A final week of ’70s music at the Big Box

The Bee Gees

Restocking the shelves at the Big Box doesn’t fully occupy one’s mind, giving me plenty of time to meditate on the meaning of the songs being piped in on the store’s music service. Maybe too much time. Herein I ponder if there is any way to redeem the lyrics to the BeeGees’ “More Than a Woman” and attempt to identify the shifting antecedents in the Little River Band’s “Lonesome Loser.” [Read more...]

Vanitas vanitatum …


Whether or not an album is a vanity project has less to do with its merits and more to do with marketing and motivation. If it seems like a cynical attempt to cash in on fame by repackaging a movie-star as a pop-star, that’s a vanity project. Ego plays a part, too, of course, hence that word “vanity.” [Read more...]

Just watching myself in some play


A great magician reveals a trick; the end of the season and the End of the World; standing athwart algebra, yelling Stop; coherent theodicies; “How to Get a Drink at a Crowded Bar;” and the twilight of the answering-machine song. [Read more...]

Where you gonna run to? Tim LaHaye and Billy Graham vs. Peter Tosh and Nina Simone

Same words. Different sermon.

Nina Simone learned the song “Sinner Man” from her mother, who was a revivalist Methodist preacher. White revivalist preachers sang that song too, but even though most of the words were the same, the meaning was very different. [Read more...]

Count your ribs and say your prayers and go to sleep


“35 Women Tell Their Stories About Being Assaulted by Bill Cosby, and the Culture That Wouldn’t Listen.” And along with their stories come the heartbreaking, horrifying stories from the #emptychair. Also: Dueling currency; the Mansplainingest Mansplainer Who Ever Internetted; and the human right not to be killed for playing the banjo naked. [Read more...]

(I can’t) Escape (The Pina Colada Song)


Rupert Holmes ultra-’70s hit is like an inversion of O. Henry’s “Gift of the Magi,” but where Henry’s tale is about selfless love, Holmes’ is about loveless selfishness. This provides us with an excellent case study for all of those lit-crit questions about authorial intent. [Read more...]

There must be a better world somewhere

Asked to name "the greatest living president," several 2016 Republican candidates answered "Ronald Reagan." (Click angry Nixon for full story.)

No, Texas: Accurately noticing that many Christians do not give as much as they can to help the poor is not “bashing on the Christian community” — although Jesus, James, and many of the early church leaders did bash on the Christian community for that very reason. Plus: RIP BB King; Republicans name Ronald Reagan the greatest living president; three more things that confound Louis Gohmert; and if you want to be a hero, YNATKC. [Read more...]

Setting half the trends we know

Two of these guys are still acting.

When somebody claims to be just like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, that’s usually a big clue that they’re nothing like Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Also: A premillennial dispensationalist “Bible prophecy scholar” explains how Psalm 83 disproves the nuclear deal with Iran; the deadliest enemy force; the undifferentiated “we” strikes again; and an excuse to revisit Brian Ritchie’s bass solo on “Please Do Not Go.” [Read more...]