Jason’s Jukebox: Beastie Boys

There was a time when rap was for black people only. Rappers like Vanilla Ice and Marky Mark were the jokes they deserved to be. But there was one group of white rappers NO ONE laughed at–the Beastie Boys. I thought for my first rap-based discography ranking, I’d look at the first rap group whose album I ever bought. (Note: I’m not counting The Mix-Up because it’s an instrumental album.

licensed 1) Licensed to Ill ***** (1986) This is so different from the rest of the Beastie Boys’s catalog, it’s crazy. It’s still excellent, but don’t expect a repeat on any other album. The album has a very punk rock feel to it, with samples of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Creedence Clearwater Revival. The final song, “Time to Get Ill”, gives a sample of what will close the next album, but on a much grander scale. It’s a classic of the 80’s.

Best Tracks: “Rhyming and Stealing”, “Posse In Effect”, “Fight For Your Right To Party”, “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” “Slow and Low”, “Time to Get Ill”

boutique 2) Paul’s Boutique *****(1989) A Facebook friend of mine said this album is what would happen if the Beatles’s second album was Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, not Please Please Me.  It’s a 180 that no one expected from the boys. Everyone thought they’d do another Licensed, but they came up with a masterpiece of experimentation that they would never be able to duplicate again.

Best tracks: “Shake Your Rump”, “High Plains Drifter”, “Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun”, “Shadarack”, “B-Boy Bouillabaisse”

check3) Check Your Head ***1/2(1992) The Beasties returned to playing instruments for this one, and it had very few samples. But even with that approach, which emulated the debut, it was still pretty innovative at the time.

Best Tracks: “Jimmy James”, “Pass the Mic”, “So Whatcha Want”, “Namaste”

ill4) Ill Communication *****(1994) Another album that’s light on the samples but heavy on the instrumentation. This is the second album that hit #1. The album has a much funkier, jazzier feel than the previous ones, and features much more experimentation than Check Your Head. 

Best tracks: “Sure Shot”, “B-Boys Making with the Freak-Freak”, ‘Sabotage”, “Sabrosa”, “Do It”, “Bodhisattva Vow”

Continue reading “Jason’s Jukebox: Beastie Boys”

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Debunking Lies: The “Trolley Scenario”

Trolley_problem

(Image: A representation of the “train” or “trolley” scenario. A trolley is shown on a track, and there are two sets of victims. If you don’t pull the lever, 4 people die. If you do pull the lever, the trolley switches to the other tracks, and kills the other person who is tied to the tracks instead.)

In the first Toby Maguire Spider-man movie, there is a scene in which the Green Goblin has train cars suspended from a cable, and sadistically asks Spider-man to make a choice. Will he save his girlfriend, or “suffer the children”. The train scenario is based on the same idea. You are standing next to a lever. One track has four people tied down to it. The other has only one person tied to the tracks. If you don’t pull the lever, 4 people die. But if you do pull the lever, only one person dies. The scenario asks this question: would you pull the lever?

I’ve seen atheists use this scenario as a way of saying “gotcha!” to Christians, to show that they can’t always do the right thing. Using the scenario in this way fails to acknowledge a Christian principle known as the “double-effect” principle. I once heard it said that every good is someone else’s evil. We are only guilty of intended sin. If I don’t pull the lever and save those four people, I am not responsible for killing that one person. That’s because I didn’t intend his or her death.

I understand the purpose of these scenarios. They’re a good way to test one’s sense of ethics. But please, don’t use them as a means to mock Christians. From what I read on Wikipedia’s article, that was not the intended purpose.

Jason’s Jukebox: Lenny Kravitz

(Blogger’s note: I have written full reviews of all these albums on Rock Amino.)

When Lenny Kravitz released his album Raise Vibration last year, he said “Thirty years ago, I released Let Love Rule. My message is still the same. But has he really stayed that consistent? Let’s take a look at his discography and rank it from worst to best.

loverule

Let Love Rule (1989) *****

This is an excellent debuts, one of the best I ever heard. It shows us exactly what to expect, with a great mix of rock and funk. This is the only album which had contributions from his former wife Lisa Bonet.

Best tracks: “Let Love Rule”, “Freedom Train”, “Fear”, “Mr. Cab Driver.

mamasaid

Mama Said (1991) ***

This album was recorded with help from Slash and Sean Lennon. By this time, Lisa Bonet had given birth to their daughter Zoe. The album has a more light-rock feel, but it’s not bad. It feels like he’s trying to branch out.

Best Tracks: “Fields of Joy”, “Always on the Run”, “The Difference is Why”, “Stop Dragging Around”, “Flowers For Zoe”

areyou

Are You Gonna Go My Way (1993) *****

This is a consistent rocker, and one of his best-sellers. It’s a real classic from the 90’s and I love it.

Best Tracks: “Are You Gonna Go My Way”, “Believe”, “Heaven Help”, “Black Girl”, “Sister”

circus

Circus (1995) ****

This album was plagued by personal issues, but it doesn’t show. Kravitz and Bonet had divorced, and his mother was sick. Despite this, it’s pretty good.

Best Tracks: “Rock n Roll is Dead”, “Can’t Get you Off Mind”, “God Is Love”, “The Resurrection”

5kravitz

(1998) ***1/2

Lenny Kravitz’s final 90’s album wasn’t well-received by critics, but I actually think it’s pretty good Some great singles, including his iconic cover of  The Guess Who’s “American Woman”.

Best Tracks: “Super Soul Fighter”, “I Belong To You”, “Black Velveteen”, “Fly Away”, “American Woman”

lenny

Lenny (2001) ***

After a slight hiatus, Lenny Kravitz kind of took a dip in quality. This album is all right, but I’ve heard better.

Best Tracks: “Battlefield of Love”, “Yesterday is Gone”, “A Million Miles Away”, “Bank Robber Man”

baptism

Baptism (2004) **

At this time, Lenny Kravitz had wanted to write a straight 70’s funk-inspired album, but bouts of depression took this album in a different direction. In my opinion, this is his worst album.

Best Tracks: “Calling All Angels”, “Where Are We Running”, “Baptized”

Continue reading “Jason’s Jukebox: Lenny Kravitz”

Amino Tips and Tricks

amino icon

I’ve been a contributor to the Amino app communities for quite some time. (I had to set up a new account now that I have a Kindle, but that’s not what this about.) My username is Radical Edward (My old username, Rock Lobster, is still there, but I no longer use it). This post is designed to give tips on how to use the app.

  • Don’t use it on a phone or iPod touch. It takes up too much memory and will crash. Plus, tablets have a bigger keyboard anyway. The desktop version doesn’t allow you to edit or make posts, but you can leave comments.
  • Level up as much as you can when you first sign in. Many communities are blocked at the earliest levels. You can add reputation points by signing in, leaving comments, posting articles, basically contributing in any way. But if you just lurk, nothing happens.
  • Get to know the curators and leaders. They are admins for your community, and deserve your respect and support.
  • You don’t need to access Amino+ to enjoy the app. Amino+ is just extra stuff that you have to pay for. I never use it.
  • Always obey the community standards. Again, the admins deserve respect.
  • Once a week is the ideal contribution schedule. That’s what I do.
  • The wiki is always available for you to contribute to, but if your topic is already filled in, it’s best to pick a different topic. The wiki is basically a Wikipedia for the community, and you can contribute to it.
  • Use hashtags at the end of your article or in the article yourself. This allows the search engine to find the articles. It also increases your chance of getting featured on the main page!
  • And finally, have fun contributing. Again, look for me as Radical Edward!

 

 

Bill Maher, YOU are the child, not us!

billmaherBefore I start, a disclaimer: I am not a fan of Bill Maher. His smug attitude always reminds me of all those atheists I have met on the Internet who attack Christians for their beliefs in the “Flying Spaghetti Monster”. So when he attacked Stan Lee, I rolled my eyes and thought that was the end of it. I did address him in my tribute, but that was all I did. But lately, he has not refused to give it up. He believes that we are a nation of children–that “only a nation of children would vote for Donald Trump and think comic books are important.” He calls out millennials for their “adulting” and celebrating these superheroes.

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One Faith, Many Paths: William Necessary

In the Catholic Church, there are priests and deacons, as well as Bishops, Cardinals, etc. For this edition, I am interviewing Deacon William Necessary, who lives in Tyler, Texas. (note: Deacon Necessary sent me his answers as an audio file, so they are summarized from that.)

1.What was your childhood like? I was born in 1963  in Jacksonville, FL, and moved to Texas 4 years later. I grew up in Tyler, 90 miles west of Dallas. I was an only child. My dad worked for the Maytag Co. and we were transferred there. My family was not church-going people, nor were they even Catholic. My father was baptized in the Appalachian mountains, but my mother was not baptized until I was ordained and then I did it, shortly before she passed away. I grew up in East Texas in the 70’s and 80’s, starting public school in 1976. My parents were displeased with Tyler’s public schools, and I was sent to Catholic school instead, having heard of their reputation for better education. This made me fall in love with the Church, and I graduated in 1982, when I was baptized and made my first communion. So I was a convert from basically nothing. 

2. Why did you pursue the deaconate? Ever since I was in high school, I have always been prone to do service and things for other people. When I became Catholic and went to college and became involved in Campus ministry, I had a desire to serve the church. All through college I was involved in extraordinary ministry and was an altar server, as well as lector and usher. When I was about to graduate from college, that small campus group was holding a rosary on the First Tuesday of every month. At that time, the diocese of Tyler had just been created, and the local news had sent out a reporter, who became my wife in 1990. In 1996, I became a permanent deaconate. I was ordained on Fatima Day in 2001.

3. What is your favorite biblical passage and why? My favorite biblical passage is Mark 5:36–don’t be afraid, just believe. One of the hardest biblical passages. It basically says “just believe”, but yet human fear, doubt gets in the way. But if you allow yourself to just believe and allow Christ to guide you, the sky’s the limit. It’s just sometimes overcoming that fear, but that’s my favorite passage. 

4. What is a deacon as compared to a priest? What is the difference between the two? The sacrament of Holy Orders in the Catholic Church is in three degrees: Deacon, Priest, and Bishop. A Deacon in the Catholic Church is a fully-ordained minister who can do weddings, funerals, preach, teach, and baptize–basically the equivalent of a Protestant minister. The only things that a deacon cannot do, but a priest can do is consecrate the Eucharist or give absolution from sin. But I can do everything else, and for 17 years I have and do so gladly. I love doing what I do, it’s just so incredible.

5. Who are your favorite Biblical figures besides Jesus? St. Peter–gotta love Peter. He is our first Pope, and the first of the apostles, and was a struggling human just like the rest of us. I mean, this is a guy that on one hand say “Yes, Lord I’m with you always”, but in the next breath, Jesus told him “turn away from me, Satan!” He put his foot in his mouth a lot. He ran away. He denied Christ, but yet he redeemed himself. I think Peter is a great model for us; he reminds us that even the best of the best is just a slog like the rest of us. My second favorite is Moses. Here’s Moses the law-giver, Moses the liberator, Moses who fled Egypt as a fugitive and yet followed God and led his people out of slavery. A people who were oftentimes argumentative and acted like a bunch of children. And yet, Moses was their leader, and I admire hm.

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Bookworm: Annah and the Arrow by Clay Gilbert

 

annah-book-four-clay-gilbert-full-cover-e1504471181732-300x300Well, I just finished the fourth book in my friend Clay Gilbert’s “Children of Evohe” series, “Annah and the Arrow”, so I thought I’d review it here.

After the events of the previous installment Annah And the Gates of Grace, Annah was murdered by the Shadow, but her twins Linnah and Laren survived. Her husband, Gary Holder, raises them on her homeworld while he waits for his return. Her friends in her Circle await her return, as she had promised she would.

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