Gita On The Green: … or finally, finally, an explanation for Will Smith’s MMC’in in his last movie, courtesy of a book review by Phil Catalfo in the March/April copy of Yoga Journal magazine.

If you saw the Robert Redford-directed film The Legend of Bagger Vance, released last fall — it starred Matt Damon as a dispirited golf champion and Will Smith as his enigmatic spiritual guide — you probably didn’t realize the story was inspired by the ancient Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita.

For one thing, the despondent golfer’s name, Rannulph Junnah, or “R. Junnah,” is a clever transliteration of Arjuna, the warrior prince whose existential dilemma is at the heart of the Gita. And Junah’s mystical caddy bears a similarly resonant name: “Bagger Vance” is just a slight stretch from Bhagavan, a term for God, one of whose manifestations in Hinduism is Krishna — who, in the Gita, appears to the troubled Arjuna and exhorts him to act, to accept the role life has given him, to be who he truly is: the transcendent Self at the core of his being. …

But the film’s Junnah never aspired to anything higher than a level of inner calm sufficient to whack the hell out of a golf ball and rekindle an old love affair gone tragically bad. …

Rosen’s exegesis is delightful for its Gita scholarship, for the fun he has integrating the language of golf with the language of yoga (“yoga means ‘to link'”), and especially for his deconstruction of the novel in the the light of the Gita.

Women, rural Americans need some broadband love, too: … and cheaply (with real competition, not some deregulated greedygrabbin’ scam). But doesn’t somebody need a smack on the wrist with a ruler or something rightaboutnow?

The study was conducted at the request of Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., the senior minority member of the House subcommittee on telecommunications and the Internet. In a statement issued Thursday, Markey focused on the cost chasm between broadband and narrowband Internet users and stressed the need for competition among local broadband providers.

Bridging the digital divide was a pet project of the Clinton administration, but it clearly is not at the top of President Bush’s agenda. Bush already has proposed reducing the budget of the Technology Opportunities Program by 65 percent to $15 million, and his Federal Communications Commission Chairman, Michael Powell, recently likened the digital divide to a “Mercedes divide — I’d like to have one but can’t afford one.”

Yahoo shorts: … Brothers and sisters! I don’t know what this Net is coming to!

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Growth of home Internet users soared 33 percent in the last year, spurred on by different ethnic groups, according to leading Internet audience measurement service Nielsen//NetRatings. African-Americans led the online growth, jumping 44 percent in the past year to 8.1 million in December 2000 as compared to the same time in 1999. Caucasians surfing the Web rose 32 percent to more than 87.5 million people, representing the largest group online.

Hispanics grew 19 percent to more than 4.7 million people, while Asian Americans grew 18 percent to 2.1 million.

“Several factors contributed to the healthy growth for the various ethnic groups,” said Allen Weiner, vice president of analytical services, NetRatings. “Less costly personal computers and low or no cost ISPs helped bring Web access to more Americans in the past year.”

… This “Quiet American” thing doesn’t sound so hot to me, Michael. (And probably not other folks, either.) The headline talks about the opium substitute you want to smoke, but never mentions this …

Caine, winner of a best supporting actor Oscar for “The Cider House Rules” said he saw Fowler as a man escaping from failure and divorce in England. He finds another world and another love in Phuong, a 19-year-old Mandarin’s daughter, played by Vietnamese newcomer Hai Yen. (He) has gone off and got a life beyond even his wildest dreams and in actual fact it’s a fantasy, it’s a fantasy life for a man his age to have someone as young and beautiful as Phuong in love with him.

Plus it’s the Orient, which has always been a fantasy for Europeans, plus it’s post-war England, which I know personally was very, very depressing — I always thought England was like a black and white movie in the 60s, even when it was shot in color!”

Caine said he thought Fowler would have “been completely confused as to whether he was in love or in lust” with Phuong.

“There is quite a lot of a paternal thing in it,” he said.

I’ve often wondered about those men who come to the Orient and have these relationships with these very child-like figures, you know — it’s a very definite different turn-on than from American women, I think, for these guys.

“I mean, I can tell it from the fact that the scenes I play actually with Yen, who plays Phuong. You know, as a man myself, it’s quite extraordinary.”

… and Anil got to tell me about this Jill Scott Grammy moment, overshadowed by a pianist’s envy of his latest blond fantasia.

There she was, arguably R&B’s brightest new star, trapped in a performance of Moby’s “Natural Blues,” an industrial-dance-dyed melange of eclectic instrumentalism and Southern gospel singing. And oh yeah, a bunch of blue guys. The song, performed at the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards, seemed to be Grammy’s idea of a three-fer — a cacophonous circus act that crammed together Scott, understated club music favorite Moby and members of the performance art troupe Blue Man Group. The entire set — from the Blue group’s cobalt-colored faces to their Dr. Seuss-like faux instruments — clashed with Scott’s smooth, urban poetess style.

And yet, Scott, proud member of Philadelphia’s prolific Soulquarian soul collective, co-songwriter of “You Got Me” (which won a Grammy for the Roots last year) and star of a million-selling album, (“Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1”) shone through the crowded stage’s aural traffic jam.

“Once you got past the stuff by the Blue Man Group it was a stirring performance by her,” said music critic and writer Mark Anthony Neal. “One gauge of that is that Grammy crowds rarely give standing ovations. But they were all on their feet.

“It was an explosive moment,” said Neal, author of “What the Music Said,” a study of the political and social impact of African-American pop music. “It made the Elton John/Eminem performance anticlimactic.”

True, Scott’s full-bodied sound, heard on her hit tunes of sweet-and-sour relationships (“Long Walk,” “Gettin’ in the Way”) rose above the scene’s visual spectacle. She even smiled as she belted out lyrics that seemed to speak to the moment: “Oh Lordy/Trouble so hard/Don’t nobody know my troubles but God.”

…and oh, uh, Puffy and Shyne? Tim and Kenny. Tim and Kenny? Puffy and Shyne.

Country crooner Tim McGraw is tentatively scheduled to stand trial in mid-May on a variety of charges stemming from a run-in he had with police last June at a music festival near Buffalo, N.Y. Orchard Park Town Judge Edmund Brown Jr. Wednesday set a date of May 14 for the start of jury selection, according to the court clerk’s office.

The incident occurred backstage at the festival when Erie County sheriff’s deputies tried to pull country star Kenny Chesney off a patrolman’s horse he allegedly swiped from backstage. McGraw, husband of country-pop diva Faith Hill, allegedly grabbed one of the officers from behind by the neck.

McGraw is charged with four misdemeanor counts each punishable by up to one year in jail, while Chesney faces harassment charges for allegedly refusing to dismount the horse.

In late August, McGraw threatened to sue Orchard Park police over his arrest, which he claims harmed his reputation as well as his psychological state.

… and speaking of the Grammys, by the way: I lovedlovedloved this album. Donald and Walter know how to bring the real sleaze.

Strange then, that Two Against Nature’s “Cousin Dupree,” which won Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal, didn’t spark near the controversy that rapper Eminem’s lyrics did. The song details a man’s lustful longings for an underage cousin. Other songs on the album have lyrics about three-way sex and drug use, but none of it is as gleefully explicit as Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP.

“We don’t actually have any lyrics about pedophilia, per se, in our songs and most of our lyrics,” Becker explained. “Most of our songs are about relationships. As far as Eminem � I haven’t really heard Eminem very much, so I don’t know what to say.”

Website posture & manner: … Jakob who? I mean, OK, I only read the one column, but Anil has a point. This Adam Baker dude is good.

Smooth Opera-tor: So, I downloaded it. Seems faster, and definitely worth a tool around or two in. Not very functional, but it’s an alpha build. You get what you don’t pay for.

It ain’t about Napster: … it’s about cultural control.

The connection between big business and rock has been well documented, but rock scholar Larry Grossberg wrote the definitive book on the subject, 1992’s We Gotta Get out of This Place: Popular Conservatism and Postmodern Culture. Astonishingly, Grossberg writes that not only does the right dictate mainstream pop culture, but it actually understands the importance of youth culture better than the left does, and has used it to its own advantage. Remember when Ronald Reagan used Springsteen�s “Born in the USA” in his political campaign? And how do you feel when a song you love is “kidnapped” onto a car commercial?

Conservatives understand the power of folk culture, and have co-opted it into their brand of pop culture�the familiar cult of “insider cool” that is spoon-fed to teenagers and twentysomethings in an effort to sell products. Commercials aim to tell us how to be inside the “in” group while at the same time stand apart from everyone else�cooler than cool, and able to afford that car or slick lifestyle.

Even more chilling is that the right knows instinctively that to control access to culture is to control people. Writes Grossberg: “[The new conservatism] involves the struggle to regulate information and entertainment: What is included? How is it to be used? How is it distributed and regulated?”

In one sense this need to control information and entertainment describes the right�s attacks on the NEA and other culturally “liberal” and independent organizations�but could it also apply to the attack on Internet file-sharing? I ask Grossberg if he sees that connection.

“Yes, I don�t think they are fools. I think they know that there are two reasons to control the media,” Grossberg says. “One is to control the information people have, and the other is to control commerce. Napster is a great example of how they recognize that the Internet could destroy the constructs they have set up.”

Accenture studies “wireless Web”: … and discovers Americans want to go to heaven but remain unwilling to die. Or maybe they’re just bound and determined not to get into text messaging, despite the ads for the service that aired during the Super Bowl and the Grammys.

A chat with James: ’cause I like talking music with him.

cagney841: let me ignore that and tell you I’m listening to the extended version of Why Should I Cry For You by Sting which is very cool. Then I just swiped Grandma’s Hands by Bill Withers.
allaboutgeorge: Ah, the Soul Cages album
allaboutgeorge: Extended?
cagney841: The 12″ version is better than the single, I think, because it takes its time to cook.
cagney841: just over 6 minutes
allaboutgeorge: schweet …
cagney841: P.S.> G, do yourself a favor
cagney841: please download Keep Your Eye On The Sparrow (Baretta’s Theme) by Sammy Davis Jr. Jesus, that shit is bumping!!
allaboutgeorge: both songs are on my d/l list
allaboutgeorge: did you get a file from me?
cagney841: nope– what file?
allaboutgeorge: I tried to send you some Al Green
allaboutgeorge: Yahoo sux …
cagney841: by the way– I’m planning to buy a copy of Al Green’s greatest hits soon…
allaboutgeorge: 1 and 2?
cagney841: I think the first one.
cagney841: With him shirtless on the cover.
cagney841: Swiped it from a relative last summer, almost didn’t want to return it.
cagney841: i’ve heard of bilal before…
allaboutgeorge: Heard about him myself.
allaboutgeorge: Seemed like he was all hat and no trousers.
allaboutgeorge: D.L.’d his single, so I’ll see fo’ m’self momentarily
cagney841: cool.
allaboutgeorge: D’Angelo knockoff.
allaboutgeorge: Right down to the false start that opens the song.
cagney841: hmph.
allaboutgeorge: It’s a better take on D, tho
allaboutgeorge: Better enunciated.
allaboutgeorge: Cleaner production.
allaboutgeorge: Reminiscent of D’s debut album, “Brown Sugar”
cagney841: sounds like he’s getting your approval.
cagney841: see– I told you you were THE music authority. You sound like a scientist tasting a new concoction!!!
allaboutgeorge: Approval? Cautious. Tentatively so.
cagney841: I can see your lips smacking taking in the flavor!! Like a professional wine taster!!!
allaboutgeorge: *now bumpin’ S. Davis*
allaboutgeorge: “Don’t go to bed/with no price on yo’ head”
cagney841: tell the truth! don’t just repeat what I think. does it work or what.
allaboutgeorge: It’s pretty good.
allaboutgeorge: Not much bass.
allaboutgeorge: So they make good use of the treble
allaboutgeorge: That stop push-pull thing, the subtle tempo shifts
cagney841: old fashioned that way. i didn’t realize there’s little/no bass in it. like i didn’t miss the lack of ‘guitars’ on Kid A
allaboutgeorge: and the horns, strings and windchimes are all balanced.
cagney841: that’s what i’m digging. and the percussion!
allaboutgeorge: guajira, berimbe or something up on there
allaboutgeorge: w/o even being overethnic like
cagney841: exactly!!!
allaboutgeorge: “a lot of folks of all different nationalities and things come up to me and say ‘i dug my grandmother too'”
allaboutgeorge: (I went with the Carnegie Hall 4:25 version)
cagney841: wow– didn’t know about that one.
cagney841: i got the 2 1/2 minute studio version. wow.
allaboutgeorge: Go get the longer one.