May I let my voice be a clarion call. I will use these words for justice. I will use these words for truth. And humour.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Reading Theodore Parker

"I liked the Bible better when I could consciously take its contradictory books each for what it is, and felt nothing commanding me to accept it for what it is not; and could freely use it as a help, not slavishly serve it as a master, or worship it as an idol."

Words of the day:

Discipline: a branch of knowledge, or a system of rules of conduct or method of practice, or to train by instruction and practice; especially to teach self-control, or to punish in order to gain control or enforce obedience, or calm controlled behavior, or conscious control over lifestyle
Disciple: someone who believes and helps to spread the doctrine of another, or an active adherent, as of a movement or philosophy
(both from the latin root "discipulus, pupil"

Sophistry: a method of argumentation that seems clever but is actually flawed or dishonest, or a deliberately invalid argument displaying ingenuity in reasoning in the hope of deceiving someone
Sophisticated: made less natural or innocent, or made more complex or refined, or knowledgeable about the ways of the world, self-confident, and not easily deceived

Immanent: of a mental act performed entirely within the mind, or of qualities that are spread throughout something

Credulous: disposed to believe on little evidence, or showing a lack of judgement or experience

thanks for reading!

pax hominibus,

Friday, February 24, 2006


Hell in Iraq, Hell at the DMV

music: Melvins - Revolve

colors: white and beige

mood: ho hum


First, the title links to a very interesting piece which claims full knowledge that the U.S. has no plans whatsoever to leave Iraq. In fact, Halliburton is apparently building cities in the form of little American Oases over there.

Oh, and remember when we were marching in the streets to not go to war because we knew it was a Supremely Bad Idea and would destabilize the Middle East? (This is far from an "I told you so", but more of a steady outrage that the peaceful people of the world are never listened to by the warring, power-hungry, control-hungry leaders.) Ninety mosques attacked in the last 24 hours. If there is a hell, George Bush and everyone in his administration (and all of his Christian supporters who ironically, are desperately trying to avoid going there) are going there. Unfortunately, from my Heaven-on-Earth Christian Humanist point of view, we're all trapped on this same planet, and we are riding in the handbasket. Actually, since everybody has different conceptions of heaven/hell, there's a chance that this might be the heaven Bush and Cheney envision, and they are probably enjoying their powertrip immensely. If not, could they please step down NOW so that somebody with better vision and stronger moral fiber could guide us back to peace. "I'm a war president." translates to some as "I'm an asshole. A genuine asshole -- I don't mind when other people suffer and die, so that I can have my way. But I'm smiling when I say that."

Second, I went to the DMV in Oakland today, and everytime I go there, it's another type of "Hell" albeit a bit lesser in magnitude. This was my/our fourth trip there, and we *still* do not have a California-recognized certificate of ownership, and license for the car. A few things to avoid that will make your job significantly easier:
1. If you change your name when you get married in Wisconsin, make sure that you also change the name on your Birth Certificate. Otherwise, the California DMV will treat you like a rat in a maze.
2. Do not have the name of a dead person on the current certificate of ownership. Apparently, California DMV employees have been trained to look entirely inscrutable and unconcerned that your loved one has experienced a death, even if it was 8 years ago.

Now, we're apparently going to have to get somebody in Wisconsin to get my wife's late husband's name off of the certificate of ownership, either because Wisconsin is sane about this, or by going before a JUDGE to get a 'letter of administration' or a 'testamentory' allowing for her to be the sole owner.

This is definitely not my idea of heaven. Not only do we have to fill out form after form, we're likely going to have to pay ~$400 for this and spend several days working this out, by the time this is all done. I understand that all of this rigamarole is there to make sure that nobody 'cheats the system,' as I'm sure many have. However, if the system were more equitable and just, there would be nothing to cheat. (Yes, even after my fourth trip to the DMV, I still have my ideals intact.)

As I said, here is a picture of some grafitti that somebody thoughtfully applied to the side of the DMV building.

Everybody's favorite Offspring song "Heaven is so far away."
Somebody's gotta fix that.

pax hominibus,

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


went to napa valley, learned more about wine

My computer's making a smell like magic markers, so I'm going to post this pretty composite picture I took of a great view of a valley full of vineyards from one of the wineries, and then shut my magic marker smellmaker off and go study Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and the Humanist Manifesto.


pax hominibus,

Wednesday, February 8, 2006


reading material from channing and dostoevsky

music: theme from friends....

colors: pink and green

mood: razzed, jazzed

thoughts: a reading from william ellery channing, for my uu theologies class:

a dostoevsky story i still want to read.

btw, apocatastasis is my new favorite big word.

oh, also i have some new grounded-soteriological info on salvation, hell and damnation. can't wait to share. :)

all together now.

pax hominibus,

Tuesday, February 7, 2006


Bottled water is a sham and bad for the environment

music: Coldplay

colors: Clear

mood: groggy, just waking up

thoughts: a friend sent me the link above, which verifies what I've always been thinking: Bottled water is typically no better than tap water, unless the water in your community is truly unsafe for drinking, and all those plastic bottles are starting to add up to a lot of chemicals, garbage, no good water for the places that are sucked dry, and money for the water bottling companies. Steph and I have a pack of 6 water bottles, and I just refill them from britta-filtered tap water. I've been thinking about the awesome and dangerous power of reflexive advertising a lot lately though, so maybe we'll switch to some better solution.


Link of the day: TEXTTODISPLAY

pax hominibus,

Wednesday, February 1, 2006


the five M's

music: le tigre. the strokes.

colors: green, light blue

mood: very good

thoughts: this was on my mind a few years back, and i finally found it again today (do a search for "five" on the page). i had forgotten which tradition it comes from, turns out it's tantra.
The most infamous practice is the circle ritual, the chakrasadhana or chakrapuja, which involves the panchamakara or "five M's": mamsa (meat), matsya (fish), madya (alcohol), mudra (parched grain) and maithuna (sexual intercourse). The meaning of mudra or parched grain is uncertain, but it probably refers to a hallucinogenic substance like ergot. Since these five elements are impure or illicit within the socioreligious context of Hindu orthodoxy, indulgence in any of them transgresses the purity code. Exposure results in feelings of shame, disgust or fear (Kripal 1995: 30-32).

All Tantric sects can be classified as either left-handed or right-handed. Followers of the left-handed vamachara path physically partake of the five M's in the the cakrasadhana ritual and are often branded as degenerates by other Hindus. The more respectable adepts of the right-handed dakshinachara path interpret the ritual symbolically and perform it either mentally or with nonpolluting substitutes for the forbidden elements. Similarly, some Wiccans physically enact the Great Rite through the sexual union of priest and priestess, but in most circles the Great Rite is celebrated symbolically by the lowering of the athame into the chalice.

The real purpose of the panchamakara is not to shock a prudish public, but to break through the social conditioning that can be a mental straightjacket to the spiritual aspirant. For a Hindu the violation of dietary or behavioral taboos, either symbolically or actually, is one way to overturn the neat and tidy preconceptions of social rigidity and be jolted into an altered state of awareness. Obviously, in other societies the concepts of propriety may differ, but in every case their violation results in the same old shame, disgust and fear. It goes without saying that Tantra, especially the left-handed variety, can be a dangerous course. There is a fine line between rising above duality and falling prey to the delusion that religious attainment puts one above the moral law.

Try it, you'll like it.

Peace to all,

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