If you don’t love the Pontiff… (Papal humor)

Musings on the Papal visit and New York sports fans.

I’m really feeling Pope mania, which has descended on Washington like a bright sunshiny day in the middle of a nuclear winter. It is, in a word, lovely.

Though not raised Catholic, I’ve often visited Catholic churches and cathedrals and found them good places to pray and meditate. One of my earliest spiritual experiences was watching a dramatization of the miracle of Saint Francis in the movie Tortilla Flat, based on the novel by John Steinbeck. Frank Morgan (best known as the Wizard of Oz) plays a hobo called Pirate who lives with his dogs in an abandoned chicken coop. There’s a beautifully filmed sequence where he has a vision of Saint Francis:

When it comes to feeling good about Catholicism, it always helps if there’s a kind and lovable Pope installed. Pope Francis is perhaps the kindest we’ve seen, and it’s hard not to be moved by the spirit of unalloyed joy which his visit to the U.S. has occasioned and fostered.


Pope Francis meets the White House dogs, Bo and Sunny (AP)

While the mainstream media often fail to “get” anything to do with religion or spirituality, there are so many reporters and politicians with strong Catholic roots that the Pope’s visit is one story they mostly get right. The fact that this Pope is so gifted at delivering his message also ensures the media can’t majorly foul it up.

Continue reading

John McLaughlin & Carlos Santana: 1975 Parade & Concert

  with Sri Chinmoy…

YouTube description:

From a friend of a friend of a friend I got this rare 1975 footage of Mahavishnu John McLaughlin & Devadip Carlos Santana performing at a parade & concert. The events celebrate Sri Chinmoy’s 10,000th Jharna-Kala painting. This is fan footage providing a snapshot of a legendary period that many speak of, but few have seen firsthand. As a snapshot in time, it says something significant about who these people were, what they believed, what they did, and what it all looked like — an important historical document which I’m posting as a 40th anniversary tribute.

On the crisp winter day of March 8th 1975, the parade wound its way up Madison Avenue, leading to a free concert at the Central Park Bandshell. There was a palpable sense of joy that’s difficult to capture in words, but does shine through in the film. Of the crowds of people appearing here, I’m sure some have moved on to other things, while others continue to believe and practice as they did. Nothing in this video is meant to imply promotion or sponsorship.

One reason I felt inspired to post is that I feared historical revisionism would graffiti over the reality. This clip provides a spiritual and cultural context for understanding the music of the period and the driving force behind it. It shows a kind of spiritual freedom which some people find impossible to understand unless they look directly at the reality.

My focus was on finding one clip that’s a must-see and is emblematic of the period. I wanted it to be a public clip, and something that I feel the musicians would be proud of and happy with. To respect the musicians is very important to me. Enjoy!