Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Top 28 Lingering Fragrances of 2010

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. 2 Corinthains 2:14
I remember being told that the olfactory scent is the strongest medium for memory in the brain. My experience strengthens this idea, as certain smells viscerally remove me from my current dwelling and transplant me to some far off place I once knew. Sunlight seeping in the living room as my mother dusts the furniture to the beat of 50's music. A high school girlfriend. An 2nd grade sleepover party with The Mario Bros. movie as the centerpiece of our attention. These memories come back potently when the certain whiff slithers up my nostrils.

All things have a fragrance in the mind. Some beautiful and alluring, others sickening. This list is my effort to make known those experiences with art and being that carried the most potent aromas to my soul in 2010. The list includes anything that I encountered, whether new or old, that stirred me to some mode of passion.

If you find the list excessive, know that it is only so because words fail where passion begins.

28. Rize documentary film, by David LaChapelle
Many years ago, on the special features on the dvd of Shadow of the Vampire, there was a trailer for a bizarre film called Begotten. The trailer terrified me. The film appeared to be some sort of surreal, incomprehensible creation parable. From this experience I made a hasty conclusion; that which is absurd is not from God. The documentary Rize by David LaChapelle examines the crunking and clowning circles that arose in the late 90's in South Central LA. Crunking appears like some sort of demonic form of dance. It involves contortions of the body that mimic a psychotic episode of horrific seizures. The film, however, explores the roots and function of the dance style. By the end of the film's narrative argument, I am swayed to believe that this dance movement not only can be free of demonism, but could very well be a pleasant worship to our Lord. My context of suburban church life informed me that such radical dancing must be absurd... and so it is that I discover that at times my very cultural lens can keep me from recognizing a holy dance of thankfulness to the God of all cultures.
Inhale the Trailer here!

27. Mariel's Brazen Overture song, by Margot and the Nuclear So and So's
This particular song marries together 4 devices that I find particularly effective and emotive in music:
  • A dialogue between man and woman
  • A toxic mixture of regret and nostalgia
  • An Abrupt tempo change
  • An undercurrent of tragedy

    26. Horton Hears a Who! film, by Jimmy Hayward and Steve Martino
    I purchased this movie before ever viewing it because it was cheap and boasted a Slovenian audio track as well as both English and Slovenian subtitles. I've watched it many times since that day in an effort to expand my Slovenian knowledge -- whether or not it was an effective tool of language acquisition is anyone's guess. What the li'l Suessian knockoff did do for me was rip out my tender little heart every time that third act comes around. The film features an elephant who can hear the voice of a certain Who who lives on a dandelion world of microscopic Whoville-ians. None of the other animals in the forest can see or hear this miniature universe, so they hastily conclude that Horton the elephant is insane. Naturally, they decide to destroy the dandelion of Whos. At that moment, those instances right before Horton's world of friends is to be executed, an underlining of empathy strikes me in the face. Every damn time. Horton has a kind of faith in the Whos. His faith is being not only put on trial, but executed. Horton is alone in his knowledge and hope, and can't seem to make others understand and believe what he knows. Thus I see a parallel with the life of the zealous Christian. It makes my heart hurt... but it's the good type of hurt.
    Breathe in the trailer here!

    25. Red Riding Trilogy film series, by Julian Jarrold, James Marsh, Anand Tucker
    The world is a shitty place, brimming with ugly people committing the ugliest of deeds. These three movies are an unpleasantry. They are not fun to endure. Evil act follows evil motive. On and on the corruption and vileness continue. Only there, in that moral destitution, can a visceral, all-encompassing moment of grace be appreciated. At the tail end of the trilogy, a scene that surely is no longer than 20 seconds lifts us up past the sewage of our sins, to the very feet of the Mystery who loves us. Those few seconds effortlessly redeem the whole of the film trilogy.

    24. Inception film, by Christopher Nolan
    Robert Angier reveals at the end of The Prestige, "The audience knows the truth: the world is simple. It's miserable, solid all the way through." I’ve been a faithful admirer of Christopher Nolan’s filmography for a long length of time now. The man is incapable of making mediocre films. What has been ever so fascinating, is that his characters almost universally tend to flow from a self-willed beliefism towards a final sense of nihilism by the each film’s denouement. What makes Inception special, is that his protagonist starts with this premise of nihilism. From the getgo he assumes the world is solid, but his desires keep him searching for something more… and so we witness a birth of a form of existentialism. Out of this nihilistic premise grows the same quandaries that Shakespeare wrestled with; is life really worth living? Nolan appears to be answering yes, if only the dreams that may come can manifest themselves now.
    Trailer here!

    23. Ruby Tuesday song, as sung by Franco Battiato
    Children of Men is a film of mastery. Set in a world that is rapidly spinning toward its own end, somehow wonder is found. The film is directed with many breathtaking cinematic shots. If the film's cinematic lens represents the film's creative mind, then the cover of The Rolling Stone's Ruby Tuesday is the heart. We tend to believe that innocence is a thing that is lost somewhere amidst children. The world siffens its essence from us, and we become damned to its aroma. Nevertheless, within the confines of the song's anthem lies a delicate hope that innocence can be regained for even the most battle weary among us. Innocence restored and life regained.

    22. White Dog film, by Samuel Fuller
    Animals are a conundrum for me. On the one hand, they innately, to me, represent God's creativity. In observation of them, it is easy for my mind to worship God. Yet on the other hand, animals present a glaring disturbance to my sometimes violent Christian faith. Adam sinned. He fucked up the world over. And yes, we have been separated from God and now are prone towards evil. We sin. Yet animals, those creatures of which Adam was given to name and claim authority over, suffer because of us. They are a potent reflection of our vileness. And yet they themselves are without blame. They have no moral conscious. They are simply receptors of the outpourings of our sinful lusts. White Dog reminds us of the damage done. Death is coming.
    Trailer here!

    21. Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai film, by Jim Jarmusch
    Once upon a time I saw within this film something that intrigued me. It seemed to me that Ghost Dog hid within its bosom some sort of great secret that was waiting to be unlocked. I decided to take it upon myself to unveil this covert enigma. Often I ended up playing the film in the background as I worked on other projects, as if hoping to absorb the film's latent meaning through some sort of osmosis. Well, the osmosis didn't take, and I still can't tell you what the film is about... but I can tell you that it means something. What that is, I have no idea. But it's something. Something, alright.
    20. The Blue Mosque building
    As the time of advent hurdled towards its summation this December year, I ventured into an active mosque for the first time in my life. I didn't exactly know what to expect, or know how I would respond. I still don't know how I should respond. Can you tell me? Should I feel pity? Mercy? Compassion? Righteous anger? I cannot be devoid of a position on the matter, and yet, I am frozen by my indecisiveness as to how to deal with such an experience. My soul seems quiet on the subject. What do I do with this?

    19. The Films of Terrence Malick director
    Tree of Life is coming. I don't know anything about Terrence Malick the man. I know much more about Terrence Malick the filmmaker. He is contemplative. He thinks thoughts that others do not. He is compassionate... and he has never made a bad film.  Above all, he appears to be concerned about the state of the individual soul, and the actions that mold it. Few people are.

    18. Burek food
    Slovenians inform me that Burek is a Serbian food, but wikipedia tells me it has its origins further south amongst the former Ottoman empire people. Nevertheless, for me, burek represents cheap Slovenian fastfood – and I mean that as a term of endearment. Not only has 2010 been the first full year that I've lived abroad, but it has also been the first time I've lived on my own... and burek can stand as my stoic flag of rugged bachelorhood.

    17. The Suburbs album, by Arcade Fire
    Our lives are meant, I reckon, to be exciting. God made us with a sense of adventure. We long to discover. We long to play. We long to conquer. Somehow, along the way, we move to the suburbs. We become mechanisms of our society. We spend our time complaining and eating. The Suburbs is a fantastic effort to keep us baroque before we turn roccocco.

    16. Rumi poetry, as translated by Coleman Barks
    Often, I want to call certain people my friends. Eight centuries separate Rumi and I. I think that Rumi would say that eight centuries would be nothing for two friends. Rumi was a sufist and not a Christian, supposedly. I hope that maybe he found Christ as an answer before his end came. I hope I can someday meet this man of whom I want to make friends with. I hope.
    The following is taken from the poem A Dove in the Eaves:

    You push me out on many journeys;
    then you anchor me with no motion at all.

    I am water. I am the thorn 
    that catches someone's clothing.

    I don't care about marvelous sights!
    I only want to be in your presence.

    There's nothing to believe.
    Only when I quit believing in myself
    did I come into this beauty.

    I saw you blade and burned my shield!
    I flew on six hundred pairs of wings like Gabriel.
    But now that I'm here, what do I need wings for?

    Day and night I guarded the pearl of my soul.
    Now in this ocean of pearling currents,
    I've lost track of which was mine.

    There is no way to describe you.
    Say the end of this so strongly
    that I will ride up over 
    my own commotion.

    15. The Mind of Charles Williams novelist
    Who would C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien care to hang out with? Answer: men like Charles Williams. I've only now finished one of Williams' novels, but it was a doosy. Splendid times, I tells ya. Williams is obsessed with the marriage of the spiritual and the physical. He tells me of things I long to reach.

     14. Frailty film, by Bill Paxton
    Slippery slopes are made for sliding. Frailty is a queer little film about a father who is given a list of names from an angel of God. This father is expected to kill the people on the list. The movie might seem foolish, but ask yourself what makes a thing right or a thing wrong. God. Only God. Whatever God deems as good is good. The ninth commandment tells us not to lie, and yet Rahab is blessed for lying and hiding the Israelite spies. God alone dictates what is good; not you or I. Remember Rahab.
    Watch the Trailer here!

    13. Where the Wild Things Are film, by Spike Jonze
    The young boy Max is told in school that someday the sun will die. An hour later in the film, Carol, the 'leader' of the Wild Things, shows much melancholic distress about the sun's demise. All things die. How does a child register that fact? Nothing is forever. Perhaps above all, children long for security, but how is that possible, if even something as big as the sun is going to die? Max says, “I have a sadness shield that keeps out all the sadness, and it’s big enough for all of us.” No one tell Max that shields rust.
    Trailer here!

    12. Eh Hee music video, by Dave Matthews
    This music video seethes anger through the cracks of its jagged teeth. Such fascinating anger... and yet, I find that I can empathize with such frustrations. What does that make me?

    11. The Angel of Death Came to David's Room song, by Mewithoutyou
    The Myers-Briggs psych exam, among other facts, evaluates one's extroversion. How is extroversion/introversion defined? – the answer is interesting to me. It is not simply a matter of whether you like to be around other people or not. No. Extroversion is calculated by the degree to which one draws energy from other people. This song, with its hypnotic critique of the moral life of King David, is a concrete source of energy for me. Press play on that sucker a few consecutive times, and soon I'll be bouncing off the walls.
    Listen Here!


    -- A brief word about the top ten -- 
     6 of the 10 top fragrances of 2010 are people. I see this as a direct result of a growth in my relationship with God and understanding of the care into which he formed creation. As mighty as buildings like the Hagia Sophia can be, they are merely aesthetic offerings sculpted in time by men. The infinitely greater thrill is the men themselves. Every individual has more inherent value than all the cathedrals of the world. It is this conviction that must permeate our attitudes towards the rest of creation. That which the Lord made is beautiful beyond our capacity to enjoy it.


    10. Infinite Jest novel, by David Foster Wallace

    David Foster Wallace committed suicide. And then there's the title of his novel. I should have seen this coming. I had no right to expect some sort of euphoric ending from Infinite Jest, but I did. I hoped that this story of a movie so entertaining that it kills anyone who watches it (once you start watching you literally are never willing to do anything but keeping watching it – so all cases lead to death), would finish with some divine insight about the state of my reality. No luck. Wallace’s novel is a painful lesson that genius does not necessarily lead to revelation. The will to genius is not the same door that leads to revelation -- this was a paramount lesson for me to learn this past year. Vital, really.

    9. LOST television show, by J.J Abrams, Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse

    I've had some bad breakups in the past, but nothing like this. LOST left me. And it hurts. I want to go back. I want to make it right. I want to change the way things went. I want to fall in love again. But I can't. What happened, happened.
    Click here for a concise recap of the show!

    8. Richard McGraw musician

    Mr. McGraw is my patron saint of misgivings and irreconcilable desires. Born into a Catholic environment, McGraw's songs are laced with spiritual angst. He asks Jesus to let him sleep with the girl he knows he shouldn't be with (The Things that Devils Bring), he prays for the soul of the doubter (Hopefully), and cries for a grace that he can't yet feel (That Old Song). He is a man both plagued and inspired by his spiritual convictions. He is a relatable guy. Keep singin', brotha.
    Check out his myspace page:

    7. Soren Kierkegaard philosopher

     Ol' Kierks gets an honorable slot on this list for one simple reason: he finds the whole story of Abraham and Isaac as a bit absurd. In fact, I would say that at some point, Kierkegaard was left dumbfounded by the Biblical account. He simply couldn't just leave it as is and say, “Yeah, that makes sense… moving on.” No. He fought to understand. In his Jacob-esque wrestling, Kierkegaard arrives at a decision. He declares that those among us who are most intimate with God may act in such a manner that appears silly to us. They are being truly, madly, and deeply Spirit led. Of course, the argument is far more layered than that, but who cares! Soren resonates. Let such wings flap.
    Download a free ebook of Kiekegaard's collected essays: On Faith and the Self Here!

    6. Ayran food

    Ayran is a crazy milk/yogurt/salt mix. It does not taste good. It tastes bad, in fact. Upon arriving in Istanbul, I was introduced to the bizarre liquid. Upon first taste, I found it instantaneously displeasing. Despite my taste buds cries, I was driven to experiment. Ayran may just be the most popular drink in Turkey. How can this be? It tastes dreadful. Then I remembered being a child, tasting coffee, and being absorbed entire by the conviction that all people who love coffee are crazy. Now I chug coffee everyday. It is pleasing to me now to drink it. Remembering this, I took it upon myself to drink ayran at every opportunity. Everyday. It took nearly two weeks, but just a mere two days before my departure from Istanbul, I came to a place where I can honestly say that the drink is pleasing to me. Ladies and gentlemen, taste is entirely subjective -- Even more substantial, it can be bent to our will! I wonder, what else is subjective?

    5. Jon Stewart political comedian 

    Comedy is relaxing. Glenn Beck is not. Mr. Beck held a giant-mega-super-awesome rally in Washington D.C. earlier this year. The rallying cry of that mob appeared to be a deep seated conviction by a great legion of Americans that the country is heading towards dark days. Apparently, many people are fearful of the coming night. I'm no optimist when it comes to politics. I see bad things coming down the bend as well, but I ardently reject the methods of retaliation that many of my fellow Christians are promoting against those in power. Anger will not solve the Christian's problems, nor will mere protest. Two sidepoints: (1) corruption in Washington is across the board, not solely a disease among Democrats. (2) The spiritual state of people's souls is infinitely more important than how your tax dollars are being used. Mr. Stewart this October held what appeared to be a rally in reaction to Beck's, entitled Rally to Restore Sanity. He is brandishing tools of compassion, understanding, and common sense as his arsenal to combat rampant political corruption. Who on the political right speaks of such things? I disagree with much of what Stewart believes, but I respect his methods of approach. Mr. Beck merely cries and whispers of vast conspiracies. What's the point in advocating truth if hate gets you there? Come what may. If America dies, it dies. What matter is it? As for me, I will love my neighbor as myself.
    Watch Jon Stewart every week on The Daily Show at:

    4. Lars von Trier film director

    He started it. After enduring a sick feast of masochistic torture bled in the form of the film Antichrist, Lars Von Trier has the audacity to tribute his film to Andrei Tarkovsky, one of the great fathers of Christian Spiritualism in Film. Lars Von Trier is a stunning force of filmmaking mastery. The man's genius can no longer be denied. He is great. He is great. He is great... and he is wrong. I will continue to see his films as remarkable feats of artistry and passion, but with much power comes much responsibility. I don't believe he cares for his audience, only his intuition blended with conviction. 'To hell with them,' he thinks. I respond, 'Soon enough.'
    Be Careful as you watch the Antichrist trailer here! 

    3. Ayn Rand philosopher/novelist

    Ayn Rand ruined It's a Wonderful Life!. I was just sitting there, minding my own business, relishing the Christmas season enjoying the wit and wisdom of Mr. George Bailey, when she suddenly had to butt her dumb old persuasive philosophy in my face. Old man Potter is set as the evil moneygrubber in that film. Director Frank Capra paints him as only concerned with profit and progress. In an instant, I am caught off guard by my own question. »Why is that so wrong to want to run a successful business? Mr. Potter isn't doing anything illegal. Why is it so wrong to not want to loan money to people who can't pay you back? Isn't that exactly how we got into the whole mortgage crisis in 2008? Thanks for that one, Ayn.

    2. Sufjan Stevens musician

    The question posed now has a tremendous elevation. The stakes are staggering. Is Sufjan a prophet? Is he a priest? Sufjan Stevens has a tremendous portfolio of musical expression that resonates deeply into the soft spots of my heart. In his latest album he looks no longer at the theme of whole States of the American Union (as he has done thus far with Michigan and Illinois), but at the individual. His album etches an outline of a deeply disturbed artist. Listen deeper, and you can make out the expression of an autobiography as well. Sufjan finds a source of commonality and union with this artist (as he did once upon a time with the serial killer John Wayne Gacy Jr), and merges their singular voice as an anthem of authentic emotion to God. The icing on the cake is finding myself in his lyrics also (as in I Want to be Well). Now the hope remains as this: that Sufjan's voice would not only remain beautiful to me, but be universally seen as a work of tremendous achievement. But ultimately more important, I hope Sufjan takes up his cross and actively acknowledges that he may, with his current arsenal of tools, lead a wandering band of soul-searchers ever closer to the Architect of all souldom.
    Click here to read my previous column concerning Sufjan.
    Listen to all of Sufjan's new album The Age of Adz here for free!

    1. Equus film, directed by Sydney Lumet, written by Peter Shaffer

    I am not recommending this film. That would be unwise. I am merely advocating its thoughts. Its convictions.

    Alan: Gods don't die.
    Dr. Dysart: Oh yes they do.

    I will merely state that the viewing of this film in conjunction with the manner and time in which I observed it led to a series of highly influential murmurings in my head. Equus is the story of two people: a tortured young man, and an aging psychologist who uses the young man to find his own torment. Simple enough, eh?

    Passion, you see, can be destroyed by a doctor. It cannot be created.

    The story runs like this:
    • Alan loves horses – until the day he gouges out their eyes.
    • Dr. Dysart wants to cure Alan of his abnormalities.
    • Alan tells the doctor about his worship of the god Equus.
    • Dr. Dysart becomes jealous of Alan's capacity for passion.
    • Alan is cured by talking through the events that led to his attack. He becomes normal.
    • Dr. Dysart is left with a burning doubt as to whether he did the right thing.
    Read my initial thoughts on the film here.

    Sigh... I'm such a sucker for doubters.

    I need, more desperately than my children need me, a way of seeing in the dark.

    Peter Shaffer likes to write stories about people touched by God, and those around them who feel excluded from that ray of light. What I take away with from Equus, unlike from his other masterpiece Amadeus, is that everyone is touched from the divine, but most of us systematically work Him out of our lives. We refuse the divine for the mundane.

    Somehow, someway, the watching of Equus set off this little notion in my head that dabbling with insanity might very well be a dandy idea, if it is in pursuit of God, the Divine. This thought leads me to vomit out my Aristotelian lens which speaks of balance as the key ingredient to Godliness. Forget balance. I want communion with God. And I want it all the time. We can't balance God. He is unbalancable.

    Dr. Dysart: Moments snap together like magnets forged in a chain of shackles. Why? I can trace them, I can even with time pull them apart again. But why at the start were they ever magnetized at all. Why those particular moments of experience and no others, I do not know! And nor does ANY BODY ELSE! And if "I" don't know, if I can "never" know, what am I doing here? I don't mean clinically doing, or socially doing, but fundamentally. These whys, these questions, are fundamental. Yet they have no place in a consulting room. So then do I? Do any of us?

    May we move closer in community with Jesus our Messiah in 2011 than ever before. 


    1. Dante

      That was a very thoughtful list. A few points if i may...

      26. Great Movie no doubt.

      24. Inception has puzzled me. On one hand it comes of, as Nolan often does, as a very detailed and attractive movie. Much like Memento or the prestige the sheer complexity of the story makes the viewer want to watch it again immediately. It is finely crafted and markedly entertaining. However I do have a bit of a qualm about its depth. I have only seen it one time (yet I did receive it as a Christmas gift)so take that into account. A film like The Prestige brings up so many questions. They cover everything from life, mortality, and sacrifice to vengeance, jealousy, and morality. The characters, especially Borden, are so amazingly deep that you feel as if you almost know them after only 2 short hours. This film has both breadth and depth and they are balanced.

      Inception on the other hand took the breadth to the nth degree. The movie is so overly complex that I would argue it not only loses detail (because certain questions just can't be answered in such a short time) but also depth. The characters (save Cobb arguably) don't come off particularly round or robust. Furthermore (and the point of this digression), I did not take the story as heavily discussing these questions of nihilism vs existentialism. I don't know exactly how you would go about this, or if it would even appeal to you (as I believe in the past some of my discussion have gone to deep for your tastes) but could you explain what you mean when you say

      "What has been ever so fascinating, is that his characters almost universally tend to flow from a self-willed beliefism towards a final sense of nihilism by the each film’s denouement."

      I am not sure I understand this comment. I have not seen Insomnia or Following, but of his other films the only one that seems to fit that comment is Memento. The others I just don't see it.

      Enough about 24...

    2. 14. This was the main point I wanted to write about. Looking back I spent far to long on 24 so I will make a half hearted attempt to keep this brief. "Remember Rahab." As I understand, you are saying that sometimes sin isn't sin when God says it isn't, eg Rahab's lie was not a sin.
      If this is what you are saying, I could not disagree with more fervor or passion. While this is not an easy or clear topic, I have given it a tremendous deal of though over the years. Stories like Rahab and more poignantly David and the consecrated bread (1Samuel 21 is the story if I am not mistaken) bring up issues. Rahab was "considered righteous" (James/Hebrews) for her actions done in faith. In the James passage actions are listed. Neither NT passage mentions the lying explicitly so in my mind it seems a bit over presumptuous to believe that God would consider something to be "righteous" if it had been previously enumerated as a sin.
      I simply cannot grasp how an unchanging God could say "don't lie unless it is done in faith", don't be jealous of your neighbor unless it's done in faith." Now I realize that is not what you or most who advocated your position are saying, but isn't that the ultimate end to the sin sometimes isn't sin discussion?

    3. 6. That looks so good, but sounds so bad...

      5. True story.

      1. This was an interesting point. It made me think of the (2008) film Doubt. I am sure you have seen it so I won't go into detail, but it reminds me of the themes you discuss. The film just comes together in the last moment of the final scene.

    4. Mr. White! I very much appreciate your comments and insight, good sir. Thank you.

      Now, down to business. Once upon a time I had a powerpoint presentation I would give looking specifically at the philosophy of Nolan's films -- but alas, I can't seem to locate it today.

      Perhaps nihilism isn't quite the right idea, but Nolan's characters tend to move from having certain convictions that they believe will provide them answers, to relenting to the reality of futilism (futilism seems a better fit than nihilism). Granted, this isn't really true of the Batman films (I had a snazzy way of getting around it in my presentation, but I've forgotten it), but still can be held as a general rule for Following, Memento, Insomnia and The Prestige.

      Your critique of Inception is incisive and true, I would gather. My biggest complaint is the addition of Cobb's children in the story. If you were to remove the kids, then you'd really have to legitimately deal with the question of whether suicide can be a answer to pain... but I do need to revisit it again before I make anymore broad sweeping statements...

    5. As for number 14, my point is more to stress that 'the law' and what we conceive as good, has its origins in God's discretion, not some eternal truth that God has to align Himself in. What is good and bad is decided by God alone. The strange story of 1 Kings 22:19-23 seems to address this point as well.

      I am not trying to say that goodness is subjective, or that we don't have to heed God's commandments to us, by no means! I just simply find the question of 'what is a sin, exactly?' fascinating. Is it the act, the intention, or the belief? Any of those answers seems like it runs into problems.

      Rahab's story is fascinating in that she is not only saved from death (as well as her whole family) for her deed, but also is grafted onto the lineage of David, which, of course, is the lineage to Jesus.

      God's immutability is an aspect of God's character that it seems pretty much every major theologian substantiates, but yet I'm still struggling to understand. There are a whole bunch of passages like Amos 7:3 "The LORD changed His mind about this..." that confuse me. I know it's been said it's just an anthropomorphism, but that just doesn't quite seem like a satisfying answer to me.

      Anyway, those are a few thoughts on that.
      I wrote some initial thoughts on Frailty here:

      And I've mentioned Doubt a couple times as well:


      Again, thanks for the thoughts, Mr. White.

    6. You weren't in the Blue Mosque on Christmas Eve, that was the week before. I'm glad Rumi made it in the top 20, and I can't believe the Hagia Sophia didn't make the cut at all with Ayran at #6. This is MADNESS.

    7. Oh yeah, huh? That was the week before! with the depressed dog!It sounded so much more dramatic than when I thought it was Christmas eve!

      The Hagia Sophia was cool and all, but it was only a standing memory. The mosque was much more impacting, because it forced one to deal with the now, whereas Sophia made no demands of hat nature on me. All it did was ask me to reflect.

      And I could go for some Ayran right about now... still.