Sunday, May 22, 2005

Absences of God

Today in aforrest's Sunday school class we discussed the U2's "Wake Up Dead Man" in comparison to the absences of God. Indeed the U2 song illustrates the frustrations a non-believer might feel when he doesn't see God with all the suffering in the world.
With that in mind, I had a rather trying week at my job trying to rationalize the presences of God. I had a little 5 year old boy come into my office for a intake( This is when I first meet a client and try to set them up with mental health services. Since I have no available staff due to cuts in Medicaid, I will personally work with this kid.). Anyway, the foster mom of this child was telling me about this 5 year old's abusive past. He had his two front teeth knocked out by his mom's boyfriend when he was 3. The doctor says that he will not have his teeth back until he is about 10. I then saw this boy's back which had cigarette burns on it (apparently he must have been a human ash tray).
Being the father of a three year old, I couldn't make sense of why would anyone do that, or what kind of a mother would allow that to happen to her child? The boy even cowarded when I reached over him to grab a pen. I've been in this business for 5 years and this is one of the more worst cases of child abuse I've seen. The system hasn't really helped this kid much either. They have shuffled him around 6 foster homes.
About the only good I could see to come out of this horrible situation is this boy's foster parents seem to be good people. They have had this child for a year and he seems to be making progress. His temper tantrums are now only a hour when they use to be 4-5 hours. Sadly, this child wants to return to his mother which is not looking like a possiblilty.
Ontop of this, I had a visit from a 13 year girl that I wrote about earlier. When she was younger she was rapped by her uncle. Usually kids that have endured a rape grow up to be a nun or the opposite. She has turned the opposite and is trying to draw the attention of older men. She is no longer able to make eye contact like she used to.
With all this going on, it does make you wonder where is God is all this. I can't fix these kids, why does God permit such things to happen? Well if he didn't, I wouldn't have a job. Maybe I'd be neutering animals (you can make a good living doing that). I can only guess that there is a greater plan here and it makes it more of a reason to seek Him.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

My operation

Today I met with a Urologist about getting myself fixed. I wasn't I knew what to expect. As it turns out I had to watch a 25 year old video on the subject that sounded very much like a old sex ed movie. With the raising cost of healthcare, you would think they could afford to update the video to at least a decade ago. I had to spend 20 minutes listening to real life couple Steve and Carol discuss "being fixed" and how it didn't effect their sex life. To say it was cheesey would be a understatement. I wonder how this nice couple is doing now?
After the rather entertaining movie on why Steve and Carol don't want anymore kids, I met my doctor. Thinking it was going to be a rather manly man- grizzled old doctor that had been doing these kind of things half his life, I was pleasantly surprised to find it was a nice young lady about the same age as my wife. Well this is definitely off to a interesting start.

This weeks picks

This weeks picks are:

Glen Phillips "Winter pays for Summer"
If you are a fan of"Toad the Wet Sprocket" this is the album for you. After a horrible first album, Glen is back with the honest singing and song writing that made Toad a good band.

Joy Electric "Robot Rock"
This album was a big hit nowhere. It probably would have been if anyone outside of Ronnie Martin's fanbase heard it.

Charaltans UK "Melting Pot"
A greatest hits of a band that came out around the time and place the "Stone Roses' hit it big. But unlike the Roses, this band is still around and putting out albums

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Child abuse

The other day my boss reminded me I've been at my job for 5 years. I started as a case worker for abused child with mental illness. Some of the kids that I've met and worked with, I'll never forget. Most of them are craving attention, but there are some with awful stories to tell-stories of abuse, neglect and rape. I remember about a year into it I started with an 8 year old girl that had been raped by her uncle multi times. She was a nice girl and I could never figure out why someone would do that to her. I just didn't make since. In my field, you really see people at their worst. So I began writing a little :

He's already been inside me
and I know it doesn't feel well
I keep looking in the mirror
but it's hard to tell

He's already been inside me
and I would stop him if I could
nothing feels the way it should

Would he hold me in his arms again
and wipe away my tears
Or has he already taken my best years

Fortuately, the girl I wrote this about is doing better. We recently closed her case. It took four years of therapy and a loving grandma, but she is doing better.

Friday, May 06, 2005

This week's picks

10,000 Maniacs " Camp Fire Songs"

Long before Natalie Merchant was in the poster child for adult contemporary, she was in a folk rock band consisting of college professors called 10,000 Maniacs. This hippie bunch wrote songs about social issues such as illiteracy, alcoholism, violence of television, teen pregnancy, and corporate creed. My personal favorite "What's the Matter Here?" is a song about a bystander who sits ideally by why her neighbors abuse the crap out of their child (this song actually inspired me to get into Social Work).
All of 10,000 maniacs best comprise "Camp Fire Songs" first disc. The second disc is full of B-sides, rarities, and demos. Duets with Michael Stipe on "To Sir with Love" and David Byrne "Let the Mystery Be" highlight this disc. Also featured are covers of Morrissey's "Everyday is like Sunday", David Bowie "Starman" and Tom Wait's "Hope That You Don't Fall in Love with Me".
sadly, founding member and guartarist Robert Buck has passed, which means no reunion tour. This means we will have to continue to listen to Natalie rack up the top 40 hits like the over- thankful "Thank You", and the bleak sounding "Carnival".

Sunday, May 01, 2005

May 1st- this weeks picks

New Order"Waiting for the Sirens"
On Wednesday I went out and picked up the new New Order- "Waiting of the Sirens". What a great ablum. Peter Hook gives his signature bass and Benard Sumner voice hasn't changed or lost it's innocent appeal. This one is a little more dance sound than 2000's "Get Ready" but still very fresh sounding. It's worth the title track alone.

Social Distortion "Sex, Love, and Rock and Roll"
I've been listening a lot to my favorite hard- luck-punk band for some reason. Social D was the first concert I ever went to- back in 1990. They put on a great show. Filled with raw energy that only Mike Ness's guitar can create. Their comeback record picks up where they left off (before their drummer died). These guys were living the punk life long before Green Day died their hair.

What is old is new again

This afternoon I spent some time in my favorite store- Borders- drinking coffee and reading the latest issue "Q" maginize. If you don't know, Q is everything in British music. This has been a magnize that I've read that successfully predicted the rise of Coldplay and with other great bands- Muse and Keane to name a few. What Q is predicting now is bands like Block Party, Kaiser Chefs, and the Bravery will take their place along side Coldplay of being great bands from Britain.
The only problem is all these bands sound the same- retro 80's. Like Interpol (who shamelessly sounds like Joy Division), the Killers, and Franz Ferdand, these up and coming bands are riding the retro waves of success. What they will find is that this wave will become stagnate.
These retro bands will find it difficult to make a second album because everything has already been done. There is nowhere else to take the "New new wave" sound. New Wave bands in the 80's discovered that (that's why they are not around any more). As long as these bands continue in this direction, they shouldn't plan on having a long career. It's ok to be influencend by New Wave, just don't build your career on it.
Like all phases of music, in a year or two, this retro phase will end. The secret to staying power is to be edgy and try something new. Forge a new sound (that is what music needs). Build off and take your sound in a different direction. This will keep your fans guess and eager to see what you put out next. That is what art is. Andy Warhol didn't go back and do the Mona Lisa. Van Gogh didn't rip off Monet. Be original. I don't mean to sound preachy (feel free to listen to whatever you want to), but life is too short for bad music.