Shadows

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Nixon, Ford, Carter

All during this unique race for the Democratic nomination for President, I have had a sense of something which I have not read, or heard commentators mention (which is not unusual since most present day commentators are nothing more than opinion mongers in the form of a talking head pretending to be news people).

I remember the Nixon days, and the destruction of trust for the Office of President. I remember the transitional period when Gerald Ford did his best to interject a sense of trust back into the office. I quite clearly remember the election of Jimmy Carter, as this was the first election I was able to vote.

Now, in 2008, with the hideous Bush years coming to a close, we are finding out, much like that of the Nixon era, the sense of mistrust which has once again befallen the office. One by one people who once served this President are coming forward to expose this administration’s intent to willfully mislead the public, and to use whatever means possible to extend control over truth; to pit power over compassion, to lead by ineptitude all in the name of patriotism. The difference between Nixon and Bush, is that Nixon got caught while in office. Read More »

Earle H. Hagen

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From the Los Angeles Times:

“Earle H. Hagen, the Emmy Award-winning television composer who wrote the memorable theme music for “The Andy Griffith Show,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “I Spy” and other classic TV programs, has died. He was 88.”

If you know anything about TV, or have an ear for TV show themes, odds are you heard this man’s work. I’ve always been one who reads the names of people behind the screen, and even when I was first caught up in my own personal discovery of music, the name Earle Hagen stood out, as well as his music. I was at one point interested in film scoring and bought his new book which explained the tricks of the trade, long before computers became involved –in those days it was called a click track..what this guy did with a click track was simply amazing.

Follow the link to the LA times, you can read about his career, and there is also a link to his oral history which he provided for the Archive of American Television.

Memorial Day Tale

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USS Arizona MemorialIn 1975, I spent a month performing at the Ilikai Hotel in Waikiki. During the day I was able to explore the Island.

On one of my day trips, our performing group took a tour of Pearl Harbor. It seemed a normal tour, and with the high spirits of the group, I could not really fathom the sentimental moment which was to come. The tour boat made its way into the Harbor and heard we heard the tour guide share some history. I remembered my father, who was stationed in Hawaii, told me many times that when he was there, Honolulu had two hotels, and that the Aloha tower was the tallest point made by humans. He never made it back to see how the place had changed; he would have been shocked, and saddened.

At one point, while coming close to the Arizona, now a memorial and grave site, I sat down near an older woman who had also taken the tour. I looked over to her I noticed she had tears in her eyes. I remember going over as I was a bit concerned. I asked if she was alright, and it was then she told me her story.

She said that she had met a young man who was in the Navy. They were engaged to be married when he got back from serving in Hawaii. She explained that her fiancé was aboard the Arizona, and went down with the ship. She said that she never married, and after all these years she thought enough time had passed that she would finally make a trip to his grave. She made an attempt to smile, but she said, as you can see I was not ready.

I didn’t know what to do, I was not sure if I should hug her, or take this stranger’s hand. I think I remember touching her shoulder, and telling her she shared an amazing story. I was at somewhat of a loss not knowing if she wanted to be alone with her memories, or felt the need of someone to acknowledge this important past with the present.

Over the years the memory of that woman’s story has stayed with me, and I wish to honor the a life which was dramatically change. A life which was taken away, and the quiet dignity of the affects and horrors of war. This touching tale of a woman still in love with her fiancé bares repeating.

Consider the Lilies of the Field

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Sermon delivered at St. George’s Episcopal Church, May 25, 2008

Isaiah 49:8-16a
Psalm 131
I Corinthians 4:1-5
Matthew 6:24-34
Year A

I was raised in the Roman Catholic faith, this was not a bad thing, but as people of my generation might know, the church was not very big on Christian formation and its relationship with scripture. We had Sunday school on Saturday mornings, which was a bad thing, but what we learned was the memorization of prayers such as The Lord’s Prayer, the Glory Be, the Act of Contrition. More importantly, we learned how to properly fold our hands in prayer. If you ever get a chance to see Pope Benedict on TV lead a Mass from Rome, he holds his hands in this manner, exactly the way I was taught.

One day I was taken to the Cinerama Dome to see the biblical epic, The Greatest Story Ever Told. In all its wide screen glory, I heard more scripture at one time that I’d ever heard in my entire life! The only problem for me was that upon seeing Swedish actor Max Von Sydow play the part of Jesus, for many years, I was convinced that Jesus spoke English with a Swedish accent. My confusion became even more pronounced when at the end of the film John Wayne appeared as a centurion saying, “Well, this is surly the son of God.” In this film, I recall Jesus standing on top of a hill, in white robes, his arms outstretched saying, “Consider the lilies of the field.” Today, I wish to take Jesus’ advice, and later in the sermon truly consider the lilies of the field, but first, let’s consider biblical imagery. Read More »

California Supreme Court Ruling: Round 2

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Rather than write about the recent California State Supreme Court ruling banning discriminatory language from state recognized marriage, I would rather focus on random samplings taken from the L.A. Times feedback section where anyone can post their thoughts. When I last checked there were 2500 plus remarks. I decided to quote some of them, and respond to demonstrate how much more work is needed to be done:

Quote 1: 2599. “Just another example of why we will go the way of ancient Rome.”

Well, no. One good reason ancient Rome fell because the country had grown lazy with regard to its use of military might, and no longer maintained its own army. The only way for a military power such as this was to command from within its ranks by members of Rome, this was no longer the norm. The fall of Rome was, in many ways, based on arrogance, much like the one promoted by comment #2599.

Quote 2: 2459 “When will polygamy be legalized? I guess never, since they don’t have the political power that gays do. We congrats to the gays, but gay rights people are hypocrites for not also defending the other oppressed forms of marriage.” Read More »

Seminary: Year One

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I remember my first day at ETSC (Episcopal School of Theology, Claremont), driving there early, finding out that I could not get into one class for which I had already bought books, and finding out I was to take another, running to the bookstore to get my new set of materials. I recall that I had lots of time to kill so I wondered about and eventually went out to a local coffee shop to have a bite to eat before chapel at 6pm. I remember getting my library card, and my student ID which had my picture officially stating I was a seminary student. I remember, later that day, shaking my head in wonderment. The past 4 years of this process seemed to blur into one, and suddenly here I was, embarking on something which seemed extraordinary.

A few years back I recall editing my journals taken from my “creative” years, and there were times when I read of me not only teaching each day, but sometimes rehearsing two shows at once, and at times, also working on other productions out in Hollywood. I recall reading my schedule and shaking my head, and after reading the record of these times suddenly feeling as thought I wanted to take a nap! I was very busy! Read More »

Jesus Made me Puke (Rolling Stone)

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from Rolling StoneMy long time friend known as Yard[D]og picked me up for dinner on Saturday immediately stuffing a copied sheet into my hands commanding me to read the last paragraph which reads:

“By the end of that weekend, Phil Fortenberry could have told us that John Kerry was a demon with clawed feet, and not one person would have so much as blinked. Because none of that politics stuff matters anyway, once you’ve gotten this far. All that matters is being full of the Lord and empty of demons. And since everything that is not of God is demonic, asking these people to be objective about anything else is just absurd. There is no “anything else.” All alternative points of view are nonstarters. There is this “our thing,” a sort of Cosa Nostra of the soul, and then there are the fires of Hell. And that’s all.”

“What is this all about,” I asked, confused as to the over all content, to which “The Dog” as I call him, said that this mindset might have possible for my on-going and eventual burn out from my few years trying to fathom the mindset of the online homosexual version of narrow Evangelistic thought found amongst many on the Gay Christian Network; the “Dog” also estranging himself from this on line community.

I found out later, by searching the Rolling Stone website that writer Matt Taibbi went undercover with the Christian Right. It is not very surprising, but what amazed me was that even within groups which claim to be liberal (within this context), that different thought, or an examination beyond the simplistic is still regarded as threatening, and can illicit a predictable equal and “Cosa Nostra-like” response.

Check out the article by going here.


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