The only thing different is the way we came

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Political operatives and ideologues know how to push our buttons. They know what turns off our critical thinking and keeps us glued to a message, perspective, or screen. They’ve know this for a long time (see sidebar). But our technology exacerbates their effects on and power over us. It allows us to sink ever deeper into information silos — mutually exclusive realities — that are designed to keep us inside by making us fear and loathe what is outside. It allows and encourages us to strike out from them at our perceived enemies at an instant. And it keeps this process going 24/7, every single day of our lives. Given enough fear and bitterness, people will lash out at anything just to try and make it stop. And they will justify it by projecting their fears and unhappiness on anyone who fits the momentary need. But, as the Roman poet Horace once observed, et semel emissum volat irrevocabile verbum (“once sent forth, a word flies on, unable to be recalled”). The same goes for forwards, posts, and Facebook: once we hit “send” or “share,” it’s too late to prevent the damage we cause to people who take us at our word. And, at some point, that damage can’t be undone. Eventually, we will find ourselves alone, in our own silo, with little but bile and rancid ideas to live on. Continue reading
Is this what all those tutors, lessons, sports, and camps, angst about toys, playtime, socialization and discipline, fights about homework, college prep, lectures about drugs and alcohol were about? Is all the money we pour into our little critters, all that time spent hovering over every detail of their lives, and all that driving -- only intended to churn out another child’s personal assistant? Continue reading
She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in. Everything was in order and the Pastor was preparing to leave when the young woman suddenly remembered something very important to her. "There's one more thing!" she said excitedly. 'What's that?' came the Pastor's reply. 'This is very important,' the young woman continued. 'I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.' Continue reading

Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez

The week all American Idol fans wait for… WEEK 12!  Both contestants have had a long run, but not without some controversy.  Jessica was voted off by the fans at one point.  I will still say, even in retrospect, her place on the stage at this point belonged to someone else.  Phillip Phillips has been the most consistent performer all year.  This is the second year that I felt as if the show’s producers conspired to make sure the finale had the person they really wanted to win.  I sincerely hope that the voting reflects the talent of the night.

Simon Fuller, the shows originator selected the first two songs.

Jessica Sanchez was given I Have Nothing by Whitney Houston to sing as her first of three songs tonight.  She has a wonderful voice by that growling sound that comes from her is over done.  I thought this performance was going fine until she started in with the growl.  It’s tough to do Whitney, so adjusting the tune a bit to suit her vocal style isn’t a bad idea and it gives it a chance to stand on it’s own.  But growling?  It turned it into your basic talent contest performance, at least for me. Continue reading

Hollie Cavanagh

At some point my prediction of Hollie‘s departure was bound to be correct, I honestly thought it was bound to be correct many weeks ago however!  I think of Colton Dixon and Elise Testone at a time like this and lament that their fan base was not aggressive enough to save them from their premature departures.

Phillip Phillips was the first to face the music.  Jimmy liked everything Phillip did last evening and thought he has finally found his ‘voice’.  No results, he was sent back to the couch.

Hollie Cavanagh was next.  Jimmy thinks Hollie is going in the wrong direction.  He characterized her performances last night as a crash and burn. No results, she was sent back to the couch too. Continue reading

A Final Four by any other name

The proverbial Final Four of the American Idol Season 11 is upon us.  I know it’s a college basketball metaphor but it applies here. This is an exciting time for the contestants and the fans and although I believe Phillip Phillips is the guy to beat this season I find myself unsure of that outcome at this late stage.  The voting fans are not easily to read this year, combine that with how the judges have been conducting themselves and you have a formula for unexpected results.

The themes for tonight, California Dreamin’ and songs that you wish you’d written.

Phillip Phillips sings CCR’s Have You Ever Seen The RainPhillip has a quirky style without his guitar and I think it suits him to go ‘commando’ from time to time.  I think his vocals struggled a bit.  I enjoyed this because of his own way of doing things.  Steven called him an original, Jennifer was impress and Randy pointed out that his vocals were pitchie in the beginning but at the first chorus he hit his groove.

Holly Cavanagh sang a song by Journey, Faithfully.  I think she struggled in the beginning, must be something in the air.  This was not a great choice for Hollie since most of the song was in her lower vocal range where she doesn’t have much power.

I think this performance alone puts her in the bottom two.

Randy thought she is peaking at the right time.  He liked it. Jennifer said she always believed in HollieHollie nearly made it to Season 10 and the judges told her to come back for Season 11.  Steven gave her high praise but didn’t actually critique the performance.  I’m always suspect when a judge avoids that part.  Needless to say, I couldn’t disagree more with the judges on her singing Faithfully, it wasn’t good. Continue reading

Skylar Laine

The stakes are particularly high this week since everyone in the competition has skills and one dark horse, Hollie Cavanagh, is making a move at the right time. Tonight we have the Bottom Two!  It’s all about fan support and it’s now that the votes from the eliminated contestants will make their biggest impact.  Remember the late surge for Kris Allen… and he won!

Tonight’s special guests are Coldplay and Carrie Underwood.

Ryan called Joshua Ledet to the stage first.  Without much drama Ryan announced he was safe, leaving four on the hot seat, sweating it out.

Coldplay took to the stage to sing their new song, Paradise.  Tonight’s effort was ok musically speaking but the lead vocalist went sharp when he sang the refrain.  Ouch. Continue reading

Recently I heard a Professor of History from the University of Virginia respond to the suggestion made by actor Tom Hanks that World War II was largely driven by racism. His premise is made by drawing comparisons to modern day rhetoric with that of WW II rhetoric. Hanks concludes our fight with the Japanese and ultimately our use of "the bomb" was from a racist motive to utterly and completely wipe them out. I think the 1940's era phrase he invoked was "...just wipe them all out!" Continue reading
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