Friday, February 27, 2009

Medicine for Melancholy

Looks interesting:

Here is an article on the film from The Root.

Seen any good films lately?

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Wisdom of Woody

"I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good. I hate a song that makes you think that you are just born to lose. Bound to lose. No good to nobody. No good for nothing. Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim or too ugly or too this or too that. Songs that run you down or poke fun at you on account of your bad luck or hard travelling. I am out to fight those songs to my very last breath of air and my last drop of blood. I am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world and that if it has hit you pretty hard and knocked you for a dozen loops, no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built, I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work. And the songs that I sing are made up for the most part by all sorts of folks just about like you. I could hire out to the other side, the big money side, and get several dollars every week just to quit singing my own kind of songs and to sing the kind that knock you down still farther and the ones that poke fun at you even more and the ones that make you think that you've not got any sense at all. But I decided a long time ago that I'd starve to death before I'd sing any such songs as that. The radio waves and your movies and your jukeboxes and your songbooks are already loaded down and running over with such no good songs as that anyhow."

-- Woody Guthrie

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Things that make you go hhhhmmmmmmm.....

Which is it?

A. Liberate your mind and your ass will follow?

B. Liberate your ass and your mind will follow?

What do you think?

Monday, February 09, 2009

The Civil Rights Era in Omaha

The Reader, an alternative weekly here in Omaha, is running a two-issue series on the local civil rights movement. In the current issue, "Full Freedom Now" focuses on the 4CL, or "the Citizens Coordinating Committee for Civil Liberties." During the early-mid-1960s, the group, led by four clergymen, used non-violent direct action to press for change on a host of issues. Their list of demands for the city council included: the hiring of more black people by the city and schools, the integration of police cruisers, and what would ultimately prove the hardest to achieve — a city ordinance outlawing discrimination in housing. Rev. Kelsey Jones recalled, “Racial problems exist here in a more acute degree than in Cleveland, Detroit, or Baltimore,” Rev. Jones said in a Sun Special article in 1963. “We only think things are worse in those cities because they are out in the open. Here, they are cemented. Take the cap off, as in Mississippi, and it would be the same.” A second article, "We Just Wanted to Swim, Sir," focuses on the successful attempt by the local NAACP Youth Council to desegregate the public swimming pool at Peony Park.

Both are worth taking a look at... yet another reminder that the struggle for racial justice was a national, not a regional, phenomenon.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

It's About Time!

This is the dude I voted for...

Click ahead to the 3:30 mark...

The crucial quote:
But what I have also said is - don't come to table with the same tired arguments and worn ideas that helped create this crisis.

We're not going to get relief by turning back to the very same policies that in eight short years doubled the national debt and threw our economy into a tailspin. We can't embrace the losing formula that offers more tax cuts as the only answer to every problem we face, while ignoring critical challenges like our addiction to foreign oil, the soaring cost of health care, failing schools and crumbling bridges, roads and levees. I don't care whether you're driving a hybrid or an SUV - if you're headed for a cliff, you have to change direction.


Any thoughts?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Joe Carter and the Legacy of the African American Spiritual

Speaking of Faith is one of my favorite NPR programs... always probing interesting dynamics of spiritual life. The following episode, from July 2008, focuses on Joe Carter and the African American spiritual:

The spiritual is celebrated in American culture and beyond. It is the source from which gospel, jazz, blues, and hip-hop evolved. It was born in the American South, created by slaves, bards whose names history never recorded. The organizing concept of this music is not the melody of Europe, but the rhythm of Africa. And the theology conveyed in these songs is a potent mix of African spirituality, Hebrew narrative, Christian doctrine, and an extreme experience of human suffering.

We celebrate the life of Joe Carter, who explored the meaning of the Negro spiritual in word and song — through its hidden meanings, as well as its beauty, lament, and hope.

Check it out here. It is well worth a listen...

Monday, February 02, 2009

How to Work Out from Home

It's gut-check time... This time of year, in early February, a lot of folks begin to lose sight of their New Year's resolutions, particularly when it comes to exercising. Here is a CLASSIC 3-minute video with some really excellent ideas about how to work out from home...


Youtube and Grey Goose have teamed up to sponsor a Black History Month film festival online. The previous documentary I posted about black rock musicians was a part of this series, as is the following film, made in Canada, about an ancient African instrument, the hungu:

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Wisdom of Howard Thurman

• “Religious experience is dynamic, it’s fluid, it’s effervescent, it’s yeasty… all these words. But the mind can’t handle that, so it has to imprison the religious experience in some way, get it bottled up. Then, when it gets quiet enough – it meaning the religious experience – then the mind draws a bead on it and extracts out of this ferment concepts, notions, dogmas, so that the religious experience will make sense to the mind. But meanwhile, the religious experience goes on experiencing! Therefore, whatever creed there is, whatever theology there is, it is always a little out of date. This is why I feel, once a religion is stated in terms of dogma, or interlocutions, perhaps, then it can become the source of propaganda… But as long as the experience is vital, the only way that it can spread is by contagion, not by instruction, not by addressing the mind, but as something you catch, as you catch the measles… This is the nature of religious experience, whatever kind it is.”

• "When the song of the angels is stilled, When the star in the sky is gone, When the kings and princes are home, When the shepherds are back with their flock, The work of Christmas begins: To find the lost, To heal the broken, To feed the hungry, To release the prisoner, To rebuild the nations, To bring peace among others, To make music in the heart."

• “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

• “There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have. And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls.”

• “Commitment means that it is possible for a man to yield the nerve centre of his consent to a purpose or cause, a movement or an ideal, which may be more important to him than whether he lives or dies.”

• “During times of war, hatred becomes quite respectable, even though it has to masquerade often under the guise of patriotism.”

• “A dream is the bearer of a new possibility, the enlarged horizon, the great hope.”

• "Follow the grain in
 your own wood."

• "To keep a lamp burning,
 we have to keep putting
 oil in it."

• “Community cannot for long feed on itself; it can only flourish with the coming of others from beyond, their unknown and undiscovered brothers.”