Thursday, January 20, 2011

In which the Author Muses Musically, and Ponders Politically

My back is feeling better. With the exception of the occasional twinge if I sit for too long, barely pains me at all. Huzzah for modern medical science! At least no one tried to bleed me. Well, there was that one nurse who might have been trying to. How else do you 'miss' the giant blue veins on my hands? I mean, they're RIGHT THERE and HUGE.

Anyway, no rambling about back pain. It's answered prayer, and I am grateful for it. I will instead ramble about music!

For those of you who don't know me very well, I enjoy lots of stuff from the electronic genre. My current favorite artist, for multiple reasons, is "VNV Nation," especially their most recent album "Of Faith, Power, and Glory." It typifies pretty much everything I like about the electronic genre: a driving beat, heavy synthesizers in combination with actual instruments, and good vocals with harmony.

Exhibit A: "In Defiance" from the aforementioned album. It has a positive message with some battle metaphors in it, a driving beat, hot synth lines, and a piano. And then there's Ronan Harris, the singer. That man's voice just makes my ears happy. For some reason his mellow baritone just kind of makes me feel safe and warm. I've fallen asleep dozens of times listening to his "Illusion" on the album "Judgement" (which coincidentally contains one of my other favorite songs by them, "Testament"). If I could meet one person from one band, it would be Harris, and I'd try to convince him to let me sing a duet with him.

I'd also recommend the entire Judgement album (yes, it's the British spelling of judgment, because the band's from Ireland). It's got half a dozen outstanding pieces on it, and the rest's not bad.

Another song that's very similar but lighter on the synth, is Assemblage 23's "Hooked." The harmony in Hooked is simple, but golden. I keep singing bits of it with my friend Avery. I think I just prefer male vocalists in electronica. Female vocalists in this genre tend to have higher-pitched, squeaky voices that grate on my nerves.

And on an unrelated note (music pun ha ha), I've also been listening to a lot of oldies recently. Bing Crosby and Bob Hope are among my favorites for their style and humor, and Frank Sinatra's crooning is just as sexy as it was when he first sang those songs in the 40s.

Speaking of battle metaphors and voices that grate on my nerves, am I the only person who is both tired of and disappointed by the constant screeching at each other that our politicians are doing in the aftermath of the Tuscon shooting? Listen, irrespective of whether or not violent language contributed to the decision of a disturbed individual to start shooting at people, politicians shouldn't be using that kind of language.

Yes, I know that the American political system has never been the most civil place. I mean, people used to get beaten down with canes in our senate building (during the debate on slavery). When senators couldn't get their way merely a few years ago, they'd blather on and on, wasting their time and our tax dollars in a less-than-fair tactic called a filibuster. But when you're drawing crosshairs on people's heads, using battle-ready language, and calling up images of reasons used to justify the Holocaust, something has gone horribly wrong.

It's not that Republicans are wrong, and Democrats are right, or vice versa. It's that both of them need to simmer down and do some serious self examination. Sure, in this country we have the right to say whatever we want to the guy across the street. But the founding fathers made sure we had these rights with the idea of common sense in mind, thank you Mr. Paine. Shouldn't common sense and self-control keep our politicians' words in check?

Apparently not. Next time an election comes up, pay close attention to the kind of rhetoric your favorite candidate uses. If they can't be civil, they're not getting my vote.

End of rant.

I'm taking 16 credits this semester (down from 19), most of which are writing-intensive, so my amount of writing I'm getting done on work that I want to do is going to suffer. I will at least have time for editing the book into publishable shape by April, I hope.

On to immense loads of writing homework. You may continue with your lives.

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