Sunday, December 17, 2006

Goodbye, Blogger!

Hey everyone. Alrighty, here's the deal. This blog and everything in it is moving. The new address is You can find all the archives and all new posts from this day forward at the new address. You should also listen to my music podcast, which you can find at If you are already on the mailing list for this blog, you don't need to do anything. You will continue to receive email updates when I write a post. If you are subscribed in some other way (i.e. through Feedburner or Live Bookmarks), you will need to go subscribe to the new feed or sign up to be on the mailing list, which you can do on the sidebar of my blog. That's all! Let me know if you have any questions ( Have a good time checking out the new site...

Fondest regards,

WOTW 12/17/06

Hello everyone, and welcome to the word of the week! I hope that this week's word does not describe you as we head into the joyful time of presents and candy canes (oh, yeah, and the birth of Saviors and whatnot). You'll probably be seeing quite a lot of people as the holiday festivities begin, so I expect that you will use this word even more than normal in your everyday conversations. Here it is:

-luctiferous (lŭk-tĭf'ur-us) adj. --> sad and sorry
Ex: Because nobody bought her presents for Christmas, the woman went to the store and stole gifts for herself. This caused her to be arrested, and she had a very luctiferous Christmas.

And now, this week's random fact, which is about a composer whose music I am currently learning:

In February 1935, violinist Fritz Kreisler confessed that he had been hoaxing the public for thirty years. For most of his career, he said, he had been performing violin selections which he claimed were composed by such masters as Vivaldi, Couperin, Porpora, Pugnani, and Padre Martini - but which he had actually written himself. He said he felt that audiences paid closer attention to his music when they thought it was by some famous dead composer.

Alrighty, folks, have a spectacular week, and be sure to listen to the first episode of my music podcast, Ears to Hear, which will be released in the middle of this week. I'll be back with more wonderful wordage on the night before Christmas...

Fondest regards,
Dr. J

Monday, December 11, 2006

No Blogging Allowed

Hey folks. I know this is going to be painful to you, but I won't be blogging for the next week or two. I have to send my computer out to get fixed (because it's stupid) and I really want to focus on importing this blog to my new blog site and getting my website set up for my podcast. But fear not! You have our music contest to keep you busy while I am away. So go do that (no, really, please go do that... you pretty much have a 100% chance of winning gift certificates or CDs). Ok, have a great day... or week(s), I guess. Talk to you in awhile. Bye!

Your favorite slacking blogger,

Sunday, December 10, 2006

WOTW 12/10/06

Howdy, all! In honor of the recent onset of very, very cold weather here in New England, I have decided to bring back an old word of the week for your reading pleasure this week. Remember to use it as much as is humanly possible in your everyday conversations! Here it is:

-cheimaphilic (kī"mu-fĭl'ĭk) adj. --> fond of winter, or of cold
Ex: Because the man was not cheimaphilic, he departed from Alaska to live in the Northeast. He quickly realized his mistake and returned to Alaska.

And now, keeping with our winter theme, here is this week's random fact:

Mistletoe - the lover's leaf, the kissing plant - is a parasite. It grows high above the ground in the branches of a tree, and is totally dependent on the host for its survival. If that doesn't dampen your Christmas spirits, consider that the plant's name comes from Old English mistil tan which means, literally, "dung twig," since it was originally believed to generate from bird-droppings that had landed high up in the trees.

Alrighty folks, enjoy your week, and try to stay warm (unless you're one of those lucky people in a warm state. In that case, we are no longer friends.)! Bye.

With fondest regards,
Dr. J

Thursday, December 07, 2006

(not) Boring Christmas Music

Yes, I know the feeling very well. All you want to do is go to the grocery store. Or the bank. Or the doctor. But no matter where you go, you cannot escape the Christmas carols that make you want to pull your hair out and throw all the ornaments in the fire. Christmas music is annoying. This is why I have set out to find you the best, most original, most fun Christmas music to listen to this year. I have chosen three of my favorites to share with you today. Enjoy them! (They're really quite good, I promise.)

First of all, if you have never heard of Relient K, then you are missing out. Their Christmas album, Deck the Halls, Bruise Your Hand, is a great mix of both traditional Christmas songs (done Relient K-style) and original songs. Tracks like "Angels We Have Heard On High" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" are done in Relient K's traditional punk rock style, and they are great fun to listen to. They even do a funny version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" that almost manages to not be annoying (but really, I think that song is inherently annoying). Their version of Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus" is just the way I like it - energetic and a bit manic! The two best tracks on the album are original Relient K songs. "I Hate Christmas Parties" is a subtle, piano-driven track that is a pleasure to listen to, even if the theme is a bit depressing. "I Celebrate the Day" is possibly the best Christmas song I've ever heard. It is heartfelt and beautiful; I'll be honest - it makes me cry a little, simply because its simplistic honesty draws such a beautiful picture of the birth of Jesus. It's great. Just great. The album is exclusively available for download online, either from iTunes or CBD.

Next up is Christmas With the Rat Pack. What do I really need to say about this album? It's Christmas songs, sung by members of the Rat Pack. Classic.

Find the album on iTunes or

Lastly, my Christmas season would just not be complete without Sufjan Stevens' Songs For Christmas. Throughout the 5 EPs contained in this boxed set, Sufjan mixes some traditional Christmas songs and hymns with some very original tracks. I know some people think that all of Sufjan's music sounds the same, and it's true that Sufjan has a very distinctive sound, but these albums really show quite a variety in styles. From the banjo-driven "Amazing Grace" to the piano version of "Lo! How a Rose E'er Blooming" to the almost full-blown rock "Hey Guys! It's Christmas Time!", the albums present over two hours of music that never get boring. The second EP contains my favorite ever version of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing", which is beautiful and a bit ethereal in its simplicity. "That Was the Worst Christmas Ever!" and "Did I Make You Cry On Christmas" are two of the best original tracks, maybe because they most effectively display Sufjan's distinctive sound. Don't buy this album on iTunes, because if you get the physical boxed set, it comes with some great extras, including a songbook with lyrics and short stories, stickers, and a poster of Sufjan. You can get the album from Sufjan's website. If you're looking for original Christmas music, this is about as original as you're going to get, so go get it! And enjoy!

Alright, enjoy the albums. Get in the festive spirit. In the words of Sufjan Stevens, "Come on! Let's boogey to the elf dance!"

Dr. J

Monday, December 04, 2006

Careless Christmas

Tune in this week as we discuss my new web site, talk about Christmas goodness, and hear music from Fair and Sufjan Stevens. Enjoy!

Check out my Gabcast page (where you can download the episode)!

Subscribe on iTunes using Gcast!

Links to things discussed in the show:

Fair's Website
Download "Carelessness" free on a Tooth & Nail compilation
Download "Carelessness" free on a purevolume compilation
My new website: Ears to Hear
Music Contest
Sufjan Stevens
Buy Songs For Christmas!

Contact Me:
Call: 203-437-4531

Sunday, December 03, 2006

WOTW 12/03/06

Hey everyone, and welcome to the word of the week! In spite of the dark nature of this week's word, I hope you manage to use it as much as is humanly possible in your everyday conversations. Here it is:

-piacular (pī-ăk'ū-lur) adj. --> requiring expiation; very bad, sinful
Ex: We knew the cat was piacular when we saw the feral gleam in her eyes.

And now, for this week's random fact:

Nutritionists have calculated the number of calories used up in various forms of exercise, including the act of chewing. According to their figures, if you were to eat an eight-inch stalk of celery very slowly - taking over sixteen minutes to chew the whole stalk - there would be an over-all net loss of calories. You could eat celery forever that way and still lost weight.

Alrighty, folks, I hope you all have a very merry week. Be sure to check my blog often this week for some great music, Christmas music reviews, and a special surprise at the end of the week. Be sure to participate in our music contest, so you can win gift certificates and CDs!! Ok, bye.

Fondest regards,
Dr. J

Friday, December 01, 2006

Christianese and Creativity

Here is yet another transcription of one of Derek Webb's podcasts (you can find the first one here). This one comes from Derek Webb's Podcast #3, which I'm going to break up into 2 or 3 parts, because it's really long. Please take the time to read this; he says some really excellent stuff that both Christians and non-Christians should think about. I know it's long, but it's really an easy read. Let me know what you think, and enjoy!

“I was raised in the church. I was raised going to church. But I think, like for a lot of people, it was more cultural. It was just something that we did. My parents raised us in the church, so I grew up knowing the language of it, which I think is maybe a little unfortunate, because people get so concerned with and so wrapped up in the words, knowing all the right words, using all the right words, that we don’t really understand what we’re talking about. I think Christians have a really hard time with a kind of exclusive language that we speak – many words that we don’t even know ourselves what they mean. And the language, the code only works when we’re talking to other Christians who also know the words. Even in the academic church circles, so much importance is put on learning all the right words and using all the right words. So if you don’t, we’re kind of concerned whether or not, you know, we should maybe pray for you, because you’re not using all the words we’re familiar with. That’s the thing I love about people in the church like Don Miller and folks like that who don’t use the words we’re familiar with and so it makes us a little uncomfortable, because they use plain language to say things that maybe we agree with, but in a way that we’re not used to hearing. But that’s kind of our job, not only as artists, but as people in the church, to say things in a language that people can understand, to speak in plain language. You know, there are so many words that are so confusing. I mean, the words like “justification”, “sanctification”, “atonement”, “gospel”, “witness”, “walk”. Many of us don’t even know what these words mean, but we use them. And I feel like it just puts up more of a language barrier between us and the people who we’re in this culture to love. We barely know what these words mean.

Our Christianity can’t be about winning people to our particular set of words. It can’t be about winning people to our particular way of thinking. It can’t be about winning people to listening to our particular type of categorized music or buying into our particular type of categorized politics. That’s not what Christianity is. It’s about recklessly, radically loving people. Just loving people. It’s about feeding people. It’s about putting clothes on people. It’s about finding jobs for people. It’s about putting houses around people who are homeless. It's about engaging with people in the way Jesus might have engaged with them, as Christians are supposed to be little Christs, ambassadors of Jesus. Jesus did not have a particular party line he walked when it comes to politics. He did not have a particular set of morals that he was hellbent against you breaking down. If anything, His most harsh language was reserved for arrogant church leadership, who was trying to put the weight of the law on people, and he was trying to set people free. Not to say that we don’t need the law, but our faith isn’t in the fact that we can live right, that we can vote right, that we can do right. It’s that one has done these things right on our behalf, and that liberates us to love people, to engage with culture, to engage with art, to engage with politics, all because we have a framework in scripture that liberates us to do so.

Jesus is Lord of all creation, and that liberates us to engage with all creation. It puts nothing out of the bounds of our creativity and out of our professional engagement. If you’re a businessperson, you don’t have to work at a church. If you’re an artist, you don’t have to go be in a praise band. You need to go engage with culture, engage with creation, because it’s our job to go into culture, into creation and redeem it for God’s glory, and I think that takes more than just mocking secular marketing and secular music and taking out all the things that makes it dangerous for us and risky, making it sugar-free and guiltless and putting Jesus or morality (or what’s the difference, as far as we’re concerned) into it for people… that’s not our job. It’s to go in and say, “all of art has intrinsic value, because we are artists made in the image of a God who is creative.” The whole first chapter of Genesis is devoted to our witnessing our creative God working in the world. It’s the first thing we learn about. In the beginning, God created. And we are made in His image, whether or not we are Christians or whatever faith we ascribe to. I mean, we’re all created in God’s image and therefore creative people. Even if it’s in the way that I can creatively lie to you, I’m a creative person. Even in the way that I pervert the image I’ve been made in, it’s still there. There still is something, even broken, that I bear as one created in the image of God."

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Get Ready (Hot Machete)!

Do I know what a hot machete is? Nope. Do I love this song? Yep. Will it make you want to dance? If you have at least one rhythmic bone in your body, then yes.

For those of you who think dancing is immoral, you might want to close your eyes and just listen to the music. Oh, just kidding, they also sing about dancing. I guess you'll have to close your ears too!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


For the first week that I had Jonezetta's debut album Popularity, I could not stop listening to it. Honestly, I listened to this album to the exclusion of all other music. It's hard to pinpoint one thing that makes this album so addicting. Popularity combines 11 brilliant indie rock songs that leave you with an overwhelming urge to dance. The underlying factors that drive this album along are the catchy beats of the drums and the rhythmic bass lines, which have the aesthetic appeal of a well-written melody line. The beautiful thing is that this album manages to really showcase these instruments without making them overwhelming to the listener. Kyle Howe's guitar lines expertly complement lead singer Robert Chisolm's vocals to create some of the catchiest hooks in any album I've heard this year. Beside all of this excellent musicianship, an undertone of electric vibes runs throughout the album, making it all the more fun. I have to admit that the vocals get slightly screamy at times, but this seems appropriate in songs like "Man in a 3K Suit" and "Backstabber", which have pretty angry themes. Mellower songs like "The City We Live In" really showcase the fact that Chisolm has a great voice with a very unique tone.

Now, I've read reviews of Popularity that say its lyrics lack depth. All I can say is that a statement like that shows sheer mindlessness on the part of the reviewer. Jonezetta manages to avoid cliche phrases about the meaning of life in order to delve into more honest, intelligent lyrics that really explore various facets of what it means to be human, including painful and joyful relationships, arrogance, loneliness, and, that's right... popularity. Some songs, like "Get Ready (Hot Machete)" are just fun, but who ever said you weren't allowed to have fun sometimes? I really appreciate the honesty and the depth of Popularity's lyrics; they show a maturity that is not often apparent in fairly young rock bands. Overall, I highly recommend that you check Jonezetta out. You can listen to a few of their songs on purevolume or MySpace, or you can buy the album on iTunes. This album is full of great songs, but here are a few highlight tracks: "Welcome Home", "Get Ready (Hot Machete)", "Popularity", "Imagination". Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Please Help Me! (with WordPress)

So I've been trying to use WordPress to set up my new website for my podcast, but I am so confused. All I want to do is be able to edit my template. Is that really so much to ask? No, but no matter what I do, they continue to tell me that my template is "uneditable". Surely there is someone out there who knows how to manipulate WordPress. If that is you, please help me before I rip all my hair out! Leave me a comment or email me at Thankyou in advance (I already thanked you, so I guess you have to help me now!). Bye.

Frustratedly yours,

Monday, November 27, 2006

Love and Mannequins are Not Against the Law

Tune in for a short show this week as we talk about podcasting and hear music from Telecast and Derek Webb. Enjoy!

Check out my Gabcast page (where you can download the episode)!

Subscribe on iTunes using Gcast!

Links to things discussed in the show:

Listen to Telecast on purevolume
Buy Telecast's EP The Documenter
My upcoming podcast: Ears to Hear
Download Mockingbird at!
Derek Webb's Podcast

Contact Me:
Call: 203-437-4531

Sunday, November 26, 2006

WOTW 11/26/06

Hey folks. Welcome to the word of the week! Please remember to use this week's word as much as is humanly possible in your everyday conversations. Without further ado, here's our word:

-depredicate (dē-prĕd'ĭ-kāt) v.t. --> to publish, proclaim, announce
Ex: The woman loudly depredicated her decision to quit her job due to her dislike of leaving the house in the frigid weather.

And now, for this week's random fact/quote, which is in honor of our turkey-eating tradition:

Two years after the bald eagle became the official bird of the United States, Benjamin Franklin wrote this to his daughter: "I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen as the Representative of our Country; he is a Bird of bad moral Character; like those among Men who live by Sharping and Robbing, he is generally poor, and often very lousy. The Turkey is a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America. He is (though a little vain and silly, it is true, but not the worst emblem for that) a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his farmyard with a red coat on."

Alrighty folks, I hope you have an amazing week. Please be sure to participate in our music contest, where you can win a $10 gift certificate or a CD! It's insanely fun, I'm not even kidding. OK, I will write to you all in the very near future. Au revoir!

Your favorite physician,
Dr. J

Friday, November 24, 2006

Talented Treadmill Dancing

Here is the band O.K. Go dancing to their song "Here it Goes Again" on treadmills. Crazy. Full of talent. Very entertaining. Thanks to Laura for letting me know about this video. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Music Contest (aka You Can Win Stuff If You Read This Post!)

Hello everyone! Here's the deal: I review a lot of music on my blog, and I am passionate about this music. I want you all to listen to it, so I have devised this music contest as a ploy to get you to do just that.

Here's how it works: I am posting a couple lines of lyrics below from 6 different songs by 6 different artists. All you need to do is tell me the name of the song and the artist that these lyrics come from. All the songs are available to listen to (full-length) for free on websites that I have linked to on my blog. The posts with these links are available here, here, here, here, here, or here (these posts can all be found in the "music reviews" category of my blog). So this is really easy. You don't have to do any searching for music or anything. The only thing that will take a little time is that you'll have to listen to quite a few songs to find the right ones. If you don't want to or don't have time to find all 6, feel free to only do a couple. If nobody gets all 6 by Christmas, the person with the most right will win the prize!

Here's what you can win: So I'm sure you're thinking, "Why on earth would I do this?" Well, if you are the first person to send me the names and artists of all six songs, you will win either a $10 gift certificate to the online retailer of your choice (eg., iTunes, Barnes and Noble) or one of the CDs that the songs in the contest come from. I'll even throw in a little bonus: if you win, you can do a post on my blog on whatever topic you want (text, audio, video... anything!) Super-exciting, I know. Alright, here are the lyrics:

  1. I don't need to know right now;
    All I know is I believe
    In the very thing that got us here
    And now I can't leave.

  2. Come on, can I dream for one day?
    There's nothing that can't be done.
    But how long should it take somebody
    Before they can be someone?

  3. If good won't show its ugly face
    Evil, won't you take your place?
    Nothing ever changes, nothing ever changes
    By itself.

  4. All the glory when he took our place,
    But he took my shoulders and he shook my face,
    And he takes and he takes and he takes.

  5. August evenings bring solemn warnings
    To remember to kiss the ones you love goodnight.
    You never know what temporal days may bring;
    Laugh, love, live free and sing.
    When life is in discord,
    Praise ye the Lord.

  6. I've been thinking 'bout the meaning of resistance,
    Of a hope beyond my own,
    And suddenly the infinite and penitent
    Begin to look like home.

You may not like every single song that you listen to, but there's a good chance that you'll find something you like if you listen to all the music. When you get your answers, whether it's all 6 or just 2 or 3, email them to me at And tell anyone who might be interested about the contest... this could be fun! Feel free to post a comment or email me if you have any questions. If you get really stuck on some song, let me know, and maybe I'll give you a hint. Alright, go to it and have fun!

Your prize-giving, blogging friend,