Friday, January 30, 2009

Pop Culture Roundup

I have a small list of books that I feel compelled to read again every once in a while. Open Secrets by Richard Lischer is one such book. This is a spiritual memoir chronicling some of Lischer's experiences in his first pastoral assignment: a small country church near Alton, Illinois. He recounts his years in private schooling designed to groom him for Lutheran pastoral ministry (which he and his classmates call The System), and how little relevance he found there to other events outside the school walls. This sets up the reader for similar discoveries that he makes once he begins his time in ministry. This is, I believe, my fourth trip through this book. I discover new things every time I read it, but am always struck by how pastor and congregation, while initially suspicious of each other, end up forming a community in ways neither expected.

This past Sunday we ordered the WWE Royal Rumble on pay-per-view. It's my favorite event that they do all year because it features a big match where 30 guys enter 90 seconds apart and try to eliminate each other to earn a title shot at Wrestlemania. This year the matches on the undercard were decent and involved some interesting plot twists. The Rumble match itself was also good, although there were a couple points this year when there were too many guys in the ring at once for much to happen. At the end of the night, Randy Orton won the title shot, which I sort of saw coming but nevertheless enjoyed. This was held in Detroit by the way, and if I'd put in the effort to make arrangements I probably could have been there.

On this week's
Flight of the Conchords, Bret buys a cup for $2.79, which somehow throws off the guys' ability to pay their bills to the point that their electricity is shut off. This leads them to both sell their instruments and attempt to become male prostitutes, none of which goes very well. Once again, the songs were hit and miss. But I think they always have been and for some reason I'm being more harsh because it's new material that I'm not used to.

Scrubs, Dr. Cox was made the new Chief of Medicine. It's an interesting turn for his character, since he spent so much of the series going back and forth with Kelso, and usually because of something Kelso did as Chief of Medicine. It's kind of like when Angel started running Wolfram and Hart after fighting them for so long...where else does the series really go at that point? Probably not coincidentally, Angel ended shortly after that happened, and this is probably the end of Scrubs, too. But I doubt Scrubs will end with Dr. Cox and the other main characters trying to pick off the Board of Directors in an attempt to bring down the hospital. How cool would that be, though?

A week or two ago I was listening to the Akron community station, and a song came on that caught my attention. It featured a male and female vocalist, and as I listened I thought, "That sounds like Ben Folds...and that sounds like Regina Spektor." Sure enough, it was "You Don't Know Me" by Ben Folds and featuring Regina Spektor. This past week, I picked up the Ben Folds album from whence it comes,
Way to Normal, which showcases Folds' usual eclectic/eccentric piano playing and overall style.

Around the web, here's a band made up of adolescents singing a tribute to the Pittsburgh Steelers to the tune of Pat Benatar's "Heartbreaker." That's right, Ohio sports fans, I went there. You at least have to admit that they're surprisingly good. HT goes to
Jeff Greathouse: