Saturday, May 06, 2006


Life is not a zero-sum game.

That is all.

"We are all one conciousness experiencing itself subjectively" - Bill Hicks

Erin Pavlina’s Blog » Blog Archive » Past Lives:
"The way I understand the universe, we are souls who choose to incarnate to learn spiritual lessons so that we can evolve our own souls and also affect the lives and lessons of others. We make a general plan for ourselves to work out karma and learn lessons, then we select our parents, and get busy getting born. After you die you go back to the ether, review your progress, compare it to the plan you set out for yourself, and decide if, how, and when you’ll return to continue your evolution.


That’s how the universe wants it. I see our souls as tendrils that the universe sends out to experience things it can’t. We take our experiences back to Source and it processes them."

Ghosts, Aliens, and God - In order of importance.

Overheard in the Office: The Voice of the Cubicle - 5PM That's a Wrap:
"Employee #1: I don't believe in God. I believe in ghosts, but not God.
Employee #2: What about aliens?
Employee #1: Oh, totally!
Boss: Don't you guys have something more important to be doing?
Employee #2: I have about 1,000 other things to do. None of them is more important than this.

2223 East Speedway
Tucson, Arizona"

Friday, May 05, 2006

Everything is the same, even if it's different. - I Heart Huckabees

There is no remainder in the mathematics of infinity.

Where do think you are right now? A room - a city - a country? This may be true, but is it the whole truth?

If you look close enough you can't tell where my nose ends and space begins.

How am I not myself?

Vivian Jaffe: Have you ever transcended space and time?
Albert Markovski: Yes. No. Uh, time, not space... No, I don't know what you're talking about.

It is inevitable to be drawn back into human drama.

We'd all be heroes if we quit using petroleum, though.

Albert Markovski: The interconnection thing is definitely for real.
Tommy Corn: It is! I didn't think it wasn't! It is!
Albert Markovski: I know, I can't believe it, it's so fantastic!
Tommy Corn: It's amazing!
Albert Markovski: I know.
Tommy Corn: But it's also nothing special.

How come we only ask ourselves the really big questions when something bad happens?

Mrs. Hooten: Albert, what brought you to the philosophical club?
Albert Markovski: You mean the existential detectives?
Mr. Hooten: Sounds like a support group.
Cricket: Why can't he use the church?
Mrs. Hooten: Sometimes, people have additional questions to be answered.
Cricket: Like what?
Albert Markovski: Well, um, for instance: if the forms of this world die, which is more real, the me that dies or the me that's infinite? Can I trust my habitual mind, or do I need to learn to look beneath those things?

When you get the blanket thing, you can relax, because everything you could ever want or be, you already have and are.

Dawn Campbell: There's glass between us. You can't deal with my infinite nature can you?
Brad Stand: That is so not true. Wait, what does that even mean?

Cricket: Jesus is never mad at us if we live with Him in our hearts!
Tommy Corn: I hate to break it to you, but He is - He most definitely is.

The universe is an infinite sphere whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.

It's true that as you break things down, if you go far enough, things are absolutely different from what you would think they are.

Bernard Jaffe: Why is it when the so-called average Joe goes into a museum they are put off by abstract painting?
Professor Rudnick: People get upset when they are asked to do things they are not used to doing. In the same way your body complains if you are asked to stretch it in ways you haven't stretched it before. We become creatures of habit.

Like a dialysis machine to keep us alive in this horrible hell we call earth that we seem to be so proud of has evolved from the dinosaurs to our 'higher' species when in fact, as with the dinosaurs, it has always been a wretched carnival of violence. consumption, suffering and survival. Shall we talk about war? Children losing limbs or eyes? Don't feel like it? I didn't think so. Why would you? It is an unbearable drag, all of it. How about your boring job?
Now on the other, slightly more optimistic hand, if we are not MORE important than anything in the cosmos, we are not LESS important than anything in the cosmos. We are as representative of the cosmos as anything else that is here... You could say, "I'm as important as a rock." So what? ...Well, here's what: the good news is that if we simply stop all this agitating self drama and thinking and measuring and reacting - if we just stop and ACCEPT that we are like a rock or a sun, then we can just BE, as a rock is just a rock, a sun is just a sun. This gives the possibility of some greater freedom from our carnival of self importance and suffering.

Your mind is part of nature.

The Wisdom of Charles Atlas

Think power.

Do not listen to idle talk; keep your own counsel. Listen for advice and constructive criticism and go steadily from one success to another.

Hold in your mind's eye at all times the ideal of physical perfection.

Aim to develop strength of character as well as strength of muscle. Make discipline an ally rather than an enemy.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Best of Friends - Jesus and Buddha

Hilarious. More at the link.

Best of Friends

Stress and Psychology

The Next Level - May 2006:
"While we can’t always control the factors that bring on stress, we can certainly control the ways in which we react.

The key to managing stress is understanding that stress is entirely a function of how we interpret events. We, as individuals, have the power to determine to what extent we will experience stress, or whether we will experience it at all.

1. Start the day out right.

Most of us get so caught up in our fast-paced lives that we forget to take time out for ourselves. Combat natural stresses inherent in this lifestyle by creating a ritual that makes you focus on what you want instead of what you fear...

Keep your shoes by your bed and hit the ground moving to turn on your body and mind each morning. Start with some deep breathing, followed by a brisk walk to release the stress your body has built up. As you move, consciously cultivate the emotions that will give you an extraordinary life: gratitude, excitement about your future, or even compassion for those who may not be supporting you.

2. Change your posture to improve your mood.

This may sound simple, but it works. At any given time, our physiology dictates our psychology. Think about the ways in which your body conveys a bad mood: your feet drag, your head hangs, your shoulders hunch forward, and your breathing becomes shallower.

On the other hand, by lifting your body—raising your shoulders and head, focusing on expanding your diaphragm so you can breathe more deeply, looking ahead rather than down—you eliminate undue stress, and your spirits will quickly improve.

3. Breathe.

Each and every day, take a few breaks to focus on your breathing. Sit in your chair with your spine straight, and close your eyelids so that they are 1/10th open. Place the fingertips of your right hand on your outer left wrist to feel your pulse, and feel each part of your heartbeat, gradually sensing the beat all over your body. Now take deep diaphragm breaths in a ratio of 1-4-2. Breathe in for one, hold for four counts, and then breathe out completely for two counts. Continue this slow, deep breathing ritual for at least five minutes. Then inhale deeply again as you stretch your arms upward.

It won’t take long for you to realize that deep breathing is the ultimate Stressbuster!

4. Focus on what you can control.

The ultimate waste of time is devoting your thoughts, your focus, and your emotions to circumstances beyond your control. While you can influence many events and maybe even control some, the only thing you have absolute control over is your own response to what happens.

In other words, you can always control what things mean to you, so you may potentially turn stressful events into positive outcomes. Simply being aware of this power affords you a more relaxed and fulfilling existence.

5. Develop an attitude of gratitude.

Embracing gratitude is the only way you will be truly fulfilled. When you are grateful, you cannot be depressed, angry or fearful because your focus is on the many ways in which your life is blessed. Each day, ask yourself “What am I grateful for today?” Think and feel your answer for 10 or 15 days to get yourself moving in the right direction."

Robert Anton Wilson - A Lesson in Karma

Robert Anton Wilson - A Lesson in Karma - Robert Anton Wilson Online Library:
"[my children believed] ...the doctrine of Karma which holds, optimistically, that the evil really are punished and the good really are rewarded, which I considered a wishful fantasy no more likely than the Christian idea of Heaven and Hell. Worst of all, they had a huge appetite for various Oriental 'Masters' whom I regarded as total charlatans, and an enormous disdain for all the scientific methodology of the West...

...returning from school one afternoon, Luna was beaten and robbed by a gang of black kids. She was weeping and badly frightened when she arrived home, and her Father was shaken by the unfairness of it happening to her, such a gentle, ethereal child. In the midst of consoling her, the Father wandered emotionally and began denouncing the idea of Karma. Luna was beaten, he said, not for her sins, but for the sins of several centuries of slavers and racists, most of whom had never themselves suffered for those sins. "Karma is a blind machine," he said. "The effects of evil go on and on but they don't necessarily come back on those who start the evil." Then Father got back on the track and said some more relevant and consoling things.

The next day Luna was her usual sunny and cheerful self, just like the Light in her paintings. "I'm glad you're feeling better," the Father said finally.

"I stopped the wheel of Karma," she said. "All the bad energy is with the kids who beat me up. I'm not holding any of it."

And she wasn't. The bad energy had entirely passed by, and there was no anger or fear in her. I never saw her show any hostility to blacks after the beating, any more than before.

The Father fell in love with her all over again. And he understood what the metaphor of the wheel of Karma really symbolizes and what it means to stop the wheel.

Karma, in the original Buddhist scriptures, is a blind machine; in fact, it is functionally identical with the scientific concept of natural law. Sentimental ethical ideas about justice being built into the machine, so that those who do evil in one life are punished for it in another life, were added later by theologians reasoning from their own moralistic prejudices. Buddha simply indicated that all the cruelties and injustices of the past are still active: their effects are always being felt. Similarly, he explained, all the good of the past, all the kindness and patience and love of decent people is also still being felt.

Since most humans are still controlled by fairly robotic reflexes, the bad energy of the past far outweighs the good, and the tendency of the wheel is to keep moving in the same terrible direction, violence breeding more violence, hatred breeding more hatred, war breeding more war. The only way to "stop the wheel" is to stop it inside yourself, by giving up bad energy and concentrating on the positive. This is by no means easy, but once you understand what Gurdjieff called "the horror of our situation," you have no choice but to try, and to keep on trying.

And Luna, at 13, understood this far better than I did, at 43, with all my erudition and philosophy.... I still regarded her absolute vegetarianism and pacifism as sentimentality."

Hey look! The obvious! [To anyone not confused by the religious right.]

Oh denial, you're so wacky! But we still love you!

And will probably have sex with you.

Sploid: Virgins are boring!:
"A sad new survey proves that very few Christian girls who pledge to remain virgins actually stick to the vow.

Even worse, half of those who make the 'chastity vows' completely deny it when questioned a year later.

'Many teenagers sign such a pledge and then go on to have premarital sex, denying that they ever undertook the vow to remain virginal till marriage,' Earth Times reports today.

'In addition, many who have already indulged in sexual intercourse and then signed such a pledge report their sexual history falsely, making it difficult to accurately gauge how well they keep the pledge.'"

Why take people's God away from them?

:: Douglas Rushkoff - Weblog :::
"The fact that the Bible has two versions of creation should not be a surprise to anyone who takes the time to read the first page or two of any standard Bible text. This is not some convoluted DaVinci Code fictional deconstruction of non-existent material. I'm talking normal, look-at-the-words-and-glean-their-most-basic-meaning stuff, here.

Genesis, Chapter 1, verse 27, says that God created Man and Woman together, after making all the animals. Genesis, Chapter 2, verse 7, has God creating Man before the plants and the animals. Adam walks around a while, lonely. Then Woman is created out of Adam's rib in verse 22.

That's right: two different creation stories.

...This very basic reading of Bible text is challenging - sacriligious - to those I've been calling "True Believers," because they need Bible mythology to conform to actual history. They need to believe on a literal level - that same literal level that allows their ministers to convince them that doomsday is around the corner so we don't need to worry about the economy or the oil shortage. The Bible doesn't support them in this effort, so they can't actual read it. And don't.

From an aesthetic and spiritual perspective, the sad part is that they miss out on the Bible's power as myth and literature. It's these seeming gaps in logic or sequence where the best part of the stories rests. While Harper's explains the contradiction as the incomplete reconciliation of two different creation stories, we can also look at the two versions as utterly intentional: as the authors speaking to an audience who already knew both competing mythological traditions. Maybe one is replacing the other - the same way goddess worship is to be replaced by a patriarchy? And that's just one of hundreds of possible readings.

...I'm hoping by re-introducing readers to the Bible as it was actually written and understood at the time (to the best of my ability) while showing how its stories apply to our current military, technological and economic fiascos, I can bring its power to a new generation. All while dispelling the hardened belief sets of True Believers. I'm going to show how the Bible was intended not to give people religion, but to get people over their obsessions with religion and the fictional character, God. (Obviously, the Bible hasn't worked out as planned. At least not yet.)

Some of you have asked, "Why take people's God away from them?" These confirmed atheists and agnostics wonder if it's not better to let childlike people enjoy a childlike relationship to their mythology. What harm does it do?

Way too much. People manipulated by stories in this way are more susceptible to misinformation through narrative trickery. Just as 92% of Americans believe in God and 71% believe in the devil, 90% of American soldiers serving in Iraq think war is retaliation for Saddam’s role in 9-11 (Zogby). They can't distinguish between metaphor and reality. Bush speaks to the Republican Convention from behind a podium with a big cross on it, designed to look like a minister's lecturn. He is a minister. He jumps onto an aircraft carrier in an airforce jumpsuit. He is a military hero.

No, like I said below, it's time to get tough with the people who have been seduced into believing in ideas and stories that were never meant to function as a factual basis for reality. It's time to stop even entertaining the notion that Creationism be taught in school as anything but a foundation mythology. It's time to accept the fact that there's nobody out there to save us from ourselves - we really do have to take care of one another. It's time to realize that there's no parent in the sky named God - least of all one rooting for one side or the other - in our war against Iraq, or terror, or those who stand in the way of our oil.

It's just too dangerous an era to allow people to maintain an infantile approach to what's going on around them.
A functioning democracy requires its citizens to have some connection to reality."

The Unclassified Media Project

The Unclassified Media Project:
"The Unclassified Media Project publishes meaningful messages in various media and formats including audio, video, words, print images, and dinner parties.

This multi-media news-reel re-mixes news clips, protest footage, phone conversations, strange sounds, interesting images and a 1946 school documentary concerning the dangers and warning signs of despotism--all set to an incessant rock-and-roll beat. This project is dedicated to Stephen Colbert for his ballsy truth-telling at the Whitehouse Correspondants Dinner."

Conspiracy Theory Rock

Schoolhouse Rock take-off that appeared once, and only once, on SNL.

Gosh, I wonder why?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Sweet, sweet irony... I love you so.

Military the cause for huge gay population explosion.

How did San Francisco become so popular with gay people?:
"As it turns out, the military is the main reason so many gay men settled in San Francisco. During World War II, the United States armed forces 'sought out and dishonorably discharged' homosexuals. Many men who were expelled for being gay were processed at San Francisco bases."

Why we think that way.

MAYBE QUARTERLY - Vol 3 / Issue 1 - Always Assuming:
"Have you ever felt conned by teachers, priests, politicians, acquaintances or family?

To achieve this outcome the scam-artist has to control the channels of communication.

Usually we 'potential victims' have multiple channels of input that we can use to verify our perceptions.

Cults, the military, the major religions, state education, practical jokers, hoaxers and confidence tricksters attempt to isolate us from a complete range of checks and balances, and ideally they control the few channels left available to us, through which they feed us data and models of their choosing.

If they can’t completely control our use of other channels they can create false trails, strange loops, confusion, social pressure, a hint of illegal activity, paranoia, manufactured evidence or misinformation to encourage us to distrust these alternative viewpoints, or reality checks."

Torture "widespread" under U.S. custody: Amnesty - Yahoo! News

Torture "widespread" under U.S. custody: Amnesty - Yahoo! News:
"GENEVA (Reuters) - Torture and inhumane treatment are 'widespread' in U.S.-run detention centers in Afghanistan, Iraq, Cuba and elsewhere despite Washington's denials, Amnesty International said on Wednesday.

In a report for the United Nations' Committee against Torture, the London-based human rights group also alleged abuses within the U.S. domestic law enforcement system, including use of excessive force by police and degrading conditions of isolation for inmates in high security prisons."

Einstein didn't just know physics...

"'In two weeks the sheeplike masses of any country can be worked up by the newspapers into such a state of excited fury that men are prepared to put on uniforms and kill and be killed, for the sake of the sordid ends of a few interested parties. Compulsory military service seems to me the most disgraceful symptom of that deficiency in personal dignity from which civilized mankind is suffering today.'- Einstein, 1934"


MAYBE QUARTERLY - Vol 2 / Issue 4 - Karmic Economics: Pure Capitalism:
"Competition is healthy, natural – inherent even. But our species got it all fucked up. We look at other animals and talk about survival of the fittest. We see the fierce competition in simpler animals that seek to pass on their genes. But really, evolution is about projecting the greatest we have as a species into the future – not being the one whose descendents own the future. Evolution is about spending each day competing with who you were yesterday. It’s about looking forward and making sure you’re not traveling in circles. What greater achievement can you possibly imagine than breaking the cycle of repeating the past? When history repeats itself, it proves that we have not learned from our mistakes; we have not evolved; we may as well have remained amoebas. With all your wealth, you remained a generic gear on some huge machine."

" immediately loses its value to those who haven’t had to earn it."

MAYBE QUARTERLY - Vol 2 / Issue 4 - Karmic Economics: Pure Capitalism:
"1. There is only so much money that you can spend in a lifetime

a. Your snot-nose kids don’t deserve the leftovers – the money immediately loses its value to those who haven’t had to earn it. When you give it to your kids, it is automatically lost – nice move you brilliant strategist, you! Furthermore, you create a culture of mediocrity as these kids buy out the nation with their monopoly money and control from a standpoint that they never had to rise to. I know, I know, you made them go to college and get a business degree and everything, right? You can’t know shit about a business unless you’ve spent some time in the warehouse with the people in production who don’t speak English (which, of course, they wouldn’t since your warehouse is in China or Taiwan). You’ve got to spend time in each and every department talking to the people who keep the gears turning. You’re kid doesn’t have time to spend learning; they have to work on spending all that money you left them! So they’ll hire dipshit consultants to spend their time making inaccurate yet highly impressive observations on some PowerPoint presentation (they too are business school graduates with no experience)."

Peaceful Warrior Trailer

I watch this constantly. Sandy mocks me. I care not.

This book had the most profound influence on the way I think. And, my life.

Muhammad Ali Highlight

In his prime, he was a thing of beauty.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Success With Ease

Introduction to Success With Ease:
"I’m lazy. I admit it. For years, it was one of the things that kept me from succeeding in life — after all, you’ve got to work really hard to succeed, right? That’s certainly what I was told, and certainly what I believed.

We call it a work ethic: It’s good to work, right? It’s good for the soul. It builds character. And hard work creates success. But I had a problem with that, if I was really honest with myself, because I didn’t want to work all that hard.

Given the choice between a day when I have to set the alarm clock and get up early and shower and shave and go to work and a day when I can laze in bed for as long as I want and then do whatever I feel like, I’ll take that second option every time.

I’ve never been a “morning person.” It takes me three or four hours to get going, and some days, to be really honest, I never get going at all. Some days I do very little. I’ve always been that way, since childhood.

“But look at the books you’ve written,” people have said to me. “And the music you’ve recorded. And you run a publishing company. You can’t be lazy and do all that.”

Oh yes you can, I say. All it takes to write a book (or record music, or run a publishing company) is persistence.

You can be lazy and still be persistent — and once you learn how to do that, you can accomplish a great deal.

...maybe it’s my one unique contribution to the world — but I have to add this:

You can succeed in an easy and relaxed manner.

You don’t have to be a Type A workaholic to succeed.

Success With Ease

If I can go from poverty to gratifying success, so can you. I don’t have any special tools that you don’t have.

We all have all the tools we need to succeed in life. It’s just a matter of focusing our creative minds in the right direction.

I knew how important it was to do what I loved.

I knew that in some way, if I went for my dreams, it would all work out somehow.

I asked myself a question I had rarely asked before. A simple and important question: What do I want to do with the rest of my life?

A single simple phrase can turn your thinking around, and change the course of your thoughts and the course of your life.

This is the visionary phrase that changed my thinking and my life: Within every adversity are equal or greater benefits. Within every problem is an opportunity.
Even in the knocks of life we can find great gifts. Opportunities are everywhere.

"George Bush Don't Like Black People"

This new clip by subMedia ( is an effort to keep the mantra going "George Bush Don't Like Black People" by The Legendary K.O.

A synchronicity is a meaningful coincidence.

Rigorous Intuition: What Dreams May Come:
"We likely know by our experience of them that synchronicities don't pertain only to borderland experiences. However, they do all lead us to borderland issues of human consciousness.

In 1906 Carl Jung found a young patient diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic staring out of his ward window at the sun, moving his head from side to side. Jung asked him what he was doing, and the man explained he was watching the sun's penis, and moving his head it moved as well, and caused the wind to blow. Several years later, as Michael Talbot recounts in The Holographic Universe, Jung read a translation of an ancient Persian religious text that consisted of a 'series of rituals and invocations designed to bring on visions':

It described one of the visions and said that if the participant looked at the sun he would see a tube hanging down from it, and when the tube moved from side to side it would cause the wind to blow. Since circumstances made it extremely unlikely that the man had contact with the text containing the ritual, Jung concluded that the man's vision was not simply a product of his unconscious mind, but had bubbled up from a deeper level, from the collective unconscious of the human race itself."

"You can't keep up." - Feels like I'm drowning in new information all the time.

Creating Passionate Users: The myth of "keeping up":
"You can't keep up. There is no way. And trying to keep up will probably just make you dumber.You can never be current on everything you think you should be...

Why do we pressure ourselves? Why do we constantly feel like we're struggling to keep up, yet never succeeding?

...So... it's time to let that go. You're not keeping up. I'm not keeping up. And neither is anyone else. At least not in everything...

Besides letting go, what else can we do to combat Information Anxiety? I have just a few tips, but I'm hoping you'll add more:

Find the best aggregators

Get summaries

Cut the redundancy!

Unsubscribe to as many things as possible

Recognize that gossip and celebrity entertainment are black holes [Hi Sandy! - Rob]
It's like watching a car accident despite our best intentions... we just can't help look, so the more you can stay away from the publications that document every personal detail of every music and film star the better. Let that be your guilty pleasure for when you're at the dentist's office...

Pick the categories you want for a balanced perspective, and include some from OUTSIDE your main field of interest

Be a LOT more realistic about what you're likely to get to, and throw the rest out.
Don't file it. Don't store it. What you don't have piling up you can't feel guilty about.

...In the meantime, take a deep breath and repeat after me, "I will never keep up. Keeping up is a myth." And if it makes you feel any better, add, "John isn't keeping up either."

Once we let go of trying to be more-current-than-thou, we can spend more time on things that really matter. "

The only Bible I can get behind - "This liberation from belief systems is precisely what the Bible is about."

:: Douglas Rushkoff - Weblog :::
"Okay, so let's get into this God game.

I think it's time to get serious about the role God plays in human affairs, and evaluate whether it's appropriate to let everyone in on the bad news: God doesn't exist, never did, and the closest thing we'll ever see to God will emerge from our own collective efforts at making meaning.

Maybe I'm just getting old, but I no longer see the real value in being tolerant of other people's beliefs. Sure, when beliefs are relegated to the realm of pure entertainment, they pose no real danger...

When religions are practiced, as they are by a majority of those in developed nations, today, as a kind of nostalgic little ritual - a community event or an excuse to get together and not work - it doesn't really screw anything up too badly. But when they radically alter our ability to contend with reality, cope with difference, or implement the most basic ethical provisions, they must be stopped...

Add to that the more reliable polls finding that 35% of Americans say they are "born again" - a particularly modern phenomenon that came only after the charlatan rabble-rousers during the Great Depression - and you get a picture of a nation hoodwinked into a passive, childlike, yet dogmatic relationship to the myths that were originally written to sustain them, spur their motivation to social justice, and encourage continuing evolution.

As I've always understood them... the stories in the Bible are less significant because they happened at some moment in history than because their underlying dynamics seem to be happening in all moments. We are all Cain, struggling with our feelings about a sibling who seems to be more blessed than we are. We are always escaping the enslaved mentality of Egypt and the idolatry we practiced there. We are all Mordechai, bristling against the pressure to bow in subservience to our bosses.

But true believers don't have this freedom. Whether it's because they need the Bible to prove a real estate claim in the Middle East, because they don't know how to relate something that didn't really happen, or because they require the threat of an angry super-being who sees all in order behave like good children, true believers - what we now call fundamentalists - are not in a position to appreciate the truth and beauty of the Holy Scriptures. No, the multi-dimensional document we call the Bible is not available to them because, for them, all those stories have to be accepted as historical truth.

Forget the fact that this is pretty much impossible to do. The Bible contradicts itself all over the place. There are even two different creation stories! (One in which Eve is created at the same time as Adam, and another where she is grown from his rib. And they're less than a page apart.) Forget that the myths of the Bible had already been understood as mythology by the pre-Biblical cultures from which many of them came. And forget that the Bible comments on its own stories, as stories, directly! On numerous occasions, the narration asks its hearers whether they get the joke.

That's because, for the Torah's first hearers (Torah is the first five books of the Bible), all those jokes really were jokes. They understood that Jacob's sons weren't really the fathers of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, but parodies - racist parodies, at that - of the qualities that had come to be associated with each of these existing groups. They understood that the "plagues" against Egypt were literary desecrations of the Egyptian gods. (Blood desecrates the Nile, which was a god. Locusts desecrate the corn, a god, and so on.)

That the Bible could be understood metaphorically helped people relate to its "God" metaphorically, as well. It's not that God is some character who really exists, but a way of relating to the events in the world as they unfold. No one can grasp this, however, if they're stuck believing.

So I think it's time those of us who have transcended this primitive approach to collective storytelling to speak up. This liberation from belief systems is precisely what the Bible is about. A people liberate from the death of a creationist model of reality and go out into the desert to write their own laws.

It's analogous to the story of America, in fact, where a bunch of people leave religious oppression in order to write a Constitution as an evolutionary document - something that, instead of being believed in forever, is understood to be an ongoing process. A participatory event.

Right now, America's true believers are locking down its laws along with its Bible. They are fighting the science of evolution because it accepts that things change over time - and such change is incompatible with static, everlasting truths. They are doing to today's progressives the very same thing that the Bible's Egyptians were doing to the Israelites. And they're doing it in the name of a God who they believe they'll meet when they die. This is the very mindset and behavior the Bible was written to stop.

Perhaps the best way to kill their God, in fact, is to take charge of the Bible. It is - in my own opinion as a media theorist - the Greatest Story Ever Told, and deserving of our continued support and analysis. For my part, I'm writing Testament, which I hope will bring these stories - told both in their Biblical context and as a near-future sci-fi fable - to people who might never have stumbled across them before."

Colbert Bitchsmacks Bush - Update II

Colbert Lampoons Bush at White House Correspondents Dinner-- President Not Amused?:
"A blistering comedy “tribute” to President Bush by Comedy Central’s faux talk show host Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondent Dinner Saturday night left George and Laura Bush unsmiling at its close. "


Gosh, what a shock. Youtube has pulled it's clips from the dinner at the behest of CSPAN. Despite the fact that numerous other clips from past dinners, [HERE] and this year's dinner NOT featuring Colbert remain online at Youtube. Obviously, just a coincidence.

You can read a summary of the CSPAN nonsense at BoingBoing here:

You can still download about the second half of Colbert's speech at Crooks and Liars here:

Update II:

Available for viewing on Google Video.

Image from:

"See, it's an addiction. That means we really want it. Heh-heh-heh." - George Bush explaining oil policy.

The Heart of the Matter: Money for Our Oil Fix:
"It was only a few days ago that oil hit 75$ a barrel, and now Senate Republicans -- Republicans, remember, the champions of the free market, the ones who don't want to increase pump taxes because doing so would distort market forces -- want to give taxpayers a $100 rebate to buy gasoline.

It's all doubly strange because the president noted in his State of the Union speech that Americans are addicted to oil, and reiterated the 'addiction' word just yesterday. And now Congress wants to cure the addiction by... well, by giving us money to buy a fix."

The "Wars" on Some "Things"...

The Heart of the Matter: Drugs and Nukes:
"My own unprofessional, anecdotal take on what such a study would show: if we ended prohibition today in favor of regulation, taxation, and treatment for addiction, there would be a mild uptick in drug use. Meanwhile the price of drugs, which is kept artificially high by prohibition, would fall, denying profits to the Afghan warlords who are committed to defeating our efforts there and to the narcotrafficantes who are committed to undermining democracy in Latin America. We would also be able to redeploy all the resources noted above to the war that really matters -- the one against Islamofascism.

You know how we'll know when we're really serious about the war against Islamofascism? When the government announces that we're ending the war on drugs. Because one of these wars is a war of necessity -- by definition, an existential war, a war we cannot lose -- and the other is a war of choice.
And a society that fights a war of choice while simultaneously fighting a war of necessity is a society that's betting everything it holds dear on a policy that in the end is... nothing more than a policy."

Asian Audrey Hepburn... your heart out.

Sadly, I was not posing for this picture...

...which means I'm just kind of a dork.

Baachan's 80th Birthday

For Baachan's 80th birthday we [Sandy, me, Grandma, Kawabata-san] all went down to Yanagawa for the day. The city has a bunch of canals, so we went on a picturesque little canal cruise and topped off the day eating the culinary specialty of the town - unagi. That's eel, for you unaware folks. Fun day. And we went all-out-tourist mode with the 100-yen-working-in-the-rice-field-straw-hat.

Good times.

When you're talking to Sandy in the States... don't realize this is how it looks from this end, do you?

[See, I think it's cute. But Sandy'll be all mad for showing her secrets.]

My wife has quite the puzzle addiction...

...and her sister is her enabler.

Cousin Midori's Brass Band Concert

On Sunday we went to check out Midori's Brass Band Concert, which was chock full of Jr High School musical goodness. It didn't even freak me out too badly when they started singing "Oh Happy Day!" what with all it's Jesusifying lyrics and whatnot. I figure when 99.5% of them don't know anything about Christianity, it helps to prevent that glassy-eyed-drank-the-kool-aid look.

The concert was really fun though. And Midori had a well done cool little trumpet solo. [She's the second trumpet from the right in the... ummm... well... trumpet picture.]

*EDIT* Informed by my OCD-always-correcting-my-every-little-mistake wife that the brass instrument all the way to the right is a trombone, which makes Midori first trumpet on the right, third trumpet from the left.

The big picture will always be a mystery. Why you fight is something else entirely.

Geoff Klock's Blog: Joss Whedon's Buffy and Angel: The Wide Angle View:
"Angel makes clear that in resisting evil we define ourselves, which is good for us, but has nothing to do with the cosmos. In order to fight evil, Whedon's characters, who don't call on the powers of good because there are none, harness evil to fight evil while trying not to lose their humanity..."

More false Aristotelian logic games...

slacktivist: Binary Code:
"Either/or. This or that. Only this or only that. Government or individuals -- and only government (Leviathan) or only individuals. Laws or markets -- and only laws or only markets. Anarchy or tyranny.

What a weird, unreal and inhuman way of looking at the world.

Yet strangely popular.

I just don't get it. The real world, of course, doesn't look anything like this. Yet when adherents of this strange binary outlook encounter the real world, they never consider adapting their theory. Instead, they set about to change the world to make it more compatible with their theoretical construct."

"Monkey Fluids" blog is hilarious

More mashup comedy at the link.

Monkey Fluids: I Don't Believe in Organised Religion

Monday, May 01, 2006

Oh no, Cynthia.

Funny for all the wrong reasons.

Overheard in the Office: The Voice of the Cubicle - 9AM Back to Work:
"Foreign boss: [Cynthia], what are you eating?
Veronica: A breakfast burrito.
Foreign boss: Oh, no, [Cynthia]. You will never find a boyfriend."

Inspiring Alternative Educational Model

YouTube - Voices from the New American Schoolhouse (trailer):
"Voices from the New American Schoolhouse explores life outside the usual educational box. Narrated exclusively by students, the film chronicles life and learning at the Fairhaven School in Upper Marlboro, MD which practices an undiluted form of freedom and democracy that turns mainstream education theory on its head. Filmmaker Danny Mydlack enjoyed unrestricted access over a two-year period to produce this candid and unblinking encounter with kid-powered learning."