A Thick as a Brick Cover That’s Thick as a Brick

I’ve been a Jethro Tull fan since the age of 10.

Looking at JT music tonight on YouTube, I stumbled upon this interesting bit.

It’s a group of young music school hipster-nerds from the Berklee College of Music in Boston promising a live performance of the LP length, continuously played, musical suite Thick as a Brick. A very technical, difficult and complex piece of music. I winced when I considered the greatness of the piece against the look of the kids poised to perform it. I SOOO do not like average people doing covers of bands I really love. It often turns out just embarrassing. I was prepared to either laugh or cry at this performance … and not in a good way.

But as the first few notes rise from Ian Anderson’s opening acoustic part – by a dude in a cheap Halloween hotdog outfit no less – it was mirrored perfect. Perfect! Flat out stunning. Even Ian himself would be impressed and I’m sure he’s seen it.

So I kept listening for the next 43:20 minutes and every note of it is extraordinary. Enchanting. Really no words for it. These kids are the just stinkin’ impressive, little nerds that they are. And it is not a “good enough for students” offering they bring.

Much of it sounds as if they are playing to a sound track, it’s so spot on, having the complexity and thickness of the original. But it doesn’t seem that they’re playing to any enhancement. I could be wrong. You can see each player producing what is needed at the moment, although there is one violin section at the end that doesn’t seem true to sound. All the rest is cash money.

The young drummer IS Barrie Barlow! The keyboardist, 98.555% John Evan and the hipster psychedelic electric guitarist is as close to Martin Barre as one can get.

As for Ian?

The young woman playing the flute is pretty dog-gone impressive. She doesn’t have the explosive energy of Ian, but who in the world does? Not even the Sun. She’s got no faults in her contribution though. Just lovely, and it’s fun to see her having so much fun with it.

The vocalist? He doesn’t even try to channel Ian and that is very good. He only tries to serve as a vocalist placeholder. His own interpretation and stage presence is pleasantly adequate, which he does impressively. He gives exactly what he should. The kids are trying to present the complexity and wonder of the music itself, not the band.

I got goose bumps as I listened, the way they absolutely nailed the beauty of many of the very technical transitions. The way they affected some of the beautiful riffs on the album. Even the funky jazz improve section in the middle of the whole bit. And they did it as millennial hipsters. How do they even know about Jethro Tull?

Well they do. And they know Thick as a Brick stunningly well. How they broke the album down to know what instruments, technical effects and timing they needed? That is remarkable in itself. I could imagine them sitting around with the vinyl listening to it over and again, taking notes, debating what was actually what.

Just an absolutely marvelous, deeply impressive and nearly flawless piece of work. You should listen to the whole thing even if you’re not a Tull fan.  It’s worth it.

Other Tull fans, I would love to hear your take on it.

Posted in arts, cultural analysis, music, reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How the Google Guy Got It Exactly Right

A myriad of distinguished professors and social scientists have already confirmed what James Damore wrote in his Google memo: men and women are measurably different.

The Google guy behind the infamous gender memo, James Damore, is a troglodyte. An embarrassing, knuckle-dragging, flat-earther who is under the silly illusion that men and women have inherent differences. Google properly fired him for just being stupid. At least that’s the fashionable story.

But the truth is that it was Damore who got it right.

Read how strongly the best emerging science backs him here.

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What is a Christian? Insight From an Unlikely Source

The famous atheist philosopher, Bertrand Russell, had the following to say in the opening of his book, Why I am Not a Christian. It is actually a good and challenging word His Church today.

“I think that you must have a certain amount of definite belief before you have the right to call yourself a Christian. The word does not have quite such a full-blooded meaning now as it had in the days of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. In those days, if a man said that he was a Christian it was known what he meant. You accepted a whole collection of creeds which were set out with great precision, and every single syllable of those creeds you believed with the whole strength of your convictions. Nowadays it is not quite like that.”

Posted in atheism, christian faith, cultural analysis, culture, God, sociology of religion, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Non-Binary T-Shirts Come in Only Two Genders

Perfectly good irony seems to be lost on these folks

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Rosie the Riveter: Not the Feminist Icon You Think She Is

She’s become one of the world’s most well-known icons.

The rolled up sleeves of her heavy denim work shirt. Her slender arm flexed, fist clenched in an unmistakable “don’t mess with me” pose. Her factory employee button alongside her finely manicured nails. Her hair bundled up in her trademark bandanna, crowning her very pretty and meticulously made up face. She’s at once hard, strong, beautiful and unmistakably feminine.

But she’s not who you think she is. Not at all. And the New Yorker’s historically incorrect use of the poster and misappropriation of the woman herself is an insult to women’s history.  Let me tell you her story.

She was created in 1942 by artist J. Howard Miller who produced her under contract for Westinghouse. It was one of a series of posters, each used as motivational tools for Westinghouse employees to boost team spirit, factory productivity, and safety and also avoid strikes. The directions to shop managers to “Post Feb. 15 to Feb. 28” appear in its bottom left corner. Thus it was seen for only two weeks, exclusively by Westinghouse employees of its Midwest operations. It was unknown to the public until the mid-1980s.

She is not actually Rosie the Riveter. Westinghouse didn’t rivet anything. The Rosie that people knew and loved at the time was Norman Rockwell’s “Rosie the Riveter.” (Note her halo, her curious “man arms” and the title of the book she is crushing beneath her foot.) She was even feted in this snappy and popular tune.

The “We” in “We Can Do It!” is not a collective, feminist “we.” “We” was the corporation’s male and female employees. The “It” was meeting the order quotas for each factory, each day. Her flexed arm and clenched fist? It was certainly not a revolutionary symbol of strength and feminist empowerment. It was part of Westinghouse’s daily corporate cheer to stoke morale. Westinghouse Magazine (September 1942) featured a picture of such a rally with the explanation, “With ‘Let’s Show Them’ as their slogan and a clenched fist as their symbol,” the team readies for their duties.

Rosie has been grossly misappropriated. She was no feminist, to be sure!

She was only so in that she expected full and equal pay for a full day’s work. But she was first and foremost a dedicated patriot, standing in while her husbands and boyfriends were on the Front. Her desire was to earn a living for her family and help her men come home safe and soon. Nobody, even the most traditionalist of her day, thought she was transcending or redefining femininity by doing this sort of labor.

Yes, she was happy for the work, the education and independence it provided. She changed the working world for her daughters and granddaughters, to be sure. But the only message she was interested in sending was to the Axis powers. Her only stand was for victory. She was indeed strong, capable, and dedicated and did not shrink from the difficult challenge. The millions of women who became Rosies were true national treasures, and the Great War likely could not have been won without them. Her British sisters did the same, as did her mother and grandmother in WWI.

Just as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony would be scandalized to find themselves assumed into a movement that is antithetical to their strongly held convictions about the life of the unborn and virtue of motherhood, Rosie would be as well. A scholarly article in the journal Rhetoric and Public Affairs addresses the many myths and misconceptions that have grown up around the “We Can Do It!” poster in recent decades. The authors designate its pop-culture evolution a “feminist fable.”

Today’s understanding of the poster and its message are for the most part “mythic” …[W]hile the words in “We Can Do It!” may appear to emerge from a female source, the image’s beauty and elegance conceal the fact that it is a ventriloquist’s voice commissioned by Westinghouse, a voice whose purpose was evidently [corporately] masculine and perhaps even exploitive.

That poster was replaced on the factory floor by this one of the same series by the same artist, just the opposite of any feminist ideal. These scholars conclude the “poster has come to represent a past that never was.” Most of these patriotic and self-sacrificing Rosies would not care for the way they have been coopted by the more radical fringes of the feminist movement today, particularly the New Yorker’s historically dishonest use of her. This is who she was, here, here, here, and here.

She signed up for and succeeded in a great national cause. It’s incorrect to sign her up for something she was never about. She was not a revolutionary idealist, but a patriotic realist; head down, working hard for her family and country.

Rosie was a well-behaved woman who made history. Let her be what she was.

Posted in cultural analysis, culture, feminism, politics | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why Are So Many Lesbians Getting Pregnant?

It makes for an illogical syllogism.

          Premise A: Lesbians are sexually attracted to women only.

          Premise B: Women cannot impregnate women.

          Conclusion: Lesbians have higher pregnancy rates than non-lesbians.

It’s contrary to all reason, but it’s true. Lesbians have significantly higher pregnancy rates than their heterosexual peers. It’s also true for teen gay males. They are substantially more likely to impregnate their sexual partners than are heterosexual males.

                  Continue reading here

Posted in cultural analysis, culture, lesbian, lgbt, Loving My (LGBT) Neighbor, politics, Sexuality | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

The Time We Creamed a Guy in Auckland

Late last year I was invited to New Zealand for six weeks to work on a writing project for my friends at Focus on the Family NZ.

The last few days we filmed a presentation of the completed curriculum before a group of Kiwi teens at a downtown Auckland church. I ordered an Uber to deliver me to the shoot. The driver, an Indian gentleman, was pleasantly friendly and an enjoyable conversationalist.

His car was a nice Prius and NZ drivers are situated on the “other” side of the car. I was sitting in the rear seat, sitting close and diagonal to my driver. As we got in the middle of the bustling downtown, we started to make a left hand turn. What happened next happened in an absolute flash, but in slow motion.

As we began our turn, a blur appeared in my left peripheral vision. Then a helmeted head exploded through the front passenger window, right in front of my face. That whole window shattered into a hurricane of glass, assaulting my driver. As quick as that blur slammed into the side of the car and the head blasted through the window, it was gone from view, rocketing back and downward.

The driver stopped the car on a dime post-impact. I was in shock and the drive was rightfully freaking out. We hit a bike messenger. He was flying one second. Then he wasn’t. In this slow-motion instant, I remember wondering if I wanted to look back and check on the bike messenger or not see a horrid sight I might not ever get out of my head.

In that split second, before I could even turn my head, the bike messenger was up and his head shoved back in the window. Rather than the sound of shattering glass and impact, he was sharing his choice and colorful thoughts about my driver’s navigational ability with great conviction. I patted my friend on the shoulder and told him it was alright. It was just a accident and the victim appeared more than fine. Actually, more lively than he had probably been in some time.

Uberman turned around and said to me quite firmly, “Get out, get out! Go. You go!” Not angry, but definite. Feeling he had enough on this hands, I gathered my things, exited the car and started to walk away. I had two thoughts.

What did it look like, someone just getting out of a car involved in a substantial accident and walking away. Second, where was I relative to where I needed to be? Again, I figured my dilemma was nothing compared to my driver’s. So I headed to the curb and saw my destination a half a block down. The film crew met me in the parking lot and asked how I was. Still shaking, I told them the story, pointing to the mangled bike in the street and the driver and cyclist engaged.

Creamed a bike messenger my first time in New Zealand. I won’t forget that. I’ve thought of the outcome of the two men many times since. Oh, and I gave the driver a very positive Uber review and didn’t mention the incident. I wanted him to have a great feeling of  grace and relief when he checked his review for that fare.

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