Playing For Change

Brooke was listening to Morning Edition this morning and heard this article about “Playing For Change.”

The general premise is that Mark Johnson, a producer in California, got this crazy idea to record street musicians performing well-known songs (like “Stand By Me,” above). The hook of this is that he (and his crew) traveled the world and recorded other street musicians singing/performing the same song, and then edited them together.

Really, it’s a neat idea and it gets you thinking about how a simple thing like music can bring people of completely different cultures, creeds and colors together like never before. The video above went viral on YouTube awhile back, but there are 6 other episodes on the website. They also have a CD/DVD available for purchase.



It’s ironic, because I failed in the process of making the image…

So, Brooke and I both frequent, which is an excellent time-waster that uses videos or pictures of a variety of different “fails.” It would be best if you’d just go, rather than having me explain it.

Anyway, I thought I’d found an excellent fail on U-Verse’s listing for the Star Trek: TNG episode, “The Icarus Factor.” Apparently, however, John Tesh was actually in it, but was uncredited (so it wasn’t in my Star Trek Encyclopedia). A cursory look at IMDB shows that yes, indeed, Tesh did appear in the episode…grrrrrr…

I didn’t want to waste the picture I generated, though. Still kinda silly to see it in a listing on my TV Guide…


So, as many of you know, Brooke and I are currently (and temporarily…) running the contemporary worship service, 1040 Connection, at Webster Hills United Methodist Church, where we’ve been attending since moving to St. Louis. As part of this, we got the crazy idea of doing the “U2charist,” which is essentially as the name sounds: a communion service built around the music of the Irish rock band, U2.

We had talked about doing it for awhile now, but after we took control of the song choices last September, we got to thinking about when to make it happen. Somehow, Maundy Thursday (or Holy Thursday) seemed appropriate, as it marks the Last Supper (i.e. the first communion).

Anyway, here’s the song list, for those that know the music of U2:


  • Bad
  • All Because of You
  • During the service:

  • Pride (In The Name of Love)
  • 40
  • Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of
  • Walk On
  • Beautiful Day
  • During Communion:

  • I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
  • Where The Streets Have No Name
  • We are also including this document in the bulletin as an insert that (briefly) points out some lyrics and what they may mean from a theological standpoint.

    Anyway, it should be a fun night, and we’ve put a lot of work into it. We’ll probably do it again at the beginning of July, just as a regular Sunday morning service.

    Best Day of the Year

    Happy April Fool’s Day! I’ll probably post more stuff here as I find it, but is always a good place to start. The USB Pet Rock is excellent (video above), as well as the Ultimate Assassin’s Weapon Ice Mold and, last but not least, Squeez Bacon (check that one out…preferably, not immediately after eating…).

    Also, apparently, there’s already a Star Trek sequel in the works, set for a 2011 release… 😛

    And, the Google Gmail Autopilot will automatically write e-mails for you… “The easiest e-mail could possibly be,” indeed… 🙂

    Battle Royale

    The “media” has apparently been all over this supposed “battle” between Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’sMad Money,” and Jon Stewart, host of “The Daily Show.” The whole thing started last week with Jon Stewart lambasting the financial news network for not seeing this crisis coming, while they were telling their viewers to “buy, buy, buy” a variety of stocks, including the companies that would fold in the coming weeks.

    Well, the “media” made with it and ran, calling it a battle between Cramer (whom Stewart referred to, yes, but certainly didn’t focus on) and Stewart, culminating in Cramer coming on the “Daily Show” Thursday night for a looooooong interview…with Stewart, in the end, beating the crap out of Cramer.

    Honestly, Jon Stewart is the best interviewer on television, as he can get away with asking almost anything and making his guests look like idiots. I really felt sorry for Jim Cramer. It’s an excellent interview and shines new light on the issue. You all should watch it!

    Note: The video above is part 2 of 3 (the most interesting part, I think), but the whole interview is really good.

    Inside the Meltdown

    The PBS news magazine, Frontline, ran this story, Inside the Meltdown, on Tuesday night. It’s an hour long (you can full-screen it at their website, or from here), but it’s well worth the time if you’ve got it.

    Essentially, it goes through the events beginning with the Bear Stearns bailout (March 2008) and goes up through the end of 2008. It goes into a lot of depth, but makes it very understandable…arguably, the most “understandable” I’ve had all this craziness explained to me. For example, it explains by Bear Stearns was bailed out and why Lehman Brothers wasn’t, and it also goes into what was happening within the Treasury Department and on Wall Street while everything was going down. There were a lot of things inter-connected, but this explains it with relative simplicity.

    The focus on Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson is rather interesting, too, especially his deep aversion to government intervention in the economy. You can see the look on his face as he has to make all these announcements of how the government is buying up debt and taking stakes in banking companies. You have to wonder if he doubts his all-mighty “free market” after having to do all this.

    Rather fascinating. Glad I don’t have much money in our mutual fund…

    New Star Trek Trailer (?)

    SciFi Wire had this little highlight on a YouTube mashup featuring what the new Star Trek movie won’t be. Personally, I can only barely tolerate most of Will Ferrell‘s recent movies (I think I made it 20 min. into “Anchorman” and couldn’t continue…soooooo unfunny… “Old School,” on the other hand, was glorious), but there are all kinds of people “featured” in this clip (including Colbert and Stewart, making this automatically hilarious).

    Keira Knightly set to star…

    I saw this blurb on SciFi Wire tonight…

    The publishing company (Quirk) describes it in this way:

    “[It] features the original text of Jane Austen’s beloved novel with all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie action. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Complete with 20 illustrations in the style of C.E. Brock (the original illustrator of Pride and Prejudice), this insanely funny expanded edition will introduce Jane Austen’s classic novel to new legions of fans.”

    So yeah, definitely never read the book…nor will I ever…but if I can read this version, I may consider it… 🙂

    Great Moments in Presidential Speeches

    Update: From David Letterman’s “Great Moments” re-cap on January 16, 2009:

    I ran across this page at and decided to replicate it here, although I already have a similar page up in my Quotes section of the blog. Needless to say, I’m trying to help celebrate the end of the Bush Presidency… w00t, January 20th! Can’t get here soon enough!


    “They misunderestimated me,”
    — Bentonville, Arkansas, November 6, 2000

    “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on … shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again,”
    — Nashville, Tennessee, September 17, 2002

    “I’ll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office,”
    — to Israeli journalists in Washington in an interview published May 12, 2008.

    “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we,”
    — Washington, August 5, 2004

    “For a century and a half now, America and Japan have formed one of the great and enduring alliances of modern times,”
    — Tokyo, February 18, 2002

    “I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep on the soil of a friend,”
    — on the prospect of visiting Denmark, Washington, June 29, 2005

    “Thank you, Your Holiness. Awesome speech,”
    — Washington April 16, 2008 to Pope Benedict XVI.

    “I remember meeting a mother of a child who was abducted by the North Koreans right here in the Oval Office,”
    — Washington, June 26, 2008

    “I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully,”
    — Saginaw, Michigan, September 29, 2000

    “Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB/GYNs aren’t able to practice their love with women all across the country,”
    — Poplar Bluff, Missouri, September 6, 2004

    “It would be a mistake for the United States Senate to allow any kind of human cloning to come out of that chamber,”
    — Washington, April 10, 2002

    “Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?”
    — Florence, South Carolina, January 11, 2000

    “You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test,”
    — Townsend, Tennessee, February 21, 2001

    “My fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended… The tyrant has fallen, and Iraq is free,”
    — USS Abraham Lincoln at sea off the coast of San Diego, California, May 1, 2003

    “I’m the decider, and I decide what is best. And what’s best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the Secretary of Defense,”
    — Washington, April 18, 2006