"Disorder in the house. . . reptile wisdom . . . zombies on the lawn, staggering around; Disorder in the house, there's a flaw in the system, a fly in the ointment's gonna bring the whole thing down."
Warren Zevon

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Live From The Handlebar 

Sometime in the spring of 1998, I was at House of Blues in Myrtle Beach for an Edwin McCain Show, and while I can't really say I remember much about the headliner, I can certainly remember the opening act. And what I most recall was the way a lone performer with a low slung acoustic guitar and a knit cap completely obscuring his face, took the stage and completely mesmerized a group of several thousand drunk college kids who'd been listening to piped in rock music for hours. This guy literally pounded his guitar, and from the first chords, the audience was hooked. I remember standing at the bar watching the crowd being drawn closer and closer to the stage as he played. The musician's name was Angie Aparo, although at the time, I mistakenly thought it was Angie Carroll, which probably says something about my sobriety.

Still, I wasn't so drunk that I couldn't recognize a great performance, and off and on for the next six years I've tried in vain to find any information about an Angie Carrol from Atlanta, Georgia. Confident that a musician of his caliber was still playing, I scoured the internet again over the weekend, and discovered that Atlanta singer/songwriter Angie Aparo bore a remarkable physical resemblance to man I saw on stage back in 1998. After checking out his discography, I knew I'd found him.

And, through the invaluable Live Music Archive, I also found several of his live performances, which although based around different material, are every bit as good as what I heard that night. Angie's studio recordings are also excellent, although I must confess I prefer his live recordings, especially those as a solo artist. And while I can't find performances dating from the time period of the one I remember, I have found several good ones, including a show at The Handlebar in Greenville, South Carolina, from June of 2004. You're listening to "Broken," and the whole show is available in lossless format here.

Trials and Tribulations 

Civil trials, that is, and they've pretty much shut down my blogging for the past month. Faithful Progressive has the same problem from time to time, but it really doesn't seem to materially limit his consistently excellent posts. When my trial schedule is as heavy as it has been recently, I barely have time to read, much less write. I do usually find time to read Faithful Progressive, though, and I'm always rewarded.

As to tribulations, well, death threats certainly qualify, but the cyber dust up between Jesus' General and "Iron Fist" and/or his Little Green Football buddies, is more amusing than anything else. Not as amusing, however, as the photograph that started it all, which depicts possibly "Iron Fist," possibly another Charles Johnson groupie, in full faux biker regalia. As one of the General's commenters notes, judging from the lighting, the scene was captured in a rather well-heeled bar. Good thing, because if "Iron Fist" or anyone else showed up with that vest in any of the biker bars in my neck of the woods, where real colors are worn, they'd be leaving in a body bag.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Down To The Well 

When I've been away from blogging for a week or so due to work, I always read the last several days' posts from The Sideshow to catch up. There is no question that Jim Henley is right when he says that Avedon Carol is the "single best portal into liberal blogging."

In the past several weeks, though, she's gone to the well for some great material of her own. Read for example "Unconstitutional," her excellent post on religion, conservative politics, and the recent Supreme Court arguments involving the display of the Ten Commandments on state property.

Referring to Justice Antonin Scalia's statement that the Ten Commandments are a reminder that "government derives it's authority from God," Avedon writes:

"Alas, I often get the feeling that the definition of a "conservative judge" is one who doesn't regard the law as relevant to the outcome he seeks. I know this is what right-wingers like to suggest is true of liberal judges when they talk about "judicial activism", but it's always been clear that this claim of a concern over method is just a means to obscure the fact that they are concerned over the outcome of the individual cases. Much like the "states' rights" argument, a veil over out-and-out racism, it's all double-talk so we won't notice that what bugs them isn't corruption of process but just getting outcomes they don't like."

Couldn't have said so better myself.

Privatizing Jesus 

While Bush want to privatize everything from the National Park Service to Social Security, Fred Clark thinks Bush's Christian conservative supporters want to privatize Jesus. Maybe he has a point.

Plenty of people, including me, have commented on the fact that the majority of Christian conservatives exhibit a worldview which somehow completely filters out the Biblical focus on social justice. Clark, however, correctly points out that even those who hear the message on a personal level manage to achieve a sort of political disconnect which allows them to support an administration that submits a morally abhorrent budget, cuts social programs, offers tax cuts to the rich, and passes truly horrible legislation like the recent Bankruptcy "Reform" Act.

Clark's particularly apt case-in-point is Rick Warren's recent appearance on Larry King Live, in which Warren addresses concerns of poverty and social justice in the context of Psalm 72. While Psalm 72 deals rather unambiguously with Godly principles for earthly governance, Warren, the author of the emormously successful book "The Purpose-Driven Life," speaks of the Psalm in terms of himself, as a pastor, and as an individual. As Clark notes, while a personal application of the teachings of Psalm 72 is laudable, (especially in Warren's case), the text is clearly a directive to a worldly "king" to govern with justice, to "defend the cause of the poor of the people," and to "give deliverance to the needy." Efforts to address poverty and social injustice on a personal level are insufficient; the true Christian also supports a Godly government.

Clark then correctly observes that such a personal focus is a hallmark not only of Warren's brand of evangelicalism, but of "American-style Christianity" as a whole, as is evidenced by the requirement that one must accept Jesus as one's "personal savior." Clark's quip that this terminology was developed after "privatized savior" didn't poll well is both memorable and insightful, and I must agree with his observation that "privatized savior" is probably the more appropriate term given the typical political leanings of today's conservative Christians.

If you don't read Slacktivist, you should, and Psalm 72 is a good place to start. Then move on to his continuing series on the LaHaye "Left Behind" novels. Read him every day. Good stuff.
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