AND THE WOMEN GOING TO GET THEM. I BELIEVE IN FREEDOM OF SPEECH BUT THEY ARE OBSTRUCTING WOMEN AND DOCTOR’S FREEDOMS WHICH ARE, PROTECTED UNDER THE LAW AS WELL. THESE PROTESTS ON NUMEROUS OCCASIONS HAVE BECOME VIOLENT, CLINICS HAVE BEEN SET AFIRE AND NOW A DOCTOR HAS BEEN KILLED. PLEASE PUT A STOP TO THE HARASSMENT AND VIOLENCE BEFORE MORE PEOPLE ARE HURT. — ED VEDDER

Let me be really clear, I’m not in the camp that believes doctors who kill unborn children perform abortions deserve to be killed.  Frankly, people in this camp frighten me especially those who identify themselves as followers of Christ.   It is a point of fact that we are all sinners and as such we all deserve death, but a patient, merciful and gracious God exists that brings us back to Him.

I find it interesting that Vedder was concerned that more people (abortion doctors) will be hurt unless then President Clinton takes action, yet Vedder (with his pro-choice stance) has no problem with status quo which allows for the the mortal dismemberment of unborn children.

Ironic

What do you think Alanis?

Who’s on First? Pearl Jam

Having been a huge fan of Pearl Jam during my em, formative years I gained an appreciation for who appears to be lead singer Ed Vedder’s main influence, The Who.

Ran across Ed and the Boys covering a couple of Who classics (Love Reign O’er Me and The Real Me, both from the album Quadrophenia) for some VH1 show.

Their rendition of The Real Me is probably one of the best covers (unoriginal, for original see Cornell’s rendition of “Billie Jean”) that I’ve heard.

PJ bassist Jeff Ament’s masterful imitation of Entwhistle’s lead bassin’ is flawless (that Ament cannot remain glued to one spot on the stage, as Entwhistle did, is another matter).

Perhaps the best part of the whole thing is guitarist Stone Gossard trying to get his loosegroove on.

Stone is so unhip that he’s hip. When his less famous band, Brad, came to H-town I went to check it out and was mildy pleased.  Though I felt bad for the poor guy and his bandmates.

They had to endure requests to play Pearl Jam classics like “Jeremy”, “Evenflow” and “Yellow Ledbetter”.

They didn’t wince too badly, I’m sure they were used to it.

About the Class of 2012…

As a new school year dawns I thought this appropriate.

Check this action out:  Mindset List for the Class of 2012

Here are some notables:
#20 The Warsaw Pact is as hazy for them as the League of Nations was for their parents.  (Who doesn’t miss Mutually Assured Destruction?  Though with Russia’s recent antics…)

#32 There has always been Pearl Jam.   (If the tykes even know who PJ is…)

“It’s Evolution, Baby!”

So wails Pearl Jam frontman, Ed Vedder, in a track (“Do the Evolution”) from the band’s masterful 1998 release, Yield.

yield.jpg

Pre-conversion, I reveled in the song due to the fact that I idolized Mr. Vedder, graphically portrays the evolutionary process,  and especially because it criticizes religious (read: Christian) hypocrites in the lines,

I’m a thief
I’m a liar
There’s my church
I sing in the choir.

Hallelujah
Hallelujah

If the song isn’t striking enough, the video (crafted by Spawn creator Todd McFarlane) is top-notch and if I may say so, breath taking in its portrayals.

It matches the lyric perfectly and emphasizes the predations of mankind on itself as well as the planet.

Post-conversion, the video remains artistically breathtaking of course, but now I see it with a new set of eyes.

Whether the band or McFarlane wish to accept it, the video explicitly displays the ubiquitous effect of sin on the world we live in.

Elderly Women in front of a Counter in a Small Town

During the winter break of my first year of college I worked as a cashier at a now defunct truck stop in a small town.

The memories I have from said time are lively to say the least. Two incidents are still vivid in my mind after “all these” years.

If you hung around this blog long enough you know that I am Mexican. No, not of Mexican descent only (that is Mexican-American) but actually born in México.

Personally I can’t recall being discriminated against because of that, at least directly. I know there are people who think Mexicans inferior and all that but I haven’t directly been the target of such ignorance.

To be fair, I probably don’t fit the image most people might have of Mexicans for I’m not dark-skinned or swarthy or perhaps even wear a sombrero (If that is your impression of us, well you haven’t been exposed to very many of us). The accent I did have when I first started speaking English on a daily basis, is by all accounts gone.

The 2 incidents which I recall are in this vein. The first involved an elderly inhabitant of the aforementioned small town. The woman, she couldn’t have been younger than 70, and her sister came to buy something or other and as they were paying me they laid out their cash on the counter to count it (after all isn’t that what a counter is for?).

Now the women were Anglo and probably grew up during a time in this country were racism was not only extant but acceptable. As they finished coming up with the cash to cover their purchases one of the women turned to the other and dropped this line,

Put your money away before a Mexican comes and steals it

Now I found this amusing though I didn’t react visibly. My initial thought was, “This woman doesn’t know I’m Mexican or if she does she doesn’t care”.

I know such an incident might send some of my compatriots (real or pretend) scrambling for the nearest phone so they can call some civil rights group and demand so-called justice.

At the end of it I dismissed it as the ignorance of a woman who grew up at a time when such ignorance was believed and perhaps even encouraged. What question did arise in my mind was the following,

Were (are) Mexicans really viewed as thieves? Just waiting to part a fool from his/her money?

The other incident involved a couple of elderly Mexican women. Sometimes I would have to work the graveyard shift (Midnight-8am) and the middle of the night would bring bus after bus of gamblers (the vast majority Hispanic) going to or from the casinos in Louisiana (gambling is not legal in Texas).

One night a bus disembarked and sure enough it was a bunch of elderly Hispanics. Understand that working this shift is hard for it is somewhat unnatural to be awake during these hours. I probably didn’t look as awake as I could have been.

So these 2 Mexican women roll up to the counter to pay for whatever it is they bought and one of them tells the other one in Spanish,

This guy doesn’t even look like he’s awake

Of course she was referring to me and I let her know (in Spanish) that I was quite awake. The reaction was priceless as they always are when one commits such a faux pas. The woman was understandably embarrassed (unfortunately, I’ve been in her shoes and believe me it’s embarrassing) yet didn’t offer an apology.

She merely said, “Well you do look half-asleep”.

I know Pearl Jam sing about an “elderly woman behind a counter in a small town” but as for me the ones in front of a counter have proven more entertaining.

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