Happy Tax Day! We hope you’ve enjoyed this first week on the new site. We certainly have. Be sure to be in touch as you notice things/bugs, either via the form at the bottom of each post or firstname.lastname@example.org. Two small updates: 1. The glossary section will be returning soon-ish, but in rewritten form. In the meantime, you can click on the Glossary category in the sidebar to find the old entries. And 2. We’re on Facebook! Like us, love us, share us, just please don’t ever break up with us… On that note:
It’s funny because it’s true. The Dreamworks formula is to get big name talent (Jack Black, Jerry Seinfeld, Will Smith, Eddie Murphy, and Will Farrell to name a few) to inflate a less than stellar story, while Pixar just keeps putting out Oscar winning movies.
So today marks the release of Michael Jackson’s first “real” posthumous record, Michael, and the verdict is predictably mixed. It’s certainly not the tour-de-force he was rumored to be working on in the years leading up to his death (high profile collaborations, for example with will.i.am and Ne-Yo, are nowhere to be found), but it is also not without its charms. In fact, if you can overlook the god-awful opening “Hold My Hand” (really an Akon solo track with Michael as guest), you’ll find some near-prime MJ. Chief among them, “Behind the Mask,” a smoking collaboration with Ryuichi Sakamoto that…
A couple days late of the 30th anniversary of his death, but with added feeling:
1. Jealous Guy – The Faces. Rockin’ Rod and crew proved their impeccable taste in solo-Beatles when they followed up their brilliant cover of “Maybe I’m Amazed” with an equally brilliant version of “Jealous Guy”:
2&3. Come Together. One of my least favorite Lennon songs has inexplicably been given the deluxe treatment by not one but three of my heroes. Of special note is the fact that in 1994 it marked Axl’s final public appearance before disappearing for six years.
1. Our Pensacola mini-conference is underway! If you live in the area, don’t be afraid to drop in unannounced… We would love to see you. And those of you that don’t live in the area, don’t be afraid to say a prayer in support.
2. An unsettling firsthand account of professional plagiarism over at The Chronicle of Higher Education, entitled “The Shadow Scholar”, the most arresting portion for us being (ht AZ):
I do a lot of work for seminary students. I like seminary students. They seem so blissfully unaware of the inherent contradiction in paying somebody to help them cheat…
Old news by now, but slightly dated beat aside, it’s a fantastic tune, and a great blast of vintage MJ-victimhood spleen-venting: True, it may not be for us to know the times or dates the Father has set, but occasionally we catch a glimpse: only 34 days until MICHAEL is released! [Click here to watch part of the interview Oprah did with his family yesterday.]
p.s. Never thought such exciting posthumous MJ news could come close to being matched, but word has just come out that Mbird heroes Pulp are reuniting! This blogger has never forgiven himself for missing their secret show…
With Halloween/Reformation Day almost here, what better time to revisit Michael Jackson’s 1996 little-seen opus Ghosts? Conceived as a Thriller-style mini-movie (or maxi-video), the 40-minute “horror” piece never really saw the light of day, and remains unavailable on DVD. Thank God for youtube! Thank God also for Nathan Rabin of The A/V Club, who just published a masterful look at this HIStory-era curio, in an excerpt from his terrific new book, My Year of Flops. If you’ve never seen Ghosts, I commend it to you for three reasons: 1. It’s Michael Jackson 2. The Stan Winston-effects are really something to…
Mockingbird’s purpose is “to connect the historic truths of the Gospel with the realities of everyday life in as fresh and down-to-earth a way possible.”
That means we use a lot of illustrations. Whether it’s the films of Whit Stillman or Pixar, the music of Elvis or Michael Jackson, or recent headlines from the world of sports or psychological research, we’re always beginning with analogies, stories, illustrations, and examples to explain things like sin, grace, love, forgiveness, and redemption. At times, people object: should Christians be listening to/watching/reading that “culture” stuff?
Why? Because people generally don’t want to hear what we have…
Sometimes a really bad idea can be a beautiful thing. It can even be inspired. Take, for instance, David Bowie doing Little Drummer boy with Bing Crosby in 1977. Or Bob Dylan doing a Christmas album (and a Victoria’s Secret commercial) this past year. Left-field career-killing moves are nothing if not fascinating. Another prime, but little known, example would have to be The Jackson 5 choosing to follow up their hit 1972 single “Lookin’ Through The Windows” with an extremely peppy take on Jackson Browne’s “Doctor My Eyes.” Presumably Motown was looking to cash in on the (nominal) success of…
1. John Shore’s follow-up to his Huffington Post piece, “How My Wife Took The News Of My Sudden Conversion”. It should be noted that Mr. Shore published a book in 2007 with the killer title: “I’m OK-You’re Not: The Message We’re Sending To Non-Believers And Why We Should Stop”. Along those lines, it’s worth taking a look at his post “What Non-Christians Want Christians To Hear”.
2. Fascinating report from the San Fracisco Chronicle about behavior on Facebook and LinkedIn. Turns out both networks employ scientists whose sole job it is to track and analyze our behavior… With a particular…
Okay, here goes. I would break the pop culture of 2009 down this way: a pretty good year for music, an alright year for film and a downright incredible year for television.
Five Favorite Films Of 2009*
1. Fantastic Mr Fox
2. District 9
3. In The Loop [warning for profuse-albeit-very-inventive foul language]
Most Underrated: Duplicity
Most Overrated: Inglourious Basterds
*Bear in mind that I haven’t seen The Hurt Locker, An Education, A Serious Man, The Road, Dr Parnassus, Big Fan or 2012 yet. So this is definitely more of a favorites list than a “best of”. And I am as surprised by the predominance…
WHAT: Mockingbird seeks to connect the Christian faith with the realities of everyday life in fresh and down-to-earth ways.
WHY: Are we called Mockingbird? The name was inspired by the mockingbird’s peculiar gift for mimicking the cries of other birds. In a similar way, we seek to repeat the message we have heard - God’s word of grace and forgiveness.
HOW: Via every medium available! At present this includes (but is not limited to) a daily weblog, semi-annual conferences, and an ongoing publications initiative.
WHO: At present, we employ three full-time staff, David Zahl and Ethan Richardson and William McDavid. They are helped and supported by a large number of contributing volunteers and writers. Our board of directors is chaired by Mr. Thomas Becker.
WHERE: Our offices are located at Christ Episcopal Church in Charlottesville, VA.
WHEN: Mockingbird was incorporated in June 2007 and is currently in its seventh year of operation.
The work of Mockingbird is made possible by the gifts of private donors and churches. Our 2014 operating budget is roughly $195,000, and with virtually no overhead, your gifts translate directly into mission and ministry. Can you help? Please feel free to email us at email@example.com if you have any questions or would like more information.
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