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Pat

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Everything posted by Pat

  1. Thanks for your thoughts. "Gloom" is a fitting description of the general atmosphere, especially towards the end. I'm not familiar with Norse mythology, guess I'll read up on Beowulf at least to get a general impression. My only exposure to the Norse pantheon is the movie Thor, heh. One aspect that I found which deserves emphasis is, I think, the feeling of longing, which is arguably stirred by the myth inherent in the Silmarillion. Charles A. Coulombe put it this way (which meshes well with the Shelley quote, btw): "It has been said that the dominant note of the traditional Catholic liturgy was intense longing. This is also true of her art, her literature, her whole life. It is a longing for things that cannot be in this world: unearthly truth, unearthly purity, unearthly justice, unearthly beauty." This describes pretty well what I felt -- along with all the grief, doom and gloom, of course...
  2. Don't know if this fits the subforum -- feel free to move this to "Wider World", "About You" or -- gasp -- "therapy")… Some days ago I finished the Silmarillion for the first time. I am a Tolkien nut, with a habit of reading LOTR at least once in a decade. Some of my most enjoyable experiences (at least literary, but arguably also in my life) have been reading LOTR on a bench in the woods and immersing myself in the story, lore and myth. Lewis would call this Joy, I'm sure. Now, listening to the Silmarillion (audiobook, comment about the format below) had a profound effect on me, much deeper than I expected or wanted. The creation myth (Ainundale) and the legends, especially Beren and Luthien's as well as the Fall of Gondolin, somehow deepy moved me. Not in a superficial way -- there's no sentimentality involved, not at all. The material is too dark for this. Nostalgia doesn't describe it either. It's more like a true desire for heaven -- a Sehnsucht, or Wehmut. It's fading now, but still very much present. It is as if your inner, spiritual "glasses" are polished, you see clearer, and try to fathom the depths of Life and Death. I can't pinpoint exactly why that is. Maybe because it is string of very dark tales and only at the end -- when the Valar hear Earendil's plea and come to realize the hopelessness and sorrow of the peoples of Beleriand -- we see some sort of resolution. Maybe because it's mythology at its purest, and there is a longing in us all for myth that gets stirred by those tales. Or maybe it's just a darn good, profound tale set in a imagined past of our present world and carries motifs we all share and know. As Tolkien has said somewhere, it was meant to have taken place at some time in Earth's past. And yes, if you think the text is too dry, serious etc., I really recommend to try out the audiobook… the German version I listened to (narrated by the late Achim Höppner) is excellent. The narration brought it to life in all its mythological power. It truly is riveting at times, and I can imagine the English audiobook version is similarly impressive. So, Did anyone experience the same? I wonder if I'm in the "normal" camp on this...
  3. Well, after re-reading Tolkien and C.S. Lewis (and a change of mind about the notion that those two authors are the "only" viable Christian fantasy writers) I'm ready for another work of fantasy fiction. Particularly Gene Wolfe has been recommended on the 'net as an outstanding, genre-transcending author of SF/Fantasy who is known for his literary ablities and his mastery of the English language. Another factor is him being a practicing Catholic; It's been said that his worldview has an apparent influence on his works (Catholic symbolisms, motifs of redemption/search for salvation etc.) What are your thoughts, and what would be a good starting point for his oevre? I've heard that his critically acclaimed "The Book of the New Sun" is very good, but not easy to comprehend, especially on the first read. I fear that it might be too difficult for me as a non-native speaker (full disclosure: My father was Irish, but I did not grow up bilingually). Some further concerns about "The Book of the New Sun" (spoiler alert):
  4. Thanks to all of you who contributed! This has been very helpful indeed. Thanks, jfutral, fo that bunch of links. We will definitely check them out. The reason why we were looking specifically for schools/academies with a Christian slant/background is that my wife (the person very close to me -- hehe) already attended drama school, but some issues she had with some things that had been taught there let her consider Christian schools first if at all possible. Unfortunately due to an illness she had to drop out of school, and it closed down soon afterwards... but she still has an itch to do something in this regard.
  5. As the title suggests, are you aware of drama schools in either the UK or Ireland preferably those which are run by Christians? Fire away if anything comes to mind. I'm asking because someone very close to me is planning on going abroad to one of the aforementioned countries and is interested in taking up an acting career. Thanks for any hints...
  6. Now it dawns on me why my hotel is kinda overbooked this weekend.... I was wondering why. By chance I learned that on the 9th and the 10th there will be some well-known public figure in Munich. None other than...... the POPE! YAY! Coincidence? Does God want to tell me something? I dont know... And we just wanted to have a relaxing, rather calm weekend. Guess the city centre will be off-limits to us, but we'll check the situation.
  7. Dont know if that fits in here, but I can shed light on some of the more important web 2.0 aspects that stand behind services like last.fm... Pandora, last.fm and other web applications make ample use of web 2.0 principles because they are inherently web 2.0. User contributed value is one of those core principles; another is the so-called long tail. It means that there is a small quantity of popular products in a big market, but also a huge amount of products in low demand in niche markets -- which are, counted together, at least on par with the big market and the big names. Traditional stores cannot sufficiently handle those nice-market products -- storage space is often limited. But web stores like amazon can. They can take less popular items into their range of products on offer. An example is netflix.com: They lend out more unpopular films than popular ones [wikipedia, the long tail]. In summary:The long tail is a principle, a web 2.0 business model that allows small retailers (and labels, in the music world) to find a place to put to market their niche products -- and to find their customers on the web which would otherwise be very difficult. As far as I can see, this is increasingly successful and popular with consumers as they are almost guaranteed to get what they want in one or the other corner of the web.
  8. Aah, the jars. They've been constant companions throughout my early Christian years, so I have a sweet spot for them in my heart... It was "Much Afraid" that, back in 1997, I found surprisingly different and innovative for CCM. I hold bad production values and cheesy drumloops against their self-titled debut, ad no, here in Germany I haven't been exposed to "Flood" in heavy rotation Jeffrey: I'd recommend, as others have already said, "Who We Are Instead" and maybe "Much Afraid" as starting points to explore. Those two I consider their best works to date -- but that might soon change! Just listened to samples on the iTMS, and "Good Monsters" sounds impressive. Lyrically, the theme of authenticity, brokenness, self-realisation and how we are monsters inside -- the flesh, if you will, for all you religious types (myself sadly included, hehe) -- is equally interesting.
  9. Pat

    Jane Fonda

    Yes, thats what she said. The German original is "neu entdecken" which translates "to discover anew" and in this context is probably better translated "rediscover" because she said "MY faith" a few words before -- which implies she had believed before, at some point in life.
  10. Pat

    Jane Fonda

    Just came across this very interesting interview with Jane Fonda (in German): http://www.spiegel.de/kultur/gesellschaft/...,352237,00.html Translated (by me) excerpt: It goes on, interesting read.
  11. Neat.... stylish. To comment on some comments made here... there is one quality inherent in all of Coldplay's albums: Balance. In my opinion, they strike exactly the right balance between tonal oversimplicity and overcrowded layers of sound. In addition to that, I find their lyrics evocative and thoughtful. But maybe thats just me.... About time they release a new album --- Parachutes and Rush definitely exceeded their half-life for me. Listened to them countless times. Oh wait -- how about putting on Amsterdam right now?
  12. Pat

    Electronic music anyone?

    No, I dont think so. As rathmadder correctly pointed out above, there have been numerous influences from this side and also from across the big pond. What I can perceive however ist that a unique european flavour of techno could develop because it fell on, so to speak, "fertile ground" in Europe and accordingly it was more of a mass movement among youth than in the states. I say "was" because techno euphoria is dwindling significantly. It is now reduced to club culture -- where it originated; in the states techno, with a few notable exceptions perhaps, never was a mass phenomenon and is rather confined to club culture in the big cities. Now synthpop and derivates might be a whole different story, and admittedly I am not too familiar with its history. Note also that I started my sentence with "While browsing this forum"... so this forum might or might not be a representation of whats hip in the states as of now (at least in some circles ), given that the majority here is from the U.S. Thats why I phrased it in nationalistic terms (albeit intended in a humorous way). I was surprised to see country music on the rise, which for example in Germany would probably never happen (neither american country nor german folk music, which has the distinction of being almost painful to listen to ).
  13. Pat

    Electronic music anyone?

    Joe, this soulds a lot like the way music is used in the emerging church movement. I guess they try to see the bigger picture how modern music can be used in a church context and try to develop new forms of services, events and churches as a whole. In this case "form follows function" -- music is used as a mood creator, as a backdrop, to amplify the experience. (again: I guess it is so, need to dig deeper to understand the EC concept fully).
  14. Pat

    Electronic music anyone?

    Alan: I always confuse orbital and orb, I have an orbital cd here (w/ the well-known halcyon on and on tune) which I like but I wouldnt count as one of the best personally. Are (the) orb much different musically? Thanks for the tip, opus! MUCH appreciated. Had a blast there. Just to inform you where I come from: About 10 years ago I usually listened to prog trance stuff and european techno, esp. german techno. I also had an acid phase. Then I discovered nu electro (courtesy of a dj friend of mine) and the tech house stuff. Would count those styles as my favourites among (a little bit of synthron) and (more) minml techno. Tech house is also nice. Ocasionally french house. I would not touch jungle and hardcore w/ a 10 foot pole though. Awful stuff.
  15. Pat

    Electronic music anyone?

    No, as I have no connections w/ punk whatsoever.... they seem to be pretty ironic and critical of society, like U2 and their zooropa stuff. (bud worlds apart musically I guess). Anti-consumerism look-in-the-mirror like. Interesting stuff!
  16. Thanks Jeff. If I am in a literary mood again I might pick that one up. A friend of mine gave me the tip, thats why I was asking...
  17. Does anyone know anything about this author? Heard about "The Alchimist" lately, but dont know if it is a spiritually relevant book. Is Coelho a Christian?
  18. While browsing this forum I was just wondering, my, are ze amerikahns all about country music and rock as far as their musical taste is concerned? Not to be controversial (well to be honest I love to tease), but here in europe we have quite a large oevre of fine electronic music. Admittedly the spiritual content of those works might be a bit thin, but some of them are very well done artistically. Examples? Massive Attack, Underworld (to some extent), Daft Punk, LTJ Bukem, Speedy J, Laurent Garnier. The problem is: there are far more one-man-in-a-room-with-a-sequencer projects out there than bands. Only a few real standouts, but the trend goes to bands even in this sector of the musical universe. Electronic film music: Vangelis (Blade Runner), Zimmer (the Thin Red Line).... Theres a lot of stuff that I love, from often unknown artists, but especially the older, rave-oriented stuff (acid and the like) I can easily do without. So, are there any electronic music lovers here?
  19. A great example to this are two contrasting pictures I have in mind from art class: One depicting a woman in a classic chanel tweed jacket, the other in very feminine black Dior attire. I believe it was Dior. Both taken it the 40s or so, they communicate not only fashion, but the worldview behind the product: The Dior gown is classic, feminine, represents the classical role of a woman and the feminine virtues, whereas in contrast the chanel one "steals" its material and look from the modern business world and elevates women to be man's equal. It still retains a feminine cut, but is more like a business suit, which was quite revolutionary at the time.
  20. ...and it gets more and more, um, explosive: Quote from DER SPIEGEL, German news magazine: The latest development is that the polish authorities/prosecutors are digging up some polish law that forbids the preparation of bodies outside graveyards. Which could be used against von Hagens endeavour.
  21. Yes. Sorry about my bad choice of words. Interesting thought! Needless to say I'm all for learning about the human body and its intricacies. By no means am I some backwater hillbilly who does not endorse learning. The second thought -- that of a deeper sense of joy at the cycle of life -- is, of course, for me connected with the belief in one Maker (I'm a Christian), which in this context makes sense also. Now let me try to explain why an exhibit like leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Firstly, The exhibits on display sort of "overshoot" their target (or that of learning, awe etc. as described above which I agree to) in that they depict scenes who are at least a bit sensationalistic, if not (the case of the woman with the unborn child still in the womb) crass. If an artist does that, In my opinion he crosses a line. You could justify that as the inherent purpose of art -- crossing borders, pushing frontiers -- but in my view it depends. It can even turn the whole thing "sour". Secondly, the history of the exhibit and von Hagen's intentions. As previously mentioned, he caused quite a stir in Germany, and is known for his obsession w/ human bodies and plastination. From what I have heard, and I dont want to play the judge here, this obsession may be unhealthy. I know in a debate your "gut feeling" is not a valid point , but my gut feeling and that of others sort of indicate "thumbs down". Lastly, the grand scheme of things. Why the focus on dead corpses? What do you gain if you dissect them until every little muscle and tendon is visible? Does it brings you closer to the truth? We are so good at reducing things, breaking them down. As Phili Yancey said, "The afternoon at Body Worlds highlighted for me two distinct ways of looking at the world. One takes apart while the other seeks to connect and put together". (Havent read the book in which this is mentioned, just a few pages, but still interesting).
  22. I'm not run but let me answer this I meant queer in the sense of strange. As far as the word lust is concerned, zest or even carnal delight might be better expressions -- apparently not in the sexual sense. The "joy" of crossing moral borders, the appetite for the previously hidden and forbidden, the allure of human corpses... that might be at the core of the matter.
  23. @run: You are right, that does not matter. Which by the way was not my point. But I personally would not call his exhibit art. In my opinion it does not even serve a purpose to educate people about human anatomy, when other factors, such as his profiling and pornographic intent, are so up-front. It kinda leaves a bad taste in my mouth when real dead corpses are on display in such an unethical, un-dignified fashion. The question is, and please ask for yourself: Does this exhibit have any redeeming quality? Does it give you a sense of awe for God's creation? I dont think so, it rather stirs your lust and caters to your lower instincts (for a lack of better expression). Forgive me if I sound a bit preachy here, I know this is a controversioal subject and I am quite interested to see how the american public reacts to this.
  24. Okay, I think I need to reply to this thread. Von Hagen is quite known here in Germany (in fact he's German alright). To some he is an artist, to many he is just a bit queer. In the media over here his exhibitions have been discussed, and, to some extent or another, criticized. The fact is that he could only get permission to do his "show" in Frankfurt, although he tried to do it in different cities in Germany. He was not successful lobbying, mainly beacuse of protests. So he went off to America, angered and disgruntled. A friend of mine went there, and he told me the whole exposition was crass, pornographic and borderline psychotic. It should not be taken lightly -- I know about Americas consumerism (and sometimes sensationalism, quite evident in the "press release" above), but somewhere you've got to draw the line (if you know what I mean). Another friend (born-again believer) described the spiritual atmoshere there nothing short of "dark" and "awful". The most apalling exhibit was a woman carrying a newborn baby in her womb, all plastilized (sp?). Just wanted to give you an insight from a European on that subject.
  25. Well well well.... I got a lot this christmas from my wife, mainly CCM. Was unable to successfully distract her from buying those... Michael W. Smith - his latest Yuck. When will he reinvent himself? Listened through it in a hurry, but it is ominously similar to his previous output... hmm. Steven C. Chapman - his latest Same as above. I think. Havent listened to it to be honest Jars Of Clay - Who We Are Instead Now this one is quite amazing really. I would have bought it for the lyrics alone, they are quite amazing. Even if the music itself were crap. In fact, since I despise country music (and this one has heavy country influences), I needed two or three listens, but then I was captivated. Mellow, acoustic and always thoughtful, its one of my faves right now. JOC surely have something special, a certain genuineness about themselves.
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