Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 - Best Albums by Women (According to Andrew)

I had some free time and spent a lot of time listening over the past week or so, to solidify my opinions. Very difficult to rank these of course, so a grain of salt would be a good idea!

Including some representative videos when I can here...

1. PJ Harvey and John Parish - A Woman a Man Walked By

2. Karen O and the Kids - Where the Wild Things Are

3. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!

4. Shakira - She Wolf

5. Neko Case - Middle Cyclone

6. Brandi Carlile - Give Up the Ghost

7. Fiery Furnaces - I'm Going Away

8. Faun - Buch der Balladen

9. Ruthie Foster - The Truth According to Ruthie Foster

10. Cucu Diamantes - Cuculand

11. Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career

12. Mary J. Blige - Stronger With Each Tear

13. Imogen Heap - Ellipse

14. Angie Stone - Unexpected

15. St. Vincent - St. Vincent

16. Marilyn Roxie - New Limerent Project

17. Florence & the Machine - Lungs

18. Amadou & Mariam - Welcome to Mali

19. Shemekia Copeland - Never Going Back

20. India.Arie - Testimony: Volume 2, Love and Politics

21. Eluveitie - Evocation I: The Arcane Dominion

22. Tegan & Sara - Sainthood

23. Indigo Girls - Poseidon and the Bitter Bug

24. Lady Gaga - The Fame Monster

25. The xx -xx

26. Alicia Keys - The Element of Freedom

27. Elis - Catharsis

28. Carla Bley - Carla's Christmas Carols


Good review of this album here.

29. Kittie - In the Black

30. Fiona Boyes - Blues Woman

Check it out here: Fiona Boyes Website

21. Whitney Houston - I Look to You

32. Patti Loveless - Mountain Soul II

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Adolescence Decodified

Last night's dream. I visited a former high school teacher of mine, a literature teacher who I liked very much. I don't fully remember the reasons for my being there, and at times during the visit I mixed her up with another very teacher of mine, a history teacher very influential to me in ways I'm just beginning to understand.

Weirdness: the teacher recognized me and was happy to see me.

Weirdness: I was digging through her clutter in her classroom and found one of her old notebooks. She was excited about this too.

Evidence of a power-dream: As I bid farewell to her we embraced and she was crying.

I awoke under the spell of those emotions, but it's hard to wake up sobbing with a CPAP mask on your face.

I recall hearing at one point that this teacher (in real life) had passed away too young, sometime after I graduated.

There are teachers who do not know how much I appreciate them, because I never told them. This should be a fairly obvious new year's activity on my part.

As I look back at various influential adults during my adolescence, the ones I hate the most are the ones who stepped on me. Emphasized what I was doing wrong. Punished me verbally (and occasionally physically) for not matching their vision of...something. Obviously something I did at age 12 or 13 was a mirror for something in their adult selves they couldn't stomach.

But the ones to whom I am most grateful are those who allowed us teens to grow without unnecessary critique, judgment, slam-downs. Interestingly, the best teachers kept things slightly impersonal.

As I look more deeply into the teaching field, initially in an effort to add some meaning to my own meandering, self-focused adulthood, I am seeing so much value there. I want to be a support without trying to be a parent. Adolescence is a time when people who aren't your parents become important. It would be so easy to blow it as a middle school or high school teacher. Such a tightrope. Loving intentions are what fuel all truly successful people. I don't mean capitalist or career/ambition successes. I mean what I've always meant by success: making a difference.

These are new, early morning, post-dream thoughts, but I think I'm onto something.

One more odd thing about the dream. At the end of it, there were students gathering around to bid be farewell, along with the teacher. At the back of the classroom were a bunch of art projects (for some reason.) One of the kids picked up his clay monkey baby, which came to life, jumped on this teacher, and tried to suck her breast. Of course, at this point, my sister appeared in the dream and started laughing. It's the sort of thing she'd laugh about. Me too.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A more humane Christianity, via Paul!

(I know it's been awhile since I've posted anything here. There's been some turmoil and my focus has been elsewhere.)

This article briefly describes a compelling interpretation of the Pauline letters of the Bible as NOT anti-Jewish, but actually pluralistic. This is definitely a gentler, more reasonable and humane message. If it is embraced in popular Christianity, we may see that the religion itself also becomes more gentle, reasonable, and humane.

The teaser: "Saint Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles, set the theological foundation for centuries of Christian thinking about faith and redemption—and for as many hundreds of years of implicit (and explicit) anti-Semitism. But what if Paul has been misread?"

Article is called Paul the Pluralist: Jesus’ Number Two Was Not a Christian, and it's by Pamela Eisenbaum. Religion Dispatches, 12-09-2009.