Monthly Archives: July 2011

Poll: Should the 9/11 cross stay or go?

After the towers fell on September 11, 2001, as the smoke cleared, some people looked over the destruction and noticed a cross-section of steel beams poking up through the rubble. The Xtians among them noted it looked like their religion’s primary icon, the Holy Cross. It looked just as much like a lower-case letter “t”, but whatever. These Xtians, using very poor reasoning (as they’re inclined to do in these matters), took it as a sign of some sort from their God; some vague, half-assed pat on the back of sympathy or something. At any rate, in their trauma it gave them comfort, and that’s fine. But now they’ve installed it as a permanent exhibit in the National 9/11 Museum and some atheists feel like they’ve crossed a line. A group called American Atheists has sued to either have it removed or to force the museum to display symbols for other beliefs just as prominently, including a symbol for atheism.

I’ve been mulling it over for a little bit, but I’m still not sure where I fall on this. On the one hand, I don’t think religion should be involved in the memorial whatsoever. It’s in memory of the victims collectively, and collectively they weren’t Xtians, Jews, Muslims or atheists, they were just people who didn’t deserve what happened to them. But this Xtian symbol will likely be the largest and most prominent of any religious images in the museum. Reportedly there will be a Star of David, a Jewish prayer shawl, and some other nonsense displayed too, but it’s doubtful any of them will rival the cross in size. And after the so-called “ground-zero mosque” controversy, can you imagine them putting a giant symbol of Islam right next to it? Yeah, it ain’t gonna happen. And to make the icon of this one religion more visible and acting as a de facto symbol for all faith, hope, and courage in the face of horror is insensitive and arrogant. People of all kinds, with many different religious beliefs and life philosophies, were affected that day.

On the other hand, if I understand correctly, the museum got some federal funding and it’s on government land, but it’s not really a government building. It’s technically a non-profit and will probably be charging admission fees to cover some of its overhead, so this is a far cry from hanging the Ten Commandments in a federal courthouse. Also, this is a museum memorializing an historical event and the cross does have some (small) historical significance in that people traumatized by the event found this piece of the wreckage from the site meaningful to them and it gave them comfort. It’s delusional, but it’s part of the story.

So I’m still thinking on it. But regardless of whether the cross should stay or go, I think asking for an atheist display is asinine. If they put one in, why shouldn’t someone else sue to include a section honoring the people who preferred boxers to briefs? It’s just silly.


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Mastodon gives us a little Black Tongue action

If you follow this blog, you know that I’m giddy as a Japanese school girl with a gun coming out of her ass about the upcoming, sure-to-be-amazing Mastodon album. Well that giddiness is at a fever pitch because The Hunter has an official release date:  September 27th. And remember the song snippet from the album trailer I posted here the other day? Well you can now listen to the whole song while watching the making of the sculpture that graces the cover. The song is called “Black Tongue and it does not disappoint. Dig it:

See also:

More aural pleasure from Mastodon

The tracklist for Mastodon’s The Hunter is here

Mastodon’s The Hunter – The Trailer

The Hunter draws nigh

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Tokyo butt gun

Stay classy, Japan.

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Looks like we have a Jewish zombie to thank for NASCAR. Who’d have thought?

Yeah, thanks a million Jesus.

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Imagine there *is* a Heaven. It’s easy if you try…

I imagine the gods aren't going to make this soup taste any less awful.

There’s an article in today’s Ottawa Citizen titled Ask the Religion Experts:  Does imagination play a role in faith? And they’re not just being facetious. What follows is a bunch of priests, imams, rabbis and religious scholars answering “yes” while simultaneously acting all oblivious to the 500 pound gorilla in the room, which is that it plays the primary role given that their belief systems are based on wholly imagined deities. So, of course, the unintended irony factor is off the charts:

  • “The ultimate goal in the Sikh faith is to seek union with God and by meditating on naam (God’s name) to reveal God’s light within. This too requires… imagination.”
  • “Imagination is a God-given gift to human beings which enriches our lives if it is anchored to a positive reality. However, if it…is tied to false or unnatural things, it simply amounts to fantasy.”
  • “Whether praying in a mosque, at home or in a park, our imagination helps us feel as if we were standing in the House of God in Mecca and talking to him.”
  • “…it is vital to live as if God was right in front of us and watching every move we make. So, in a sense, what we are really doing is imagining that God is right here.”
  • “Jesuit spirituality places a special emphasis on using the imagination…while praying to help us listen to God’s guidance and to help us grow in faith.”
  • “…the word ‘imagine’ allows people of faith to envision and to bring into being those higher realities which do not yet exist in the “real” world…” 

Haha! Yep, sure does take a lot of imagination to believe the imaginary is real, doesn’t it? That these people can say things like this with a straight face never ceases to amaze and entertain me.

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REVIEW: Vastum – Carnal Law

I know it’s an odd thing to say of a death metal album, but after listening to it several times I actually find this one cozy. Like a winter afternoon nap or a bowl of mac & cheese on a cold, rainy evening. I know, I’m reaching, right? But I’m not. The production is warm and clear, the riffs sturdy and satisfying, the tempos mid-paced. The dual vocals—male and female—compliment each other unusually well, and both have a sort of languid, natural quality that tempers their harshness. That’s not to say Carnal Law is sans brutality. It’s unquestionably pummeling, but somehow your ears don’t feel mauled when it’s over. It’s a heavy-as-all-fuck record with a deep, chunky sound, but instead of being suffocating, it’s a comfortable heft. A doom-y quilt for your deathbed as you slip away painlessly, contented, without regrets.

 
Listen: Re-Member

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TODAY IN DEATH – July 22nd

Since man’s evolutionary trajectory diverged from our ape ancestors a few million years ago, billions upon billions of our kind have bitten the dust. Tens of thousands of people die every single day, each one peculiar and unique. Here are 5 of them.

John Dillinger was the most notorious of the depression-era, bank-robbing gangsters—so crazy and ruthless that he and his gang were a major inspiration for the formation of the FBI. His first robbery (fifty bucks from a grocery store) landed him in prison for 4 ½ years. Records show he had gonorrhea at the time of admission, and he vowed “I will be the meanest bastard you ever saw when I get out of here.” Just three months after his parole he made good on his promise, and embarked with his gang upon an insane, epic streak of bank robberies, prison breaks, police station robberies, cop killings, and attending Chicago Cubs baseball games. It was an extraordinary, violent “fuck you” to the world that lasted just over a year. He was shot and killed by FBI agents on this date in 1934 at the age of 31.

Gar Samuelson was the jazz-influenced drummer who played on Megadeth’s first—and best—two albums: Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good and Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying?, both stone-cold metal classics. ‘Nuff said. Sadly, he did too much damage to himself via drug abuse and died on this date in 1999 at the age of 41.

King Charles VII of France owed his crown to French victories against the British led by the lunatic godbot and warrior, Joan of Arc. He believed she was truly touched by the divine, but nevertheless pulled a dick move and failed to intervene when Joan was later captured by the Duke of Burgundy and burned at the stake by the English, though he likely could’ve had her released. But karma’s a bitch, if a slow one, because 27 years later King Chuck contracted a nasty and pernicious infection in a sore on his leg. He became so sick and feverish over the next three years that he lost his mind. Worse still, a tumor or abscess formed in his mouth and swelled so much he was unable to eat. He died mad and starved on this date in 1461 at the age of 58.

Uday Hussein was the sadistic, dirtbag son of Iraqi dictator and extreme neck-stretching champ, Saddam Hussein. He was a murderer, torturer, rapist, and psychopath, and it’s doubtful a tear was shed anywhere when he–alongside his asshole brother Qusay–got his face exploded for him on this date in 2003 at the age of 39.

Estelle Getty is best known for playing Dorothy’s (Bea Arthur) mom, Sophia, on the sitcom Golden Girls (even though she was the younger of the two actresses). Apparently it was a role she could sink her dentures into because she played it a lot throughout her career, acting as mother to Harvey Fierstein, Barry Manilow, Cher, and Sylvester Stallone, among many others. Estelle was a political conservative but proved a compassionate one when, in 1991, she took on the real-life roll of caregiver to her 29-year-old nephew, who was dying of AIDS. She worked as a Gay Rights and AIDS activist until a lesser known disease called Lewy Body Dementia made it impossible for her to continue. This affliction combines all the shitty elements of Parkinson’s with all the fucked up attributes of Alzheimer’s, and by the early part of the oughts Estelle had no memory of the Golden Girls or the people she worked with on the show. She died—as oblivious and helpless as the day she was born—on this date in 2008, three days shy of her 85th birthday.

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