English Breakfast

Hoops new EP, English Breakfast, takes what is probably Coldplay’s best song and adds a bit of trip-hop to it. The vocals are smothered and the beat rules the song.

For the b-side, they cover “Reflections After Jane” by the Clientele.

Happy Bandcamp Day, everyone. For a few more hours, Bandcamp is waiving all of their fees to help artists in the time of COVID-19, when touring is impossible. For many labels, the money goes directly to the artist today, as well. That’s worth celebrating.


Jason Morehead discovers Being an Introvert During a Pandemic Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be. I can relate to much of this.


“People described as essential should be treated and paid in a way that reflects that description.”

~ Dave Pell, on grocery store employees



Let’s Dance

Philip Christman implores us, in Volume 99 of The Tourist, when we are tempted to write another “What is art in the face of ___________,” piece, to remember that C.S. Lewis already did it. Though a Christman uses slightly stronger language than I am willing to employ here, he makes his point. During the Second World War, Lewis wrote “Learning in War-time” as a sermon that he preached in 1939.

The insects have chosen a different line: they have sought first the material welfare and security of the hive, and presumable they have their reward. Men are different.They propound mathematical theorems in beleaguered cities, conduct metaphysical arguments in condemned cells, make jokes on scaffold, discuss, the last new poem while advancing to the walls of Quebec, and comb their hair at Thermopylae. This is not panache; it is our nature.

This is by no means an argument to toss out precautionary measures against a certain threat. While Lewis points out that 100% of people die, most of us would rather do it later than sooner. It is, however, a moment to recognize that the world is never truly “safe” and waiting until it has achieved that status is likely to keep you from, as Morrissey would say, “doing all the things in life you’d like to.” We can shelter in place and still remain committed to learning, creating and expressing.


Going to Virtual Church

I am happy that my church decided to hold virtual worship service this morning, complete with singing, responsive liturgy, sermon and passing of peace. I wasn’t thrilled that it was done through Facebook, a platform with which I have many reservations (to be charitable). Our church isn’t used to this kind of thing, though, so choosing a platform for broadcasting is just one more hurdle to be surmounted as quickly as possible.

Jonas Ellison writes in praise of churches that don’t do the virtual thing very well, and hopes they ultimately keep it that way.

I hope churches like mine don’t get too good at this. I hope that they can under-deliver just a little bit as this social distancing continues (here in Chicago, EVERYTHING is closed including bars and restaurants starting in a couple of days).

Just don’t get too good at the remote worshipping thing, church. Don’t let us get too comfortable watching from home. No matter what you do, it just isn’t the same. But thanks for doing what you can to keep us gathered during this time.

I’m grateful to be able to have time to worship God with others, even through the distance of a screen on a coffee table. I’ve never attended a worship service in my pajamas, with my cat, prior to this crisis. I hope it doesn’t stay that way for too long, though. I want to be in fellowship with the congregation, safely elbow bumping through our messages of peace to each other.


Love In The Time Of Coronavirus

Photo by Portuguese Gravity on Unsplash

Inspired by Austin Kleon, Omar created a one page zine, about living through quarantine in China during the Coronavirus outbreak. He has also been blogging regular updates about what the isolation has been like. The quarantine not only excludes contact with others, but for families, it tests your internal dynamics.

To answer the question of what people would do if stuck inside all day, Arsh Raziuddin from the Atlantic posits this:

The answer is far more familiar than the fearful conjecture forebodes. Many Americans would do the same thing they do now, mostly. Netflix has already fused us to our couches. For years, contemporary society has been bracing, and even longing, for quarantine.

He goes on further to point out that modern technology has been paving the way for discretionary, if not mandatory, isolation for some time.

If conditions get truly bad, a serious public-health lockdown would indeed upend ordinary life. Barring that extreme, efforts such as the ones just mentioned extend a process that was under way long before a novel virus threatened to go pandemic. In a way, “quarantine” is just a raw, surprising name for the condition that computer technologies have brought about over the last two decades: making almost everything possible from the quiet isolation of a desk or a chair illuminated by an internet-connected laptop or tablet.

While Raziuddin is skeptical of the notion that anyone could get bored or restless at home these days, the confinement diaries of Omar and others might tell us that it is indeed still possible.