Saturday, May 27, 2006

Does your life grow corn?

We are the ones we've been waiting for.

Message from the Hopi Elders
Cherokee elder Will Rockingbear visited a group of people at Whistling Women in Winston-Salem, N.C. in May, 2002. At that meeting, Robin Lynne handed us the following urgent message, which she said had come from the Hopi elders.

All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

MORE

(thanks to Patty Ann Smith)

Will Andrea Bocelli and Katharine McPhee tour together?


Andrea Bocelli/Katharine McPhee

From Las Vegas Review Journal:
Meantime, my spy says Andrea Bocelli was so smitten with runner-up Katharine McPhee's voice that he's made it known he wants to take her on his upcoming tour, if the "Idol" producers OK it.


I feel partly responsible for this development, since I suggested she sing with Andrea even before Andrea appeared on American Idol, following in the footsteps of the great Sarah Brightman, rather than the lesser singers who occupied most of the other American Idol contestants. And let it be known that I, for one, think that this would be a tremendous opportunity for Ms. McPhee. And while we all love Taylor Hicks, bless his heart, he could never do the same sort of gig with Sarah Brightman. In other words, America has, once again, allowed personality to trump talent...and instead of an Olympian, we have a swaggering, though goodly-hearted Southern white guy in the top slot. Thank God it doesn't mean anything! If only we could have Taylor and Dubya change places! So much nicer to have a Rhett Butler than a Dukey Hazard, I should think. And do you really think George Junior could or would ever sing "Do I make you proud?" to his own father, whose advice he has ignored to the nation's peril?

Elect Taylor Hicks! Send Kath off with Andrea!

And keep Michael Sandecki away from Clay Aiken. Clay is a Carolinian, like Chris Daughtry, Kellie Pickler and Buckminster Covington III. Not just some talentless schlump.

Where are your manners?

It's a whole new world! Get on with it!

The Healing Grass: Marijuana Found to Prevent Cancer

"The largest study of its kind has unexpectedly concluded that smoking marijuana, even regularly and heavily, does not lead to lung cancer."
"We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use," he said. "What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect."
"...marijuana also contains the chemical THC, which he said may kill aging cells and keep them from becoming cancerous."


I guess the message is:
If you smoke...smoke!

Bush & The Republicans: Americans don't trust them

According to Zogby:
Only 3 percent believe Congress is trustworthy; 7 percent think business leaders are; 24 percent say President George W. Bush can be trusted; and 29 percent trust the courts. Three out of four respondents said they trust politicians less than they did five years ago.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Final American Idol Assessment, May 23, 2006

At round two, it is a tie, slightly favoring Katharine though, as I think people sense that his range is nowhere near that of Katharine's. Twice, Katharine has gone against my prescription, but alas, her performance on "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" was so stunningly beautiful, it worked as a "Soft Goodbye", as I had suggested.
Taylor was awfully good on his first song. He really knows how to work a crowd.

Sad to see that Kat did yet another repeat song. While she looked great, her voice was a little worn. She could have chosen an amazing new song, and knocked it out of the park. She didn't. But as Simon generously suggested...remember her second song.

Indeed, I will. It was my first favorite song, and I am delighted that she sang it twice, and beautifully. It was certainly the high point of the entire competition.

For his third song, Taylor did a repeat performance of "Do I make you proud". Very moving. Probably will serve him well.

Katharine could have pulled out the stops and won the competition. Instead, Taylor pulled out the stops, somewhat, and will probably win the competition. In retrospect, I am glad these two made it to the top. They are both the entire package. Stars. And the world will be better for having promoted them.

Looking back over the months, the two songs that were the most beautiful were both performed by Kat. "Rainbow" and "Who wants to live forever?". And as far as looks go...I wonder if anyone in Hollywood has seem Kat's resemblance to the original "It-girl", Clara Bow. Imagine, Hollywood! Clara Bow with a voice! Right in your own backyard!


Clara Bow in your backyard. The Original Kat.

Network of Spiritual Progressives Meet in D.C.


Ray McGovern holds an umbrella for Colleen Ashworth, while I hold an umbrella for him.

The Network of Spiritual Progressives held Washington hostile last week, and began charting a new course for America. Speakers ranged from rabbis, sheikhs, pastors, Buddhists, Sufis, and people from all over the spiritual spectrum. Being there, I was reminded of what the great Sufi leader, Idries Shah once said about the phenomenon and metaphor of mistletoe...

Mistletoe is green year-round, even while the trees wherein it resides has lost its sap. Mistletoe feeds off the tops branches of all the great traditions, and thus stays alive and green. The Network of Spiritual Progressives also feed off the top branches of all the great traditions, and as such will grow and remain green...even while the individual traditions lose much of their sap or life...perhaps too focused on the roots instead of what is highest...


Spiritual Progressives dancing in Lafayette Park

Dancing is not just permitted...it is encouraged by Spiritual Progressives. Indeed...David danced before the Lord with all his might. Why shouldn't we?


Rabbi Michael Lerner talks to Peter Gabel, President of New College

Michael and Peter are two of the leading lights of both Tikkun and the Network of Spiritual Progressives...and I personally would like to thank them again for their Herculean efforts, as well as the wondrous outcomes.


Jim Wallis speaking at All Souls Unitarian Church

The Reverend Wallis was among the highlights of the week. He is perhaps the leading voice in the Evangelical tradition to have seen the light, and is now carving a new path.


Cindy Sheehan shares her sentiments, which were also shared by the crowd

While hanging out with Cindy Sheehan, Ray McGovern, and other voices of hope and dissent, it was easy to feel like their bodyguards...knowing how passionate some people are against them. These are good people whose voices need to be heard. They are well worth defending. Strange that some would have the mother of a slain soldier silenced.

Photos by Jude Nagurney-Camwell

Advice for Katharine McPhee on her final performances

I like both of the finalists, and regard this year's finalists as among the best so far. I do, however, think that Katharine is the superior musician, and as such, am favoring her.

Taylor, for his part, is an adept entertainer and soulful singer. When it comes down to abilities, though, I honestly think Katharine could perform songs that Taylor simply could not do. And if she did at least one or two songs that fly clearly over the head of Taylor, Taylor may well defer to Katharine, and subtly signal his own preference for her. I think he is gentleman enough to do that.

The key to Katharine's victory may well be found in the short snippet of her singing duet, in Italian, with Andrea Bocelli. Here, she was clearly superior to everyone else on the show. Sadly, they only showed a few seconds of it.

What if Katharine sang Bocelli's "Con te Partiro" (Time to Say Goodbye) a la Sarah Brightman? That would certainly qualify as "pulling out the stops" -- which she needs to do to win. Taylor probably could not do that song.

Or what if Katharine sang Brubeck's "Blue Rondo a la Turk" a la Al Jarreau? Or Gorecki's Third a la Dawn Upshaw? Or any Lisa Gerrard?

Maybe she should bring the house to tears with "Soft Goodbye" from the "Celtic Woman" concert.

Any of these would put her over the top.

As far as non-verbal communication...she needs to focus more on her sexiness, and forget that her grandfather is watching. It makes one clam up.

At first, I thought it would come down to Kellie Pickler and Katharine, then later, Chris and Katharine. Now I'm going to stick with Katharine...and hope that, if she wins, she will bring a wider variety of music to her fans. Imagine your young daughter singing songs in many tongues! This would be a good thing. Kath brings much to the table. I hope she shows her full abilities...and shares them.

Best of luck to Kath and Taylor!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Bloodline of The DaVinci Code


"I ache in the places I used to play." - Leonard Cohen


Dan Brown gets it wrong. Sophie is not the only living descendant of Jesus and Mary the Magdalene; Maudlin Mary; Madeleine; Mary of Magdala. These folks are more wily than Brown or Ron Howard portray. Audrey Toutou was excellently casted though.

It's nice to live at a time where one can say such things and not be locked up or worse. Sadly though, there will be people who will manifest their inner Silas, and take their protest beyond the verbal plane, where more polite people work out differences. Some may be Catholic, but I suspect more will come from the wacky wing of Protestantism. Probably not Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Unitarians, Lutherans and the more cerebral cults.

It's nice to live at a time where one can call these venerable institutions "cults", without fear of beheading, or being marched into the town square in your underwear.

But about the movie...

The book and the movie touch upon matters that are far deeper than can be conveyed in such a short form. I was have wished that Brown would have used Laurence Gardner's "Bloodline of the Holy Grail", which is rich in genealogies, and casts a far wider and deeper net than "Holy Blood, Holy Grail".

I would rather have seen the evolution of the bloodline as it passes through the fascinating lines throughout history. Alas, harder the do product placement. Must keep it present.

But the movie actually does provide flashes back the Crusades, Templars, the early days of the Priory of Sion, and such, and yet, genealogically, there are only about three points of focus: Jesus (then), Sophie (now), and Isaac Newton (in between). And yet Isaac is not shown to be in the line, but rather in the line of protectors of the line; the Rose Line. Roslyn. As head of the Priory of Sion...it was his job.

Regardless of what one thinks of the subject of the movie, one will come away from the experience with some great scenes from Paris, The Louvre, Roslyn Chapel and other intriguing places on the globe. One also gets to look at the lovely new Audrey, whom some will hate just because she is French, and will doubly hate because a French person is depicted as being related to Jesus. There is a roving bigotry in America that lights upon, or rather darkens, in strangely expedient ways. Another story.

For Christianity to keep from devolving into mere Churchianity, it needs to seek out and not shy away from more and more information, knowledge, wisdom. And should it be found that whoops! Jesus had kids, and some are among us today...I should think that their thoughts on the matter might be of at least a passing interest. I think it makes the story more human, and thus easier to relate to. I guess the notion that a hominid could evolve into a more divine being, since it involves evolution, is, anathema.

Were the Essenes descendants of Jesus? Was King Arthur? Robert the Bruce? Seems to me that one would wish that there were indeed descendants, as it could only enrich the world. As such, I see the movie as ultimately hopeful.



in progress...