Saturday, April 26, 2008

the mind of Ben Gibbard - frontman of Death Cab for Cutie

I've been a Death Cab fan since my first listen to Tranatlanticism in '03. Great poetry with a band like this - and for me, that's saying something. I'm an instrumental guy (my brain focuses on the instrumentation WAY BEFORE it ever hears a word or phrase). And this is a bit weird, because I love writing...Nonetheless, with Death Cab, I immediately heard the lyrics.

So Ben Gibbard is the frontman of the band. He's the primary songwriter and I read a couple articles in PASTE magazine this past week interviewing him.
Interesting to discover his passion for Kerouac and nature, but as I continued reading, the article saddened me more and more. He talks about what inspires him to write in length. He talks about early criticisms of the band. He talks about their success in spite of the internet wave. And the entire time you can just tell it in his voice that he's not satisfied, not happy, not content in life.

He admits he should be...he does what he loves for a living. Then he says the cause of his "unforseen" misery. Ben says, "I would rather make great records than make great relationships."

That's it. He will sacrifice all else for this art that kills him bit by bit.
And he wonders why he's not the end of the day he has masterfully crafted notes and poetry mass duplicated on small plastic discs covered with a picture on one side, set inside another piece of plastic, and eventually wrapped in so much plastic it leave the 'openee' complaining that "you can never open these damn things!"

Anyway, a life spent in community is a life. A life spent alone is wandering, searching, discontentment, and half lived. Its empty.

I believe we were created for community. We were created for community because when we live lives together we sharpen, we love, we cry, we do the mundane together.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Flowers for Lacy

I was recently with my sister-in-law and mother-in-law as they were ordering flowers for an upcoming wedding :) Instead of using a traditional florist they are going to order wholesale and have a friend assemble the flowers. The price difference is astounding- $.59 a rose compared to $9 a rose. But Lacy then wondered are the wholesale prices coming at a detriment to the workers in South America. A point was made that the workers are probably being treated the same from this company or from a traditional florist- the florists probably order from this site, but thats not the point. And thats not the point Lacy was trying to make. So it got me wondering about fair trade flowers...

Fair Trade Certified Flowers do the following: "The Fair Trade Certified label on your bouquet means that flower workers, most of whom are women, can put food on their tables, send their children to school, invest in community development, and use sustainable farming methods." There is more extensive list on the benefits or "just" qualities of Fair Trade Flowers at:

So where can you buy Fair Trade Certified Flowers?

Online Retailers

1-800 Flowers Online

Organic Bouquet

Sam's Club Online

Supermarkets Near You

GIANT Food Stores


New Season's Market

Roche Brothers


Whole Foods

A book Ross and I were reading recently said something to the effect of, "we shop looking for the best deal for us and our family but what if we put others first in our purchases." Although we can't see the impact of our purchases immediately, buying fair trade puts others first. And guess what- It's Not About Me!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Election Year...

I recently finished Shane Claiborne's more recent book, Jesus for President, a must read in this election year. I loved Shane's first book, Irresistible Revolution, and couldn't wait for this one to come out. Shane's example of being a Christ follower has influenced the way I think about my life and the lives of those around me, he is truly being the hands and feet of Jesus. For more on Shane and those he lives with check out:

So back to the book. I'm not going to say that the topics they bring up are easy to digest but they are challenging and, i believe, biblical. the book focuses on war, peace, taking care of our neighbors (hint- our neighbors aren't just Americans, not that we take care of Americans that well to begin with), realizing where our allegiance lies, etc. the american church has become so intertwined with politics and government that it's hard to see out of that box but we should first be serving God, not government.

so the book has challenged me in many ways, here are a couple:
1. public health is my schtick but i have tried to address these needs working for a government- a government that serves its interests first and often leaves the least of these still suffering. i've never felt like i was serving two masters in my job but if that conflict were to arise, the authors would argue that you should be working to improve the health of others outside of the government. the same goes for military personnel, politicians, etc.
food for thought...

2. so God is my first king, so what does that lead me to do as an american citizen. do you not vote, write in a separate candidate, ??? the book does not spell this out for us, which is a good thing but the argument is made whether or not we should be voting for a candidate that supports war (and really, don't all candidates support war- maybe not the iraq war, but other wars).

so you really should read it and then let me know what you think about it.