The Taser's Edge


Albums Worth Injury, Volume A

This afternoon after church, I decided to go vinyl shopping.  Instead of Nice Price Books, I headed for the nearby Books Do Furnish a Room.  (The reason?  All used book stores are hurting, but Books Do Furnish a Room seems worse off than any of them.)  There I picked up four Albums Worth Injury, albums so good that I would trade my own physical well-being to be able to listen to them.

1. Combat Rock by The Clash

Tracks you almost certainly know and which you very certainly should like: “Rock the Casbah”, “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” (and M.I.A. fans will note the opening of “Straight to Hell” from its being sampled throughout her “Paper Planes”)

Injury worth sustaining: Fall from an 18 ft. ladder onto your left ankle.

2. After the Gold Rush by Neil Young

Songs you will like if you let yourself welcome the Whiny Crooner: Multitudes.

Injury worth sustaining:  Not one but three toenails lost when a door is opened across your bare foot.

3. Band on the Run by Paul McCartney

Reason some rabid Beatles fans I know and love do not know and love this album: Unknown, but it’s definitely not a good reason.

Injury worth sustaining: Falling down four flights of stairs in an old apartment building while wearing ancient and heavy rollerskates, resulting in a broken arm and leg, as well as a neck injury.

4. Blue by Joni Mitchell

Injury worth sustaining: Being trapped in an elevator shaft filled with so many snakes that you suffocate, and then slowly being crushed into a snake-and-you puree by the descending elevator, thereafter being drained into a human shaped ice cube tray, resuscitated by a mad scientist/vivisectionist, forced to do his evil bidding, which requires all your new snake faculties, including smelling in the dark with your snakey tongue, until you are chopped to bits by a garden hoe wielded by a burly Eastern Rite Catholic priest shouting about your hideous unnatural form, brought back to life by the tears of a child who finds your pieces in the garden and truly loves you, but then eaten by a hawk, which is eaten by a carnivorous feral pig, which is eaten by a badger, which is eaten by a hippo, which is hit by a truck, stuffed with you inside it, mounted, and then destroyed in a tragic fire, after which the smoke of your body smells real bad.

Conclusion: You should listen to this album.  You should listen to all of these albums.

N.B.: All injuries worth sustaining are subject to future revision.

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Bonus: I also picked up a couple books (as it were a bookstore, after all).

1. No Bars to Manhood by Daniel Berrigan, S.J.–Radical sixties priest’s book written from his prison cell.

2. On the Geneology of Morality by Friedrich Nietzsche–I think you’ve probably heard of it, or at least the author.  The title accurately explains Nietzsche’s project in the work.



Tuesday Reading Roundup 12: Anything but School, Please Edition

1. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller–Finished it off.  Kind of like Superman finished off Batman in that brutal fight.  You’ll have to read it to believe it.  And you knew they would have to fight some time, so no whining about spoilers.  Bruce Wayne has gotten vengeful in his old age, and that just goes plumb against the American Way (at least when that vengeance is carried out by a masked vigilante).

2. A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle–The series continues as Charles Wallace saves the world from nuclear annihilation by traveling through time (via unicorn, of course, which flies on the wind, which goes where it pleases), aided by Meg, married and pregnant, kything with him the whole way.  Such good imagination at work.  Favorite scene at this moment’s recollection: seeing a baby unicorn hatch and get its first taste of moonbeams.

3. Many Waters by Madeleine L’Engle–Now the Murry twins, Sandy and Dennys, are thrown back into the time of Noah by an experiment they happen to walk into while searching for the Dutch cocoa in their mother’s lab.  Ever wondered what nephilim (see Gen. 6:1-4) were?  You are not alone, and Madeleine L’Engle has a better imagination than most of us.  Even as the wonderful imagery is still here, it seems like some of the writing is of lesser quality than the first three books.  (Although I would still be happy to claim authorship.  Well, authorship of at least some parts.)

4. Generation to Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue by Edwin H. Friedman–You know I am next-to-incapable of giving my energies to schoolwork if I can’t read this amazing and raveworthy book.  The most insightful teacher since fill-in-the-blank, and I am having to force myself through its pages.  It’s just not right.

5. On the Genealogy of Morals by Frederich Nietzsche–We only read a couple chapters for my Hauerwas class, but I think I might be in love.  Such a lively writer, and he doesn’t take himself so seriously that he can’t have fun.  (Refreshing, especially after Kant.)  My take-away: here is an atheist who really seems to understand the interior of Christianity and then reject it on its own terms.  I can respect that, truly.  While I admit I haven’t read the most recent crop of atheists (Dawkins, Hitchens, et al.), I think they would have a hard time keeping up with Nietzsche.  His strength is that he takes Christianity seriously; from my admittedly little contact with videos of more recent atheists, they fail to do so, and so fail to move the conversation forward.  One more thing: no matter how badly misread or misused by the Nazi agenda, it is hard to read this philosopher on this side of the Third Reich (and the horrors of the 20th century in general) without at least wondering what part his ideas, and ideas like his, played.