Christian Clue

I wouldn't describe myself as a Simpsons fanboy. I'm not a regular viewer anymore, though during med school I watched the show religiously. But I caught yesterday's episode, Bart Has Two Mommies (season 17, episode 14, air date March 19, 2006), and had to post about something that made me laugh out loud.

Marge babysits milquetoasts Rod and Todd Flanders. Upon returning home, Ned spots a band-aid package "rip-cord" on the floor, and discovers that one of his boys (I can never keep them straight) has a boob-diddly-oo-boo, cutting his finger on the knife in "Christian Clue".

Flanders' other son reports on the crime solution this time: the Secular Humanist did it in the Schoolhouse with Misinformation!


Post-Colonialism and The Pitfalls of Projecting Power in the Modern World

James K Galbraith wrote this interesting column at MoJo.com about how the modern age curtails the effective projection of colonial power. People are still the same. On (re)reading Machiavelli's The Prince, you will be startled by how much of his commentary and advice will ring true in completely different contexts five centuries later: office politics, family relationships, non-profit organizations--the struggle for power and influence is ever-present, and the means to consolidate it effectively in many ways remain unchanged.

But in the context of projecting colonial power and global hegemony, the world has changed dramatically and old paradigms can no longer be applied. One would think that the immediacy of global personal communication, the accessibility of intercontinental travel, and the instantaneous coverage of the media would complement a strategy to project power on a global scale. Not so according to Galbraith. Happy reading.


The CBC Loves Owen Pallett

You may know that name already. Owen has a solo project called Final Fantasy, and and a CD titled Has A Good Home. He has toured with Arcade Fire, doing their string arrangements for the album as well. He also toured with Stuart McLean of CBC's The Vinyl Cafe and his day job is as the show's music director.

When the Vinyl Cafe performed in Kelowna, I met Owen backstage. I told him his minimalist looping strings remind me of Philip Glass. Owen performs using a violin, a loop board, and his angelic voice. He lays down a loop on his violin, hits the board, then layers another loop on top of that, hits the board, then plays live melody and sings. The music is wistful and hypnotic. I have no idea how to classify it; which genre do I pigeonhole it into on my iPod?

Owen has been appearing frequently on the CBC, whether it's on Jian Ghomeshi's pointless National Playlist, on Go playing live and improvising a song about meeting Mother Theresa (a story which itself was improvised by a comedian), on DNTO, on Radio3, the list goes on. Owen seems ubiquitous in my household, where the CBC plays virtually continuously.

Take a listen to a sample here, and decide whether you think he deserves all the attention.

I do.