Monday, December 15, 2008

Zen and Now: A Dinner With David Carradine and Friends

Anybody seen this?! I just became aware of it and will be watching it ASAP.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Kung Fu Soundtrack, Jim Helms

I am always thrilled when I get an email from a reader, and the latest, from Luigi in Venezuela, put me on to something interesting I had never known before. Luigi asked if I knew of a soundtrack for the show that did not involve actors from the show narrating over the music. I'd never known about this so I looked it up. The soundtrack Luigi turned me on to was this one, by Jim Helms.

And Luigi was right. There's a lot of great music here but Carradine, Radames Pera, Keye Luke and Philip Ahn can be heard talking over much of it, reciting Shaolin wisdom and exchanges of dialogue.

I wasn't able to find out much about this album or Helms. I did find out from the above link that this has never been released on CD. I suspect it was the only soundtrack for the show officially released and my guess would be that it was performed by Warner Brothers house musicians. You can download the album here and give it a listen. The title track can also be heard here, but I think it was recorded off someone's TV. Also here.

Meanwhile, does anyone know anything about this record, Helms, or the music of the show? I thought I remembered something in the documentary on the DVD (also on YouTube) that mentioned the music among the material regarding the show's extended staff.

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

This always happens to me.

So, last week I wrote the post about "A Praying Mantis Kills." At that time, I looked up actor Wendell Burton as part of my write-up. Read about Burton's role in The Sterile Cuckoo with Liza Minelli, his conversion to Christianity and career as a pastor and musician.

At that time, that same day, I said to my wife, "Wendell Burton, honey. You know how you learn something new and then you see it somewhere? Keep your eyes open. Something to do with Wendell Burton is going to happen to us soon."

What was on Turner Classic Movies this week? THE STERILE CUCKOO!! THERE WAS WENDELL!

This stuff happens to me all the time. I have also dreamed the future - dead serious. I get deja vu and then I remember that I dreamed that exact thing months ago. I am perfectly serious about this. I can see through time. Nothing big, no stock market predictions, just.... you know, bending time and shit.

Speaking of cosmic, got a nice word from Bobba over at Yin Yang Nature about "Alethea."

I’m glad you asked me about this episode, because I never really got the significance of it either. Maybe we found it a little disconcerting to see a child befriend Caine, then give evidence that condemns Caine to hang for a crime he didn’t do.

I read the DVD notes for this episode, and I found the first clue, “Seeing is believing. Or is it?” I then watched the episode again and I found the second clue. It was in the temple flash back scene where the Taoist Chuang Tzu’s famous butterfly story was mentioned.

“Once Chuang Tzu dreamed that he was a butterfly, flying about enjoying itself. It did not know that it was Chuang Tzu. Suddenly he awoke, and veritably was Chuang Tzu again. He did not know whether it was Chuang Tzu dreaming that he was a butterfly, or whether it was the butterfly dreaming that it was Chuang Tzu.”

I think this tale by the ancient sage Chuang Tzu is pivotal in understanding this episode, since it introduces the idea that reality is always relative to the observer. In other words, the truth in one particular situation, may not be the truth in another. Therefore, the truth has many different layers and is always relative.

In this episode, due to the angle, Alethea believes she sees Caine shoot a stage coach driver. From her position, she is unable to see it was a second shooter that was obscured from her sight by the stage coach horses. Therefore Alethea’s sensory awareness and position as an observer, gives her a distorted perspective of the truth.

If we didn’t know better we would believe parallel train tracks met at the horizon, but we understand this is an illusion and so we disregard our sensory input. In the same way Alethea comes to the understanding that although her senses have convinced her Caine shot the stage coach driver, she intuitively knows that Caine is not capable of such an action. She therefore changes her testimony and Caine escapes the gallows.

I hope this gives you and your readers a better understanding of this episode and an insight into the philosophy of the Shaolin.

Wonderful insights, Bobbs. I was thinking along these same lines - that Caine is trying to teach Alethea about the value of her perspective and convictions, and that her perspective has to live in the world with everyone else's often conflicting perspectives. I think my major problem with the episode was the heavy handedness of the dialogue. This sometimes plagues "Kung Fu," I think - they can't all be winners!

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