Monday, September 29, 2008

Why blog?

I wonder why I have such a hard time in writing these posts? It has been almost a month since I last sat down and tried to type something. I suppose it is that I am still worried about someone actually reading these little screeds and thinking, "Man, what an idiot!" This, I think is the topic of most of the blogs I have ever read. They usually focus on the most recent thing that has irritated the blogger or has made him laugh. These seem to be the two emotions which run the blog culture right now. Well, those and posting pictures of your kids being unbearably cute.

That may be why I have not written anything lately because I am too tired or lazy to get angry about pretty much anything and I don't have any kids, just three cats. Though we did have an adventure this weekend with dogsitting. A failed attempt to see if we were ready for the responsibilities of being doggy parents. Because if Animal Planet has taught me anything, it is that taking care of a dog is a lot of work, work which my wife and I were willing to undertake but circumstances (small apartment, two full time jobs and most importantly three cats) do not permit that leap just yet.

I wonder if it is like having kids. No one is really ready for kids, they just adapt and figure it out as they go along. I find that as I get older I have become far more forgiving of my father's failings during my childhood. Maybe because time has softened the pain of those less than stellar moments or it is the realization that he was trying as hard to figure it out as I was.

But back to my point which I believe was that I have not been irritated by anything enough to write a post. I did try to write a post a few weeks ago about an especially egregious case my boss told me about where, as a state's attorney, he was not permitted to prosecute a prostitute who overdosed on cocaine because she was trying to kill the baby growing inside her belly. But I kept tripping over myself, trying to make great pronouncements of my indignation . When I really just came off sounding judgmental and arrogant. I mean it is easy to judge this woman because what she was doing seems so fundamentally wrong and the laws that prevented her prosecution seemed even more so, but rather than sounding "right" I sounded like just like every other blogger writing a "what pissed me off today"-style screed which is the last thing I want to do because the internet has plenty of those already.

Perhaps it would have gone better if I had asked the more important question which was how does someone get to the point to where the poisoning of your own child while within you seems the best option. But that question does not allow me to write long sarastic self important posts that tell the universe why I am better than this woman because I would never let this happen. The sad thing is that you and I already did and no amount of blogging will change that. So it brings me to the great question which seems to be the real theme of this post, why blog?

I suppose we can each ask this question of everything we do. Why create art? Why read books? Why make love? Why do anything when in the end it seems not to have any effect on anything? This, of course, is a very cynical and negative attitude, one which leads nowhere and sucks the enjoyment out of pretty much anything you can attempt to do with your life. So why do anything at all?

One word. Hope. I have come to believe that the most important thing in this world is hope. Why blog? why paint? why serve your fellow woman and man? Hope. Hope that this activity will not only affect the world around you but that it will have some impact on your own soul. I believe that hope will eventually lead you to God. Unfortunately atheism, hedonism,cynicism, and most other-isms lead only to hopelessness. This is because these -isms separate you from the rest of the world while hope brings the world to you.

So I guess that is where is post is going. I write when I have hope. I think I should look for it more often and maybe I would write more. I'll have to ponder that until next time.

Monday, September 8, 2008

You've got mail....

Sitting in my email box at this very moment is an email that can change my life. It is not a get rci qucik scheme or a message for a contest I never entered but won nevertheless. No, this email is far more ominous. The subject line reads "your mpre score is ready."

For those who do not know, there are two exams a potential lawyer has to take in order to be accepted as a member of the bar. The first is the "bar exam", the traditional two or three day test which consisted of essay questions and the most difficult muliple choice exam you can imagine. This is the test that most people talk about when they say they survived the bar.

In most states, there is a second test which you have to take which is called the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam or MPRE. It is another multiple choice exam but focuses exclusively on the ethical dilemmas of the profession. Now why a test on ethics is a multiple choice exam instead of an essay is debateable but the important thing is that in Illinois, you have to score an 80 in order to be allowed to practice.

I took it a year ago and I got a 72. I am terrified of this email because if I do not score an 80, it does not matter how well I did the "real" bar. I will have to take it again and that means I have to wait until May to get sworn in. it also may mean I will lose my current job. My stomach is a mess and my nerves are a mess.

You would think that I would be confident as I took a special course and took a ton of practice tests yet there is still a little voice that whispers, "it is not enough"........

Sunday, September 7, 2008

VMA 2008

i am currently watching the VMAs on MTV.....*sigh* Here are a couple of thoughts:

Why does the host keep making fun of the Jonas Brothers because they choose to abstain from sex until marriage? It is not "that" funny, I am actually impressed and wish them the best.

Kudos to Jordin Sparks for giving a shout-out to promise rings!

Is it weird that Lil Wayne is more of a rock star than any of the rock acts on the show? Oh wait....there are none performing. But nevertheless, he was everything rock has been missing for years.

So having a baby did not tame Christina Aguilera...An artist with her talent should be above this.

Why does music suck in 2008? Because we allow it to do so. MTV didn't kill, though it may have hastened its demise. The people who vote with our dollars and time.

So Tokio Hotel won the best new artist? At least they play instruments.

I actually liked the Jonas Brothers' performance. It is a silly love song but it seemed more sincere and fun than anything else I saw tonight besides Lil Wayne

DJ Adam and Travis won my heart by starting the show with some pretty cool remixes of Oasis. OASIS on the VMAs in 2008?!?!?! That almost saves the broadcast fo rme.

I am not ashamed to admit that I am glad that Brintey Spears seems to be getting her life together. I have made no secret of my aversion to her music but I do not find any pleasure in her downspiral over the last few years even if some of the damage is due to bad choices by her. The triumph of anyone over their past is something to celebrate.

I am still amazed of the audacity of Kid Rock. He takes the riffs fo great rock songs and mixes them like a DJ but he is using a live band instead of samples. i am not sure if I should hate his music or like it......and why do I find Lil Wayne so intriguing?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Cover Me

Not long ago, I read a blog which talked about the best and the worst cover songs. It intrigued me, largely because the person who wrote it had such awful taste in music. Of all the music to spolight, he picked uninteresting and boring songs. It actually irritated me as is often the case when it comes to music, art or film. My wife is always telling me to stop being so critical. I think it was art school that ruined me. I can’t just listen to a song or simply watch a movie anymore. I have to analyze it and voice my opinion. My brothers and I are unbearable when we get together to watch a movie or listen to music. Maybe this is the same with the person who wrote that blog.
I had a professor once who said that when we find someone who has different taste than us we automatically view them with suspicion. For example, if I walk into a house and it is full of plastic grapes and Tommy Kincade paintings, I immediately have doubts about not only that person’s taste but also their sanity. if someone tells me that they think Britney Spears is brillant or that their favorite movie is Sleepless in Seattle, I will not trust their opinion on anything.
But back to cover songs, I have heard plenty of them in my life. My old band in college used to play some pretty cool ones. My personal favorites were “Without or Without you” by U2 and “Grace” by Jeff Buckley. It is sad that most people who listened to us didn’t feel the same as I did about the songs.
I think some of the finest covers done recently were the American Recordings series by Johnny Cash. He had a way of really getting inside a song and showing new colors that I heard within a song. He was a great interpreter.

Top cover songs:
Hallelujah Jeff Buckley
Hard to Handle Black Crowes
Hurt Johnny Cash
All Along the Watchtower Jimi Hendrix
What Becomes of the Broken Hearted Joan Osbourne
This Charming Man Death Cab for Cutie
Nothing Compares to U Sinead O'Connor
Rusty Cage Johnny Cash
Untold Stories Sinead O'Conner