Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Guster: Ganging Up on The Sun

Guster has a new album out: Ganging Up on The Sun. I've been listening to it quite a bit in the last few days (It arrived on Monday).

This album is very different than previous Guster albums: a different sound, one much more eclectic, though at times too conventional/poppy. The biggest difference in the sound is the lack of Brian's bongos. I really miss them, and I found some of the songs a bit on the plain/conventional side without them.

The first two songs are also too mellow and don't set the right tone for the rest of the album. I've found that if I start on the third track, the whole album sounds better.

I've also noticed a lot of musical influences. Some of the songs have a very Beatlesque sound; a few others were reminsicent of Asia (or more poppy Yes). One Song, Ruby Falls -- one of the songs I really like -- even has a Grateful Dead a la Terrapin Station thing going on.

The Captain is a song with a lot of that Guster energy. Manifest Destiny was an early release track, so I have heard it before; it too has a lot of that Guster energy. The New Underground is a song with some early 80's Yes overtones. I'll have more comments on the songs later after I listen to them more.

Like with the last few albums, I've found that you have to listen to the album a number of times to get a feel for it before you can really judge it. The songs have a tendency to grow on you and get better. I think this is in part to their exploration of a new sound (especially as the bongos have been fading out). It's a bit like that adage about fighting the last war. When you first come to listen to the album, you are still thinking of the past album and that colors the way you react to the new album. Once you get the new album in your system on its own terms, you are able to judge it.

Overall, it's no Parachute or Lost and Gone, but I like the album and I am looking forward to listening to it more.


Andrew Sullivan -- always an interesting and entertaining read -- has an article up UK Times about Condi Rice and how her influence in the White House is apparently gaining. I don't know that much about Rice, but something about her impresses me. Though not aggressive in the public eye, she seems like a very tough cookie with brains to back it up.

I think there is a high probablity that Condi will be at least the VP candidate in 2008, especially if Hillary is on the Dems ticket.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Harry Potter e a filosofia

This is old news, but I had not yet posted it. Harry Potter and Philosophy is available in a Spanish Portuguse language edition as Harry Potter e a Filosofia. (Update 6/18: So much for my knowledge of Spanish--this is Portuguese!)

It's also now available in a Korean language edition. I couldn't find a link to this though--not that I could read it anyway!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Updates (or why I've disappeared)

PhD update: I've moved comps prep to the back burner to work on some other projects. But next up is an essay by Hilary Putnam and Christine Swanton's book: Virtue Ethics

Summer Seminar update: I am plugging away at my 3-part talk on Locke, Hume, and Rand. I'll be giving an abridged version of this talk at AO on June 24th.

Norms of Liberty review update: I've got some more revisions to do on this review before I send it to The Independent Review.

Teaching Company update: I've started watching the Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning course. So far, it's interesting. Fairly basic stuff, but that's what I expected.

I will be teaching ASU's "Principles of Sound Reasoning" course this summer--so I thought watching this course would be a nice refresher. I also hope to use it as a resource: both in terms of examples for class and for possible clips during class.

Teaching update: As I said above, I'll be teaching PHI 103: Principles of Sound Reasoning during the 2nd Summer Session. I'll be using David Kelley's Art of Reasoning as the course text. Thanks to generous support from TOC, I won't be teaching in the next academic year so that I can focus my energies on the dissertation and getting a job.

'Just for Fun' reading update: I've started reading David Halberstam's The Education of a Coach. It's a biography of Bill Belichick, the greatest coach (of the greatest team) in the NFL. So far, its excellent. A lot of attention is paid to Belichick's father, a well-respected football scout and coach in his own right. Interestingly for me as a moral philosophy is the important role of moral character in both Belichicks. Next up will be a fiction work, probably Dennis Lehane's Gone, Baby, Gone