Michael Jackson R I P Heal the World

Michael Jackson 1958-2009

Michael Jackson 1958-2009

Remembering Michael Jackson. May he rest in peace.

Today’s “revivial, ceremony, concert” at the Staples Center in his memory Los Angeles is beautiful. I have never seen a funeral like it, and it seems totally consistent with Michael’s image and life.

Here it is HEAL THE WORLD!

This is it. Now I am crying.

This song is a meditation and a challenge.  Heal the World

In the light of Pope Benedict XVI’s new encyclical, Charity in Truth , the song is even more meaningful. The Pope’s encyclical begins:

“Charity in truth, to which Jesus Christ bore witness by his earthly life and especially by his death and resurrection, is the principal driving force behind the authentic development of every person and of all humanity. Love — caritas — is an extraordinary force which leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace. It is a force that has its origin in God, Eternal Love and Absolute Truth.”


Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, Thrilled Us


CNN Headline News just announced that Michael Jackson has just died at UCLA Hospital at the age of 50. He suffered cardiac arrest at his home in Beverly Hills about 12:20pm this afternoon and went into a coma. HLN is reporting that other news sources are announcing the death but that they are still trying to confirm it.

Michael Jackson was a true genius and an icon, an ambiguous, charismatic artist who defined the international pop world for about twenty-five years if you count from his appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show ion 1969.

His final years have been marked by allegations of child abuse, financial problems, marriages, divorces,  odd behavior. Some commentators are saying  prescription drugs and anorexia may have contributed to his death.

Michael Jackson’s music and voice is the soundtrack running throughout the lives of people whose music he touched.  


Remember HEAL THE WORLD? This is my favorite Jackson song. Hearing it, seeing the music video, before all the allegations, was like a prayer.  The sentiments that prompted this song are what I will remember. He once said that HEAL THE WORLD is the song he was “most proud to have created.”

I grew up in the 60’s and then entered the convent. My experience of Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 were through new members entering the community and hearing the songs on the radio. Fr. Pierre Babin, OMI, a master audio-visual catechist used THRILLER over and over in his presentations, year after year, as a universal phenomenon of music and culture and Jackson’s ability to reach people.

The pundits are already carrying out the autopsy on Jackson’s life. If anything, I hope anyone who wants to be part of the music industry, or any part of the entertainment industry, will realize that these are businesses with commercial interests. Human dignity and care for persons always takes a hit when profit is involved.

May he rest in peace and condolences to his family and his fans.


Michael Jackson – Heal The World


Heal the World Link

What should Susan Boyle sing next?

Check out my posting today to the National Catholic Reporter’s Blog   




American Idol Finale: Go Adam!


Update Click here for 2010 American Idol: Go Crystal!

I think Adam won the night although, overall, this finale program was very limp and underwhelming (and Simon dressed up!) Judge Kara Dioguardi’s song (co-written) “No Boundaries” was really sad. To decide this competition, I hope that voters completely disregarded this song. If Adam couldn’t save it, it is unsalvageable.

Adam Lambert has been my favorite for many weeks and I still believe Adam is the best. This doesn’t mean he will win tonight with votes, but he is a winner just the same. I am in awe of his talent. What a gift.


Kris Allen is very sweet (I bet he hates that people say this) and, yes, he is talented. He has a real 80’s Christian pop music vibe and I am sure he will have an enduring audience. Danny is talented, and don’t get me started on Allison and the others in the top 12. Mostly wonderful. Can’t wait until Adam and Allison release their first album together.

This has been a great year, as the judges have said.

Yet, the American Idol machine made it very challenging for both these artists last night. Each contestant picked his own first song, and no matter what the judges said, Adam won that one. Simon Fuller’s choice for Adam was fine, but it was unexciting and Kris’ was a flatliner. They would have done better if they had talked about song choice so at least one of the songs for each could have the potential to have been a show-stopper. (Where was Clive Davis? I thought he was going to pick a song for each….)

My advice to the American Idol machine? Go back to the song contest for the AI song of the year. If this is the best the pro’s can do, give it to the amateurs; that is what this show is all about, right? Anything has to be better than “No Boundaries.”

Adam and Kris, you are both winners. Bless you!

The Soloist – the Movie


What an outstanding film. As you can see, this poster was issued for the planned release for last year, but the film just opened in the USA on Friday. Great poster, though.

This is a movie about humanity, heart, friendship, art, grace, goodness, against the backdrop of acute homelessness in a city and country where you would think we would care more for one another.

Robert Downey, jr. plays Steve Lopez, a columnist for the LA Times, who encounters Nathaniel Ayers, a homeless man playing a two stringed violin in a downtown traffic tunnel. They become friends even though Nathaniel is mentally ill and Lopez has to feel his way along as the best way to relate to Nathaniel. The thing is, Lopez never gives up. He is a friend to Nathaniel.  Jamie Foxx plays Nathaniel. Both performances soar off the screen.

Susannah Grant wrote the script, and I loved it. She also wrote Erin Brockovich. Grant knows her way around social issues and tells stories of injustice in ways that make us want to do something rather than just feel guilty.

Thought the cinematography was really fine.

 I first “met” Steve Lopez when I came to Los Angeles in 2002 and Sister Frances told me what a great writer he is and that I would want to read what he has to say. He’s smart and funny and he sees things other people don’t – and has the guts and grace to say it.

This is true.

This is a film not to be missed and it asks, as so many Hollywood – whether big studio or independent – films do: what difference can I make? Longer review to come ….

American Idol Finalist Prediction

Adam Lambert, American Idol Contestant

Adam Lambert, American Idol Contestant

Allison Iraheta, American Idol Contestant

Allison Iraheta, American Idol Contestant

After last night’s elimination of Scott MacIntyre, I am ready to predict who will be the final two contestants. Adam Lambert is the most original and versatile of all the contestants, and as Randy said about Allison, she can “sing her face off!”
This does not mean I don’t like the other finalists still “alive” in the competition or even some already voted off. As America decided last year between the two David’s – which one had the power to move us – I think pop music lovers will make the right decision this year. My vote goes for Adam Lambert, but I would be happy with Allison (and yes, she does remind me of Kelly Clarkson but I think she is even better… Allison has more voice control, a greater emotional range.)
The filmmakers of “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” (“Twilight” is a franchise now!) should just hire Adam Lambert to do the whole sound track.
Actually I like Lil Rounds a lot, but she is inconsistent. Matt is a contender… but personally, I am listening for voices that give me goose bumps, like David Cook did last year (and last week). So far, only Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta have “the power to move me.”
Truly, American Idol, once the competition starts, is one of my favorite shows. I love it when young people do well, reach inside for courage and heart, and uplift audiences with their God-given talents and art.
Agree, disagree, don’t care?
“To sing is to pray twice.”
“Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.”  ~Ludwig van Beethoven
“Music is the shorthand of emotion.”  ~Leo Tolstoy
There’s a scene in Stephen Herek’s 1995 film Mr. Holland\’s Opus that still takes my breath away every time I think about it. He is meeting with a student who wants to quit playing the clarinet. Here’s a bit of the conversation:
Mr. Glenn Holland: Let me ask you a question. When you look in the mirror, what do you like best about yourself?
Gertrude Lang: My hair.
Mr. Glenn Holland: Why?
Gertrude Lang: Well, my father always says that it reminds him of the sunset.
Mr. Glenn Holland: Play the sunset….

Richard Dreyfuss and Alicia Witt in “Mr. Holland’s Opus”

American Idol Adam Lambert “Ring of Fire”

All I can say about Adam Lambert’s rendition of “Ring of Fire” is that it should be written into the sequel for “Twilight”: “New Moon”. This is such an original interpretation of one of Johnny Cash’s trademark songs. Very … Goth!

Do I think Adam Lambert will win American Idol this year? Yes, if he keeps going the way he is. I think there are five outstanding artists in the final “ten”, but my vote goes for Lambert.

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