Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Turning their backs on dissent, part II

So, yet another person gets booed for espousing Conservative beliefs. Ben Kessler, selected as the "Tommie of the year" by St. Thomas University, your run-of-the-mill, quasi-religous, midwestern school, had the audacity to defend hi university's Catholic beliefs. Specifically, he portrayed infidelity, adultery, and the use of birth control as selfish.

Predictably, the spoiled, run-of-the-mill, quasi-religous students took offense. More predictably, they jeered and screamed for their "Tommie of the year" to "STOP IT!". Cause, you know, they disagreed, and it's, you know, like, really hard to listen to stuff that you disagree with, so, like, it's, you know, totally important to scream at stuff you disagree with.

Stuff with which you disagree? No, man! I hate your grammitical excess! Stop it!

Of course, I'm not defending everything that Mr. Kessler said. My fiancee and I will use birth control, not because we're selfish, but because she recently had surgery. But hey, you know what? It's a Catholic college... I can listen to someone disagree with my point of view without getting into a snit about it.

Seriously, this is the thing we've all come to worship? This is that great academic ideal? This is "higher" education?

Ugh. Pathetic. It's a commentary in itself. What more can I say? Why is our tax money paying for these kids? What on earth do we need St. Thomas for, anyway? If you can't get into St. Olaf (I bet Ben Kessler coulda), then fend for yourself...

Not really, but kinda...

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

McLaren Review

You may recall that I began reading McLaren's new book "The New Secret Jesus", or whatever it was called. I promised to review it further, and you'll be glad to know that I've found it extremely useful.

You see, the window in my bedroom is kinda uneven, which was making it hard to pop in my air conditioner. So I set the book on top of a piece of wood to balance, and voila.

In a way, it's like having Brian McLaren blow in my ears all night.

Never read the rest of the book.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day

So, here I am, enjoying a daquiri with my bride-to-be, when, sure enough, some troll toddles into the backyard.

I'm like, "Troll? What is this? This isn't cool."

And the troll's all asking where the bathroom is, which is a really tough question to answer, cause you don't want the troll to use your bathroom, I mean, on account of him being a troll, but, on the other hand, you don't want to be presemptuous, at least, not in any offensive sort of way.

So I make some little joke about letting him use it if I can answer a riddle. Like a Monty Python thing I guess. I thought he'd find that ironic, the troll, by virtue of the fact that the line was in reference to a scene from the film, which involved them, trolls.

But then he was all like "what I really want is your rhubarb!"

And I'm like "take it, man, whatever..."

But then my fiancee is all like "No, he can't have it. I need to use it, for pastry-related reasons."

So, I'm all like "sorry troll, no dice on the rhubarb."

Which was totally sweet cause my friend Pickle bet me $50 I couldn't work that sentence into a normal conversation. I get him on that every time.

He was pissed, though. You should've seen him, the troll.

Friday, May 26, 2006

30 days and counting

That's right folks. I have 30 days until I strap on the ol' ball n' chain.

That's right. Kevman's getting hitched....

You know, come to think of it, it's actually in 29 days.

Sorry... I've wasted your time.

Well, while you're here, let's talk about things we like.

I like my fiancee, warm weather, Skittles, the Detroit Pistons, and Australia.

What are some things that you like? Hmmm??? Come on, now. Talk to me. What do you like? Do you like muppets? Do you like Kermit the Frog? You like Kermit the Frog, right. Kermit THE Frog, as he calls himself. Not just any frog, by THE frog. Kind of a narcissistic ass, Kermit, the frog.

What else do you like? Do you like the ocean? Do you like the way it's salty waves caress your feet? No? Weird metaphor? I don't think that was a metaphor. No, I just don't think you have the right term. No, it wasn't a simile, either. Either way, it sucked, and I'm sorry.

Have you ever been bitten by a shark? No, probably not... Right...

I just figured we were kind of sticking with the water theme, so I thought I'd ask.... Well, we started with Kermit, and I was kinda thinking...

Well, why don't you talk? If I'm so weird, and that bothers you, why don't you bring up a conversation? Oh, the Da Vinci Code? Hey, a guy who beats horses to death called. Yeah, he called, and he wants his bat back.

The bat... That he used, to beat the horse with. Cause the Da Vinci Code is a dead horse. You don't beat a dead horse because, well, what would be the point? I know that's obvious, that's why it's a figure of speech.

Enough.. Okay? Enough...

I'm leaving. You are clearly an idiot.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Article by a TV Guide columnist with TiVO

So the big LOST season finale has come and gone. Was Michael able to convince the team of five to take on the others (and lure them into their deadly trap)? Are Jack and Kate FINALLY a couple, or did Sawyer rear his ugly (but sexy) head and scuttle the mix yet again. And who ARE the others? Last night's finale answered all of these questions, probably.

Mysteries unfolded, and tensions mounted between those castaways selected by Michael to take on the others, and those who were left at the beach. Old romances were rekindled under extraordinary circumstance, and America got to see what was behind the Others' myserious shell... Presumably.

Okay, I admit it. I haven't seen it yet. What with American Idol's down-to-the-wire finish (GO SOUL PATROL!!!!!!!!!!!!), and thrilling NBA action (last second antics by the Phoenix Suns... Hello???) what's a TV guru to do????

TiVO! That's what... So in tonight, when I sit myself in front of my TV, I'll get to find out if any castaways make a surprise return, or if Said can finally get over his tragic loss, or if he joins his lover, Shannon, in TV heaven (Love you, Johnny Carson!!!).

Thank to TiVO, I'll have all my question answered!

...


Actually, I don't have TiVO, I have another form of DVR through my cable company. It's the same though... It's totally the same...

Actually, you know, I like it better. I know some people who have TiVO, and I just think mine is more user friendly.

WHAT!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Turning their backs on dissent

"What a bargain: At a cost of a mere $100,000 or so, a northeastern college can take your child and transform him into a delicate flower incapable of handling opinions at odds with his own. It can close his mind and vacuum-seal it against opposing views. And it can, as a bonus, perhaps make him rude and incorrigible."

Rich Lowry of the National Review writes this in response to two recent graduation speeches by John McCain and Condoleeza Rice, at the New School in New York and Boston College respectively. At each event, graduating college seniors alternately heckled, held up protest signs, and even turned their backs on the speakers.

In one sense, Mr. Lowry is completely off-base. Most elite northeastern schools cost well in excess of $150,000 over the course of four years, not $100,000.

That said, this situation reminded me of an interesting development. For decades, the battle of right vs. left in the American political system has been one of rich vs. poor. The left stood with the working man, while the right stood in support of free-market systems that, by appearance, favored the elite.

In the last 25 years, things have changed. Now, it is liberals who look down their noses at "the religious right", and other myriad strawmen concocted out of their own bigotry and ignorance. Our colleges and universities, in their effort to remain competitive for students (and, thus, their tuition checks) have made an effort to pander to their fragile, 18-year old political sensibilites. By employing a unilaterally liberal staff of professors and deans, and providing the lion-share of extra-curricular funding to "activist" causes, these schools have reinforced a certain jaundiced worldview within their student body.

Add to that an economy that has been chugging along, nearly unabated, for almost 25 years, which has provided substantial trust-funds (with all the requisite security and entitlement those entail) for our nations future thought leaders. Also add a Republican president who embodies everything well-spoken, snobby white kids love to hate. On top of that, we are in the midst of a military effort that our political leaders opportunistically compare to the Vietnam War. These graduates do not see themselves hecklers, or ideologues. Rather, they see themselves as revolutionaries.

This is bad for the Democratic party.

As these kids refuse to listen to opposing viewpoints, they will fail to garner the requisite nuance to register in the political system. The average voter doesn't think John McCain is worth screaming at, (and probably thinks a school called "The New School in New York City" is some sort of gay cult). A marketing manager in Peoria cannot sympathize with a Boston millionaire who is, inexplicably, angry with the world.

One need look no further than DailyKos to realize that the contemporary left is dominated by a (growing) faction of particularly nasty people. That our colleges are hell-bent on adding to their ranks will have the ironic effect of completely disintegrating any sort of liberal movement.

Whatever the average Joe might think, I'm pretty sure it's the opposite of the freak with the Darwin fish and the "Get laid, F**K Bush" bumper sticker on his daddy's 1993 Saab. Just a hunch. And I'm sure the Average Joe would happily join me in extending a nice fat middle finger to the brats at Boston College who turned their backs on their secretary of state.

Liberals, your word for today is "winsome".

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Witness This!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Interview with Pat Robertson

From time to time, my blog allows me to interview key figures in the media landscape. Today, I am honored to introduce Pat Robertson. Earlier this week, Rev. Robertson made bold predictions, received directly from God, regarding the weather cycle in the coming year. Specifically, he believes that hurricanes will lash the coasts, and that something approaching a tsunami will hit the Pacific Northwest. Rev. Robertson, welcome to TPWK.

Robertson: Thank you, and may the Lord be with you.

TPWK: Thank you.

Robertson: Cause He is not.

TPWK: Come again?

Robertson: Pretty sure he's not with you. I can tell by your hands. I'll talk to him about it.

TPWK: Um, thank you for you willngness to help.

Robertson: No problem. I have a TV show.

TPWK: That's true, and that's what I wanted to discuss with you today. Now, some people are upset at your recent, shall we say, weather predictions.

Robertson: Yeah, I was just chattin' with God the other day, and he said that there would be hurricanes on the coast, and perhaps a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest.

TPWK: Hmmm. So, if I understand you correctly, you are predicting hurricanes along the coast.

Robertson: That is correct.

TPWK: Did he give you any sense of timing? When can we expect these high-powered storms to arrive on our soil?

Robertson: Well, he was a little short on specifics.

TPWK: Hmmm... Maybe the hurricane would occur... Just throwing it out there... Mid-late summer, or even early fall.

Robertson: You know, it was a pretty brief conversation he had with me. Sort of a "heads up" more than anything.

TPWK: It would certaintly be something, though... A hurricane hitting the coast.

Robertson: The damage will be enormous, I am informed. In the millions, if not billions, of dollars. It won't be as bad as when God flew the Arabs into the liberals, but it'll be pretty bad.

TPWK: Fascinating. Now, I want to talk about your prediction for the Pacific Northwest.

Robertson: Ah yes. Them.

TPWK: Now, of course, a tsunami crashing through a city such as Seattle would obviously do a tremendous amount of damage. The wall of water alone would kill thousands.

Robertson: I'm sorry, wall fo water?

TPWK: Well, yes. I mean, a wave of 30 ft. would wipe out much of the city in one blow, I would think.

Robertson: Oh, wait, I thought Tsunami was like a rainstorm.

TPWK: No, it's a tidal wave caused by a disrpution in the earth's surface, which is what happened in Indonesia.

Robertson: Oh... Maybe God was think of a typhoon...

TPWK: So, more like a tropical storm.

Robertson: Yeah, that's it.

TPWK: You're predicitng a tropical storm for the Northwester section of the United States?

Robertson: I don't know, I think God was maybe a little confused.

TPWK: Confsued?

Robertson: Really, this was just an informal thing, he must've gotten his lines crossed.

TPWK: Really? You think he would be able to Wiki it or something.

Robertson: Yeah, He doesn't trust that site.

TPWK: Doesn't trust Wiki.

Robertson: They kind of messed with his bio... Plus, they include some weird picture of a bare-chested guy with a lightning bolt. He doesn't look anything like that.

TPWK: So, how exactly do you see this shaking out for the Northwest?

Robertson: I think you'll see a lot of rain, and misery.

TPWK: Rain and misery in the Northwest?

Robertson: In accordance with his will.

TPWK: A bold prediction.

Robertson: One time, my son had a snow globe from Niagara Falls. I was praying, and God told me it contained the Devil, so I smashed it against the wall in his room.

TPWK: I don't see what that has to...

Robertson: It got everything wet.

TPWK: I would imagine.

Robertson: Did you know, that the so-called "snowflakes" are just little pieces of plastic, thin enough to float.

TPWK: That's pretty intutive, in my view.

Robertson: Snow globes are a lie from the Devil.

TPWK: I think we were all thinking that... So, do you have any bold predictions for the upcoming football season?

Robertson: .......

TPWK: ......

Robertson: God told me the Lions are gonna suck.

TPWK: Well, that's all the time we have for today. I'd like ot thank Rev. Robertson for stopping by.

Robertson: Hey, there's cussing on this blog.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Money and God

Ochuk is rerunning a nice little piece on the ethics of expecting society to solve our problems. In the comment section, Adam asks this question, in terms of the role of morality in reshaping this dependency.

"Why think of moral renewal in terms of perfection?"

I think that is a very valid question. We are creating a society that relies upon nebulous social institutions to distribute money to people, in hopes of curing their ills. We don't want government to request anything of us, and we fully expect the government to take care of us. We therefore rely upon government to be infallible in this provision. We are indeed becoming a society of libertine socialists.

Is there a better example of this than the amnesty program for illegal immigrants? People who, by definition, have broken the law are granted amnesty for no particular reason. What does amnesty mean? Money. Period. They illegals marching on teh streets could care less about anything else.

As a result, we have pseudo-Christians such as Jim Wallis touting national budgets as a conduit for affirming Christ's love via government checks. If you don't see the need to redistribute wealth, then you are cold and heartless. The extent to which a politician is seen as "caring" is the extent to which they are willing to spend your money on someone else.

It's an untenable system, as countries such as France have proven. Instead of a thriving economy, within which diverse groups participate, they have double digit unemployment, and ghettos stocked with unwanted peoples (note: making a pithy comment about America's ghettos will not win you any points as a logician).

I think, in many ways, the obsession with money as a vehicle for happiness has led to a loss of creativity in terms of expressing God's love. Looking to the Bible, we see Christ healing the sick, telling stories, empowering, nurturing, and even raising from the dead.

Those who haven't really read the Bible (or those who only read it through a political lens) see Jesus an ardent supporter of peace, and defender of the poor. The peace thing is a bit of revisionist history. He whipped people in the synogogue for violating the sanctity of the church.

His support for the poor is more compelling. Jesus cared immensely for the poor. The Bible also acknowledges that it sucks to be poor. However, there are few instances of a call to give lots of money to the poor in order to be like Christ, and there are no examples of asking someone else to do it for you.

Rather, Jesus became poor, and used his status to relate to everyday people. Instead of handouts, he offered healing, love, encouragement and, usually, an warning not to sin again. "Do not sin again" doesn't make for a good political talking point, but Jesus said it, and meant it.

Many Christians want to dodge this latter admonition, or downplay it in favor of the nice stuff. This is an understandable impulse. Context is good. But it brings us back to the issue of economic policy.

Instead of asking anything of our people, we simply dispense money. We give students money to go to college, but don't even require them to graduate, much less get a job related to the degree they earned with taxpayer money, much less give back to the colleges that we paid for with our tax money.

We take Social Security money from workers because we refuse to trust them to save for themselves. We give people money to take care of their children, but cannot ask people not to respect the reproductive process on any level. We spend money to send cops out into the streets who are powerless to arrest whores and drug abusers.

Clearly, this isn't a Godly, good, or even reasonable way to deal with this issue. The problem is that any solution is imperfect. See, we can't give everyone money. We can't "eliminate hunger". We can't educated everyone. We can't save Darfur. We can't end racism. We can't stop sexual violence.

Christ didn't come to the world to end those things. He came to the world to show us the way out of them. To the extent that we are asking our government to play the role of the divine, we are making a tremendous mistake.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Confessions of a Female College Student

OMG!!!!!

So hot guy was working at Caribou today (he works Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays). I was really hungover for Pickle's party last night, and I wanted a biscotti, but I couldn't remember what it was called, so I asked for a cookie biscuit. He knew what I meant, but it was SO EMBARASSING!!!

Then I went back to my apartment and weird Steve was playing guitar again. I'm like dude it's 11:30 in the morning! Why are you playing guitar??? He is such. A. Dork...

So Cindy took a shower this morning, and now there's pubes in the tub. Pubes! How nasty is that??? Like, I'm gonna puke... Not really, though.

I'm trying to work on my final Philo. project. WE have to do a 5 page paper abou the "The Da Vinci Code". It's so cool. That was the only book I had to read for two of my classes!!! I heart the U of M!!!

Monday, May 15, 2006

McCain 4ever

I have mixed emotions about John McCain. He is the presumptive presidential nominee in a party that has no qualms about nominating presumptive nominees. However, his reputation as a straight-shooter is borne of two very pronounced character traits:

1) He is a political moderate.

2) He does an exceptionally good job of picking his battles.

Contrast this with the presumptive nominee of the Democratic party, which has tremendous qualms about nominating presumptive nominees. Her reputation as a sleazy, manipulative creep is borne of three very pronounced character traits:

1) She is sleazy

2) She is manipulative

3) She is married to a creep (albeit barely)

But, at his commencement speech at Liberty, McCain had this to say about disagreements regarding the war.

"By all means, let us argue. Our differences are not petty, they often involve cherished beliefs, and represent our best judgment about what is right for our country and humanity. Let us defend those beliefs….But let us remember, we are not enemies. We are compatriots defending ourselves from a real enemy. We have nothing to fear from each other. We are arguing over the means to better secure our freedom, promote the general welfare and defend our ideals. It should remain an argument among friends; each of us struggling to hear our conscience, and heed its demands; each of us, despite our differences, united in our great cause, and respectful of the goodness in each other. I have not always heeded this injunction myself, and I regret it very much."

True, he didn't write his speech. True, he notoriously hates Jerry Falwell (editors note: as a religous Conservative, I love Jerry Falwell. In fact, I spend all of my days prancing around in a field of my own money, screaming his name at black people, cause I love Jerry Falwell so much. Also, I have several Jerry Falwell dolls in the trunk of one of my six Ferrari's that I bought with my oil money. I sometimes take them out and dance with them, but then I feel guilty because baby Jesus doesn't approve of dancing, so I remove my belt and lash my own bare buttocks with it until my fiancee gives me a strange look, at which point I give her my "I still see dirty dishes over there, woman, now git'" look, and throw a lamp at her ankles... Shame on you McCain, don't you and McLaren be givin' my Falwell any sass...). True, he is working to assuage worries among Conservative ideologue about his opportunistically pugnacious past.

Nonetheless, they are great words. Further, I think he actually somewhat believes them, and here's why. McCain's maverick reputation made him a journalistic diva, constantly besieged with interview request after interview request. His popularity spurred him to further acts of political audacity. He (incorrectly) assumed that the press admired him for his political acumen and "straight-shooting" style.

Alas, he was wrong. As he remained steadfast in his support of the war, a position fortified by his identity as a REAL Vietnam hero, the phone stopped ringing. CNN didn't want a Republican who actually, you know, supported a Republican president. They moved on to the greener pastures of Lincoln Chafee (editors note: Go Laffey), Arlen Specter, and Chuck Hagel, who denounced the war from the beginning. In truth, they didn't admire McCain for being a straightshooter, they admired him for talking like a Democrat.

Perhaps now Sen. McCain understands what he had become. Perhaps he understands the work he has done to, ultimately, hamper his own presidential run by weakening his party. Perhaps he is just a smidge disillusioned with the once-admiring left, who pretended to respect the straight shooter from Arizona in a cynical effort to undermine the party he represents.

He has seen the opposing party manipulate his well-meaning (though unconstitutional) campaign finance reforms to create the powerful organizations. Those organizations are funded by the very billionaires whose influence the aforementioned reforms designed to mitigate.

Perhaps he has abandoned the empty demagoguery of his past. Perhaps he has repented of his quest to win the "moderate of the century" award. Perhaps he has finally become jaded enough to become, you know, somethings of a Conservative, and forget what the press thinks about him.

I certainly hope so. He's the presumptive nominee after all, and Republicans do love presumptive nominees.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Hi, I'm The Flash, and I've Just Done Meth

Byuk! Byuk! Byuk! Woooooooooogershnnnneeeeeeeesh!!!!

Ha, ha! I've got you, Zoom? Zoom, zooming away> Not on my watch. gigigigigigigigigi!!!!!

Ah! Under my fingernails, eh? That's no place to hide. I'll just peel 'em up... EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! ONE BY ONE UP THEY GO!!!

You have a flying device. FLY FLY FLY FLY - I'M ENJOYING YOU! I'M ENJOYING YOUR FLIGHT!!!!!!!! BAATAAAAAAAA!

Time to smakc myself in the teeth with a hammer. Where to find a hammer? What luck, my elbow is hammer (sprak, sprak, sprak) THIS IS FULFILLING MY DESTINY

Oh, you want this Superman! I know it's you. Your not my 1997 Honda. I don't a car. I"M THE FLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASH. AND YOU'RE SUPERMAN. and with a little bit of gasolline, YOU'RE ON FIRE...... I AM YOUR KRYPTONITE...

boing, boing, boing... Time to get me some Benadryl.... MY FIGERS HURT AND I NEED OINTMENT.

But first, I'll need to gouge out my eyes... (splat, splat).

YES BEHOLD. I AM THE FLASH! SIGHTLESS WONDER OF THE SUPERPLANET!!!!!

MYARRRRRRRRRGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Advertising Fun

I'm watching the latest Coors Light ad. Can anyone explain to me why Coors Light has decided it is the love train? What about Coors Light represents love? What about Coors Light represents anything but "well, I'm in Anoka... When in Rome I guess...". Coors is about as loveable as nails coated in sticky Orange Faygo residue.

Next is the new Mac vs. PC ad. The ad features a hip cat, who looks and acts precisely like an actor who answered a casting call seeking "a guy who personifies Jim from the Office" squaring off against a guy who looks precisely like an actor who answered a casting call seeking "a guy who personifies Karl Rove". The Karl Rove guy represents PCs. He talks about the "cool apps" he has, like a clock and a calculator. I used to have a PC, I now have a Mac. I remember this one really cool app I had for my PC. I think it was called "Crap I Can Actually Use In An Office And That My Clients Can Open Via E-Mail So I'm Not Losing Business For My @#$%^ Company"

But yeah, the Mac is totaly ragin' for downloading your tunes... Dude.

Also, apparently everything from Taco Bell is now Croooonchsmilfery. Is the Swedish chef from the Muppets writing their ads now? What the hell is going on, here? For me Taco Bell has always tasted like, I mean, what can you compare it to? Is there anything that tastes like Taco Bell? The stuff is a reference point in and of itself. That says something.

Recently, Subway has started airing some ad from like 1989. Who made this decision?

There is a commercial in which everyone is referring to their cell phone bill as a "wireless bill". Are companies so myopic that they believe everyone uses their jargon.

Wagner paint has a new product that will apparently spray paint onto your house. Did this product not exist before? What is the news here? I'm buying six.

Additionally some company called "Klik-Klak" has decided to sell me their wares by having somebody shout "KLIK-KLAK!" in the manner of the kid from "A Christmas Story" whose tongue is stuck to the telephone pole. For some reasons, Michael Jordan has decided interfere with Kevin Bacon's day-to-day activities, and I am to buy Hanes for this reason. McDonalds wishes it were hot like Burger King, and if you drive a Volkswagen, you are probably black, and are likely to get into a serious accident (you'll be fine though, thanks to airbags, VW has and other cars apparently don't).

I'm not one of those people who is prone to whining about the influence of advertising (it's what I do for a living). I just wish it didn't suck.

Hey, at least one group has got it together.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Da Vinci and McLaren

In a recent interview with Sojourners (a pseudo-Christian far-left magazine with growing appeal), Brian McLaren describes the appeal of The Da Vinci Code (bestselling literary dreck appealing to the lowest common denominator). Find it here.

In an answer to a question as to why this book has achieved such popularity, McLaren has this to say:

"I think a lot of people have read the book, not just as a popular page-turner but also as an experience in shared frustration with status-quo, male-dominated, power-oriented, cover-up-prone organized Christian religion. We need to ask ourselves why the vision of Jesus hinted at in Dan Brown's book is more interesting, attractive, and intriguing to these people than the standard vision of Jesus they hear about in church."

This is nonsense. The reason this vision of Christ is so intriguing is that it allows people to believe that Christ was just some nice dude. Of course, the notion that Christ is just some nice dude is appealing because it doesn't require anything of us.

So we have a book that requires nothing intellectually or spiritually. Sounds likes the makings of a hit in the U.S.

McLaren is correct that people are fed up with the status quo, and the antics of the Catholic church have certainly been outrageous. However, there exist a number of well-attended, well-supported Christian churches that have nothing to do with the status quo, pedophilia, the "religious right", or any of the other bogeyman McLaren is so bent on attacking.

Brian McLaren rose to prominence by stepping back, approaching scripture from a fresh persepective, and sharing that perspective, however controversial. His first major book "A New Kind of Christian" helped to solidify what I believe about Christ and what I am to do in obeying him.

Since that time, however, McLaren has become embroiled in a battle with borderline strawmen. He can barely make it through an interview without evoking tired rhetoric about Pat Robertson and televangelists, as though they are the thought leaders of the modern church.

Perhaps because his initial overtures toward a more enlightened theology were met with so much criticism, he seems to have abandoned his high-minded mission of reconciling various belief systems within Christianity, and has launched a full-throated attack on "the church". Since the 2004 election, his rhetoric has become more overtly political (thanks, no doubt, to his involvement on the board of aforementioned magazine).

So, instead of analyzing the inauthentic way the modern church has experienced, say, prayer, worship and communion, McLaren is scolding Christians for supporting Conservative economic principles and opposing gay marriage. That Christians join an overwhelming majority on both counts does not phase him, and his commentary has drifted further and further into the arena of pure political demagoguery.

This is an absolute shame. McLaren is the self-described spiritual head of one of the most intriguing Christian movements of the past several years, the Emergent Church. This movement has been successful in reaching demographics with whom the modern church had lost touch, namely the well-educated and artistically-driven.

I myself gave McLaren's thought-provoking texts to friends who have questions about my faith. His thoughtful, intellectual prose was a nice counter to the perception of Christians as fire-breathing Bible-bangers.

The vibe of the emergent church, which eschews dogmatic principle in favor of a more experiential mode of religon, fills a major gap in terms of spreading the word of God. The nature of the church particularly appealed to those of a more liberal political persuasion. No problem with that, but their political message seems to have co-opted the Christian message.

As a result, McLaren has become the unhealthy blend of politics and religion that he decries in the examples Robertson and Falwell. He has also adopted the liberal tactic of hiding (largely unpopular) political views behind a sheath of warm rhetoric and empty demagoguery. As a result, he has been forced to tuck his Christian message in his back pocket, depriving millions of an opportunity to experience God in a new way.

He has become as shallow as the famous Dan Brown novel he extolls in this interview. His ministry no longer has my support.

And his new book sucks.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Peanuts n' Ice Cream

You know what I've decided I like? Peanuts and ice cream. Didn't used to like it. As a child, I thought the whole concept of peanuts on dessert was ridiculous. I mean, I don't urinate on my candy bars, why would I want to have peanuts them?

Now, I kind of dig it.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's all I have to live for!

Yeah, I know, it's awkard now. Awkward cause I went there. I went to my bad place in front of you and.... Yep, I'd be slowly stepping away, too.

No, no offense, I know how it is.

Yeah, I'm one of those guys...

Yep.......

Friday, May 05, 2006

Jam Band!

Just wanted everyone to know, I'm starting a new jam band. I was getting so pissed off, cause there are nowhere near enough jam bands around these days, so I'm totally like, "I'm all over it." We're calling ourselves "funk syndrome", and we're gonna pretty much do like hits from the 70's and Tom Petty and Skynyrd and all the cool stuff people can't get enough of.

What's sweet is that, instead of having a bass player or a drummer, we're going to have two keyboardists to lay down the beats. That's gonna make the experience much better for our audience. My buddy Ron-Ron is playing guitar, and I'm the lead singer. Plus, I'm gonna break out my clarinet, whenever appropriate

We've already learned "Superstition" and "Free Fallin'" and "Brick House", but we're gonna have to learn some more, because we have our first gig in two weeks, and they want three hours of material. It's cool though... I figure we can just jam on "Free Fallin'" for awhile, and Ron-Ron can beatbox, so that should take up a good half-hour.

We have a bunch of gigs lined up this summer. It was pretty easy to line them up. I just went out on Friday night to places that didn't have anything going on. I went to this one coffee shop that was all dark, and everyone was just talking, so I talked to the manager, and he lined us up for four gigs in July. That's gonna be so good for business. Nobody goes to coffee shops just for conversation. They're even letting us move the couches out so we have space to perform. That's cool, cause I want people standing and grooving.

It's cool, too, cause Ron-Ron has connections from his old band "The Green Bean Experience," so he's been able to line us up gigs at some bars up in Anoka. It's pretty sweet. Some of these places are paying us like $125 bucks to play. It's really rewarding to get paid for my art.

Also, we're going into the studio in July to lay down some tracks (probably "Free Fallin'" "Superstition" and " Brick House"). Our keyboardist has a connection with a guy who has worked with Prince and Snoop-Dogg, who is willing to get us in for only $125 an hour. Dude, that sounds expensive, but people who are in other bands are like "holy crap! That's so cheap!" So I know we're getting a good deal.

I don't wanna jinx it, but I think this band thing is gonna really take off. I put in my two weeks notice at work, so I can devote more time to music. Having a jam band is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I want to make sure everything is tight, you know.

Oh, and if you click here, you can join our e-mail list... I'll pretty much send out updates on a daily basis...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Moussaoui Lives!

So Moussaoui was spared the death penalty. Normally, this is the sort of thing I get worked up over, but just can't. People are, by and large, stupid. To expect any 12 of them to come together and make a lucid, intelligent, just decision is absurd.

So instead, for lunch, I'm going to get me some sausage, and pretend that the sausage is Zacarias Moussaoui. After every bite, I'm going to scream "take that Moussaoui!" as the sausage spittle accrues and foments in the pursed hinges of my lips.

I will run about the office, with my three foot chain of cooked sausage in hand, tearing off bites and spitting the vile, Arab-banned meat into my co-workers' faces.

I will yell "9/11, never forget!" as I whirl my sausage rope like a whip at clients and visitors. They will nod in understanding as I beat them and stain their shirts and sportcoats with delicious Mossaoui grease, which I will remedy my licking their clothing as I eschew a muffled scream of "3,000 dead..... 3,000 deeeeeeeaad."

Then, I will stand atop a chair, affix the sausage to the ceiling, and embark a futile attempt to hang myself, all the while murming "I represent a September 10th mentality."

Then, I will simply return to work. I am busy, busy, busy...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I have an orangutan



Those who follow this post know that I purchased a baby orangutan from National Geographic. Well, little Herbie's all grown up now, and I wanted to include this picture.

Interesting story about Herbie... He has always been somewhat jealous of my fiancee, Khris. So one time, I go to the store to get some asparagus. When I get home, Khris is crying on the couch. Turns out, they'd played a few rounds of Rack-O, the numeric filing game of some repute.

I guess Herbie won rather handily, and was sort of rubbing it in. So, I took him outside for a quick little chat. I brought him back inside to apologize. He shook hands with Khris, and then said,

"I"M SORRY SOUL SISTA! YOU AIN'T GOT NO RACK-O MOJO!"

We all had a good laugh.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Darfur Demagoguery

"Save Darfur" has become a mantra of liberals across the nation. That isn't to say that non-liberals don't care about Darfur, but rather that liberals are more happy to hear themselves say it.

For those who don't know what's going on over there, which, considering nobody ever seems to like to tell us anything about Darfur outside of proclaiming our need to save it, is probably a lot of you, Arab Muslims in the Sudan, are in the process of genociding non-ethnic (read: black) muslims. Arab Muslims have expressed their outrage at this turn of events by burning Danish flags, and charismatic actors and socialist pseudo-christian groups want the President to do something.

What do they want America to do? You know... Like, something... Yeah, we should totally do something.

Should he, declare war and liberate a people? Oh, hell, no... That's war. War is bad.

Okay... Should we follow the lead of other, more enlightened nations? Um, well, actually, the U.S. is leading the way on this issue. And, we're kinda expected to do everything... Again...

Maybe we should establish sanctions against the Sudanese government? I mean, that's one of the harshest diplomatic measures we can take. Doing so would demonstrate toughness without war, right? Ohhh, actually, we're kind of doing that right now.

Maybe we can work through U.N. channels to prosecute those involved. That's it, that's what will do. What? The U.N. is corrupt and motivated by self-interest? When did that happen? I thought they were pretty much the same as Jesus.

And, actually, any real action we take is likely to enrage the rest of the Muslim world. I mean, they're peaceful and all... But, if they don't like something. Well, they tend to kill and stuff. Good blokes, though, most of the time.

So... What can WE do to end the genocide and Save Darfur?

...

I know, we can blame Bush! That guy sucks and he's always wrong! Whatever he is doing, and will do in the future is sure to be bad! Then we can feel good about ourselves!

But wait... What do we do if he actually works to end genocide in the Sudan? Ummm... Well, we can just pretend as though it never happened, and that he made the whole genocide thing up. Hey, it worked with Iraq.

But seriously, people. We have to save Darfur. We have to save it really hard. I CARE SO MUUUUUUUUCH!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Brat

I’m flying, again. On a 12:30 a.m. red-eye, from LAX. Some degenerate humanoid has made the decision to

A) Bring his screamy, unspanked, shrill, 18-month old baby on board.

B) Seat the aforementioned on his lap.

In the absence of any actual sleep, I have been racking my brain in search of reasons for this disastrous decision. I have narrowed it down to the following.

A)The father is in a band, and, therefore, an oblivious dolt, though fashionably-sensitive-but-too-cool-to-care enough to find a woman with whom to produce obnoxious offspring (24.6% chance)

B)This brave man, having scheduled a normal business trip to Los Angeles, rescued his baby from some sort of trapped-in-well type scenario (0.7% chance)

C) He knew that above mentioned runt would be far too tired to behave on a 4-hour flight, but was willing to sacrifice the happiness of the approximately 40 people within earshot in order to save $17 (58.2% Chance)

D) The baby’s mother died, and he is bringing the baby back with him, a la ABC’s hit series “Lost” (0.3% chance)

E) He is part of an elaborate viral marketing campaign for Sominex and/or the NRA (16.2%)

In any event, I’m ready to throw the toddler into my duffle bag and dropkick her screaming ass down the aisle. And I love kids. I will mention one impressive feat. The little demon actually managed to scream and suck a pacifier at the same time. I saw it with my own eyes, the pacifier going back and forth amidst an unedited tirade.