Friday, September 30, 2005

Intelligent Design

by PAUL RUDNICK
The New Yorker
Issue of 2005-09-26

Day No. 1
And the Lord God said, “Let there be light,” and lo, there was light. But
then the Lord God said, “Wait, what if I make it a sort of rosy,
sunset-at-the-beach, filtered half-light, so that everything else I design
will look younger?”
“I’m loving that,” said Buddha. “It’s new.”
“You should design a restaurant,” added Allah.

Day No. 2:
“Today,” the Lord God said, “let’s do land.” And lo, there was land.
“Well, it’s really not just land,” noted Vishnu. “You’ve got mountains and
valleys and—is that lava?”
“It’s not a single statement,” said the Lord God. “I want it to say, ‘Yes,
this is land, but it’s not afraid to ooze.’ ”
“It’s really a backdrop, a sort of blank canvas,” put in Apollo. “It’s,
like, minimalism, only with scale.”
“But—brown?” Buddha asked.
“Brown with infinite variations,” said the Lord God. “Taupe, ochre, burnt
umber—they’re called earth tones.”
“I wasn’t criticizing,” said Buddha. “I was just noticing.”

Day No. 3:
“Just to make everyone happy,” said the Lord God, “today I’m thinking
oceans, for contrast.”
“It’s wet, it’s deep, yet it’s frothy; it’s design without dogma,” said
Buddha, approvingly.
“Now, there’s movement,” agreed Allah. “It’s not just ‘Hi, I’m a planet—no
splashing.’ ”
“But are those ice caps?” inquired Thor. “Is this a coherent vision, or a
highball?”
“I can do ice caps if I want to,” sniffed the Lord God.
“It’s about a mood,” said the Angel Moroni, supportively.
“Thank you,” said the Lord God.

Day No. 4:
“One word,” said the Lord God. “Landscaping. But I want it to look natural,
as if it all somehow just happened.”
“Do rain forests,” suggested a primitive tribal god, who was known only as a
clicking noise.
“Rain forests here,” decreed the Lord God. “And deserts there. For a spa
feeling.”
“Which is fresh, but let’s give it glow,” said Buddha. “Polished stones and
bamboo, with a soothing trickle of something.”
“I know where you’re going,” said the Lord God. “But why am I seeing scented
candles and a signature body wash?”
“Shut up,” said Buddha.
“You shut up,” said the Lord God.
“It’s all about the mix,” Allah declared in a calming voice. “Now let’s look
at some swatches.”

Day No. 5:
“I’d like to design some creatures of the sea,” the Lord God said. “Sleek
but not slick.”
“Yes, yes, and more yes—it’s a total gills moment,” said Apollo. “But what
if you added wings?”
“Fussy,” whispered Buddha to Zeus. “Why not epaulets and a sash?”
“Legs,” said Allah. “Now let’s do legs.”
“Are we already doing dining-room tables?” asked the Lord God, confused.
“No, design some creatures with legs,” said Allah. So the Lord God, nodding,
designed an ostrich.
“First draft,” everyone agreed, and so the Lord God designed an alligator.
“There’s gonna be a waiting list,” Zeus murmured appreciatively.
“Now do puppies!” pleaded Vishnu. “And kitties!”
“Ooooo!” all the gods cooed. Then, feeling a bit embarrassed, Zeus ventured,
“Design something more practical, like a horse or a mule.”
“What about a koala?” asked the Lord God.
“Much better,” Zeus declared, cuddling the furry little animal. “I’m going
to call him Buttons.”

Day No. 6:
“Today I’m really going out there,” said the Lord God. “And I know it won’t
be popular at first, and you’re all gonna be saying, ‘Earth to Lord God,’
but in a few million years it’s going to be timeless. I’m going to design a
man.”
And everyone looked upon the man that the Lord God designed.
“It has your eyes,” Zeus told the Lord God.
“Does it stack?” inquired Allah.
“It has a na├»ve, folk-artsy, I-made-it-myself vibe,” said Buddha. The Inca
sun god, however, only scoffed. “Been there. Evolution,” he said. “It’s
called a shaved monkey.”
“I like it,” protested Buddha. “But it can’t work a strapless dress.”
Everyone agreed on this point, so the Lord God announced, “Well, what if I
give it nice round breasts and lose the penis?”
“Yes,” the gods said immediately.
“Now it’s intelligent,” said Aphrodite.
“But what if I made it blond?” giggled the Lord God.
“And what if I made you a booming offscreen voice in a lot of bad movies?”
asked Aphrodite.

Day No. 7:
“You know, I’m really feeling good about this whole intelligent-design
deal,” said the Lord God. “But do you think that I could redo it, keeping
the quality but making it at a price point we could all live with?”
“I’m not sure,” said Buddha. “You mean, what if you designed a really basic,
no-frills planet? Like, do the man and the woman really need all those
toes?”
“Hello!” said the Lord God. “Clean lines, no moving parts, functional but
fun. Three bright, happy, wash ’n’ go colors.”
“Swedish meets Japanese, with maybe a Platinum Collector’s Edition for the
geeks,” Buddha decided.
“Done,” said the Lord God. “Now let’s start thinking about Pluto. What if
everything on Pluto was brushed aluminum?”
“You mean, let’s do Neptune again?” said Buddha.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Faith and Religion

A study recently came out in England regarding religious belief and society. The study's conclusion- that societies are actually worse off because of religion.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1798944,00.html

I happen to agree with the article. Faith and religion are not the same thing. They are not even interchangeable. You can't have religion without faith, but you CAN have faith without religion. The latter is much more difficult to achieve.

I have always thought, and have said many times, that religion is an excuse. When you "belong" to a certain religion, it changes your attitude about everyone else, and especially their religion. So people start doing things, good or bad, because of their religion. Then you have the extremists, who wear their religion on their sleeve and use it as a free pass to do just about anything they want, all in the name of their belief.

All of the things we argue regarding our society are religion-based. Pro-life vs. choice. Evolution vs. ID. Gay marriage is even a religious issue- IN THE EYES OF THOSE WHO PRACTICE RELIGION. Religion even gets in the way of hetero marriage. If you are not the same religion, no matter how much you love each other or want to marry, it can be the only factor keeping you from doing so. How is that healthy?

Therefore you have all these people who practice their religions behaving as the biggest hypocrites of all.

Faith, on the other hand, I think is good for a society, and can bring people together.

But faith and religion are not the same. People are divided by religion. Even patriotism could be a religion, for they worship the flag as a Catholic worships the cross. When a group only believes one thing or religion, lines are drawn in the sand and people begin to segregate. You are limited by religion, because it is only one set of beliefs. If you label anyone a certain religion, you automatically set a bias.

John Lennon is right. Just imagine if there was no religion. It would be beautiful.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Be Attentive Today


Do not go after the past,
Nor lose yourself in the future.
For the past no longer exists,
And the future is not yet here.

By looking deeply at things just as they are,
In this moment, here and now,
The seeker lives calmly and freely.

You should be attentive today,
For waiting until tomorrow is too late.
Death can come and take us by surprise--
How can we gainsay it?

The one who knows
How to live attentively
Night and day
Is the one who knows
The best way to be independent.


-Bhaddekaratta Sutra

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Addendum to my movie review

A friend was trying to find the movie from my September 11 post on the net to download. Instead he found something even better. A parady of the movie itself. Well, a parady of sorts, but they mix real footage along with their fun. And it's very good.

A little long, but if you've got an hour to kill, it's worth it. I'm glad I wasn't alone in my assessment of the movie. :-)


http://mteww.com.twhid.com/dc911/DC911EDR_med.mov

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Sevens- a badly needed mind-break!

Found this on a fellow Arizona Blogger's site.. figured what the hell. I need the change of pace. :-)

And y'all need more to know about me. I command it.

7 things I plan to do before I die:

1) See a space shuttle launch.
2) Go to Europe
3) Own a swimming pool.
4) Write a book.
5) Be a foster parent.
6) Live on the East Coast.
7) Drive in an actual race car, on an actual race track of course.

7 things I can do:
1) Piss off conservatives.
2) Play the viola, and actually play it well.
3) admit I'm a very bad driver
4) listen.
5) justify just about anything I purchase at a mall. But can it wait until after my nail appointment?
6) laugh, mostly at myself.
7) well... I will just leave this to the imagination. But if you ever see my husband with a huge grin on his face... ;-)

7 things I cannot do:
1) Speak a language other than English.
2) Stop blogging and posting on the internet.
3) Stay focused on one task. I must do two or three or four things at once.
4) Buy an SUV. (yes, we own a Highlander. But the gas milage is the same as my minivan!)
5) Dance.
6) Keep my children from growing up.
7) Stop answering these "about you" types of emails and such.

7 things that attract me to the opposite sex:
1) Intelligence (need a mind connect or just quit wasting my time).
2) Eyes.
3) Someone who will take the time to do something for me that I like. Even if they don't like it.
4) Someone who gets ME. Even when I know for a fact whatever I am saying is completely insane.
5) Voice. Since I like to listen, he'd better have a decent speaking voice.
6) Libido. (god I hope my parents don't read this! How embarassing!!!!)
7) Someone as passionate about everything as I am.

7 things that I say most often:
1) "Don't answer it!"
2) "Allison- it's for you!!"
3) "Quit fighting!"
4) "I SAID, quit fighting!"
5) "WHAT!!"
6) "I love you too baby."
7) "What the fuck?" (Or, "what the fuuuuuuudge" when I realize my kids are standing there).

7 celebrity crushes:
1) Ewan MacGregor
2) Jon Stewart
3) Antonio Bandaras
4) Viggo Mortensen
5) Jon Bon Jovi
6) Vince Vaughn
7) Angelina Jolie (I know.. but I love her mouth! Again, hope my parents aren't reading!)

7 people I want to do this:
1)I will get to this later. But you all know who you are.
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)
7)

A movie review just in time for an anniversary


I had no clue this movie existed, and the other night I was channel-surfing and caught it in the middle. So I recorded the next showing, because curiosity got the better of me. Made in 2003, it first aired on Showtime just in time for the two year anniversary of 9-11. Also just in time for the re-election campaign I imagine.

So I sat down and prepared to be amused for two hours. Amused would not be how I can describe my reaction to this film. Nauseated would be closer I think. Right from the get-go it was apparent this movie was nothing but Pro-Bush propaganda. Andrew Card goes in, tells Bush that the second tower had been hit. You see a serious Bush, contemplating his next move. Looking VERY presidential... he quickly makes an excuse to get out of there as smoothly as possible, with the least amount of distraction for the children.

Oh- did I mention? There was not a copy of "My Pet Goat" to be seen. Seems that significant fact didn't make it in editing. If it were filmed at all...

Oh they were good. The showed the George W. Bush that we all WANTED to have. The strong, take-charge, presidential one. Barking orders left and right. Demanding to speak to the people, and get back to the White House. They even made Cheney out to be some bumbling idiot, not in control and having no clue what to do. Ha. Hahaha.

When discussing Bin Laden and Afghanistan, they made sure to throw in that Iraq was next in the war on terror. Like it was just supposed to be that way. I believe it was quoted that "first Afghanistan. Saddam will just have to wait his turn. But his turn is coming." Or some outrageous bullshit like that. As if Iraq was always meant to be part of the equation. Which is was, but not for the reasons they were claiming in the movie. Hell even since the movie during all of 2004 all the real reasons came to surface. It was well done- the way they kept bringing up Iraq, just so those who are stupid enough to buy into this movie would keep the 9-11/Saddam connection.

Which was further brought home in the scene where Bush goes to NYC. They had people coming up to the President, telling him, "get those motherfuckers George." "kill the bastards!" I do not doubt there was a lot of anger at those who crashed those towers, but the line is reallllly fuzzy in the movie as to whom we should actually be blaming.

It took me two nights to watch this movie in its entirety. I must say this is probably the most insulting and offensive movie I have ever seen. There is absolutely NO way a movie made from the other viewpoints would ever be made. The powers that be would never allow it, and they would use the excuse that it would be offensive to those who died and suffered on 9-11. Pfft.

So fast forward to today, the 4th anniversary of 9-11-01. Are we safer? As people still lay stranded and dying on our own land in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, this question continues to come to mind. Another terrorist attack from across the ocean is the very least of our problems. We have terrorists among us, right here under our noses. The elite who would rather not be bothered by those suffering under a certain income level.

The terrorists like those who did indeed attack us four years ago have it made. All they have to do is sit back, and watch us destroy ourselves.

Mission Accomplished.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Nightmares stemmed by guilt?

This whole weekend has been rough. Trying to figure out the best way to help these poor people who have lost everything. My anger over the way this entire emergency situation was handled grows. The things I am finding out just make my jaw drop. Why would FEMA keep trucks full of food and the Red Cross away from the area? It just doesn't make any sense, when you look at it from a humanitarian standpoint.

Then late last night I caught a replay of "Oprah", and was just stunned. She demanded to see inside the Superdome. They tried to keep her out, but she needed to see. Needed to see what these people had to live in for a week before help arrived. GOOD for her, no way anyone with the last name of Bush would even bother.

After each segment they would go back to her live, and she was in tears. EVERY TIME. She was in there trying to put families back together. One at a time. Just watching her, you could see the concern and desperation on her face as she did so, all the while reassuring others who were trying to give her names. So different than the Bush photo-ops, or Barbara's recent comments.

I'm trying to do what I can. I created a fund-raiser to try and help a family or two that have been re-located to Arizona. I want the funds to go directly to someone, not lost in the big pot of the Red Cross or Salvation Army. So far so good. I'm happy to be doing what little I can.

Though there is guilt. Yesterday in the paper was an article by that favorite writer of mine, EJ Montini. Be thankful for your daily grind. Be thankful you have a home, you have money, you know where your family is. We just got 4 plane tickets so we could all fly east over the Christmas holiday. I don't have to tell you how much it cost, we all know ticket prices. Bret says I should not feel guilty for what we have. It isn't that I feel guilty for what I have, I of course am always thankful. Yet, I can't help but think of those who are sitting there who have just lost their daily grind. While I'm planning to visit my family who I can pretty much see whenever, there are those who have lost family members. There are those who have no clue WHERE their family members are at the moment. Four plane tickets. Money that could be better spent on helping a family get on their feet again after this disaster. So yes, I feel a bit of guilt. I shouldn't be so selfish.

The kicker last night was my nightmare. I finished that episode of Oprah at one in the morning. Made a post on my network about it, then went to bed. Only to be awoken by my mind at 3:30. I'm in a rowboat on a river, or a lake. I slowly begin to notice that I am not on either, but on a flooded street. I see tops of houses and trees all around me. I look down into the boat and notice a fishing pole, the line cast. I'm fishing? Then the line jerks, apparently I've caught something. I reach over and start pulling, struggling with the line. Finally I give it one last great pull, and am knocked off my feet. At the end of the line is a small child's body.

Then I woke up.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

How do you continue to have faith?


I'm frustrated. When hurricane Katrina hit, it was just plain awful. Really there are no words to describe it. I always feel empathetic when I see people displaced from their homes and lives, after my own experiences with a fire in high school that burned down our apartment complex. I know what it is like to lose everything and live off of handouts temporarily. But this- this goes way beyond anything imaginable. The footage might as well be from a third world country.

I tried not to think about the political aspects of this tragedy. I actually DEFENDED the President and his efforts to try and get help to the region as quickly as possible. I knew he could have done more, but I just wanted help to get to the people. Deal with the timelines later. Maybe in the aftermath, everything would make sense. Oh did I get smacked around on my network for this! Everyone thought I had a lobotomy. Even my husband was asking if I was feeling ok. He said he couldn't believe HE was acting more left in this matter than I was. I didn't care. All I cared about was watching the people, and figuring out how I can help. Wishing it were conceivable to jump on a plane and go volunteer. Pretty much the same feelings I had after the Tsunami hit in December.

So now, here it is a few days after Bush has brought in aid to the region, a week after the initial storm. Two thousand victims are being brought to Arizona today. My time to help is near. The process of saving remaining lives is slowly beginning. Then I read this last night, from CNN:

Chertoff: Katrina scenario did not exist However, experts for years had warned of threat to New Orleans Defending the U.S. government's response to Hurricane Katrina, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff argued Saturday that government planners did not predict such a disaster ever could occur.

But in fact, government officials, scientists and journalists have warned of such a scenario for years.


Chertoff, fielding questions from reporters, said government officials did not expect both a powerful hurricane and a breach of levees that would flood the city of New Orleans. (See the video on a local paper's prophetic warning -- 3:30 )
"That 'perfect storm' of a combination of catastrophes exceeded the foresight of the planners, and maybe anybodies foresight," Chertoff said.

He called the disaster "breathtaking in its surprise."

Um, what? I should not have been shocked, but I couldn't believe what I was reading. The denial has begun. Now the administration is pointing fingers at the state level to avoid any blame. WHY???

I can allow myself to get angry now. I keep hoping- nearly praying- that there is some ounce of selflessness in these people, and that they can be big enough HUMANS to accept blame. But flashes of how 9-11 and Iraq was handled keep coming back to me. I don't think I have ever felt such disappointment. At least not since the "re-election" of Bush in November.

How do you continue to have faith in government when they keep showing themselves for the spineless bastards that they are?

Oh yes, I am angry now. Angry at myself mostly, for thinking there are noble efforts in this current administration. Never again. I cannot wait for this administration to be gone- our country has been stained enough. There is no value at all for human life within these people.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Independent Nation of... Arizona?


It's reporters and columnists such as Montini here that give me the strength to literally sweat out another day in the desert, along with Steve Benson's Editorial comics. ~D

From The Arizona Republic:
Making the case for an independent nation of Arizona

Sept. 1, 2005 12:00 AM

Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas apparently wants to be the president . . . of Arizona. And who knows? Maybe he's on to something. Maybe the county prosecutor's desire to have Arizona's police officers take over what is supposed to be the job of federal immigration authorities is the first step toward our state becoming an independent nation.

Gov. Janet Napolitano has tilted in that same direction. Not long ago she declared a state of emergency in order to free up $1.5 million in disaster funds to aid those counties on the border most hard hit by illegal immigration and drug smuggling.

"This is a federal responsibility, and they're not meeting it," the governor said. "I've just come to the conclusion (that) we've got to do what we can at the state level until the federal government picks up the pace."

And what if it doesn't?

We've got another would-be contender for president of Arizona proposing that we build our own Great Wall along the border with Mexico. State Rep. Russell Pearce wants Arizona to spend half a billion dollars in order to erect a 350-mile barricade.

But why stop there? Why not a wall between us and California? Us and New Mexico? Us and Utah? We could be a fortress nation, like Oz. We're already full of Munchkins, tin men, scarecrows, cowardly lions and phony wizards.

Think of the benefits. Once we declare our independence, all of our National Guard and reserve troops in Iraq would be sent home immediately. The nation of Arizona isn't at war, after all. We could take those citizen soldiers and post them on our grand and glorious new wall.

We wouldn't have to ship any more of our money to Washington, D.C. And as an added bonus, we wouldn't have to issue passports for re-entry to any of the politicians we've sent there.

Neither the U.S. Congress nor the U.S. Supreme Court could tell us what to do.

We could refuse to join the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organization of American States, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization and World Health Organization. Instead, we'd cast our lot with the only international federation suited to our deportment: the World Wrestling Enterainment.

Arizona politicians, who for years have spent money like they were printing it themselves, could actually print it themselves. We could stubbornly refuse to go along with daylight-saving time. (Wait, we already do that.) We could put jail inmates in pink underwear and pretend that it's crime prevention. (We do that, too.) We could build fancy new stadiums for already wealthy sports team owners. (Yep.)

We could elect people who believe that the best way to spend our tax money is to enforce laws that the federal government already is being paid to enforce. Along with people who want to erect giant walls.

Prosecutor Thomas is upset because some of Arizona's police agencies say that they don't have the money or manpower to go after undocumented immigrants or those who bring them here.

As a sovereign nation, we could do that.

Then, we could round up all of the non-citizens hiding in the new Arizona (many from that nation to the south) and ship them out of our country. This quickly would cause the economy to spiral downward and transform our newly independent republic into a Third World country. Which would be a dream come true.

Once Arizona is no longer part of the union, we could establish diplomatic relations with the United States and qualify for something that none of the remaining 49 states could hope to receive: foreign aid.