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Greg P

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Everything posted by Greg P

  1. Christian, I'm going to have to check out this book! Despite the fact that I've never taken psychedelics, and am not particularly excited about the prospect of trying, I have been intrigued by the potential therapeutic utility of these substances (Coincidentally, just this week the FDA approved the nasal spray variant of the street drug Ketamine, for use in combating severe depression.) You are right-- an awful lot of people seem to walk away from clinical psychedelic trips, firmly convinced of a benevolent other in the universe and of a very real realm beyond the physical. The 2016 John Hopkins study, on the use psilocyben with terminal cancer patients, revealed the same kind of phenomena. Large numbers of participants, who were previously very anxious about end of life, walked away from the study peaceful and clear-eyed about their futures. What is most remarkable is that these post-trip perspectives appear to NOT be transient. It'll be interesting to see how the Christian community approaches this issue of drug-induced spiritual experiences-- particularly as these things become not only legal, but commonplace. There's even a growing movement of people micro-dosing (ingesting smaller, sub-psychedelic doses of LSD or psilosybin to increase productivity and/or feelings of well-being). As someone who tends to partake of cannabis on a weekly basis, I can attest to its efficacy in diminishing normal anxiety/stress and of opening up a unique kind of portal into contemplative thought. Psychedelics are for big boys, and I admit to being chicken.
  2. I'm not sure what the specific reasons are. Perhaps this is a valid place to start?
  3. The only thing to make of it, is to realize that very few women contribute regularly and that there might be some specific reasons for that, re: the tenor of conversations and the social dynamics at play. Maybe?
  4. A&F was there for me 12 years ago, just as I was making a break from evangelicalism and flexing my newfound skepticism. It was a great time for me and as embarrassing as some of those early, awkward discussions would seem to me now, they were a big part of me finding a new vantage point outside the confines of church. Everyone has made much more cogent points than I can at the moment, but I think middle age has played a big factor in sapping the core A&F community. Facebook also stole some of the sense of immediacy and intimacy from smaller discussion groups like this one. But ultimately maybe the community always felt a little too insulated and circle jerkish to newcomers and outsiders. I know a few years ago my then-girlfriend joined, in order to participate in our marriage equality debate. I think she posted twice, lurked around for a while and then seemed to feel that the proceedings felt a little unfriendly to women. I know she wasn't the only one to ever get that impression here (and she was an extremely confident academic, historian and debater-- hardly over-sensitive) I'm not sure if that criticism has any real merit, but it's out there.
  5. Have already listened to it a bunch of times , all the way thru and feel much happier with this direction than I did with KoL, five years ago. It's heavy on Greenwood's oblique orchestrations, heavy on keys/acoustic guitar and light on electric guitars. Also lots and lots of wonderful vocals...It all gives me the slight impression of a Yorke solo album with Jonny doing arrangements. I'm not sure if this will have the staying power of In Rainbows, but it certainly feels like the kind of music that 50-year old guys should be making and perhaps emotionally open in ways their music hasn't been before. Highlights: (in order) The Numbers, Past Tense, Desert Island Disk, Glass Eyes, True Love Waits... Spectre is the best song they've recorded in a decade-- it's a damned shame it wasn't included here.
  6. I used to listen to the Howard Stern show in the 90's and early 00's and Trump was something of a regular guest. My assessment of him based on these call-in discussions was that he was a raging narcissist, loved to talk about celebrity ass and "rate" women's hotness, was clearly irreligious and quite moderate, politically speaking. I find it fascinating that leading up to his run for presidency, he began a very deliberate series of tweaks and re-inventions to gain favor with Christians, the most notable being his new found interests in the American Evangelical franchise. As he ascended, he was very careful to mouth the essential code phrases from the 21st century Evangelical catechism: the Bible is the most important book in the world, America is a nation explicitly founded on Christian principles, Christians are being persecuted in this country, gay marriage is wrong and abortion must be stopped. Add to this a supreme mistrust and antagonism towards the federal government (informed in evangelical circles by the book of Revelation and Left Behind) and a kill 'em all foreign policy, and you have a candidate who looks nothing like the guy who used to play "F, Marry Kill" on Stern and who is finally ready to be embraced by Southern Baptists and Assembly of God members.
  7. New album of orchestral pop tunes, streaming.
  8. Greg P

    Wilco - Star Wars

    Agreed. I bought Being There when it first came out and I was still in my 20s, so I feel pretty deeply invested in the band. But their past few albums have been quite forgettable and boring - which is criminal, seeing that their lineup for the past 8 years is in point of fact one of the best live bands on the planet with one of the few bonafide modern guitar heroes at the helm. Not sure if the songs are so great, but my first impression is that it all feels like a much -welcomed jolt of ramshackle garage noise.
  9. Amen and congrats! This thread came to mind a few weeks ago after the SCOTUS decision, along with thoughts of the handful of gay A&F contributors, past and present... It's wonderful to read the early posts in this thread and think of how far we have come
  10. I'm not really a Sufjan fan, but I love this album. I have always felt his arrangements and voicings were clever and brilliant in spots (Illinoise) but I rarely hear much emotion in his songs, even when they are undeniably pretty. I've listened to this new one about a half dozen times in its entirety and I hear and feel something more immediate in these recordings. Perhaps it's the restraint in the compositions/arrangements (these really aren't minimalist at all, as I've read some comment, elsewhere), but the whole thing really strikes a nerve with me. Are we really having a discussion about his prosaic use of the word (gasp)"Masturbate", as if it was somehow morally repugnant or shocking? In context it's not even a terribly intimate disclosure, really-- which i think is his point.
  11. Greg P

    New Stuff Worth Hearing

    Badbadnotgood and Ghostface Killah's new collaboration Sour Soul is out and it's pretty fetching, especially if you dig the whole notion of the live band/hip hop template. Badbadnotgood serve up short but tasty doses of weird lounge jazz and 70's exploitation soundtrack music on this- the kitschy arrangements and production tell me straightaway these young guys have got quite an album collection at home. I've listened to this a lot over the past week, and although a few of the tunes don't seem quite fully formed, overall it's pretty wonderful (Danny Brown's cameo on "Six Degrees" is a highlight) http://youtu.be/H-qmZ_J7WGc
  12. Sorry! (Such a noob!) Did anyone see this the other night? http://youtu.be/_sNNTpORtDQ
  13. I haven't dated exclusively Christian women. However, the two most glaring and dare I say dedicated enthusiasts of this proclivity i've encountered were both Christians who were raised in the Church and attended private Christian schools growing up. For the record, I don't think this means anything at all. Those who find excitement in exploring the pain/pleasure lines just seem to just be hard- wired so. And again, purely anecdotal, but if I've dated 20 women, I would say a good 3/4 of them have admitted to a) liking some form of pain in sexual encounters, no matter how light, i.e. pulling hair, spanking, slapping etc and/or b.) enjoying the idea of total male domination and control (as "play" within a safe relationship-- and that is the key distinction. This includes being told what to do, or not to do and degrees of physical force) What was so off-putting initially about this experience, was that in every instance it came from sources that were very strong, independent and what i would label ANTI-"male-dominated patriarchal society" female personalities. So yeah, it seemingly crosses all feminist, political and religious lines.To be blunt, I am actually surprised now if I meet a woman and she doesn't admit or hint to liking some variation of this, no matter how light.
  14. Haven't seen the movie or read the book-- and won't be shelling out cash for either one anytime soon. But having dated a fair bit over the past four and a half years, I will add this anecdote and try and keep it tame: an awful lot of single, 30 and 40- something women out there derive tremendous pleasure from degrees of pain, physical restraint and/or the act of being dominated. And by domination this can be more than just rape /forceful stranger fantasies (as mentioned in the Psychology Today article, linked earlier), but also include a lot of things apparently addressed in the book, like invasion of personal privacy, intrusion into routines, and even degrees of emotional control etc) My impression is that a LOT of women "totally get" this, even if they don't actively participate in any form of BDSM with their husbands or SO's, which may be the biggest reason why the book sold 100 million copies.
  15. Brittany Howard is a monster. And the cacophonous, ripping, mid range of this tune makes me excited to hear more.
  16. Fascinating article, Christian. Psilocybin holds tremendous promise in end-of-life care, mitigating anxiety, depression and fear for months or longer, with a single dose (as the article details with Mr. Mettes). But there are also ongoing studies about its treatment in helping PTSD, substance addictions and other disorders. MDMA-- a slightly more problematic chemical-- is also being used in clinical settings, with tremendous results. So long as these psychedelics are dispensed in controlled, clinical settings, I'm all in favor. But I guess within Christian circles, there is still a general concern that anything that causes an "altered/enhanced" state of consciousness is a potential spiritual danger. (I remember one well known Evangelical speaking, years ago, about the spiritual risks of being "put under" for surgery, and why such events needed to be approached with great caution and covered in prayer etc ) I think many are worried that surrendering ones mind to such practices opens a door to the demonic world.
  17. I couldn't disagree more. There's a very good reason why cannabis has been used in religious and contemplative practices throughout history. We have threads on spirits, scotch and beer at A&F. Having peeked in on all those discussions a few times, I can confidently say that there's an utter lack of snark, fear mongering over dissipation and/or condescending stereotyping about drunks in those threads. Just people who enjoy the beverages, presumably with self control and restraint, to the glory of God. I see no reason why the same could not be done with cannabis. In fact, even more so, as cannabis is less addictive and harmful to the body than either alcohol or tobacco... and also legal, in varying degrees, throughout the continental US.
  18. Greg P

    New Stuff Worth Hearing

    I hate starting threads, so I'm dropping this here... I've spent some pre release time with Father John Misty's latest album, I Love You Honeybear and apart from a single, wretched and ill-placed attempt at a poppy dance track, it is phenomenal. Tillman knocks the ball out of the park with another understated batch of torch songs. Plenty of his now-trademark semi-smutty, pompous and existential rambling on relationships, marriage, bizarre women (and men) and American culture... Quite a few laugh-out-loud lyrical turns throughout too, but he balances it all with some pretty epic countrypolitan balladeer crooning. "Strange Encounter" and "When Your Smiling and Astride Me" are highlights for me. Perhaps not as fun or rollicking as Fear Fun, but to my ears a much more satisfying listen from start to finish.
  19. Anecdotally speaking, a very close friend of mine in his mid-40's who runs five to six days a week and is very in-tune with changes in his body (particularly those that impact pace), has spoken at considerable length about the difference running the morning after having had a couple alcoholic beverages vs. running after cannabis consumption. In fact, the changes to physical readiness after alcohol became so pronounced in his 40's, that he has virtually eliminated drinking from his life, even on weekends. In contrast, evening cannabis use has absolutely no discernible effect on his physical readiness the following day-- i.e. no sluggishness, bodily weakness, reduced lung capacity, etc..
  20. I mostly agree with this. The beauty of the book was in demonstrating how his youthful defiance and competitiveness drove him successfully through all he experienced in life, but somehow wasn't enough to get him past the nightmares and murderous hatred for his captors. I don't think Unbroken needed a "Jesus" moment -- after all Railway Man covers the same emotional terrain successfully without theologically mucking around -- but to end the film so abruptly, felt extremely awkward. Re: Railway Man/Unbroken-- The theological blueprints on precisely how a character forgives are not really as important as showing that they did in fact, despite their personal traumas, forgive.
  21. That opening was masterfully shot and is one of the most tense aviation combat scenes I've ever seen. To her credit, Jolie also knows how to film physical violence. The scenes involving hitting, punching or caning, found me, more often than not, wincing. Re: the brick wall of the second half of the film: Jolie completely ignores what the book highlighted so well -- namely, that there was a world inside the POW camps; a world of mundane conversations, card games, gambling, internal fights, fantasies about home, food, girls, etc... What we're offered instead is misery upon misery, zero character development and minimal dialogue.
  22. I actually felt almost every scene that referenced faith in this film was clumsy and annoying, so count me in that group that would've liked a little less God here-- at least the goopy one Jolie references. As someone who loves Pacific Theater history and Hillenbrand's treatment of Zamperini's story in particular, the movie seemed to miss almost everything that made the book so powerful. (Vivid characters, masterful structure and pacing etc..) In the case of prisoners of the Japanese, I'm not aware of any historical accounts --and I've exhausted the subject over the years-- where love or Christian virtue helped anyone survive in the camps, the hellships or the Japanese slave labor sites. The universal understanding of prisoners was that if you could hate and be angry, you could survive another day. POW's would frequently beat their sick friends with sticks or do something vile to them, just to provoke rage or hatred, and perhaps jumpstart that instinct to survive.
  23. Greg P

    New Stuff Worth Hearing

    Badbadnotgood's III is a really impressive, genre-skipping album, blurring lines between jazz, hiphop/funk grooves (they have done some work with Tyler the Creator) and even epic post-rock buildups. One of my favorite albums of 2014.
  24. The new double album releases tomorrow and I'm streaming the whole thing right now. Whew. What a relief. The band seems to have done a complete u-turn on the road to schmaltz. No strings at all on this album and more of the basic elements that worked so wonderfully with them before. I'm only about halfway thru, but it's very sweet so far.
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