Archive for May, 2008

The Lexicon of Intentionally Ambiguous Recommendations

“He has the mental faculties of a man twice his age.”

“I would place him in the top 95 percent of students that I’ve taught over the years.”

“I would say that his real talent is getting wasted at his current job.”


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David Karsten Daniels’ Fear of Flying is a beautiful, biting and bright set of meditations on death and dying, and the self and its source somewhere in that process. It’s no goth infatuation with the abyss; it’s full of the wonder and fear of the way of all things, growing old, facing the realities of life and love as they are confronted by an inevitable end point. There is hope even in the dark, and a range of sincere responses throughout, including some stark dealings with false or failed attempts to bear the mystery of beginning and ending together. I don’t know of anything else like it in terms of the subject matter, and Daniels continues the haunted south-ern, transcendent, earthy, drawly, injured jubilee sound that Sharp Teeth set out. I’m still chewing on this one.

I’m really excited by what Ben Sollee’s If You’re Gonna Lead My Country EPette gives me to imagine he might bring with his upcoming release. (Learning to Bend arrives June 10). This little glimpse offers a combo of some of my favorite things, including soul and cello, on two great songs. I’m on the edge of my seat for more.

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Julian of Norwich asked three things of God: a sympathetic vision of Christ’s suffering; an encounter with debilitating physical illness to facilitate pure worship and nearness to God; and “three wounds” described here:

These two desires of the Passion and the sickness I desired with a condition, saying thus: Lord, Thou knowest what I would,—if it be Thy will that I have it—; and if it be not Thy will, good Lord, be not displeased: for I will nought but as Thou wilt.

For the Third [petition], by the grace of God and teaching of Holy Church I conceived a mighty desire to receive three wounds in my life: that is to say, the wound of very contrition, the wound of kind compassion, and the wound of steadfast longing toward God. And all this last petition I asked without any condition.

These two desires aforesaid passed from my mind, but the third dwelled with me continually.

Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love, Chapter II


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Today is Julian of Norwich’s feast day in the Anglican and Lutheran calendars. But I haven’t gotten anything together to write about that. But, don’t worry, all shall be well, because I can celebrate it Tuesday with the Roman Catholics.

In the meantime, here’s David Karsten Daniels driving around Austin singing a song I like. He was born in Lubbock, and he’s all bald and beardy, so I’m fer ‘im.

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A little poking around, and here’s Son de Madera, the group (including Ramon Gutierrez) appearing in yesterday’s video of Quetzal,

Quetzal’s Martha Gonzales with Son de Madera and Zack de la Rocha of Rage Against the Machine (“Latino con afro”),

(apologies for poor quality; it’s merely a witness that such a thing took place.)

and a sweet little compilation of clips from Quetzal at the El Ray

for good measure. I’d love to see these folks out of the Tube.

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Cinco de Mayo!


Might require an extended siesta. But bite off a chunk if you’ve got some time. The whole band comes out to open with Candil Candelario at about 11:00. Quetzal es muy bueno.

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Hard to believe you can get a crowd these days at an event called “Bible Lectures,” but it’s a great week around here for seeing folks you love to see and hearing folks who’ve given some thought to what matters. Highlight of the week so far was a few nights ago when a coupla ministers from Uganda received an honor. Before a predominantly white crowd of over 2000 (preacher’s guess), a Ugandan woman stepped to the microphone and stretched her arms out. She said something like (feel free to correct me if you were there): “When Jesus stretched his arms out on the cross, he brought together Jews and Gentiles, Africans and Americans, black Americans and white Americans.” As the respected speaker who followed her on the text “love your enemies” acknowledged, he got out-preached. It just matters who says it.

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