Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Album Review: The Welcome Wagon

Although each Christmas since I turned 18 has wrought less and less presents, I was fortunate enough to receive "Welcome to the Welcome Wagon" by the Welcome Wagon as a gift this year. I will not review this album in depth as both Paste Magazine and Sufjan Stevens himself have written extensively on the Pastor and wife folk band based out of Williamsburg, but this beautiful album has inspired me to write a few words.

The album picks up where Sufjan's "Seven Swans" left off, which is not surprising considering the producer appears on almost every track. This first track is also my personal favorite, an Vito Aiuto original called "Up On a Mountain" (musicians check out the lead sheet here). Monique's Aiuto's lovely voice carries a sincerity that seems to authenticate the theological message of the song. By the time they reach the third verse it is impossible not to be moved:

"Up in the heaven's, our Lord prays for you. He sent His Spirit to carry us through. So it's true... that you are not alone. You are not alone."

For a generation who is not sure if genuine interaction is possible, this is a radical proposition.

The gentle harmonies of "American Legion" communicate a similar message. Speaking to a friend (or possibly a former lover), Vito declares,

"On the steps of the American Legion Hall you wait there alone. Nobody to call. No ones there again, spring, summer, winter, and fall- terrible day... If I'd been there I'd surely have prayed for you, I want you know."

What would be cliche in contemporary Christian music in this indie/folk context is bone-chilling. The singer speaks with earnestness, but it is grounded in a realism. The meaning and power behind these words are clearly in mind.

The Welcome Wagon is a beacon of hope in a music scene characterized by despair. A city on a hill for independent music.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Winter Reading List: Christmas Eve Edition

Last night, after getting home to Heber-Overgaard, I curled up in my bedroom and started Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck as the snow was lightly falling outside. I didn't stop reading until I finished it two hours later.

Admittedly, I have been on a Steinbeck kick this break. It seems that it is impossible for this guy to write anything I don't like and this book is no exception.

It falls into emotionalism at times, but overall it is a gripping novella that explores such transcendent concepts as the importance of human relationships and man's inability to live without purpose. In that sense it reminded me of a beautiful Asian film I recently watched called Chungking Express, which explores similar themes, only in Hong Kong in the early nineties.

I find it interesting that writer John Steinbeck and director Kar Wai Wong, separated by more than half a century and on opposite ends of the earth, felt the same need and were inspired to create such beautiful art.

Winter Reading List

Today I finally completed Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I can honestly say that it was one of the most difficult things I have ever done.

To be quite honest, I found myself identifying a whole lot more with Mr. Collins, the bumbling clergyman who pursues the heroine to no avail, than Mr. Darcy, the fabulously wealthy love interest that **spoiler alert** Elizabeth ends up marrying.

I understand how important this book is in terms of woman's literature, and it is certainly well written, but ultimately a book about a bunch of sisters trying to get married can only deliver just that... which I found impossible to enjoy.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


I opened for, among many other people, Rajiv Patel of Before Braille tonight at the Evergreen Show in downtown Phoenix. Three words: dance after party.

Earlier in the day my new friend Tyler and I went for a bike ride and found a coffee shop/ community co-op called Coffee Conspiracy. I met a couple of genuine Phoenician hipsters and after successfully passing myself off as a genuine east coast hipster I got the skinny on the local culture from them.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Istanbul Tapes: Part 4

This video actually is not from Istanbul but the mountains just outside of Trabzon, a city in the Black Sea region of Turkey. I have previously blogged about this crazy road trip, so I won't repeat it here.

River by Sumela Monastery from Michael Butterworth on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Istanbul Tapes: Part 3

Istanbul is a city swarming with people. In contrast to the rest of Turkey, where is life has a slow pace, everyone is in a rush in the city. So much so, I was barely noticed when I stopped at this cross walk to get some footage.

Istanbul on foot from Michael Butterworth on Vimeo.

The Istanbul Tapes: Part 2

Recently I made a list of the most beautiful moments of my life. Very close to the top was crossing the Bosporus River. Often multiple times a day, I would take a ferry between the European and Asian side of Istanbul. It was part of my daily commute but would often prove to be one of the highlights of my day: sipping chai while the salty breeze would tousle my hair. Sometimes I would read my Bible and pray for those around me, other times I might make some new friends. The following footage was taken on a day when the otherwise serene Bosporus was especially choppy.

Crossing the Bosporus from Michael Butterworth on Vimeo.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Istanbul Tapes: Part 1

Over the course of the summer I took a series of short videos with my digital camera of various things around Istanbul, ranging from the tragic to the aesthetic. This first entry I consider rather humorous.

Taksim Dance Party from Michael Butterworth on Vimeo.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Winter Reading List

It took me longer to read than the previous four novels on my winter reading list, but I finally finished East of Eden be John Steinbeck. Simply put, the story is epic. It covers threes generations of the Trask family, who moves from the east coast to the Salinas Valley in California. The novel drawls heavily from the biblical story of Cain and Abel as well as Steinbeck's family history.

Prior to reading this book, if you had asked me what my favorite book was (non-theological) I would have answered, depending on the day, either Les Miserables by Victor Hugo or Crime and Punishment by Feodor Dostoevsky. I believe I have found a new possibility for my favorite novel.

While I find the work absolutely stunning, I could not possibly disagree more with Steinbeck's conclusions about life. Consider the following exert:

"Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of a man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man."

He concludes this narration with:

"And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take and direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys such a system. Surely I can understand this, and I hate it and I will fight against it to preserve the one things that separates us from the uncreative beasts. If the glory can be killed, we are lost."

Make no mistake, there are some profound truths here. Biblical theology informs us that as humans we bear the Imago Dei, the image of God. As beings made after our creator, we are invited to join in his act of creation. However, this image was shattered (though not entirely lost), when man willfully fell into sin. Simply put, complete freedom of the mind will only result in continued depravity.

Steinbeck said the following during his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in literature in 1962:

"the writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate man's proven capacity for greatness of heart and spirit—for gallantry in defeat, for courage, compassion and love. In the endless war against weakness and despair, these are the bright rally flags of hope and of emulation. I hold that a writer who does not believe in the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor any membership in literature."

The belief that man is capable of perfecting himself is a presupposition without any warrant. However it does point to the truth that deep down, every human knows that world is not as it should be. In the words of Aaron Weiss, "All creation groans.... listen to it. "

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I think a few shorter posts are in order to balance out the dissertation I posted last week. Here are some quick blurbs.

When Paul agreed to host a Jubalson concert at his apartment, he wasn't expecting 44 people to show up. Alexandra Sailor was a fantastic opener and the Turksih Tea proved to be a big hit.

I've played a lot of concerts, but never one with a dance after party. The Groce mansion was absolutely swarming with light-footed urbanites dancing the night away in celebration of a very enthusiastic (and sweaty) Lance Limatti's birthday. Toto showed off some dance moves he learned before they were ironic.

The horse may have fallen lame, but Brooks Ritter's debut album is proof that there is still life in the Louisville music scene. Heck, it may have just restored my confidence in acoustic singer/songwriters in general. Seriously, buy this album- if you can find a copy, it's going fast.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A Treatise on Fixed-Gear Bicylces: Part 1

For a little more than five months now I have been, as frequently mentioned on this blog, riding a fixed-gear bicycle, a Raleigh Rush Hour which I affectionately named "Jackie".

Although over a 1,000 miles of coastless pedal-pushing has left me no less enthralled with my bike than the first day I climb on its skinny velo saddle, I am often confronted by an abundance of naysayers. Criticisms of fixed riding may be abundant, but genuine concerns seem to fall into one of several, predictable categories. I will attempt to systematically address these major concerns. (Note: this post is not an apology for cycling as urban transportation, but merely a defense of riding fixed gear as a valid form of urban cycling. The legitimacy and practicality of bicycle commuting is presupposed. If necessary I will address this topic at a later date. )

1. It's dangerous

Well to be perfectly honest, it's true. Riding a track bike in urban traffic is dangerous, but, to quote Biblo Baggins, so is going outside your front door.

Simply put, any form of urban transportation is dangerous, albeit subway, TARC, motorcycles, or SUV. In fact, I recently saw a statistic in The Art of Urban Cycling that cycling actually is only slightly more dangerous than air travel.

So what quality of fixed gear bicycles makes it inherently more dangerous than it's carbon road bike, mountain, hybrid, tandem, or recumbent cousins? Because competent fixed gear riders are by definition in constant control of their speed (via pedal rpms), it intrinsically forces the riders to be more aware of his surroundings and how the bike directly responds to her movements. This is very similar to how my friends who drive manual transmissions claim that it forces them to be better drivers. Although driving an automatic is easier, it is also easier to be lazy when there is less to do to operate it. Experienced bike messenger will also testify to its superiority in wet conditions, because a fixed gear bike does not rely on slick brake pads to slow down.

Admittedly, it is all the rage in fixed-gear circles to forgo brakes entirely, like they do in the velodrome. Such riders rely solely on superfluous skid-stopping to slow their bicycles and often simply disregard any and all traffic laws. I will be the first to admit this is idiotic. Kentucky state law requires at least one operational brake, which in addition to being the law, is just a good, practical idea. My bike is fitted with a front brake for emergencies and really steep hills. Although I prefer not to use it, and rely instead on resisting the pedals to control my speed, it has gotten me out of some pretty tight spots. Better to have it and not use it than need it and not have it.

The one danger I have encountered that is especially indigenous to fixed gear riding is shoe laces or pant legs getting caught in the chain. As the cranks continue to turn and drag the loose article, something is going to give, usually resulting in a crash. However, these sorts of problems can be easily avoided through diligence on the part of the rider to cuff his pant legs or to tuck her shoe laces into her shoe.

2. What about hills?

Invariably, this is always the second question I get asked. People notice the lack of shifters and derailleurs on my bike an automatically assume that it is unusable anywhere outside of Kansas or Texas.

Believer or not I actually live in Crescent Hill (emphasis mine). I.E., I have to tackle some monster hills to get anywhere- coming or going.

Surprisingly, the solution to steeper climbs with a single gear is..... pedaling faster. Instead of reaching for the shifter when going up Lexington or Baxter, I just buckle down and push harder. It's good exercise and it's not that hard. In fact, one of the first things I noticed after going fixed was how many of the bigger hills in my commute were no longer as exhausting to climb. The perfectly straight chain line of a single-speed more effectively converts energy spent into movement and my inability to coast ensures that I carry my momentum into the climb.

Do I get passed by spandex-clad weekend warriors while cutting through Cherokee Park and its more intense hills? Sure, but I'm just trying to get to a coffee shop, not play Tour De France.

3. Coasting is fun. I enjoy it too much to ride fixed.

This is perhaps the easiest to dismantle. Coasting is not nearly as fun as the committed free-wheeler might expect. Although one may be inclined to think that easily breezing down hills or cruising across flats in the most enjoyable way to get from point A to point B, even the novice "fixster" will be amazed at how boring it is not to be pedaling. Every rider remembers the first time he or she took a fixie out for a test spin. Each sudden jerk was a jarring reminder of how dependent the average cyclist is on the free-wheel cog. Corners, hills, long flats. Opportunities to coast in urban commuting are numerous. Once deprived of this luxury, I cut over 2 minutes off of my commute- an eternity in cycling culture.

The ease of movement with no energy expenditure pales in comparison to the joy of being intimately connected to the propulsion process through continuous pedaling. Every subtle movement of the fixed-gear rider directly influences his or her machine. Put on a regular bike, the fixster will be immediately deprived of this joy of feeling "connected with the road". The loss of control alone is enough for urban track cyclist to swear off free wheels, let alone the bliss that comes from track standing for an entire traffic light or train crossing, or braking by doing a completely unnecessary skid-stop.

These are just a few responses to the most common criticisms of fixed gear bicycles. This post barely touched on the benefits, which, if necessary, I may write on at a later date.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Factory Tour

My buddy Ozgur was passing through town today with some friends from Columbia International University and wanted to do something cool in Louisville. So what does one do when a Turkish friend and his fellow seminarians are in town? Louisville Slugger Factory.

Added perk: free mini-bat for biking in rough neighborhoods.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Winter Reading List

Next up in my winter reading list are two Ernest Hemingway books, The Sun Also Rise, his first novel, and The Old Man and the Sea, one of his later works that also won the Pulitzer Prize.

It's hard for me to decide which one I enjoyed more. Both are equally hopeless, although The Old Man and the Sea has a true sense of beauty. In a way I think think that Hemingway meant for the reader to identify with the unnamed fisherman, who engages in a futile struggle with nature.

Now that I am an entire week out from the end of the semester, I have decided to start counter-balancing all of this nihilism and start reading some theology again. I am starting with We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry by G.K. Beale. So far I am two chapters into it and it is great. I eagerly anticipate discussing this book in depth in class with Dr. Payne next semester.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Winter Reading List

In continuation of my winter list, yesterday I read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. While best appreciated in the context of the novel, I found the following exert especially profound.

"Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailor's eyes- a fresh green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, trees that had made way for Gatsby's house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder."

An apt catechism for the Lost Generation.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Winter Reading List

In celebration of being down with finals, I read The Moon is Down by John Steinbeck today. My 1964 paperback edition I got at a book sale is only 114 pages long, so it was not too challenging to knock it out.

Gabriel at Sunergos suggested that if I liked Steinbeck I should read East of Eden next.

I have a pretty lofty reading goal this break, including finishing a few of the books from my summer list, like The Seven Storey Mountain, that I did not get a chance to complete before the semester dragged me into its black hole of academic overload.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Top 50 Albums of 2008

Paste Magazine has released their top 50 albums of 2008.

Sigur Ros clocks in at #2 and Bon Iver, Sun Kil Moon, and Fleet Foxes all get top ten nods as well.

She & Him grab the coveted #1 spot- an award that previously has gone to such artists as Sufjan Stevens and The Decemberists.

I'm glad someone is looking for signs of life in our culture.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Finals Log

I'm reaching the home stretch, but there is still much to accomplish. God is gracious and I have accomplished more than I anticipated.

My Johann Sebastian Bach playlist on Pandora is providing an excellent atmosphere for finishing my final paper: 4 single spaced pages to go.

The last song that played was Piano Concerto N. 15 in B Flat Major by Mozart. It was quite pleasant.

Like Bach, and unlike Mozart, I am seeking to do my work to the glory of God. As I approach the end of this semester, it is my desire to place my trust in the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ and not my own abilities.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Why do we then indulge our fears,
Suspicions and complaints?
Is He a God, and shall his grace
Grow weary of his saints?

- Isaac Watts

Monday, November 17, 2008

Finals Week

My finals week officially kicked off today. I don't actually have a final till Wednesday, but literally every spare minute is needed to prepare for the 3 exams and 7 papers due.

I will be cutting off contact from the outside world. In case of an emergency I can be found at either Sunergos, with my earbuds in effectively isolating myself from my surroundings, or the SBTS Library, on the second floor or in the reference section.

Goodbye outside world. See you in a week.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


The entire week has been working towards this trajectory. Last night after plunging a clogged toilet at work for over ten minutes, i discovered my efforts only succeeded in flooding the other bathroom with sewage. The floor was literally covered in crap.

Praise God for my friend Ella, who volunteered to help me clean the putrid mess.

I'm waiting to find out how this week can get any worse.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


My second favorite cardigan, my third favorite pair of jeans, and my newest gloves were destroyed when I crashed my bike today. Arrgh. Being a bicycle commuter is suppose to save me money, but when you factor in the damages to the bike, that spill set me back $70. Thankfully my own injuries are only peripheral so there are no medical bills.

As Dimitri Martin says, "The easiest way to add insult to injury is when you are signing someone's cast."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Finals Checklist


Marriage and the Family Reflection paper (10 pages)

Religious Literacy book review (5 pages) DONE.

The Closing of the American Mind book review (5 pages) DONE (More or Less)

God and Government book review (5 pages)

36 political article summaries (13 done)

Sermon: 1 Timothy 3:1-7 (5+ pages)

Sermon: 1 Samuel (5+ pages)


Greek (comprehensive)

Religion and the Public Square (open book)

Marriage and the Family (closed book)

Friday, November 07, 2008

Look Closer

"I realized that here was this entire benevolent force that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid. Ever... Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world I feel like I can't take it... and my heart is going to burst."

-American Beauty, 1999.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Concert Blurbs

Quick concert recaps:

Anathallo. To say they are amazing live is so hypobolic it's ridiculous. I was wearing a silly grin on my face every second they were on stage. Their new album, "Canopy Glow", could be the best I have have heard in 2008.

Colour Revolt. Between the British alternate spelling and their rock solid shoegaze/post hardcore melodies, I'm led to believe this band went to Oxford in addition to being from Oxford... Mississippi that is.

Ben Sollee. Louisville's best musican? Quite possibly. He kicked off his national tour at the 930 to a sold out crowd.

Brian Ott. Is playing a show Sunday night at U of L and I am playing with him. See you there.

Friday, October 31, 2008


Lately I have been in a nostalgic mood and today I was looking through my iPod for some music to accommendate these feelings.

I came across Moneen's album "Are We Really Happy With Who We are Right Now?" which my friend Emo Ian from The Goodbye Kiss introduced me to at church camp way back in the summer of 2004. Scrolling through the tracklist, I played "Closing My Eyes Won't Help Me Leave"

At the time I first started listening to this group, that song in particular appealed to me for several reasons. Stylistically, it is very much in the same vein as early Thursday or Alexisonfire; the song is pure chaotic emotion. The conflicting guitar riffs are strummed with an intricate intensity which might cause a casual listener to mistake dissonance for carelessness. Dual vocal lines, which switch between soft crooning and coarse screams, seem to care little what the other is doing.

Looking back on this song I better understand my identifying with it. In the midst of chaos and uninhibited emotion, the vocalists, representing a single entity, strive to find some meaning in a failed relationship. All the post-modern poet has is chaos, from which he must justify his existence.

The song ends with an extended breakdown in which both vocalists bemoan, "Don't Say you're sorry, because sorry means something is wrong." Even in the midst of this relational failure, the vocalists refuse to attribute any intrinsic moral value to the relationship.

The entirety of the song's lyrics are as follows:

Closing My Eyes Won't Help Me Leave

Where's my love? It's fallen and I'm bound to it
Where's my heart? It stopped, then why am I still here?
Something's missing

Wrong...gone? Would you say it's too late?
Say something now. Say something's wrong. Say sorry.
Wrong...gone? Would you stay? It's your fate.
Something's missing

Wait this out...a promise kept ends suddenly
Close my eyes...relax, lay back and try to breathe

Decide my fate
Is it too late?
To change it all
And mend mistakes

As if I would have such thoughts
And scream so loud for all it's not

Don't say you're sorry cause sorry means something is wrong
Don't say you're sorry...don't say you're sorry now
And I've changed...those thoughts rang out...


Graduate Studies? Lately Kam has got me thinking in this direction.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

On Considering Birds

Like any self-respecting Calvinist, I am prone to preface any conversation about future plans with a sincere "God willing" or perhaps throw in a "if the Lord wills" at the end. Really not at all unlike how my Muslim friends end such sentences with "Inshallah".

Sometimes our desires, even biblical ones, turn out not to be God's will. Situations like these can really be the defining moments in one's faith. This is the stage of life that I find myself in and the question I am forced to ask myself is, "Do I really believe that God's plan for my life is better that the one that I desire?"

James speaks to this in his epistle. He writes in 4:13,

"Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit'- yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.'"

Thankfully Christ gives us an alternative to a life focused on fulfilling our own desires and following our own plans,

"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them." - Matthew 6:25

He continues,

"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." - Matthew 6:33

When our deep desires are not given to us, we can take comfort that we have been granted something greater: participation in God's kingdom, where what God wants done is done.

I know these things to be true.

"I believe! Help my unbelief." Mark 9:24

Friday, October 24, 2008

Miguel De Cervantes

The pranking collective once operating under the pseudonym "Miguel De Cervantes" has been revealed.

Becky Hayko, Anne Pittman, and Holly Pittman (no relation) have come forward as the masterminds behind the recent spree of pranks, which have included hundreds of fake party invitations being distributed across campus and over 4 dozen crickets being set free in the hall outside my room.

The ingenuity of the pranks centered on their use of Facebook to befriend their victims and even inform them prior to the prank, all under the previously mentioned fake identity. Pictures and clues about the pranks were also posted online.

It remains to be seen how much retaliation will take place.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Sickness always seems to strike at the most inconvenient times.  

Work today was pretty miserable with a sore throat and severe sinus pressure.  It also sucks the joy right out of commuting to work on my bicycle. 

Thankfully a masterfully made caramel latte from Sunergos does a good job of assuaging the dull, steady pain in my throat.  Properly steamed milk is pretty critical for providing soothing relief and the caramel helps everything go down nice and smooth. 

Man I love Kenny Smith. 

Friday, October 17, 2008

Magical Mystery Tour

The John Lennon Educational Bus came to Mom's Music today. It essentially is a mobile state-of-the-art recording and video editing studio equipped with all of the latest and most expensive technology. Road trip anyone?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Musical Abundance

Sufjan may have admitted that he probably won't release an album about every U.S. State, but these guys succeeded in writing a song about every U.S. President. Mark Kozelek, Denison Witmer, and Marla Hansen are just some of the contributors.

Speaking of Denison Witmer, his new album, Carry the Weight, may not be released until November, but for now you can download him covering Band of Horses for free.

Paste Magazine may be too elistist to appreciate the polished shoegaze of Copeland's new album You are My Sunshine, but I'm not. Check out their latest music video and see who you side with.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Live Lunch

Yesterday I played with the Muckrakers on WFPK's Live Lunch. You can listen to the broadcast here.

The song I played on is call "Paris to New York" and is about 13 minutes into the broadcast. My parents even get a shout out from Rob, the lead singer, on live radio! Who would have thought?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

fitty cent

After a decade of waiting, my beloved home state of Arizona finally has a state quarter- a fact I discovered while counting out change at work today. I think the dual images depict well the beautifully diverse landscape of the Grand Canyon State.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


I spent the weekend in Columbus, Ohio with Paul, Darren, and J. Jackson.

Saturday afternoon, we met up with Nick Nye, pastor of newly launched Veritas Community Church. He took us for a walk around his neighborhood, the Short North, and told us about his vision and heart for the city. The Short North is essiently the arts district in Columbus and has emerged as one of the most influential cultural centers in America. To Louisville residents, I would compare it to the Highlands, only much cleaner. The neighborhood is filled with all the trendy stores and restaurants one would expect from the city with America's largest university. Hookah bars, American Apparel clothes, vegan cafes, and fixed-gear bike shops were seemingly on every corner- each with recylcing bins in front.

Saturday night, Paul, Darren and I went to see the Columbus Crew play the L.A. Galaxy. Unlike the game from last year, David Beckham, the best dead ball player and possibly the most beautiful man on earth, was there. Thankfully for the Crew, Beckham's amazing finesse and agility proved insufficient to carry the rest of the struggling Galaxy. The Crew won the match one - nil.

Sunday morning we jumped on our bikes and went for a spin around the Short North and downtown. Beautifully smooth payment was well complimented by a nearly complete absence of traffic, so needless to say the ride quite delighful. We found an empty parking garage in the middle of downtown which offered a panoramic view of the city- and plenty of smooth concrete for some superfluos skid-stopping. The highlight of the weekend was without a doubt the launch of Veritas. Nick preached a very gospel centered message on 1 Corinthians 2. The three of us Sojourners were encouraged to see many of our liturgical elements to be present in the gathering, including the weekly celebration of communion and the different movements ( adoration, confession, and so forth) during worship. Joe Byler and the rest of the band sounded great, especially their take on In the Shadow of Glorious Cross and There is a Peace. I eagerly anticipate seeing how God uses this church in spreading his gospel.

Saturday, October 04, 2008


Calexico recently released a new album, called Carried to Dust. I recently acquired it and it is a very musically diverse, pleasant album.

I also have been spinning The Fleet Foxes recently. The track "White Winter Hymnal" is dangerously catchy.

TV on the Radio
just released a new album, Dear Science. I have not listened to it thoroughly yet, but what I have heard might actually deserve the rave reviews this album is getting.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Hipster: the Anti-Culture?

Adbuster magazine recently featured an article called Hipster: The Dead End of Western Civilization. Well worth the read. The writer's concluding paragraph is especially insightful:

"We are a lost generation, desperately clinging to anything that feels real, but too afraid to become it ourselves. We are a defeated generation, resigned to the hypocrisy of those before us, who once sang songs of rebellion and now sell them back to us. We are the last generation, a culmination of all previous things, destroyed by the vapidity that surrounds us. The hipster represents the end of Western civilization – a culture so detached and disconnected that it has stopped giving birth to anything new. "

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I can now:

Buy alcohol (legally)

Rent a car in some states

Gamble (legally)

Vote if for some unforeseen reason the XXVI Amendment is overturned.

My first act in celebration will be... taking a Greek exam at 9:00 AM.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Nihilism never sounded so good

Today I was reflecting on how many of my favorite lines in my favorite songs are completely contrary to what I believe. For example:

In the down tempo acoustic ballad "Amie", Irish troubadour Damien Rice wails,

"Something unusual, something strange,
Comes from nothing at all
But I'm not a miracle
And you're not a saint
Just another soldier
On a road to nowhere."

Yet Rice is unable to fully commit to this declaration, asking "Amie" to:

"Tell it like you still believe
That the end of the century
Brings a change for you and me"

This theme is certainly nothing new in music, as Simon and Garfunkal had already espoused linguistic deconstructionism in the early sixties with their number one hit "The Sound of Silence". In this beautiful song, the singer laments:

"In the naked light, I saw
ten thousand people, maybe more.
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening.
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dare disturb the sound of silence."

Here Garfunkel gives a haunting voice to Simon's dark conclusion: ultimately human's are incapable of truly communicating with each other.

Perhaps the logical culmination of postmodern philosophy is best seen in the work of the Argentine-Swede post-classical guitarist Jose Gonzalez. In "Cycling Trivialities" the song writer declares:

"Don't know which way to turn.
Every trifle becoming big concerns.
All this time you were chasing dreams,
without knowing what you wanted them to mean.

So how's it gonna be.
When it all comes down you're cycling trivialities. "

Later in the song, Gonzalez is led to conclude:

"Who cares in a hundred years from now.
All the small steps, all your shitty clouds.
Who cares in a hundred years from now.
Who'll remember all the players.
Who'll remember all the clowns."

The song concludes with several minutes of a single repeating musical phrase, with subtle variations occurring randomly- essentially a musical incarnation of naturalistic nihilism.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


As an early birthday gift from my parents, I just purchased this pair of Toms. The cool thing about this company is not just their fashionable footwear but the fact that for every pair of shoes purchased they donate a pair of Toms to a child in a developing nation. Looking hip never felt so good.

Picture below are a bunch of South African children who received free shoes through this program!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Weather Report

Due to damage from winds reaching 80 mph, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where I live and study is without power, possibly for the remainder of the week. As an R.A. in the dormitories, I will be roughing it out with the students who do not have family close enough to go home.

Unfortunately, three beautiful, old trees were knocked over by the gusts, but thankfully no buildings on campus were damaged.

Class has been canceled for the entire week. Hopefully I can use this time to get caught up... or at least less behind.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Guest Blogger at Sojourn Music

Today I am the contributing writer for Guest Blogger week at Sojourn Music.

You can read my post here.

Friday, September 05, 2008

An Unsuspecting Smile

It's been almost two years since the release of "Brother, Sister", but I'm amazed with Aaron Weiss' lyrics. (cf. "I'm still Waiting To Meet a Girl like my Mom who's closer to my age")

Take for instance the song "in a Sweater Poorly Knit":

"You're a door-without-a-key, a field-without-a-fence.
You made a holy fool of me and I've thanked you ever since.
if she comes circling back we'll end where we'd begun
like two pennies on the train track the train crushed into one

or if I'm a crown without a king, if I'm a broken open seed
If I come without a thing, then I come with all I need"

Gosh I wish I had written that.


Four months is far too long to go without eating at Steak N Shake.

Cycler's Cafe is the best bike shop I have ever been to... that has a restaurant and coffee shop. Naked Chicken Burrito = almost Qdoba quality.

Heine Bros, while a poor substitute for Quills, actually has a fairly legitimate cup of drip.

Third declension Greek nouns don't like me very much, and the feeling is mutual.

Bon Iver's "For Emma, Forever Ago" is one of the most genuine and refreshing (perhaps genuinely refreshing?) albums I have heard in a long time. Favorite tracks, "Skinny Love" and "Re: Stacks".

Now both of my brothers work for a Starbucks, making me the only Butterworth not wearing a green apron to work.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Art @ Sunergos

Local artist Mickey Winters has a variety of her work on display (and for sale) at Sunergos for the month of September. Conveniently, the month of September also is the month of my birthday, so if anyone wants to purchase the piece "One God" (pictured above) for me, I wouldn't turn them down.

Either way, be sure to stop by and appreciate it in person.