CHAOS THEORY

freedom-tower-progress-october-2012Article by Barbara Cornell

Syndicated from Barbara Cornell’s personal blog.

I can’t remember how many times I’ve said this to myself (so it must be true, right?): «All projects, no matter how huge in scope or complicated in nature, are merely a series of much simpler tasks.»

A trip to Mars or a trip to the mailbox differ only in the number of steps it takes to get there. If something ahead of you feels too overwhelming, it’s because you’re trying to tackle too big a piece of the project at one time. If at any point you feel like whatever mountain you have to climb is too tall, pull your focus back a little and re-evaluate. If it still feels too overwhelming, draw it back again. There have been days when the farthest out I could handle thinking about was, «Next, I am going to sit up. Not going to worry about whether I can actually get out of the bed yet, just working on sitting up right now.»

Can you go through your whole life with such short-sightedness? Clearly not. Long term planning is vital. But feeling overwhelmed will paralyze you to the point that you don’t even take care of the immediate, and it eats you alive.

I recently re-ordered checks for my business. For signature line message, I had printed:

«…And having done all, to stand.»
(Ephesians 6:13)

Do what you should do, and when you’re finished, stand your ground. It will be ok. I promise.

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NEW BOOK: TWISTING THE TREATY

3Article by Tim Wikiriwhi.

Syndicated from Eternal Vigilance.

Six notable authors have just published a challenging new book about the way the Treaty of Waitangi has been twisted to be greatly in favor of Maori tribes over the last thirty years. These distortions include the rewriting of our [New Zealand’s] history by political “historians,” the never-ending so called Treaty Claim process, and the privatization and relinquishment of our foreshore and seabed, as well as our native flora and fauna, and the rights that apply to our sea fishery.

If you are interested in these matters, then this book, Twisting the Treaty – a Tribal Grab for Wealth and Power provides readily readable discussion on these topics. The Cover below.

2Warning – the book is factual and is not politically correct; one of its charms in my view.
The book is available at a retail cost of $40. It has 414 pages and 16 photo pages, but, with 16 self-contained chapters, it does not have to be read all at once.

Where to obtain it:
1.  Good bookstores throughout NZ,
2.  Write to Tross Publishing, P O Box 22 143, Khandallah, Wellington, 6441 with your order and cheque,
3.  Also see our website, www.trosspublishing.co.nz for info and to order online.

Enjoy your reading.

WICKED WISDOM

04Article by Barbara Cornell.

Syndicated from Barbara Cornell’s personal blog.

Just checked out Jada Pinkette Smith’s death metal band, Wicked Wisdom. They ain’t fixing to take over Metallica’s market share anytime soon (too bad, really), but they’re not half bad. Even though metal is viewed as an angry, young, white man’s genre, it really is an equal opportunity crowd.

That’s not as true with other genres, which seem to be more comfortable in their own demographic. Yes, there are a few white rappers (Eminem, Vanilla Ice — if he even still counts; his most repeated lyric these days is likely, «Would you like fries with that?» and that’s really it), but mostly they’re black. Yes, there are a few old fart pop singers (Paul McCartney…um…), but mostly they’re barely post pubescent, pimplies. Try being a white blues singer or guitar player, and you’ll find yourself faced with «Who does he think he is? White man trying to be John Lee Hooker. Psht.» And try to sell pop music to the teeny-boppers, the Beliebers, if you’re old and wrinkled…good luck with that.

The metal crowd is as likely to embrace the Killswitch Engages, the Sevendusts, the Within Temptations, the AC/DC’s (I heard Angus and his school boy uniform recently celebrated their Golden Anniversary) among us, as they are the Avenged Sevenfolds, and the Five Finger Death Punches. Black, white, latino, asian, male, female, young, old, gay, straight, christian, satanist, atheist, liberal or conservative, the metal crowd just does not care. Just bring it hard, fast and intense.

EXPANSIONS (KRIS BECKER): THE KIND OF ART MUSIC THE MARKET MIGHT ACCEPT

photoArticle by PJ Cornell.

Syndicated from the Asterisked Music Journal.

Assessment: 9.7 out of 10.

Bottom line up front: For several decades now, the culture of the so called “art music” genre, which, in most cases might more aptly be called “academic music;” the institutional heir of what is known as “classical” music, has been to shun anything which might be construed as being accessible enough to be sold to the general public. This condescending attitude toward the listener has, predictably, led to the decline of art music consumption to an amount approaching zero. Kris Becker (composer and piano virtuoso) is a refreshing exception to this trend. This release abounds with clever quartal harmonies set to jazzy rhythms, and an upbeat attitude that, while sophisticated, does not take itself so seriously as to be a burden to listen to.

Highlights: This album, while being largely consistent in style (as opposed to some of his earlier releases, which were eclectic, to say the least), expresses a very wide range of emotional content, from the pensive Elegy, to the blindingly bright and upbeat Piano Sonata #1. One thing this release is not is boring — at any point in time. The harmonic center tends to shift suddenly, with little warning, and by the time we’ve processed the occurrence, we’re on to something else. The harmonic content, in general, is stable enough to not lose the audience, yet varied, dissonant, and progressive enough to hold the attention of the listener throughout each track.

Criticisms: This album does not break new ground in any revolutionary way; it sounds a lot like some of Barber’s better works — but it certainly displays mastery of the art. Think Hindemith spruced up for the market place. This isn’t even really a criticism; you could say that creating market-acceptable art music is a massive innovation in and of itself.

Conclusion: This is a highly sophisticated and listen-able release that displays a lot of theoretical, compositional, and performance mastery, while avoiding the common pitfall of being out of touch with what people want to hear.

WEAKBLOOD

Poem by Mark I Rasskazov, Editor in Chief.

My soul breaks like a storm against the rocky shore.
I will erode the sandy softness of the lie;
I uncover the jagged heart of an evil:
Brokenness stabbing heaven like a broken blade.

I am the cliff face; those who ride the high plateau
Will swiftly plunge to a raging river below.
If God will not grant you wings of merciful grace,
You belong to the wrath I spew among the stones.

Your weakness – your dross feeds my tireless, flaming ire.
My salivating twenty-three black, jagged teeth:
They lie in wait for you to trip, stumble, fall down.
The weak, they surround me; I will imbibe blood today.

NO WAY IN NO WAY OUT (SILLS AND SMITH): ALTERNATIVE TO THE ALTERNATIVE

51omOu6uGcL._SL500_AA280_Article by PJ Cornell.

Syndicated from the Asterisked Music Journal.

Assessment: 9.0 out of 10.

Bottom line up front: Imagine yourself somewhere in Canada. There’s snow on the ground. It’s dark. It’s cold. As you walk down the ice-laden road, you see a bar nestled amidst the pines. The lights inside flicker a warm glow out onto the frozen ground below. As you approach, you hear a band playing. The music is as warm and inviting as the weather outside is cold and harsh. You step into the bar. The band’s drummer gives you a smile and a nod as you approach the bar. You order a whiskey on the rocks. The drink is cold, but sweet, and warms you as it goes down. You let the fire on the hearth, your stiff drink, and the full sound of the band wash over you until you’re relaxed from head to toe.

Highlights: The best part of this album is that it is so stylistically expansive. There’s something for everybody: metal, post-hippie jams, country, adult alternative, and good old alternative rock. This band’s sound is very thick, and the songs have good trajectory. Would it be Different is a Pink Floydesque favorite of mine. Lot’s of complex harmonies, good use of vocal technique, and amazing guitar solos. Melancholy World is another really good one; it’s a very upbeat, yet emotionally complex song with a beat that anyone can get behind, and guitar solos that make your soul ache. I Can’t Reach You is a good bluesy jam. In Pain, they demonstrate their artistic versatility by busting out a straight-up numetal anthem which is strangely consistent with the feel of the rest of the album. These Ghosts is a dreamlike song with a country feel.

Criticisms: My only real criticism is that, in some of their songs, they would do well to space out the lyrics a little more. It occasionally seems that they try to compress too many words into a short space. They would do well to use shorter poems, or else give their song a little more space to breathe. They’re choruses are usually the highlights of their songs; for example, in I’m Right Here, their verses are little too wordy, but the chorus: “I’m right heeeeeeeere, I’m right heeeeeeeere….” gives me chills every time.

Conclusion: This is an excellent album, overall. The more you listen to it, the more you like it. This album is better than their first one, a worthy effort in its own right (review pending) and I think the next one will be even better. I look forward to hearing it.