And Another Thing…

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Is Bruce too “subversive” or just too old?

220px-bruce_springsteen_front.jpgClear Channel, the corporate radio hogs who insure that as little interesting music as possible gets on the radio, have issued a ban on on all songs off of Bruce Springsteen’s new album, Magic.  CC has shown a political bias in the past, banning artists that have been critical of the Bush administration. However, I can’t help but wonder if this decision was made simply because they believe that Bruce, at 58, is too old to catch on with kids nowadays (the 500,000+ copies of Magic that have already sold notwithstanding).  “Y’know, cause, he has like grey hair and wrinkles and stuff…and some of his band members are like, totally bald.”

 I have only heard one song off of the album, “Radio Nowhere,” but I have to say that it rocks hard and that Bruce and the E Street Band sound better than they have in years. Maybe CC finds these lyrics from “Radio Nowhere” unsuitable for mass consumption:

I was tryin’ to find my way home
But all I heard was a drone
Bouncing off a satellite
Crushin’ the last lone American night
This is radio nowhere, is there anybody alive out there?

A subtle jab at Clear Channel? One can’t help but wonder. I saw Bruce and the boys at the Capital Centre in 1988, and they blew the roof off of the place. Bruce gives 110% in his shows, and his band has the type of sound that you only hear from people who have played together for years. Many people have compared his concerts to a religious revival, and I don’t think that comparison is off-base at all. 

Let’s face it, no matter what your taste, free radio nowadays sucks. While CC and it’s affiliates clog the airwaves with the under-dressed tart or pretty-boy of the month, people who are trying to produce music with a longer shelf-life than one week are getting squeezed off of the air. Thank heaven for the Internet…otherwise, none of us would ever hear anything new and interesting.

Mark Elrod has an interesting take on this at the Lame-O-Weblog. Check it out.

Filed under: Music, Rants, , , ,

Reproductive Chaos and doubt

Monday night in my Child Welfare class we had a guest lecturer; a lawyer who specializes in child protection. She gave an informative (yet disturbing) presentation on how the law works (or doesn’t) to protect children. After telling us about a teen-aged girl who was impregnated by her father and a crack whore who had 4 children born by 4 different men (all 4 kids born addicted), she made the following statement:

“I am the biggest libertarian you will ever meet. But after 11 years of handling abuse cases I have come to believe that some people should not reproduce, and I believe that these people should be prevented from doing so.”

I think that she was speaking (mostly) in jest. Her comment has been eating away at me since she said it. Truth be told, some of the biggest challenges to my faith are some of the people that God allows to reproduce. Everybody knows that the environment that children grow up in has a profound effect on the adults they turn out to be. So why does God allow sterility/infertility in responsible, productive people who could provide stable, nurturing homes while people who couldn’t care for a goldfish manage to reproduce like rabbits?  I am not being elitist; I don’t believe that a person needs to be educated and/or wealthy to be a good parent. But we all know that criminals and damaged people don’t come out of a vacuum. And often (but not always) their parents played a part in who they turned out to be.

I realize that sometimes these things turn out for the good. A year ago two dear friends of mine adopted a baby from a teen-aged mother; a happy ending born from two bad situations (an unwanted pregnancy for the birth mother, the inability to conceive children for the couple). But it seems that these good outcomes are exceptions. Or maybe I’m just feeling cynical.

I don’t mean to be a downer, but this stuff weighs terribly on me sometimes. I am sharing it because, as I have said before, blogging is my substitute for therapy. A couple of questions for believers: What do you see in the world that challenges your faith? What do you do when your faith is challenged like this?

Filed under: Faith and Religion, Politics, Rants, School, , , ,

I think that I know what I want for Christmas…

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Filed under: Uncategorized, , ,

Yet another concert and more school goodness

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Sunday night Christine and I got to see Marshall Crenshaw (see link under Artists & Bands I Dig to the right) at Jammin Java. She bought the tickets back in September for my birthday. Our friends Matt and Laurie were able to join us for a great evening.

Readers over 30 may remember when Crenshaw broke big back in 1982. He had one huge single and two smaller hits off of his first album (pictured above), “Someday, Someway,” (the huge one), “Something’s Gonna Happen,” and “There She Goes Again.” He has not broken the Top 40 since then, but he has been steadily productive and maintained a loyal fan base. Sunday night he dusted off his classics, including the tunes listed above as well as “Whenever You’re On My Mind,” “What Do You Dream Of?” and “Cynical Girl”. He played some choice covers, including Merle Haggard’s “Silver Wings” and an obscure rockabilly number called (i’m not kidding) “The Girl on Death Row”. He kept the crowd stomping, clapping, and singing along.

For the life of me, I don’t know why Crenshaw never made it any bigger than he did. His songs are catchy, smart, and fun; they are easy to sing along or dance to. He is a fine singer and creative guitarist. It may be that he has always been a little out of step with what is fashionable in music. The interesting artists of the 80s were overwhelmed by hair metal. In the 90s, the masses became obsessed with grunge. As always, the music industry punishes people who try to make interesting music without paying homage to the style and trend gods. Such is life. If you want more info about Crenshaw, visit his page. 

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I gave a presentation in all 3 of my classes at grad school, and I am truly sick of my own voice. In Child Welfare my partner and I spoke on the topic of community outreach to families and children. The main lesson we (and hopefully our audience) took away is that outreach works best as a preventative measure. We found a wide variety of innovative programs to at-risk youth and their families that can hopefully prevent or minimize the kinds of crises that can wreck families. We also found that the Child Welfare League of America is currently leading the way in outreach. If you have any interest in these issues, check their site; and if any readers are interested, I will elaborate on this further.

In the Research class my team and I……..snore…..oh sorry, I drifted off. I’ll spare you, gentle reader. Finally, in Disorders I gave my Diagnosis Hollywood presentation, and my brother Kelly guessed it right; I diagnosed the character of Bud White from L.A. Confidential. I actually enjoyed preparing this assignment as it gave me an excuse to watch one of my favorite movies again and the opportunity to apply some of what I am learning. Best of all, the professor did not eat my lunch in front of the class, which is always a good thing.

By the way, if any of you have read George Will’s recent op-ed piece about indoctrination in schools of social work, don’t worry about me. I have never claimed to be the smartest cat around, but I always have and always will think for myself. Going through a social work program is like going to any other liberal arts program; you take the meat and leave the bones. While Will has shown some insight from time to time, on this matter he doesn’t know what he is talking about.

Filed under: Music, Politics, School, , , , , , ,

The Greatest Radio Commercial, Ever.

Back in the day, DJs were paid big money to hock all sorts of thing while they were on the air. This little gem, featuring the legendary John R, is one of the finest examples of that particular business practice.  This is a track off Vol. 2 of Night Train to Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues: 1945 – 1970 (and I highly recommend both volumes for fans of rhythm & blues). Enjoy…and if you got soul, let the whole world know about it! 

Filed under: Music, , , ,

Edu-ma-cational Interlude #1

A few posts back when I stated that my blogging ways would be declining due to my workload at school, John Dobbs asked me to post tidbits that I picked up in my coursework here and there that might be of interest to readers at large. And really, who can say “no” to John Dobbs? In light of that, I will occasionally drop some info on those who pass through here. The information will be broken up by course and/or topic.

Child Welfare

There are a lot more children who meet the criteria for being at-risk than any of us would like to think. What are these children at-risk of?A short list would include: being verbally, physically, or sexually abused; using drugs and engaging in criminal activity (both of these at younger and younger ages), being neglected, pregnancy, and getting lost in the system (perpetually in foster care or juvenile detention).  Most Social service networks are woefully lacking in resources to address this in a meaningful way. One of the more appalling examples of this that I know of is a county that has used up all of their resources for housing children who are removed from their homes. As a result, these kids (who have already been victimized) are being warehoused (there is really no other word for it) in juvenile detention. Shocked yet?

One of the books assigned for this course is the novel America, by E.R. Frank. If you want to see a worst-case scenario of what can happen to a kid in the system, read it. It rattled my cage.

I am preparing a presentation on community outreach efforts for at-risk children. If you want to know more, stay tuned.

Mental, Emotional, & Behavioral Disorders

Having worked with clients with mental illness, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse issues for over 7 years, some of this is old-hat to me. However, the new stuff is (to me, at least) fascinating. A two-point summary: (1) We still don’t know much about disorders, and (2) it is critical to ask your doctor a lot of questions about any medication that he/she prescribes, especially if it is a psychotropic medication. It is your right and you would be astonished at the side effects of a lot of these drugs.

I am preparing a fun assignment for this class called Diagnosis: Hollywood. We have to select a character from a movie who exhibits behavior indicating a mental health diagnosis, identify the diagnosis, and make a presentation to the class justifying our diagnosis with clips from the film and criteria from volume four of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (a.k.a the DSM IV). I will give you a hint as to my character and movie: He is played by Russell Crowe, but the movie is not A Beautiful Mind. More as it develops.

Research for Social Work Practice

I have learned that I hate statistics. With a passion.

Take care and have a good week.

Filed under: School, , , , , ,

Two more quick hits

Now your computer can tell you who to vote for! This site has a questionnaire that you can fill out and then ranks all of the candidates in both parties according to how they line up with your answers. I won’t share my results or ask anyone else to. I will advise that you take it no more seriously than anything else that you get off of the internet.

The picture below cracked me up. Don’t blog if you can’t have a sense of humor about it. Thanks to Jason for the photo.

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Filed under: Politics, Quick Hits, , ,

Quick hits

Christine and I had a great (albeit short) trip up north. We did get to see a lot of her family last Thursday when her parents hosted a party for her grandmother’s 85th (!) birthday. I would like for us to do half as well as her grandparents when we hit that age. They have been married 63 years…I hope it works out. Kristin and Rory’s wedding was beautiful, with a great homily by their pastor. Christine did a great job on her toast at the reception…I was very proud of her. I also got to meet many of Christine’s close friends from college who couldn’t make our wedding, along with their spouses and kids.

Got to eat at the legendary Clam Box of Ipswich. Christine and I split a captain’s plate and couldn’t finish it. Some of the best seafood I have ever eaten.

This was my first fall trip to New England, and I have to say: Autumn in New England is God’s way of showing off. It is already stunning. 

Congrats to my parents on their 45th wedding anniversary! When they married at 22, Dad couldn’t afford to buy Mom an engagement ring, their wedding cost less than $100, and their honeymoon was driving to Florida and moving Mom’s meager belongings into Dad’s student housing apartment. I think they’ve done pretty well to come from such humble beginnings.

Last night I got to check out some of the new shows we DVR’ed. Bionic Woman was pretty cool, Journeyman shows promise but needs work, and Reaper was hilarious. I can’t watch Heroes until Chris is caught up on last season so we can watch it together. What are you watching, gentle readers?

Filed under: Quick Hits, , , , , ,

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