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Subject: 12/08/92 - The National Midnight Star #578

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List posting/followup:
Administrative matters:

(Administrative postings to the posting address will be ignored!)


          The National Midnight Star, Number 578

                 Tuesday, 8 December 1992
Today's Topics:
             Wal basses, 2nd faves, & more !
                     Rush fans & D.T.
                More and more drumming...
                Re: Source of Japan rumor
                    Freewill take one
                  Mardi Gras & Pensacola
                Re: Rush tribute bands...
             Rush @ cap centre - PRESTO tour
      Re: 12/07/92 - The National Midnight Star #577
                     Rush unplugged??
       The Whip; Neil's Drumming; Favorite Drummers
                       IRC & #p/g!
                 Re: New boots, NMS #577
                        NMS Shirts
      Re: 12/07/92 - The National Midnight Star #577
            Rush and Religion/The Pass (long)
      Re: 12/04/92 - The National Midnight Star #576
                    Rush and religion
      Re: 12/07/92 - The National Midnight Star #577

Date: Tue Dec  8 17:21:42 EST 1992
From: The National Midnight Star Editor 
Subject: Administrivia

OK, it seems like we've got a long thread here discussing Rush and
Religion, so what I've decided to do is put all these posts at the end
of this digest.  They are quite LONG (don't say I didn't warn you.)
Perhaps if the people involved in this discussion, if it moves away from
Rush, could take the topic to email.  Just a suggestion.  I don't want
to see this become a medium where people can argue their religious
beliefs, whether it is related to Rush or NOT.  That's beyond the scope
of this mean mailing list.

Also, check out Meg's post on the status of the NMS shirts, and there's
a nice post about NMS/Rush fans on IRC that may be of interest to

'Nuff babling


Date: 07 Dec 1992 19:34:47 -0500 (EST)
From: Lewis A Bernstein 
Subject: Wal basses, 2nd faves, & more !

Well, I for one have had enough hearsay about the cost of the Wal
bass.  Bass Player magazine recently had (by recently I mean within
the past month) a special price guide issue.  These are the
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail prices.  For the section on Wal basses
they comment that Wal makes 4 and 5 string basses ranging in price
from $2,250 to $3,500.  So it is very possible that these higher priced
basses either highly customized, or who knows.  It is also in line with
the story of a guy getting one (used) for $500.  That would make this
much more reasonable.

My $.02, I think that a rarities tape(s) are a good idea, and that a
disc is too impractical.  I can't wait to get my T-shirt... I hope
it fits.

Second favorite band is Level 42, some excellent bass playing by Mark
King.  Third ... would be Clapton, Yes, and recently Fourplay (jazz



Date: 07 Dec 1992 19:52:15 -0500 (EST)
From: ASILVERM@umiami.IR.Miami.EDU
Subject: Rush fans & D.T.


	In response to the person who asked how all these Rush fans got into
Dream Theater, here's my excuse.  I read a review of Images & Words in the
back of either Guitar World or Guitar School, or maybe it was GuitarFTPM.
There were statements in the review to the tune of "Rush fans are REALLY
gonna love this!!!"  So I got the disc and was not disappointed.  This is also
how I discovered Magellan, Thought Industry and T-Ride.  So check out those
reviews of groups you've never heard of, 'cause those magazines often use
comments like that to describe unknown bands.  A good way to find new stuff.
	Any news on the NMS CD/tape compilation(s)?

				Party on,



Date: Mon, 7 Dec 92 20:07:57 EST
From: (Graham Stead)
Subject: More and more drumming...

Could write several pages on this, but I'll keep it short for now...

At the risk of being flamed, I just wanted to state my point of view
that although Neil, Geddy, and Alex can play well, they are by no means
"the best" at their respective instruments (whatever that means), nor
do they have a monopoly on musical talent and ability. I'll just stick
to talking about drums, since I've been playing for some time and have
thought about this quite a bit.

Neil is good at what he does, but (again, at the risk of being flamed)
I think his development as a player has been entirely within, for lack
of a better term, the "rock-n-roll" realm. People interested in
drumming "ability" should check out a lot of jazz drummers, who are
routinely asked to play parts more complex and difficult than Neil's,
often while sight-reading them! I don't claim to be an expert, but
other drummers that I would consider great would be (in the "jazz"
realm): Dave Weckl, Chad Wackerman, Peter Erskine, Joey Baron, etc. If
you want to compare abilities (which seems to be important, I don't
know why), I would say that any of these guys could sit down and play
Neil's parts without much trouble. Ditto with all of Frank Zappa's
drummers (includes Chad above). There's a lot of drumming talent out
there, and a lot of people I haven't even mentioned!

This really just scratches the surface, but I object to calling Neil
"greatest drummer in the world", etc. Judging people in this manner is
subjective. There's a lot of great drumming besides Neil's to be heard,
and to not appreciate it is a travesty!

Graham 	(

PS: I don't know if discussions on drumming are appropriate for NMS, we
might want to hold further discussions via email...


Subject: Re: Source of Japan rumor
Date: Mon, 07 Dec 92 17:10:22 PST
From: Mark Feldman 

You  said:
>   My brother who lives in Japan is the one who told me about it.  He travelled
> approximately two hundred miles via train on Saturday to find out that "Lush"
> was playing.  In Katakana (the alphabet the Japanese use for foreign words,
> ), I guess the "lu" sound and the "ru" sound are represented by the same
> character.  He had even called the box office, and it sounded like the man
> said "rush".  Also, tickets were around $55, so it all seemed right.

	I am still laughing after reading your post.  I spent a few
years in Japan and a consider myself pretty good at deciphering
"spoken" katakana.  Not only are "lu" and "ru" transliterated into the
same katakana character, the Japanese are notorious for mixing them up
in the oddest places when they try to use English, and they usually
sound the same even when the speaker knows the difference anyways.
This is EXACTLY the kind of thing I could see myself doing, because
without talking to someone who could give you details about the band
(not the OL's they probably have answering the ticket phones) there
would be virtually no way to know the difference between "LUSH" and
"RUSH" until you walked into the concert hall.

	Your story made my day and more than makes up for all the time
I spent reading about the rumour.  :-)



From: ki!kinet3!ddl@uunet.UU.NET (Derek Lichter)
Subject: Freewill take one
Date: Mon, 7 Dec 92 19:48:51 EST

Doug White wrote:
>just a quick chuckle: I had some tapes in the car, and after tom sawyer
>ended my wife asked me "do you have that 'bathysphere' song?". My
>reaction was... "Huh??", and she said "you know, 'I will choose a
>bathyshere, I will choose free will'."

Hee hee hee... this was one of the first songs my friend forced me to
listen to in his car before I became indoctrinated to the Way of the
One True Band :-).  I had trouble figuring out that lyric too; I thought
he was singing "I will chew off atmosphere."  And of course, I couldn't
begin to guess at the high-frequency squeal at the end ("Each of us/
a cell of awareness...").

| Email     :                          Derek Lichter        |
| CompuServe: >INTERNET:uunet.UU.NET!ki!ddl       Ki Research, Inc.    |
| UUCP      : ...!uunet!ki!ddl                    6760 Alexander Bell  |
| Voice     : 410-290-0355 x226                   Suite  250           |
| FAX       : 410-290-0397                        Columbia, MD 21046   |
+============== my navel is an interdimensional portal ================+


Date: Mon, 7 Dec 92 18:20:55 -0800
From: mikes@ucscb.UCSC.EDU (Rocinante)
Subject: Mardi Gras & Pensacola

Gerry Good asked about these two Cd sets:
Mardi Gras & Pensacola

	Well.. I have them both....and tho I listen to Mardi Gras more. I have
to say they are pretty damn good quality < careful here cuz experience in Cd's
comes into play..and I have about 2 years worth, which is nothing compared to
the Guy that first Told me what a BootLeg was....... Hey Jim:  What do you have
Aganst Condors anyway!?!? :)    >
	I have a sampling of Over Europe on TAPE...Tom Sawyer.. and I think
that the Tom Sawyer on Mardi Gras is just as good as the copy I have off of
Over Europe.....
So anyway..... It cost me $65 and I am not sure if that was a good price, but
it is not often I see RUSH stuff here in town, so I picked it up.
	One more thing about both those Cd sets.  There is a song on there\
called " The Task ". Well.. the person that put this together is not much of a
RUSH fan if he/she/it can't understand Geddy when he says " The Pass " .



From: Cygnus X-1  
Subject: Re: Rush tribute bands...
Date: Mon, 7 Dec 92 20:51:42 CST

Hello, all!  In yesterday's NMS someone mentioned a Chigago-based band called
Animation.  I thought that was pretty strange, because there is a band that
plays in Champaign alot called Animator!  I'm pretty sure they are from
Champaign.  Anyway, I've heard them play Freewill, The Spirit of Radio,
Tom Sawyer, and (I think) YYZ.  They also play alot of Genesis (Watcher of the
Skies!!), Pink Floyd, Queensryche, King's X, to name a few.  They've got an
album of original material called Gallery, which is pretty good.  Ho-hoo!

Ryan Adams
Univerisity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

PS  Once they played the first fifteen seconds from La Villa Strangiato, and
I thought they were going to play it, but...


Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1992 22:22:18 -0500
From: Christopher Mermagen 
Subject: Rush @ cap centre - PRESTO tour

Did anyone happen to see Rush at the Cap centre here in
Landover Md. during the Presto tour. I think Peart was
really ill that night, but I remember we were 6th row
and had a good view of everyone.. my friend and I were
both watching Peart at the time, and he threw up one
of his sticks really high. It came down, but he missed it
and dropped it. He got another one, but he was steamin'
I mean really pissed!!! The rest of the night he had a
frown on his face.  I was kinda bummin' because I
hope that the guys hvave just as much of a good time
playing as I have watching.. I could care less that he
dropped the stick, but I like to see all three of them
partake of their antics on stage..

Anyway, as always,

"Science like nature must also be tamed..."


Date: Mon, 7 Dec 92 23:08:14 -0500
From: nam2@po.CWRU.Edu (Nicholas A. Mascari)
Subject: Re: 12/07/92 - The National Midnight Star #577

>I happen to like Tears on 2112.  In fact, it is my favorite song on the second
>side.  It is the closest thing Rush has ever come to what I call a "ballad" and
>I think it is very beautiful.

I whole heartedly agree...Tears is at the top of my list of "most beautiful"
Rush songs. Other songs I would put on this list:

1. Time Stand Still (most beautiful Rush song. still gives me chills.)
2. Tears
3. Losing It
4. The Pass
5. Bravado

>One more thing, I have noticed that there is a lot of mention of Dream Theater
>here and on Nyx.  I bought their album 'Images and Words' and I think they
>are a band with potential.  What I would like to know is how did all of these
>'Rush fanatics' find out about this group?

Well, I found out about them from this very group. I was looking through the
papar one day, noticed that they were playing here in Cleveland and that
the show was only $6. I had heard so much about them in TNMS that I decided
to go see them, without ever even hearing them. Waiting outside to get in
before they opened the doors, there were SO MANY Rush fans...I've never seen
more Rush clothing not at a Rush concert.

Anyway, they just totally blew me away.....I went out and bought the album
and play it as much as all my Rush albums.

>I've got lots of other convention thoughts, but those are the
>most important for now. LET'S KEEP TALKING ABOUT THIS, PEOPLE!

This had been brought up already on #p/g!, lesse what you people in NMSland
think. How bout a Rush lookalike contest??  Mike Weintraub claims he has
Geddy nailed down solid and no one can beat him. (Lucky s**t got to inter-
view Dream Theatre and he was introduced to the band as "Geddy...errr Mike")

1. Rush   All others: Dream Theatre, LZ, Pearl Jam, Metallica, Police/Sting,

Chalk up another Christian Rush fan!  :-)

Seeyal at convention hopefully....(end of July PLEASE??)


|~~~\ |    | /~~~\ |    |    Nick Mascari - CWRU - General Electric Lighting
|___/ |    | \__   |____|      "Time after time we lose sight of the way,
| \   |    |     \ |    |    our causes can't see their effects" -Neil Peart
|   \  \__/  \___/ |    |       Music by Lee and Lifeson, Lyrics by Peart


Date: Mon, 07 Dec 1992 23:30:23 EST
Subject: Rush unplugged??

I fully agree that Saturday Night Live is an inapropriate place for Rush,
even more so because of the decline of the show.  Another idea that would
be interesting would be if they went on MTV Unplugged.  Some would say that
going on that show is inappropriate for Rush because of their style, but I
would think that it would be very interesting.

Jason Birzer
Frostburg State University


Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1992 23:55:03 CST
Subject: The Whip; Neil's Drumming; Favorite Drummers

MuffinHead  said:

>   No it isn't. [A "whip"] Read the FAQ, read the album credits, and listen
>to the song.  You can hear that the surface area is larger than a traditional
>slapper, whip, whatever.
>   As for Neil being traditional, I'd say just the opposite. How many drummers
>tape a mic to their chest so they can hear their perspective? Or have a bunch
>of little cowbells and agogo bells welded together? Or mess around with
>custom-made triggers and mount them between to toms? Or record parts of a song
>with mainly an ambient mic (Witch Hunt)? Or use a set the size and complexity
>of his? Or even PLAY like he plays? Not many, I can tell you that.

Well, I hope this doesn't turn into the next big debate.  After reading the
above I played the song, I read the FAQ, I read the album credits, and I must
say - I think it sounds like a clapper (whip).  Doesn't really matter what
it is I guess, it sounds cool.  Anyway, I know the fragment in the FAQ is
taken out of context, but it sounds more like Neil having fun than being
serious.  He usually seems more serious when discussing his art.  As for the
album credits, AFTK mentions use of the vibra slap, which I *believe* is
a clapper (may be wrong there).  Heck, maybe he just slapped third base
against a stool (see Signals credits) :)  You may be right though, it sounds
like either a clapper or plywood really.

Neil's a great drummer, no doubt about it.  He is one of the very few rock
drummers to use "symphonic" percussion instruments effectively.  Still, those
are traditional instruments - more traditional than a drum kit actually.
In spite of the unique rhythms he's come up with, he's still pretty
conservative.  Maybe I should have said conservative instead of traditional.
That is, we all know what he can do from his solos, but he doesn't throw
that stuff in Rush songs just for flash - only when it enhances the song.
Most drummers would be scorned for using the same cymbal ride for nearly
20 years (the ride going when the clapper/plywood comes in).  But he makes
it work.  No need to do anything else, so he doesn't.  That's conservative
to me.  I almost wish he wasn't so conservative.  I'd love to hear more
double-bass work from him.  As for mikes and triggers, those are new tools
of the trade, and he makes innovative and effective use of them.  In fact,
I'd definitely agree with you that he is not traditional *or* conservative
with electronic percussion.  But I really think he is with acoustic
percussion.  Egad!  What have a started here??? :)

Oh, someone asked about fav drummers.  Better throw them in now.
Brad Halls (Drum and Bugle Corps), Buddy Rich, Neil Peart, Phil Gould
(Level 42), John Bohnam, Lars Ulrich (Metallica), Niko McBrain (Iron Maiden),
and Michael Stuart (Love).  Brad and Neil have definitely had the most
impact on me though.

My apologies to guitar and bass players.


Date:         Tue, 08 Dec 92 03:04:13 EST
Subject:      IRC & #p/g!

Rushppl --

Okay, just a small update for those of you who use IRC and still haven't
checked out/been able to check out the #p/g! channel.  The amount of regulars
has literally tripled on this channel in the past month (we're a little over
30 now.. no more than about 10 on at one time usually).  This is a channel
of Rush fans, but we do not discuss EXCLUSIVELY Rush....  I mention this
because I think a few people have joined, expecting that.  It's more of an
anything-goes discussion among Rush fans.  In fact, if anyone would like to
see a log of the channel, email me & I can send you a typical evening....

Also, if anyone has TRIED to get on #p/g! and has had problems, please feel
free to email me & I'll let you know how to get on....  The channel is often
locked, and requires a password for entry (many reasons for this; I'll leave
out the explanations though).  We even got a visit from our distinguished
rush-mgr last night! :)

	[ But I'm there almost every night!!  er..say, which one of
	  us are you talking about?   Seriously folks, come join us
	  online at night if you feel like chatting on IRC!    :rush-mgr ]

Okay, that is all... BTW, if I am STILL having problems with my .sig, please
try and refrain from emailing me.... I know it works on this account, & I will
be able to see if rush-mgr "yells" at me for having control characters on there
still.  (I am 99% sure it's fixed, otherwise I wouldn't use it folks)

That's the weather, this is the time; now stay tuned for more news

  /|/  \         |         Sensibility --
   |   |         |          Armed with Sense and Liberty,
   | _/          |_          With the Heart and Mind united
   / \ /|  | |\  | \          In a single, perfect Sphere
  /   X  \_/\/_\/   \_____        .-------------------.
 greed \         : Glen "Trroy" Reed :
        \____                     `-------------------'


From: (John Becker)
Subject: Re: New boots, NMS #577
Date: Tue, 8 Dec 92 9:07:57 CST

In NMS #577, "Cygnus X-2 (Gerry Good)" wrote:

>I finally got to look at my Dec. 11 Goldmine, and there were some new
>bootlegs in it, namely "Mardi Gras" and "Pensacola" from 1992, as well
>as "A New Reality" from 1981.  I was wondering if anyone had heard
>these, and if the sound quality was any good.  The first two are both
>2cd sets (I guess with the length of Rush shows now that's a must.) If
>they are better than Over the Europe please tell me.

I have heard "Mardi Gras" and "Pensacola", as well as "Over The Europe". I
didn't think either of them sounded as good as OTE, but they are still very
good recordings. However, neither of them is the complete show. One is just
under 2 hours, and the other is about 1:50.



From: Rohit Keswani 
Subject: RFTF
Date: Tue, 8 Dec 92 12:46:53 EST

I'd like to get a copy of Run From the Fans, but I live in Jersey
and don't know of any stores whatsoever that sell boots. Anyone


Date: Tue, 8 Dec 92 15:08:35 -0500
From: meg (******* Meg *******)
Subject: NMS Shirts

To everyone waiting for a shirt: I humbly apologize for the delay, but it
turns out that the print shop won't have them done until THIS Friday
(Dec. 11). Guess I just mixed up the Fridays. So please be patient! And
I want to thank everyone who's sent me money so far -- if I was a
"fly by night" operation I'd be taking over $500 right now! Thanks for
your trust in me... heh.

Anyone who wants shirt info send me e-mail.



Date: Tue, 8 Dec 1992 15:23 EDT
Subject: Re: 12/07/92 - The National Midnight Star #577

About the Red Star:
It is not a pentagram, it is a star.  A Pentagram is a five pointed star
with a circle going through its outer vertices and a pentagon in its center.
Thanks for the info on pentagrams though.  The Red Star on 2112 is meant
to be a symbol of Communism, at least that's what the subject matter of
2112 mostly touches upon.  As we all know, 2112 was inspired by Ayn Rand's
_Anthem_ (I know, Neil realized this after the fact) and much of
Rand's writing was concerned with Communism.

About YYZ:
You're right, look in the FAQL for more detail

"Cosmic is largely comic..."


Date: Tue, 8 Dec 92 15:37:19 -0500
From: sxk29@po.CWRU.Edu (Susan Kretschmer)
Subject: wow..

*Yech* Read my post in the last NMS and wow did it sound stupid. I think the
whole Mystic Rhythms thing was best expressed by the person who quoted the
interview with Neil in yesterday's NMS...that it's a song about all kinds
of possibilities, including someone who hopes there is more
than just what we see.
That's not what I said, but it was what I meant to say.  Sorry :(

Susie Kretschmer
CWRU School of Medicine		         "Don't ask me, I'm just improvising"
Class of 1997			 			--Rush, PRESTO


Date: Mon, 7 Dec 92 17:39:46 -0500
From: (Gregg Jaeger)
Subject: Rush and Religion/The Pass (long)

>From: Wayne Torman 
>Subject: Mystic Rhythms, Religion, James Brown, Presto, V-8, AAARRGGHHH!

>To: Matt McDonald
>>And the rest.  I'm not arguing that Neil is a Christian, or even a theist --
>>it's pretty clear from songs like "Roll the Bones" et alia that he
>>isn't -- but I wonder how other folks interpret "Mystic Rhythms"?

>>To me it seems to hint at a greater power out there than what we see,
>>know, or even understand.  Could it be... God?

>Sorry, Matt but your words reveal the fact that you are running Neil's
>lyrics through your own world view "filter"....   It ABSOLUTELY DOES
>NOT 'hint at a greater power' as it is written. [...] exploring the
>'divine and profound' questions of existence without ANY hope of a
>definitive answer is enjoyable, and falling back on unobservable
>explanations is either a sign of mental laziness or irrational fear of
>the unknown!

Wonderful interpretation. Yes, I think this is Neil's point in
"Mystic Rhythms" and he is not _advocating_ mysticism but rather
he is trying to express an appretiation of that element of pleasure
mysticism can give one whether or not one takes it seriously.

>>A word to all the salivating anti-religionists out there:  As G.K.
>>Chesterton once said, in philosophy it's either Orthodoxy or Your Doxy,
>>and if you think organized religion's explanations don't work, the
>>burden's on you to come up with propositions that _do_.

>Once again, Matt I must disagree wholeheartedly!  There is NO need for
>definitive explanations of the 'Profound Questions'. [...] And in fact
>this paragraph leads me to one of my favorite arguments against
>organized religion, and I can't resist so here goes........

I agree that there is no absolute need for explanations to all the
profound questions, but I'm gonna disagree with you on the validity
of this argument:

>There are "X"  number of religions in the world, each more or less
>claiming to be the "path to salvation" and having specific rules which,
>when followed, allow you to stay on that path.  Yet EACH of them has a
>DIFFERENT set of rules.  This means that "X-1" (not Cygnus again,
> If there are 150 religions and 149 of them do it wrong:

>Q1. Does this mean that you can spend your entire life piously
>following the wrong path and end up in hell anyway? >A1. Rhetorical question!
>Q2. Does this mean that God doesn't care how you worship? >A2. Then why
do it in a particular (i.e. organized) way? >Q3. Finally, and most
importantly, if 149 out of 150 are wrong, is >there ANY reason to
believe that the 150th is RIGHT? >A3. I think not.

Answer to Q1: Yes, but that's not likely if one acts on one's natural
inclinations and thinks through the consequences of one's actions,
because quite *naturally* one feels good if one follows the
ten commandments and bad if one doesn't even if one isn't born to
or accept a religion in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition. It
is easy to *slip* and violate one of these rules, however, and that
is the _function_ of the religion, to prevent people from doing things
without thinking them through, to help one always "do the right thing."
Answer to Q2 together with an answer to Q3: Q3 is a argument with
bad background presumptions, most importantly that only one of the
ways will be right (in terms of guaranteeing that one will avoid
Hell, for example). Again, in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition
God is understood to be merciful and benevolent, and a merciful and
benevolent God is quite unlikely to send someone to Hell for choosing
a particular _method_ of worship than another, provided, for example,
one obeys the Ten Commandments. So it's not as though there is an
even weighting amongst these 150 possibilities; if 149 of these
have in *common* basic rules of conduct (like the TCs) and the 150th
has as its rules the opposite of those of the 149, then one's chances
are not 1/150 of "making it to Heaven" if one chooses say #77, they are 1/2
(a priori) in regard to the substantive aspect, namely proper versus
improper conduct where it counts, which for a merciful and benevolent
God standing in Judgment is far more likely to be infinitely more
important than one's genuflecting or not! A m'l and b'l God is not
likely to consider petty rules in passing Judgment, no matter how much
the advocates of any particular form of worship try to make that seem
to their "flocks." I just don't see that there exist 150 religions on
earth that differ on, say, the Ten Commandments.

The argument you've put forward here is the one Neil seems to be
sanctioning in "Row the Boats" and it seems to me that you've both
latched on to a poor argument, by a poor weighting over the possible
"paths" -- of the major religions of the world there is not so much
difference in worship that a merciful and benevolent God would take
into account in passing judgment. Rather he would judge how well one
_as an individual_ followed the basic rules they have in common, like
"thou shall not murder". Following an organized religion can help
one avoid such fatal slips in behavior, and that can be seen as their

>From: (Stimpson J. Cat)
>Subject: suicide-Christ-Top5

>I would just like to quickly (sort of) address Gregg Jager's discussion about
>Christ and suicide. In his post of Wed, 2 Dec 92 14:24:29 -0500, he states,
>in response to Eric Alexander , "I'm not so sure it wasn't
>a suicide _and_ a murder; it's pretty suicidal to put yourself in a position
>to be killed. It was always my understanding that (Christianity holds that)
>Christ _knew_ how things were going to go and let them go that way."

>I disagree with that definition of suicide. Just allowing your self to be 
>is not suicide. According to Webster's Compact Dictionary (1987):

>          sui-cide n 1 : act of killing oneself purposely
                           2 : one who commits suicide ---  su-i-cid-al. adj

>It is clear here that it must be an act, hence proactive. One must inflict,
>by act,death on oneself to have committed suicide. Its pretty obvious
>that Jesus was convinced that the only way for him to accomplish his
>purpose on this earth was to be put to death.

Right, so we agree on the "facts" surrounding Christ's death, and it is
simply a question of whether or not this counts as suicide. It appears that
you are correct about it not being a suicide _technically_ if one takes
a very strict definition of `proactive', but you've also granted that Christ
put himself into a position where he would be killed, which to me is
just one step back and slightly less "proactive", but not much -- the
end result is the same: Christ took no precautions to avoid being killed
(because he thought his death was necessary) and so he was killed.
It is *proactive* to walk into traffic and it was *proactive* for
Christ not to avoid capture. The way you're interpreting this definition
it's not suicidal to walk onto the interstate highway in the dark
and lie down waiting for a car to come run over you. Of course, you
might say that God put Christ on the highway, but this will only
be readily accepted by those who accept the Christian version of the
story of Christ's life.

>In addition, and this is just my own opinion here, it seems to me that most
>suicides are the end result of a lengthy and extreme downturn of one's 
>state. (sane) People do not end their life on a whim.

Sure, and people on the edge of there wits are the ones Neil's trying
to appeal to. Someone on the edge could easily buy into the idea of
noble suicide. After all, Christianity portrays Christ's "sacrificing
himself" as one of the greatest acts in the history of mankind. The
kid thinking of killing himself might think "yeah man, I'm gonna go
out in style, like Jesus did" without fully understanding the full
subtlety of meaning that is possible in interpreting Christ's death.



Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1992 22:01:27 -0500 (EST)
From: Matthew James McDonald 
Subject: Re: 12/04/92 - The National Midnight Star #576

Greetings.  I realize that this discussion is getting kind of long, but I
thought I would respond in public, inviting any and all to
take the discussion to "regular" email.  (Although I think this is
interesting enough to continue here.)

First, thanks to all who replied.  To... Hamlet thing.

Wayne Torman:

>  > Hi all. >
> I said I wasn't gonna get back into it, but I'm gonna anyway.....
> To: Matt McDonald

Matt McDonald:

>And the rest.  I'm not arguing that Neil is a Christian, or even a theist --
> >it's pretty clear from songs like "Roll the Bones" et alia that he
> >isn't -- but I wonder how other folks interpret "Mystic Rhythms"?
> >To me it seems to hint at a greater power out there than what we see,
> >know, or even understand.  Could it be... God?
> >I'd be interested to hear more on this matter, and especially on "Mystic
> >Rhythms."

Wayne Torman:

> Sorry, Matt but your words reveal the fact that you are running Neil's
> lyrics through your own world view "filter"....   It ABSOLUTELY DOES
> NOT 'hint at a greater power' as it is written.
> In fact (and I'm trying really hard to express this outside of MY
> "filter"!) to me it seems to express that there is much in the universe
> BEYOND the PRESENT understanding of mankind.  While in ancient times
> religion was created partly to relieve man of the almost painful
> curiosity regarding the old "why are we here?" question, many of these
> questions have now been answered with science and reason, and I BELIEVE
> that Neil is expressing that it is rewarding as an existentialist
> (please no flames... I know he doesn't want to be called any "-ist"
> words, but again this is MY interpretation) to sit back and enjoy the
> more 'colorful' explanations of "why does it happen?".  Boy, that was
> really long-winded so let me try again...

Matt McDonald:

Sure, sure, I have a "filter," as Wayne says, but so does everyone.
And though I appreciate Wayne's attempt to separate himself from
his filter, I don't think he succeeded, and here's why.

First, as I said in the original post, I do not claim that Mr. Peart
believes in any Higher Being.  But I'm not really talking about what Mr.
Peart means, but what "Mystic Rhythms" means.  Here's the interpretation
Wayne offers above:

	"... it seem to express that there is much in the universe that is
BEYOND our PRESENT understanding."

Not quite.  "Mystic Rhythms" actually goes further than that.  Take, for
instance, one of the stanzas Wayne refers to which I didn't actually quote

		The more we think we know about
		The greater the unknown

This idea is not really a description of "present" reality, but more of a
general principle.  That is, it's not only a description of how things are
now, but how they were and how they will be.

As an example, take the comparison of relative and absolute.  (I'm talking
mathematically here, not philosophically.)

Who knew more stuff about his world, the Lemarckian staright-line
evolutionist of c. 1810, or the NASA astronomer in 1975?  Obviously the

But who thought he knew more about his world, relative to what there
was to know?  Probably the former, because he
honestly believed he was getting closer and closer to  figuring it all out.

What are the implications?  Well, to begin with, science has limitations
 -- limitations that aren't going to suddenly fade away if/when an
astrolabe enters a black hole somewhere out there.  That will only lead to
more questions, and we'll probably be a little more dumbfounded than we were.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm as impressed with the achievements of
modern technology and scientific theory as the next guy, but I'm not foolhardy
enough to believe that all the answers to even how our physical world
works are coming any time soon, or that the day is near when we'll
be able to answer all of the big questions with metaphysical certitude.

Lastly, Wayne seems to think that there is some necessary dichotomy
between religion and reason, and that science and reason are inextricably
and comprehensively intertwined.  Not so.  For the serious Christian,
reason is not only an option, it's an imperative -- Peter says in one of
his letters "Be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is within
you."  All Christian beliefs, for that matter, are subject to the
reasonableness test -- does this make sense based on what we probably know
to be true? -- and must either get along with reason or be proved false
and foolish.

That does not, of course, mean that all Christian beliefs can be proved
with metaphysical certitude; when Augustine said "Believe taht you may
understand," he was talking about the necessary leap of faith that all
believers must take in order to, well, believe.  But Christians believe
that Reason can get you right up to The Pass, so to speak, and to get to
the other side requires the leap.

But it is not a leap of blind faith.  To be on the straight and narrow
according to Christian doctrine, one's faith must be internally consistent
and externally plausible.

And as far as science is concerned -- sure, you don't need theology to
conduct science, but that's because the big questions are simply left out
of the definition of science.  Science isn't about things like "Why are we
here?," and people who try to use science alone to answer such questions
often run into trouble.

You can't defeat a set of propositions simply by defining them out of the

Also, it should be remembered that science requires a certain amount of
faith all its own -- you've got to take certain postulates for granted,
for instance, ones which estimable thinkers such as the existentialists
wouldn't pass over so lightly.

Wayne Torman:

> There are many people from various cultures who put forth varied
> explanations of different "inexplicable" phenomena.  There are MANY
> MANY things we DO NOT understand about the universe.  There is that
> shiver that runs down your spine at the thought that ghost stories
> MIGHT JUST be true, etc.  He is (again IMHO) merely stating that it is
> enjoyable to explore the different interpretations ("we suspend our
> disbelief") while not placing great weight on any explanation which
> lacks objective or empirical truth ("we are entertained").

> If I may be so bold (asbestos on.....) I think Neil feels (as I do)
> that it is the EASY WAY OUT to explain that which we do not understand
> by saying it is God's will or God/The Devil's work, but that the
> harder, more "evolutionarily mature" route is to simply accept that
> these things cannot be explained AT THIS TIME!!!!  Given enough time,
> we will find answers to most of the questions presently viewed by many
> as unanswerable, but they will undoubtedly be replaced by ever more
> complex questions.
> In other words (and in summation on this point!)..... exploring the
> 'divine and profound' questions of existence without ANY hope of a
> definitive answer is enjoyable, and falling back on unobservable
> explanations is either a sign of mental laziness or irrational fear of
> the unknown

Matt McDonald

Nice explanation of the "We are entertained" line.  I think Wayne might be
right about what Mr. Peart means by it, and it certainly seems to fit.

But what's all this about the "irrational fear of the unknown"?  What am I
fearing?  My religious faith doesn't require that ever find the answer to
why so-called analogous species seem to be so alike without really
apparently being alike at all, or where all that blackness in space leads,
and I find such pursuits entertaining as well.

Perhaps this will become clearer in the next part.


Wayne Torman

Matt McDonald:

>  > >A word to all the salivating
anti-religionists out there:
 As G.K.
> >Chesterton once said, in philosophy it's either Orthodoxy or Your Doxy,
> >and if you think organized religion's explanations don't work, the
> >burden's on you to come up with propositions that _do_.

Wayne Torman:
> Once again, Matt I must disagree wholeheartedly!  There is NO need for
> definitive explanations of the 'Profound Questions'.  (Except, of
> course, "Because we're here" and "Because it happens"!) And in fact
> this paragraph leads me to one of my favorite arguments against
> organized religion, and I can't resist so here goes........

Matt McDonald:

Aha.  Perilously close to claiming that my beliefs are dogmatic but
Wayne's aren't... because they aren't!

Better roll those bones pretty far, or they might catch up to you...

Wayne Torman:
> There are "X"  number of religions in the world, each more or less
> claiming to be the "path to salvation" and having specific rules which,
> when followed, allow you to stay on that path.  Yet EACH of them has a
> DIFFERENT set of rules.  This means that "X-1" (not Cygnus again,
>  If there are 150 religions and 149 of them do it wrong:
> Q1. Does this mean that you can spend your entire life piously
> following the wrong path and end up in hell anyway?
> A1. Rhetorical question!
> Q2. Does this mean that God doesn't care how you worship?
> A2. Then why do it in a particular (i.e. organized) way?
> Q3. Finally, and most importantly, if 149 out of 150 are wrong, is
> there ANY reason to believe that the 150th is RIGHT?
> A3. I think not.
> So in summation on THIS point....... Neil and I and several others on
> TNMS DO NOT feel that a reasonable proposition is necessary at all.
> Just take it as it comes and do what you can about what you can!!!!!

Matt McDonald:

O.K., as Wayne might say, here we go.  First, if I read his argument
correctly, Wayne seems to think that all religious faith sooner or later
ends up being some kind of Fundamentalism.  Now I like Christian
Fundamentalists a whole lot -- most of the ones I know are better persons
than I am, for instance -- but my faith is not theirs.

So-called mainline Christianity, at least for all the denominations that
haven't melted into goo, goes something like this.

There is a great big body of objective Truth out there [Relativists will
have to take a number -- that's a whole other debate], some of which we
know (including nature, ethics, and the rest), some of which we don't (see
"Mystic Rhythms").

Religion's job is to get people closer to Truth, but
none can get us all the way there.  Degree matters to the religious
believer, though, and whichever religion he thinks is closer to the Truth
and likely to get him nearer -- he's really striving for an asymptotic
relationship to a perfection he will never reach -- is the one he should

For Christians, the ultimate Truth is Jesus, who after all said He was the
Way, the Truth, and the Light, and whichever Christian
denomination/doctrine/body of beliefs that they think will get them closer
to Jesus is the one they ought to follow.

Nowhere does this imply that everyone else is going to Hell, or wherever
the believer thinks is Not Good.  "Judge not lest ye be judged" means
where others end up is not for us to decide; it's not for us to know,
either.  If we follow the teachings of our religion, and use it as a guide
for our conscience, howvever, we will God willing know what we are
supposed to do, and we will be able to judge our and others' __actions__.

Now we've admittedly gone far afield at this point, but to sum up, the
reason I suggested that "Mystic Rhythms" might have something to do with
God is again not because I think that's what Neil had in mind, but because
I think the existence and movements of God form the best explanation for
the universal, subtle thoughts and feelings he so poignantly touches on in
"Mystic Rhythms."

That, you might say, is _my_ interpretation of the feelings evoked by
"Mystic Rhythms," not the aims of its author.

As somebody once said, "Believe the tale, not the teller."

Feel free to let your fingers do the flying.

Matt  McDonald

P.S.:  So as not to look as though I'm not into the team spirit, my
favorite band is The Pogues (avec Shane MacGowan), 2nd favorite is Rush.
I also like U2, The Waterboys, and some of Metallica.

Go figure.


Date: Tue, 8 Dec 92 09:40:26 -0400
From: (Roy Germon)
Subject: Rush and religion

Thought I'd add my voice to the multitudes discussing religion and lyrics,
in what I believe is a very interesting thread.  I will try not to quote
lyrics, as a big heap o' lyrics have already been quoted in this discussion,
instead I will sum up what I think.
Being an atheist (had to get that in early) I have no problem with Rush's
lyrics.  Being a christian (as I was until a year or two ago), I had no
problem with Rush lyrics.  They dont support christianity, so what?  They
attempt to write meaningful songs, and succeed brilliantly.  Why are we
here?  Because we're here.  Makes perfect sense.
They present alternative views, but they dont force them down peoples
throats, or insinuate that people who believe in God are wrong.  They
(or Neil anyway) simply present their views.  If our fate was predetermined,
then what would be the point in striving to make something of yourself
knowing that it made no difference.  Some people think that predetermined
leaves room for personal choice.  I dont think that this can be true.
if the future is predetermined, you have no choice.  I think a better way
of stating it would be:  "The future can have only one possible outcome".
This outcome would be the result of all the _choices_ made by people.

Any time religion is debated, regardless of the context, the bible (IMHO)
has been shown to be too vague to be reliable to reolve anything.  I have
seen clergy with alternating viewpoints quote passages from the bible
to each other in attempts to justify their position.  The bible seems to
support every point of view except that there is no God.  I am sure that
if an atheist such as my self had any great amount of biblical knowledge,
then there would be passages in the bible that couldbe used to support

Someone said that christians ignore Rush lyrics, because they cant resolve
them with their faith.  I ask you which of these statements is easier to
"We are free to do what we went, and control our own destinies"
"Our fate is predetermined by a supreme being who made us in his image to
 serve him"

I hope nobody sees this as a slam against christianity even though I seem to
have gotten off topic occasionaly.
If anyone would like to debate religion off this list, let me know (private
E-mail), and maybe I can set up a mail reflector for a week or two.

Sorry for the over long post.

"Why are we here?
 To earn eternal life.
 Roll the Bones"



Date: Tue, 8 Dec 1992 09:26:57 -0500
From: Eric Alexander 
Subject: Freewill

I would like to respond to Chris Schiller's question about the lines in

>Could someone who has been arguing that the lyrics are not anti-christian,
>anti-god, and anti-religious please explain the following lines?
>Freewill:  There are those who think that life is nothing left to chance
>           A host of Holy Horrors to direct our aimless dance
>           A planet of playthings we dance on the strings
>           Of powers we cannot percieve
>This seems pretty clear to me.  I see only one way to interpret it.

Well, I kind of see another. I agree that it definitely slams organized religion
as it exists today, but then again, Ghandi did too. He said that he would
probably have converted to christianity if it weren't for those darn churches.

I think what Neil is speaking out against is the acceptance of this.....
"It doesn't matter what I do, where I'm going is already predetermined."
attitude. Don't pretend that you are only a plaything on a string. You are
a person with the ability to control your own actions.
   This always struck me as the central theme of Roll the Bones. I have never
believed that Neil wanted just to slam the possibility of there being a
higher being or a higher power. Please, he just wants people to take
responsibility for themselves. Even if God is God, I am still me, and I still
have the free will that he gave me to do as I will. As for Neil, he will
]simply choose to live by his own free will or "Freewill".
   You can't earn eternal life, even in most christian theologies. That is the
most mistakenly thought about what Christ had in mind. He wants us to accept
imperfection in man as it is, admit that we are imperfect and unable to live
as Christ did, but be sincere about loving eachother.
(Sorry about the extra stuff, but I had to add it. I wrestled with this a
year ago myself.)

I think in saying...Why are we here?  Because we're here.  Roll the bones.
Neil was saying that we should accept being here and do the best we can.
The statement clearly doesn't follow christian doctrine, but OH well, I am
still a christian, not a Peartian. I respect Neil's lyrics for their
ability to cut to the chase as well as present imagery.

  Remember the Preists of the Temples of Syrinx. They were so caught up in
trying to theorize and theologize away everything that they didn't
understand, that they gave up the music one man was able to find in that
guitar. Don't over-theologize. Christ picked wheat on a Sabbath, and even
though it was a necessary action, the priests of the time condemned HIM.
What was Christ's reaction...something like don't be blinded by the laws
so much that you forget the spirit of the belief...or taking necessary action
need not live up to the laws of ancient tradition... or get out there and
rock and roll the bones or something.

                                            OK I exaggerated a bit.



Date: 08 Dec 1992 14:48:32 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: 12/07/92 - The National Midnight Star #577

>From: Chris Schiller 
>Subject: Lyrics and Religion
>Date: Fri, 4 Dec 92 17:12:40 PST
>If you ask this question (Why are we here?) to a serious christian, you
>will probably get "for the greater salvation of god", or "to earn eternal
>life".  OK, maybe it is not attacking religion, but it clearly contradicts
>the foundations of any dogmatic religion.
>>> -Chris

Now I am a firm believer in free will (go figure). I really don't care where
Neil's theist tendencies lie: I happen to think of the man as the most
brilliant author who has ever lived, and I don't hand out endorsements like
that liberally! I happen to foster the notion that Rush has an actual
purpose in their music: to make their listeners think. Think about it:

	FBN  -- FBN (get up and go do it);Anthem (Do it for yourself);
		Best I Can (self-explanatory);Rivendell (relax too!)

	MP ---	Tom Sawyer (youth and energy);Red B. (cars);YYZ(planes)


You get the hint. The newer albums tie themselves together easily enough.

Getting back to my original point (applause), when Neil thought about the
"Why are we here?" lyric, he was getting us to think about taking things for
granted. No one will argue that getting the whole GOD thing requires a certain
amount of "Oh what the hell". No one knows for sure. Take a chance. Who's
right? Who's wrong? Who's to force me to choose (or not to) "in a faith that
was(is?) ready-made"?

Damn, I can't believe that some people can't Understand the point he's making.
Roll the Bones for god's sake!

	1) Rush
	2) Marillion
	3) Yes
	4) Bob Marley (?!?)
	5) policegenesisdoorsINXSledzepjourneyhooters...........

Mark Rickard -- Here for the duration.|| Go Bills!      |
"Armchair rocket scientist"	| "Because we're here:  Row the Boats."	     |


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