09/6/17

“Floodgate”

In the actual wake of Harvey’s devastation and Irma’s forthcoming, it’s simple and hard to help all at the same time. Never in human history has it been easier to give financially in support. You can literally text it. Houston Texans’ J.J. Watt has raised over $28 Million. Which also happens to be his PR in the clean and jerk. Of course, it’s always a little harder to be boots on the ground. Or, in this case, dingies in the river.

I can’t seem to do either.

And, in that sense I relate to Joel Osteen. Or at least the social media caricature of a man like Joel Osteen. Osteen is the pastor of the, ironically named, Lakewood Church, in Houston. He came under Twitter rage and other media scrutiny last week for failing to have his church open to shelter victims of Hurricane Harvey. A clear missed opportunity by someone to headline the story, “Floodgate,” in traditional scandal parlance.

Joel and I share a lot in common actually. 4:1 hairproduct-to-head ratio. An infinity smile. He probably has like 15 checkbooks; I can barely balance mine.

You have to be ready to be helpful. It’s not something you just become when help is needed. In attitude and priority, you have to prepare to be useful. Flexibility to respond. Assets to give. An attitude to serve.

People are at my door too. I just can’t ever seem to be ready. I get it, Joel. I really do.

Written and performed by sintax.the.terrific. Produced by Beatowski.

Today’s blong here:

The Book of Joel

04/22/15

Endangered Species

In honor of Earth Day, Tim Tebow is a Philadelphia Bald Eagle.

USP NFL: NEW YORK JETS-TRAINING CAMP S FBN USA NY

In the wild.

Performed by the sintax.the.terrific. Produced by pumpkinFoot.

Today’s blong here:

All Things

03/21/15

Extinction Level Event

I originally posted today’s blong upon news of his trade to the Lakers. Steve Nash has formally announced his retirement.

Maybe the last of a breed.

nash

Performed by the sintax.the.terrific. Music produced by dj clutch.

Today’s blong here:

On Top

03/8/15

Personal Anthem (Phoenix Jones and Last Fan Standing)

Because, well, everybody needs one.

All of song blogging is anthem writing, in a sense. Anthems for events and times and people. Taking topics uncommon, maybe even corny, to song writing and trying to find the kernel of real passion and humanity. Where is the glory and the grit in the story and sh!t?

From Diana Nyad to Work to Ride, the all black polo team, to Dallas Wiens, the face transplant survivor, I’ve been writing theme songs for years, even as I was just attempting to cover the people and stories, of the news, in art. And by “art” I may mean reconstructive surgery raps.

Most famously, the Phoenix Jones theme song:

Phoenix Jones was recently profiled in this ESPN expose. He was previously a regional MMA fighter. Apparently, it gets a little slow around Bristol after football season and before the NBA playoffs.

His ex-colleague in crime fighting and domestic abuse prevention heroin, Purple Reign, had these kind things to say about the anthem:

purple reign facebook
There are two takes. That we overuse hero or that there’s a little bit in all of us. I break slightly toward the latter. Of course, by contrast to Jones, my entire career in heroing consists of a broken arm jumping off a porch, caped, at four and rescuing my cat from the sewer. And, what little Superman I had in me has recently all been evacuated. I feel a lot like this:

So here’s to Phoenix Jones and the imperfect hero in all of us. You have a Personal Anthem. Your day has a soundtrack. Your show has a theme song. Your crew has a battle hymn. I just maybe haven’t written it yet.

In other anthem news, I am happy to officially announce that I have recorded the theme song to Bruce Campbell’s game show, Last Fan Standing, to premier on ConTV, the television adjunct to the famous Comic Cons.

Last Fan Standing Key Art

The show begins next week and the song is available now at iTunes and Amazon and can be streamed on Spotify. Search “Last Fan Standing.”

The real irony of the show is that people have spent a gob smacking number of hours actually sitting to be the fan, last standing. Celebrating the nerdist in each of us, today’s blong below.

Performed by sintax.the.terrific. Music produced by Sir Chamberlain.

Lyrics here.

Last Fan Standing (Official Game Show Theme)

03/5/15

Free Running

As the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev begins, I thought I’d recycle my Boston Marathon blong.

I’ll plagiarize myself from two years ago. I can’t say it any differently:

If you’ve ever been to Boston you’ve probably been forced to walk, likely by a mom or wife, some portion of the “Freedom Trail” against your will. You have to wonder why one must abandon so much self determination to walk a trail named “freedom” but, anyway. The Freedom Trail is, of course, a walking tour of Boston’s historic sites, where I’m proud to say I had a pair of Stan Smith’s re-cobbled only a few years ago. I also had a bracelet smithed out of a soup spoon.

Liberty is a type of collusion. An agreement among everyone to respect the rule of law in service of freedom. It’s completely voluntary.

Collusions, however, are easily broken. In fact, there is extraordinarily high incentive to do so. Our susceptibility to violence, therefore, is evidence of how well and complete the collusion of our liberty is working. We’re easy pickings. When an assailant from within or without violates the contract — the agreement not to fall into anarchy — they exact from us a cost. A toll for being so free, so open, so liberated. Our martyrs, whether at a marathon or in an elementary school or on a skyscraper, are a kind of penance paid to democracy and inalienable rights. Like a soldier or revolutionary, when we are murdered exercising our freedoms, even ones as routine as a road race, it is literally a kind of patriotic act. Every mundane act of our lives is a declaration that we would be free in spite of the ongoing danger to do so.

Pronation. It’s not just the roll of your foot when you run. It’s what we are when we run. Pro-Nation.

And, they’ll run again every year. Regardless the verdict. A marathon and a freedom trail.

boston-marathon-map

Performed by sintax.the.terrific. Music produced by Sir Chamberlain.

Today’s blong here:

Pronation

01/30/15

Light Speed

Charles Hard Townes died, Thursday, at 99 years of age.

charles townes 2

You know the light saber? The “Luke, I am your father” light saber?

Only the most transcendent, gnarly piece of weaponized technology in the galaxy, light saber?

The “zzzuun zzzeen” light saber?

Our only hope?

Yeah. That one.

Townes invented it.

You know laser tag? Only the most futuristic, radical development in the history of photon war toys? The Red Ryder BB Gun of every boy’s ’80s Christmases? Yeah, that laser tag. Invented it.

You know laser pointers. The feline waterboard equivalent? Invented it.

You know laser eye surgery? The of-biblical-proportions, miracle surgery that gives sight to the blind? Like Jesus? Invented it.

Laser cutting, laser welding, laser engraving, laser mice, laser drilling, laser marking, laser peening (uh . . . yeah, that laser peening), optical tweezers, barcode readers, spectroscopy, raves, the laser discs, the band Electric Light Orchestra, and, yeah, you heard me, laser harps aka the infinite beam.

laser harp

Invented, invented, aaaaaaaaand invented.

Maybe not directly all of the above, but the man invented the dang laser. Did I also mention he went to my alma mater, Furman University, here in Greenville, SC? And, the namesake of my kids’ primary school? (Other Furman related song content here.)

fu me and j

Oh I hadn’t? Sorry. Yeah so, as it turns out, I went to the same school as the guy who invented the, um wait, what was it? . . . pet rock? electric toothbrush? Sham Wow? ohhhhhhhhhhhh that’s right THE LASER.

Some guy from Greenville, South Carolina doesn’t just bother to invent the laser one day. I mean Einstein. Or Blade Runner. Cobra Commander. Almost anyone but a Greenville boy. It’s like saying, “Oh yeah, Kenny, from second grade invented crude oil.”

You should discover or harness or wield a laser. You don’t invent it. A laser has to spring forth from the clandestine experiments of a mad scientist or a murderous villain in pursuit of world domination.

cobra commander

I mean forget the practical implications, like the aforementioned laser mice. No Star Trek??

And, Dr. Who? Forget it. No that-guy-from-X-men-that-shoots-lasers-out-his-eyes.

Did I mention he first invented the maser? A concentration of the microwave? What in the world is a maser? It sounds like something you say when you’re trying to one-up a friend.

Friend: “Hey I invented the rubber band loom!”

One-upper you: “Oh yeah? Well I invented the, um, the, uh . . . maser! That’s right. You know Maser Tag? Well. That’s me.”

But, here’s the weird part. You miss Townes if you focus on the laser (see what I did there?) or the maser or their numerous useful progeny. Remarkably, Townes real contribution was even greater than the now literally ubiquitous laser (and the not nearly as ubiquitous shameful maser).

He is the winner of both the Nobel Prize for Physics and the prestigious Templeton Award for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities. The list of people who have received both?

The 14th Dalai Lama.

Mother Theresa of Calcutta

And Charles Hard Townes.

That’s the list. (Actually may be one or two more but who would want to confuse a good story?) I’ve seen longer lists of people who can recite pi to 50 decimals.

Townes’ real legacy is one of rigorous intellectualism in science and faith. A witness to both. An apostle of academics and a doctor of doctrine. His theology would offend some. And, so would his science. Which probably made him just about on the nose.

“Science and religion are both universal, and basically very similar,” he wrote. “The essential role of faith in religion is so well known that taking things on faith rather than proving them is usually taken as characteristic of religion, and as distinguishing religion from science. . . . It is just this faith in an orderly universe, understandable to man, which allowed the basic change from an age of superstition to an age of science.”

It’s interesting that the God of the Bible is depicted as light.

The light of the world.

A light unto our path.

Lamp unto our feet.

A Flaming Sword

A Burning Bush.

A Pillar of Fire

Tongues of Fire

A Fiery Furnace

The Transfiguration

Paul to Damascus.

A Chariot of Fire.

But, it is not said that God is like “the light of the world.” It is claimed that He is the light of the world. What if it’s not so metaphorical?

Pardon my crude physics.

At the speed of light mass is infinite. Infinite. And, to reach that outer speed limit — which you can’t coincidentally – requires infinite amount of energy. All that there is. And, if you miraculously arrived there, alive, traveling with your infinite self, propelled by all the energy in the universe, you would be surprised to find that time had simply stopped. Timeless. Sound familiar?

I like to think of light, and lasers, as translation points between two languages. God’s and ours. That would make Townes a kind of lamp interpreter. A luminary.

Townes was seated on a park bench in DC when he scribbled the conceptual maser on the back of an envelope. Going so far as to even describe it as a kind of “revelation.” I like to think in the great tradition of biblical prophets, and appropriate to his life’s work, that he went home on a Chariot of very concentrated Fire.

Performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced by Dalama Jones.

Lyrics.

Today’s blong here:

Chariot of Fire

01/12/15

The Crayon is Mightier Than

Art is its own kind of weapon. Wit its round.

100% bulletproof.

france

Performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced by nomold.
Today’s blong here:

Color Me Bad

09/30/14

Number 2

So with less than two outs a pop fly to the infield is a Hobson’s choice for the base runner on first. If he advances before the ball is secured, in order to avoid the double play, he will be doubled off at the base he evacuated after the infielder catches the ball. If he stays at the bag to tag up, the infielder will cleverly allow the ball to fall to the ground and then easily turn two. Executed properly, it’s an assured double play that the runners have no opportunity to influence.

So baseball recognizes a special rule in that situation called Infield Fly. It’s fairly controversial for some of the subjectivity involved in calling it, but essentially if the umpire believes that the fly ball is suffiicently playable to implicate the above conundrum, then the batter is immediately deemed out relieving the runner of any requirement to advance.

Here’s an example of how not to apply the rule:

Infield fly is also theipoetlaureate in pinstripe:

sintax baseball

Or what you get when you cross Minka Kelly with 20 years of championship caliber baseball by Derek Jeter, who officially retires this week.

Handsome. Workmanlike. Selfless. The Captain.

Derek-Jeter

Performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced by DNL. Lyrics here.

Today’s blong here:

Infield Fly

09/15/14

Spare the Rod

When disciplined, my dad had to go out in the yard and pick a long slender limb as a switch for his own beating. Sort of like picking your favorite dog bite.

It’s a weird thing, parental autonomy over a child’s body. It’s a fairly recent regulatory phenomena for the State to violate it. The area of family discipline has been sacrosanct.

So as Adrian Peterson’s choices about parenting with a switch are put on public and literal trial, we are asked to reexamine that sort of line of scrimmage between discipline and abuse.

But there’s an evolution to moral behavior. In the paraphrased words of Sam Harris, if morality is fundamentally about human well being, then as our understanding of what makes humans healthy improves so does our capacity for moral choice. (Unfortunately, there’s a lot of personal dissonance in this statement for me presently.)

We can say with some scientific clarity that a steel chair across the back of a child effects a kind of physical and psychological harm inconsistent with well being. This doesn’t upset the ancient idiom that to spare the rod is to spoil the child. The principle still persists. But, maybe the implement, or switch, can be switched — so to speak.

teacher-west

Performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced by dj clutch. Lyrics here.

Today’s blong here:

Switch