Thursday, November 19, 2015

Fire and Rain

I've been watching the Stephen Colbert show at night occasionally since it took over the the late night spot when David Letterman left.  It's been fun.  It, like a lot of other late night fare isn't very in depth, but it's a show full of energy and the humor makes me laugh, where a lot of other late night programs do not.  And who doesn't need a laugh these days?

Last night they had on James Taylor whom I've always enjoyed and admired.  I think I have around six or seven of his albums.  I've always enjoyed his New England folk rock sound, I don't feel like I'm the only one as he has tons of fans.  Sweet Baby James was a huge seller back in the day.  He also recently played a short hour concert that aired on PBS Austin City Limits in promoting his newest album, Before This World.  During that concert he also as expected played many of his older hits.  I knew it was going to bring back a lot of memories for me, and boy it sure did.  It's funny how music can strike such an emotional chord.

At any rate on Colbert's show last night, they both did a skit and a song together that was pretty funny.  That Colbert is not only good with jokes, but is pretty talented in singing.  Check out the updated song of Fire and Rain below.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Sidebar Nation Comics and Artist - FYI

                                                                  Norm Breyfogle

Sidebar Nation is shutting down their great website, which featured interviews with some of the top illustrators, artist, and comic book artist of our times.  I've been listening to some of their interviews over the years, and they were wonderful to listen too even if you are not artistically inclined because they were inspiring and motivational as well.  Right now they are allowing one that wants to hear the interviews before they shut their site down for good to download them.  Their site is located here:

Some of the interviews or podcast say "Buy Now" but Sidebar Nation has allow them to still be downloaded for free.  All you have to do is enter your email address, and thru your email they'll send you a link.  I've already downloaded a few, and I'm looking for a few more I've probably missed over the years.  But I've already listened to many of these interviews and they are all very interesting if you are interested in art, comics, design, and so forth.

Some the ones I've listened to and enjoyed have been by Steve Rude, artist of the Nexus comic, Mark Schultz the creator of Xenozoic Tales comic,  Kelley Jones horror and Batman comics, James Gurney of Dinotopia,  and many others.  So anyway, here's your head's up.  Check them out before they totally shut down the place.  Here's a link to their archives:  I'm still looking over that archive list for things to download.  I wish they could have gotten a interview with Paul Chadwich of Concrete fame, or John Byrne, and a few other of my favorites artist and creators, but I'm happy they at least interviewed a few high profile professionals in the field.  Sharing their own love of the arts was fun to listen too. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Going Clear

Recently I watched the documentary, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.  Ever since the book, Dianetics, The Modern Science of Mental Health,  I'd been curious about what all the hoopla was about.  Not so much to help me in anyway, just as a curious outsider.  Occasionally I'd see a  copy of the book in an used book store, thumb through it, and it just seemed like some weak, watered down mumbo jumbo self-help type book, as well as being boring, so never bought a copy.  Also I had a distant friend (mostly a friend of a friend) many years ago when I was living in Austin, Texas who went to the Church of Scientology, also probably out of his own curiosity as well, and when he tried to quit going to the church found out it was harder to do than he expected.  He eventually moved from the Austin area, mostly seeking job opportunities, but I bet he was glad to get away from the Scientologist there as well. From what I had heard from a mutual friend the members of the cult hounded him pretty badly. 

For starters, it's a very good documentary, well worth watching if you are curious about Scientology.  I never thought of Scientology as a religion, and certainly don't now,  I see it as a scam. Has it helped some people in life, well, I guess it has, but at the same time how many has it had a negative effect upon their lives?  I always wondered if it's such a bogus institution, how or why do people get involved with it, and once involved, and they see through the bullshit, why do they stay involved?   For one, it's unfortunate, but some of those that get  involved with Scientology get involved as children, by way of their parents.  For some others, they might have just been curious, like I or my friend was.  Some of the people in the film, like director Paul Haggis, got involved at a pretty early age of 22, he was lonely, seeking the love from a lady, and they said they could help him with that.  And slowly over time got in over their head.  Plus like I said, it's very much a peer pressure type cult.

One thing you find out pretty quickly at the beginning of Going Clear is that Scientologist use acronyms and have they have their own jargon.  Scientologist use acronyms to convey certain things like SP for Suppressive Person, which is someone that doesn't believe in the religion or criticizes Scientology in any way.  Wog is someone outside of the cult of Scientology--sort of like a Muggle in the Potter Universe, ha.   I think they use terminology like this as a way to disguise some of their beliefs, but also perhaps was designed by their founder L. Ron Hubbard as a psychology tool.

It's a film that's engrossing, yet boggles the mind at the same time at least for me.  I'm sure the experiences with Scientology are different for each person as well.  If you're rich and famous like Tom Cruise or John Travolta, you might get the red carpet treatment, however, if you're just a run-of-the-mill person, well, they just might use you more or less like a slave to fulfill whatever needs they have.   All in all, it's a documentary that's worth watching.  Several people that were in the film, like Paul Haggis, and the recent book by Leah Remini also give their own opinions and experiences with the cult.