Tuesday, October 17, 2006
All of the finger pointing between Democrats and Republicans over North Korea is, at least to me, a sign of hubris by both sides. Democrats will say, "There were no nuclear tests during the Clinton administration," while Republicans counter, "The failed policies of prior administrations set the stage for North Korea to develop these weapons." But not everything that happens in the world can be controlled by the US president. I don't think that North Korea cares whether there is a Democrat or a Republican in the White House when it comes to their desire to have nuclear weapons. I myself am a Democrat and I disagree with a lot of the Bush administration's foreign policy, but that doesn't mean that I hold Bush responsible for North Korea developing these weapons. Nor do I feel that it is Clinton's fault. It seems that there may have been no policy or sanction that could have made North Korea decide not to pursue nuclear weapons. Let's not assume that everything that happens in the world is to the fault or credit of the US president, democrat or republican.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
"A study of citations to popular artists in law journals reveals that, not surprisingly, Bob Dylan is the most popular artist in legal scholarship." -[Insert Song Lyrics Here]: The Uses and Misuses of Popular Music Lyrics in Legal Writing Alex B. Long, Oklahoma City University School of Law
Carter vs. Nixon vs. Bush
In this month's issue of the Nation they aske the question, "How bad is Bush?" In order to rate the George W. Bush administration, they compare it with the Carter administration on the bad but not devastating end with the Nixon presidency, which took years to recover from. Their answer? The George W. Bush presidency is worse than the Carter presidency but better (or less devastating) than Nixon's. Let's hope.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
The Dirtiest Block in Manhattan
I used to live on the dirtiest block in Manhattan. It wasn't actually dirty in terms of litter. It was the name of the block that was dirty - Seaman between Dyckman and Cumming. Now, I often tell people about this because it is pretty remarkable that there would be one block with 3 dirty street names surrounding it. I often wonder if people believe me or if they think I am embellishing the truth a little. But finally I have proof and vindication for having chosen to live there. Today I opened up Time Out New York to find that they had named Seaman between Dyckman and Cumming the 11th best block in New York City! It's a bit creepy that they named it number 11 on the list because I used to live at 11 Seaman Ave. It must mean something. I just don't know what. Maybe I am supposed to move back there. Time Out writes: 11 Seaman Avenue between Cumming and Dyckman Streets, Inwood A short uphill walk from the busy center of Inwood, this block is marked by Washington Heights–esque apartment buildings next to the Holy Trinity Church. Add the view of Inwood Hill Park and the proximity to Fort Tryon Park and it’s a sweet deal. Bonus: +2 points for a great view and the smuttiest combination of street names in the city.
North Korea versus Japan
The situation in North Korea is really scary, especially for other countries in the region. Imagine if North Korea dropped a nuclear warhead on a city in Japan? And what if they didn't stop there? What if they then bombed another Japanese city, killing over 200,000 civilians total? That's why I think it's best if only the US has nuclear weapons. We would never do anything like that.
Fundamentalists believe that someday Jesus will come back and take all of his followers to heaven and leave everybody else on earth. When you hear about this all the time, it’s really scary. And if you come home and no one is there you think, “Maybe Jesus came back and I missed him! Maybe I’m not saved.” So the standard protocol for the fundamentalist is to call someone who they think is really holy and super religious and if they answer then you know you’re ok. The rapture hasn’t happened. It’s amazing how long it can take before you realize that’s not a healthy thing. They really kept hammering away at this, though, in my church. We watched movies about it. It was a whole series about the rapture happening and then what would happen on earth when the anti-christ comes to power. Recently, they made a series of movies with Kirk Cameron about the rapture. So if you go home one night and there is nobody there then call Kirk Cameron. If he picks up, everything’s fine. The rapture hasn’t happened yet. The anti-christ won’t come until Kirk Cameron is gone. Really, Kirk Cameron is the only thing keeping this world from breaking into chaos, which is comforting.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Fighting for Jesus 2
This is another song I remember singing in "Children's Church" growing up. The Christian church has been so obsessed with promoting this war-on-evil thing for so long. In order to keep people in the fold you have to keep scaring them by telling them, "We're in a war. Now is not the time to question. Now is the time to stick together and fight the enemy." Sound familiar? I may never march in the infantry I may never march in the infantry, Ride in the cavalry, Shoot the artillery. I may never fly o'er the enemy, But I'm in the Lord's army. (yes, sir!) I'm in the Lord's army, (yes, sir!) I'm in the Lord's army, (yes, sir!) I may never march in the infantry, Ride in the Calvary, Shoot the artillery. I may never fly o'er the enemy, But I'm in the Lord's army. (yes, sir!)
Fighting for Jesus
With the recent release of "Jesus Camp," I can't help but think back to all of the military imagery that I grew up with in church. Here is the classic "Onward Christian Soldiers," possibly the theme song of the Crusades. If you want to sing along, visit the following site you'll have some backup organ to accompany you! http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/o/n/onwardcs.htm Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus going on before. Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe; Forward into battle see His banners go! Refrain Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus going on before. At the sign of triumph Satan’s host doth flee; On then, Christian soldiers, on to victory! Hell’s foundations quiver at the shout of praise; Brothers lift your voices, loud your anthems raise. Refrain Like a mighty army moves the church of God; Brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod. We are not divided, all one body we, One in hope and doctrine, one in charity. Refrain What the saints established that I hold for true. What the saints believèd, that I believe too. Long as earth endureth, men the faith will hold, Kingdoms, nations, empires, in destruction rolled. Refrain Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane, But the church of Jesus constant will remain. Gates of hell can never gainst that church prevail; We have Christ’s own promise, and that cannot fail. Refrain Onward then, ye people, join our happy throng, Blend with ours your voices in the triumph song. Glory, laud and honor unto Christ the King, This through countless ages men and angels sing. Refrain
Monday, October 09, 2006
Strollers are the new cars
On NYC's Upper West Side today I saw two fathers discussing the finer features of a stroller. There they were, one father at the rear of the stroller, halted by a friend he appeared to have run into on the street. They were examining the stroller and discussing it the way men in other places are known for discussing cars. And that to me is the genius of the uber-expensive, over-designed stroller that has come into popularity over the last few years. In Manhattan anyway, men can now be proud to be seen behind a baby stroller; as long as it looks like it could be on display at Manhattan Museum of Modern Art and costs at least $1,000.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Jeb Bush comes out of the closet...eventually
Sun, October 8, 2006 Jeb Bush hides in supply closet UPDATED: 2006-10-08 02:46:07 MST By AP PITTSBURGH -- Florida Gov. Jeb Bush took refuge in a subway station supply closet when he was greeted by protesters on his way to a campaign event for a Pennsylvania Republican senator. Officers used stun guns to subdue two protesters, saying they disobeyed orders to disperse, Bob Grove, a Port Authority spokesman reported. "It was a very tense situation. They were very close to the governor and shouting on top of him," Grove said. The protesters, members of the United Steelworkers union and an anti-war group, chanted: "Jeb go home."
I walked by a restaurant today that was called "Crown Fried Chicken." Now, since the Goliath of fried chicken places,Kentucky Fried Chicken, is often referred to simply by it's initials, KFC, I wondered if Crown Fried Chicken was hoping to someday have the same brand recognition and be able to only use it's initials. But then I realized the initials would be CFC, as in the carbons that used to be in aerosol cans. That just doesn't have a positive connotation. "Gotta have my CFC!"
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Religion vs Reason
I performed my show last night at the Crescent Fort Rouge United church in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It was a really receptive crowd. They seemed to have had a great time. I certainly did. Just before the show started I was chatting with the church member who had booked me to do the show and he said, "Have you changed anything in the script?" I was a little worried. Was he asking me to change the swear words. I had been assured that that was not going to be a problem. I said, "Um, do I need to?" He replied, "Absolutely not. In fact, I just wanted to make sure that you hadn't." There was something really satisfying about doing the show in a church. It felt like I had brought it full circle. To perform a show about leaving Christianity and then to have a church invite you to perform it uncensored is something that I would never have expected to have happen. The performance was followed by a panel discussion addressing the question, "Given the reality of fundamentalism, is good religion possible?" In being forced to ask myself the question I came up with a summary of my thoughts on good religion. I don't think that a religion should ask you to check your common sense at the church/mosque/temple door and I don't think that a religion that makes it more difficult to live in a society with others is a good religion. Why would God (if there is one) demand that we follow a religion that divides us or forces us to violence against our fellow humans. And if God gave us minds and the ability to reason, surely he would want us to exercise that capacity and not turn it off simply because we follow a certain faith. A religion that holds itself up as the final word on how to live life to the exclusion of all other beliefs and to one's own common sense is not a good religion. Is good religion possible? I hope so. And the work that they do at the United Church I performed at sure seems to be full of a whole lot of people who hold both religion AND reason in high regard.