Archive for rant

Men, Keep Your Shirts On

Posted in Rant/ Rave with tags , , , , on August 11, 2017 by sethdellinger

Men, keep your shirts on.

Listen, I know this sort of ideology really makes lots of people groan, even so-called “liberals” who can often be heard to say “I’m all for (fill in the blank) but enough is enough!”  But usually, when you find yourself saying enough is enough, that usually means you might actually be approaching the line of what is right and just.

When you were growing up, did you ever think to yourself, Isn’t it weird that men or boys can walk around with their shirts off and women can’t?  I’m willing to wager you did think that, probably sometime between the ages of five and ten.  You thought it because it’s OBVIOUS that it’s strange; like so many other oddities you thought of as a child (“Isn’t it weird for humans to drink the milk of a cow?” and “If people of other races are just like me, why do we treat them differently?” and maybe even “If police are here to protect me why do they scare me?”) our culture has a buffet of fictions it has produced that you are fed with such alarming regularity that, after you are a fully acculturated pre-teen, you take these oddities to be self-evident normalcies.  Men can go topless, women can’t.  That’s just the way it is.

Of course, this isn’t about shirts or nipples; not really.  It’s about living in a land where, even with all the strides we’ve made toward gender equality over the past 50 years, the most basic “stories” of our culture still seek to control the woman and set the man free.  We can work toward pay equality, and make superhero movies about women, and all these wonderful things that truly are wonderful, but until we change the most basic tenets of our culture (practically our entire language is about men, women’s clothes aren’t functional or comfortable, women are judged on their appearance to a degree beyond male comprehension, and on and on and on and on) any man who is even moderately awoke to this fact is absolutely obligated to do everything they can to combat it.  And it is absolutely imperative that we not do something that our female counterparts would be forbidden by law to do simply because of their gender.

To walk out of your house without a shirt on is to take part in systemic inequality of the most deeply-rooted, insidious sort.  Who do you think you are, walking around bare chested?  My fiance is not able to do it–so how dare YOU?

I don’t care if you have six pack abs or a beer belly.  I don’t care if you are working out or sunbathing.  It’s not OK.  Once you are “woke” to this fact, a man walking around shirtless can seem, in fact, downright sinister. (I must admit here a caveat: I swim shirtless at our apartment complex because it’s an actual rule there, but I’m working up the courage to stop doing that).

I understand many people I know, after reading this very simple, straightforward statement will still want to argue with it.  This is natural, because the fiction you’ve been told has strong sway on you (even when you are the oppressed class). All I ask is that you let it sit within you for awhile, before pushing back.  Think about it when you see a shirtless man go running past you.  If he were running with a woman, she’d have to be shirted–and hotter and less comfortable.  Let it stew.

Sea of Ice

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 14, 2016 by sethdellinger

Famous people I know I would be good friends with if we ever got to know each other:

–Werner Herzog
–Kiefer Sutherland
–Anderson Cooper
–Emily Wells
–Dave Eggers
–Joaquin Phoenix
–Rachel Maddow
–Adam Savage

Oh hey, Karla and I were in line at a store last week.  We were next to be rung out.  We were standing kind of arm-in-arm.   We looked at each other and gave each other two or three quick, successive peck kisses.  The man behind the register threw his arms up in the air and bellowed, “FOLKS!  There’s other people here,” at which point he motioned to the other people in line behind us.  Then he said something along the lines of “Stop that” although I can’t remember his exact wording there.  We were flabbergasted!!  We hadn’t even been close to making out or kissing in any excessive way–whatever that would be!  It’s fair to say my anger was intense.  Karla pointedly asked the man behind us, “Were you offended?” and he said “I’m too tired to be offended.”  We were silent while he rang up our items.  As we walked out I said a very mean thing to him, which I do not feel bad about.

Oh hey, watch this video of Kay Ryan reading her poem “The Turtle”.  I mean wow.  “Her only levity is patience,/ the sport of truly chastened things.”

 

It’s not something you really wanna think about very much, but what songs would you want played at your funeral?  I actually used to think about this a lot, back when I was much more sad all the time, but even now the topic will cross my mind every few months.  Naturally my selections have varied wildly as time goes on and my tastes changed.  For many years I held tightly onto “Light Years” by Pearl Jam being one of the songs played, but that finally slid off the list a few years ago.  And thank goodness–in retrospect I can see that would have been gratuitously sad.  Just way TOO SAD.  Currently I am going with “A Three-Legged Workhorse” by This Will Destroy You, “I’ve Been Asleep For a Long, Long Time” by Hey Rosetta!,  and “Brian and Robert” by Phish.  I recommend trying this exercise yourself.  I think you’ll find it is quite revealing, not just about your musical tastes, but about the entirety of your life.

Here is a (partial) list of things I would try to get good at if I had unlimited time on this Earth:

–playing the guitar
–hiking/camping/climbing
–painting
–the yo yo
–acting
–ice skating

Oh hey, I’m reading a book about the earliest art to depict the polar regions after human exploration had begun there.  It’s a truly intriguing topic and some of this art is just spectacular.  Somewhat realistic based off the descriptions of the men who’d been there but also rather exaggerated and mystical as the place was still one of imagination and perceived danger and death.  Check out “Sea of Ice” by Caspar David Friedrich:

309fried

 

 

My Favorite Music of 2016

Posted in Rant/ Rave with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2016 by sethdellinger

It’s that time of year again, oh friendy friends!  Time for my favorite music of the year blog!  For those who haven’t slogged through these before, allow me to get these perfunctories out of the way:

  1. All music on this list is NEW music that was released in calendar year 2016.
  2. A mix CD of songs from my list can be easily obtained by messaging me and asking.  Those on my “mailing list” will receive one without asking.
  3. I am not saying this was the “best” music of 2016.  I used to say that but people got their undies in a bunch.  I’m just saying it’s my “favorite”.
  4. If you’re interested in lists from years past, they can be found here:
    My Favorite Music of 2009My Favorite Music of 2010My Favorite Music of 2011

    My Favorite Music of 2012

    My Favorite Music of 2013

    My Favorite Music of 2014

My Favorite Music of 2015

And before I proceed with this year’s list, I’d like to address what was probably my biggest disappointment of my music listening life: this year’s Band of Horses release.  When I heard of the album, and learned it’s title, and saw the artwork and read the tracklist, I was perhaps the most excited I’d been for a new release since the height of my Pearl Jam fandom.  I fully anticipated making it the number one album on my list this year.  Instead, it does not even appear.  The reviews were very mixed–some were ecstatic whereas others reacted quite like I did, and many were very neutral.  So obviously it can be heard many ways.  I personally, after listening about ten time during it’s first month of release, may never listen to it again.

I’d also be remiss if I did not mention Prophets of Rage, a supergroup combination of Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy, and Cypress Hill.  Again, many detested it and many loved it; I loved it and thought it was beyond the bee’s knees.  However, for the most part, it was not new music, and it does not make the list, but it formed a very important part of 2016 for me.  In addition, Neil Young+Promise of the Real released a live album, Earth, that felt as fresh and vibrant as a new studio album and I listened to that thing like crazy, but again: not really new.  Now: my list!

15.  Explosions in the Sky, “The Wilderness”

14.  Ray LaMontagne, “Ouroboros”

13.  Public Enemy, “Man Plans God Laughs”

12.  Kiefer Sutherland, “Down in a Hole”

11.  DJ Shadow, “The Mountain Will Fall”

10.  A Tribe Called Quest, “We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service”

The Tribe’s triumphant return was well worth the wait, with lyrics poignantly reflecting the temper of the times and thankfully light on misogyny.  And the beats are dope.

9.  M83, “Junk”

thqjx379jnM83’s new album is a kind of throwback space funk jam-off, like a ride in a technicolor elevator, with purple felt walls.  Impossible to dislike.

 

 

 

 

 

8.  Warpaint, “Heads Up”

Warpaint have now built upon the dark, groovy introspection they created in their first two albums with more intricate jams and a subtle pop sensibility; their musical landscape is now a universe all their own.

7.  Mexico City, “When the Day Goes Dark”

This powerful Australian band hadn’t released any new music for six years.  Their return when-the-day-goes-dark-1-600x600was worth waiting for, as they morphed from terrific bar band into a piledriver of country and blues rock.  A potential classic.

 

 

 

 

 

6.  Jim James, “Eternally Even”

The mastermind behind My Morning Jacket didn’t connect with me on his first solo album a few years back, but this year’s “Eternally Even” tickles my Jacket bone.

5.  Paul Simon, “Stranger to Stranger”

Simon is never bad.  But as he ages, I seem to keep thinking he is getting better and better; his lyrics become more adventurous (from The Werewolf: “The fact is, most obits are mixed paulsimon_strangertostranger_rgb-640x640-e1460038643460reviews./ Life is a lottery, a lotta people lose./ And the winners, the grinners, with money-colored eyes/ they eat all the nuggets, and they order extra fries./  But the werewolf is coming.”), his music more modern, playful, daring.  “Stranger to Stranger” is a delight from start to finish, but especially for those familiar with his full body of work; his evolution is a bewildering achievement.

 

 

4.  Emily Wells, “Promise”

Wells is an astonishing talent, and “Promise” proves she’s an artist worthy of canonization.  Eschewing her previous catchy violin hooks and hip hop undertones, here she digs deep–the level of introspection at times becomes hard to watch.  But ultimately, while not an album of happy, singalong songs, “Promise” proves instead to be a key addition to any music library concerned with–frankly–the meaning of life.

3.  Radiohead, “A Moon Shaped Pool”

What’s still to be said about Radiohead?  They are as good as everyone says, as is this album.  Including a studio version of “True Love Waits” (re-worked for piano) nearly broke me in half.

2.  Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, “Skeleton Tree”

Cave’s son died tragically while the band was recording the album, and it can be heard in every sound.  It’s a quiet, low-tempo, mostly spoken-word collection of songs, and it is not for the faint of heart.  It is brave, and it is terrifying, but it does not wallow.

1.  Bon Iver, “22, A Million”

bon-iver-22-a-million

I haven’t said much about this album online, as I grew into it slowly, and it came out shortly after a few albums I’d been talking about at length, so I figured I’d stop clogging up everybody’s feed with my music stuff.  But as I kept listening, and listening, and listening, it became clear this album was not going to go away. It is an album of absolutely confounding elements–it incorporates so many genres, styles, and influences, it’s amazing it is coherent.  And it sometimes approaches unlistenable, as vocalist Justin Vernon simply sings through a synthesizer without any music for long lengths of time.  But ultimately it’s not about being catchy, or easy, or even “artsy”.  The album is a true experience, and one that is deeply felt.

 

The Morning After

Posted in real life with tags , , on November 9, 2016 by sethdellinger

“Mom, wherever there’s a cop beating a guy
Wherever a hungry newborn baby cries
Where there’s a fight against the blood and hatred in the air
Look for me, Mom, I’ll be there

Wherever somebody’s fighting for a place to stand
Or a decent job or a helping hand
Wherever somebody’s struggling to be free
Look in their eyes, Ma, and you’ll see me”

–“The Ghost of Tom Joad”, Bruce Springsteen

It happened.  And there’s certainly no going back now.  Our country has changed.  It had probably changed before the election results, but now, of course, there’s no denying it.

We are a divided people, no doubt.  But we have always been.  We’ve even been more divided than this (folks who tell you this is the worst it’s ever been are the same folks who tell you to do your research, even though they’ve never read an actual book).  We are divided, but we’ll be OK.

But what Donald Trump himself might do to this country is unthinkable.  It’s not his policies or ideologies that are so terrifying.  We could survive even the most radical of a conservative.  It’s him.  What he says, does, how he acts.  His disregard for the basic foundations of our nation.  From that, there might be no coming back.

It is fully possible the election of Donald Trump signals the end of the American experiment.  He could very well set into motion forces that topple our nation.  This game is too big to survive his bluster.

I have a family now, which I love and cherish more than anything in the cosmos.  If I was still a single man, I would be speaking right now very earnestly about leaving the country.  I know that seems cliché and silly by now, but I really would.  Or, failing that idea, I might find or start some sort of anti-Trump militia–find some radical way to try to hold onto what we’ve built here.

But I must take great pains to remain an integral, present part of my family unit.  Their future is the thing I must be most concerned with.  But make no mistake: if it becomes necessary, if we are being pushed towards annihilation, you will find me in the streets.  You will find me marching toward those that would rend us asunder.  You will find me arm in arm with my brothers and sisters, and we will be holding more than signs in our hands.  You will find me in the revolution, because that’s how I will protect my family.

 

You Don’t Like Winter

Posted in Rant/ Rave, Uncategorized with tags , on November 2, 2016 by sethdellinger

So stop pretending you do.  When I complain about the impending season, stop saying you look forward to the snow, the cold, the wind, the darkness, because you don’t.  A small, tiny, truly insignificant portion of the human race actually likes the winter.  Do you know why?

Because it’s horrible.  It’s wretched.

You don’t like the way the pervasive cold seeps its way into everywhere, cracking things, drying them out, rendering them lifeless and without use or beauty.  You don’t like the way it gets dark at noon, casting a horrid gloom over the world, forcing you to turn your car headlights on for a short afternoon drive to the Wal-Mart.  You don’t like getting bundled up in clothes so oppressive, so thick and mottled you can barely bend at the elbows, or lean in close to whisper to your lovely bundled-up boyfriends and girlfriends.  You don’t like how it’s cold waiting in line at the movie theater.  You don’t like it.

If there be any sort of higher power (The Great Creator, or Supreme Being, or God, or Collective Unconscious, or just Higher Power, or whatever you want to call it), quite clearly created Winter so that the rest of our existence could be highlighted by its absence.  In Winter, most things die, whereas they birth in Spring and thrive all Summer long.  In Winter, our land becomes sheathed in a smooth, featureless white (which you may find visually appealing) that blots out everything we’ve toiled so hard to create.  The ice forbids us from functioning like competent adult creatures; the snow creates more work on top of our already havoc and labor filled lives.  Winter was built to dislike; this you cannot argue.

And while you may look forward to snowboarding, skiing, sledding or snowball-fighting, these are simply things you like to do.  If you could do them in Summer you surely would.

I know what you are doing, you foolhardy liars: you are whistling past the graveyard.  While some of us admit the dread that fills us as Nature’s worst blight approaches, you attempt to deny your most natural instincts by claiming to ‘like’ such a death-filled disastrous time of year.  The worst part about your transparent denial is that in conversation after conversation, those honest ones are forced to feel like pussies, soft human beings who actually prefer sunlight-filled Eden seasons.  I, for one, will not allow your contrivance to make me feel this way.

You don’t like Winter, so stop pretending you do.

Why We All Need the Cubs to Lose the World Series

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 23, 2016 by sethdellinger

First, a few points of order:

1.  When I say “we all”, I am only talking about baseball fans.  I am under no illusion this is of significant import to the wider world.

2.  I like the Chicago Cubs.

OK, now.  Here’s where I’m at.  I know we all feel for the much-ballyhooed long-suffering Cubs fans.  It’s been over a hundred years since they won a championship.  And they have always, at least within my lifetime, been a likeable team, and how can you not like Wrigley Field?  And all the mythos around their losing streak (the “curse”, the goat, Steve Bartman, etc).  The Cubs winning a championship would be HUGE.  We have ALL grown up with that storyline in baseball–everyone alive today has grown up with that being part of their baseball experience.

I vote we keep it that way.  While I feel for the Cubs fans (but really now–they’ve had plenty to enjoy from the Bulls, Blackhawks, and even the White Sox), in the quickly-evolving world of baseball, the Cubs losing streak is too powerful of a tale to give up.  It helps to connect baseball fans within our grand narrative.  The Red Sox used to have a long losing streak, and it’s now over, and with the face of baseball inevitably changing as our culture accelerates through change, let’s not lose some of the only historic stories we have.  If the Cubs are no longer perennial losers, what do we have left???

Listen, I hear you.  You think I’m being a weird contrarian.  And maybe I am.  I like this Cubs team (but I like Cleveland’s team more).  And think about this: wouldn’t it make an excruciating but undeniably delicious chapter in the Cubs’ losing streak for them to make it to the series and lose???  To Cleveland, on the same year that entire city’s losing streak was just broken by their basketball team???  This world series, I’m rooting for intense, epic historic narrative.  Plus I saw the Cleveland baseball team play when I lived in Erie :)

I’m All-In For a Trump Nomination

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on March 2, 2016 by sethdellinger

Ultimately, finally, the nomination of Donald Trump for the presidency makes sense.  I welcome it.  Bring it on.

Trump’s ascendancy makes real and concrete the culture battle we’ve all been engaged heavily in for about ten years–with everybody either on one side or the other (those of you still arguing for some sort of middle ground are as obsolete as a laser printer).  We’ve crossed the Rubicon–there’s no going back, at the moment, to more moderate times. However bad it may be for our country, we are now all going to be forced to choose LIBERAL or CONSERVATIVE.  That’s how it’s going to be, so you might as well choose and commit highly.

It was very nice and comforting, for a few years there, to think there was a way to meet in the middle.  A way to politely ignore it when your friends said things you fundamentally disagreed with.  A way to still lose yourself in the films of an actor you heard was on “the other side”.  It was nice to think the world was soft enough that we could still love each other despite our differences.

But it isn’t.  Not now.  Maybe some day, it will be again.  We can hope it will be.  But at this moment in history, the world isn’t soft-it’s hard, with edges that cut.  The issues we face now are issues of good versus evil, of which fundamental worldview will govern us and set the course for all of our futures.  It’s too important for softness, or politely ignoring those who disagree with you.

It’s tempting to hope against hope that somehow Trump will still not get the nomination, but that’s wrongheaded.  If some milquetoast stand-in like Cruz or Rubio got the nomination, that would just forestall the inevitable, giving us four or eight more years of almost deciding who we (as America) are.  We need Trump to get nominated so we can either win or lose this battle for the soul of our nation–so that our future course can finally be decided, for better or worse.

Bring him on.  It is very rarely in the whole of human history a great nation is presented with such binary, epic choices.

 

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