Monday, January 30, 2006

The Catholic Worker

Originally uploaded by daseinschockrock.
Last night Carmen Trotta, from the New York Catholic Worker, came to speak to a group of graduate and law students from NYU and other nearby universities. While his speech wasn't necessarily the best, often times drifting off for several minutes before coming back to focus, I must say that I am and have always been impressed by this organization.

Founded on May Day of 1933 by Dorothy Day, the Catholic Worker began as a newspaper and grew into ministry for the homeless that remains unrivaled. Day was a complex woman: a pacifist, an anarchist, and a devout Catholic. She sought to realize Christ's calling to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, and care for the sick by serving them on a one-on-one basis. Drawn to working class politics in her early adult life and brought into the faith later on, her conscience was informed equally by the radical politics that were current in Greenwich Village at the time and the message of compassion preached throughout the Gospels. Dorothy Day was no "social Gospel" preacher, rather she found that social action was the logical outcome of orthodox Catholic teaching. It is this logical outcome that continues to be the driving force behind the Catholic Worker to this day. With well over one hundred "houses of hospitality" throughout the United States, the Catholic Worker shines as an example of what can happen when politics become personal and when the Gospel becomes real and concrete. The paper continues to be published in New York City and tackles issues of social concern as well as important religious topics.

The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us? --Dorothy Day

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Lunar New Year

Originally uploaded by daseinschockrock.
Just wanted to show off this picture of paper raining from the sky in Chinatown. May not be as cool as what Tyler gets to witness in Vietnam, but we're rockin the year of the dog stateside as well.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Girls' Night Out

Kaleena and Clare hung out last night, which meant that I would be figuring out plans for myself to give them a little girl time. I ended up meeting up with Tom and some of his friends on the Lower East Side around 9:00. It was Tom, his roommate Sonia, his friend from Notre Dame Matt, Matt's girlfriend Somethingerother, and the girlfriend's roommate Whatsherface. Somethingerother and Whatsherface told us all about their third roommate who apparently has some issues.
1.She does not flush the toilet. Ever.
a.Upon being asked about her flushing habits she insists that she does indeed flush and becomes offended that it would even be brought up.
2.Besides not flushing, she uses copius amounts of toilet paper each time she tinkles.
a.This toilet paper does not always make it in the toilet, so besides the pile of TP in the bowl that Somethinerother is greeted with each time she enters their shared bathroom, she must also face small pieces of used tissue on the floor of said restroom.
b.The non-flusher is also quite cheap and refuses to buy new toilet paper.
(1).She now uses Whatsherface's bathroom in the basement.
(a).As a result of this, Whatsherface now hides her toilet paper under her bed.
3.This last one has thus far been limited to a single occurance but still merits mentioning. She has eaten other people's leftovers that were placed in the fridge for safekeeping. Note:These were not Whatsherface or Somethingerother's leftovers, they were a friend's. Furthermore, she only ate the shrimp out of the leftovers, leaving a very confused friend upon receipt of shrimp-free viddles.

Anyway, I just thought this was a very odd living situation and deserved to be written about to be read by the masses. Alright masses, enjoy.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Myth and Ritual in Christianity, cont'd.

I finished the book a few minutes ago. Overall, a worthwhile read -- and one that can be done in about a day if you set aside the time. Real quick read, but a lot of substance there. Like I said, some good stuff and a lot of trash. The main problem is that he wants to shape Christian mythology into a universal mythology. Watts insists that because similar motifs exist in mythologies around the world, they must be identical and all contain (the same) truth. He never says this, in fact he denies it. He explicitly states that Christianity is not Judaism, Hinduism, or Buddhism. Yet, time and again he attempts to make it adhere to a particular standard. Constantly criticizing "Western man" Watts tries to construct an image of the Christian mythos that is in fact identical to the Hindu and Buddhist myths. I agree that there are similar motifs, and that these motifs might perhaps be inherent in human psychology, but just because the mythology of (orthodox) Christianity does not line up with the Eastern mythologies does not mean that either one is necessarily on the right track or contains eternal truth. I happen to believe that one of these mythologies does indeed contain Truth, but that is not the necessary outcome of motifs and images. Watt's explanation is in the end an oversimplification that simultaneously demands too much and too little of various mythologies. However, like I had previously noted, many of his insights into Christian mythology, especially the correlations with Hebraic thought are quite helpful. Furthermore, his insistance on Christianity as a mystical religion rather than a scientific one echoes the demands of many Christian mystics over the centuries, as well as modern writers like Kierkegaard. In the end, I would recommend the book to anyone looking for a deeper look at the living mythology of Christianity -- as long as they don't mind wading through a bit of opinion and assumption along the way.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Myth and Ritual in Christianity

I am currently reading this book by Alan Watts. I think he has a lot of good things to say; unfortunately, a lot of this is mixed in with a bunch of garbage. He presents a good outline of Christian mythology and the importance of ritual (specifically the liturgical calendar). The problems arise with the interjections of his own opinion (which has been informed by Freudian psychoanalysis [despite his rejection of Freud] and a notion of some sort of universal mythology). For this reason he often tries to "correct" Christian mythology or read things into it that just are not there. One example of this is his insistance on the divinity of Mary. While Christianity has long accepted the mother of Jesus the human being to also be the mother of Jesus the second person of the Holy Trinity, there is no reason for this to mean that Mary herself was divine. Simply put, it is simply required by the doctrine of the Incarnation. Mary must be theotokos if she is also to bear Christ's humanity; this is simply the result of the fact that Christ has two natures (human and divine) but only one person. He also locates her divinity in the fact that from before the beginning Mary was set aside for the purpose of bringing the second person of the Trinity into time. From this, Watts assumes that Mary has eternally existed and is thus divine, either another person of the Trinity or part of the eternal Logos. I cannot find this understanding anywhere in Christian thought. If Watts wants this to be a part of Christian mythology then it must be a real part of it. If the belief never existed, and in fact never even crossed the mind of any early Christians (except as a blasphemy to be condemned), then it cannot be a part of the Christian myth. He insists that the Christian myth is part of a larger metamyth that always contains a divine Marian figure, but I just can't see the evidence for this. Anyway, hopefully more later (do I always say that?).

Sunday, January 22, 2006

new new look

thanks to a remark by some random guy, i changed the banner again. hope you like it.

updated look

umi has a new snazzy look, including a hip banner with my mug on it. in addition to this new look, exegesis and explication has been deleted. the thirty tyrants project has been abandoned for the time being. this should hopefully allow for me to focus more on publishing here. alright.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


so, adrian decided to have people post playlists to his blog. i have decide to post my explanation for choosing the songs on my playlist right here. it was not an attempt to assemble a list of my favorite songs of all time; rather, i simply wanted to create a somewhat coherent group of songs that would be a bit of a blessing to the listener.

1. Golden Brown - The Stranglers
best song about heroin ever. terrific waltzy sound from an otherwise lackluster band.
2. Dance Music - The Mountain Goats
off of what i believe to be john darnielle's best album. this song captures his childhood/adolescence in under two minutes. simple, but beautiful. features the following stanza:
i'm in the living room
watching the watergate hearings
while my stepfather yells at my mother
launches a glass across the room
straight at her head
and i dash upstairs to take cover
lean in close to my little record player on the floor
so this is what the volume knob's for
i listen to dance music
dance music

3. We're Not Deep - The Housemartins
definitely my favorite housemartins song. often called "the happy man's smiths," i think they were much more than that. crafting three minute pop gems is a real talent. great social commentary doesn't often come in this format, but these boys seem to pull it off quite well.
4. Suedehead - Morrissey
why not?
5. Tout Le Monde - The Reindeer Section
a bit of a scottish all-star band, the reindeer section really is incredible. this song is probably their most rocking effort, and i applaud it. the buildup lasts just about the whole song. simple, gorgeous vocals. french song titles just do it for me.
6. Life in a Northern Town - The Dream Academy
this song has haunted me for years. let it do the same for you.
7. Names - Cat Power
speaking of haunting. the piano in this song sends chills down my spine. the same goes for chan marshall's voice. probably the saddest song i've ever heard.
8. Everybody's Happy Nowadays - The Buzzcocks
from haunting to irresistably catchy. the buzzcocks are one of those bands that you just cannot dislike. i think this song really shows what they are capable of. fast. fun. silly accents. i love it.
9. Corduroy - The Wedding Present
the best song ever written. i mean it.
10. Faster - Manic Street Preachers
i first heard this song in the eighth grade. i've been a fan of the manics ever since. while not necessarily their best song, it is definitely the one that will always stick with me. a good introduction to their stuff, while not necessarily typical of their sound (if they do indeed have one).
11. The Shy Retirer - Arab Strap
drum machine? acoustic guitar? cello? yes please. the opening track to monday at the hug & pint is glorious. more upbeat in sound than most of arab strap's music, the lyrics are still as heartfelt and melancholy as ever. danceably depressing.
12. Invincible - OK Go
i actually just heard this band for the first time last week. they had me from the opening riff. this band = rock n roll.
When they finally come to destroy the earth they’ll have to deal with you first
And my money says they won’t know about the 1000-Fahrenheit hot metal lights behind your eyes

13. Liberation Frequency - Refused
the greatest hardcore band of all time. listen to this song and you'll see why.
14. Now I'm All Over The Shop - Maximo Park
of all the silly xtc ripoff bands out there right now (dogs die in hot cars, futureheads....ok two others), these guys are the ones that got it right. surprisingly, they're the one band that's not actually from glasgow. great melody. awesome stop and starts. quirky and loveable.
15. Straight To Hell - The Clash
this was my favorite song when i was seventeen years old. it is definitely still up there. easily my favorite clash song. interesting sound. great lyrics. strummer and the boys at their best.
Can you really cough it up loud and strong
The immigrants
They wanna sing all night long
It could be anywhere
Most likely could be any frontier
Any hemisphere
No man’s land and there ain’t no asylum here
King solomon he never lived round here

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

what now

i have finished my masters degree. not really sure what this means. all i know is that i am massively in debt, overeducated, and underemployed. yep.