Thursday, April 26, 2007

Service Announcement

Okay, so you'll notice the post below this post is my attempt at religious humor. A special thanks to the church member who just sent it. But you'll also notice the post after that, is a post about racism. Just so you, my dear reader, won't say, "Dude, like it's okay to smear someone based on their religious convictions and not someone based on their racial persuasion?" Just so you know, I thought about that before posting the joke.

You'll notice that the religious element in the joke is only an aside to the greed of the old man rather than an indictment between one faith and another. In other words, the greedy old man only "uses religion" to justify his greed rather than living by its conviction.

As I am one who often challenges religious systems of belief, I found this joke both appropriate to my critical self and, a joke that was really, really funny.

*End of service announcement*

And, I hope you find that this joke is funny too.

An Old Irish Joke

An Irish daughter had not been home for over five years. Upon her return, her father cursed her. Where have ye been all this time? Why did ye not write to us, not even a line? Why didn't ye call? Can ye not understand what ye put yer old mum thru?

The girl, crying, replied, "Dad...
I became a prostitute...".

"Ye what!!? Out of here, ye shameless harlot! Sinner! You're a disgrace to this family."

"OK, Dad -- as ye wish. I just came back to give mum this luxurious fur coat, title deed to a ten bedroom mansion plus a savings certificate for $5 million."

"For me little brother, this gold Rolex and for ye daddy, the sparkling new Mercedes limited edition convertible that's parked outside plus a membership to the country club... (takes a breath)... and an invitation for ye all to spend New Years' Eve on board my new yacht in the Riviera , and..."

"Now what was it ye said ye had become?" says dad.

Girl, crying again, "Sniff, sniff....a prostitute dad! "

"Oh! Be Jesus! Ye scared me half to death, girl! I thought ye said a Protestant. Come here and give yer old man a hug."

Noticing Racism

It isn't difficult to see, once you start looking. When racism is no longer overt (even though in many situations, conversations, and places it is very overt), you have to look just below the surface of a situation to discover it. Listen to someone's motivation, read the background to a story, or compare how one situation is looked at from a different perspective--or how a story is interpreted when it involves a person of color and a Caucasian.

Take this photo for example. Notice the difference between "looting" and "finding".

Unfortunately, once you start noticing the differences, it becomes absurd how often you see, hear, and witness it.

Ten Dollars?!

Flying couldn't be cheaper now; although where you fly is a bit limited. It seems everything works to or through Columbus, OH. And, everything is bare bones--but hey, its only $10!! Go here for that $10 flight to wherever.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut Quotes

After the jump, you'll find yourself at a webpage devoted to 15 of the post writer's favorite quotes of Vonnegut. Here is one post:

"We must be careful about what we pretend to be."

In Mother Night, apolitical expatriate American playwright Howard W. Campbell, Jr. refashions himself as a Nazi propagandist in order to pass coded messages on to the U.S. generals and preserve his marriage to a German woman—their "nation of two," as he calls it. But in serving multiple masters, Campbell ends up ruining his life and becoming an unwitting inspiration to bigots. In his 1966 introduction to the paperback edition, Vonnegut underlines Mother Night's moral: "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." That lesson springs to mind every time a comedian whose shtick relies on hoaxes and audience-baiting—or a political pundit who traffics in shock and hyperbole—gets hauled in front of the court of public opinion for pushing the act too far. Why can't people just say what they mean? It's a question Don Imus and Michael Richards—and maybe someday Ann Coulter—must ask themselves on their many sleepless nights.

Go here to read the rest.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Predictions from the year 1900

...from the Ladies Home Journal, no less. Who knew they've been around that long?! Anyways, the story is fascinating to read (if true). Go see it and let me know if it is indeed an accurate document. It is filled with things that are funny, many that are true, and some that are strikingly true.

It kind of make me wonder what predictions we're making about life 100 years from now.

Book Art

Follow the jump to some great projects made out of books, of all things.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Best Debt Management Program Ever

I found this video tonight and found it priceless. It is a way that demonstrates to all of us how to get out of debt and how to stay out of debt.

The New Sanctuary Movement

There is a new movement happening across progressive America in which local congregations reach out to specifically help and aid struggling immigrants from Empire's long-arm of the law and uncompassionate heart. That movement is called The New Sanctuary Movement and it is a small but ever growing mission to reach out to the aliens in the land in the name of religious and Christian hospitality.

Here is an excerpt from their pledge statement:
The New Sanctuary Movement is a coalition of interfaith religious leaders and participating
congregations, called by our faith to respond actively and publicly to the suffering of our
immigrant brothers and sisters residing in the United States.

You can go here to learn more about the movement and to ask yourself how you can participate with it.

A Practical Response

A friend of mine wrote one heck of a practical response about Don Imus' on-air racist and sexist comments that got him fired from his radio show. You can read his response as a father of little girls and how Imus' comment shows the ever-constant concern to remind our little girls of their self-worth in a world of such intolerance.

You can also read another constructive response to Imus over at Dolly Mama. The writer of that blog is the pastor at Judson Memorial Church, in NYC (I used to be a member there).

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Conan O'Brien went to Harvard?!

Okay, so that isn't such a big thing but what is a big thing is the graduation speech he wrote and delivered to his alma mater in 2000. I found it to be a wonderfully funny and poignant speech. I hope you enjoy it too.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Stop what you're doing...

...and watch this video. Bill O'Reilly and Geraldo Rivera are at each other's throats in a debate concerning immigration. Bill is commenting about a little girl killed by a drunk driver who is also an illegalimmigrant. Geraldo is rebuffing Bill by saying this issue is about drunk driving and not illegal immigration. Geraldo is brilliant and then he says something amazingly profound. It's toward the end.

I should warn you, there is a lot of shouting-- so you'll have to mentally focus. But, in my opinion, it's well worth it.

This video is on here.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Real Issues of MLK, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. has become quite the symbol of racial equality, as he should be. But King didn't just stop talking about discrimination when the Civil Rights Act passed, he continued to discuss the economic inequalities that existed in the 1960's and how race played a huge factor in it. He contended that unless we dismantle and redistribute certain economies of privilege, then racism will never truly be eradicated.

Here is an interesting article that speaks to King's rationale behind his economies of justice. One has to wonder how or what a Christian should do when faced with King's call to justice. So often, America's form of economy is based on a capitalism that seeks to reward those who have much by enabling them to give more to those who are poor through both tax incentives and monetary reward. Our form of capitalism seems to have served America well--although there are a number of folks who are looking for a better system of economic equality that isn't as much communistic as it is communal. A good example of this is called Christian communism, while pejorative sounding in nature, it does seem to draw on the Christian's in the Book of Acts as the primary directive with creating an economic equality that seems to evade the minds of capitalistic Americans.

However it is we examine our economy, one thing is for certain: Few people are going to hear it well. As our political parties have been so eloquent to achieve, many Americans tie capitalism with Christianity is what appears to be an unholy alliance. In some ways, what we are experiencing sounds a lot like what Amos experienced when he prophesied against the economic abuses of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Who will be our prophet now? What will that prophet say? Who will offer up a better way that provides a fair way to provide for all of God's children? Honestly, how does the responsible Christian address economic and justice related inequalities? From the example of MLK, Jr. we must surmise that such an address will not be received well, if at all.