The Common Good

Blog Posts By Joshua Witchger

Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 23 weeks ago
Infographics on chimpanzees -- the Titanitc -- outer space -- zombie survival -- fictional birthdays. Plus, an NYU listserve experiment, thoughts from Radiolab's Robert Krulwich, Wes Anderson's newest film, and getting ready for April 16 (4/16, Four Square Day). See this and more in today's Links of Awesomeness... 
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 23 weeks ago
Jon Stewart compares Easter and Passover, The Lion King surpasses The Phantom of the Opera in sales, Central Africa's only all-black symphony gaining attention, Rube Goldberg machine sets new world record, electronic music made from fruits, a fish delivers a TED talk, Webby Award nominees announced, local Chicago music, The Hipster Games, the joys of a nine-year-old's cardboard arcade, and a dramatic twist of events on a quiet square... See this and more on today's Links of Awesomeness... 
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 23 weeks ago
30 ways to celebrate National Poetry Month, after Easter take a look at some of the sketchiest bunnies, post-apocalyptic artwork, Alec Baldwin interviews Kristen Wiig, Jimmy Fallon revisits his news anchor position, "Walden Pond" to become a digital reality, robots make furniture, and 36 big names in their humble beginnings...    
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 23 weeks ago
The image of an actively communicating God resonates with many people that T.M. Luhrmann interacted with on her anthropological study at a Vineyard Church in Chicago, and which is accounted in her new book When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God.Today she tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross that as an anthropologist, she doesn’t feel qualified to say when God is or isn’t speaking to people, but that “[she] can say something about the social, cultural and psychological features of what that person is experiencing.”    In the NPR piece, she talks about the fascinating ways American evangelicals experience God.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 24 weeks ago
Google Street view goes to inside the White House. Painting walls by whipping hair. President Obama gives the Vulcan salute in the Oval Office. Woody Allen's new film. Marshall amplifiers. The Beatles' sons. And a remix of the Pixar film Monsters Inc.  
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 24 weeks ago
There's much to contemplate this Holy Week, from Palm Sunday and Maundy Thursday to Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. Many artists have traveled this path, creating sonic accompaniment for the varied emotions evoked during this sacred week.Here are a few tracks that move us, and that we’ll have in heavy rotation throughout until Easter Sunday and beyond, including one of the more unusual Resurrection Day songs you've likely ever heard from the Yeshu Bakhti band Aradhna, pictured at right.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 24 weeks ago
All videos on today's Links of Awesomeness. Watch a legless skateboarder show some incredible tricks at a contest in Tampa. OK Go debuts a new colorful music video, Improv Everywhere shows some impressive video editing, Jimmy Fallon and Charlie Sheen advertise a new cologne, and Admiral Ackbar becomes a singing wall fish. 
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 25 weeks ago
ART LINKS: statues made from paper money, aging architecture beautified by folded paper, art shots of abandon pianos, and portraits on weathered envelopes. Plus Paul McCartney, bizarre musical instruments, and Downtown Arby's. Click to read today's Links of Awesomeness...</iframe
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 25 weeks ago
Last month I had the privilege of interviewing Denison Witmer as he passed through Washington, D.C. in support of his newest album The Ones Who Wait.This week, Witmer’s manager was kind enough to send us some additional videos from Denison's tour as he returned home to play before friends and family at the World Café in Philadelphia. The audio and video are top notch; and in the spirit of creating a space for truth and beauty, we’re premiering three new videos for you to enjoy.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 25 weeks ago
Nothing quite welcomes the spring-time like a Girl Scout cookie milkshake. In Washington D.C. Batman is making his rounds to childrens hospitals, and the Supreme Court is debating where to order take out from. Yesterday, Will Ferrell announced a sequal to Anchorman on Conan, and Earl Scruggs is remembered for popularizing the finger-picked banjo. Musical instruments are made out of jelly, Chicago travelers enjoy beer on the train, Law and Order's Christopher Meloni is the "Kony Hunter," and more... Click to read today's Links of Awesomeness... 
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 25 weeks ago
A surname map of the United States, the uproar over Michael Bay's remake of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the world's first 3 rpm music record, Spirograph inspired art, lessons from game Oregon Trail, and ordering pizza from a refrigerator magnet. Continue reading today's Links of Awesomeness for these and other links...  
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 25 weeks ago
The more church you attend, the more likely you are to vote Republican. That's one of the findings from Gallup’s comprehensive study on U.S. states and their religious commitments (or lack thereof). And the data they account seems consistent with our current political climate.According to Gallup’s “state of the states,” 40 percent of Americans are “very religious,” meaning they attend a service almost every week and believe religion is important to daily life. On the flip side, 32 percent are “nonreligious,” they don’t attend services regularly and don’t believe religion is important to daily life. The remaining 28 percent are “moderately religious,” they may believe religion is important but do not attend services themselves, or they may attend services but think it unimportant to daily life.
Posted by Joshua Witchger, Parker Haaga 2 years 25 weeks ago
People lined the steps of the Supreme Court once again today, asking for their voices to be heard on the ongoing healthcare debate. Justices on Monday began their three-day review of President Barack Obama's 2010 Affordable Care Act, which would require U.S. citizens to purchase health insurance or face a penalty.Thousands gathered starting on Friday for a ticket inside for oral arguments and to stand outside the court in protest, both for and against the plan.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 25 weeks ago
The Seattle Space Needle is transformed into an Angry Birds slingshot, horror characters imagined in their old age, mashups of classic art with pop culture figures, Facebook's new headquarters and QR code roof, a 45 foot paper airplane, a bald eagle, a fox and two cats hang out on a porch in Alaska, and Hall & Oates are covered in a moving vehicle. See these and more links on today's Links of Awesomeness...
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 25 weeks ago
Christians and other people of good faith nationwide stood in solidarity with Trayvon Martin this weekend by wearing hooded sweartshirts — aka "hoodies"— to church.  Monday marks the one-month anniversary of Trayvon's slaying in Sanford, Florida at the hands of neighborhood "watchman" Gregory Zimmerman, who shot and killed the 17-year-old African-American boy in “self defense” for “looking suspicious” while dressed in a hooded sweatshirt.Trayvon was unarmed, carrying only a package of Skittles, an iced tea and his cell phone.Last week, people across the nation began wearing hoodies to work, school, and community marches in response to Trayvon's slaying and the injustice of the kind of racial profiling that it would appear directly led to it. On Sunday, many churches took that vision a step further as pastors and congregants donned hoodies and wore them to church for what some congregations called "Hoodie Sunday."
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 26 weeks ago
Experience the Hunger Games... a history of dystopian literature, tips for surviving the environmental apocalypse, a spoof Coca-Cola ad, soundtrack music from Arcade Fire, fans of the games depicted in charts, American voices respond to the film, and a longer, slightly more accurate book title. 
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 26 weeks ago
Music to aide contemplation as we head into the fifth week of Lent and Holy Week… I discovered Songs for Lent last year on Noise Trade – the site that trades music for promotion, and maybe a small donation — and I think it’s one of the most spiritually moving and challenging albums of the “Christian music” genre, at least that I’ve encountered.  There’s something earthy and beautiful about Songs for Lent that elicits a response I believe is lost in contemporary Christian music. It’s raw, simple, transcendent.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 26 weeks ago
The Dr. Suess alphabet, World Pizza Games, Mad Men the 8-bit video game, The Tutu Project, Daily Show exclusives, Origami Animals, and a family of ducks crossing Pennsylvania Avenue stops traffic. Take a look at today's Links of Awesomeness...
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 26 weeks ago
James "Sugar Boots" Franklin is remembered for bringing boombox roller-skating to Congress. Time names 140 Best Twitter Feeds. LEGOS initiate simple design. More notable Banksy street art found. Videogame theme songs set to tune of piano and violin. And with Tim Tebow's recent trade, Jimmy Fallon performs another hit from Tebowie.+ Warning: May contain coarse language
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 26 weeks ago
Blue Like Jazz has got a leg-up in the alternative world. Two years back Paste ranked it #18 in its “20 Best Books of the Decade.” The film just finished up its debut run at SXSW and it features a soundtrack that’s largely the brainchild of the Portland indie rock outfit Menomena.Steve Taylor, director of Blue Like Jazz, tells Sojourners that the music of Menomena served as the muse for the storytelling, and that he was “trying to find a soundtrack of what a Reed student might be listening to.”
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 26 weeks ago
The Spring Equinox ushers in World Storytelling Day. Listen to Portlandia stars discuss some of their most cherrished music. OK Go experiments with a new online dating service. Arcade Fire delivers guest lecture at University of Texas at Austin. Pictures of sharks, crazy sool ice-cream shops, and more...
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 26 weeks ago
We often hear that there’s a “war on religion,” that certain expressions of Christianity are under attack by secularists seeking a new age of post-God. And while things may or may not be easy for Christians, our rituals are not prohibited by law, like some of our Native American neighbors.Until recently, it was illegal for Native Americans to acquire bald eagle feathers and parts – relics used for a variety of tribal rituals and ceremonies – by any means other than family or the National Eagle Repository in Denver. 
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 26 weeks ago
A few links on some creative outdoor sculptures, the etymology of the name Spider-Man, Disney's Bible theme-park that was never made, a new form of mashups, President Obama and Entourage, and cover of Adele played on the Chinese zither.   
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 27 weeks ago
Get ready for St. Patrick's Day with some laughs, crafts, and a look at some green musicians. Plus, a look at the impressive "Magic Mushroom House," an express book-printing machine, portraits made from words, John Oliver's latest quest, and Americana musicians Megafaun. 
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 27 weeks ago
Mad Men meets Sesame Street, the documentary film Mister Rogers & Me, electric bicycles, a new Ben & Jerry's flavor, and an impressive glowing Japanese dance team.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 27 weeks ago
A few links for this afternoon: Explore the mystery of Pi on 3/14, read Darth Vader's letter on why he's leaving the Empire, see the many things a T-Rex cannot do, and check out Andrew Bird's visit with Stephen Colbert.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 27 weeks ago
A new charity project debuting at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas, is sparking controversy.BBH Labs, a non-profit in New York, has started a campaign called “Homeless Hotspots,” in which homeless people are equipped with the tools to act as portable hot spots for nearby people seeking 4G access.Here’s how it works: The homeless person wears a t-shirt with the words “I’m a 4G Hotspot” written across the chest, accompanied with an SMS code and key number. Inquiring minds plug the information into their phones or tablets, give a donation via Paypal, and are given access to their service. Every dollar goes directly to the person providing you access, with a suggested donation of $2 for every 15 minutes.But is this really a charity?
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 27 weeks ago
It’s a simple joy – hoola hooping. And that seems to be the reason Carissa Caricato left her job to travel the world. A few years ago when Carissa traveled to Haiti for earthquake relief efforts, she brought a few hoops to share with the children. Amidst the devastation she discovered the power in these simple hoops to bring people together and transcend barriers of language and culture.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 27 weeks ago
Take a few minutes to catch up with some of the newest and funniest videos circling around the internet (and the Sojourners office). Improv Everywhere's prank at a TED talk, Darth Vader on a unicycle with bagpipes, pigs chase a dog around a living room, Willy Wonka, Rube Goldberg, and dueling banjos... Click to see today's Links of Awesomeness, video edition.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 27 weeks ago
24-hour "penguin cam" at SeaWorld, world dictators depicted in cake, public art collaboration "Before I die...", fun finds for children of the 80s and 90s, dogs catch pythons in Everglades, unsual protest at a Radiohead show, and the stars of Despicable Me sing a song about bananas. 
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 28 weeks ago
Major League baseball player sings Adele, vintage cases for modern technology, The Shins' exclusive web concert, the making of violins, Law & Order, and making fresh guacamole with some unlikely objects. Read today's "Links of Awesomeness" for these and other awesome links...
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 28 weeks ago
With Super Tuesday out of the way, take a look at some of McSweeny's more eccentirc exit poll findings. Make your favorite YouTube videos mirror the aesthitic of the Oscar-winning film, The Artist. See some amazingly small apartments and ask yourself, 'How much space do you really need in your house?' And take a listen to some new music from Sufjan Stevens/ Rosie Thomas, Jeff Tweedy's teenage son Spencer, and an 8-bit rendition of The Smiths (aka Super Morrissey Bros). Read today's "Links of Awesomeness" for these links and many others...</iframe
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 28 weeks ago
Today is Super Tuesday, the action-packed day for GOP presidential hopefuls as 10 states undergo primary elections. To bring us further into the spirit of Super Tuesday the blog team at Sojourners has compiled 10 songs for a “Super Tuesday Mixtape.” (In addition to our favorite scene from Little Miss Sunshine: Abigail Breslin shaking it to "Superfreak.")
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 28 weeks ago
Singer-songwriter Denison Witmer’s 2005 album Are you a Dreamer? was part of the soundtrack of my adolescence — his calm voice a sonic companion as I navigated the choppy waters of high school insecurities; his complex fingerpicking acoustic guitar style a mentor as I learned to play and write my own music. Witmer’s soulful voice, thoughtful lyrics and inimitable style (some critics have called it “neo-folk” a la Cat Stevens or Nick Drake), has stuck with me for years. Just a snippet of his lyrics or melody can transport me back to precisely where I was when I first heard them, a younger me dreaming of who I might become. When Witmer’s latest tour brought him through Washington, D.C. last month, I caught up with him backstage before his gig at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue. We talked in the artist lounge and sound check stage, before venturing out for a couple of veggie wraps while exploring a variety of subjects from music and family to saints and beer. And we even managed to persuade him to play a couple of songs for us, which we’ve captured here on video for you. (You’re welcome.)
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 28 weeks ago
Steve Martin reads from The Great Gatsby, the longest chain of human dominoes sets world record, littering receives a big thumbs down, Andrew Bird lyrics are explained, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. offers hop-flavored lip balm, and "The Three Little Pigs" is retold as a breaking news story. See more inside today's links of awesomeness...
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 29 weeks ago
Paper airplane throwing your way into the Book of World Records, creative films on Waldo and "clapping butter," jewelry + aviation, Record Store Day, and Bo Obama invites you to the 2012 White House Easter Egg Roll.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 29 weeks ago
New television ad from Wes Anderson, BBC follows a monkey's quest for alcohol, creative bike frames, phone booth libraries, and a mid-week music update.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 30 weeks ago
A quick list of links to get your weekend off to a great start. First grade problems, Rev. Billy's latest display, Jon Stewart on GOP candidates, Ben & Jerry's new venture, Andrew Bird offers free music, and Kickstumblr. 
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 30 weeks ago
Education in urban ecology, children recreate a scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, one goofy trip to the grocery store, art in the snow, Batman takes Toronto. Discover this and more in today's afternoon links round-up...  
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 30 weeks ago
Last week Alec Baldwin, host of WNYC’s Here’s the Thing, featured an interview with Rob Morris, president and co-founder of Love 146, an organization that fights sex trafficking and works to care for victims. In this half hour conversation, Morris shares the deeply horrifying experience of going into a brothel as a secret investigator, the evils of this multi-billion dollar industry, the exploitation of children at home and abroad, preventative measures for change and education, and how his work is impacting his family.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 30 weeks ago
Students protest cafetera food, the art of snowboarding in LED, one man a capella showtunes, spoof street artist Hanksy, and more! Plus, an Animal Extravaganza: Maddie the Coonhound travels the country, remarkable footage of some of the world's strangest creatures, and fashioning an animalistic hair style. All this and more ... inside the blog.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 31 weeks ago
Over the Rhine's husband/wife duo talks music and life together, old CDs are turned into remarkable animal sculptures, Chipotle takes new strides toward humane practices, a spark of fun in family pictures, restaurant serves edible balloons for dessert... and Disney's Lady and the Tramp is given new life. All this and more ... inside the blog.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 31 weeks ago
A look at Poster Cred, the Seattle-based art project, Jesse Eisenberg shares his favorite memories of growing up with Jeremy Lin, "Food Rules," by Michael Pollan is born in stop animation, the new film from the writer of Slumdog Millionaire, and Allen Ginsberg vs. the Westminster Dog Show. All this and even more awesomeness... inside the blog.
Posted by Joshua Witchger, James Colten 2 years 31 weeks ago
Tim Tebow references were a dime a dozen as the 2011-2012 NFL season drew to a close. News media, op-eds, fans, Bill Maher — everyone was talking about the Broncos QB's accomplishments, his unabashed Christian faith, the way he would pray when he scored a touchdown. (See: Tebowing.)And plenty of people questioned whether or not God was really on Tim's side.Football season is over, and the lull in “Tebow fever” is forcing more than a few of us to look for similar athletic incarnations of the John 3:16-face painted footballer. So when word got around that the New York Knick’s (until recently) virtually unknown point guard Jeremy Lin is scoring some big points at the start of his professional career AND that he is a committed Christian, the masses have found their new fixation.But are the comparisons between Tebow and Lin really valid?
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 31 weeks ago
Taking a look at Valentines Day with clever recipes, cards, stories, and clothing items. Videos of love across language barriers. A couple of sentimental mixtapes. The greatest kisses in literature. And finally, nothing says romance like a tour of an NYC sweage plant.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 31 weeks ago
A loop of 19 television shows referencing one another. Interfaith musical collaboration on the old hymn, "The Lord Will Provide." Flight of the Conchords star Bret McKenzie talks to Terry Gross about his work on The Muppets film. The first look at the new trailer for Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. An amazing trick performed with an excavator, and more!
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 32 weeks ago
Winter has always been a sweet spot for discovering and sharing music. A little bit mellow, comforting — something you can listen to as a fire crackles or cozy up beside with a mug of hot coffee.In heeding the groundhog's warning of "six more weeks of winter," here's a short list of independent music to help you make it through the season's chill: Three albums hosted over at Bandcamp that might provide a little warmth on the colder nights.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 32 weeks ago
President Obama helps an eighth-grader shoot a "Marshmallow Air Cannon" at the White House Science Fair. Watch art come to life with a little fire. Banksy art spotted on the streets of New Orleans. Jack White releases first cut from debut solo record. The Moth explores religion in American life. The World's Largest Doge Ball Game. And more!
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 32 weeks ago
Ferris Bueller's Super Bowl ad compared side by side with the movie, North Korea goes polka via Norway with A-Ha's "Take on Me,"Jimmy Kimmel encourages viewers to pull more pranks, timelapse photography from Yosemite National Park, guess who said it: Dwight Schrute or Newt Gingrich? And an in-depth Interview Magazine chat with Grammy nominated Bon Iver's Justin Vernon. See this and more in today's links.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 32 weeks ago
Improv Everywhere celebrates its tenth anniversary by remixing and remastering some of its best sketches. The highlights from Puppy Bowl VIII are in (look out for the MVP)! Bon Iver puts on an incredible SNL performance. Bill Maher's "Irritable Bowl Syndrome." Mad Men's promo posters have been tampered with! OK GO's latest music video from the inside of a car. A new look at Downton Abbey and more!