Finally got on the bandwagon with influencers. It has improved my station tremendously as the extraneous stuff that was recommended is now replaced by suggestions from folks who have similar tastes to me ...
FYI, the numbers after listed items are what I have rated them out of 100.
Current band of choice: Les Rythmes Digitales
Current song as of posting: "De-Luxe" by Lush (90)
Huh? song of the day: "Get On The Floor" by Michael Jackson (70)
Good oldie of the day: "Take Five" by Dave Brubeck (100)
Interesting tidbit on Les Rythmes Digitales. Apparently his parents were both classical musicians and they did not allow him to listen to popular music when he was growing up. When he became a teenager his parents let loose a little bit and he decided to go back and listen to all of the stuff he couldn't listen to as a child (which happened to be 80's music) ... His style would fit right in with the mid 80's electro-pop.
Lush, incidentally, was a band that I played regularly on my radio show in college (89.1 KLPI in Ruston, Louisiana). LPI stands for Louisiana Polytechnic Institute which is known today as Louisiana Tech University.
The Huh? song is from Off the Wall which I have to admit I liked quite a few songs on ... but I was a little shocked for it to come up on my station.
My current stats
RATINGS: Addict (6,988 total ratings)
On Being Single ... from a married guy
God has blessed me richly with a wonderful wife and great examples of lasting marriages within my family. Also, being married gives me some insight on the transition from being single to being married. On a forum that I frequent someone asked the question "What do you do when it seems clear that it just isn't going to happen?" ... My response was as follows
This advice may sound harsh but you have to get comfortable with a few ideas about being single and being married. From a now happily married, ex-happily single person, let me tell you what helped me, and in hindsight, would have helped me even more.
First, being single is a gift. (see 1 Cor 7).. This idea permeates Church history and is evident in its teachings on the virtue of chastity. One of the early fathers even went so far as to say that marriage is wonderful in that it produces virgins. These days we have a tendency to not see the single life for the gift it is because everything in our culture tries to tell us that being married and living happily ever after is a special rite of passage that should happen to everyone.
Second, being married doesn't solve all of your problems and it is not a magic time of life that brings nothing but joy and happiness. (for example, I am sitting up at 4 am with my daughter falling back to sleep in my lap... cute yes ...but not always fun... ) ... Don't get me wrong. I gush about how wonderful marriage is all the time but it is a vocation. It takes hard work and great sacrifice to make it joyful. Too many people in this day and age want to think of marriage as enhanced singleness with all of its freedoms and the added bonus of someone to come home to. Treating marriage that way is setting it up for big problems. Once you get married you GIVE UP being single. I had to learn this lesson the hard way so I am telling you now, cherish the advantages while you have them.
Third, the most important relationship you have is with Christ. Maximize this time with Him and become comfortable with the idea that He is all you need, because He is. Go to daily mass. Pray more. Learn more about the faith. Serve at the local soup kitchen a few extra hours a week. This is a special time in your life with Him. Live it up.
I know of a guy who derives great unnecessary misery from this idea he has that marriage is going to fill some void in his life. What he doesn't understand is that void needs to be filled before he is ready to find a wife. My wife and I both met each other after we came to the solid conclusion that if God had us be single, we would be OK with it. You would be shocked how many married folks we know that tell us the same thing. The plan needs to be His not ours and His timing is not always as soon as we would like.
The thread continued ... as will these posts in the next few days. Stay tuned.
With the assitance of Thesaurus.com I give you LAUNCHCast Leavings (odds and ends) ... OK so it makes little sense. Suggest a better name.
First off, I am happy with LAUNCH again. I even renewed my subscription ....
Current band of choice: The Postal Service
Current song as of posting: "All The Above" by Dani Siciliano (90)
Huh? song of the day: "Carry On Wayward Son" by Kansas
Band(s) I am glad they added: 808 State, Clan of Xymox
Band(s) I wish they would add: Squarepusher, Severed Heads
My current stats ....
I am 4-0 in Fantasy Football this season and in sole possession of first place. When Anquan Boldin makes his return I could possibly have THREE Top 10 receivers and TWO Top 10 RB's in my starting lineup. Not bad in a 12 team league. With a little luck, a second championship in 3 years is well within reach. (I was narrowly defeated last season in a tiebreaker) ... I do have a bye week problem at RB but I have a few weeks to figure that one out. Until then, I will root for Tatum Bell to make the starting lineup in Denver ...
My new job is located very close to Immaculate Conception in Denham Springs which has perpetual adoration. This is a huge blessing and for those of you who do not partake of regular adoration, I highly recommend adding it to your life. It will bless you richly. Denham historically has had a bad reputation due to a high level of KKK activity in past decades. That said, I am very much impressed with IC. I am also impressed with the growth in Denham since I last worked there ... someone is on the right track with moving things forward from that checkered past. Next time around, run for Mayor of Baton Rouge ... PLEASE ...
We are now attending Our Lady of Mercy because the excellent child care allows us to attend mass without incident :) Any thoughts about kids in mass?
I spend a lot of time online talking to Catholics who are very devout about their faith. In many instances, they are also very fond of the traditions of the Church and many prefer the old Mass to the current NOM (Novus Ordo Mass). This past Sunday was my first TLM (Traditional Latin Mass).
I could spend the rest of this entry trashing the NOM for its perceived weaknesses or I could trash the TLM for similar reasons. Instead I am going to focus on what struck me most about each.
First off, it would be far and away an understatement for me to state that the Catholics who attend the TLM seem far more prone to adhere to the teachings of the Church on matters of faith and morals. For the first time since my reception into the Church this past Easter, my wife and I were surrounded by large familes of young Catholics. We are talking five, six and nine kids just to give a few actual examples. Sunday best was the norm for attire and head coverings for the women were almost universal. In a way, I was excited to see this as my wife and I have unfortunately found it most difficult to even see people in our own generation at our church.
Now to the mass. I cannot help but admit being lost for parts of it. We had available to us little booklets to follow along. It even had descriptions of what was being done and why. I am very thankful for that and I was able to get a lot out of the mass because of it. The one stunning thing about the TLM was the overwhelming reverence paid to the Eucharist. Being a convert, who converted on the strength of the doctrine of transubstantiation, this was a welcome sight to me. That is not to say I have not seen a NOM with a high level of reverence. I have, but it wasn't like this. EVERYTHING pointed to Jesus present in the Eucharist. I prefer the kneelers. I prefer the patens. I prefer treating the Body of Christ like it was treated at this mass. The homily was stellar and was of a depth that I am not used to hearing in masses these days. Still though, I felt a little strange about having been. I couldn't hear the priest all that well. I didn't know when to kneel or stand because of this. Apparently I wasn't the only one as a few times in the mass we had half the people standing and half the people sitting. I missed knowing what was going on and I missed having a full church. I knew I was in the presence of people who are likely far better Catholics than I am, and worse, who knew Latin. This was a little intimidating. Still, I want to get to know them. They know about some of the trials we are going through as Catholics trying to be orthodox in a regular environment staunchly unfriendly towards it. I yearn for the truth and I know I am going to get it here but am I really opting out because of my own sin and difficulty with the kids in the Abercrombie and Fitch clothes at our mass?
When you go you cannot help but compare the two. I have seen large online debates on the matter and they often get heated and blown way out of scope as if the biggest problem in the Catholic Church is the sparse availablity of the TLM. They each have their merits and it SHOULD be available. It is a beautiful thing to be part of and for those of us yearning for someting a little more, an occasional date with tradition is just the medicine Christ might have for us.
I doubt this is the last time I will attend a TLM. I feel something drawing me to the parish I am in for regular mass, but ever since I heard the *tink* to start mass this past Sunday, I cannot stop thinking about how beautiful the mass was. I have to go again.
The simplicity of what you see
Tonight I went with my wife and children to an indoor swimming pool at a hotel where my in-laws are staying. I have been getting over a summer cold so I decided to take a rare pass on taking a dip. This afforded me the opportunity to people watch, which has always been one of my favorite pasttimes. God, as usual, had other plans.
I began to notice several things about the people in the pool. Most of them were overweight and one guy had a tatoo. A young teenager walked past with a shirt proclaiming "Good girls are bad girls who know how not to get caught". Immediately anger swelled within me when, by the grace of God, a simple thought saved me from a rampant mental people bashing session.
For some reason I looked up at the clock. Simple, white and round. As I am a recent Catholic convert this immediately brought to mind the Eucharist. In this simple form, a circle, I saw Christ. When I looked back down at these people from various parts of the country and various walks of life, I now saw Christ and more frighteningly I saw myself in my disdain for people I did not know.
One of the things that really drew me to the Catholic Church was the history of artistic expression within the Church. Just about every art history class, even in secular institutions will expose you to more pictures of the Virgin Mary than you would ever think existed. "Next slide ... Madonna and Child". Humans are created in His image and thus it makes perfect sense that a manner in which deep truths are conveyed to us is through the image. An artistic representation might be used by God to say more to us than hours of reading. Normally when I thought of this, I thought of esquisite art like paintings, sculpture and architecture. Tonight God used the simplicity of a clock. It wasn't special. It likely came off the sale rack at Wal-Mart but God used it. It was another perfect example of God touching me through something physical and this just highlights the beauty of the sacramental nature of Catholicism.
I took two things away from this. First, God can reach you through simple means. Second, you can see Christ in simple ways. I don't have to see a lavish painting. I don't have to conjure up a vivid image of His passion to focus on Him. The rosary is beautiful in its simplicity as is the circle. I can see Christ in the letter "O" or the cross in the letter "t". If I choose to make seeing Christ a priority, in all things, then I can see Him more frequently and He more frequently can call me to holiness.
I am starting to get the gist of praying continually. There are small things you can do to see Christ every day. Even if you cannot make adoration, daily mass or pray 10 times a day, simply seeing the moon can remind you, Christ is here and He wants to perfect me. I can meditate on aspects of His life at any time of day if I keep looking for Him.
Someone once gave advice to a Catholic teenager struggling with pornography over the Internet. The advice was to place a giant crucifix on top of his monitor. Sure enough, that stopped the behavior. Wouldn't it be to our advantage to allow Christ to penetrate us like that with even simpler images? It did me tonight and I intend to further practice simply seeing Christ.
Papal Wisdom: I need a vacation!!!
From Vatican Information Service:
"In this oasis of quiet," said the Pope, "amidst the marvelous spectacle of nature, one easily senses the value of silence, today an increasingly rare good. The many opportunities for relationships and for information that modern society offers risk sometimes eliminating room for recollection, to the point of making people incapable of reflecting and praying. In reality, only in silence can man succeed in listening, in the intimacy of his conscience, to the voice of God which truly makes him free. And vacations can help us rediscover and cultivate this indispensable inner dimension of human existence."
So I guess that urge to get away is not always a bad thing. Vacations have always given me a huge boost spiritually and the more serene and quiet the vacation, the more likely I come back refreshed in every aspect of life.
The tragedy of LAUNCHCast
For those that do not know what LAUNCH is, please visit LAUNCH
to find out.
For starters, a little background might help. I am a LAUNCHCast PLUS subscriber. That means that I get to create moods which allow me to filter the music on my station through genres. I have an Electronic mood, a Classical mood and one that I call Electro Pop Jazzic. About 3 weeks ago, I could play any of my moods and partake of an endless stream of pure joy. Nearly every song that played was a song that I rated highly. On the off chance that a song was not one I rated highly, it was at least one I could tolerate. Then two Sundays ago, disaster struck. I was playing LAUNCH through wireless speakers in the yard and I kept having to come inside to advance the song. After about 20 minutes of this, I decided to sit down and catalog the rate at which rated songs were playing. The final tally was 12%, which was significantly below what I consider to be acceptable. Immediately following that, I contacted Yahoo and they assured me that changes were coming. A week later, a change did occur and rated songs now make up about 50% of the usual playlist on a customized LAUNCHCast station filtered through a mood. This is STILL worse than before the first change took effect but it is a drastic improvement over the first horror of a change.
Since then, the number of hours I listen to LAUNCH has dropped considerably. Tomorrow I will begin a week of listening in order to see if there is anything I can do with the new algorithm they use to rate music. I have determined that it plays rated songs about 50% of the time now. It also plays a very high percentage of unrated songs on albums I have rated and another decent percentage of unrated songs from artists and genres that I have rated. This might sound like a good way to do it but have you heard the number of one hit wonders out there? Trust me, there are TONS of albums with one or two blips of genius and 70 minutes of mind numbing filler. Even worse are the artists making a living off of ONE song who have 5 or 6 albums of total junk produced after the success of their ONE good song. Unfortunately the recent algorithm change at LAUNCH is doing a very good job at exposing me to the hordes of bad album filler out there in pop music land. It is not pretty folks. Note to LAUNCH:
You are not going to keep many customers playing songs they DON'T like. Also, making such drastic changes to the algorithm is not the best way to earn friends in cyberspace. When masses of human beings are used to something working one way, it takes time and patience to convert them to a new way. Note to me:
Stop rating albums and artists when you hear one brilliant tune.
If I cannot correct the errant ways of my once fabled LAUNCHCast station, I will have to find a new way to discover music. It would be a tragedy to abandon something that at one point showed so much promise. Can LAUNCH be great again? Only time will tell.
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OK, this is my first entry into the blogging world. Honestly, it serves the single purpose of allowing me to get the colors on my blog lined up with the rest of the things I write on this site. FWIW, I like the simplicity of this blog. Maybe one day I will write something truly special here. My general interests lean towards Catholicism, music, sports and other odds and ends. Stay tuned.UPDATE:
OK, I did add one thing of note to the blog tonight that I have been told I should "get published". My Easter Vigil experience
is now available for all to see. Check the links on the right.