WHAT KIND OF SYRUP

Caption of the day and/or News QOTD of the day from the Orange County Register:

“Craig Gross, founder of XXX Church.com, next to a stack of “Jesus loves a porn star” Bibles that his staff handed out at the AVN Adult Expo in Los Vegas in January. This weekend, Gross is coming to Huntington Beach for one of the organization’s signature events: Porn and Pancakes.”

At least they have pancakes.

Abu Risha, he dead.

This is a fascinating al-Jazeera news story about the new “U.S.-Friendly” Sunni alliance in Anbar, the now-dead sheikh supposed to have been in charge of the alliance, and the inevitable money and power game behind that show.

Part I riffs on Apocalypse Now in a very heavy-handed way, appropriately so.

Friday, and we’re still in Amman…

Now that’s what I call mail fraud

Impersonating the U.S. Government? Yup. False Census mailer? Yup. Official-looking eagle and star logo? Yup. Aimed at seniors? Oh yeah.

This time the Rev. Lou Sheldon, chief huckster of the religious right, has really boned it. I reported it so far to the Census Bureau and the Post Office. Oddly there’s an article from last year about this from the SFGate site but no one is yet in jail.

cut for large scan

We have dealt no great blow to the Devil by renaming him “neurosis.”

My high school biology teacher was an original. Passionate about his subject, honest and plain-spoken, and invariably good-natured, he was a hero to me at the time. I was terrible at biology but I loved the ideas and I loved him.

He was a park ranger in the summers, and he took us out on field trips in, well, the fields to find out what our local ecosystem had to offer.

His experience stretched beyond life science. He had been a seminary student and on a serious track to the priesthood at one point, and he was also an expert in several Native American spiritual traditions. He wouldn’t eat meat without apologizing to the animal, for example.

One day in class the subject of the occult somehow came up. I’m not sure, but I think it was related to a classmate of mine who scared the pants off herself with a ouija board. Some bit of aleatory coincidence made her think a dead relative was speaking and she flipped. Our teacher looked thoughtful at this and said “I have a story.”

“When I was in the seminary, I had a lot of trouble with the idea of the Devil. I couldn’t reconcile myself to the idea that an individual, some fallen angel, was permitted to exist and to hate us. And I couldn’t wrap my mind around the dogma of evil, especially personified evil. My supervisor told me to fast and meditate about it and I did.

“So I didnt eat much at all, and prayed and meditated for three days. This is difficult and I do not suggest you do it yourself without a good reason and a supervisor. Near the end of the third day, I got up to go into the other room and there was someone sitting in there. He introduced himself as the Devil, and said he’d heard I wanted to know about him. He didn’t look evil or have horns or anything. But it was clear somehow that he was the genuine article, you know. Not some prank.

“So I talked with the Devil for a few hours, and he explained his role to me, and why there was evil in the world. He himself didn’t know why God permitted him, but he was quite serious about evil and his hatred for everyone. Very calm conversation, but obviously very chilling.

“And then he didn’t leave. I hung around wondering what to do, and he just sat there. I realized then that the problem with inviting the Devil in is that he doesn’t have to leave unless he wants to. I gave up on getting rid of him and went for a long walk, because that’s solved so many problems for me. When I came back there was no Devil, and I had breakfast and went to sleep.

“And yes there is a moral to this story, right? Because there always is with me. Yeah, the moral is that you shouldn’t play with things you can’t understand or control. As much as it may look like a good idea, you’re risking everything. And really it doesn’t matter whether the Devil exists or I was hallucinating after all that fasting. In either case I couldn’t get him to leave and it was terrifying.

“So, yeah. If the ouija board does that to you, leave it alone.”

He had a picture on his wall of the Voyager message plaque, you know the one with the planet map and the humans and the symbols. The right-wing super-fundamentalist creationist smbiology teacher down the hall (yes, I know) got in the room one night and painted it over because it had nakeds on it. He also removed and destroyed the part of the anatomical charts that had genitalia on it. They had a little war, or rather the religioso waged war on my teacher. I think you can guess who won.

Try our fleshpot lover’s fleshpizza!

I, doll, a tree.

Admittedly it’s not as good as the actual “Christian Idol” contest, but it’s still a win. Please assume all jokes about “extra golden calf” to have been made.

Bonus points for “Superbowl Syndrome” in which the pizza company can’t actually say “American Idol” because that’s an owned phrase, so they have to somehow push the concept of idolatry itself through warm disc foods.

Blogquote of the day

From torgo_x in another thread, the answer to the question: “What do those right-wing evangelicals want, anyway?”:

~ What they want ~
I'm in your HOUSE!
They wanna meet the President of Jesus and tour the Holiness Factory and all the oompa loompas are wearing nice suits and smiling and it looks like a set from Dynasty on the TV except it’s real, and then James Baker runs up and gives them a kissykiss and everyone giggles, and everyone gonna getta big chocolate Jesus with magic gold USA flag wrapper yaaay.

Then all sortsa Jewwwws and gayinese commniststs and Alkalaidas show up and say “gawwd, we were so… [sobbing] SO WRONG! And you were right! SUPERSORRY!” and there’s hugging and crying and Dr Phil is there to make sure it’s all very solemn/joyous. Except the Alkalaini, he goes “yalalala” and hits his detonator button, ohno! But his chestbomb thing comically goes “PFFFT!”, and he cries and runs away all spazzy and everyone laughs at him REALLY LOUD. (The Oompa Loompas will catch him and lynch him. Applause.)

Then everyone gets a gift bag of “victory swag” and they’re all instantly [special effect!] wearing the clever “GOT JESUS???” etc t-shirts. So from now on, everyone will treat them like they’re smart and popular! And the air conditioning never breaks.

And one of the ‘Loomps gives a happy speech and everyone smiles and claps.

And then it’s off to a special advance screening of Apocalypto!!

In an aquarium full of lube. Forever. nevar fogret

Happy… thing!

Halloween time is funny nowadays.

Businesses desperately need Halloween, since holidays mean spending, so they want to make anything they sell somehow orange, spooky, or candy-related. The boom in “adult” Halloween celebrations means that slutty costumes and spooky alcohol are a huge money deal now.

The children’s holiday of my childhood continues, which means big money selling candy and party favors and pumpkin-oriented merchandise. And less slutty costumes, although some parents seem to have forgotten that pimp ‘n’ ho outfits or slutty nurse costumes aren’t too great for the little ones.

But then we have the Christians. There are a lot of very conservative evangelicals around here, and they’re wealthy too. If you get too spooky and devilish, they complain and you can lose their business. Since they’re stuck with the evangelical ghetto version of the holiday you can sell them stuff too, but it has to be for some neutered “harvest” holiday: squash, orange things, candy corn, centerpieces made from um sheaves or something. They’ll have a party and eat pumpkin pie and pray a lot and talk about Fall, and no demons allowed. It’s goofy but I understand. If I really believed in demons and evil witches, I wouldn’t want to play around about it and have my kids dressing up that way.

So, a lot of stores talk about “the season!” or “fall” or just have orange things, and it’s funny to see which ones do this and how they get around using the H word. The combination of hypocrisy and greed is always good for a laugh.

I saw a hilarious example at one of our local churches this week. They’re having a fun celebration for the kids and there was a big sign and display outside for it. They wisely sidestepped both “Halloween” and “harvest” but their choice was, wait for it… pirates. So there was a big pirate ship display and a “Pirate Fun Party” sign.

I agree with them that demons, devils, lost souls, ghosts, witches, and the Undead are not cool in their world and shouldn’t be celebrated. But what exactly is the difference between trivializing the terrors of Hell and whitewashing the rape, murder, pillaging, alcoholism, prison-sex sodomy, Vitamin C deficiency, and sociopathic greed of piracy? Maybe you guys should just go back to the sheaves-as-centerpieces thing and have some pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are tasty.