Harry Potter: I'm not very current on what's popular from day-to-day. I have yet to see "The Passion of the Christ" and I have yet to read a single "Harry Potter" book (although I watched two movies, I think). Nonetheless, I found this article in the Washington Post both interesting and sad (sorry about the print-preview version, the main article requires subscription). The line that hit me was the author's daughter asking, "Do we have to keep reading this?" Frankly, it doesn't sound like a children's story to me (comparisons to Narnia and Middle Earth seem to me, at best, a reach), and even the movies don't interest me. The recent Newsweek review of the latest film doesn't make me reach for my mail-order DVD queue, either.
Ripping Music: I've ripped almost all of our CDs and burned them as data discs for my wife; she has just about every album we own in her car, right now, neatly in a 10-CD case. As I was listening to some of the music, attempting to hit them into logical collections on a single CD, it struck me that some music just didn't sound good. Not that the musicians were bad, but the music just didn't "strike a chord," as it were. Then I came across this video, which argues that today's record companies use too much compression; makes sense to me. This is probably why I prefer live performances.
Nonetheless: I first used the word "nonetheless" when I was required to do a paper in 4th grade (I think; his initials were W.W.W.) of a certain length, so I looked up big words in the thesaurus. My teacher chided me for using words in my paper that I wouldn't use in everyday conversation; little did he know that paper sparked an interest in expanding my vocabulary. I find it ironic, then, that I don't like Harry Potter, and struggle to use shorter words when composing sermons.