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papal's Blog

Buddhism and Western Science

The Bodhisattva's Brain: Buddhism Naturalized by Owen Flanagan — Having authored several books and article on the philosophy of mind and cognitive science, Owen Flanagan's perspective on the intersection of Buddhism, psychology and Western philosophy is well informed and generally unbiased. Bracketing supernatural elements that are inconsistent with science, this treatise emphasizes the practical potential of Buddhist spirituality for attaining a philosophically informed state of happiness. Buddhist principles are examined in light of Aristotle's emphasis on reason and virtue, with added focus on compassion.

Acoustic Guitar Artistry


Watching and listenting to guitar master Robin Bullock might temp the average guitarist to put his or her instrument down, forever!  The challenge is to take at least one element of Bullock's exceptional performances on guitar and citern and apply it to one's own style or repertoire.  While the Mel Bay Guitar Masters Live series is oriented to musicians, this video should  also be of interest to enthusiasts of Celtic  and World Music.

A Tale of Two Dickens

DroodImplausible as it seems, 2 acclaimed authors have simultaneously penned mysteries about Charles Dickens' last, unfinished novel. 

You Must Have Read My Mind

Jane GoodallJane Goodall is acclaimed for her work with chimpanzees, but her new video, When Animals Talk, looks at cross-species communication with a range of animals, including dogs, cats, birds, elephants and even rats.  The program explores some fascinating research on telepathy, and the mutual benefits that accrue when humans bond and partner 

Transformin' the Blues

Derek TrucksThe new CD by The Derek Truck Band, Already Free, is a good example of how root forms of the blues have been transformed, yet preserved, by rock music.  Trucks has an excellent pedigree in Southern blues-rock, taking up Duane Allman's mantel as the best living slide guitarist and incorporating a range of world music influences into his playing.

Getting Your Word's Worth

Alphabet JuiceYou don't have to be an etymologist to enjoy thinking about the roots of language.  In Alphabet Juice, Roy Blount Jr. has a lot of fun looking at the relationships between word structure, meaning and phonetics.  On a more serious note, the arguments he discusses can be traced back to Plato's Cratylus in Plato Unmasked by Keith Quincy.   

Antonio Gaudi

The 1st of this 2-disc video set about Spanish Architect, Antonio Gaudi, (1852-1926), is accompanied by music and is almost entirely without narration.  The viewer experiences Gaudi's unique forms unencumbered by analytic information, so their beauty, fluidity and integration with nature are abstracted from their utility. The 2nd disc provides biographical information about Gaudi’s life and work.

The Root of All...

Money may not be the root of all evil, but in Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of Americn Capitalism, Kevin Phillips makes a pretty good case that our current financial crisis is rooted in its irresponsible manipulation.  This book clearly explains the history and details of the reckless behavior that created instability in global credit markets, which is now taking its toll on the broader economy.