Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace

Foo Fighter's new album released today. All I can say after my third listen-through is "Ohhhhhhhh..."

While you're putting your shoes on to go buy your copy right now ($9.99 this week at Best Buy), click this link and be amazed at their new single's music video, "The Pretender": http://www.mtv.com/overdrive/?artist=986&vid=169364

Dave Grohl, I think I love you.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


I've been going to the same chiropractor off and on for seven years here in Ft. Lauderdale, but not anymore...

Yesterday afternoon my neck was like a pretzel, so I stopped by the chiropractor's office on my way home from class (I had a 12:00pm appointment). I parked the car and walked up to the office entrance, but was abruptly halted by a police officer as I reached to open the door. "Are you a patient here?" demanded the female officer. She had enough gadgets, vests, badges and guns strapped to her to re-take Normandy. "Uhhh, yes ma'am" I stuttered in reply, taking a half step backwards. "The office is closed right now, but I need to ask you a few questions." "O- Okay." As she took my deposition, I examined her badge more closely: "US Treasury Department- Special Agent."

"What's your name, sir?" I answered and she scribbled my name on her notepad while I snuck a peek at the glock 9mm strapped to her side. "What's the best phone number to reach you at?" My eyes darted back to hers as I responded. "What kind of payment plan do you have with this office?" I glanced over her shoulder through the glass door and saw two other officers inside rummaging through files and desks, which made me cautious in my reply: "I pay monthly."

Question after question finally ended when another patient approached the door. Special Agent GI-Jane had a new target, or witness or, suspect... who knows... Anyway, I was dismissed without much explanation about what was going on. I've become friends with one of the doctors there over the years, so he called this morning to tell me there was apparently something bogus going on with the office's billing and taxes. He was ticked off because he and his wife are both suddenly jobless due to someone else's negligence and dishonesty. The raid came unannounced and without apology.

I spent all morning working in the yard, dwelling on what had happened. And it tormented me all the more when my thoughts turned introspective and I began to examine my own integrity: "What would be found if my life was suddenly raided today? No announcement, no warning, just investigators rummaging through every corner of my life. What would I be charged with?"

I may not be guilty of money laundering, tax evasion, or for that matter anything illegal by the US Justice Department's standards, but it worried me when I considered the standards of justice to which I'm truly accountable. It may be a silly picture, but think about it: if God sent special agents into your house, into your marriage, and into your office; if God Himself was the captain of an exhaustive investigation into the files on your computer... what kind of hell would you be in? Would you be suddenly jobless? Would your reputation be tainted? Would your wife still admire, family still be proud of, and friends still associate themselves with... you?

The depth at which my heart was troubled was alone enough to convict me; if I were blameless and "above reproach," I wouldn't be bothered by
daily visits from God's entire investigative staff. But as it is, I know there are dark corners of my mind and heart that need correction before I'm prepared for such a raid.

Dr. D. James Kennedy passed away last week Thursday. At his memorial service, one of the speakers said, "There was nothing in James Kennedy's life that would embarrass the name of Jesus." I want that said of me at my funeral. Not that I will be able to perfect my every flaw, be sinless, or anything like that. But just to know I was not only at rest in the grace of Christ, but also wholly blameless to the best of my ability in
this life.

"Keep your servant also from willfull sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression." (Psalm 19:13)
(See also I Timothy 3:2, Psalm 15:1-5, 37:18-19, 108:1-8)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Final Exam Results

The moment we've all (three) been waiting for... the results of this year's Summer School of Rock final exam are in:

1. Who is the lead singer of AC/DC?
Correct answer: Brian Johnson (’80-present); Bon Scott was the original lead singer (’73-’80) who died of excessive alcohol consumption

2. On the famous “Cowbell” sketch on SNL, what 70’s rock band does the cast portray and what’s the name of the song needing “more cowbell”?
Band: Blue
Öyster Cult; Song: “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” P.S. Probably the best SNL sketch of all time; in the top 10 at the very least.

3. The name of the Southern Rock band whose lead singer, Ronnie Van Zant, along with several other members of the band and crew died in a plan crash in 1977?
The one and only: Lynyrd Skynyrd

4. The name of the band and the album that can, reportedly, be played simultaneously with the Wizard of Oz as a sort of psychedelic soundtrack?
Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" is said to match "perfectly" with every scene in the classic movie The Wizard of Oz. Personally I don't believe it, so I got the CD and the movie and now I'm just waiting for a free night to test the validity of this rumor for myself (and of course, I'll post the results of my findings here).

5. Since most of you know the answer to #4: Same band, who was their chief songwriter through the 70’s and beginning of the 80’s?
Pink Floyd's principle songwriter was Roger Waters through the 80's.

6. Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Bonham, and John Paul Jones: what was their band called?
A little band called Led Zeppelin

7. What highly influential English punk rock band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and credited with initiating the punk rock movement in the UK even though they only existed for 4 years (1975-1979) and released only one studio album (plus compilations and singles)?
The Sex Pistols, when honored with their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, called the award (and I quote) "a piss stain," and refused to make an appearance at the ceremony. Bassist Sid Vicious died of an "accidental" heroin overdose but is rumored to have been murdered by the dealer who made his dose of heroin unusually potent (coroner's report: it was a dose of 99% pure heroin as opposed to the common 22% pure). Yep, sounds like punk rock.

8. This duo formed in 1957 and were together through 1970, and their hit list includes “The Sound of Silence,” “Mrs. Robinson,” and “Bridge over Troubled Water.” Hall of Fame-rs and #40 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
Simon and Garfunkel. Originally formed under the name "Tom and Jerry" (thanks to Rick for that extra piece of trivia)

9. Name the band whose hits include “Come Sail Away” and “Mr. Roboto.” (Hint: it’s one misspelled word, four letters)

10. Pete Townshend was the guitarist and principal songwriter for this band that has been called “the greatest and most influential rock band of all time.”
The Who

11. What genre did the band Deep Purple help pioneer?
Deep Purple is considered one of the pioneers of heavy metal and hard rock (along with Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin)

12. What band released that single that gets in your head and never leaves you alone, “More Than a Feeling”? Boston

13. It is estimated that by 1985, this band had sold over one billion discs and tapes worldwide. They are #1 on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
The Beatles. P.S. One billion is a ridiculous number of records.

14. Regarded by some as “America’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band,” this group nearly fell apart between 1979 and 1984 due to substance abuse, except for the tireless efforts of then manager, Tim Collins, who reformed the band, got them help for their addictions, and made it possible for this now 38 year old rock band to still perform concerts today to sell-out crowds. (Hint: the lead singer has a daughter in the movies)
Aerosmith. Frontman Steve Tyler has a famous Hollywood daughter named Liv.

15. If you were stranded on an island and could only have one CD to listen to, which would it be?
The correct answer is U2's Joshua Tree (sorry Dan, Forrest Gump was a wrong answer; I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul).

First let me say that I was very impressed with your knowledge of classic rock. There were several who gave their answers to me in person but didn't post them here, so thanks to you guys as well. But there was one student who rose above; one shining star above the class; one student who not only answered every question correctly but also answered extra credit questions I did not ask. This person added the above-mentioned tidbit about "Tom and Jerry," knew that the week he was born "Bridge Over Troubled Water" was #1, and perhaps most impressive of all, he went through the trouble of adding an umlaut to the "O" of Blue Öyster Cult in order to properly answer question number 2. The School of Rock is therefore proud to crown Rick Hunter (aka "Tall Rick") as this year's top of the class. Rick, we have high hopes for your future. Make us proud. (Acceptance speech?)