Wednesday, January 28, 2009

DEFINITION OF TORTURE



Definition of Torture: Being forced to listen to a house of teenagers playing Rock Band while singing along to ‘Panic at the Disco!” Have you heard this band?!"

Back when I was single, I was really nervous in front of a cute guy at a party. I read in Cosmo magazine that if you want to seduce a guy you should mimic his gestures. When he sips, you sips. He was drinking from a glass beer bottle, and I was holding a glass of ice water. When he chugged a swig from his bottle, I thought I was holding a bottle too, so I lifted my drink and poured it all over my face.

DOG-FIGHTING

My husband shaved our Shihtzu’s face and now he has an ugly pointed chin. Did he do this in retaliation for me not using his dog as a ring-bearer in our wedding? Now Chazzie looks like Leon Trotsky. His chin is triangular like a Pomeranian's. No offense, but I prefer the pudgy full-face of a Shih-tzu, not a triangle. I am so angry I’m thinking of getting a fake beard for the dog, or having hair extensions woven in. Our dog used to be so cute — like in this picture — but now I’m embarrassed to drive with the dog’s head out the window. My husband also cut Chazzie’s whiskers, which I assumed were his antennae. Aren’t a dogs’ whiskers a logistical tracking mechanism, like a catfish whiskers?

By the way, we were going to mate our Shih-tzu with a Bulldog, but then we'd have Bull Shit.

Our dog Chazzie is humping his doggie bed, while our new girl dog Sasha lounges in it flirtatiously. Chazz doesn’t seem to realize there’s a girl in his bed! She is actually stretching and lolling luxuriously looking at him upside down as he gets more and more annoyed with her for being in his way while he tries to make love to the cushion.

Our dogs are like spies for the CIA. They wait outside the door to various bedrooms like investigators. Where do they to act so arrogant like they own the place? I mean one dog looks like a carpet with a face. All you see are the eyeballs and fur.

ON LOOKS-ISM, MATERIALISM AND THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY

Okay, so I made the front page of TMZ recently. The message kids gets from our culture these days is that only important thing in the world is how "hot" you are, how you look — the appearance of things, the impression you make, the mistakes that come out of your mouth — instead of the intent behind the words. There is so much focus on scandal and ugliness — on bad behavior and faux pas — on sales technique and ratings, and so little substance, so little forgiveness.

I'm in withdrawal from cleavage. I'm not spiritually evolved enough to stop dressing like a hooker but I did try a turtleneck on the other day. Just when I finally let go of my fear of potato chips and bad lighting – a show comes on called “Extreme Makeover Body edition” -- so maybe I’ll just keep the cleavage a little longer: the bigger the boobs look, the smaller the butt looks.

Is it my imagination or are women getting younger and thinner and tittier every year? Why are the only valuable women in our society teenage, wombless, buttless mutants?! It’s kind of hard winning a fight with your husband while he’s reading a Victoria’s Secret catalogue that pretends not to be soft porn. I met an actress recently who admits she moonlights for an escort service.

MARRIAGE



I used to badger my husband into mental health. I'd chase him around the house with a psychology book and he'd run and hide whenever I wanted to talk. And my kids made me play Harry Potter; I have to wear a long black robe and ride a broomstick around the house. To get out of it, I'd hide from them in the closet. One time I ducked into the closet and found my husband in there hiding from me!

Frankly I’d be happy if he just pretended to listen to me; if he would just nod his head and say “Uh-huh, uh-huh” that would be fine – because a woman’s primary need is to be heard.

Now I realize I am deliberately not letting myself leave this relationship because there’s too much comedy material I’m getting out of it. I guess it’s a trade-off: bliss or torture with jokes.

Why do I have to adapt my language to suit the men in my life? I have to speak in a masculine way to my sons like this: “That’s a cool shirt. Nice color.” God forbid I say “That’s a pretty colored sweatshirt.” They can’t tolerate even the most subtle feminine words or a less than macho lilt to my voice. Since when did womanly things become passĂ©? Everything has to be slanted toward the male voice. It pisses me off! And furthermore, they won’t go to a single movie with a female protagonist, while I have to suffer through raunchy, sophomoric, loud, explosive testosterone-fueled guy movies ad nauseum!

My philosophy of life can be summed up like this: when cows shit, flowers grow. Or in the words of Stuart Smalley: “It’s better to wear slippers than to carpet the whole world.”

I usesd to hate the word 'edgy' with a hatred reserved for pedophiles that moonlighted as suicide bombers. If I heard one more industry type use the word “EDGY” I was going to blow. For a long time every script in Hollywood had to be “edgy” and every woman had to be 18. I assume edgy meant “scuzzy” as in “scuzz film” starring Christopher Walken and directed by Quentin Tarantino.

And regarding ageism, I swear I actually heard a network executive say that only 18-21 year olds are “brand-changeable” that all important demographic that advertisers covet.

Everyone in Hollywood relates to everyone else from fake hierarchy of wants. There is a desperate “choose me” energy in L.A. — a yearning in the airwaves. Everyone wants something from someone.

Maybe fame is the cure for crime and adultery. Look at Ozzy and Gene Simmons and Snoop Dog. Since they had their own TV shows, they’re are on their best behavior. In the long run, everyone in the public eye seems to gain a conscience and clean up their act. We should have TV shows for all criminals. Every criminal gets his own show.

THE ESSENCE OF WANT

I’m still grieving over a garage sale I had a few years ago. People bought things from me against my will; they bought things I had no intention of selling! They stampeded over my lawn, like barbarians at the gate, taking everything off the walls of my garage -- my childhood possessions. Why did I feel so intimidated? I felt guilty when I said “No, this is not for sale.” One woman, a professional gypsy, bought a mixer, then stole my jewelry. I had to wrestle her to the ground and chase her to her Mercedes, yanking on her purse, while she tried to slam the car door on my arms. Finally I got the bag away and searched inside and found all my jewelry.

Now I’m having a garage sale for all my pens and pencils.
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OpEdNews: Holy Cow! Top Dems Are Serious About Investigating Bush's Criminal Acts

As President Barack Obama reverses some of ex-President George W. Bush's most controversial "war on terror" policies, a consensus seems to be building among Democratic congressional leaders that further investigations are needed into Bush's use of torture and other potential crimes...

Two other key Democrats joined in this growing chorus of lawmakers saying that serious investigations should be conducted...

On Jan. 18, two days before Obama's inauguration, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed support for House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers's plan to create a blue-ribbon panel of outside experts to probe the "broad range" of policies pursued by the Bush administration "under claims of unreviewable war powers."

In an interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace, Pelosi specifically endorsed a probe into the politicization of the Justice Department, but didn't spell out a position on Conyers's plan to examine the Bush administration's torture and rendition policies, which could prove embarrassing to Pelosi and other Democratic leaders who were briefed by the CIA about these tactics.

Still, when Wallace cited Obama's apparent unwillingness to investigate the Bush administration, Pelosi responded: "I think that we have to learn from the past, and we cannot let the politicizing of the--for example, the Justice Department--to go unreviewed. Past is prologue. We learn from it. And my views on the subject--I don't think that Mr. Obama and Mr. Conyers are that far apart."

The emerging consensus among top congressional Democrats for some form of investigation into Bush's controversial policies has surprised some progressives who had written off the leadership long ago for blocking impeachment hearings and other proposals for holding Bush and his subordinates accountable.

In 2006, for instance, Pelosi famously declared that "impeachment is off the table," and prior to Election 2008, the Democratic leadership largely acquiesced to Bush's demands for legislation that supported his "war on terror" policies, including a compromise bill granting legal immunity to telecommunications companies that assisted in Bush's warrantless wiretaps.
Read more at: http://www.opednews.com/articles/Holy-Cow-Top-Dems-Are-Ser-by-Jason-Leopold-090126-269.html
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Photos from Vegas last week and St. Bart's last summer: The Wynn Hotel, the view from our window on 60th floor overlooking Trump Tower, Venetian Palazzo and Treasure Island. The Encore Hotel -- crystal peacock, butterfly mosaic floors.

Other photos at top: Kevin in Malibu last week. He found a starfish but put it back...













Photos: St. Bart's last summer July 2008
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Quote of the Day: Stress is the consequence of resistance to your life. When we resist, argue, are angry, make others wrong.. When you relax into acceptance, that's when you can start reclaiming your peace. Listen to people's stories: they tell why they are unable to be at peace now. Gary Zukav

Monday, January 19, 2009

WORLDWIDE HOPES SOAR * PRESIDENT OBAMA INAUGURATED!!

AWE-INSPIRING INAUGURATION DAY!! A glorious, peaceful transition of power.

Obama has already turned the climate of fear to hope. He has already met expectations by bringing people together in such an optimistic fever. He already has laid the groundwork for change by speaking of change. He spoke the word. It is our job to join him in service and love to our fellow man. We can lift each other up and help each other survive any recession.

So many children and young people are now inspired by the magnificent optimism and the coming together of this diverse, peaceful crowd.

Soundbites: "What you can build, not what you can destroy. Old hatreds will slip away..."

Earlier the Obamas took part in a traditional Inauguration Day service at St. John’s Episcopal Church across the the White House, where evangelist Bishop T.D. Jakes read from Daniel 3:19 – “In times of crisis, good men must stand up. God always sends the best men into the worst times.”

The Obamas – who went to the service without their young daughters – were greeted by the Rev. Luis Leon just before 9 a.m. The service took place under a stained glass window depicting the Last Supper, with an American flag draped nearby.

The church has hosted the prayer service for the president-elect 10 times on inauguration morning, dating back to Franklin Roosevelt in 1933.

Continuing in the same chapter from Daniel, Jakes read, “You cannot change what you will not confront. This is a moment of confrontation in this country. There’s no way around it…This is not a time for politeness or correctness, this is a time for people to confront issues and bring about change.”

TD Jakes read from Daniel 3:19 and used the scripture to offer PEOTUS a series of four lessons for his administration.

1 – “In time of crisis, good men must stand up. God always sends the best men into the worst times.”

2 – “You cannot change what you will not confront. This is a moment of confrontation in this country. There’s no way around it…This is not a time for politeness or correctness, this is a time for people to confront issues and bring about change.”

3 – “You cannot enjoy the light without enduring the heat. The reality is the more brilliant, the more glorious, the more essential the light, the more intense the heat. We cannot separate one from the other.”

4 – “Extraordinary times require extraordinary methods. This is a historical moment for us and our nation and our country, and though we enjoy it and are inspired by it and motivated by it.”

After his four lessons, Jakes turned from the crowd and looked directly at Obama.

“The problems are mighty and the solutions are not simple,” Jakes said, “and everywhere you turn there will be a critic waiting to attack every decision that you make. But you are all fired up, Sir, and you are ready to go. And this nation goes with you. God goes with you.

The inauguration quartet was comprised of cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Itzahk Perlman, clarinetist Anthony McGill and pianist Gabriela Montero.

Michelle Obama is looking spectacular, and the precious daughters Sasah and Melea look adorable.



HISTORY IN THE MAKING ON THE MALL

It is the artist's privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart.. Faulkner
The calm order and beauty of the Obama Inaugural Celebration absolutely sent chills down my spine. I feel so excited about the future now. America is back. I am blown away watching this concert and these gifted world-class artists and superstars.

Shakira, Beyonce and Sheryl Crowe looking gorgeous and sounding hot. Tiger Woods honoring the military. Springsteen, Seeger...Tom Hanks giving a tribute to Abraham Lincoln. Jack Black, Laura Linney, Steve Carell, Denzel Washington... Renee Fleming, Josh Groban... Bettye LaVette (the MOST SEXY SOUL VOICE!!) and Jon Bon Jovi teaming up on Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come"; John Legend (LOVE HIS VOICE!) and James Taylor (My old fave)... Herbie Hancock on keyboards, Will.I.Am and Sheryl Crow performed Bob Marley's "One Love." And I never knew how great Garth Brooks is!! "God Bless America, God Bless the world, Love one another!" He had the crowd up on their feet. What a fantastic event.


Washington Post: Some of the world's biggest artistic egos cooperated yesterday to honor both history and Obama, who sat onstage with his wife and daughters, frequently bobbing his head in time with the music and enjoying the almost inconceivable lineup that drew hundreds of thousands to the Mall. Where else could you see the biggest stars in pop music, as well as the likes of Tom Hanks, Queen Latifah, Denzel Washington and Tiger Woods on one stage -- a stage overlooked by the stoic stone gaze of Abraham Lincoln.

"Hello, America," Obama said. "I want to thank all the speakers and performers for reminding us, through song and through words, just what it is that we love about America." The free mega-concert signaled a departure from the Bush administration's frequent efforts to distance itself from Hollywood. Obama seemed to make clear with the event that he was returning to the celebrity-friendly days when Democrats last occupied the White House.

Producers had said beforehand they wanted to stage a thematically coherent as well as entertaining show, and they pulled it off with songs, readings and film clips. Although less than two hours long, it had the excitement and fullness of a LiveAid concert.

Most performers covered other people's hits with backing from the concert's official band. The Rev. Gene Robinson, the openly gay Episcopal bishop, delivered the invocation, calling for unity. Bruce Springsteen opened the show with his own "The Rising," a rousing rendition supported by a 125-voice female chorus in resplendent red gowns. John Mellencamp sang his own signature "Pink Houses," backed by a 60-member Baptist choir. The trio of James Taylor, John Legend and Jennifer Nettles joyously performed Taylor's "Shower the People."

U2 landed the honor of doing two of their own songs -- the anthemic "Pride (In the Name of Love)" and "City of Blinding Lights," which Obama had used at campaign events. Lead singer Bono said Obama had specifically requested the latter. Interviewed afterward, Bono said the president-elect's theme of hope -- and Obama himself -- represented a "melody line that is now contagious. It's a pop song."

Even Bono felt awed to be there. "We don't do humble as much as we should, but we were truly humbled this afternoon," he said.

The afternoon had the feel of a movie matinee, a greatest hits review and a history lesson. Some 14 actors read from dramatic scripts invoking the words and accomplishments of presidents Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, with occasional detours into significant chapters of the civil rights movement. Queen Latifah, for example, introduced the story of contralto Marian Anderson, who was banned by the whites-only Daughters of the American Revolution from performing at DAR Constitution Hall but got to sing at the Lincoln Memorial with an assist from first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Then Josh Groban joined Heather Headley, with backing from the Gay Mens Chorus of Washington, to cover "My Country 'Tis of Thee" -- the very song that Anderson used to open her performance in 1939.

Another historical highlight arrived with Springsteen joining 89-year-old folk singer Pete Seeger to lead the crowd -- the president-elect included -- in a singalong of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land." Seeger made sure to include stanzas of the song not often sung at events of this official magnitude, including protest sentiments and references to Depression-era poverty.

Tiger Woods introduced the Naval Academy Glee Club, which performed with soprano Renee Fleming.

Perhaps the only off moment came with the introduction of two American eagles -- named Challenger and Mr. Lincoln -- before Obama spoke. The crowd seemed a bit perplexed watching the tethered birds flap their wings as their handler held them aloft while a military color guard looked on. The show's producers should have heeded the old showbiz adage: Never work with animal acts.

The enthusiastic crowd stretched from the stage to the Washington Monument. Carolyn Bacchus and her father Jim from Davidson, N.C., said they were waiting to clear security when a couple came up to them and handed them two coveted blue tickets, giving them access to the very front of the stage area.

"We don't know why they gave us tickets," Jim Bacchus said. And 18-year-old Carolyn marveled, "I got pictures with Bon Jovi. I gave him my Obama button. He was onstage wearing my Obama button."

At the edge of the crowd, DeAnna Tisdale, a 23-year-old from Jackson, Miss., said she found the experience transcendent. "When I look out here and see all the people supporting not just a man but a movement, it represents a shift in thought, a shift in action. Music always reflects how people feel."

There were many stirring, even tear-inducing moments. Some started crying when Obama spoke. Others welled up at U2's performance of "Pride," connecting to the significance of hearing it at the site of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech 46 years ago and on the day before King's birthday will be celebrated.

As Bono himself put it: "That was amazing. . . . This land isn't my land. But it never looked as beautiful as I looked out on that sea of people and possibility that this guy represents."

But perhaps not as amazing as watching the all-star lineup join in a chorus with Beyoncé as she sent off the crowd with a soulful, emotional version of "America the Beautiful."

Friday, January 02, 2009

SPIRITUAL ARCHITECTURE

Quote of the Day: “If there isn't deep integrity and fundamental character strength, the challenges of life will cause true motives to surface and human relationship failure will replace short-term success." —Stephen R. Covey

One of the most inspiring stories of 2008: 'Good Samaritan' saves crying woman's foreclosed home (from CNN.com)... But first some infuriating things my husband said that weren't so funny while they were happening...





Spiritual architecture

My husband and I went to a sports bar to watch the last Packer game of the season on Sunday. We had so much fun — but we have the goofiest relationship. Paul hates it when I use big words; he always wants me to act like a dumb blonde. So when the waitress came over to take our order I happened to be telling him an idea for a chapter in my book called "Spiritual Architecture" he got really embarrassed and told me to please not use intelligent words like that. "It might make the waitress uncomfortable," he said.

WTF?? Was he implying the waitress was stupid? No. What he meant was that he wanted me to fit into the Neanderthal crowd. Usually I have to use very pornographic language just to get his attention.

When we fight, we are talking to each other's wounds...not to each other. We fight over who’s being nicer. We strangle each other over who is doing the Golden Rule better. This reminds me of my favorite line from Dr. Strangelove: “You can’t fight in here, this is the War Room!”

By the way, when I first met my husband I was shocked at how much TV he watched. And it was always some celebrity tabloid show featuring the flavor of the month. I asked him, “Don’t you think we’re too obsessed with celebrities in this culture? He just stared at the TV and said, “No, it’s educational.”

My big question is, why am I experiencing life with this particular person? Oh yeah, according to Bob Lancer -- the purpose of marriage is to learn compassion!

So I asked him, “Tell me how, how is it educational to learn how many belly-button rings or mansions Britney Spears has? I think this is making us a nation of covetous, jealous, greedy, panicky zombies.”

He wouldn't answer. He was zoned out staring at the TV, and didn't hear me.

Over Christmas, my sister and I were going through all our old record albums, LPs. I have all the original Beatles, Jethro Tull ('Benefit' is the best, especially the song 'Sossity!') Led Zeppelin, Moody Blues, ELP, The Band, Zephyr, Fleetwood Mac ('Mystery to Me' - my favorite before Buckingham-Nicks came along...) We were reminiscing about how much fun it was to put the needle into the groove of the record, even if it would scratch the record. There was something so solid about “playing a record” on an actual turntable.

I began to think about the way we are becoming less material and more digital. Doing away with cumbersome record players, cassettes, and even CDs. We are becoming "thought" -- one mind. We are able to communicate and almost think directly to each other over computer signals and “text” messages – which is like grabbing words out of thin air.

Think of the invisible notes of music or the invisible numbers of mathematics. There is a divine harmony underlying everything. Everything is beauty and harmony. The physical picture is not the real story. Kind of like the inner software in a computer — the substance, the meat. Everything else is just temporary packaging. What's real is what's inside. The invisible.

Speaking of music, our kids blew our minds on New Years Eve. We took them to a party and they sat down at the piano and played the entire night. Each separately - Kevin, 13 played Cold Play and Muse. Jack, who is 14, played songs from the new Jack's Mannequin album (his favorite band) plus The Pink Panther, Sting and lots of other stuff. Jack wants guitar lessons too. A couple of years ago, I couldn't get them to even consider piano lessons. Now they each have a Yamaha in their rooms and they compose music everyday! You can plug in your laptop and compose as it creates sheet music.

My father was a violinist, my sister is a composer who wrote a new theme song for Extreme Home Makeover (and a major Gospel Choir is singing her composition!!) and my younger brother, who died a few years ago, was a prodigy with perfect pitch.
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New Year's Resolutions

In 2009 I am going to try to be less sensitive. I am so sensitive I feel sorry for that little depressed egg bobbing around in the “Depression” commercial…

I am so sensitive, I cried at the violence in the James Bond movie and then jumped out of the car when my husband said I had “too much compassion." My son Kevin was upset that I reminded him to have a conscience after the movie – that I made him less numb to violence. In other words, I ruined his high... and therefore it’s a bad thing! …???
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Jim Bullock put his face on my body when we were signing autographs. Fans actually bought this one: (Jimmy: Sorry you missed our Christmas party and we couldn't make it to your play in KC!)


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Epiphany: I woke up on December 1, 2008 out of the ether and realized I was depressed. Usually I light a candle on this sad day, but I had even forgotten to call my mother — as it is the anniversary of my brother's death. I picked up Eckhardt Tolle's bestseller "A New Earth: Awakening to your Life's Purpose" and randomly turned to a page at the back, which said that the only times we are unhappy are when we are looking backward or forward — in other words, when we are not living in the present moment: RIGHT NOW. Right now, nothing bad is happening. It is only when we live in the past and future that we feel pain.

The book said that we must wake up and fully enjoy the present moment - be fully conscious and look at the joy we can create by being grateful for the tiniest thing. We must also see what we can do for others, for "Only a life lived for others is worth living." I realized I had two kids in the house who needed me -- and one in particular was in a lot of pain, hobbling around after his bone surgery, with his foot bent in a crooked position. He needed me to be in good spirits, to really care about him (which I always do, but sometimes I am focused on my own deadlines and projects and fear -- that I forget to "feel his pain." So I got up and made his breakfast with so much love. Then I made his lunch and put a note in it. Then I got his shoes and rubbed his feet with Tiger Balm. Then I offered to drive him to school. He was so grateful that I lifted his burdens for the morning. My whole world changed from this simple committtment to "stay in the present moment" and stay out of my head (it's a bad neighborhood.) Stay out of worry and fear -- for they are not real and do not exist. Only the GOOD is real.


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Updates in this issue: Please read below some thoughts on Obama's picks, particularly Sanjay Gupta for Surgeon General (a flawed, superficial pick according to Paul "Conscience of a Liberal" Krugman.) Also I post a letter from The New Yorker, making peace with Obama's choice of homophobic pastor Rick Warren to give the Inaugural prayer. Progressives are not happy with some of Obama's bewildering choices, but we'll have to wait and see. You can't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

God Bless sweet Jett. As everyone knows by now, John Travolta's 16-year-old son Jett passed on Friday. Please hold the Travolta family in your prayers. Personally I am devasted by Jett's death. 
Having fledgling teenage boys myself (13 and 14) — I've been crying intermittently and praying every time I think of Kelly and John and Ella Blue.

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Back from vacation! HAPPY 2009!! May you have a year filled with LOVE, joy, peace, health, wealth, happiness and success! And remember to be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

Here is the first pic taken with my "new" iPhone (Remember the iPhone I stood in line for 5 hours to buy for my son, the very first iPhone ever made? My son finally gave it to me for Christmas, since he got a new one. Photo: Hubby and me at our kid's friend Leo's Barmitzvah, Saturday January 3, 2009



This month we will be celebrating 2009 and posting our favorite pics from 2008. I will also post "Ways to Be Happy No Matter What your Circumstances... whether in poverty or riches; whether feeling depressed, drinking too much or feeling hopeless. There are concrete ways to turn your entire life around and to be really happy. It starts with simply not thinking about yesterday or tomorrow. Right now, close off all thoughts of regret or future fear. Look around at what you have. See what you can do to make someone else happy right now. If no one is around you, make yourself happy. You can choose to feel good right now. The Buddhists say "Chop wood, carry water." Whatever you are doing, make it an art form, even if it is "chopping the wood to light the fire to make tea." Every moment is a holy moment. You are alive. This is a gift. Happy New Year!!
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We are scheduling some great guests this month, in time for Obama's inauguration! Richard Belzer, Larry Charles, Dr. Linda Durre, possibly Hillary and Bill Clinton(!) David Sedaris, Anne Lamott... If you live in Vegas you can tune in Live or go to our website and listen in the audio archives.

The Basham and Cornell Show broadcasts weekday mornings at 8 am Pacific (11 a.m. Eastern) on KLAV 1230 AM Radio live in Las Vegas. Again, all shows are simulcast worldwide on the Internet (and archived) and can be listened to at Basham and Cornell Radio

If you've missed our show, check out the audio archives for MP3 podcasts. Recent guests include: Senator Tom Daschle (Obama's Secretary of Health); CNN's Paul Begala (Former Senior Clinton advisor), Pat Buchanan (Former Reagan Advisor), John Edwards, Elizabeth Edwards, Pulitzer Prize winner Charlie Savage,CNN Crossfire's Bill Press, John Dean, Valerie Plame, NBC Bureau Chief in Tel Aviv Martin Fletcher, Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Elizabeth Kucinich; Rep. Robert Wexler, Rep. Charlie Rangel, Salon's Max Blumenthal, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, Rep. Patrick Murphy, Senator Byron Dorgan, Mike Gravel; Elizabeth Kucinich, Christine Pelosi, Bestselling authors Valerie Bertinelli, Naomi Klein, Paul Krugman, Christopher Cerf, Stefan Forbes,Vincent Bugliosi, etc.
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A letter from The New Yorker, making peace with Obama's choice of homophobic pastor Rick Warren to give the Inaugural prayer:

I struggled with the Warren selection but have made peace with it. One thing that has helped me is that I live with my aging evangelical mother. Her church has split from the Episcopal Church over the appointment of Gene Robinson as the bishop. I was shocked to learn that my otherwise liberal, Obama-voting parent was against this clergyman because of his homosexuality. It’s been the first time in my life that my mother and I have had a bitter dispute about something (for real).

By virtue of proximity, I have had some interactions with my mother’s church. I have learned that they are kind and supportive; they give aid to the disadvantaged and have ministered devotedly to my mother during her hospitalizations. They are not haters; my mother is not a hater. She is one of the kindest, most spiritual people I know.

You are right about the bubbles that we all live in, the echo chambers of shared beliefs. If it weren’t for my mother, I would still be in my bubble, nurturing a deep resentment for the religious right that didn’t allow for any shared humanity. I will continue to be an ardent supporter for gay rights but will do it with a little less hatred in my heart. That, I believe, is Obama’s point.

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Paul Krugman: The trouble with Sanjay Gupta
So apparently Obama plans to appoint CNN’s Sanjay Gupta as Surgeon General. I don’t have a problem with Gupta’s qualifications. But I do remember his mugging of Michael Moore over Sicko. You don’t have to like Moore or his film; but Gupta specifically claimed that Moore “fudged his facts”, when the truth was that on every one of the allegedly fudged facts, Moore was actually right and CNN was wrong.

What bothered me about the incident was that it was what Digby would call Village behavior: Moore is an outsider, he’s uncouth, so he gets smeared as unreliable even though he actually got it right. It’s sort of a minor-league version of the way people who pointed out in real time that Bush was misleading us into war are to this day considered less “serious” than people who waited until it was fashionable to reach that conclusion. And appointing Gupta now, although it’s a small thing, is just another example of the lack of accountability that always seems to be the rule when you get things wrong in a socially acceptable way.

Update: Many commenters don’t seem to get the point. Gupta didn’t say “Michael Moore is an annoying blowhard”; he didn’t say “We question his interpretation of the evidence”; he said he “fudged the facts”. In other words, he accused Moore of lying. That’s a very strong accusation, which had better be backed by solid evidence. Instead, we had CNN misreading a number from Moore; CNN objecting to Moore using a projected health care spending number for 2007 instead of an actual number for 2005 (and the projection was right, by the way); CNN accusing Moore of not showing a number that was in fact right there in the movie. And Gupta did not apologize, except for the misread number.


"I’m going to stop analyzing and worrying about my problems and see what happens," Lexy said to her abusive therapist Zoe.
"Are you crazy? You have to analyze your problems or they might go away!” said Zoe.
“Exactly!!" exclaimed Lexy.
- Dialogue from my film "Venus Conspiracy"


O
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I am so proud of my sister! Her "EXTREME MAKEOVER: HOME EDITION" aired last night on ABC-TV. The episode featured a gospel song my sister Kathryn wrote especially for this episode, performed by the Mt. Ararat Gospel Choir of Pittsburgh as the home was being demolished to be rebuilt. The song is called "LET THESE WALLS COME TUMBLING DOWN".

My sister is a brilliant composer and has 4 albums out. She was a founding member of the cult band "Two Nice Girls" (there were three girls in the group -- guess only 2 of them were nice!) on Rough Trade Records (Lucinda Williams' label) and was discovered at Austin's South by Southwest Conference. She also played on an album called "Guitarrorists." She also wrote the music to FOX Morning Show. She is "extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity to write for Extreme Home Makeover!" Thank you, Jen Lane (series director)!"
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'Good Samaritan' saves crying woman's foreclosed home
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
Stranger buys foreclosed home for woman on hard times
"If it was you, you'd want somebody to stop and help you," says Marilyn Mock
Mock bought home for $30,000; says she'll work out payment deal with Tracy Orr
Orr says Mock's generosity has "given me back faith and hope to keep going"

(CNN) -- Tracy Orr sat in the back of the room and prepared to watch her foreclosed home go up for auction this past Saturday. That's when a pesky stranger sat down beside her and struck up a conversation.

Tracy Orr faced losing her home to foreclosure when Marilyn Mock, a stranger, stepped in to buy it.

"Are you here to buy a house?" Marilyn Mock said.

Orr couldn't hold it in. The tears flowed. She pointed to the auction brochure at a home that didn't have a picture. "That's my house," she said.

Within moments, the four-bedroom, two-bath home in Pottsboro, Texas, went up for sale. People up front began casting their bids. The home that Orr purchased in September 2004 was slipping away.

She stood and moved toward the crowd. Behind her, Mock got into the action.

"She didn't know I was doing it," Mock says. "I just kept asking her if [her home] was worth it, and she just kept crying. She probably thought I was crazy, 'Why does this woman keep asking me that?

Mock says she bought the home for about $30,000. That's when Mock did what most bidders at a foreclosure auction never do. "When it was all done, I was just in shock."

"All this happened within like 5 minutes. She never even asked me my name. She didn't ask me my financial situation. She had no idea what [the house] looked like. She just did it out of the graciousness of her heart, just a 'Good Samaritan,' " Orr says. "It's amazing."

Why be so generous? "She was just so sad. You put yourself in their situation and you realize you just got to do something," says Mock, who says she has trouble walking by homeless people on the street and not helping them out.

"If it was you, you'd want somebody to stop and help you."

Orr, who nearly lost her home, says her newfound friend has "given me back faith and hope to keep going and hold my head up. Things happen for a reason," Orr says.
(Read more at CNN.com)
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