" I had been teaching my three-year old daughter, Caitlin, the Lord's Prayer for several evenings at bedtime, she would repeat after me the lines from the prayer. Finally, she decided to go solo. I listened with pride as she carefully enunciated each word right up to the end of the prayer: "Lead us not into temptation," she prayed, " but deliver us some E-mail."
Truth from the mouths of babes! And Lo! it came to pass! This week saw the long awaited arrival of grandchild number 7, Mystica. What a doll! I think newly born children should be our spiritual leaders. At least we'd know they weren't doing it for the money. (Well, maybe they'd be doing it for the milk.)
Some Reader Comments
" Hey Joe, thanks for adding me to your list I really enjoy the newsletters - sometimes i come into work on the weekends and get less done because of them. Best, Owen Orford."
" Joe -- Thanks a hundred million dollars'
worth for the U. Utah Phillips quote. He tickles me to death,
and I don't even know where he is now. It's been 20 years
since I've seen him, and that was when I had breakfast with him
and Fiddlin' John Morris at a pie shop in Denver. He told
many a tall tale, but of course wore short lumberman's britches.
- Katie Laur
Favourite Porn Spam of the Week
Sergio Hoffmann, 25 y.o. psychotherapist, Germany:
"I think i'm younkger than main target
group of Cialdis consumers, but i have a very hard work, i always
had to listen about people's failures, about bad life et cetera.
All that problems affected my selxual activity, my wife was not
as happy as before with me. I tried Viagras - both genedric and
Pfdizer's, but they does not act as good and as long as i want
it to be. Finally, my colleague told me about Cialdis and i ordered
it. The results were really better, trust a doctor. I'd recommend
it to anybody with erectlion troubles.
P.S. By the way, you can mix Cialis with alcohol without any harm!"
(Note: No wonder Sergio's cement won't
hold up his 4 x 4. Hey, Serge why donna-a you try AA? Or as I've
said so often in my song, 'Keep Your Edges Sharp:'
'Everybody's talking about Viagra, and every vitamin that's known,
But if you want your bit to keep its bite, try a file and a sharpening stone.")
The big HOO-HA these week is all about Friar Mel Tuck Gibson's new movie, 'Lethal Whippin' 3'. A new religious fervour is sweeping the land. I haven't seen the likes of it since I had to push through the Greek women holding placards and the Orthodox priests protesting 'Last Temptation of Christ.' (Not a bad soundtrack, though. I hope Mel Gibson has some good music in his flick but I can't imagine anyone making a better score than Bach's St Mathew's Passion - now that's a soundtrack that will probably outlast the 'play'!)
But I am going to see 'Passion of the Crikey' later in the week and will give you my post-film review. But I don't expect any surprises. Why? Because the best teaching is always by example - and I haven't seen any of Mel's examples lately. That's a pretty good reason to be skeptical. Teachers trying to teach what they can't do is the curse of the education system. That's why I fell asleep and daydreamed most of the time in school. 'Mel's praying all the way to the bank,' as someone said. Hey, why don't you give every cent you make from this film to the poor, Lord Mad de Max, and then we'll talk. (Have your religious service call my religious service.)
So this is merely a 'pre-viewing' opinion. Let's see how much it changes once I've actually inside Mel's Celluloid Coliseum and I can feel the fake blood splatter.
Anyway, I will assume the film isn't anti-Semitic.
But I'll bet it's anti-Italian. (How come nobody's mentioned that yet?) Wasn't Pontius Pilate an Italian? (Don Pontius . . . it hurts. boom boom! ) And the buck stopped with him, didn't it? I suspect an early version of the Latin-speaking Mafia, a triangulation of nail driving hitmen on the grassy forum, was really responsible for the death of our Jesus. The 'Lost Gospel of Guiseppi the Lamented' will turn up one day in an old olive urn. You just-a wait.
The real mental pretzel is this. I know it sounds so OBVIOUS - but I guess it isn't:
There are at least two ways of looking at Christianity. The first way is to assume that Christianity's message is correct. (Let's not even get into the can of worms of which VERSION of Christianity is the correct version.) Let's leave that one for now and just say that what all Christians have in common is that they believe that Jesus is God. Rather, the Son of God. God Junior, if you will. And we all know his father didst command us, 'Thou shalt not have false gods before me.' (Which, of course, makes all the other religions incorrect.) But let's leave THAT can of worms alone for now, as well. (You could spend your whole life trying to stuff the worms back into just those two cans. Many learned scholars have.)
Let's jump over to the other obvious way of looking at Christianity. To me at least. As MYTH. Oh, not a bedtime story - like Hansel and Gretel - but a real live reality tv show, in-your face rollercoaster ride breathing paradigm-of-zeitgeist kind of myth: internal spiritual lava - hot and molten Magma filling the bosom with endorphins . . . today . . . but becoming hard and petrified, with cirrhosis and Dogma tomorrow.
Now, before you Sons and Daughter of Jesus change my channel with your spiritual remote, just bear with me for a minute. Do me a favour. Please. Suspend your slightly Pre-Fab-Memorized-My-Bible-Chapter-and-Verse Re-enforced Opinion for just a second and let's pretend we're only talking Science Fiction. Just another kind of movie. H.G. Wells-stuff. Let's pretend that we can zip 10,000 years into the future in a time machine and we suddenly notice that the entire world has for some reason placed Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in the same mythological repository where Zeus, Juno and Poseidon have been gathering dust for centuries. But wait, you say. Zeus wasn't really GOD. (Yes, he WAAAAAS!) No, you say! That was a big misunderstanding - all those millions of people believing in those Greek and Roman fairy tales, (with Ray Harryhausen special effects), worshipping, praying . . . and killing, for those Xena-like deities? Back then people were a lot stupider than they are now. (Weren't they?)
But you know what? Those people were really you and I! That's right. It was us who used to believe that leaving that sacrificial bowl of corn cobs for Hera would drain the putrid succubus from the pimples on our souls.
So . . . . . what if in 10,000 years, we find that there are a whole lot more busts and statues in the Religious Heritage museum than we thought. In other words, all the religions are RIGHT and all of them are WRONG. Right - in the sense that religion, as living myth, has always been the Siamese twin of human endeavor, allowing us to lean on something or someone while we got a handle on Scary Reality a little better. Wrong - in the sense that everyone of them who thought they had the exclusive Ticket to the Answer was way WAY off the mark. All tickets allow admission, on certain days, and are refused admission on others. (You have to figure out the days for yourself.) And all these wonderful, and infernal, prophets and gods, and goddesses had their terrible beauty, and they blessed us, and protected us (for awhile, anyway) and all of them had their 'dark side of the force, Luke'. And every single one of them had their brutal power-hungry fanatic followers who twisted the truth around and tried to take over the world. (R U Listening, George Duh-Bull-That-means-U? ) And way off in this future time, we found that Jesus was as much the Son of God, as Astarte was the Daughter of God. Not to mention all the other Uncles of God, the Mother-in-Laws of God and the Great-Great-Grandmothers-of-God, whose stories we don't have time to go into today. But time to return to the present. That was just science-fiction.
So why am I referring to this new film about
the Cruxi-fiction as 'Lethal Whippin' 3'? Isn't that cynical?
Didn't Jesus die so you and I can be free . . . to sin another
day? Hey, a lot of people have died lately so that you and I can
be free. Maybe some of you haven't been paying attention - - how
about all those innocent civilians in Iraq? Everyone of those
poor beautiful souls deserve a religion all to themselves. Every
life is special. Sacred. So let's not keep giving all the Cake
to one Kid! Especially, a Boy. It's the Girls' turn, for the next
two thousand years, anyway.
I'm calling it 'Lethal Whippin' 3' - because it's really the third part of a Star Wars kind-of trilogy. (I'm sure the prequels are already in the works in New Zealand or somewhere.) The Catholic Marian mystic, Saint Maximillian Kolbe believed there were three stages to the Christian journey: 1- the Preparation (education) , 2- the Apostolate, (or walking your talk), and 3- the Passion, (or suffering, which I call the crucible.) These three 'acts' occur in just about anything you do - there's the time where you learn with enthusiasm (en theos = god in you), then comes the time where you share and teach what you've learned with excitement and even evangelical innocence); and then, sooner or later, comes a crucial 'Test of Fire' where your belief system sustains you, or crumbles.
I have always felt that fundamentalists who dwell too much on Act Three: the fire and brimstone, and the torture and suffering, and who don't actually try to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, and do Good Works, help the poor, live close to poverty, like Ghandi, and St Francis, and even Martin Luther King Jr, are actually on a manipulative power trip, using the Torture and the Cross and the Suffering to terrorize us into 'electing them,' so to speak. Maybe on a simpler level, these folks just want us to see them as caring people who think deeply about things. If so, Mr Grand Inquisitor-Director-Presidente, drop that whip, and those nails, racks and screws - Religious terrorism is still Terrorism . . . only with a bigger T to hang 'em from.
" You, yes you, can right now purchase a truly stylin' sepia-toned "Passion of the Christ" cross-adorned coffee mug, an exact replica of the one Jesus Himself used every morning at the Jerusalem Starbucks.
You can buy "witnessing tools," including lapel pins labeled in indecipherable Aramaic (Yeah Aramaic! What a comeback! Who knew?)" - (article)
Spiritual Teaching from the Kids' Point of View
(3-year-old, Reese, overheard praying:)
"Our Father, Who does art in heaven, Harold be His name. Amen."
(Another little boy overheard praying:)
"Lord, if you can't make me a better boy, don't worry about it. I'm having a real good time like I am."
(A little girl overheard praying:)
"Dear Jesus, please make me the kind of person my dog thinks I am."
A Sunday school class was studying the Ten Commandments. They were ready to discuss the last one. The teacher asked if anyone could tell her what it was. Susie raised her hand, stood tall, and quoted, "Thou shall not take the covers off the neighbor's wife."
One particular four-year-old prayed, "And forgive us our trash baskets as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets."
A Sunday school teacher asked her children, as they were on the way to church service,
"And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?" One bright little girl replied, "Because people are sleeping."
A father was at the beach with his children when the four-year-old son ran up to him,
grabbed his hand, and led him to the shore where a seagull lay dead in the sand.
"Daddy, what happened to him?" the son asked.
"He died and went to Heaven," the Dad replied.
The boy thought a moment and then said,
"Did God throw him back down?"
(Thanks to Stephen Ross)
ODDS and ENDS
Essential Management Advice for Artists from J & H Productions: (listen)
Archival audio of the legendary Colonel Sanders as he bumbles through his own Kentucky Fried Chicken radio commercial: (listen)
Have I Got a Date for Germaine Greer!
Question to Ms Greer:
Really? What attracts you to boys?
GREER: Oh, everything; sperm that runs like tap water will do.
. . . . And the Lucky Match:
"I dream that in the next world I'll be able to be with all the women I want. I don't want men around, except maybe my poor father, and Al Jolson. I will own them, all these beautiful creatures who never get old, and do what ever I want with them. There will be no body odor, and making l-o-v-e will be like it was in the Garden of Eden before the Fall. I will never get tired, and my s-e-e-d will flow out for hours, like water out of a hose, in a stream of ecstasy." Tiny Tim, 1975.
(Note: With that pancaked visage, carnival
clothes and long stringy hair, Tiny Tim musta been an early proto-type
for Michael Jackson.) Here a little tiptoe with Tiny if you'ld
like to remember: (listen)
Religious Humour (We NEED it now!)
A new monk arrives at the monastery. He is
assigned to help the other monks in copying the old texts by hand.
He notices, however, that they are copying from copies, not the
So, the new monk goes to the head monk to ask him about this, pointing out that if there were an error in the first copy, that error would be continued in all of the subsequent copies.
The head monk says, "We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son." So, he goes down into the cellar with one of the copies to check it against the original.
Hours go by and nobody sees him. So, one of the monks goes downstairs to look for him. Hearing sobbing coming from the back of the cellar, he finds the old monk leaning over one of the original books crying. He asks the old monk what's wrong, and in a choked voice came the reply,
"The word is celebrate."
(Thanks to the other Mike Jackson - Not the 'nasogastrically challenged' one.)
Disenchanted Bush Voters Consider Crossing
By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL
BEACHWOOD, Ohio - In the 2000 presidential election, Bill Flanagan a semiretired newspaper worker, happily voted for George W. Bush. But now, shaking his head, he vows, "Never again."
"The combination of lies and boys coming home in body bags is just too awful," Mr. Flanagan said, drinking coffee and reading newspapers at the local mall. "I could vote for Kerry. I could vote for any Democrat unless he's a real dummy." (more)
Survey: Anger Toward Bush Intensifying
By NANCY BENAC, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - In Arizona, Judy Donovan says
she feels desperate for a new president. In Tennessee, Robert
Wilson says he finds the president revolting. In Washington state,
Maria Yurasek says she'd vote for a dog if it could beat President
America Will Lose the War in Iraq
By Frank Deliu, J.D.
Now that is a bold claim to make, considering America's overwhelming military victory that took about less than a month.
However, one must remember that wars are ultimately a tool of politics, a way to get your opponent to agree with your point of view (albeit a nasty one that should be used as a last resort).
Bearing that in mind, wars that have been militarily
"won" have ultimately been considered "losses"
due to their failure to achieve their political objectives.
An example of this anomaly is Vietnam. If you look back at the casualty figures for the U.S. war there, you will see that for every American who died, at least 20 times that many North Vietnamese died. In theory, had the war gone on another x number of years, America would have won by attrition.
However, that is exactly why the war was a failure, and ultimately a defeat. Its political objectives of pacification, reunification and the like never caught on, so to speak.
Thus, the resistance continued, and continued, and continued until finally the will of the Viet Cong was stronger than the will of the American public. Then came the withdrawal.
The same will happen in Iraq and the war will have been a defeat for the Americans. A review of the four major pre-war objectives will evince this. (article)
LOVE AND MARRIAGE, LOVE AND MARRIAGE,
GO TOGETHER LIKE A HORSE AND BARBARA STREISAND RECORD
" Laura Bush says gay marriages are "a very, very shocking issue" for some people, a subject that should be debated by Americans rather than settled by a Massachusetts court or the mayor of San Francisco. Asked how she feels about the issue personally, Mrs. Bush replies: "Let's just leave it at that," followed by some faint, odd, whirring mechanical sounds, as if some sort of rusty wiring or gear-pulley systems were clicking around in her tiny little head. Mrs. Bush, a world-class sexless wooden mannequin token wife with heavily shellacked hair and a smile that gives children nightmares, a woman with zero discernable feminine characteristics other than a rather huge array of stiff power skirts from Talbots, also endorsed sexual abstinence programs for teens, which are slated to get double their current funding under the president's latest budget proposal, because she is a simpering dunderheaded priss. "We know it works. It's 100 percent fail-safe." Mrs. Bush said, stabbing another fabulously invidious icepick of ignorance straight into the heart of sex, and lust, and body awareness, and orgasm, and what it means to be human, and a hormone-ravaged teenager. "Just look at me! I haven't had sex since 1973! I feel just fine!" she screeched, clawing at a rashy patch of skin on her neck, her face twitching in little spasms, before Karl Rove rushed in with a bottle of ether and a pink body sponge and ordered reporters to leave. " Mark Morford
A Constitutional Amendment
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush urged approval of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages on Tuesday, pushing a divisive social issue to the center of the election campaign and setting a clear policy contrast with Democratic challengers John Kerry and John Edwards.
Bush said `activist judges and local officials'' from Massachusetts to San Francisco to New Mexico were attempting to redefine marriage and ``change the most fundamental institution of civilization'' by allowing same-sex weddings. ``On a matter of such importance, the voice of the people must be heard,'' he said.
Chicago's Daley says he has 'no problem' with marriages licenses for same-sex couples
Mayor Richard Daley said he would have "no problem" with Cook County issuing marriage licenses to gay couples in Chicago, the nation's third largest city.
Entering a national debate over gay marriage, Daley urged sympathy for same-sex couples because "they love each other just as much as anyone else."
Daley also dismissed a suggestion Wednesday that marriage between gay couples would undermine the institution.
"Marriage has been undermined by divorce, so don't tell me about marriage," he said. "Don't blame the gay and lesbian, transgender and transsexual community." (more)
Ban on Same-Sex Marriage "Shameful"
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A defiant San Francisco mayor, who has allowed thousands of gays to marry in the past 12 days, blasted President Bush's Tuesday call for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage as "shameful."
A legal fight also loomed as California's attorney general said he would ask the state's top court later this week to bar San Francisco from performing gay weddings.
Gavin Newsom, 36, who became San Francisco's Democratic mayor last month, said politics motivated Bush's proposal.
"He has denied in turn 10 plus percent of Americans in this country, denied them the same rights and responsibilities and privileges that my wife and I are afforded," Newsom said. "It is truly shameful and it's a low point in this administration."
"Honestly, do not mess with the Constitution
of the United States."(more)
Same-sex couples get flowers from unknown supporters
San Francisco's florists have been overwhelmed by orders from people as far away as Australia who are paying for flowers to be delivered randomly to the gay and lesbian couples getting married at City Hall.
The requests from same-sex marriage supporters
have come from some surprising places -- Minneapolis, Atlanta,
Kalamazoo, Mich. Even Hong Kong. (article)
If you liked MYST and RIVEN, you'll like this
one. It's free and online and, according to Professor Mark Morford,
there are five more levels after you get past the hooka-smoking
guy. Good luck. (play)
CARDAMOM CHICKEN WITH WHOLE GREEN CHILLIES
(This is an extraordinary chicken recipe! Quite unique even if you think you've seen them all. The whole green chillies are mild and taste a little like green peppers or capsicums.)
1.5 kg chicken pieces or 3-4 breasts, skinned, and cut in halves
2 tbles cardamom seeds, crushed finely in a mortal and pestle
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1 1/4 cups thick plain yogurt
1 1/2 teas freshly ground pepper
grated rind of 1 lemon
2 tbles ghee (or tbles oil mixed with 1 tble butter)
1 2/3 cups coconut milk
10 or more large green chillies, pricked all over
half cup fresh coriander, half choped, half for garnish
3 tbles lemon juice
Mix garlic, and ginger with 1/4 cup of the yogurt, to make a paste.Add cardamon powder, pepper and grated lemon rind. Mix well. Spread this over the chicken pieces. Cover and leave in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight.
Heat the ghee (or oil/butter mixture) in a
heavy saucepan over low heat and brown the chicken pieces all
over. Add the remaining yogurt and coconut milk to the pan. Bring
to the boil. Add the whole chillies and half of the coriander
leaves. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked.
Season with salt, to taste, and stir in the lemon juice. Serve
with steamed rice.