Friday, March 31, 2006

More Wrestling

In my last post, I voiced my displeasure with any view of redemption and eternal life in which "the chips fall based on what you've done."

Lately, there has been a feeling of disillusionment among many of my friends at church. Part of this is self-inflicted. We grew up, got busy, and took our spiritual lives for granted. Like most of our generation, we wanted our parent's lifestyle right out of the gate. We left ourselves vulnerable to the inevitable questions. Some are, perhaps, in the process of convincing themselves that these questions have no answers.

When faced with these doubts, the simplest reaction is to ignore them and do, do, do. We endeavor toward a series of Godly accomplishments in an effort assuage any doubt regarding our eternal status. Eventually, all the doing loses its meaning, and we begin to feel guilty that we are not doing enough to love God.

Unfortunately, there are a number of figures in the Christian world eager to exploit this guilt. We have James Dobson imploring parents to suppress early signs of homosexuality in their sons and daughters. We have Jim Wallis urging us to oppose Social Security reform, lest we break one of the ten commandments. Do this, do that, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

God is the man behind the curtain? In a sense, no. He is the real Oz, all powerful, all-knowing etc... But does that begin to describe the relationship he wants to have with us? I don't think so. If we peek behind the curtain, behind the threats of hell and promises of heaven, there is a God who takes the time to count the hairs on our head. He loves us, died for us, and would like nothing more than to enjoy our love.

While we are consumed with questions about Personal Retirement Accounts and our son's troublesome interest in ballet, God waits for us, wanting to be understood, loved and, yes, feared and respected.

To the complicated questions of heaven and hell, I say this. A worldview based on loving Jesus grants us an eternal understanding, and allows us to experience a unique and powerful grace. If we are constantly expecting more of ourselves, obsessing over our salvation, we have no time for grace.

Perhaps it helps not to see it as an expectation, but rather as an opportunity. Wisdom and life have but one conduit, and our hearts were built to experience love through that channel.

With this opportunity comes responsibility, but we do well to remember that the opposite holds true. If we fret over our responsibilities, without taking the time to experience his joy, then what is the point? What could we possibly look forward to after we die? An increased workload? More guilt? A constant, eternal scolding about being behind in our one-year Bibles?

We need to fear God, yes. But part of fearing means enjoying, giving thanks, loving each other and him. Leave the Godspeak and gloom-and-doom to the seminarians. They dig that stuff anyway.

See? It's easy. Now go do it.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Fallen Philosophies

My friend ochuk has had an interesting ongoing discussion about falling away from faith on his blog. I began to respond, and then realized I have my own damn blog, and don't need to abuse his comment board. I don't know whether this is interesting or thought provoking for those who don't believe in Christ, but I'd love to know your thoughts as well.

You can read the posts for yourself, but it is essentially a discussion of what it means to fall away from the Christian faith. Today's post focuses on the four philosophies used to describe how this might manifest itself.

The problem inherent in any of these philosophies (and in the broader discussion) is mankind's inherent tendency to make it about him. We want to make this about will power and winning races and achievement and fabulous prizes. In an attempt to relate to this desire, God infuses the Bible with comparisons to races and prizes. These metaphors are encouraging, and make some sense of an intangible enterprise, but they do not completely explain it.

We want desperately to make this about works (see Catholicism) and not about faith. Why? Because behaving and acting a certain way seems a much easier target for spiritual enlightenment than faith. A rich man can do right by giving away some of his fortune. A nice man can devote his time to charities or social work. Etc... etc...

This is old philosophical territory. Christ provides the answer that at first seems simple, but in practice requires a suspension of earthly values that is profoundly difficult. Not only does Christ command us to do good, but he requires us to extend grace to those who do not. Further, he requires us to accept his grace when we do not. The latter two are difficult for most, the third impossible for some.

See, our inherent guilt complex wants to make faith also about punishment (see Catholicism again). We are accustomed to negative consequences for our actions. That's how the world works. It feels right, and so we project this value system onto God, and ignore grace, or redefine, or add modifiers to it.

Once we have assessed ourselves on this guilt/rewards continuum, we locate a philosophy that gels with our view of God's grace. Those who have very consistent faith patterns, free of peaks and valleys, read the Bible as one in which we can fall from faith at any time. Those who spend months away from the faith, only to come back and achieve great things from the Lord (depression-sufferers tend to fall into this category) have a view of grace that is all-encompassing, wherein God never leaves you behind, whether you turn your back on him or not. Industrious people tend to look toward a heaven where rewards go to those who worked the hardest.

But all of these descriptions are problematic in that they draw a line in the sand. Some people get heaven, some don't, some sort of. How the chips fall depend on what you've done. Metaphors about races and prizes are taken in excruciatingly literal terms, and we measure our faith accordingly. Obviously, that doesn't work, but I still can't see a heaven that doesn't reflect our lives here on earth.

If Heaven is a kingdom devoted solely to God (recall that no such kingdom, even the church, exists on earth) than only that which makes sense to God makes sense in heaven. In one of his essays, C.S. Lewis describes hell as being in the constant presence of heaven, but completely unable to understand it.

Personally, I want to understand God, to know him, to engage him, and be like him. To the extent that I have devoted myself to that pursuit, (and I'll concede that I'm doing a lousy job of it now) I will enjoy his presence eternally. Perhaps that isn't the most theologically accurate interpretation, but I can't imagine failing by this standard

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Democratic Platform

Today, Congressional Democrats announced their plan on national security. If elected to majorities in the 2006 elections, they promise to capture Osama Bin Laden. Below are some of the other promises the Dems have offered.

1) Will lower taxes.

2) Democratic men will stop wearing panties (yes, we're talking to you Kucinich.)

3) Will recruit more charismatic, Westwood-friendly mulattos to run in future elections.

4) Won't implement any portion of Democratic platform. Seriously people, that's just some crap we made up to please the freaks at Moveon. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

5) Family values!!!!! We like them now!

6) Will restore integrity to Congress... For 6-8 weeks.

7) Will become even more dashingly attractive and easy to understand (hellooooooooooo soccer moms)

8) We are so into Dwayne Wade right now.

9) We are adamantly against the war in Iraq. Therefore, we propose to whine about it constantly. Don't worry, we don't act on our convictions. We know it scares the crap out of you people when we do that.

10) Did we mention tax cuts? We're against those. We'll enact them though. Please elect us. We'll give you a cheeseburger! Anything man...

11) What? Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd? We got those guys under control. Besides, who hasn't wished they could drive their secretary into a river, now what I'm sayin'? Heh, heh?

12) What. You're going to vote for a third party candidate? What? Okay... Go right ahead. Cough-BUSHGORE-Cough. Oh, what? That's right baby. That's right. Just touch the blue mark on the screen. You like Joe Lieberman, don't you? That's right... That's right, baby. You want it, don't you? Yeah, you like being in the majority. That's right. Now don't tell daddy, okay?

13) Remember, no matter what you hear, we're still predominantly straight, white and protestant.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Bird Flu - Part 2

With the arrival of the Avian Flu in nations such as Poland, Turkey and Denmark, the pandemonium surrounding this potentially deadly virus is increasing. TPWK is highly concerned about this issue, so our crack team of researchers has been working day and night to dig up information on this mysterious disease. They have come up with a number of tips to keep you safe when the flu strikes.

1. Be sure to panic and speculate about the worst case scenarios involved. Hysteria makes the most sense when it comes to things like SARS, Y2k, and Bird Flu.

2. Free Range chickens are more likely than factory chickens to have Bird Flu. Point this out to your hippy friends with a smug smile.

3. Symptoms of Bird Flu vary, but are said to include nausea, headaches, muscle soreness, sinus pain, sore throat, itchiness, constipation, diarrhea, and cold sores. At the first sign of any of these symptoms, jump immediately to the conclusion that you have Bird Flu.

4. Chuck Norris once contracted Bird Flu, but only for long enough enough to infect his enemies with it.

5. Bird Flu can infect anyone, regardless of race or ethnicity. If any black people are infected, though, it will be George W. Bush's fault.

6. When purchasing a bird, remember that you are purchasing every bird that bird has ever slept with.

7. Citizens of Detroit have little to fear from the bird flu, as they have nothing to live for anyway.

8. Bird Flu will likely spread quickly among densely populated, poorly sanitized areas. Attending Phish concerts or Bennington college is not advised for the next five years.

9. The Bird Flu is likely to sever food distribution channels, rendering fresh, nutritious foods scarce, and even non-existent. This warning brought to you by Hormel.

10. Bird Flu: Catch the Fever!

Friday, March 24, 2006

TPWK vs. Daily Kos

I don’t usually bugger with the fringe plurality of the Democratic Party, but this Daily Kos piece seems to reflect their attitude so aptly, and is so vapid and ornery that I just couldn’t help myself. See here for the whole thing. Here are excerpts, with my responses. (Note to readers, Dailykos is the most popular blog in the world, and often features posts from Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and others.)

Getting It Straight with the Wrong-Headed Right
by SusanG

What I need from the conservatives who were wrong is this:

A statement, a simple statement, that they were wrong and we were right. Period.


Ah yes. This is now empirical fact. Nobody is discussing the war anymore. It has been settled.

Not that Bush incompetently executed a terrific idea, but that the idea itself was wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

I’m envisioning Susan with her fingers in her ears, stomping up and down. But then, how could she type?

As wrong as you can get. You simply cannot force democracy on another nation at gunpoint. Period.


Worked on Germany. More than once.

It doesn't matter that you don't like the messenger, that you wish he or she were less shrill or not fat or not given to making documentaries

Note to Michael Moore, when even DailyKos is calling you a shrill and fat, you need to work on your image. Just sayin’ dawg. Loved “Roger and Me.”

It's not groveling that we critics want; we don't want conservatives to face years and years of personal humiliation over this.

That reminds me, please add smug to the “shrill, fat et al…” list of pejoratives I like to heap on liberals. Thanks.

The admitted emotional satisfaction we can get from that is minor, more appropriate for the schoolyard than the national political stage.

Not unlike your post, Susan. WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG STUPIDHEAD!

What the right doesn't understand - and why they're screaming that we're meanies over this insistence on an unconditional mea culpa

We don’t call you meanies, we call you shrill and fat. See above.

You could put the most efficient, brilliant leader in charge,


Yeah, George W. I voted for him. Didn't you?

but if the idea is simply bone-headed and undoable, all you've got is a longer time period before the unraveling becomes apparent, which in some ways presents a bigger danger. A competent executive that marshals a bad idea through its initial stages has a greater ability to hide the signs of an impending disaster.


So either you are conceding that G.W. made no effort to hide the impending disaster, or that he is a competent executive. Or is he just a stupid, but brilliant liar? Cognitive dissonance is always the soup du jour with the “hate-Bush” types.

Just ask Enron employees who had their life savings tied up in company pension plans.

Can I have my shoehorn back?

I also find it disingenuous that the right claims sole ownership of the "Saddam is a bad, bad man" banner.

But we bought it on EBay!

Please. Compared to the liberal left, they are decades late to that particular party. Progressives were screaming into the void about Hussein's human rights violations, his gassing of the Kurds, his terrorizing of political opponents long, long, long before it conveniently bubbled up into the consciousness of the neocon right.

Ummm… I have a set of Desert Storm trading cards that says otherwise.

For this, we were labeled too "sensitive," not reality-based enough to operate in the real world, where sometimes you have to arm a strongman to keep a worse scenario at bay.


I thought we were calling you shrill, fat, meanies???

Well, shove it. We were right. You were wrong. Period.

Telling someone to shove it is not a good way to elicit an unqualified apology. It’s also not very sensitive. It is, dare I say, shrill?

And you were wrong because - it pains me to say this - you lost your minds in the aftermath of 9/11.

And we took Howard Dean down with us.

War critics who did not, in fact, shut off their higher cortex and retreat to the reptilian brain during this period can make it easier for conservatives to admit they wrong


I remember when America collectively lost its ability to smell or fear in the wake of 9/11. Weird times.


- and we need to do this to move this country forward, like it or not - by quit rubbing their faces in it.

Like you’re doing now?

A horrible thing happened on 9/11.


Yep. It just happened. Nobody perpetrated it. Nobody was behind it. Just a big, cosmic, whoopsie. Out of nowhere, really. Nothing to get riled up over, though.

We were shocked as a nation, horrified, terrified, wounded and grieving.


And, in some cases, shrill and/or fat.

It is understandable - completely understandable - that a large portion of this country suddenly was willing to kill people - any people - for any trumped-up reason whatsoever to assuage the bleeding of this national wound.

I totally agree. I killed my neighbor’s cat in a fit of bloodlust. The cat’s name was Abdul.

But ... being understandable doesn't make it right.


The judge saw it the same way.

I can understand how a parent reaches a point of slapping a child out of frustration for asking one too many times for a Mr. Goodbar

Whoa… What? Did we just relive a childhood trauma here? “All I wanted was a #$%^#& Mr. Goodbar, dad. I was six! Six years old! You animal! Now I write for Daily Kos. How do you like them apples, you red-state, child-beating bastard?” But seriously, what kid wants a Mr. Goodbar? Those things have ALMONDS, people.

But it was then - right then in the fresh, raw, losing-our-minds stage after 9/11 - that the few outspoken critics should have been most honored, that critical speech should have been most strenuously preserved: saying whoa whoa whoa whoa now here,
let's slow down.


Joey Lawrence was utterly prescient, with regard to our military efforts in the Middle East. If only we’d heeded his call.

Let's look at the facts. Let's see if a military solution is going to prevent this kind of thing again - or whether it's going to further enrage an already clearly enraged group.


The liberals were, in fact, further enraged.

That was when it was most vital to hear "slow down the juggernaut and let's examine our options" counsel.

Yeah, we should’ve waited at least a year before going into Iraq. Wait, what? Oh…. Well, what’s the problem, then?

And that's when we were labeled traitors. Fifth columnists. America haters.

I’m pretty sure nobody was called a fifth columnist… I had to Google that one.

We loved our country enough to dig deep down into our courage and speak up

Ah, yes. It takes a lot of courage to be disagreed with. Thank God for you, fatty.

It's hard to say these simple words, without qualification: You were right. I was wrong.

You were Right! But, I would qualify that by saying… Wow, I #$%^$# up already. It IS hard.

Ask anyone who's been in a relationship.

I asked. It’s pretty hard, it turns out.

Hell, ask anyone who's been a parent or child or a sibling or a friend.

How many parents have never been in a relationship? That’s hard to do.

but it's also a sign of maturity and a willingness to move out of the realm of accusations and into the realm of finding workable solutions.


DailyKos is, of course, famous for their ability to move away from accusations and toward workable solutions. See FEINGOLDROX06’s comment titled “Fundie Bitches can Suck My Dick!” for a shimmering example.

Few on the left are total pacifists, unwilling to sanction use of the military under any circumstances. Many supported the invasion in Afghanistan.

Yeah, they were REALLY vocal in that support, too. Remember, how liberals rallied behind the President as he led us into Afghanistan? That was important to me, murderous and unable to smell as I was.

It speaks to a failure of imagination on either our part or the part of our adversary, a failure of diplomacy, sanctions, sophisticated intelligent gathering and healthy defense maneuvers.

Yeah, all Saddam Hussein lacked was a little imagination. See people, this is why we fund the !@#$%* arts!!!

So here's my final gripe with the once-raving right:


I’m glad we’re not raving anymore.

When military force is inevitable, it is not an occasion to be celebrated with sleekly packaged shock and awe campaigns,

Ummm… Shock and Awe WAS the military effort. You’re implying that we celebrated our military campaign with a military campaign.

the popping of Pabst Blue Ribbon, fervent flag-waving and a back-slapping binge of red, white and blue macho man international posturing.


Nope, rather it is an occasion for sniveling blogs, flip-flopping, and Christian peacemakers. That’s an effective way to accomplish our mission.

Somber, grown-up behavior is requested.

Um… Allow me to quote you: “WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG”. You also asked me to shove it, which is tough to do when you’re being all somber.

Flight suit photo ops, raucous bullying cries of "Bring it on!," are more appropriate for liquored-up frat party rivalries

I did think it was weird when Rumsfeld and Cheney took turns paddling G.W. in a pile of his own vomit. High approval ratings will make you do strange things. The Germans were imressed, though.

Vulgarity cheapens even the noblest cause,


Have you ever even READ your comment boards?

In other words, show some class, for crying out loud. It's the least the world deserves from this country.

I will. Right after I’m finished with this icy-cold can of smooth, rich Pabst. Mmmmmm… I sure do love me some Pabst.

And what we who criticized the Iraqi invasion deserve is an unqualified apology. We're all ears.

Okay, here it goes…

I’m sorry I called you a fatty…

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Blessed are the Peacemakers!

Christian peacemakers cavort with insurgents.

Christian peacemakers captured by aforementioned.

Aforementioned murder peacemaker.

Remaining Peacemakers rescued by armed forces.

Peacemakers draft press release.

Press release issues middle finger to armed forces.

In related news...

Little Kevin goes to pet store.

Little Kevin wants a cat.

Kevin finds a cat he likes.

Kevin chooses cat.

Cat hisses at Kevin.

Kevin says "hell with you, cat!"

Cat goes unchosen.

Cat is put to sleep later.

Kevin never joins the army.

Good thing for peacemakers.

The Problem With College

I read a troubling article from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, here

The gist of the article is that a number of Professors at the school are eschewing "dusty" old books, and assigning contemporary, pop-culture friendly works instead. There is nothing wrong with this. Great new works are being written (though not necessarily consumed) every day. More troubling is the attitude behind the book's selection.

It is a fairly well-known fact that college students seldom read all of what they are assigned. This is particularly true for those who major in History or English, where a rigorous courseload might result in the assignment of some 25,000-30,000 pages of reading material. However, the goal of assigning, say a comic book, seems to be less about shining a new light on course content, and more about pandering to spoiled college brats. Read the quote below from one enlightened student.

"You know what kind of class it's going to be from the way the professor chooses a textbook," said Shannon Taylor, a sophomore at UNCG. "If it's exactly what you expected when you walk in, the professor could just be going through the motions and teaching the same thing the same way they've been doing it for 20 years or whatever. If they choose something they think will interest you and challenge you, you know they really care."

So if you don't get to watch cartoons in class, or read The Da Vinci Code, your professor doesn't care. That's nice to know.

I've said before that I think our country views a college education with undue esteem. Certainly, a student who has spent four years navigating difficult texts, learning difficult mathematical and scientific theories, and producing interesting work deserves special consideration. But I have a growing suspicion that this is seldom the case.

Years ago, only those who were intellectually (and financially) able could attend college. The advent of loan programs, improved economic conditions, and federal funding initially opened the door to gifted students who previously lacked the means to go to college. Good development.

Somewhere along the line, however, we got carried away. 4 years of schooling became a de facto requirement for any white collar career (I mean that in the broadest sense possible.) As a result, college has gone from bastion of intellectual growth to teenage rite of passage. Now, some 80 percent of high school graduates attend college. This means that fully 37.5% of those receiving a higher education are academically BELOW AVERAGE.

Now, our obsession with higher education has created a cottage industry for colleges, whose reputation relies upon the ability to compete for picky students. With the exception of 40 or so schools wherein the aforementioned equation is reversed, (think Harvard or Swarthmore) colleges are forced to compromise in an attempt to show how much they "care" about students.

Goodbye James Joyce; hello Dan Brown.

Worse, since college is now perceived as a passage into civilized society, we are urged to pump more and more of our tax dollars into funding it. We need scholarships, loan programs, grants, and bloated state university budgets to make sure students have the opportunity to learn with such luminaries as Shannon Taylor.
College is now seen as a rite of passage, one that consumes roughly 5% of one's predicted lifespan.

Further, since everyone now has a college degree, such degrees have been rendered meaningless. Thus, we have adults "heading back to school" to earn further degrees that are, at best, tangential to their career goals. Seminaries are a popular choice , with their relatively high acceptance rates, and their spiritual thematics. What on earth we need a million Seminarians for is completely beyond me, but we're gettin' em, nonetheless, and even paying for them.

Is there a solution? Yep, but it sounds mean. Shut off the valve. All the money we continually pour into this increasingly-useless system has outlived its usefulness. Get rid of state colleges and Universities, which spend more to attract students than they do to educate them. Direct aid to the truly gifted and truly disadvantaged.

What will happen? If forced to pay for it themselves, many will forego college. Those schools that provide a valuable service to their student will remain, bolstered by the donations of enthusiastic alumni. The remainder will fall by the wayside. The poor will have greater access to good paying jobs, without the unnecessary 4 year hurdle that divides haves and have-nots.

And The Da Vinci Code will never see the light of a classroom again.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Skullbloggery!!!!

So, apparently Internet Explorer is having problems with my blog. As such, folks are required to scroll down for some amount of time before actually seeing the text on my blog. There is only one possible reason for this.

I am the target of eco-terrorism.

Yes, the same folk who are responsible for egging Hummers and protesting Medtronic (or any tronic, for that matter) have targetted my written stylings for their rage.

Of course, these people would prefer to simply bomb my automible, but given the Ford Focus's modest fuel consumption and reasonable price point, such a manuever migh backfire.

All of this leads me to an important question. Why have I been targetted by the enviro-punks (otherwise known as the fringe 57% of the Democratic party). I think it's because I now own three properties made of stucco. Stucco is sturdy, fire-resistant, and therefore probably dangerous to the purple-speckled lobster, or whatever.

Yes, there is some study somewhere that has produced some manner of evidence that stucco might be harmful to something. And now I'm marked for death by a roving band of Bennington and USF graduates.

I'm trying my best to lay low. I'm wearing a plaid shirt, which is a good start. Also, I'm trying to eat more soy, so I smell like one of them. Ah, yes, I am postively drenched in the dulcet moisture of soy-sweat. And I am safe.

Seriously, though, what the hell is wrong with my blog?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Biscuits

I sure-some do like me biscuits. I'll have me biscuits anyways and always. Fluffy biscuits, thin biscuits, biscuits with hash... I's happy with any ol' steamin' batch of biscuits.

My ex-wife used to make biscuits somethin' fierce. Smooth on the inside, crispy on the outside. Biscuits so fine that when I was done, I'd smack her in the mouth, and tell her to make some more damn biscuits.

One time, little Tommy had him some of my ex-wife's biscuits. He died...

Best thing about biscuits is that you can eat 'em anytime. I'll take my biscuits with eggs's, roast beef... Hell, I'll get some fixin's, make me a damn biscuit sandwich. Ain't nobody tell me otherwise. They're too busy enjoying day some biscuits.

One day, a man came on down from New York City. He offered me a Triscuit, confirming my suspicions that he was a homosexual. We done fed my boys biscuits. They done learned to love on biscuits, instead of on each other. That's they way it should be with boys and biscuits.

But I'm off the subject, and the subject is biscuits.

And I do love me some of them...

Monday, March 20, 2006

REFUND!!!!!!!!

I just got some money back from the state of Minnesota. $672 to be exact. As a Republican, I enjoy the ability to extract my hard-earned finances from the clutches of government. I feel as though I've drawn blood from a dragon, it's purple, sweaty reptile-nectar dripping down the outstretched sword of my "Schedule A".

So, what do liberals do when they receive their tax refunds? I mean, the average liberal I know makes somewhere in the vicinity of $6,400 per year. So, when they get that check for $3.43, do they feel guilty? Do they act like Liam Neeson, at the end of "Schindler's List" when he equates his material possessions to the lives they could have saved? I mean, that money could be used to purchase some sort of electric bus. I mean, you would have to pair that with the more substantial contributions of someone who has a real job, but nonetheless.

I mean, your tax refund could buy a double-latte or Leinenkugel's Berry Weiss, or it could help buy a brand new syringe for a heroin-addict, or provide a condomns for an entire high school basketball team, or help Russ Feingold scare the crap out of normal people.

But I digress. I will say that government has a good racket going here. People are giddy and ecstatic to be getting their own money back. I was happy to plunk down $155 to have a tax professional find more ways to get my own money back. But I can at least know that my hard earned dollars are going into the hands of experienced, caring civil servants who have my interests at heart. They are doing their able best to improve Minnesota schools
and build strong communities.

Yep, our government is awesome, and deserves lots of tax money. If you disagree, you don't believe in Jesus, and you also hate him.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Memo to Paul Davis

Enjoy Italy.

Sincerely,

A Spartan Fan

New Trend!

Has anyone tries this new thing they've got called "iced" cream?

Man, I tell you, it's good stuff. It's some sort of frozen crezmy substance, sweetened with... well, I can't begin to tell you all the good things people are doing with it. Had me some the other day. Guess you have to go to Uptown to get it.

Good stuff though... All I have to live for, really. Too bad the damn monkey stole mine. I'm like, what, monkey? It's not enough to just haunt my dreams?

Tired of monkeys.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

What to think?

My Pastor recently forwarded to us an article by Brigitte Gabriel, the founder of "The American Congress For Truth."

In a nutshell, she experienced the horror of living as a Christian in Lebanon. As a result, she is decidedly unsanguine with respect to the "Islam is peace" stuff we here from the mainstream media.

Recently, I received an e-mail from my friend Jon. He forwarded a link regarding the Christian peacemaker Tom Fox, who was recently offed by some Muslims for being, well, not Muslim.

Accompanying the attachment was the following hypothesis:

" My guess is, shortly before being murdered, he finally understood who he was dealing with."

Mr. Fox was all about being pissed off at the barrier Israel put up to defend itself against, you know, people who are notoriously unfond of Israel's existence. He didn't think that was cool cause it was, like, totally unpeaceful. Now Mr. Fox is toast.

Mr. Fox reminds me of "Grizzly Man". This was a documentary about some cat who was so fond of bears that he lived amongst them, and campaigned vociferously on their behalf.

Then they ate him. Damn, unpeaceful bears.

Why do I bring this up? Look. Islam is a lie. Muslims believe a lie. They are, therefore, inherently delusional. That they are incapable of anything other than debauchery is understandable, and they are perfectly capable of being forgiven by Christ. But let's not sit around and pretend that Islam is okay, or that it is just like any other religion.

And let's certainly not acquiesce to the notion that there might be a grain of truth to it's teachings (which include, I stress, the imperative to eliminate Jews). Look, you can call Allah whatever you choose. I hereby invite Allah to commit a series of sex acts upon my person. I hereby invite Allah to commit said sex acts upon himself. What is the consequence for having said that (other than revealing my immaturity to the blogosphere?) Nothing. In the end, nothing at all. Allah does not exist. Mohammed did exist, and he was a murderous rapist who crafted an image of the former to serve his disturbed needs.

Let us stop pretending otherwise. Seriously...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Dilemma

A man
writes a poem
to a woman
to delight her

she takes it
kisses him
set it down
delighted

he leaves
it sits
unread
unopened, even

she sees only
an empty
romantic
gesture

when
really
it says
everything

he will never say

Episcopalians for Castro!

I just read an article about relations between Episcopals and Cuba. Frank Tracy Griswold, who is the presiding primate of the Episcopalian Church, recently visited Cuba, and joined Fidel Castro in praising Cuba's health and educational systems.

At the end of this article, we read the following:

"The meeting took place under a cordial and respectful atmosphere that has always characterized relations between the Cuban government, religious organizations and foreign dignitaries."

Um, yeah... Everything's cordial, so long as you don't, um, you know... Dissent, or anything. Then you go to a dungeon, where the governments famed health care is somewhat difficult to come by.

Part of me could care less. I have been to a few Episcopalian churches. They all share one common characteristic: They are virtually empty.

So perhaps this overture to Castro's benevolence is merely an attempt to win back the elite liberal social climbers who once composed the membership of their dying brand of church. People whose sons and daughters wear Che t-shirts as they head off to Brown and who shop at Patagonia are now opting for Astrology, Scientology and Buddhism over their duller semi-Christian brethren.

As I said a part of me could care less. Except that, as people casually glance over the story, it might affirm or re-affirm some notion that Cuba is A-OK. Until America can extricate from its collective consciousness the vague notion that the Episcopalian church is somehow positive, their endorsement of Castro's regime will hold some sway.

See, there are those who admire the way Castro has run things in Cuba. America rightly recognizes these people as ignorant, or out of touch (think Clooney.) Cuba is a hellhole. People are literally building makeshift rafts in an effort to get off. It sucks, nationalized health care or no. If you disagree with the government, they throw you in jail. Contrast that with America, where they give you undeserved Oscars for disagreeing with our president.




*To be fair, I'm sure there are some good Episcopalian churches out there who disagree with their primates. Actually, I'm not sure, but I'll pretend to be sure to make sure people don't leave "my mother's an Episcopalian, and she didn't have anything to do with Castro" type comments...

Monday, March 13, 2006

SNOW DAY! SNOW DAY! SNOW DAY!

Hey mom, it's a snow day! School's cancelled! Mommy, mommy, you can't go to work! You have to watch me all day. I'm gonna play Nintendo, then I'm gonna go outside and play in the snow, then I'm gonna come inside. Mommy, I need you to hear me out on this! AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!! SNOW DAY SNOW DAY SNOW DAY!

No, mom, I won't pipe down! Snow has accumulated to the point where our superintendent has deemed the route to school innavigable. As such, all scheduled classroom and extra-curricular activites have been cancelled. WWAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!

I have so much energy... I was all ready for school, but now I don't have to go!!!!! VROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!! SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!

I'm gonna stab the kitty with the scissors! Hey, mom, give those back. I want them! I want them! I need to do this this instant. You're rational explanations mean nothing to me. I demand my scissors. I HATE YOU FOREVER CAUSE YOUR STUPID!

I'm gonna go play X-Box!!!!! Mommy, the PlayStation is hooked up, you have to unhook it and plug in the X-Box. No, not in a minute, right now. It is a snow day, and if I have not played video games by the time lunch rolls around, so help me God... Thanks mom...

Actually, I don't want to play video games, I want to go outside! Where are my snowpants. I WANT THEM RIGHT NOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!! There is snow on the ground, and I demand to play in it. Yes, I will come back in after 10 minutes, complaining that I am cold. What is it to you? It's my snow day, and I will use it as I please.

SNOW DAY! SNOW DAY! SNOW DAY! I'm going to dump all my toys on the living rroom floor and play with them while you fetch my winterables. Yes I am! YES I AM! There, I did it. I'm gonna play with my choo-choo. Yes, I am utterly infatuated with my choo-choo. Just leave my boots and leggins on the chair. I will don them when I am good and ready.

MOM, I'M BORED. IT'S THE ONLY SNOW DAY EVER AND I'M BORED! I CANNOT ABIDE THIS!!

Plug in my Playstation. I know I just asked you to change it. If I had a 360 none of this would be happening. I want to get a 360, so that I don't have to be bored anymore. My allowance? How dare you suggest that, you beast!!!! I make $13 a week. Do you know how long it will take me to by a 360 on $13 a week? Shut up with your nonsense.

QUIT PICKING UP MY TOYS. I SUDDENLY HAVE TO PLAY WITH THEM RIGHT NOW! THIS SNOW DAY IS VANISHING BEFORE MY EYES, AND I DESPERATELY NEED TO PLAY WITH THE VERY TOYS YOU ARE PUTTING BACK INTO THE TUB.

I want to go to my friend Jason's house. Yes, I know he lives in New Hope. What better time to see a friend who lives 40 minutes away than on a snow day such as this. Traffic? I don't see what traffic had to do with my needs! I DEMAND A RIDE TO JASON'S HOUSE! He has a 360, cause he has good parents who care about him.

I'M HUNGRY!!!!!!!!! AHHHHH!!!! Where is my cereal????

KLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!! SNOW DAYYYYYY!!!!!!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Football? We don't need no stinkin football.

So, Javon Walker doesn't want to play for the Packers, cause Brett Favre hurt his feelings.

Vince Young, one of the NFL's most promising rookies, apparently has the IQ of an autistic lumberjack.

In three years, Terrel Owens will be on a Baltimore street corner, selling crack to Johns Hopkins dropouts.

Daunte Culpepper demands a trade, after his team publicly humiliated him by forcing him to suck this last year. And, er, there was something about a boat.

Randy Moss continues to be the Detroit, Michigan of people.

The Superbowl happened just over a month ago, and I cannot, for the life of me, remember who won. Was it the Colts? I seem to remember them doing well. At least Peyton Manning didn't fling feces at any police officers or anything.

College football has no champion. It is, literally, a sport that lacks an official championship game. It is the "TransAmerica" of college sports.

So, here's my plan. Tell football to shove it. Seriously, have you watched basketball? Pretty fun stuff. Baseball? The most nuanced of sports. Hockey? The best sport in the world to watch live. Golf? Curling? Bass fishing? Each have their charms.

But football? Can anyone reasonably say the football is awesome? No, you can't. Perhaps I might be biased by the fact that my team (The Lions) currently features Jake Gyllenhall (or whoever the hell that is) at quarterback. Perhaps I am biased by the fact that a goodly number of the sport's major stars retire before the age of 30.

Nonetheless, I have to say that football has been total donkey-testicles of late. And I, for one, am sick of it.

So, Vikings and Packers fans, given that you have nothing to be happy about for the next quarter-century, howzabout just giving it up? Hey, there's plenty of room on the Pistons bandwagon...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I've never really thought about it...

When it comes to figuring out ways to end abortion in this nation, much of the talk centers around the strategies and tactics that will bring about an end to the practice. But is that really where the focus ought to lie?

There is a video circulating amongst the creepy, uber-liberal blogs. It features a pragmatic-sounding dude asking abortion demonstrators what they think should happen to a woman who has an abortion if, in fact, abortion becomes illegal.

This is an inherently unfair question of course. If they answer "life in prison" they seem heartless and cold. If they say "nothing" or "I dunno," the interviewer gets his "A-ha!" moment... Anyone on the right could go to a pro-abortion rally and ask a woman if they think an abortion takes a life. Same deal. If they answer "no", they seem cold and heartless. If they answer "yes", then they can be pressed as to why they support murder.

All of them try to shirk the question with a cringingly equivocal response. No good...

In my view, this sort of mutual doublespeak favors the pro-choice side immensely. When pro-life causes aim to soften the blow by avoiding the issue, and crafting inane billboards with cute babies, they play into the hands of the left-wing demagogues who protect the legality of this act.

Those who are pro-life needn't punt on this issue. If you favor an abortion ban, it is intellectually consonant to support prison sentences for those who commit the act (in this case, doctors and would be mothers). The nuanced answer to the interviewer's question is to say that we would need to ascertain a punishment that suitably deters women from committing the crime. By deterring women from committing abortion, we are saving lives, and protecting women from putting themselves into the lonely and dangerous corners that result from abortion.

The pro-choice side of this issue benefits from the removal of facts. The public at large believes that the reversal of Roe V. Wade would entail the banning of abortion. Very few know the percentage of abortions that arise from rape or incest (a hint: it would not be difficult to conceive a situation in which that number be rounded to zero). Most people are floored that more than 1 million abortions happen every year. People have no idea what partial birth abortion is, an ignorance aided by the media's reference to the act as "so-called partial birth abortion", as though there is another prevailing description of the procedure that is more often accepted.

It is my opinion, and a number of Conservatives disagree with me on this, that we need the most honest debate possible. If pro-abortion types want to hold a referendum in South Dakota, so be it. If they want to take it to the courts (and they will almost invariably opt for this option) that is fine. The more people are forced to weigh the merits of either side of this issue, the more people are forced to pull levers for or against legal aborton the better the likelihood that abortion is eventually outlawed. The more this issue dominates the headlines, the better. Nobody wants blood on their hands, which is why Roe v. Wade is such an effective tool for pro-choice causes.

If someone asks me what the punishment should be for abortion should be going forward, I'd say prison. Prison for the woman, for the doctor, for any man who refuses to pay child support. To disagree is the very definition of being pro-choice, so we might as well say what we mean, and stand up for what is right.

In the end, that will be the most successful strategy of all.

Interview with Scotch Tape!

Every now and then, my blog allows me to interview people who are making news across the nation. Today, I am honored to interview the 3M "Scotch" brand double-sided tape that has been sitting on my desk for over a month. 3M scotch tape, welcome to TPWK

3MSBDST: ......
TPWK: I want to talk about our most recent collberation, which is causing quite a stir around the office. Of course, I'm referring to the Detroit Pistons articles I have been cutting and taping to the wall of my cubicle.
3MSBDST: .....
TPWK: It um... What's cool is that there's been a lot of news about them this year.
3MSBDST: ......
TPWK: In a way, we teamed up to be part of history.
3MSBDST: ......
TPWK: That's probably overstating it a little.
3MSBDST: ......
TPWK: Now, obviously the use of double-sided tape is a, well, um... I guess you could call it a double-edged sword, heh-heh. In one sense, you are perhaps the ideal temporary adhesive, as you have the ability to sort of disappear behind whatever you are binding...
3MSBDST: ......
TPWK: But on the other hand, it's hard to use you because.... Cause you're sticky... All the way around...
3MSBDST: ......
TPWK: Sticky, that is...
3MSBDST: ......
TPWK: Let's switch gears. Obviously, you are known throughout the office as something of a music-snob. I don't think that's entirely fair. You appreciate a number of mainstream bands; U2 for instance.
3MSBDST: ......
TPWK: It's... The way music shapes our lives. Is... Important and sometimes profound, I think... The way.... Music
3MSBDST: .....
TPWK: This interview has been, in many respects, I think, one-sided.
3MSBDST: ......
TPWK: That's ironic, because you are two-sided tape.
3MSBDST: ......
TPWK: I mean, one-sided conversation... I mean... Um, penny for your thoughts.
3MSBDST: I'm sorry, are you talking to me?
TPWK: ...
3MSBDST: You know I'm deaf, right? I don't have ears, so how would I hear you?
TPWK: Oh, right, naturally.
3MSBDST: All you have to do is get my attention and enunciate. I can read lips fine. I'm not expecting you to learn ASL or anything.
TPWK: No, certainly. I'm just trying to interview you for my blog.
3MSBDST: What? You have a dog?
TPWK: No. My blog.
3MSBDT: Oh, your block.. Like a neighborhood newsletter.
TPWK: Blog.... It's a new medium. A forum on the web for personal expression and ideas. An online journal, or so it has been deemed by some... Anyway, from time to time I like to interview certain imporant figures in American culture.
3MSBDST: Oh... Um... I'm just tape.
TPWK: Yes, granted...
3MSBDST: I mean, I wonder if this wouldn't be a waste of your and my time.
TPWK: Well, in the name of different perspectives...
3MSBDST: I mean. I am literally just an office supply. I don't see you interviewing the stapler.
Stapler: Hey man, that's not cool.
3MSBDST: Dude, quit getting defensive. I was making a point.
Stapler: Nude, nguid ngenning nefenthive...
3MSBDST: Is he making fun of me? Are you making fun of the way I talk? Cause I can tell.
Stapler: Hi, i'm thcoth nape, i'm nooing an inderview...
3MSBDST: That is classless. That is absolutely classless.
TPWK: Well, that's all the time we have for today, thanks and stay tuned for more celbrity interviews.
Stapler: Hey, look at me, I have a blog and I pretend to interview famous people! That's not pathetic or creepy at all!!!
3MSBDST: Can you !@#$%^ believe this guy?
TPWK: So where did the "music snob" rumor come from?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

34

One day, shortly after my father was arrested, a friend of my brother's gave me a paper cutout of a baseball. She asked Kirby Puckett to sign it for me. His son was in her elementary school class. She was told not to ask for autographs, but she knew I wanted one, so she asked, and he obliged. She made the autograph into a little baseball cutout, and gave it to me.

I'm looking at it right now. The "Y" sweeping into the "K". The "P" encompassing the "UC" in his last name, the "T" grazing the rest.

Of his 44 years on this earth, he spent some portion making this lonely, sad, little boy happy during his greatest period of struggle.

It makes me so, so sad.

Monday, March 06, 2006

And the winner is...

You know, for an industry that specializing in special effects, the opening sequence is pretty darn bad.

Two gay jokes before the opening monologue. Who says Hollywood is tolerant?

Stewart makes it three, and then makes some self-deprecating jokes.

Ooh, a joke at the expense of the crowd’s politics. Predictably, this got no laughs.

Well, here’s the first category: Best Supporting actor. The first of the Clooney trilogy we must avoid if we want to avoid a back patting, self-aggrandizing speech. Come on Giamatti.

Ah, son of a bitch… Thank your agent, George. Just thank your agent and go. No, no… Shut up, shut up, shut up… Yes, Hollywood is the greatest pioneer in the area of civil rights. Four words for you: “Birth of a Nation”. For the record, George Clooney is proud to be out of touch.

Apparently, Tom Hanks is playing Bono in his next film. Or Jim Belushi...

Okay, so they ARE playing the music during the speeches. I thought it was a mistake. Now we can have that nervous-for-them-cause-they’re-overstaying-their-welcome feeling from the moment the winners take the stage.

Why do we have a “Best Animated Film” category? It’s not like we have a “Best Sports Film” or “Best Action Film” category.

The Grommit people have bowties. How irreverent and refreshing! One says, “If you make a bad film, you made it alone, if you make a great film, everyone makes it with you.” By this logic, they should rename “Elizabethtown” to “Cameron Crowe’s Elizabethtown.”

Dolly Parton performing a song from TransAmerica? Can Stewart refrain from making a boob joke?

Luke Wilson is getting faaaaaaaaaaat!

Speaking of which, Colleen Atwood is just ON FIRE lately. She is the Hepburn of costume design. The camera lingers on her teenage daughter for about 10 seconds. Creepy.

An ode to the biopic… Why the hell not?

The music thing is working. Everyone’s talking faster.

A salute to noir? Is a tribute to Bauhaus films coming next?

Charlize Theron is wearing a bow. Does the academy plan to offer her as a gift to Fidel Castro?

Are there zombies climbing out of the burning vehicle during the song from “Crash?” What is going on here?

I am reminded that, years ago, people respected Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves.

Oh great, a montage to the liberal movie. What would we do without Hollywood? Kill lots of blacks and Jews, that’s for damn sure. Oh, Jon Stewart made better jokes about it than I did… I wonder if Dailykos has called for his execution for his evenhandedness. Nonetheless, he’s stealing my gig. Isn’t there another gay joke he can make? Can’t he just compare Bush to a banjo and get on with it?

We are informed that six films are currently shooting in New Orleans. Expect to see a lot of disaster films over the next 10 months, I guess.

With all the nominations for “Memoir of a Geisha”, the film obviously had everything… Except good acting, writing or direction. Incidentally one of the year’s real snubs for "best score" was for “March of the Penguins”. It’s haunting, and a major reason for the film’s success.

Leroy is, in his words, “gonna eat him hot dogs.”

So now we’re getting Hollywood’s salute to, what, widescreen? Okay, forget it. If the host is going to make prepared witty remarks about the proceedings, then my job is quite a bit tougher. I need a paid joke writer.

“It’s hard out here for a pimp”. I agree, especially with dudes in leather jackets challenging each other to dance-offs while you rap. Seriously, what is the chorus from “West Side Story” doing onstage?

Ugh, Stewart again steals my thunder. Never mind.

Nice to see David Helfgott get recognized for his fine Sound Editing work.

Yeah, nobody got that one… But at least Stewart isn’t gonna say it.

I have to say, it was a weak year for the “In Memoriam” segment. Richard Pryor for your grand finale? I dunno, it just didn’t work for me. Of course, mathematically speaking, 2006 should be a boffo year for celebrity deaths.

Has anyone noticed that, since “Brokeback Mountain” came out, Wyoming has been advertising how tough and western it is? Just an observation.

Philip Seymour Hoffman wins for “Capote”. I’m delighted. His false humility might garner him an Emmy in the fall. Come on P-Hizzle. You’re good, you know it, now we know it, just admit it.

“I thought you were playing me off.” Seriously, Stewart is stealing my material. I did not expect that…

It’s official. “Memoirs of a Geisha” is the most beautiful piece of crap in cinematic history. Oscar says so.

You know, I’ve read Pride and Prejudice, and do not remember it for the life of me. I do remember the name Darcy, however, which reminds me of the aforementioned fact.

Hollywood needs more people like Reese Witherspoon. “My grandmother taught me how to be a woman.” Lovely. She’s the anti-Sarandon…

The camera people have no idea who Annie Proulx is…

Oh, Tom Hanks is presenting. Maybe he’ll explain the hair.

Did they just censor Ang Lee? What could he have said? "Jack and Ennis show all the f***** world how to love?”

It’s JACK. He’s drunk. He just mispronounced “Capote”, as though it were a Spanish dip or something.

“Crash” just won Best Picture. Not deservedly… “Brokeback Mountain” deserved it, but oh well… It’s a good film in a weak movie year.

Overall, Stewart defied some expectations with a reserved, nuanced comedic performance. That was the right tone for the evening, though I'm sure it disappointed Sean Penn. I would say that Hollywood did not make good enough movies this year to be patting itself on the back, but what else can you expect? At least it was short!!!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Gonna enjoy me some Pepsi

You know what I'm going to do this weekend? I'm going to enjoy some cool, refreshing Diet Pepsi. I can taste it now, just me, my couch, and the dulcet, calorie-free flavor notes of a 100% American Diet Pepsi.

Care to join me? I ask because, as it turns out, anyone can enjoy a bubbly Diet Pepsi. So why don't you come on over and we'll drink some damn Pepsi together.

I would humbly request that you not bring Coke. I don't want to drink that with you, or with anyone. It's a green-eggs-and-ham scenario, with respect to me and Coke.

You want Wild Cherry Pepsi? That's cool, that's cool. I'm not out to judge a man, so long as he enjoys a nice Pepsi once in a while. Wild Cherry Pepsi. Why the hell not?

You don't like Diet? That's completely fine. I'm trying to lose a little weight for my wedding. Actually, I might have a little sip. Do you mind? Just a little taste? That'll be nice. Just a taste of your Wild Cherry and I'll go back to my Diet. I do enjoy me some Pepsi.

Don't bring Coke, though, that's not cool. It's just us and some Pepsi. Let's just keep it like that, okay? Coke is for people who like to drown their pets beat their kids with wire hangers.

You want to watch TV? I can't imagine why not. Nothing like knocking back a couple of Pepsis and watchin' some B-ball.

If you want, you can just bring over some warm Pepsi. I've got ice. It's tray ice, but I don't see the need to purchase ice when I can just make it. Good match, Pepsi and ice.

What's that, Mello-Yello? Interesting choice. I heard that Mello-Yello is the official sponsor of "TransAmerica". Why don't we just stick to Pepsi?

You want to build model cars. Haven't built me some model cars in a coon's age. Oh, I'm sorry man. I didn't know that was offensive. Here, let's discuss or differences over some Pepsi with Lime. Now we're on the trolley. All calm with our Pepsi.

Yep, that's my weekend. Me, TV, racial harmony, and the effluvial nectar I sometimes call mother (by that, I am referring again to the Pepsi).

I would also like to announce my blog's new sponsor, which happens to be Pepsi.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Confessions of a Female College Student

OMG, did anyone read Peter's Blog today?

I think I peed a little. I should never have had those 3 cans of Mountain Dew before stats class :o

So I was crossing the street the other day, and this guy was honking at me... I was like, okay, just wait for me to cross the street, and he just kept honking, so I turned and it was just my friend Eric, and he was like "what's up".

I was so freaked out. i don't know if I can be his friend anymore, even though he hooked me up with Bacardi before Lulu's party the other night. He's cool like that.

I wrote a poem:

The flowers are in motion
under the trees
of my emotions
weeping willows like my eyes
mouring, wailing
under the blanket
of my soul

I got an 'A' in my creative writing class. My TA says I remind him of Dickinson. He is so hot. He went to NYU, and he wears these thick rimmed glasses, and he's like writing a screenplay and he's got like two producers who are interested. I love the U! Not really, though.

I went to Brueggers this morning. I heart Honey Walnut cream cheese. When I went to leave, I was like pulling on the door. Then I realized it said push, and I was like "duh". Then this totally hot guy walked by...

I have to go, I have a paper due tomorrow for comp class, and my friend Rob is going to write it for me... Rob is so smart.

SPONGEBOB Rules.