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Jeff Kolb

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About Jeff Kolb

  • Rank
    Existential Interpersonal Benevolant Ruler
  • Birthday 12/18/1979

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Profile Information

  • Location
    Geneva, Switzerland
  • Interests
    film, physics, rock climbing, Ruth, reading, choral singing, hiking, Tolkien

Previous Fields

  • Occupation
    physicist
  • About my avatar
    Thomas Tallis (I like Renaissance music...and I kind of look like Tallis).
  • Favorite movies
    Apocalypse Now Blue Magnolia The Seventh Seal American Beauty The Fellowship of the Ring Amelie The Shawshank Redemption Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Brazil
  • Favorite music
    Over the Rhine Townes VanZandt David Wilcox Tori Amos Gillian Welch Josh Ritter Nick Drake 16 Horsepower/David Eugene Edwards Iron and Wine Tom Waits Palestrina Chopin Bruckner Tchaikovsky Rachmaninov Durufle Poulenc
  • Favorite creative writing
    Rainier Marie Rilke T. S. Eliot Pablo Neruda J. R. R. Tolkien C. S. Lewis David James Duncan George MacDonald Frederick Buechner Kathleen Norris
  1. Joe Henry - Reverie

    I have a lot of work to do on this album, as with every Henry album. But that's the fun part. The first thing that really caught my ear is the lack of straightforward tunefulness[\i] and clean tonality. Tiny Voices provided a shimmering polish atop what was essentially a pop sonority, admittedly amidst some wonderful clanking and crashing backdrops. Bloods From Stars was similarly approachable, harmonically speaking, with a musical familiarity that was only slightly twisted by Ribot's atonality and Henry's nasal swoops and slides. In contrast, I find Reverie quite a bit more rickety, tonally and otherwise. There's a dirtiness and nakedness to the sound that is new (although I don't know Scar or Civilians). I like it. But it will take some time to get that sound into my ear.
  2. Violet Burning/Prayer Chain

    I was digging through some old stuff the other day and found (among many surprising and poignant items) a large collection of True Tunes News mags...including the one with TPC on the cover. While I rarely listen to much from that era of my taste, Mercury is one of the very, very few that I actually go back to. In hindsight, the wandering, epic 'Sky High' is a standout. Also, 'Bendy Line' is just really cool. Other albums from my days in that alternative christian music ghetto that, for whatever reason, bear the weight of time and still occasionally get played: - Springchamber (both ), - a few of Mike Knott's discs (Cash in Chaos sounds awfully good), - early OTR (duh) - Psalmus, from Jeff Johnson - Adam Again best-of: hit-and-miss but, man...they had some good ones - Daniel Amos: Songs of the Heart
  3. College Football 2011

    Yeah, I swore off college football after week one. Regretfully, - ND employee with degrees from Oregon. But don't worry, I'll be back on the wagon soon enough...
  4. Wine

    My understanding is that it all comes down to how the wines are made. A decent Meursault or almost any Montrachet will get better -- much better -- with a decade of aging. The same goes for (moving to the realm of mortal prices) an Alsacian or Pfalz Riesling. This is because those regions have a tradition of and a reputation for making wine that will age. However, if made in the popular style, white wine does tend to loose its freshness rather quickly. The primary difficulty is getting enough acidity without loosing flavor by picking too early. Red wine faces a similar problem, but the tannins play a similar role to the acid of a white, and they're a lot easier to produce in conjunction with ripe grapes.
  5. Wine

    There's a tradition in France (and elsewhere?) of buying 'birth-year wines'. These are wines from the year of a child's birth, to be drunk on special occasions throughout his/her life. Since the wine has to survive 5, 10, even 20 years, many use the birth of a child as an occasion (excuse!) to buy some really nice wine. Good idea, I thought. My daughter Eva was born in 2008. Apart from finding wines that will age, the most obvious criterion is affordability. Also, a number of the serious wine-producing regions around the world had tough seasons that year: Southern Tuscany, Champagne, Burgundy. This may be irrelevant, as I don't know that I can AFFORD much Burgundy or Champagne that will last more than 5 years! An initial thought was that it's cheaper to find a white that will last 20 years than a red. While I'm not sure if that's true, it gave me some direction. As I was in my last few weeks of living in Europe before moving back to the States. I started off thinking white northern-European stuff: Alsace, Burgundy/Chablis, Loire, Mosel. I don't really know the ageworthy whites from Italy and Spain. So, I plunked down a bunch of cash and started celebrating Eva by buying the following: 2008 Emile Beyer (producer), Riesling, Pfersigberg Grand Cru (vineyard) 2008 Henri Bourgeois (producer), Sancerre d'Antan (appellation) 2008 William Fèvre (producer), Chablis (region), Les Clos Grand Cru (vineyard) Any of these should last for 10-15 years, probably a lot more for the Riesling and the Chablis. I'd still like to pick up a few reds for the 5-10 year ageing range. Now that I'm back in the New World, I'm thinking of "buying locally". Any suggestions?
  6. Josh Ritter - So Runs the World Away

    I've been listening to this for a few months now. Josh Ritter has for quite some time been one of my favorite modern singer/songwriter types. But he lost me a bit on 'Historical Conquests', with the glaring exception of one of his best songs ever, 'The Temptation of Adam". The album as a whole just doesn't interest me that much. There's little that makes an emotional dent. My response to his new disc is similar, but there's no "Temptation..", although there are some rather poignant numbers (Change of Time, The Curse, Another New World). In fact, my strongest reaction to the album is a sort of sadness. Ritter has been questioning God since "Anne" and "Red Rainslicker". Those songs are difficult in their own way, but also gently relate-able. I find the emotional tone on "So Runs..." almost alienating, Still, Josh is best on this album when he goes for the emotional impact. "See How Man Was Made" is simply lovely. Unfortunately, there's a lot of filler. Oh well. As they say...his filler is better than many folks best work.
  7. Arvo Part

    Great to see a Part thread! I first heard his work when an Estonian choir visited my choir in Oregon and performed a few of his pieces. For a nice introduction, I recommend "Da Pacem"...a collection of works for choir and organ...including 'Da Pacem Domine', which is one of his best. While essentially a choral album, the album still demonstrates his unique approach to the organ, where the human voice and the organ seem almost to mimic one another. For those interested in sacred modern Estonian choral music , also check out Urmas Sisask. His #3 Mass is a lovely, austere thing. Modern sounding, but tonal enough for easy sight-reading. Good for a reasonably competent church choir.
  8. Wine

    Is it my wife or my donkey?
  9. House

    Exactly. This whole season has been a revival for the series, and the finale had all the makings of a classic. Still good, but an implausible ending. The writers should have known better.
  10. Wine

    Haven't posted to this thread in awhile. Here are some recent thoughts on / experiences with wine. Living in France has made me appreciate exactly how good a Bordeaux can be for less than $10 (converting from Euros, of course). There's this funny pricing structure in the French grocery stores: lots and lots of $5-10 wines, and then a fairly even selection up to ~$60. We've tried roughly 30 Bordeauxs under $10, and they range from barely drinkable to pretty darn good. But to get more than pretty-darn-good, you start to pay quite a bit more. I've had a few in $30 range than were superb...but $30. So it seems like the big French wine subsidization works only up to a point. Working in Switzerland means that we sometime shop there for wine. The French, being French, don't really sell anything but French wine. In Switzerland, you can get a good selection of Italian, Spanish, and other European wines, including Swiss wines, which are really quite good but not sold much outside the country. There's a smaller selection of South American fare and very little from North America or Australia/NZ. We've dubbed the Chivite "Gran Feudo", from Navarra in Spain, as our house wine. About $8, this is an approachable Rioja-like red that is still complex...I'll drink this any day. We (wife, 2 kids, my parents) recently stayed for a week at an agriturisimo in Tuscany. This is a working vineyard, with 4000 olive trees, and a variety of old buildings fixed up for tourists like us who don't want to be in a city and don't need a pristine hotel or swanky B&B. It was fantastic. The farm, formerly the summer estate of the Bishop of Arezzo, produced 3 nice reds: a basic rosso (no certification) for 7$, the Bishop's wine (DOC certification) for $10, and an excellent Vino Nobile de Montepulchiano (DOCG), which was a steal for $15. They also produced a dessert wine and a grappa, as well as olive oil. We found this to be the standard slate of offerings in the area: a few reds, a dessert wine, grappa, and olive oil. Our first night there, we were treated to a great tasting/snacking with the other guests, who happened to be a group of 5 German families. Good times. In the course of our trip, we visited Montalcino, known for its wonderful and expensive Brunello (brunette) di Montalcino. I've loved these wines since I first had one for a birthday back in California, at the suggestion of K&L Wines, a fine, fine shop in the Bay area (and now in Hollywood). In fact, we went searching for the particular Montalcino winery that made one of the Brunellos that I'd had. After a few miles on a windy gravel road, we turned up a long, steep driveway and pulled into a clearing next to a gorgeous Tuscan villa. A woman can out, introduced herself (in English), and asked if we wanted to come in and taste their wine. She ushered us into their living/dining room and we all took seats at the table while she called her husband down from the vineyard. The couple have named their wine Sesta di Sopra, after the local region. The symbol on their label comes from a 2000+ year old Etruscan pot found on their land. We sipped their wonderful wines (two reds), walked around the property, had a look at the cellar, and allowed the kids to pet the cats and charm the proprietors. We returned to the table for bread and olive oil, and grappa. The wine was pricy ($20 and $50) but the hospitality and the unique experience made the purchase totally worthwhile. We chatted about winemaking, farming, and grandkids. We talked about K&L, and their Italian wine buyer, who both of us know. As a parting gift, they gave us a jar of honey from friends down the road who keep bees. What a trip... Recently, I discovered the Vina Sutil operation in Chile. From a few vineyards spread throughout the country, they make a fine selection of affordable wine. And they're becoming more widely distributed. I wouldn't be surprised to find this sort of wine at Cost Plus some day. We really like their Carmenère varietal.
  11. Songs of Abject Misery

    It was my intro to the 77s, too. But I remember older fans and True Tunes and the like giving it a hard time.
  12. Songs of Abject Misery

    Oooh, good call, Crow. Remember how folks were so disappointed with that album when it came out? I've long thought that it has a few really good songs, including the two you mention.
  13. Songs of Abject Misery

    For this category, I'd go with Knott's song "Rocket and a Bomb" ahead of "Double." Nice to see that another A&F'er has heard of him, though. "Rocket and a Bomb" is probably a better song, but "Double" is so full of a certain familiar, all-too-human failure.
  14. Songs of Abject Misery

    I'll throw in a few more: Iron & Wine : Sixteen, Maybe Less -- the plodding, deliberate pace of the song kills me. And though an autumn time lullaby Sang our newborn love to sleep My brother told me he saw you there In the woods one Christmas Eve, waiting." "I met my wife at a party, when I drank too much My son is married and tells me we don't talk enough Call it predictable, yesterday my dream was of you." ...I dreamed I traveled and found you there in the woods one Christmas Eve, waiting. Over the Rhine : Happy to Be So -- can OTR really make this list? This song is a good candidate. Mike Knott : Double Tori Amos - Cloud on My Tongue, Baker Baker, China Time Thought I'd make friends with time Thougt we'd be flying Maybe not this time. Adam Again - River on Fire Emmylou Harris : Red Dirt Girl
  15. Some thoughts, 12 pages into the thread: Much of the discussion in later part of this thread has been formulated in terms of propositions based on the biblical text and our own presuppositions, and responses to other's propositions. This is, of course, the nature of debate and fine as such. In recent years, debates like this, particularly those regarding homosexuality, have left me in a frustrating tension. I find inside myself different sets of presuppositions, which lead to incompatible conclusions. For instance, the belief that the content of the bible is somehow essentially and always true (very loose definition of true) leads me to suspect that Romans 1 really does say something about homosexual sex, probably in the negative direction. Yet, my presupposition that the Holy Spirit works in my discernment leads me to hear the wisdom of my lesbian friend and to deeply appreciate the freedom that she finds here in Switzerland and in our church to live openly gay with her partner and children. So what is to be done? Well, I've been reading Richard Rohr (The Naked Now). In this book Rohr claims a few things that have been helpful to me: 1. The essence of contemplative thinking is an initial, full openness to the experience that presents itself. 2. Rational thinking, where a proposition is either true or not true, is a useful tool that needs to be carefully bounded. 3. God cares much less about whether my statements and beliefs about reality are correct, and much more about whether his creation flourishes. And so, the tension still exists for me, but it's less frustrating. I feel more able to genuinely love and accept as God's creation gay folks than I was before, because I don't have to run through any arguments as I try to figure out how to love them. But I don't have to jettison the real beliefs and questions I have about the true of scripture and the moral proscriptions therein. They can live in paradoxical opposition while I wait for God to send experiences that may (or may not) further change what I believe and how I act on those beliefs. In keeping with my sense that strictly rational thinking needs to be bounded, I find it unfortunate that message boards like this are so good for traditional debate, and rather less so for a broader, both/and sort of inquiry. Traditional debate rarely changes anyone's mind, while experience often changes people. There's lots of debate here, but a rather limited flavor of experience.
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