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from ARCHIVES - in category Harmless Untruths

The persistence of Memorial Day

This past Memorial Day weekend I was out of town (as per the American tradition), but on the Friday before the holiday I spent a few minutes walking through Arlington Cemetery, thinking about sad topics like the perpetual wars we continue to fight and all the good-hearted Americans who are so loyal to the military but so strangely unwilling to criticize the wars that endanger said military or the government that sends young people halfway around the world to kill other young people. But the ceme…

from ARCHIVES - in category Harmless Untruths

Ho ho ho.

I have been discussing Christmas lately and I have some mixed feelings about it. I guess, overall, I think it is kind of a mixed-up holiday that awkwardly combines the celebration of the birth of Christ, sort-of-cute traditions for kids, and unsettling consumerist madness. I’m not sure that any of these things belong together and for years now, Christmas has never quite sat right with me. I like seeing my family and I like our family traditions, but I think that, unless I have kids of my own, I …

from ARCHIVES - in category Harmless Untruths

A more perfect union

I got an email from school stating that next week, in honor of Constitution Day, there will be a public reading of the U.S. Constitution by students. Well. My first thought was that this didn’t sound like something a serious university would do, but was more akin to things we did in seventh grade, like the time my class had to recite the Gettysburg Address at the Lincoln Memorial. Then my second thought was, “Constitution Day??” Turns out Constitution Day is a legitimate holiday, of sorts. Wikip…

from ARCHIVES - in category Harmless Untruths

Absolutely nothing’s changed

So there are trillions of songs about Christmas, but I can only think of two pop/rock songs about New Year’s, the famous one being U2’s “New Year’s Day” and the not-so-famous one being the Dismemberment Plan’s “The Ice of Boston”. (Apparently, there is a song by Death Cab for Cutie called “The New Year”, but I don’t have much interest in it, as seeking it out would be a violation of my irrational scorn for Death Cab and Bright Eyes and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. I’ll explain this later.) In my lo…

from ARCHIVES - in category Harmonies

October All Over vs. Time Jesum Transeuntum Et Non Riverentum

When I was teaching English, I would occasionally bring in some music for my students to listen to and discuss. 1 One time at the end of October, I was flipping through my CD collection, wondering what I had that was somewhat Halloween-ish. I am not really into gimmicky Halloween music, and a lot of music that could be appropriate is just not really very spooky. I had a little goth music (Type O Negative?), some metal (Tool?), some friggin’-weird indie music (Xiu Xiu?), but none of that stuff wa…