World Cup Soccer: Round of 16
Both the Florida State Seminoles (I am a FSU grad) and the US World Cup Soccer Team were recent causes that I've taken up. It's not that I didn't like either (I've been to several FSU games and watched the last World Cup), but both recently made it to the final stages of their respective playoffs and cheering on the team not only became easier, but it quickly became a thing of passion. Of course, winning makes it easier, but with such a full schedule, I've just now gotten a chance to follow with any detail.
What FSU and the USA has taught me is to strive to put my efforts and the efforts of others in the correct perspective. Remember how great the last inning strikeout was to get us into the College World Series? Remember the excitement that came with Donovan's wining goal in the 91st minute against Slovenia? We aren't owed these memories, and we should recognize them when they come around. Thank you USA and FSU for your passion and drive to win. It was a pleasure to get a chance to cheer you on.
Singer of "In My Head", "Watcha Say", & "Ridin Solo"
(Video is not suitable for all ages, and NSFW)
Right now it seems that top 40 radio is just dominated by the same breathy young R&B star in every song. Between Jason Derulo, Taio Cruz's "Break Your Heart", Travie Mccoy's "Billionaire", Drake's "Find Your Love", and the return of Usher & Kanye West, I don't know if we ever get a break from it (except for Gaga or Keisha it seems). I single out Derulo's "In My Head" because I think it's the worst example of the entire genre of r&b mixed with dance club beats that Usher and Kanye have pioneered.
The fact that the song begins with his own name as self-promotion is reason enough to turn it off, but listen to all the extra little things he seems to add to every line, with extra breaths and 'oohs' an 'ahhs'. In the tradition of Simon Fuller's critical eye, this song is so indulgent it takes on a self-parody flavor and has to represent the maturation and fall for this genre. Perhaps he can be cut some slack by just saying he was trying to do his best homage (more like impression) to Michael Jackson. In fact, the video in a way comes off like Michael's "The Way You Make Me Feel" video. That being said, this whole trend annoys me for it's emphasis on style (really an over-indulgent style) that only points inwards. Do I even need to mention the quality of the lyrics?
"Need You Now"
(Click the Picture to watch the Video)
It's a song that has been in circulation for quite some time now, and I keep playing it over and over myself. I don't highlight this song because of the genre contrast with the R&B above (I like both genres equally), but because I think there is an honesty and simplicity contrast. From a Christian perspective, this song features two hurting people whom probably shouldn't be turning to alcohol to drown sorrows. However, what the song nails is the honesty of what it's like to hurt in needing someone. The music and vocal styling accentuate the melancholy and pain present in the lyrics and I think it's something everyone (even those not in that particular position) can really relate to and 'feel'. Besides the musical aspect of it, I think thats what makes this a successful cross over into pop radio. People always respond to an honest and sincere plea. It's the same kind (although spiritual in nature) of honest and heartfelt pleas that David makes in the Psalms. Something about human interaction finds it necessary, important, and healthy to share these feelings, and Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" is a good example of it.
Television Show airing on Discovery Channel
I absolutely love The Mythbusters! I took a vacation last week and as part of winding down, ending up watching show after show (including one of their countdown specials). Mythbusters is a rare show that is always educating, while always entertaining. While they always do a great job in attempting to explain the science behind their projects, I think the shows major appeal lies elsewhere. The best thing the show puts forward is the amazing chemistry between their leads as well as the highs and lows of the projects they take on.
Like most of the best sitcoms, they feature casts that you would want to hang out with; people who love life, enjoy it in the moment, while also sharing their feelings and thoughts. For anyone who has watched multiple episodes of the show, you know there are plenty of inside moments, one-liners, and character on display, that we feel like part of the crew. The difference being that this essentially isn't a scripted 'fake' show. For the most part, the responses and relationships in the show are all genuine, and enjoyable to watch.
However, happiness and chemistry alone doesn't a great show make. It's the ability of Mythbusters to put that joy and chemistry at the service of their 'work' that makes it even more redeeming. What a great example to see such unity in a team, such drive and critical thought on a project, and great joy at a result well deserved. I think what makes it most appealing to this Christian man, is that they are enjoying and flourishing at the gifts of God. Unity, creativity, and productivity are a few of the qualities this show demonstrates. We all could take a few lessons from the Mythbusters.
I've begun a new featured list and it's Jackie Chan's Top 100 Action Scenes. It's required me to spend a lot of time reviewing Chan's films and sequences. For my thoughts on Chan and what he has to offer us, check out my Introduction to the List or the first few ones I've released below.