November rambling – We are not the enemy

Tips on how to endure the 18+ hour flight

Cease fire Sooner or later, tyrants are always abandoned by their followers

The American civil war didn’t end, and we have a Confederate president

The First Family of Fraud

Fox and Friends: If the Media Doesn’t Want to Be Called ‘The Enemy’They Should Report the Story How He Wants

Amy Biancolli: We are not the enemy

John Oliver: Migrant Family Separation and Drain the Swamp

Why Is It So Hard to Vote in America? Voter turnout lags in the world’s most powerful democracy? and Cost of Voting in the American States

A Legislative Agenda for House Democrats

What Republicans fear most of all

A man who survived a mass shooting in Las Vegas in 2017 was among those killed in the 2018 mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, CA

There’s very little known about the thousands of victims who survive deadly shootings

Tammy Marshall – My Breast Implants Almost Killed Me – The Truth About BII

The US just elected 9 new scientists to Congress

The Ancestor Hunt: Historical Jewish American Newspapers Online

Why are the Spanish living so long?

Ken Levine interviews media consultant, Valerie Geller – Tell the truth, make it matter, never be boring: Learn the keys to successful communication

Ntozake Shange, Who Wrote ‘For Colored Girls,’ Is Dead at 70

Former San Francisco Giants first baseman Willie McCovey’s presence was one of a kind

In Conversation: Alex Trebek The Jeopardy! icon on retirement, his legacy, and why knowledge matters

Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), a former Navy SEAL, representative-elect: SNL mocked my appearance; here’s why I didn’t demand an apology

Jimmy Kimmel: Trumpy bear

John Boehner: Washington Needs to Legalize Cannabis – NOW, he says it

The Crazy Contentious History Of Taco Tuesday

Scott McCartney, travel writer for WSJ, taking world’s longest flight — Newark to Singapore; tips on how to endure the 18+ hour flight

The cheapest ways to get to the center of Manhattan from the three airports that serve the Big Apple

Esquire Fiction: Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah – Annual holiday super sale? Or zombie apocalypse?

Video tour from the forties Los Angeles side-by-side with the same route in 2016

It slices, it dices, and it’s older than me

This image has exactly 12 dots, but it’s impossible to see them all at once

Now I Know: The Problem With Anonymous Lottery Winners and The Cat’s Meow, Instrumentalized

Fabulous German words with no English equivalent

MUSIC

Take the A Train – Roy Clark And Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown; Roy Clark, country guitar virtuoso, ‘Hee Haw’ star, dies at 85

Above The Law – The O’Jays

BE A DJ: Kathy Buckley – 10/30/18 (WDST, Woodstock, NY)

Snippets of Hey Red! B/W We’re Not Going Steady – Herb London on Buzz Records; London, Conservative Thought Leader and occasional political candidate in New York State, died at 79. (HT to Dustbury)

Solid Rock is now a cultural part of Australian music history

Alexander Borodin’s String Quartet No 1, performed by the Moscow String Quartet

Recording of a warning chime recorded by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra – In all, Lincoln commissioned six different non-critical warning chimes from the orchestra, covering 25 vehicle functions

Careless Whisper – Train, ft. Kenny G

Happiness is just around the bend – Brian Auger

Anything You Can Do – Voctave

9,999,999 Tears – Dickie Lee

Alice Cooper in a Dodge commercial

Paul Simon and religion

Paul Simon will be releasing a new album in the spring of 2016.

paul simonTerrestrial friend Dan, the proprietor of the Albany Weblog, scratched his chin:

Roger, it recently occurred to me that many of Paul Simon’s songs from the Simon and Garfunkel era were very religious and strongly flavored with his Catholicism, but after he went solo that overt religious bent seems to have mostly disappeared. Usually we see religion creep in to his or her work as an artist grows older, not the other way around. What do you think?

Well, everything I know about Paul Simon suggests that he was not Catholic, but rather, a secular Jew. Indeed, in Hollowverse: “Simon was raised Jewish and his mother was devout, celebrating all of the Jewish holidays and regularly going to Synagogue. However, his father wasn’t nearly as devout as his mother.”

He followed his father’s example. Still, he refers to himself as a Jew in the title song of the album Hearts and Bones.

In How Can You Live In The Northeast, he seems cynical about ALL religion.

How can you be a Christian?
How can you be a Jew?
How can you be a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Hindu?
How can you?

Weak as the winter sun, we enter life on earth.
Names and religion comes just after date of birth.

I suspect you haven’t heard his 2011 album So Beautiful or So What, which is filled with religious, and even specifically Christian references. Christianity Today put it on its Best Album list. In this PBS interview from early 2012, Simon said, “For somebody who’s not a religious person, God comes up a lot in my songs.”

The question got me thinking about Paul Simon and religion more generally. One’s music/art can surely be shaped by the majority culture. Here’s a list, obviously incomplete; links to the titles go to the lyrics.

Simon & Garfunkel

Go Tell It On The Mountain from Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. (1964) – a cover of a traditional song
LISTEN here or here

Blessed from Sounds of Silence (1966) – a variation on the Beatitudes
LISTEN here or here

Bridge Over Troubled Water, the title track (1970) – “When you’re weary, feeling small…”
LISTEN here or here

Solo Paul Simon

Have A Good Time from Still Crazy After All These Years (1975) – more cheeky with the intentional poor English: “God bless the goods we was given…”
LISTEN here or here

Slip Slidin’ Away (1977) – “God only knows, God makes his plan. The information’s unavailable To the mortal man.”
LISTEN here or here

Spirit Voices from The Rhythm of the Saints (1990) -“And all of these spirit voices Sing rainwater, sea water. River water, holy water. Wrap this child in mercy – heal her. Heaven’s only daughter. All of these spirit voices rule the night.”
LISTEN here or here

Wartime Prayers from Surprise, 2006- “But when the wounds are deep enough And it’s all that we can bear We wrap ourselves in prayer.”
LISTEN here or here

How Can You Live In The Northeast from Surprise, 2006
LISTEN here or here

These all from So Beautiful, or So What (2011)

Getting Ready For Christmas Day – “Ready, getting ready, For the power and the glory and the story of the Christmas Day.”
LISTEN here or here

The Afterlife – “After you climb up the ladder of time The Lord God is near Face-to-face in the vastness of space”
LISTEN here or here

Love Is Eternal Sacred Light – “Evil is darkness, sight without sight A demon that feeds on the mind.”
LISTEN here or here

Paul Simon will be releasing a new album in the spring of 2016.

B is for The Disputation of Barcelona

“The Jews were forced to listen to the sermons preached by the Dominican friars. “

DisputationHere’s something I’ve only known about for a few weeks.

“The Disputation of Barcelona (July 20–24, 1263) was a formal ordered medieval debate between representatives of Christianity and Judaism regarding whether or not Jesus was the Messiah.” Apparently, these disputations, over matters of faith, and other important topics, took place from time to time.

“Martin Luther opened the Protestant Reformation by demanding a disputation upon his 95 theses, 31 October 1517. Although presented as a call to an ordinary scholastic dispute, the oral debate never occurred.”

The Barcelona disputation “was held at the royal palace of King James I of Aragon in the presence of the King, his court, and many prominent ecclesiastical dignitaries and knights, between Dominican Friar Pablo Christiani, a convert from Judaism to Christianity, and Rabbi Nahmanides (Ramban), a leading medieval Jewish scholar, philosopher, physician, kabbalist, and biblical commentator.

“During the Middle Ages, there were numerous ordered disputations between Christians and Jews. They were not free and authentic debates (like modern ones), but were mere attempts by Christians to force conversion on the Jews. They were connected with burnings of the Talmud at the stake and violence against Jews. The Disputation of Barcelona was unique, in that it was the only occasion on which the Jewish representative was allowed to speak freely.”

So it sounded like a respite from the general persecution of the Jews on religious grounds, and the rigging of the system. However, the aftermath, according to the Jewish Virtual Library:

The [Barcelona] disputation… prompted the Dominican Raymond Martini to devise a better method of providing christological interpretations to the aggadah. In 1280 Martini concluded his book Pugio Fidei (Paris, 1651), and henceforward it was used indiscriminately by every Christian controversialist wishing to invalidate Judaism.

The king cooperated with missionary activities throughout the realm and the Jews were forced to listen to the sermons preached by the Dominican friars. An order was issued by the latter between August 26 and 29 directing the Jews to erase from their copies of the Talmud any passages vilifying Jesus and Mary. Failure to do so was punishable by a fine, and books which had not been censored as required would be burned…

This was, functionally, a less bloody event of the centuries-long Inquisition, “one of the great blights on the history of Christianity.”

And what, you may reasonably ask, piqued my interest in this arcane topic? It was the death of the actor Christopher Lee at the age of 93 in early June 2015. A Facebook friend posted a reference to The Disputation, a 1986 TV movie starring Lee as King James of Aragon.

Better still, you can watch the hour-long drama here or here.
abc 17 (1)
ABC Wednesday – Round 17

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