28 December 2008

News Stories from 2008 Described Using Unnecessarily Coarse Language

A lot of people don't like swear words, but not me. I love 'em. In fact, swear words sometimes expedite understanding of what is normally a complex and nuanced situation. Just imagine Al Swerengen reading the news. Better, yet, I'll show you. Here are some of my favorite news stories from 2008 retold using unnecessarily coarse language:


GAZA: You Israeli bastards, we will fuck your shit up.

They do

ISRAEL: You Gaza fuckers, we will fuck up your shit!

They do

EVERYONE ELSE: Guys, stopping fucking each others shit up.

GAZA and ISRAEL ignore everyone and continue killing the living shit out of each other. Also, every world news story is exactly like this.



JOHN MCCAIN: Everyone calm the fuck down. The the economy is not going to shit.

The economy most definitely does goes to shit.

THE US GOVERNMENT: We will fix this shit. Where are the cocksuckers responsible for this:


THE US GOVERNMENT: Okay, cocksuckers, here's some cash.
MADOFF: Thanks for the cash, motherfuckers!


BLAGOJEVICH: Guys, I am totally not a shitbird.

EVERYONE ELSE: Yes you are, fuckwad. Is the recession still ass-fucking us?

It is.



APPLE: Here is some shiny new shit!


OTHER TECH COMPANIES: But check out our shit that is functionally similar but not as shiny...


A VOCAL MINORITY: Your shit smells like what shit's shit would smell like if shit could shit.

THE OTHER VOCAL MINORITY: That is a weird fucking thing to say. You guys are pedantic ass-tards.
A VOCAL MINORITY: At least we are not shit-faced sheep.

They proceed to sissy-slap each other indefinitely.

EVERYONE ELSE: Please shut the fuck up.



THE WORLD: We are so fucking excited for the olympics!

After ten minutes:

THE WORLD: Oh yeah, most of these events are so fucking boring we can only stand them once in four fucking years. Hey, she looks young...

CHINA: Oh no she is fucking not.

THE WORLD: You are probably a shit-faced liar, but we'll let it slide.

YOUR FAVORITE SPORTS TEAM: We are a colossal fucking disappointment.

YOU: Yes, you fucking are.

PLAXICO BURESS: I shot my fucking leg!

EVERYONE ELSE: It is because you are a fuck-hat.

MICHAEL PHELPS: I own all your shit. Now fucking merchandise me!

EVERYONE ELSE: You are a fuck-hat as well.


HOLLYWOOD: Here are a bunch of shitty movies and a couple good ones.

AMERICA: Thank you! Now we will steal your shit. Don't tell the music companies.

MUSIC COMPANIES: Quit stealing our shit!

AMERICA: Quit being a bunch of pussies.


TV COMPANIES: Here are a bunch of shitty tv shows. Kath & Kim is especially bad.

AMERICA: Yes it is. But 30 Rock is still fucking awesome.

TINA FEY: Yes it is. T. M., let's make out.



All of this is completely true, by the way. Ripped right from the headlines and all that. Okay, maybe not the very last one.


Tina, there is still some of 2008 left!

04 December 2008

Good News for People Who Love Our President

Are you concerned about the crisis in our nation today? I don't mean two wars, a recession and the oncoming collapse of our health care system. I mean the crisis of comedy. When President Bush leaves office, who are we going to laugh at? I ask you America, who else could bring us some of the most terrifying smiles we have ever smiled?

I have good news. Of course, W. can never have a third term, but it turns out we might have a new Bush on the Hill. Even better, it might be Jeb. Sure, he wouldn't hold the highest office in the country, and I kind of dig those glasses, but the prospect of him saying anything vaguely crazy combined with the publicity he'd receive is like being promised a pony for Christmas knowing that it will likely be set on fire. A really hilarious fire.

But maybe that's not enough for you. Maybe you wish you were from Kansas City, where your biggest worry would be who wears the pants in the mayor's office. It turns out the person the people thought was a straight-shooter was only a holster for the real six-gun. Gives a new spin on being pistol-whipped.

Even if you're not from Kansas City, and even if ol' Jeb doesn't wind up in the Senate, just be glad US politicians aren't the kinds of people to simply give up when people don't like them. If President Bush (or Hilary) had done that, we'd be completely lost, comedically speaking.

Perhaps the only thing President Bush could have done better is what Canadian Governor General Michaëlle Jean did per request of Prime Minister Stephen Harper when she dissolved* Parliament. And I don't mean to say she Yoko Ono'd a beloved funk group. She cold-cocked an entire democratically elected government body just because the PM didn't want to lose his job.

Maybe she did it for the same reason the Queen of England knights people; it's largely the only thing she's able to do. That, and tell an entire free country to go fuck itself. Whatever the reason, it's exactly the kind of dick move we'd expect out of President Bush and what simultaneously enchants and repulses us about him. We'll miss you, W.

*Technically not dissolved, but prorogued. Her Excellency is ballsy, but she's no Cromwell.

Happy Un-Prohibition Day

Please make sure to drink something today to celebrate the anniversary of a small step towards redemption.

24 November 2008

In a Nice Way, Not a Racist Way

You know what I don't see enough of? Kids named after dictators. Apparently, Italy's Movimento Sociale-Fiamma Tricolore felt exactly the same way and is now offering couples containing at least one Italian money to name their children either Benito or Rachele. No word yet on doubling up if both names are used.

The MS-FT insists that the names are really "nice," and not in any way racist or fascist. Which is good, since when a child finds out their identity is a result of their parents accepting money to name them after a dead dictator, they will probably turn into, well, a little Mussolini.

On the other hand, at least the far-right wing party in Italy is attempting to bail out their country's low birth rate rather than some stupid banks. Make love, not complex financial decisions.

21 November 2008

Three Things Arranged in Varieties of Weirdness

In some cases, awesome doesn't cut it. Explosions can be awesome like a James Bond movie or terrifying like the simultaneous and violent back-up of every toilet in Grand Central Station. When a package of flour inexplicably explodes in your kitchen, it is neither awesome nor terrifying, but it is weird and very often funny. So without only the most necessary commentary, three things arranged in varieties of weirdness.


Whenever I think of how funny Dane Cook is, I immediately run head-first into the nearest wall, because Dane Cook is not funny in any way. Then, I try to think of something that is actually funny, and now that has become even easier to do.


It's hard to decipher what exactly is the best part of this photo. I think it may be that Bush's hand seems to be showing the kid how to execute a fist bump, but his face tells us that this is possibly the first time he's ever done anything like it.


Things in this photo that have potential: martial arts. Things that I'm not so sure about: the fact that this is an instructional book, that slapping someone in the balls has a classical name, the maneuver itself. This list is in no way exhaustive.

07 November 2008

Three Things, Arranged in Degrees of Awesomeness

Things can be awesome in different ways. We all know this. Maybe something is awesome like discovering an Earth-like planet capable of supporting life. Maybe something is awesome like the next James Bond movie. Maybe something is only as awesome as a hot dog. Here are three things I found today, arranged by degree of awesomeness:


I don't care what you say about your music preference. Rock is the best. Need proof? Here it is. Rock is the music of the universe.


I have a few skills. I may even excel at one or two things. But I could never, ever, be the best at whatever the hell this is.


Not every hope is realized.

05 November 2008

Really?! You're restarting the Cold War? Really?!!

I'll tell you what sweet piece of land I'd like to get myself a part of: the Baltic. And while it may be one of the cheapest properties in Monopoly, it has got be one of finest slices of real estate in Eurasia. And I'm not the only one who thinks so, Russian President Medvedev would seem to agree. Which is why he sent tanks with missiles on them to protect it.

Naturally and reasonably, these missiles are only a defense against the US missiles in the area, which are a defense against any missiles and rogue nations or groups might have, and THOSE missiles are meant for blowing the shit out of whatever seems like a good idea at the time. Also, Russia's missile tanks look like they have embarrassing junior high erections. Chill out, guys!

I guess what I'm getting at is, really?! You're going to rekindle to Cold War? Really?! How does that make a damn bit of sense?

30 September 2008

How to Crash the Stock Market

I'm no economist. I do have a blog. And a surplus of bullshit. So, when Wall Street needs a bailout and the government won't come through, I think I'm just the man for the job.

This is a simple case of supply and demand. I have plenty of bullshit, and Wall Street needs a lot of it. Easy. That's why they call it a bull market. But why, you might wonder, does Wall Street need bullshit? I'm glad you asked!

You see, although I'm a bullshitter and not an economist, it doesn't mean I don't understand a few things about how economies work. Like that supply and demand bit up there. The reason Wall Street needs bullshit is because Wall Street makes most of its money on things that are completely made up.

In theory, all exchanges are ultimately about the movement of goods and services. But goods and services don't tend to increase over time just because you want them too. Holding onto two apples will not eventually gain you 0.05% of an apple.*

Interest on loaned money, however, does start to add up. So, whenever somebody asks you for money, you can gather some interest as they pay you back. Where does interest come from? Nobody is really sure, but recent studies suggest a mixture of the the light from the twinkle in Ronald Reagan's eyes and Karl Marx's tears.

And with all this extra money laying about, there's only one thing to do with it: gamble! I don't mean slots or poker or keno. I mean the good stuff, like what other people might do with their interest. Is someone else lending money to people who want to buy houses but who are not likely capable of paying back what they owe? Why not go ahead and bet on how well that's going to turn out? You won't know if you're a winner until some lights flash by and someone rings a bell.

As you can see, Wall Street has run dangerously low on bullshit. If they were real capitalists, they would simply invent a new way to make money. Wall Street needs some fresh bullshit. So, when all you investors are ready to get yourselves back in the game, you come see me.

*Does not apply to bunnies.

24 September 2008

How to Bail Out an Economy

Is your economy on the fritz? Mine sure is! Here are some easy steps to bail it out:

1) Get together about $700 billion of money that doesn't belong to you. You're going to need it for step 2.

2) Buy as much shit as you can. Just buy. Don't even look at the price, don't think about the reasons for buying one thing and not another, just buy, buy, buy. This is the key to keeping economies going!

3) Learn French, because you're kind of a socialist now.

Or, if you're the escapist type, just go watch this video of the undeniably awesome Enterprise from the upcoming Star Trek film.

14 September 2008

How to Vote

What is politics about? If you said "issues," you are very wrong.

Politics is about image which is why I'll probably vote for Obama. Palin is hotter but I don't want to listen to her talk for four years. Obama is captivating, even if he never says anything. It's possible he could fuck everything up completely if elected, but at least I wouldn't mind hearing him talking about it. Let's face is, Bush fucked a lot of things up, including most of his sentences.

I know you idealists are silently insisting that politics ought to be about issues. I'm not convinced of that either. Doubtless you have not come across this opinion piece in which the author argues that Palin stands by her convictions and Biden does not. I know that you come to meatiocrity to get my warped perspective on the very opinion pieces you do not come across.

In this article, the argument is that Palin is anti-abortion and proved it by having a baby with Downs Syndrome while Biden has claimed that he believes life begins at conception but has legislated for abortion rights. Therefore, Biden must not stand by his convictions.

I'm perfectly willing to believe Biden is a scumbag. No doubt for every child Sarah Palin has, Joe Biden has done a line of coke off a hooker's ass. What I'm about to suggest is more of a thought experiment.

What if Biden was standing by his convictions? What if he believed that national government had no right to legislate something for which state governemnts ought to be responsible? His conviction that life begins at conception is tempered by his conviction that for America to remain free, states must decide certain matters. Again, obviously not Biden's stance. The point is, the possibility exists that on any given issue, a politician might have more than one conviction to consider, even with all corruption aside.

So, when I suggest that politics is not about issues what I mean is that any given issue has behind it at least one other issue. The author of the cited article may agree with Palin's stance on the issue of abortion; do they also agree with her stance on the role of the national government in legislating these matters? Another point then, is that the issues that politics are supposedly about are in some ways secondary to the nature and philosophy of government itself.

And if we're going to be voting for something superficial anyway, I'm picking the candidate who best represents the way in which I'd like to be entertained. Obama '08!

10 September 2008

Weekend Update

For the next five weeks, I expect to be pretty busy. You should expect new posts only on the weekends. You should not expect Norm Macdonald to read the fake news to you. That is all.

07 September 2008

Wiki Wiki Wha?

One of the best features of the internet is feeling more powerful than you actually are. Anybody who has read a comments section knows this. I recently experienced this phenomenon myself when I site a had never seen or known about existed at the very moment I needed it.

Facing a slow week in religious news I could make fun of, I assumed that an entirely Christian version of Wikipedia existed. So, I typed in"wikichristian.com," which of course didn't work. But then I tried "wikichristian.org" instead. Bingo!

You'd think a religion with a strong emphasis on fellowship and community would work pretty well with the concept of a website to which the entire community can contribute. As it turns out , most of the "articles" contain little to no "content." Interestingly, "God's Word to Women" contains no less than 100 lessons.

What's most disturbing, however, is that it seems that "God's Word to Women" is essentially the only content on the entire site. Otherwise, it contains mostly outdated translations of the Bible, and Easton's Bible Dictionary. I did find one article on doctrine which probably should have contained only a link to Wikipedia's article on it.

Why, then, does wikichristian exist? Actually, that's about the only question. Answer in the comments. Also, a non sequitur.

04 September 2008

Get Revived, Bitches

I guess all you googlers out there are really interested in increasing your church membership. As it turns out, using the same techniques as internet pornographers isn't the only way to do it! (And that was totally not any kind of euphemism!)

This new technique merely requires you to build up an apocalyptic army of end-times zealots. Awesome! It's like commanding a horde of locusts, only not a literal horde of locusts, or even a horde of locusts that metaphorically refers to the armies of Assyrian oppressors.

You say the concept of a holy army that is also an army of locusts is too obscure for you? Well, then, you can't be in the army. That's your problem right there.

I get the sense that you're not so keen on the idea of being part of the ultimate generation (penultimate if you're an old-timer) of holy folks with pitch forks (and guns) who are not merely intended to defend the faith (boring!), but actively and aggressively force it on the world, in order to show the love of Jesus Christ.

Are you really going to tell me you don't want to be a part of that? Are you crazy?

Wait, you aren't one of those "intellectuals" are you, what with your "thinking" and "degree in biblical theology?" Because if you were, I'd probably have to condemn you to hell right on the spot, or kick you in the face with my totally hard army boot. Anyway, you're not wearing glasses, so I guess you must be okay.

It's good to hear you're starting to get on board with us here, because obviously you want to increase church membership. And I think you're beginning to realize that the best way to do it is through violence and by being batshit insane.

Oh, I almost forgot! If you sign up for the end-times army today, you get the serpent seed doctrine as well. Yeah, turns out Eve totally got it on with the Serpent and that's where Cain and all the intellectuals came from. And that's why we have to convert them by oppressing and maybe gunning them down.

Yeah, just sign right here. We'll also need a blood sample, just to check for purity, you know, son of Cain and all that. The guns are that way.

01 September 2008

The Not-Very Political Post: The Anti-Cheney

Of all the people you might expect to be classified as an Anti-Cheney, who was the first to jump into your head?

Was it Sarah Palin, the risky under-experienced GOP veep pick from Alaska?

Was it Joe Biden, an almost perfect Democratic doppelganger of our snarling sub-command-in-chief?

Was it Barack Obama, the effervescent upstart Democrat whose rhetorical insistence on being a sort of neo-Kennedy indicates the possibility of his implementing the same atmosphere on Capitol Hill Cheney reacted so strongly against in the first place?

Was it John McCain, of all people, the Maverick whose media openness is a sharp contrast from Cheney's secrecy?

Was it E) none of the above?

The Anti-Cheney I'm thinking of is Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. And it's not because of some left-over Cld War sentiment in which Putin might be a dirty Commie bastard. It's because once upon time, both Putin and Cheney went into the woods and on returning, had shot something.

The difference, of course, is that Cheney had shot a dude in the face, and not in a macho, action-hero way. Evidently it was accidentally. Even if it wasn't, it was lame, and the only reason we liked him even remotely more after the incident is because it was such a comedy gold mine.

Putin, on the other hand, shot an endangered tiger with a tranquilizer in order to save a television crew. So, points for shooting something. Points for it not being your friend. Points for saving lives. Points for actually not killing an endangered species. Points for helping measure its fucking fangs afterward. Basically, points all around.

Now, I agree that both these guys are basically dickheads. That's a given. But one of them is decidedly more awesome. Sadly, it's not the one which would make America proud. Fair play to you, former Soviet Union.

18 August 2008

Back with a Bash!

As it turns out, wiping your hard drive and starting over works pretty good.

That's not the point. The point is, everyone loves Creation Moments. It's not just the absurd gaps in logic or the questionable biblical interpretation. It's the fact that Creation Moments never disappoint.

In today's, linked above, we learn something about Satan. Namely, he is like a wasp that wants to lay eggs in our brains so he can control us like little insectoid zombies. We learn by extension that there are a lot of horror movies that are even more derivative than we first suspected.

We also learn that aphids sometimes commit suicide to stop the zombie eggs, and we can stop Satan's zombie eggs by believing in Jesus. So, belief in Jesus is like suicide? I have to imagine even the Unitarian Universalists aren't going to like that and they pretty much like everything.

I guess praying to God for protection against Satan— or anything else, really— laying eggs in your brain and controlling you is pretty legit. Right up there with "Thy will be done."

Getting There

Hey all, sorry for the lack of updates. My computer recently started freaking out. I've done a clean reinstall, so I'm updating and resetting everything and getting up and running again. Once I am, watch out, because you'll have more half-assed, smart-ass remarks (possibly about the size of people's asses) than you can shake your ass at.

For now, enjoy some Human Giant.

07 August 2008


Guys, I cleaned up my computer and it's running pretty smoothly now. That's the awesome bit. The decidedly not awesome bit is that I've lost a lot of my settings and preferences, including my RSS subscriptions.

It's a lousy excuse for writing a post about anything that's not an excuse for writing a post, but it gives you the opportunity to find a crazy story or website for me to write about next time. Just send 'em along, and I'll probably make fun of someone for no very good reason.

Also, check out my laziness!

This Is an Example of Poor Use of Negative Space

If you want an easily recognizable symbol to show kids where to go if they are threatened in any way, I think it's a good idea to pick anything unlike the Safe Place logo.

I'm confident that readers of this blog are intelligent enough to find a number of ways in which this is just wrong, but humor me as I point out one in particular: even if interpreted somewhat positively, and not in a way that would include someone groping you, the logo basically says, "Hey black kids, if you're threatened, let whitey help you. You can trust whitey."

Whichever way you understand the sign (and I hope you'll share in the comments sections), you have to agree: that logo is pretty fucking sinister.

06 August 2008

No Editing on This Post. Have Fun.

Mechanics have to be some of the most illogical people on earth. This has nothing to do with mechanical knowledge and everything to do with socialization.

I think most people understand how unreasonable the prices quoted by mechanics can be, and that's an aspect of socialization. Mechanics don't understand how ridiculous those prices are, they're like the kid in school who inexplicably had access to just about anything restricted and who asked way too much for is services, thereby ensuring that no shenanigans of any sort ensued.

Recently, I went to a mechanic to have my car inspected. It failed due to a broken side marker, which is apparently a safety hazard even though the turn signal on that side works perfectly and partially wraps around the side of the car. Anyway, I had to get it replaced, so I went to a dealer— who managed to also have the lowest price— and installed the part. Pretty simple.

Today, I brought the car back to the mechanic who had surprisingly offered to reinspect the car for free as long as I brought it back within 30 days. When i arrived, I was told that with only one technician available that evening, they wouldn't be able to get it done today.

Now, I suppose I have an unclear understanding of everything that goes into being a mechanic, but I'm pretty sure I can look at a side marker and tell if it's working or not. In fact, I know I can, since I did so to ensure I had installed it correctly in the first place.

And even though I pointed this out and also pointed out that the inspection had been completed in full and the only thing wrong was the then malfunctioning side marker, this guy refused. I can only assume this is because of some bizarre inability to interact socially in a reasonable way with other human beings.

I'm a jerk, and I understand that, and I also get that I'm not great at picking up social cues and that I'm usually mostly unwilling to help out if I don't have to. In this situation, knowing the minimal work involved and recognizing that I almost literally did not have to get my hands dirty despite working at a job which consists entirely of getting one's hands dirty, I think I could have helped out.

And that's why all mechanics are sociopaths.

03 August 2008

You Know I'm Out of Practice When I Start Picking on Teenagers

I'm not the type of person who likes to join clubs. I also don't use the phrase "join the club" if I can help it. And under normal circumstances, I would not disparage a young person's dreams. On this occasion, however, I feel I have no choice. I will not join the No Cussing Club.

I will give credit to the youngster who started the NCC on the grounds that he has taken initiative and accomplished something he set his mind to and I am basically lazy as fuck. Part of the problem, of course, is that he could never abide that compliment.

But the main problem (this time) is that the website is horrible, and it's not a problem specific to the NCC. You know what other club I'll never join also has a terribly designed website? The KKK.

I'm not saying that racism and not cussing are anywhere near the same level. While I would not be a part of either group due to their respective content, I would also not want to associate with them on aesthetic grounds.

There's nothing particularly profound I intend to say regarding this, because, again, lazy. I simply find it interesting that the aesthetic appeal of a group's website precludes my even considering joining. It's the same reason I always want to get into the band Fugazi. I know next to nothing about them, but I love their album covers.

So the point of this post is, don't make things that look like shit. Also, I probably won't stop cussing.

Twitter Is Jealous I Posted Something this Brief

For whatever reason this book doesn't reminder me of temptation, unless you count the temptation to play Whack-a-Mole.

28 July 2008

Take a Knee

I took a sick day today, mainly because I was not confident I could make either the drive there or the run from my cube to the bathroom in the event I had to vomit. Corporate or no, nobody likes a puker.

A lot of people complain that on sick days, they never get to have fun. Yeah, well, you're sick, so get over it. This isn't grammar school when you pretended to have a headache so you could stay home and watch Bob Barker tell you to do horrifying if only vaguely understood things to your pets.

I hurled a couple of times today and it sucked exactly as much as hurling usually sucks. I approximated pretty well when I called in how much I'd be having today. If you're curious, my guess was "not too much."

The worst part about calling in sick and the reason I hate doing it is the feeling I get on the first day back when I'm feeling well enough to go in. For some reason, feeling better in the present alters my perception of how sick I was less than a day beforehand. As a result, I always feel like I wasted a sick day.

So today, blowing chunks; tomorrow, guilt and self-loathing. Being sick sucks.

24 July 2008

Summer Break! WOOO!!

In maintaining this blog, I've often struggled with balancing the quantity and quality of writing. While I understand it is good exercise for a writer to write everyday, I believe it also behooves the author not to drive away readers with effusive suckiness.

As such, no updates this week. I've got a few things brewing up in the ol' noggin' and given a little time away from writing, they'll be ready to mystify you next week. Maybe Wednesday.

17 July 2008

And Hello to You

I recently acquired a Panama hat. It was given to me by a friend of mine who is Dominican. He had been given the hat by a red-haired Canadian woman who thought it was something he might wear, which it isn't. It's possible that she assumed his Caribbean heritage was sufficiently Panamanian, even though Panama hats are traditionally made in Ecuador and only shipped through Panama.

The whole history of this particular hat is made of non sequiturs, which helps explain the next part of its story, which may or may not be entirely true. Recently, while walking into a Wegmans supermarket wearing the hat, a woman leaned out of a large silver limousine and yelled at me that she liked it. She was also pretty drunk. Neither of these facts bothered me. Her friend popped just as far out the window and showed her appreciation for my Panama hat by waving a large black dildo at it.

And actually, this didn't bother me all that much either. I barely noticed at all. Being so minimally impressed by the occurrence is the reason I say this story may or may not be true, because the details are a little fuzzy. And while some people might point to this as a case of the further desensitization of our culture to all things sexual, I don't think that's the case here.

I'm not arguing that a dildo is somehow not intended as a sex-related object. It's primary— and indeed, only— function is as a sex toy. But in this context, I hardly noticed, but only because it seems perfectly natural that a drunk girl shouting out of a limousine at a man wearing a Panama hat would wave whatever happened to be nearby.

It's not overtly offensive or overtly sexy, it's just what you'd expect that type of person to do in that particular situation, even though the entire situation is a complete non sequitur. It never makes sense to wave sex toys in admiration of someone's attire, except that in this story, it makes perfect sense.

And I tell this story because life is sort of like it pretty much of the time. Not much of it seems to make much sense. It's all non sequiturs, but in a weird way, it's completely reasonable. That said, I admit that the situation was awkward. Under normal circumstances, it's often expected to give a compliment in return, but in this case, all I could think to say was "thanks."

14 July 2008

Nothing Is a Coincidence if You Pretend It Has Meaning

I find it interesting that the two most common searches leading to this blog involve a) how to increase church membership and b) how to become a cult leader. That is all.

Happy Bastille Day

I like Bastille Day. Sure, way, way back, my family is more or less French. That's not why I like Bastille Day. It's not because I'm an unpatriotic American and I feel such resentment for my homeland that I prefer another nation's annual celebration of independence. It's because the reason for Bastille Day is the most awesome reason for any celebration of independence in existence.

I know, rockets red glare and all that, and fireworks and barbecues. But those aren't the reason for America's Fourth of July celebration. The reason is that a bunch of guys in wigs and stockings who were actually not drag queens (mostly) wrote a strongly worded letter stating that they were, in fact, free.

And the Canadians, in a bid to overshadow the US Independence Day by celebrating Canada Day on July 1st didn't overshadow a damn thing, namely because they asked for their independence very politely. And got it. Eventually.

But the French are different. First of all, there were no foreign powers involved. Bastille Day is about independence from internal oppression. Second of all, let me remind everyone how necessary it is in prison to shank someone with a shiv made out of a chicken bone in order to prove how much of a badass you are. Third, the French skipped the shivs and simply burned down the fucking prison.

For those of you keeping track at home, that's awesome. I'm not glamorizing violence and destruction, at least not any more than any movie adaptation of a Marvel comic in the last eight years already has. The point is, Bastille Day is a more perfect declaration of independence because the razing of the Bastille is both entirely historic and entirely symbolic.

If you intend to prove you are free, it's one thing to write a fancy Dear John letter to a king who wasn't even named John. It's another thing to symbolically declare your freedom by physically freeing yourself. I have a feeling this is part of the reason the French are viewed as being sort of spiky. It's not entirely unjustified. They're free, and they fucking know it.

09 July 2008

Back Next Week

My band, Violet Mary is playing a gig this Friday. Because of the rehearsal schedule, meatiocrity will return next week. Come to the show if you can!

02 July 2008

Do Not Ever Wonder Again How I Became as Weird as I Am

I grew up near enough the Adirondacks for this headline to be equal parts hilarity and horror. It's a beautiful country, but there are some weird ass people there. So, when a headline suggests that someone loves both the Adirondacks and murder, I think of some of my neighbors.

There were the ones who had a broken down school bus in their yard. For the North Country, that's not all that unusual. The school bus was a kind of barn for them, which is only slightly more unusual. They raised emus, which lived in the bus barn, which was entirely unusual. For a long time, I would explain that I couldn't imagine why they raised emus, but I stopped on the day they ceased raising emus and began selling homemade jerky.

There was also a family whose entire subsistence seemed to stem from a single piece of marketing, which was remarkable both for its concision and its frugality. It said, in simple black hand lettering and without punctuation, "DEER CUT UP."

Most disturbing was a family whose kids had rattails far too long after they had ceased to be fashionable (if indeed they ever were), whose babies played in the ditch by the road into which their sewage tank overflowed while chickens roamed as freely as the makeshift fence of disused bicycles and one inexplicable pristine 24 foot boat would allow.

They were the kind of people who epitomized what is completely wrong with the North Country. They weren't entirely inhospitable or unkind, but they were about as strange as the semantic range of the word allows. They were the kind of people who would want you to get over your tuberculosis, but only so you're considered fair game when they shoot you with a compound bow.

All Terrorists Are Now Complete Pansies

Why? Because comedian Ron White has both the balls and the cirrhosis no terrorist could ever claim.

Boxcutters? Forget it. White's willing to burst into the cockpit and demand to fight you for control of the plan. And when you land "for safety reasons," he'll turn around fire your sorry ass.

No terrorist has those kinds of cojones. And after finishing the liter of Jack, they might be tempted to use the bottle. Not White. He needs only his fists, alcohol-fueled rage, and an uncanny understanding of all things redneck.

And that's what America's all about.

30 June 2008

God Created Hanging Chads to Test Our Faith

This November, don't be surprised if a lot of voters don't choose to vote the traditional Red or Blue, but Purple instead. No, not for homosexuality, that's ridiculous! I mean for the King of Kings.

That's right, if certain evangelicals have their way, Jesus will be President. Never mind that white guys shouldn't have dreadlocks, least of all a scrawny bug-eyed one whose name sounds vaguely like a Scottish broadsword. I mean, honestly, why waste what could have been a kick-ass name driving around an eco-friendly bus blathering on about peace?

But that's not the point. The point is, it's one thing to think about the church and the state and the relationship between the two, but another thing entirely to ignore the specifics of historical situations in favor of sweeping generalizations. And you know when sweeping generalizations are involved, it's always better to sweep the leg than risk getting crane kicked in the face.

That last reference was a bit of a stretch. The next sentence is not. Whatever the similarities, and my own predisposition to distrust and dislike the government, the United States is not the Roman Empire. I'll grant that there are tons of similarities. I'll grant that there is a huge problem when a President conflates their own policies with God's and makes more than a slip-of-the-tongue's share of theological justifications to their actions. But, no President has ever claimed to God. That was John Lennon, and by the transitive property, Noel Gallagher.

This isn't about John Lennon or Noel Gallagher. Neither of them could even register to vote (even if Lennon were still alive). This is about the problem of getting Jesus into politics in the first place. When a Roman Emperor claims to be the Son of God, it would seem appropriate that the actual Son of God would want to counter that claim.

As far as I know, and as shitty a President as he's been, W's never claimed to be anyone's son but HW's, and I don't think Jesus particular cares to contend for that title. But if he did, it would make Barbara Bush a virgin, which, depending on your politics and the sensitivity of your imagination, might be a comforting thought.

Anyway, I don't think the idea of Jesus for President is particularly counter-cultural, at least not in the way Jesus as Lord and Savior was during the Roman Empire. If the Emperor claims to rule by virtue of being the Son of God, it's a big deal, politically speaking, to follow some subversive who makes the same claim without the world's biggest army backing him. If you believe nothing else about Jesus, you have to believe he had balls.

But a President is another thing. Elections in America may not be entirely fair, or entirely representative, or particularly well attended, but I don't know anyone under the illusion that the President gets to be President by being divine offspring. And I know a lot of crazy people. To say that we picked our Savior from among us is not an idea I've known many evangelicals to support.

Jesus doesn't get elected. Jesus takes names and kicks ass, but not in a Chuck Norris kind of way, in a redemptive way. My point is, for Christians, voting for Jesus was never an option. For Christians, Jesus gets to be whoever he says he is, regardless of whether or not anyone else agrees with (or votes for) him.

Anyway, Jesus was a liberal hippie.

25 June 2008

At Least the New York One Has a Good Theme Song

Allow me to explain why I love CSI (pick whichever variety you prefer). Sometimes, I don't want to do anything, but I also want to television to be on. Because CSI offers the right kind of drama (predictable), the right kind of dialogue (blunt, thoughtless, and again, predictable), and the right kind of acting (bland).

Essentially, CSI is the show to watch when you want to watch nothing. When nothing is on tv, at least one of those shows will be CSI, and it will be the one I chose. Because it took so little thought to make CSI, it takes less then no thought to watch it.

And I don't mean this as a criticism. Lots of people put lots of thought into making shows that take no thought to watch. It's television. If you want to be high brow about it, you have to pay for it, either by buying particular channels, or getting your complimentary tote bag from PBS.

CSI, on the other hand, has either discovered, derived, or stolen the perfect television formula. They don't have to be smart, just sound smart. And when I want to watch tv and not think about it (which is most of the time), I don't want to be distracted by someone trying hard to be smart.

On the other hand, I don't want to be distracted by someone trying to be shallow, like on reality tv. People who try to be shallow aren't shallow, they're fucked up, and it makes me mildly interested in them. The point is to be shallow, and the best way is to try to be smart, and it's what CSI does best.

And it occurs to me as I write this that CSI was the inspiration for a new major at the college I used to attend. Education is great.

23 June 2008

Love in the Time of Text Messaging

Supposedly, it's a good idea to write, even if it's not good, or you're not feeling inspired. Which is exactly why you all have to read this crap.

Remember when there was all this going-on about Generation X? And then, every six months or so, everyone wanted to come up with the catchy new name for the subsequent generation? I am a part of that generation!

AND, it's not as cool as it sounds. Generation X was characterized by a sense of hopelessness. They had non-traditional jobs, and non-traditional relationships, too much cocaine, and too much irony. Chuck Klosterman— the seminal Gen Xer—, in Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs, describes the mind of every Gen Xer when he says, "the omnipresent sentiment [was] that the world was on the decline, but we were somehow destined to succeed individually."

So, growing up post-Generation X is like being Generation X's kid brother. I mean, some of us really are. That's not the point. The point is my generation simultaneously wants to be like Generation X in every way and unlike Generation X in all the exact same ways. It's pretty fucked up.

Think about social networking sites and YouTube. On a site like myspace or facebook, plenty of people have no qualms whatsoever about posting loads of pictures and personal information. And YouTube is much the same. Everybody uploads shitty quality videos of themselves doing average things at near-average levels of competence.

The post-Generation X generation— I won't bother with a name for now— is marked by the ubiquity of the individual. In reality, they become a non-individual. So, in a way, the best way to describe the post-Generation X generation would be to say that the omnipresent sentiment is that the individual is on the decline, but somehow, the world is destined to succeed.

The success of social networking sites and of sites like YouTube is not the success of individuals connecting to each other, but of the success of the collective identity of a generation of non-individuals at the expense of those actual individuals. So when the media labels the post-Generation X generation the "Look at me!" generation, the "me" in that statement can only mean the generation as a whole, and any individual who is a part of the generation.

And that's why I have a love/hate relationship with writing a blog. Because, in a way, it's a sincere attempt to improve my own writing and communicate what I hope are mildly interesting (by which I mean, mostly distracting and diverting) ideas. But in another way, blogging in a the era of the ubiquity of blogs is a way to eschew individualism in favor of attempting to discover an identity as a generation to whom too many identities have already been assigned.

19 June 2008

Apocalypse When We Get Around to It

Want to know how I know the world's ending? The signs are more subtle than you might think, but hey, at least there are only four.

  1. Cyndi Lauper's Time After Time covered in a "lite jazz" style. It's a cheap '80s pop tune that only ever made sense in the context of a bespectacled and be-afroed loser's awkward high school dance. It's difficult to imagine a time when Cyndi Lauper would actually be toned down to something simultaneously less offensive and less palatable.

  2. Celtics and the Lakers. I don't know that much about basketball. I don't even care, let's say, at all. But I thought the Celtics/Lakers rivalry ended by, say, 1990. And around that time, musicians started to really play up the irony routine (they knew what it was before, it just wasn't yet a fad). I just don't see that movement to irony being made in sports, because music pretends to be against the status quo, but sports always attempts to define it. Yet, I felt the same way watching the recent NBA playoffs between the Celtics and Lakers as I feel when I listen to music which pretends to be ironic but just winds up being shitty.

  3. Katie Couric replacing Tim Russert as Host of Meet the Press. The last I heard, this was still a rumor. For as long as I can remember knowing who she was, I've always felt convinced that Katie Couric— more probably than any other person— was entirely hollow. I don't mean only metaphorically, either. And I don't think that just because she's one of the few female anchors in what is undoubtedly a boy's club it's misogynistic to say she can't read the news. Connie Chung read the news just fine. Katie Couric, as stated, is hollow, and the effect on me of her reading the news is always a feeling, not that someone is reading the news, but that news is now sentient and reading itself to me. And that, friends, makes me uncomfortable.

  4. Doomsday predictions. I get that the devastation caused by natural disasters is hard to come to terms with, but I'm pretty sure that if it really is God's idea to punish a lot of people who aren't remotely to blame for the alleged sins of few boring aging homosexuals who only ever wanted to form lasting, mutually monogamous relationships, God winds up looking like kind of a dick. Plus, the more people who predict the apocalypse, the more likely it is that one of them will go batshit fucking insane and bring it down on all our heads themselves. And to that I say, "I totally saw that coming."

16 June 2008

On Patriotism.

Although meatiocrity has recently taken a sabbatical from religious news to address a broader variety of topics, at its heart, this is a blog about the ideas that are so entwined with life it becomes impossible to distinguish which gave rise to which.

As such, one of the most fascinating current events is the Zimbabwe election crisis. For those of you who don't remember, or are typical Americans, Robert Mugabe has been President of Zimbabwe since the free elections of 1980. Prior to that, he played a leading role in the guerrilla fighting which helped end both British colonial rule and white minority rule.

Mugabe is also known for leading Zimbabwe out of one of its worst humanitarian crises— the fight for independence—into the country's other worst humanitarian crisis of food shortages and economic collapse. More recently, as you'll gather from the article linked above, Mugabe is responsible for a variety of impediments to the current electoral process.

I think it's obvious that Mugabe is not a great leader. But I think there is something about him that sounds naggingly familiar. The idea of fighting off oppressive colonial powers, of internal struggle to form a nation from tribes and factions, of sussing out the distribution of power, of failing to form a stable government the first time around and eventually rewriting the constitution— it all pulls at the back of my mind.

It's because its not an unfamiliar story. It's the story of America's founding years. We had militias to fight the British, our first try at democracy collapsed, we continued to repel colonial influences after declaring independence, and we even elected a guerilla leader as our first president.

This isn't a moral judgment one way or the other. I'm not saying America is so bad, or that Robert Mugabe is the good guy. I'm not really saying anything about who's good and who's bad. I'm just saying, isn't it interesting that the formative events of revolution and independence and the formative ideas of freedom from foreign rule are common to both?

And if Mugabe is concerned that his presidential rival, Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change, is too Western, there are any number of Americans upset that immigrants might be too culturally other than American. Mugabe's not exactly a role model, but he's also not that hard to understand.

I think anybody who's got an inkling of love for their country— especially America, or any other country who formed in similar fashion— is, in a way, not entirely unlike Robert Mugabe. We never had the opportunity to sabotage a run-off election by having activists murdered and arresting the opponent's second-in-command. We never had a chance to take land— and power— from the vestiges of our oppressors and redistribute it to honest patriots.

But, if we had the opportunity, I think we might not act that differently. We might spy on our democratic rivals or run smear campaigns against our republican enemies. We would certainly want to enact legislation to protect our country, or at least our idea of what our country it. That's what patriotism means.

15 June 2008

How to Be Ignored

A week ago, hundreds of churches agreed to pray together that they would be "one." This week, they'll all pray to be "dead." Never mind that it would have been much more efficient to pray for God to make them "one, dead," or "dead ones," or "one dead," like unified zombie army.

I will mention only this once how the website, the logo, and the banner on the upper right are so respectively web 2.0, iPod advertisement, and ONE.org that any quasi-spiritual hipster worried about postmodernism and the emergent church and relevance couldn't avoid getting on board with the plan to allow pastors nationwide to avoid preaching (or, at least, avoid stealing someone else's sermons) for a few weeks.

That's not what bothers me. Well, technically, it's not what bothers me most. The whole premise bothers me in the same way it bothers me that I have to rinse the sand out of my ass crack after I've been to the beach, even though nobody, to my knowledge, put sand down my trunks. I'm not so sure i'd like to ask God to make the church one in the same way I'm not so sure I want to found out how that sand got where it got.

Seminary taught me that the only times in history in which the church presented a unified front, it was either being persecuted, or persecuting others. It's not a great example. How about, some internal disagreement but nobody gets killed? It's just a thought.

I'm not saying it's actually that easy to disagree with others. I'm bothered by the thought that, in worrying about the unity of the church at large— not merely by praying to make us one in purpose or mission, but by producing and using videotaped sermons in a nationwide effort to present a unified front to the vague collection of "others who are not us"— the local significance of an individual church gets ignored.

So, you might wind up unified. You might also wind up a head-in-the-clouds congregation who cares more about esoteric global ideas and who are too involved in thinking about whatever tenuous connection they have to some vague good being done elsewhere to care about the folks in their immediate neighborhood.

God, make us many.

13 June 2008

Is Art a Battleground?

Some questions I have, as a response to a recent article:

What makes art offensive?

Is it the content?

Is it inherent in perception?

In presentation?

What is an appropriate response to being offended by art?

Is art that offends bad art?

When we are offended by art, ought we reflect why?

At what point does patronage become responsibility?

Who is held responsible for offense taken, artist, viewer, or sponsor?

What is the purpose of art?

Should art always offend?

Should art never offend?

What is the nature of taking offense?

What is the role of art in society?

What is the role of Christianity?

What is the role of art in Christianity?

What is the role of Christianity in art?

Should patrons of art be disallowed anonymity if they sponsor something considered objectionable?

How should art be funded?

Can art be more or less Christian?

What does it mean for Christianity when it no longer produces art?

What does it mean for art to be for or against Christianity?

Can art be Christian?

Can Christianity be artful?

Sorry, no answers this time.

11 June 2008

One, Two, Three Headlines

Sometimes, the news is awesome. Here are three examples, thanks to MSNBC:

I'm not dead yet.

Remember those vague bits of advice your dad gave you? Like, “keep your nose clean,” “wash behind your ears” and “never pet a burning dog?” One of the most memorable was “measure twice, cut once,” and it turns out it applies not only to making birdhouses and spice racks but to organ harvesting. That's a tough one to explain. “Sorry, Laz, we need your corneas, a kidney and part of your liver.”

Dubious honors.

Ask Lou Gehrig about how it is having something named after you. I'll bet his answer would be something like, “not great.” And while a catfish isn't quite in the same order of magnitude as a debilitating disease, I don't think I'd feel honored to have one named after me, let alone a thick-lipped one. Double points, however, for the snarky scientist who named a slime mold after President Bush.

Weird terrorists get no respect.

Pipe bombs suck, but a great way to improve them is, instead of having them fire off shrapnel, how about chicken nuggets? But I suppose even chicken nuggets could pack too much punch. Better send in the bomb squad. Only, I don't want to make that call. “Hey, bomb squad, we've got the road blocked off. It's safe to diffuse the chicken now.”

09 June 2008

More Undeniable Proof that Monkeys Are Awesome

I just can't get enough of monkeys and monkey-related news. And the best kind of monkey is a Hindu monkey god.

Lord Hanuman is pretty cool, as far as gods go. Sure, he can leap oceans and lift mountains and once lead a badass army of monkeys to victory over evil demons. All this might merely make Hanuman a target for a Marvel movie adaptation. But I think what's more impressive that he landed a gig as chairman of a business school without submitting a résumé, interviewing, or appearing visibly. I guess it's all who you know. Or, being a kickass deity.

05 June 2008

Jesus and the Oompa-Loompas

This post is a tangent. It is, technically, a post in its own right, but it's also a tangent and one significantly hefty enough that I felt it unfair to leave it as a comment attached to the original post to which it is a reply. Also, I wanted everyone to read it because at the end of the day— actually at all parts of the day— this blog's really about me.

So, some lost tribe— which is only called lost because we happened to accidently find them— is in the Amazon, and half of them are all done up like Oompa-Loompas and the other half like one half of an Amos 'n' Andy routine. To be fair, they wouldn't get those references. Which is probably not the thing which brings some people to wondering about whether or not we ought to send in the missionaries.

Which brings me to a tangent in a tangent: has anyone ever given serious thought to religion and spiritual practices among Oompa-Loompas?

But that's not the point. Except, in a way, it is the point. On one hand, someone says, yeah, go evangelize this tribe, or these Oompa-Loompas. It'll be good, character-building stuff for them. On the other hand, someone else thinks they should be left alone, preserved, because maybe contact with another culture so different from their own will end very badly. Like, for example, with their making candy for Willy Wonka.

Which doesn't sound bad, except that what is true of sausage is true of candy: you might want to eat it, but seeing it getting made will lead you to write a novel exposing its horrors to the public and fast-tracking government regulations on food preparation. If you're Upton Sinclair.

As is the trend so far (I'm being explicit for those of you who are a bit slow), I mean the Oompa-loompas and I also mean that Amazonian tribe who may or may not need to hear about Jesus and the Gospel. It may not be a good analogy, but I'm going with it anyway. I hear it's good exercise. And by hear, I mean, made up just now.

I always wondered how well the Oompa-Loompas liked working for Willy Wonka. Were they on the level of slaves? Better? Had they unionized? Did Wonka ever have problems with the EEOC? You can't deny that the Oompa-Loompas were drastically different than the people in that film. They had a whole singing, dancing psychedelic culture all of their own. Wonka was weird but he was no Oompa-Loompa.

So at some point, those two cultures had to meet, Wonka the candyman and the Oompa-loompas the weird green-haired dwarves, and at some point after that, one of those cultures got the other one to make some crazy-ass treats in order to thereby make a crazy-ass-load of cash.

And who knows about this Amazonian tribe? Would they, so to speak, make candy for us? We, like Wonka, would be the ones gaining, unless you count the knowledge they'd gain of the candy-making process.

Then again, apart from Charlie, the only ones really immune to the hypnosis of the candy are the Oompa-loompas. All the other kids can't hack it, they abuse the power. The candy is powerful and I think the gospel is powerful, whether you believe in God or not, it does something to people.

So we're like all the kids, and pretty much all of us can't handle the power of the candy. We want more of it than we should, or we sink ourselves into the chocolate-y river of religious experience, or we get so bloated on it we blow up like a blueberry and they have to roll us away. I mean, some churches roll people away down the aisles anyway, but that's another whole weird thing.

I just don't feel comfortable giving an answer. Since this tribe is so unknown, I can't know how'd they respond. Would they really be like the Oompa-loompas, able to handle the power? I doubt it.

I get the feeling they'd be a lot like us. Most of them would fuck up pretty bad, and maybe a couple would catch on. It's not a great percentage, and that's why I'm not sure I think missionaries ought to go meet these people. I'm not sure they could handle the candy, or that we're handling it particularly well enough to know how to share it.

There's probably also a metaphor somewhere in the Amos 'n' Andy bit, about how we all tend to oversimplify those who are different than ourselves so that by making them one-dimensional we can easily predict what they'll do and how they'll respond to us. But that might be a bit of a stretch.

04 June 2008

Do Your Homework

A friend of mine has written a thought-provoking article on questions of evangelism, missionary activity and the meaning of the gospel. I have been thinking for a couple of days about Mel's article "Jesus in the Amazon" and intend to write a response here on meatiocrity. Reading Mel's post and the comments on it beforehand will lend some context to the comments I'll make tomorrow.

31 May 2008

A Message from the Anti-Monkey Coalition

What do you do if you don’t get your way? Claim viewpoint discrimination!

You might disagree with me on this, but I think it’s a great idea. So don’t try to keep my different viewpoint down, because that’s discrimination. If I want to grant a science degree for a program which is almost entirely unscientific, you can’t say that I can’t. You big meanie-head.

Okay, so maybe you think my viewpoint is “deviant.” Maybe you even call it “aberrant.” Those are discriminatory words that should only be used to describe gays, not the perfectly acceptable— some might say better— interpretation of Darwinian evolution.

Why is our Creationism— erm, that is, Intelligent Design— better than your boring monkey-type evolution? Because it’s backed by the truth. Absolute truth. None of your crappy relativism here, what with its “different viewpoints” and “respect for others’ ideas” and “not discriminating.”

Oh, wait. I see what you did there.

29 May 2008

More Monkeys!

What's better than monkeys? Robo-monkeys. A chimp flinging poo is one thing, but when that feces becomes a deadly projectile thanks to the help of a cybernetic arm and nanotechnology-enhanced targeting, you've really got something to fear. All your apocalyptic visions of robotic uprisings are nothing in terms of terror or hilarity when compared to apocalyptic visions of robo-monkey uprisings.

28 May 2008

Suck It Monkeys, I'm Gettin' Saved!

I kind of like being a bit of an asshole. Imagine my joy— no, I'll just tell you, I was pretty damn joyful— to find out that I could still be an asshole after we meet the Lord in the air at the Rapture. And when I say we, I mean just the obnoxiously self-righteous.

At You've Been Left Behind, you can leave a message for your loved ones after you've shuffled off this mortal coil to be with God in some kind of un-shuffle-off-able immortal coil, whatever that means. Sure, you could say how much you miss them and love them, but why not do what you've been doing all your life: reminding them how much better you you are than them.

And just in case that's not enough inspiration for you, the creators of the site have some helpful resources available for use. Apart from links to the Bible (undoubtedly the servers on which the files are stored will be left behind in perfect working condition), these resources consist mainly of ridiculously long emails. Even the shit-displacing disappearance of Christians worldwide cannot interrupt your long-windedness.

Personally, I'd go with something a little more concise.

26 May 2008

Every Time a Zit is Popped, a Planet Gets Its Rings

Looks like Jupiter has some new red spots. I'm no expert, but that looks like planetary acne. Next, all the astronomers are going to make fun of the way the sounds from Jupiter keep cracking. Jupiter will be all embarrassed and awkward, and Saturn is never going to go to prom with it. Then it'll listen to some depressing emo song and cry and cry, and write some crappy poem about how its soul is as cold and black as space itself. Sheesh, what a whiny-ass planet.

22 May 2008

Someone Did Not Eat Enough Bugs as a Child

I've covered some pretty weird topics on Meaticority. I'm pretty weird myself.

I could never have made this up.

I'm not sure I feel up to the task of highlighting the weird bits without outright copying the article. Here goes anyway, but in the second person, to really bring home the weirdness:

  • You find one and a half flies in your unopened water.

  • You are a Canadian hairdresser.

  • You are also, allegedly, a dude.

  • Your sleep and sex life are ruined by those one and a half flies.

  • The monetary value of your suffering is estimated at $341,775.

  • You win that amount from the bottling company in a court settlement,

  • You lose your settlement in an appeal.

  • You settlement stays lost when the Canadian Supreme Court unanimously decides you are pretty much a complete wuss for freaking out over one and a half flies and upholds the appeal.

I'd suggest suing the Canadian Supreme Court for being big meanies. But first, home to cry, and then freak out because your tears are made of water.

19 May 2008

Revivalist Update

I wrote previously about revivalism, and I wanted to offer a brief update of the Lakeland revival linked to in that post.

It turns out that the cost of ministry is around $15,000 a day. According to the linked article, those funds are raised by offerings and used to cover production costs. If a little perspective helps, the IRS can tell you that I made less than that in 2007.

It's Not Stealing if You Pretend God Likes It

Bad news Randy, Paula, and Simon— your show, American Idol, has officially jumped the shark. It may already have, that's up for debate, but the time has come when the Christian sub-culture has caught up with you and decided your premise is both sufficiently inoffensive and sufficiently lame to be coated with a thin veneer of shallow spirituality.

Their names are not as big (at least, according to the world), but at least they didn't break a commandment in naming their show. Which reminds me, how come you guys haven't debuted that singing (and dancing!) golden calf I've heard so many rumors about?

Next in American Christianity's inability to innovate: moving in on Grand Theft Auto with an expansive, allegedly non-linear game where the player hands out tracts and burns their secular music, all while obeying all traffic laws and praying aloud for forgiveness for everyone who cuts them off. Almost as much fun, and less killing hookers. Except the ones who have brought God's wrath on themselves because of their filthy lifestyle.

14 May 2008

Terrible Videos 2.0

If you thought ChristianFamilyTube.com was awesome, what with all its amazing music videos and the like, you need to check out GodTube.com. All the fun of the former, with a helping of that weird Christian trend of modifying others' logos for some vaguely evangelistic purpose.

Check out just some of what GodTube.com has to offer:

In this one, the parents go to a hotel to exchange a firm handshake:


There ain't no party like your nana's tea party:


And from the "Not Even Trying to Sound Like Christopher Walken but Doing the Skit Anyway" file:

God Will Kick Your Ass

In case you haven't heard, famous ass-kicker Chuck Norris is now famous ass-kicker Dr. Church Norris. That's right: Liberty University gave him a degree. Oddly, it was in humanities rather than ass-kickery. I'm not really sure why.

I would like to highlight two key points from this article. First, the following:

“The Lord has directed my steps now through the last 10 years. And I hope you’ll let Him direct your steps, because if you do, you can’t go wrong – I promise you," Liberty Journal reported.

Undoubtedly, the Lord has also directed all Chuck's roundhouse kicks. And punches. So, it wasn't Chuck Norris who kicked all those asses, it was God, kicking ass through Chuck Norris.

And the second point:

At the beginning of the ceremony, LU Chancellor and President Jerry Falwell, Jr. called Norris the "type of role model to young people that has become rare in the entertainment field."

You heard right, Hollywood. More asskicking. More taking names. More roundhouse kicks. In the name of Jesus.

12 May 2008

How to Burn Down Churches

I'd like to go ahead and extend an already vague metaphor by accusing certain revivalists of committing spiritual arson in their spreading of so-called "revival fires." (Here's their website). For an example that is both more pointed and more litigious, took a look at this story of a traveling preacher who took everyone's money.

I believe the two examples above illustrate a particularly disturbing behavior in Christianity, namely, the promising of immediate reaction from God to some action of the believer as prescribed by the itinerant preacher speaking on God's behalf. The beneficiary, of course, is not the believer but the one making the promise, ostensibly for God.

In the second and more obvious example, believers are promised wealth in return for donations to the itinerant preacher. In the first, and more subtle example, believers are promised an esoteric spiritual renewal— often in the more tangible form of miraculous healing— in return for attendance and participation in increasingly ecstatic gatherings.

The problem, of course, is that the promise seems inevitable in the moment, but in the long run almost always remains utterly unfulfilled. It is my opinion, then, that itinerant preachers are generally troublesome and dangerous due to their practice of introducing hopes which are rarely, if ever, tenable or sustainable.

I'd tend to accuse these itinerant preachers— despite their stated intentions— of promoting not God, or truth, or the Gospel, but themselves. They want money or fame. Either way, the intent is to gain power over others in what I consider an exploitative manner.

But that accusation is probably not verifiable— how could any person look at another and know the intention in their heart and mind? I think, however, there is more evidence in the lives of those affected by this kind of preaching of wrongdoing on the part of these itinerant preachers. It is akin, perhaps, to a one-night stand, in that it is high in excitement and low in meaning, only one party mistakenly believed the commitment was supposed to last longer.

The danger, then, in having the presumption to speak for God is that you may turn God into a liar and a destroyer whose fire doesn't cleanse or rejuvenate, but destroys and consumes and chars. And, given the language I've just used to describe the situation, I might wonder who it is precisely such a preacher speaks for.

10 May 2008

More Evidence for Evolution

When someone in a crowd needs to take a picture with their digital viewscreen camera— which a lot of people think are pretty special for some reason— they wind up looking like a rhesus monkey. Also, God would not create you to drink a Budweiser at a college graduation.

07 May 2008

This Post is Totally Gay

We don't want kids to read about how great homosexuality is. That's a given. Kids usually empathize with penguins and associating themselves with Tango or either of her two dads will probably ruin their impressionable little minds forever. If you don't believe me, just wait until they try to leave the house in a pair of assless chaps.

It's a shame the examples we give to our kids of what a family should be like these days. The real shame, however, is that we've drifted so far from following the Biblical examples of what a family should be like.

Kids need to see how much David loved Bathsheba— enough to send her husband off to be killed, all so they wouldn't commit adultery. It's good morals, and it shows what a loving marriage is like.

They need to know that their parents love them as much as Hannah loved Samuel. They should know their parents are so thankful to have them they'd be willing to send them off to live with a man who is a reportedly bad parent and so fat he died by breaking his own neck.

Better yet, kids should know about the best examples of parents available— Abraham and Sarah. They loved Isaac so much, they kicked out their other son, Ishmael. In fact, Abraham and Isaac were so close, Isaac didn't even object when Abraham tied him down and lifted up a knife to sacrifice him.

Do your kids— and yourself— a favor and try to get that terrible book banned. And if you want them to grow up right and know what marriages and families should really be like, just read them the Bible instead.

06 May 2008

03 May 2008

Why I Am Not a Sports Commentator

Apparently, there's a question whether or not racehorse Big Brown will live up to its trainer's claims. I have a feeling he'll just be a turd out there.

Dear John (and Jane!)

Sorry Florida and Michigan, you don't get to pick a Democratic candidate this primary season. Sure, you still get to vote, but we're going to go ahead and give Guam a say in the matter. So, thanks for sharing. The Guamanians will love being a part of the democratic process despite their lack of representation in our federal government, and you still get to vote for whoever they choose. Happy November!


The Democratic National Committee

02 May 2008

Great Dating Advice.

After almost four years of being single, I was almost ready to throw in the towel. Until I found this. Thanks, Landover Baptist Church!

01 May 2008

Suck It, Europe!

Turns out America's holier-than-thou attitude is entirely justified. By statistics!

And Americans supposedly have, on average, three Bibles per household. I like to open three at once so each person in the Trinity can speak to me simultaneously.

Why do Americans have three bibles per household? Because it's our favorite book of all time. In your face, New York Times' best seller list!

Looks like America's got even more bragging rights now. We saved your ass in World War II, Europe, but now we're kicking it. Spiritually.

Maybe you should back us up next time we decide to fight an unpopular war in the Middle East instead of bitching at us about it. I'm talking to you, France. I swear, we're going to give you such a guilt trip!

28 April 2008

God: Theology's Whipping Boy

In case you haven't been appalled yet today, check out the comments in this article, a brief on the church floor collapse in British Columbia which injured at least forty people. In fact, I'll just copy the four extant as of the writing of this post:

"Perhaps God is lifting His protective hand from Canada for their acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle. He sure works in mysterious ways!"

"Why do I get the feeling that there was more involved than just simple design flaws? The church truly needs to get away from the world, yet everyone seems to love it. Sad."

"Glad to see that people were enjoying the music and using the music to praise the Lord, but sorry to hear of the injury to so many. But, the Lord must have had His hand on His children, and it wasn't time for any of those kids to go home to Father."

"Our lord works in mysterious ways. Praise him."

That's right. Mysteriously, God protected those kids from dying while punishing them for loving the world which is as bad as it is because Canada accepts the homosexual lifestyle. Hallelujah.

I'm sure I come across as being pretty harsh on Christians. I am a Christian, and I have a bit of a checkered past with it. By that, I mean that I used to be an asshat acting like I was a decent guy, and now I'm an asshat acting likely slightly more of an asshat. That's not the point though.

The point is, I'm not sure any of these comments have all that much to do with God. Theological language is easy to throw around. Whether or not God was involved at all is one issue; how God was involved if God was is another.

The fourth comment, for example, denies knowing how God was involved and declines questioning God's involvement. In short, it's a theological cop-out. The speaker appears humble by refusing to know how God was involved, and promotes their own self-righteousness by praising God nonetheless.

The first and second comments are, I believe, more or less similar to each other. Though the second doesn't directly implicate God, both statements indicate that some flaw— whether in Canadian culture at large, or of the Christian community— incited God to allow the tragic event. It's the problem with the advice of Job's friends, who assume that because Job undergoes tragedy, he is guilty of sin. Is all tragedy punishment? If so, then what evil exists to be punished, since the victims are always the guilty?

The third comment is probably the most sincere of the four, but only, I contend, the first sentence. The second sentence, however, seems to me to retract what sincerity existed in the first. Although God is portrayed as involved, not in the punishment, but in the protection, the manner in which God is involved is fatalistic. Each person has a "time to go home to Father." The injuries, the entire tragedy, is grievous, but inevitable. In a way, the third comment is nothing more than an heartfelt version of the fourth.

But, dear readers, I do not wish to leave you out in the coldness of cynicism for too long. I won't offer you a comprehensive theodicy (the traditional attempt to reconcile the problem of evil, which is the very thing I've written about all along without naming it directly— in short, how a good God and evil both exist simultaneously).

Instead, I offer you the example of the aforementioned Job. When a tragedy struck, he called God to court— literally— the entire book is in the form of an ancient judicial proceeding. And I make no promises as to the simplicity of that action nor the length of time it will consume, though I might suggest it is endlessly complex and will consume your entire life. But that is only a suggestion.

Keep Trying, Monkeys!

You'll get yourself all evolved soon enough.

27 April 2008

How to Displease Everyone

It seems like all you have to do to displease everyone is become honorary chairman of the National Day of Prayer.

Poor Dr. Ravi Zacharias. I thought his prayer was pretty good. I'm not sure how you'd object to it.

As it turns out, nobody liked much of what went on on the National Day of Prayer. On one side are those calling for an inclusive day of prayer, asserting that the "National day of prayer has been hijacked!" Bummer.

On the other side are people who accuse Dr. Zacharias of leaving out Jesus' name so as not to offend other religions. They go so far as to find it "appalling that Dr. Zacharias is willing to capitulate to the un-Scriptural, interfaith ecumenism and discard the name of Jesus."

My advice is, if you get asked to give a prayer at the National Day of Prayer, instead of trying to give an appropriate, thoughtful prayer, maybe just flip everyone the bird and say something like, "Suck it, monkeys, I'm going corporate!"

Why Create When Others Have Done the Work for You?

Sadly, the "I Agree with Josh" Facebook group has been deleted. Please try this one instead. And for more things we can all agree with, try this.

26 April 2008

You Twit!

If you haven't yet signed on to the Twitter bandwagon, here's a quick reason you should: It lets bloggers half-ass their work and self-promote in 140 characters or less.

Not the best reason, sure, so here are some of my favorites from the last couple of weeks:

  • Wisdom begins in knowing just how much bullshit one is full of

  • If you own a pickup truck, make sure to get a couple of boards to keep in the bed, in case someone needs to drive a 4-wheeler up there.

  • Is a lonely solipsist ironic, or simply true?

  • The best way to make your theory irrefutable is to first make it incomprehensible.

  • You'd think the word "superfluous" would be a little more concise.

  • Ethics: the insistence upon morality by those who entirely lack it.

  • Today's aphorisms are tomorrow's fundamentals

  • If you're loaded, you're drunk. What does it mean to be overloaded?

  • You know what you never see? A panhandler handling a pan.

  • Candyland should have more opportunities for players to say, "Too rich for my blood!"

  • Everyone's an egoist but me.

  • Nostalgia was way better back in the good old days.

25 April 2008

How to Disagree with Josh

Did you catch yesterday's post? Did you disagree with Josh, as I did?

Now you can create your own "I Agree With…" campaign. Who will you choose? I know who I would pick for mine: me.

And while you might be noticing glaring grammatical errors in the document, your intellectual objections in that arena are nothing more than a smokescreen for a sinful heart. In fact, I'm putting that in my statement!

Did you also notice how much it'll cost to run this campaign? Around eight thousand dollars. Do you know how much I spent writing this post, in which I wholeheartedly agree with my own ideas? Nothing.

And the time commitment? I spent almost a quarter hour on this, and a good three minutes of that was getting a glass of root beer. Three months is just ridiculous.

I could go on with lots of ways writing a cheap blog post is better than running a big long campaign, but I think instead, I'll just go have a real beer. That's another for my statement of faith!

24 April 2008

I Question the Existence of Josh

Even if I intended to agree with him, would it matter if Josh existed?

The link above will send you to a Facebook group and event organized by students at a local Rochester school. I won't tell you which, but if you don't figure it out yourself, we're not friends anymore.

Before I discuss my agreement or disagreement, I'd like to give my own overview of the group. It seems to be a group of Christian students rallying around a heavily modified Apostles' Creed. More on the modifications later.

The purpose, I believe, is not malicious, though it could be perceived as such due to the largeness of the group and the occurrence of the main event, "Josh Speaks," on the "Day of Silence." As you might imagine, a Christian group speaking on a day during which LGBT groups nationwide are silent could exacerbate tensions.

What I'd like to offer next is a series of reflections on different aspects of what I find an entirely curious phenomenon.

On Josh

First, as for Josh, I do not know him, but he seems to be only a spokesperson for the group. I'm not sure, however, that it matters whether or not he exists when it comes to discussing the events and comments surrounding the Facebook group.

It seems to me that people— whether agreeing or disagreeing— are responding largely to the creedal formula presented, which is only confused by the attachment of Josh's name to the end. Anyone's name— even a fake one— could be substituted, and the comments would be mostly the same.

I don't mention this to be insulting or flippant. I merely mean to suggest that any discussion of Josh, per se, is mostly superficial due to relevance. The significant discussion is that of the creed, its meaning, and the reactions to it.

On Creeds

Second, Josh's statement— which is really the consensus of a group of individuals— is, as I have mentioned, a heavily modified Apostles' Creed. The modified "Josh" text emphasizes particular aspects of Christian theology, namely, the soteriological (having to do with salvation).

I would like to discuss the issues pertaining to this pseudo-creed in particular, and then creeds in general. Because of the name of the group and the profile pictures created ("I agree with Josh"), people are constrained to pick one of two opposites, yes or no, agree or disagree. I think they have.

I guess what I'm suggesting is something about the duality of humankind. Specifically, I'm suggesting that that manner in which this pseudo-creed was presented caused as many difficulties as the content. So, even one point of tension, contention, or confusion, causes a "disagree" result, perhaps alienating not only non-Christians, but other Christians. What was meant for unity might only serve to further divide.

Interestingly, while the Apostles' Creed names God as "creator of heaven and earth," Josh's Pseudo-Creed does not. Therefore, in a theological sense, when Josh's Pseudo-Creed states that Jesus' death was to "make relationship with God possible," Josh's Pseudo-Creed remains internally consistent on that point, but out of sync with other aspect of Christian orthodoxy.

If God created everything, everything is in relationship to God already, though that relationship may be non-communicative or broken. This is not a pedantic tangent— this issue greatly influences one's ideas of the world at large.

As for creeds in general, I have other issues. Which creed is the right creed, exactly? While the Apostles' Creed is probably one of the older ones and has points on which the largest community of Christians agree, what about the topics not covered, say, in the realm of Christology?

Should we turn to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, which addresses some of those issues? If so, do we take issue with the fact that that creed relies heavily on the language and ideas of Greek philosophy?

And suppose we do this for every theological issue, coming to consensus and creating a new, longer creed, or an additional creed. How could anyone simply agree or disagree with such a document?

It seems to me that even in the use of creeds, there are difficulties in terms of both too little sophistication, or too much, and that older creeds do not necessarily address the concerns of a contemporary generation, and newer creeds risk theological inconsistency with the past (this may be impossible, but a topic for another time).

In Conclusion

If you pushed me for an answer, I'd disagree with Josh. (Sorry Josh, if you're out there). In part, I do disagree with the phrasing of some of the content— any seminarian who claims to have no questions probably failed seminary (or should have). The larger part, however, is a problem of language.

By this, I mean that I find it difficult to wholly accept or reject a creed. One of the group administrators states in the discussion boards that the group is not meant for debate, merely expression. Debate, I believe, would have been a better option.

In a debate, we could raise questions specific to one line or another of this pseudo-creed. Someone might offer a clarification or a nuance which facilitates understanding. This would mean, however, that the creed itself is not closed, but open to reinterpretation and reevaluation.

On the other hand, rather than the closed-off nature of the group (those who patently agree or disagree with Josh's Pseudo-Creed), the group would be far more open for others— those who agree or disagree only in part— to engage and question.

Furthermore, I might suggest that every expression, of faith or anything else, is, by virtue of being expressed, open to debate in that it is necessarily open to interpretation (there is no immediacy of knowledge or meaning here).

In that sense, it almost seems ridiculous to agree or disagree with another's expression of faith. Agreement or disagreement, in a simplified yes/no sense, implies non-interpretation, a refusal to engage the subject of the expression, in this case, faith. So, if I disagree with Josh, it is only because I do not have the audacity to presume that I understand in full. And so with all creeds.

23 April 2008

How a Singing Fish Ruined My Faith

I've linked to it before, and I'll link to again in an upcoming Creation and Evolution post, but today's Creation Moment was too good to pass up.

Did you catch the part about fish having gears and pulleys? Does the author simply not realize that an evolutionary biologist can point to the same features and give a reasonable explanation for their existence? "Something works, therefore God made it" is not a great argument.

Is the implication that if a fish had gears and pulleys, we wouldn't believe in God?

If so, watch the video below only if you want to become an atheist.

21 April 2008

Uncertain about this whole postmodern thing

Those crazy postmoderns are at it again, ruining Christianity for everyone else! What we need is more doctrine.

So, stand up, all you Nestorians and Docetists, you Gnostics and Waldensians. We're not sure how yet, but this postmodern thing is probably your fault.

What the world really needs now are people who are willing to be absolutely certain that they are right. Postmodernism is a tool the terrorists use to keep us from winning against them. Bastards!

Personally, I'd like to have a good ol' creed recital. We could see who could do the most elaborate ones. Anyone who can't is obviously uncertain about the truth and probably one of those postmodern heretics. Hey! We could maybe set them on fire, like we used to do to people who lacked doctrinal fortitude!