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"


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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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Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.” Dr. Seuss