100 Greatest Christian Songs

An interesting CD collection and book collaboration project is coming out later this year, “CCM’s Top 100 Greatest Songs in Christian Music.” The project will feature four two-CD volumes of 25 songs each coming out between September 2004 and June 2005. A book of the same name will come out in October giving details and stories behind each song.

The songs were chosen by a group of journalists, industry experts, and fans, though the whole process raises all sorts of questions about what constitutes “Christian music” and how specific songs were chosen (if dc Talk’s “What If I Stumble” made the cut, how many more dc Talk songs will be on the list?). I predict a the usual complete shutout for Tooth & Nail Records and their roster of groundbreaking bands.

The songs from the first volume (the 100 songs were not ranked) include …

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Sonshine 2004

Last week as 20,000 people prepared to rock out in central Minnesota at the 2004 Sonshine Festival, I wasn’t exactly excited. I’d be attending the three-day Christian music event with my church’s youth group as an adult leader. That meant three days in the hot sun chaperoning whiney teenagers. It’s never as bad as that, but I just wasn’t pumped.

But by Saturday afternoon dust clouds were rising all around me as I skanked with half-a-dozen of my youth group kids and hundreds of other rockers to the sounds of the Insyderz. My three days were filled with good music, lots of laughing, a bit of yo-yoing, and plenty of fun. Whiney teens they were not (for the most part); a rocking festival it was.

Over the three days I rediscovered music of my youth, discovered new bands, and pulled out my yo-yo for the first extended yo-yo jam in a long time. As you can imagine, the youth group kids saw the secret life of an ordinarily quiet and reserved leader.

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Can you say iPod envy?

Faster, better, smarter, stronger — and cheaper. The new iPod.

Yeah, I’m a little stoked about the newest iPod upgrade. I don’t know if I’ll scrape the cash together by ebaying more of my childhood treasures or not, but I’m definitely tempted once again. I’m sort of in a technological limbo where I’ve made half the digital leap — converting my music collection to iTunes — but it’s all stuck on my computer. I can’t take it with me. Yet.

The way we experience music is changing. It’s inevitable. I think it’s pretty cool, though I can definitely see some downsides. Getting free CDs in the mail for reviews has already drastically changed the way I listen to music. I rarely relish a CD and devour it like I used to. I take it for granted. A lot of stuff I just don’t listen to because there’s so much. It raises the bar. But such easy access to thousands of songs is also difficult and time consuming. Do I really need a soundtrack to my life? Do I really want to become a slave to my technology (how crushed would I be if I lost my iPod?)?

But how cool is it to play that song stuck in your head and move on?

iPod Envy

iPod and Steve Jobs on NewsweekApple has turned to the cover of Newsweek for the announcement of the next iPod upgrade. The magazine covers the nearly life-changing status of the gadget as well as dishes the dirt on the new upgrade. The dirt includes a $100 price drop all the way around (though the low-end 15 GB priced at $299 is gone; but for the same price you can now get the 20 GB), a slightly smaller size, double the battery life, and an even simpler interface (as if it wasn’t easy enough, they dropped four buttons and went with the iPod Mini’s scoll wheel/buttons).

But more important than the latest offerings is the way the iPod and iTunes are almost single-handedly changing how people listen to music. The ability to carry your entire music collection in your pocket is having revolutionary reprecussions. The days of the compact disc are numbered and growing numbers of people now have a soundtrack to their lives.

How Do You Say ‘Holy Crap’ in Swedish?

chairThe big crazy IKEA store opened in the Twin Cities today, and I had the, uh, pleasure of being there. We didn’t really plan on going opening day, it just sort of happened. If you know nothing about IKEA, it’s basically a giant, Swedish, assembly-required furniture store. The place was absolutely packed with people, and oddly enough I’ve never seen so many pregnant women in one place at one time.

Despite the massive crowds, the big blue IKEA lives up to its reputation. I found myself drooling over the $250 couches (yes, “some assembly required”; though the sofa-in-a-box I saw didn’t look much smaller than the assembled couch) and quality bookcases as cheap as $15. OK, when I say quality I’m not talking solid oak, carved by hand, but I am talking several steps up from the Target/K-Mart/Wal-Mart variety.

I especially fell in love with the Lenny office chair and the Poang chair. I’ve always wanted a good, comfy reading chair, though not something as sleep-inducing as a Lazy-Boy. A glider rocker would be ideal, though the prices are brutal. The Poang is ideal, and nice and compact. And I know the Lenny looks kind of frumpy, but when you realize how adjustable it is and how comfy that makes it, it’s a workhorse of an office chair. It’s no Herman Miller, but it’s peeked my curiosity more than any other office chair I’ve looked at.

So as you can imagine Abby and I will be thinking of ways we can maximize our space and all that. Or replace our frumptastic couch. Yikes.

Thankfully I’m off to Sonshine for the next three days.

Twin Cities Go Mini-Golfing

Mini-Golf at the Walker Art CenterMini-golf has been elevated to an art and a science in Minneapolis and St. Paul, respectively. Both the Walker Art Center and the Science Museum of Minnesota are offering mini-golf courses for the summer. The Science Museum’s nine-hole course teaches about water and how it shapes our world, while the Walker’s 10-hole course is created from different pieces of art.

The Walker includes a bit of mini-golf history (at least on their web site) from the book Miniature Golf (Recollectibles), including the tidbit that a Los Angeles course in the 1930s “featured a live bear cub as an obstacle; course owners trained it to go after balls by dipping them in honey.”

Why I Like Harry Potter

In the past several weeks I’ve read the three fattest Harry Potter books, The Prizoner of Azkaban, The Goblet of Fire, and The Order of the Phoenix. In all three cases I read them in a matter of days (less than three), and I think in every case much faster than I read them the first time around.

It started after seeing the movie of The Prisoner of Azkaban and feeling a bit let down. It was a decent movie (much better than the other Potter flicks), but the story was just too complex for a two hour movie. So I reread the book to renew my appreciation for what has become my favorite Harry Potter book.

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