Italian Folk Music's last waltz

Excuse the mixed imagery in the title.

I have my new blog up. I'm still working out the kinks. I'll be posting there from now on, and it'll be a little bit different. Maybe a bit more formal. The address is:

Bookmark it. Read it.

posted, with grace and poise, by Jason @ 10/09/2007 12:11:00 AM, ,

My new 'blog home

Now that the year o' 'blog (and subsequent silence after said year o') is over, I realized that--hey--I want to write reviews again.

AS I SEE FIT, that is. There won't be any time or length constraints, though I won't ramble on and on as I did back in the Xanga days. I plan on making a review-only Wordpress site. I won't post 'personal' rants at all. Just reviews, maybe some film/music/lit/theater news.

I'm looking for a good name, since I'm going out of my way to erase the whole wordsampersand moniker (I think Jeff Tweedy might sue anyway).

Keep posted.

posted, with grace and poise, by Jason @ 9/19/2007 09:28:00 PM, ,

Day 365-- fin

My pal Andy Whitman, one of my favorite writers, posted something great on his 'blog. Why not close out the Year O' 'Blog with it?

He's responding to the argument that while high-church traditions have produced great art (and artists, especially writers), evangelicals have nothing. Keep in mind this is a position that I used to hold. Says Whitman:

Look, I love Flannery O'Connor as much as anyone. Kate will attest that I lobbied long and hard to name our first-born daughter Flannery in honor of Ms. O’Connor. She and the other High Church literary cherubim and seraphim – Graham Greene, Walker Percy, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien – have enriched my life tremendously. But Percy, the most contemporary of those writers, has been dead for fifteen years, and O'Connor, Greene, Lewis and Tolkien were writing fifty or more years ago. And you know what? In the intervening half century, evangelicals have actually produced some worthwhile work. Two of the most celebrated Christian novelists working today, Marilynne Robinson and Leif Enger, are writing from a decidedly evangelical perspective. Enger's Peace Like a River was named the 2002 Book of the Year in the L.A. Times, and was lauded in almost every review. Robinson's latest novel Gilead won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005. This does not suck. And when you add in contemporaries such as Frederick Buechner, Annie Dillard, John Updike, and Anne Lamott, who really don't fit into either the High Church or the Evangelical categories, it seems fairly clear to me that non-liturgical, non-High Church Christians have as much of an impact on literature as their High Church contemporaries, and maybe more. And the odds are even more lopsided in the popular music world, where it is evangelicals like U2 and Sufjan Stevens who have arguably released some of the best and most popular albums created from a Christian worldview. In other words, the argument in Touchstone was valid thirty years ago. It doesn’t apply now, and it hasn't been true for a long time.

And he's right. The article he is responding also mentions that evangelicals--when they do try to make art--tend to use it solely as a propaganda tool. And this isn't exactly true either; while there are certainly evangelicals that do this, there are many that don't (and many High Church/Emerging Church/etc. that make bad bad art).

What is comes down to is this: regardless of traditions, Christians need to strive to glorify God in all they do. Art, yes--but also doing taxes, making coffee, interacting with neighbors, running. Even 'blogging.

posted, with grace and poise, by Jason @ 9/05/2007 11:51:00 PM, ,

Day 364-- three things

1) Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band have a new album--Magic--coming out the beginning of October. Despite missteps over the years, Bruce has always been one of my favorite songwriters. The first single from the album ("Radio Nowhere") is fairly solid too...repetitive, but in a good way.

2) This website keeps track of how many miles you run, walk and bike each day and then simulates you traveling across the nation on a real trail. So far I've only cracked four miles on the TransAmerica route. I'm racing a few friends (virtually), and the loser ends up buying beers/meals for the winners. I have a feeling I'll be buying some beers/meals.

3) Tomorrow is the last day of my Year O' 'Blog. Weird.

posted, with grace and poise, by Jason @ 9/04/2007 11:47:00 PM, ,

Day 363-- Auralia's Colors out Tuesday!

Jeffrey Overstreet's debut novel will be released tomorrow (well, today now I guess).

Jeff is a film critic for Christianity Today. He's also written for Books & Culture, Paste magazine and some other great publications (he has some fantastic music reviews up on Phantom Tollbooth). Jeff also posts frequently on the Arts and Faith forum, and he's also a great guy (culture.ish. is running the first part of an interview I had with him next issue).

But this isn't why you should check it out--check it out because it's pretty dang good. He's been getting great pre-release press from some reliable sources. Check out the book's hub, where you can read the first chapter, check out the 'blog Jeffrey kept during the writing/publish process, or order it.

posted, with grace and poise, by Jason @ 9/03/2007 11:12:00 PM, ,

Day 362

Here's a simple question: how much does a book's cover or overall design factor into you purchasing it? Explain.

posted, with grace and poise, by Jason @ 9/03/2007 12:15:00 AM, ,

Day 361-- two good articles

The death of the book review.

The value of fiction, by John Piper (with Flannery O'Connor quotes).

posted, with grace and poise, by Jason @ 9/02/2007 12:30:00 AM, ,

Day 360-- Nickelback

Every time I hear a Nickelback song, I think, "These guys are funny. They keep on making music that no one could possibly like!"

But as I look around, I realize that people DO like them. And then I get sad, maybe a little angry. If I found out a friend liked Nickelback, I'd probably experience confusion or befuddlement before feeling sorry for them. Maybe I'd get mad at my friend, and then maybe they wouldn't be my friend anymore. Which would be OK; that would mean less Nickelback around me.

posted, with grace and poise, by Jason @ 9/01/2007 01:08:00 AM, ,