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Showing posts from December, 2011

Most Remakes Are Awful - A Couple of Exceptions

I'll go ahead and say it: most remakes of hit songs are unnecessary. That is, more often than not, a singer covering a well-known song is doing something that the world would be better off without. In most cases, they simply do an inferior job; the new version isn't as good as the original. It typically plays out one of three ways:

1. Sometimes, the remake is so identical to the original that you have to ask "what's the point?" 

2. Some artists will try to avoid that scenario by making such radical changes to the song that it becomes barely recognizable. And usually, that's a disaster.

3. Many artists fails to realize that their voice simply isn't right for a particular song.

As with all truths, however, there are exceptions.

A notable exception to #2 above is Chantay Savage's masterful reworking of the Gloria Gaynor's anthem "I Will Survive".  One listen of this slow jazz version will abolish any notions of this as a disco song.





For si…

What I Read in 2011

Because I write reviews as part of Thomas Nelson Publishing's Booksneeze program, I have posted reviews of most of the books I have read this year. Click the link to see the review.  I don't get all my books through Booksneeze, so I didn't write a review of every book I read.
I listed these books roughly in order, starting with my favorite, but I liked each one. The top 3 are pretty much interchangeable in terms of preference. Also, I reviewed two bibles and several children's books, which I didn't rank. 
My Favorite Books I Read in 2011: Unbroken
Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me (this one has a comment from the author!)
Paper Angels (So does this one!)

Fahrenheit 451  (I read several times as a kid, but re-read it this year)
The Book of Man Beautiful Outlaw (this review got picked up by Burnside and generated some conversation)

Erasing Hell
Slave
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Too bad this one was Rated R; there's a great story in there if you get past the unn…

Storms of Life

It's the eternal question: why do bad things happen to followers of Christ?
I found an answer that works for me, in a portion of the story of Noah and the Great Flood, located in the 8th chapter of Genesis. This passage has given me guidance on how to react to the hard things in life.
It's important to remember that much of our Christian walk is described in the bible in pictures. The Flood was caused by an intense and lengthy storm, and storms often represent trouble in our lives. Read on for just such a representation:
Genesis 8:1
"And God remembered Noah, and all the animals, and all the cattle that were with him in the ark; and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided."

The first verse opens with a reminder that God doesn't forget His people, especially in storms. This truth applies even when the trouble is the consequence of our own sin. Often we have storms in life that we bring upon ourselves. Noah didn't cause this storm…

Three Cups: A Review

As a member of Thomas Nelson Publishing's Booksneeze program, I get the occasional free book for review purposes. My latest one is a kid's book: Three Cups, by Tony Townsley, Mark St. Germain, and April Willy. Three Cups tells a story of a child who is given a way to place money that is given to him: one cup each for giving, saving, and spending.

I got the book for my own kids, and sadly, it was a couple of years too late. The book is written at a level of a boy or girl who's around age 4 or 5. It's probably the type of book which is best read to a kid.
That said, it's a great little book, and the story is interesting enough that the kid who hears or reads it doesn't realize he's being preached to or being taught.

Yet, they are being taught an important lesson: it's good to know how to manage your money, and it's good to spend some, to save some, and of course, to give some.

I like this book a lot. Just wish I would have gotten it a few years ago…

Forgiveness: New Thoughts

A short time after I started driving at age 16, I got my first speeding ticket, and countless more followed over the next few years. As I was working low-paying jobs at the time, I had to find an inexpensive way to resolve all these tickets. (Don't bother telling me about the best option--simply driving at or below the speed limit like a good citizen--I am very aware of that.)  I tried deferred adjudication, I tried getting a lawyer to get it off my record, and I even tried taking the defensive driving option.

Each of these remedies has its pros and cons, but I have to admit that I rather enjoyed my annual trips to defensive driving class. After attending it several times, I have become so familiar with the material that I feel like I could teach the class myself.

Another teaching I have heard countless times is the sermon about forgiveness.  I've been a Christian for a long time, and it's been a frequent sermon topic wherever I've been. Because of my frequent and pr…