Friday Random 10: Agency Edition

Pax Arcana

ghostsDuring a baseball game my senior year in high school, I made peanut butter on the bench by crushing up a bunch of peanuts under the head of my bat. Later in the game I hit a home run off a particularly renowned pitcher. Every game for the rest of the season I made bat head peanut butter during the first inning — convinced that the activity was somehow the cause of my success.

Turns out I was just good at baseball. [*flexes remnants of once-proud bicep]

At least according to an article in Scientific American, which says that basically all religious or supernatural beliefs are the product of two things working in concert:

1. Our brains evolved to spot patterns. This helped early man both catch food and avoid becoming food, but now confuses us because we’re more likely to spot patterns that aren’t there than the reverse.

2. We have a special gift for assigning agency to these patterns. Because we are uniquely aware of our own feelings and doings — and the feelings and doings of others — we assume that all patterns are caused by an agent of sorts that is enacting the patterns on purpose.

So we make bat head peanut butter to satisfy the gods. Or Obama, depending on what you’re hoping for:

Agenticity carries us far beyond the spirit world. The Intelligent Designer is said to be an invisible agent who created life from the top down. Aliens are often portrayed as powerful beings coming down from on high to warn us of our impending self-destruction. Conspiracy theories predictably include hidden agents at work behind the scenes, puppet masters pulling political and economic strings as we dance to the tune of the Bilderbergers, the Roth­schilds, the Rockefellers or the Illuminati. Even the belief that government can impose top-down measures to rescue the economy is a form of agenticity, with President Barack Obama being touted as “the one” with almost messianic powers who will save us.

Does this mean praying to Oprah won’t make my — I mean this friend of mine’s — back less hairy?

The songs:

Finally Found a Home — Oh No! Oh My!
Blossom — Ryan Adams and the Cardinals
Maybe Not — Cat Power
Girl You Have No Faith in Medicine — The White Stripes
Answering Bell — Ryan Adams
Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours — Stevie Wonder
I Could Have Lied — The Red Hot Chilipeppers
The Ghost of You Lingers — Spoon
Sugar on my Tongue — Talking Heads
Single File — Elliott Smith

Bonus video:

Scenario — Tribe Called Quest (Live on Arsenio, 1992)

The Rules: The Friday Random 10 is exactly that — random. We open up our iTunes, set the thing on shuffle, and listen to 10 songs. We are not permitted to skip any out of embarrassment or fear of redundancy. Commenters are encouraged to post their own.


  • So are you a homeowner now or what? And when’s the moving date so I can make plans for that weekend?

    Hot Tamale Baby, Buckwheat Zydeco
    Bitch, The Rolling Stones
    Where I End And You Begin (The Sky Is Falling In), Radiohead
    Moonglow, Django Reinhardt
    Troy, Sinéad O’Connor
    I Feel It All, Feist
    Fun World, Mission of Burma
    Mutherfuker, Beck
    Good Advices, R.E.M.
    Go it Alone, Beck

  • You know what I don’t understand? How is it that Teixeira always looks so constipated?

  • Mortgage commitment is supposed to come through today. Then I will start relaxing. Except that mortgage rates are jumping like a bitch right now. We had a chance to lock at 5.15% two weeks ago and our guy told us not to, because they would probably go down in June. D’OH!

    Assuming the bank makes a horrible mistake and gives us the loan, we should take possession on June 25. We’re in California the week after that, then we’ll probably move throughout the month of July. We may be douchebags and request the help of able-bodied men for one morning of heavy-lifting, or we may just hire movers.

  • 1. Mark Olson & Gary Louris – Kick The Wood
    2. Jimi Hendrix – Machine Gun
    3. Rage Against the Machine – Roll Right
    4. Otis Webster – Boll Weevil Blues
    5. David Bowie – Life on Mars
    6. Paul McCartney – Bluebird
    7. Sparklehorse – Revenge (feat. Wayne Coyne)
    8. Band of Horses – Is There A Ghost
    9. Aretha Franklin – A Brand New Me
    10. Swan Silvertones – A Brighter Day Ahead

  • Or you could do what we did: Be douchebags and put out the call for able-bodied men.

  • Make that “Be douchebags and hire movers.” We did both.

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Filed under music

10 responses to “Friday Random 10: Agency Edition

  1. Perry Ellis

    Usually, when my Random 10 is this un-random, it’s a gooseface. But with two exceptions*, this is an earful of awesome.

    Dreams Reoccurring, Hüsker Dü
    *Fell On Black Days, Soundgarden
    *Fuck This Song, Babe The Blue Ox
    Give Me The Cure, Fugazi
    Kerosene, Big Black
    Mesentery, Bitch Magnet
    Never Talking To You Again, Hüsker Dü
    One Step At A Time, Hüsker Dü
    Poison Years, Bob Mould
    Revenge, Whiskeytown

  2. Nice, you managed your “I am a genius in some odd field” lede and “I have a hairy back” joke in the same day. You’re the Rick Reilly of unpaid zombie bloggers.

  3. 1. Sun Kil Moon – Heron Blue
    2. Jimi Hendrix – The Wind Cries Mary
    3. Ziggy Stardust Remixed – Hang on to the Highway (David Bowie vs Deep Purple)
    4. Gram Parsons – In My Hour Of Darkness
    5. Bobby Blue Bland – Aint No Love in the Heart of the City
    6. The Beatles – When I’m 64
    7. Prince – 4Ever
    8. John Legend – Show Me
    9. Washington Phillips – Track 5 (I will not Be Moved I think???)
    10. Prince – Dreamer

  4. 1. Why Women Cry, Marcia Ball
    2. Candy Girl, H.A.W.K.
    3. Here to Stay, Rebirth Brass Band (playing Harper’s Ferry on Friday, July 10, FYI)
    4. It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding), Bob Dylan
    5. On Call, Kings of Leon
    6. What I Got, Sublime
    7. Sweethearts on Parade, Louis Armstrong
    8. Only a Fool Would Say That, Steely Dan
    9. November Rain, Guns ‘n Roses
    10. Can’t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus, Tricia Boutte

  5. i just watched the video. hilarious. i love that song, though that version, like most live rap performances (at least imo) was kind of flat. the clothes and hair are a riot though. i was expecting something a little more dramatic when busta turned his hat inside out. turns out it was just a more hideous pattern than the rightside in pattern. i like when arsenio holds up the enormous cd box in the beginning, too.

  6. I like when Q-Tip kicked the guy in the chest in the laundromat.

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