Tag Archives: current events

Welcome Back!

So, apparently our RSS feed has been down for, well, nobody knows quite how long. A while, anyway. It just kept showing no new posts, and then finally, nothing at all. It’s back up and running now, thanks to some fancy codin’ by an unnamed hero of the masses (named me). To all of our rabid fan (hey Bobby!) who thought we had folded up shop and moved the blog offline to Aly and Ash’s backyard, let me be the first to say …

… Welcome back!

Thoughts From Watching the 80th Academy Awards

A few thoughts from watching the Academy Awards tonight:

  1. Amy Adams singing Happy Working Song alone on stage should win an Oscar for bravery.
  2. George Clooney is the iconic leading man of our era. He’s the heir of Cary Grant and Clark Gable.
  3. How many freeking statues does Jack Nicholson have? Also, does he always get a front row seat?
  4. John Stewart? Funny man. Too bad his humor was (often) too smart for the room. His comment about “staying the course” with Iraq war films had me rolling. I got the sense that most of the people there didn’t realize he was making fun of them.
  5. That guy who waxed the floor in front of the presenter podium is gonna be out of a job come tomorrow morning.
  6. Daniel Day-Lewis could scare the stink off a sewer rat.
  7. I’m glad The Bourne Ultimatum got some recognition for editing and sound. It’s not the kind of move that does well at the Oscars, but man, that was well made flick.
  8. Giving the Oscar for Best Song to that claptrap from Once is nothing but pure indie snobbery.

Anybody else watch?

Tom Cruise, Scientologist

If you haven’t seen it yet, you have to go watch these clips. They are from a recent Scientology awards ceremony at which Tom Cruise was the honoree. They are … wow. Just watch, and then comment.

Link 1

Link 2

This is going to be an interesting case if it evolves. Scientologists have always used legal pressure to keep embarrassing materials out of the public eye. These videos were uploaded to youtube and google video first, and then removed after threat of lawsuit. Gawker Media, who owns both Gawker.com and Defamer.com, where the clips are now being hosted, has stated their intent to leave the clips up, claiming that they are newsworthy, and therefore their right to distribute them is protected speech.

Clash of the Choirs

Ok, so I know it’s reality TV approaching a level of absurdity hard to imagine, but check out Clash of the Choirs on NBC tonight and/or tomorrow night. The director of the vocal jazz group I played keys and piano for in college is the “behind the scenes” director/arranger of Nick Lachey’s Cincinnati choir. At some point, I bet they do the arrangement of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” that was the big closer/encore that we did every show when I was in the group.

Funkabee

So,

Addison Road has long been absent of straight ahead punditry, and believe me when I tell you that I have little interest in changing that fact. However, I am on a political quest this year, so from time to time I may start conversations about candidates. Let’s not forget that Addison Road is a virtual summer BBQ, so if politics come up, just make sure that you can have a beer around the fire pit when it’s over.

I am a truly undecided voter. There is a strong possibility that I will vote for a Democrat next year for the first time in my adult life. I won’t be Hillary, but only for the reason that she seems like Nixon, willing to do or say anything to get elected. I really like Bill Richardson, and I am intrigued by Obama. Ron Paul’s grassroots movement is appealing, but I’m not convinced about the man himself. I respect Rudy, and believe that he did an amazing turnaround on NYC, but I do not believe Islamic Terrorism in and of itself is the single greatest threat facing our nation. I cannot stand Mitt Romney, because of his stupid face, and because the fact that he’s a bionic used car salesman. John McCain is pretty cool, but his teeth are unelectable. Fred Thompson (Air Traffic Control Dude from Die Hard 2 for President!) looks like a really tall, bored muppet.

Last week, during the CNN /YouTube debacle, –err– debate last week, there was Huckabee, who came off as poised, funny, competent, and endearing. Compare the three responses to this question. Guliani sounds like a Mafia henchman going to his annual confession. Romney sounds like he is still trying to sell you that ’78 Pinto, and then there’s Huckabee. He takes a totally loaded, hot potato question, and in my opinion hits the nail square on the head.

I don’t know much else about this man, so I started poking around the tubes and I found this. I don’t care about the man’s politics anymore. Any distance-running, bass-playing presidential candidate gets my vote.

Funkabee in ’08

I want the Huckabee camp to know that, upon his election, we the people expect August 10th, Leo Fender’s birthday, to be declared a national holiday.

Informed Moviegoing

It’s been months since I submitted anything regarding Films or moviegoing for general consumption and discussion here at Addy, but Hollywood and Christendom are again locked in an epic battle of ideas and I cannot resist.

But before I go there, I think I need to talk about Informed Moviegoing.

See… I know a lot about going to the movies. I’ve never written a screenplay, never acted on camera, never sat in an editing bay, never composed a score. I am not in “The Biz.” I am, however, a regularly overzealous hobbyist when it comes to actually going to movies, pondering them, discussing them, and coming to something like an opinion about them both before and after actually seeing them.

Last night, Erica and I caught a late show of American Gangster. I knew I wanted to see it. Aside from Denzel, I am a big fat Russell Crowe fanboy. Aside from the often visually beautiful direction of Ridley Scott, is the fact that the screenplay was written by the great Steven Zaillian, whose work ranges from engrossingly entertaining, (Gangs of New York and The Interpreter) to downright brilliant. (Schlinder’s List, Awakenings, and, made a film in 1993 that may the greatest film you’ve never seen: Searching For Bobby Fischer)

A few weeks ago we caught Michael Clayton, which is a terrific film. The primary reason I wanted to see it was because it was written and directed by Tony Gilroy, whose screenplays for all three Bourne movies have been master clinics on how to write suspense in the 21st century.

All that to say… typically I know more about upcoming movies than the average joe. I grew up reading the Los Angeles Times Calendar section. Every morning. I read, and re-read Roger Ebert’s books. In High School, my Former Young Republican father took me to a weekly UCLA extension course where a film would be screened, usually ahead of it’s release, and then a moderated discussion with one of the filmmakers would follow. It was on one of these evenings, when I was 15 years old, that I challenged screenwriter Callie Khouri as to what would motivate Thelma to engage in a one night stand with Brad Pitt’s drifter boy toy, a scant 24 hours after her attempted rape and the subsequent murder of her would-be rapist. Aaaah the innocence of youth.

It was walking out of American Gangster that we saw a poster for the upcoming film The Golden Compass. “That looks… interesting.” Erica says. She’s leery of the fantasy genre, as a rule. “I got some email about that movie… what’s the deal?”

The deal, my friends, hearkening back to the first paragraph, is that The Golden Compass is slated to be the center of another controversy between Hollywood and Christian folks, just in time for the holidays!

I have never read the books, so I am but a simple messenger relaying information here. The Golden Compass is the first in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. Pullman is a former Oxford professor and children’s author and is also, brace yourselves: a noted atheist.

His Dark Materials has been described in the media as the anti-Narnia. It’s a children’s story filled with adventure, mystery, magic, moral dilemmas, good and evil and allegory and all the trimmings, but the allegory points to a world where the church is evil, God imprisons ghosts, and Polar Bears sound like Ian McKellan.

So the culture war is on! The Catholic League is protesting. Focus on the Family is going to put the evangelicals on alert. Even Snopes, the Urban Myth Debunking website, confirms that the story is anti-Christian, and to top it all off, your Aunt from Kentucky will send you an email about it that she got from this other lady at her church.

Hey everybody! Remember The DaVinci Code? Anybody? Came out like… oh 18 months ago? No? Well, You mean to say you vaguely remember it… you mean, yeah, you caught it that one time on the airplane or on TBS or something. Remember how it was like, the greatest threat to Christendom, like, ummm, ever?

You don’t? Know why?

Because it sucked. It was so boring and awful that a scant year and a half later, the only person who gives two shits about it is Tom Hanks’ CPA, and he only cares because he’s paid to.

May I again make a case for not getting our panties in a collective twist over this?

Get all informed about going to movies, I’m all about that. Make a choice based on what you read, and how it strikes you. Go on IMDB and check out the director, the writer, the source material. Have you enjoyed their work in the past? Do you want to spend another 2 hours with them?

Don’t be a lamb. Don’t go see it because it has cool looking effects. Don’t not go see it because your pastor told you not to. Please don’t believe that if you support or boycott this movie that it has a damn thing to do with God’s Kingdom or Jesus getting glorified or not. It’s. A. Movie.

Most movies that you see are created by people who believe that the Christian world view and belief systems are arcane and oppressive. Learn from them, or tune them out. Don’t delude yourself into thinking that by skipping this one, that you’ve somehow remained ideologically unstained.

Go see the movie and deconstruct it with your atheist friends. Do I even have an atheist friend? Do they care about this movie one bit? Do they care what I think of this movie? Are they watching me to see what I think or say about it? Am I being evangelized by this movie? How does that feel?

Avoid the movie all together and go hear some good live music. Or drink wine with friends at the Getty. Or grab your kids and start The Hobbit and thank God for Christ-follower JRR Tolkien and his ability to weave allegory with such a deft hand that it speaks into the minds of people of all creeds.

Just don’t get your panties in a twist. Please.

No, It’s BECAUSE I’m a capitalist

A portion of a conversation I had with a socialist friend, early in the morning, when they probably weren’t thinking clearly:

Socialist Friend: … which is why I think the writer’s strike is returning power to the people, which is great. Although I’m sure you probably hate the union and think this is totally evil.

Pigheaded Capitalist Me: No, actually, I think this is a good strike.

SF: what? wait, you’re a conservative, free market fanboy. How can you be in favor of the strike?

PCM: It’s because I’m a raging free market fanboy. There is no right more basic to the freedom of the market than the right to withhold goods and services. Refusing to work for less than a certain wage is a capitalist move, not a socialist one.

LA on fire, again

la-on-fire

Every time the Santa Ana winds blow through LA, the whole place catches on fire. If you’ve never lived here and seen one of these fires up close, you can’t image how terrifying it is to see flames shooting 20 feet in the air, consuming a hillside at 30 miles per hour.

Please pray for those in the path of the flames, and for the safety of those who fight them.

Dear NBC, …really?

Okay, so I’m stealing a bit from an oft used bit on SNL, but really? So since I missed the last two episodes of the greatest show on television (#2 behind The Fall Guy), I can’t just go onto iTunes like I’ve done in the past, spend my less-than-two-bucks, and watch in peace. Now I have to go to your site, select the show by way of a semi-clunky flash interface, then go to episodes. Once I’ve done that, I have to choose which chapter of the episode I’d like to see. “Chapters”? Really? Any chance you might assume that folks would want to see the whole show? Once I’ve chosen the chapter(s) I’d like to see, I have to sit through 30+ seconds of commercials for each chapter. This was one of the reasons that iTunes worked for me. One-click, no commercials. I spend some money, you make some money, everybody wins. But you had to go and screw it up.

Remember when we had that great relationship? Remember when every college dorm in America filled up on Thursdays to see if Ross and Rachael were gonna finally hook up? Yeah? Well that’s done. I still love the greatest show on television, but it’s a reluctant love. As if the greatest child alive was born by accident from two parents that suck.

Announcing …

Josiah Michael Lee was born this morning at 7:32 AM, following 24 hours of labor (during which his mother sang a solo at church), and an emergency C-section. Turns out the guy had done a tuck-and-roll with the chord wrapped around him.

Josiah is sleeping peacefully beside us now. He was 6 lb 12 oz at birth, 20 1/2 inches long, and scored a 9.9 on that APGAR thingy that tests how advanced he is.

Say it with me now … he’s very advanced.

If you want to stop by and visit, call my cell first. If you don’t have my cell number, well, you’re probably not on the list of people who should drop by. Just saying.

Groupthink: Superbad vs. High School Musical 2

Two pieces of vastly different, youth-marketed media ruled this past August weekend.

OMG.

Or, if you’re talking about Superbad: OMFG

Superbad, the latest from Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen, and the rest, surpassed everyone’s expectations and made $32 million dollars in it’s opening weekend.

High School Musical 2 obliterated all previous records and cemented itself as a full blown pop phenom, becoming the highest rated basic cable program of all time, and the second highest rated television program (cable or not) among 9-14 year olds, behind only the 2004 Superbowl. Yay for my bank account.

I had a few thoughts.

  • Although both films are marketed at different audiences, (tweens for HSM2, older teens and early 20s for Superbad) there will be scores of young people who see both, and for whom both pieces of media will be internalized and mimicked. We can expect random outbursts of singing, dancing, frivolity, as well as bad McLovin impersonations for months to come.
  • Youth media has both matured and gotten soft all at the same time. People saying that HSM2 is the new Grease have forgotten how sexually provocative and naughty Grease was. They’ve also forgotten that the actual story of Grease is pretty dumb, lacking anything even resembling a genuine emotion. The kids occupying the alternate universe of HSM2 are actually given real things to think and feel, and sing about, albeit perkily. The writers and producers are actually making an attempt (in a mass market, squeaky-clean way) to give their young audience something to process. In the real world, the Wildcats would be singing about the first time Gabriella gave Troy a blow job. It would be soaring ballad, no doubt.
  • At the same time regarding the evolution of youth media, Superbad is (on paper) more disgusting, immoral, filthy, explicit, and deviant then anything John Hughes or Amy Heckerling put on screen in the 80′s and 90′s. In practice, I think it’s a sweeter movie (and more honest about how life actually works) then any of those PG and PG-13 rated farces where all parents are idiots and jerks and the kids know everything. John Hughes movies weren’t really about growing up, they were about declaring a state of perpetual immaturity apart from your hypocrite parents.
  • One of the recurring themes in Judd Apatow’s canon is the delayed maturation process of men in this culture. Knocked Up, which I adored, actually made me weep due to the loving, honest, painfully funny depiction of what happens when a man-child actually has a child. The crassness serves as a backdrop to explore this really interesting idea of what happens when men deal with each other, but refuse to actually deal with women as equals, and deal with sex issues with people who are equals and not objects.

So here’s my groupthink question: Has media aimed at kids gotten generally better or worse? Or both?

P.S. I am not actually recommending Superbad, if you were wondering. The language and situations are… really foul. I laughed at some of it, and I was actually quite moved by the simplicity and honesty of the ending, but there were not enough laughs between squirms for me to sit through it again, or tell you that you should go see it.

P.P.S. You should see Knocked Up, however, as the emotional payoffs are as big as the laughs. If you have a problem with honest observations of how single heterosexual non-Christian men living together behave, give it a second thought.

P.P.P.S. I am heartily recommending HSM2, but actually on DVD would be nicer for me… what with the royalties and all. My interests are conflicted, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

So, I’m #1 on iTunes

I’m kind of a big deal, you know. I’m a sort-of #1.

I have a little piece of #1.

I’m like #.00432 on iTunes right now.

Today, the soundtrack for High School Musical 2 was released, oh… I don’t know… intergalactically. In recent weeks, I have greatly enjoyed the ramp up to this day. A poster here, an article there. The frenzy builds.

Last January or so I wrote two posts about this cool gig I landed. After some consideration, and a good look at the confidentiality agreement and digitally watermarked demo CD, I had Mike pull them down. I don’t know how to repost them. Hopefully the blog fairy will flutter by and fix it, and also leave cookies and a sarcastic barb or seven.

The short version is this: Last December I got a call from this guy named Randy who wrote songs with another guy named Kevin who got my name from this other guy named Scott who does jingles. (This is how all good stories in L.A. begin, FYI.) Randy needs a tenor vocalist to demo up a song. Randy is paying a fair hourly demo session rate, and we book the gig.

I play it cool, I don’t ask too many questions, I sing the tune. Randy loosens up and tells me we’re working on a demo for High School Musical 2. Jackpot! Oh, and he and his partner had a cut on High School Musical… uh… Episode 1. Google confirms! He’s legit! Jackpot, with a bonus round.

The song gets revised, I re-sing it. Revised again, I sing it again. Eventually, it becomes this. Randy’s happy because Disney has just basically bought him a pool, and decides to spread the love. He recommends me to Disney for the ensemble for the whole she-bang. So, I got the gig. :)

So, as of today, the soundtrack that sits at #1 on iTunes, and will sit atop of the Billboard 100 next week, and has a good shot at being the #1 selling record of 2007, features yours truly on 6 of it’s 11 songs. Anytime you hear large ensemble vocals, as you memorize the dance steps in the next two months (Corey and Beth) you’re hearing 4-6 passes of The Chadster. Gotta love stacks.

Oh, and some of my demo vocals made it through to the final mix of Work This Out. The BGV stacks on every chorus is me. Hey… those stabs in the bridge and crazy vocal into the keychange sure sound familiar. Wow… I’m actually listening to it for the first time right now (I wonder how much of the $.99 goes back in my pocket? $.0000000023 is a safe bet.) and I am quite pleased with how much of the original vocal is still there! Yay!

Sorry.

It’s not curing cancer, but it sure feels nifty.

756*

Now the only thing left to do is cheer for Vlad to break it!

* If you exclude home runs made during the Steroid Era of Bond’s career, the years between this and this, the total comes to only 228. It should be noted that this is still a helluva lot more major league home runs than I’ve ever hit. But it is nowhere near the 755 that Hank Aaron hit.

Blogging is Easier When You Know Everything

Yes, easier indeed. And… I would wager… more interesting. No one likes wishy-washy bloggers.
Even before Mike posted his most humorous (and accurate) list of why we’re not blogging, the question has been ruminating in my mind for weeks now: why aren’t you (Chad) writing?

I poured out my soul for eight straight days and then… nothing. Well… a little thing here and there, but nothing of significance. In the past, I’ve waited for things to strike me that I wanted to share.

I think about movies a lot, so some of my most well-recieved posts have been about movies.

I think about the church a lot, so some of my most aggravating posts have been about the church.

I am a dad, so a lot of my posts have been about raising young children.

Sometimes, weird shit just happens to me, and I have to tell you all about it.

But then July 1 rolled around, and I quit my job to become a full time rock star with my wife. Now, the clock’s ticking, and I don’t know anything about anything, and I kind of find myself thinking that if I get on this website and just start typing, a lot of mindless, naval-gazing drivel will start to come out, and now that you’re all potential fans, I just don’t think that’s a very good idea.

Or maybe it just doesn’t matter.

Or maybe it does.

This was a lot easier when I knew everything about everything.

When you’re stuck and discontented, it’s much easier. We all know how to do stuck and discontented, don’t we? Even better if there’s a boogeyman to snipe at, and in the church, there are always boogeymen aplenty. The reason I’m unhappy is: (insert elder-related issue here). Rant rant rant, make funny, sleep. Repeat.

But now I’m out in the great wide open, under them skies of blue, and seriously… I am totally clueless. I mean… it’s been a perfectly good first month. I’ve gotten the studio organized, I’ve got ideas for new songs and preliminary sketches going, we did a couple of gigs, and I have more on the hook, trying to reel them in, we have a good idea of what the next 6-9 months need to look like… it’s just… there’s no actual roadmap. Oh, and if I don’t supply the go-juice, it’s a no-go. None.

Normally at this time of year, I am getting ready to start hating Christmas. Do I have to like Christmas again?

My angst and frustration about The Church (and when I talk about church, allow me, again, my ABFfers, to mention that I’m spelling with a capital T & C) has sort of settled into vague indifference.

Vague indifference has not been part of my lexicon. Maybe I am ready to be a rock star.

Actually, just sitting here typing this has been theraputic, like reconnecting with an old friend. Maybe I do know everything after all. Maybe I never knew anything to begin with and I have to work out all my demons on the interwebs, in front of all of you.

Ok, here’s some old school Chad for you:

To Gore Verbinski and Sam Raimi and every other film director in Hollywood: The Bourne Ultimatum kicked the unholy stuffing out of every other wanna-be action spectacular this year, (except for maybe 300, which emerged with only minor abrasions.) Matt Damon, Paul Greengrass, and Tony Gilroy are all geniuses, and the rest of you are idiots who’ve forgotten how to make action movies. Stop trying to remake Lord of the Rings. No one gives a shit if Jack Sparrow has a moral compass, we like him because he’s funny. You all suck and I hate you.

.

Dear elders: Andy is kicking ass as an interim worship leader. Stop trying to replace him. Give it six months and then start looking.

To my kids: I love you. I mean… I really love you. If you don’t start sleeping through the night again, daddy is going to lose his marbles.

Dear CCM: You still suck. I mean… the #2 song on iTunes was released SIX F***ING YEARS AGO! The song that follows that one is about Jabez! For the LOVE OF GOD, TRY SOMETHING NEW!

Aaaaah. I feel much better now.

The Abyss and The List

into the great wide open  // under them skies of blue  //

out in the great wide open // a rebel without a clue

Tom Petty

Into the abyss I plunge.  Structure is gone.  Deadlines are gone.  No teaching pastor will be calling me to talk about the message.  No ladies from the worship team are calling to see if there’s going to be a rehearsal.  On Sunday, we will simply arise, and go to church.

Or not.

We’re in uncharted waters, now.

For those of you just joining our regularly scheduled program, here’s the situation.  Last year, we made this record.     It was an art project, meaning we didn’t have any expectations for it.  We weren’t thinking about the future, or marketing, or careers.  We just made a record for art’s sake, because we missed recording original music.

We thought it was pretty good.  We did a couple of concerts, and lo and behold, other people thought it was pretty good too.   Come December of ’06, my poor little psyche was just about fully cracked from eight years of Professional Christianity, working as a worship pastor.

In January of this year, I resigned, effective as of July 1.  In those five months, we packed up our belongings, rented out our condo, moved back to my parent’s house, did Easter, did the Agape Singers mini and summer tours, and I was done.

My new job is Band Promoter.  I have zero training.  I have only hunger, and it’s gnawing at me, and it will not be easily satiated.

I don’t fear the lack of steady income.  I don’t fear the uphill battle.  I don’t fear the rolled eyes when someone asks me what I do for a living, and I respond… I’m in a band.   What I fear is The Abyss.  I fear not knowing what to do next.

My first order of business, in an effort to begin charting a course towards success, has been making The List.  We got a good piece of advice several months ago from a friend who said, “Make a list of everyone you know who might be able to help you in any small or significant way.  Any church.  Anyone you know in the industry.  Anyone.”

I want to make The List a public project.  If you like The Dailies, and you want to help us out, and you have any ideas of where or for whom we should play, spit them out.  I’d love to hear what’s on your collective mind.

No distance is too outlandish, no lead too obscure.  I know Mike has a stack of ideas for the group for internet promotion, but what about the rest of you?  Which APU people are scattered across the fruited plain, just waiting the opportunity to book some old friends?  You know someone at a radio station?  You know someone who might like our music?

Let’s feed The List.