Pastors for Peace-Cuba

Three posts-three riffs on blogs:

The Troy Conference of the United Methodist Church listserv received an interesting e-mail this afternoon that reads:

Pastor Steve Clunn (First UMC, Schenectady) reports that a caravan of aid headed for Cuba (via Mexico) in the wake of devastating Hurricane Dennis, has been blocked at the US/Mexico border by US Commerce Department officials.

The caravan is organized by a group called Pastors for Peace, and members of First Church Schenectady participated in packing some of the medical supplies for the shipment. Reports from the caravan are online.

You can also learn more here.

Persons who would like to make their voices heard in support of this grassroots effort, are encouraged to contact their Congressional representatives, as well as the commerce department. (Contact information is provided on the site above)

The following note is from the “blogspot” site:
As of 1:30 pm EDT, The Pastors for Peace Friendshipment Caravan to Cuba is being held up at the US-Mexico border by US Commerce Department officials. They are threatening to search every vehicle and every item of humanitarian aid. They are telling us that “only licensable goods will be allowed to cross into Mexico.”

Pastors for Peace does not accept or apply for a license to deliver humanitarian aid to Cuba.

There are 130 US citizens traveling with the caravan. They and the humanitarian aid are traveling in eight buses, a box truck and two small cars. It will take days to inspect the 140 tons of aid. We are prepared to do whatever we need to do to deliver our humanitarian aid to Cuba.

SPIN out of control

Greg Burgas over at Delenda est Carthago noted the recent list from Spin magazine of “the 100 best albums of the past 20 years,” then made comments about them. That was SO intellectually lazy that I decided to do the EXACT SAME THING. Then I noticed that Tom the Dog had ALREADY RIPPED OFF THE IDEA. You’d think that would dissuade me. But NO! I’d already started, so what the hey…

The ones in italics I own. The ones I didn’t own and had no comment on, I deleted:

1. Radiohead – OK Computer (1997). I feel like like I should like this more than I do.
2. Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988). Greg wrote: “I should own this, shouldn’t I?” So should I.
3. Nirvana – Nevermind (1991). When I first heard “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, I thought it was very funny. I didn’t realize it was a REAL expression of existential angst. First time that I felt old in terms of listening to current music.
4. Pavement – Slanted and Enchanted (1992). I own no Pavement, don’t know that I’d recognize a Pavement song if you played it for me.
5. The Smiths – The Queen is Dead (1986). I have a Morrissey album, which is as close as I get.
6. Pixies – Surfer Rosa (1988). Own a different Pixies album.
7. De La Soul – 3 Feet High and Rising (1989). I have different de la Soul
8. Prince – Sign O’ the Times (1987). Ah, an album I’ve actually played in the last 60 days.
9. PJ Harvey – Rid of Me (1993). She’s always intrigued me when she’d show up on other people’s albums, but I don’t own any of her work.
10. N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton (1988). Oughta get this, too, I suppose.
11. U2 – Achtung Baby (1991). There’s a Wim Wenders film Until The End Of The World that came out in 1991, which utterly confused me, but made me intrigued by the U2 song of the same name.
13. Hüsker Dü – New Day Rising (1985). Have other Hüsker Dü.
15. Liz Phair – Exile in Guyville (1993). I have “Whip-Smart.”
16. Beck – Odelay (1996). I’m old enough to actually have been confused by his name (with Jeff Beck).
18. Guns N’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction (1987). No big fan of theirs.
19. Hole – Live Through This (1994). A whole song or two on compilation. Not my cuppa.
22. My Bloody Valentine – Loveless (1991). This group showed up on these Sire Records compilation series Just Say Yes.
24. Sleater-Kinney – Dig Me Out (1997). I admit, I’m not at all familiar.
25. Nine Inch Nails – The Downward Spiral (1994). I suppose this is backward, but Johnny Cash’s version has made me want to seek out the original.
26. Bj̦rk РPost (1995). Have an early Sugarcubes album.
27. The Cure – The Head on the Door (1985). They make me depressed, though I have a remix of theirs that ain’t bad.
28. Oasis – Definitely Maybe (1994). Have different Oasis.
32. The Replacements – Tim (1985). I think I was given this CD. Hardly ever play it.
36. Pixies – Doolittle (1989). I have on VINYL, one of the last LPs I got.
39. Lucinda Williams – Lucinda Williams (1988). I share Greg’s affection for “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road.” Saw her in Washington Park in Albany.
40. Run-D.M.C. – Raising Hell (1986). Most of the rap I own was given to me.
44. Green Day – Dookie (1994). I think I have an irrational like for this band, because of its name.
45. Kanye West – College Dropout (2004). I’ve heard the tunes; I shoulds put it on my want list.
49. Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998). I was “supposed to” like it, and didn’t at first, but it’s really grown on me.
50. New Order – Low-Life (1985). Have earlier New Order, which was sleep inducing.
51. Nirvana – In Utero (1993). Play it every February, for Kurt’s birthday.
52. Beastie Boys – Licensed to Ill (1986).
53. Rage Against the Machine – The Battle of Los Angeles (1999). Probably will get some Rage sometime.
54. The Breeders – Last Splash (1993).
55. The Chemical Brothers – Dig Your Own Hole (1997). Have one of their discs.
57. The White Stripes – White Blood Cells (2001).
58. Metallica – Master of Puppets (1986). I have never wanted to own any Metallica.
59. Modest Mouse – The Lonesome Crowded West (1997). He shows up on some compilation discs I own.
64. Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP (2000). Greg said: “I never liked Eminem.” Me neither.
77. Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002). This has been on my wish list for three years.
79. Moby – Everything is Wrong (1995). I own “Play.”
84. Soundgarden – Superunknown (1994). I love Weird Al’s version of “Black Hole Sun”.
85. R.E.M. – Automatic for the People (1992). I have a LOT of R.E.M.
86. Meat Puppets – Up on the Sun (1985). On some compilation I have. Not my style.
88. Stereolab – Emperor Tomato Ketchup (1996). I think I have a song or two on a compilation.
89. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell (2003). Ditto.
90. Sonic Youth – Sister (1987). Ditto.
91. XTC – Skylarking (1986).
93. Pearl Jam – Ten (1991).
95. Elastica – Elastica (1995). Totally missed them.
96. The Pogues – Rum, Sodomy and the Lash (1985). I should get some Pogues.
97. Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (1998). Don’t know.
98. Cornershop – When I Was Born for the 7th Time (1997). Don’t know.

14 out of 100. Not very cool by SPIN standards.

Then Tom came up with a missing 25, plus the last three “worth fighting for”:

Tori Amos, Little Earthquakes
Bad Religion, Stranger Than Fiction
Barenaked Ladies, Gordon
Ben Folds Five, Whatever and Ever Amen
Johnny Cash, American Recordings
The Cure, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
Faith No More, Angel Dust
Peter Gabriel, So
Indigo Girls, Rites of Passage
Lemonheads, It’s a Shame About Ray
Metallica, the black album
Metallica, …And Justice For All
Alanis Morrisette, Jagged Little Pill
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, She’s the One soundtrack
Rage Against the Machine, the first album
The Refreshments, Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy
R.E.M., Green
R.E.M., Out of Time
Soundgarden, Badmotorfinger
Bruce Springsteen, The Rising
Sugar, Copper Blue
Therapy?, Troublegum
They Might Be Giants, John Henry
Weezer, the first album
Neil Young, Harvest Moon
Foo Fighters, The Colour and the Shape
Green Day, American Idiot
Tom Petty, Full Moon Fever

13 out of 28. NOW I’m getting cooler.

Then correspondents of Tom offered up some others; I’ll list only the ones I have.

Sting’s The Soul Cages
Tracy Chapman’s Tracy Chapman
U2’s The Joshua Tree and Pop
Cassandra Wilson’s Belly of the Sun
Elvis Costello’s King of America
James Horner’s Glory
Bob Dylan’s Time Out of Mind and Love & Theft
Bruce Springsteen’s Tunnel of Love
Paul Simon’s Graceland and Rhythm of the Saints

I’d also consider albums by Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, and Loretta Lynn (produced by Jack White) and what the heck, the Beatles and Elvis Presley’s greatest hits. Or can a GH be a best album? I always thought that the Sly & the Family Stone’s GH, with several songs not otherwise available on LP, was one of the great albums of its time.

Gee, Greg, this SEEMED like a good idea at the time…

How U C da Flick

My friend Fred wrote in his IGN column last week that he liked the largely poorly-reviewed Fantastic Four movie, and that didn’t bother me; I haven’t even seen it yet. But when he said the movie The Incredibles, my FAVORITE movie last year in what was an admittedly limited selection, was ONLY OK, I was shocked, SHOCKED! until I remembered Roger’s Rules of Cinema Watching.

1. Some movies require the big screen for initial viewing. This has been the contention of others about the special-effects movies such as Star Wars or The Matrix, but I discovered that it’s important in some other films as well.

My first personal example: Coming Home, with Jane Fonda and Kris Kristofferson. I saw it at the movies, enjoyed it. I saw it again on HBO and liked it not quite so much. I figured that it wasn’t a movie that could bear a second viewing. But then, I happened to see it a third time at a second-run theater, anf I enjoyed it nearly as much as I did the first time.
I’m convinced that, unless you have a large screen TV in a darkened room, with no access to the pause button, it’s not nearly the same viewing experience. But…

2. Some movies are actually better on the small screen. I recall reading about, and subsequently seeing, a movie called Cold Turkey with Dick van Dyke, which was a bomb of a movie in its limited theatrical run, but actually found its niche as the prototype of the TV movie. I’m sure I saw it in the early 1970s on TV, when it ran SEVERAL times. BTW, it was about quitting tobacco, not something else.

3. Some movies are so good, it doesn’t matter how you see them. Carol and I saw the DVD of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, earlier this year. We stopped the disc halfway through and went to bed! That’s no way to see a film! Yet we still enjoyed it thoroughly.

4. High expectations will alter how you see a movie. My girlfriend at the time, her son, and I went to see Chariots of Fire the week after it had won best picture of 1981 at the Oscars. We all thought: “THAT was the best picture last year?” Likewise, I had rented a video of Citizen Kane, triumphed as “the greatest film ever made”, and (HORRORS!) fell asleep. Conversely, as Fred noted HERE (July 20), low expectations may aid your viewing of a film.

5. Revealed plot points will alter how, or whether, you see a movie. The movie-going public kept the secrets of The Crying Game, The Sixth Sense, and The Usual Suspects. But unfortunately, I found out about the secret in Million Dollar Baby from some folks with a political agenda, so if I ever do see it, I’m going to try to forget what I know and let the movie surprise me.

6. Fatigue, a bad day, life’s distractions will also alter your viewing enjoyment.

In Fred’s case with the Incredibles, I believe #1, #4, and maybe #6 apply. Fred, I really think it is as good as you had heard, and I’m sorry your viewing didn’t relect that. Now, I’ve got to go rent Citizen Kane, and try to watch it again, preferably NOT late at night.

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