- MY OTHER STUPID STUFF:
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Monday, March 31, 2008
This coming week is National Mental Health Care week.
You can do your part by remembering to contact at least one unstable person to show you care.
Well, my job is done! - in spades!
Happy April Fool's Day!
Saturday, March 29, 2008
I just spent an hour in the dark.
It wasn't for fun or because of a blackout. I took part in Earth Hour.
I found out about this the same way many people computer users probably did - through Google. If you didn't notice, Google made their screen black "as a gesture to raise awareness of a worldwide energy conservation effort called Earth Hour."
Then I went to the link and found out about a program to raise the awareness of conservation by asking people to turn off their lights from 8 pm to 9 pm local time. It started in Sydney, Australia, last year, and has now spread to the globe.
I, quite frankly, like the idea.
Yes, I know, turning our lights out for one hour isn't going to do a lot to cut energy usage. But it is an effective symbol. And it will get people thinking about their energy usage and how they can cut it.
And I don't think there's anything wrong with symbolism and getting people thinking. Especially about conservation! Because too much of the talk is just on alternative energy sources - without discussing at all, ways we cut energy uses down.
So here's to Earth Hour! Long may it live!
An excerpt from National Geographic's "Earth Hour: Cities, Landmarks to Go Dark" by Ker Than...
Cities with iconic skylines were also preferred, (World Wide Fund for Nature - formerly known as the World Wildlife Fund - spokesperson Leslie) Aun said.
"It's an event that everyone can take part in, but it makes a bigger statement if you can see a few skyscrapers go out," she said.
Last year in Sydney, decorative lights at the city's Opera House and Harbor Bridge went dark.
Following in that tradition, the lights of major landmarks in participating cities will be turned off for Earth Hour 2008.
The Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge in San Francisco will go dark, as will the CNN Tower in Atlanta, the basketball arena in Phoenix, and the Sears Tower and Theater District in Chicago.
"The witch from [the Broadway musical] Wicked is going to come out and wave her wand to turn off the light of the theater there," Aun said.
Despite its good intentions, some scientists worry that people will misinterpret the goal of Earth Hour.
"It seems to imply that shutting off the lights is the only solution to climate change," said Gavin Schmidt, a climatologist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Science in New York City.
But Andreas Schmittner, an oceanographer at Oregon State University, said that as long as carbon emissions keep increasing, anything that raises awareness about climate change is a good thing.
"We have not gone to any effective measure to reduce those carbon emissions," Schmittner said.
"Until that is achieved, it is good to raise awareness to keep the issue in the public discussion."
Time's "Earth Hour '08: Did It Matter?" by Bryan Walsh...
The average American produces about 20 tons of the major greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) every year. That might sound like a lot — and Americans do have among the biggest carbon footprints in the world — but the entire world emits around 27 billion tons of CO2 each year, through transportation, electricity use, deforestation. Look at those numbers for a moment, and you'll realize there's very little that any of us can do on an individual level to stop climate change. Live like a monk, take away your 20 tons — stop breathing if you'd like — and you'll barely scratch the surface.
It's numbers like those that can make Earth Hour so easy to criticize. Starting at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 29 in Christchurch, New Zealand, citizens from around the world turned off their lights for an hour, to draw attention to the connection between energy use and climate change. From New Zealand, the event moved westward with the sun to Australia, Manila, Dubai, Dublin, New York, Chicago and finally San Francisco, where both the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge went dark for an hour. Carter Roberts, head of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which sponsored Earth Hour, said the global event was designed to "make a statement about our commitment to solve the climate change problem and symbolize the commitment that people will make throughout the rest of the year."
Earth Hour didn't suffer for a lack of gimmicks. Servers wearing glow-in-the-dark necklaces sold eco-tinis at bars and restaurants in Phoenix. A local yoga house in Michigan offered sessions by lamplight, and the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago arranged check-in by candlelight. Watching the lights wink off in major metropolitan areas now doubt looked impressive, but it's worth asking: What was the point? As Roberts himself noted, the energy saved by turning off the lights for an hour "won't make an enormous difference." So, if it won't cut carbon emissions, why bother then with Earth Hour, or Earth Day or Earth Live, last year's daylong concert for the environment?
Because climate change is essentially a political problem, and the language of politics is symbolism. Just because an act is symbolic doesn't mean it empty. The only way to truly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to take the pressure off global warming, is an international regime that puts a cap and a price on climate pollution. And the only way that will happen is if politicians around the world become convinced that climate change is an issue that matters to people, one that will make them change the way they live, buy — and vote. "Unlike most of the issues that we grapple with, climate change is global," said Roberts. "The pressure is on us to do the right thing." If shutting off the lights for an hour on a Saturday night and doing yoga in the dark makes that political support, well, visible, then Earth Hour will have been worth it.
The environmental movement is reaching a delicate moment. We're well past the point where going green is novel, where just doing your bit to save the Earth deserves endless praise. We've become inured to the existence of global warming, to its inconvenient truth, yet we sense that the solutions we've been given — change a light bulb, change your life — fall far short of the scale of the problem. We risk green fatigue because, after all, what can we do about it? But this is the moment when we need to keep pushing in every way we can. The technologies that will help us decarbonize energy are developing, but they need a push — and that will only happen if we keep climate change near the top of our political agenda. Earth Hour, Earth Day, Earth Year — we'll need it all.
The Earth Hour blog
Earth Hour images
Earth Hour on Twitter
One day a florist goes to a barber for a haircut. After the cut he asked about his bill and the barber replies, 'I cannot accept money from you. I'm doing community service this week.'
The florist was pleased and left the shop.
When the barber goes to open his shop the next morning there is a 'thank you' card and a dozen roses waiting for him at his door.
Later, a cop comes in for a haircut, and when he tries to pay his bill, the barber again replies, 'I cannot accept money from you. I'm doing community service this week.'
The cop is happy and leaves the shop. The next morning when the barber goes to open up there is a 'thank you' card and a dozen donuts waiting for him at his door.
Later that day, a college professor comes in for a haircut, and when he tries to pay his bill, the barber again replies, 'I cannot accept money from you. I'm doing community service this week.'
The professor is very happy and leaves the shop.
The next morning when the barber opens his shop, there is a 'thank you' card and a dozen different books, such as 'How to Improve Your Business' and 'Becoming More Successful'.
Then, a congressman comes in for a haircut, and when he goes to pay his bill the barber again replies, 'I cannot accept money from you. I'm doing community service this week.'
The congressman is very happy and leaves the shop.
The next morning when the barber goes to open up, there are a dozen congressmen lined up waiting for a free haircut.
Vote carefully this year.
Other posts related to The Formerly Wild Now Christian Co-Worker
When bad things happen to good drivers, is your "Astrological Sign" to blame?
Car Carma describes the influence your astrological sign has over your driving.
Here’s what drove me to write the book on "Car Carma" says Lee Romanov, president of InsuranceHotline.com: “I wondered why some drivers always got into accidents and others always got tickets. So I compared 100,000 drivers, their tickets and accidents, to their astrological sign. The results are overwhelming, showing drivers of certain astrological signs are prone to getting more tickets, while others seemed destined to have accidents".
Over All Worst To Best Driver’s Astrological Signs For Tickets & Accidents
Here are the Astrological Signs that had the most influence over drivers, causing them to have the greatest number of tickets and accidents, from worst to best.
Number 1 Worst :
Libra - Sept. 23 to Oct. 22
Libra is the "sign of the scales", it craves balance and consensus. Libra doesn’t like to make snap decisions. But rush hour traffic is not a time for seeking driver approval, or for being indecisive.
2nd Worst Position :
Aquarius - Jan. 20 to Feb. 18
They’re impulsive, and ruled by the Planet of speed and rebellion. Aquarians need to get a better grip behind the wheel.
3rd Worst Position :
Aries - Mar. 21 to Apr. 19
Its symbol is the ram. Not good a sign to have for avoiding accidents. Aries have a "me first" child-like nature, that drives Aries into trouble.
4th Worst Position :
Pisces - Feb. 19 to Mar. 20
This sign enjoys daydreaming. So wake up Pisces, driving in the “real world" requires your complete attention.
5th Worst Position :
Scorpio - Oct. 23 to Nov. 21
The scorpion’s instinct is to get revenge, and driving is the perfect avenue to vent a little Scorpion road rage. If you pass a Scorpio, plan on being chased.
6th Worst Position :
Taurus - Apr. 20 to May 20
The astrological sign for Taurus is the bull. They’re stubborn, and have an urge to charge at red lights.
7th Worst Position :
Sagittarius - Nov. 22 to Dec. 21
They’re risk-takers, but they’re experienced risk takers, and know that stunt driving should be left to the professionals. This is a talkative group, and they should consider putting their cell phone down and just driving.
8th Worst Position :
Capricorn - Dec. 22 to Jan. 19
Capricorn is goal oriented. They’re more concerned about the destination than the journey. They feel that the rules of the road are for other drivers to follow so that Capricorns can get to their destination faster.
9th Worst Position :
Virgo - Aug. 23 to Sept. 22
Virgos have a nervous attention to detail. They made the cover of the Car Carma book. They’d be slamming their brakes on to avoid hitting a squirrel, but cause a 10 car pile-up.
3rd Best Position :
Cancer - June 21 to July 22
They’re homebodies, and consider the roadway of drivers their extended family. But they’re a moody group, and would be the ones to honk at you for no reason at all.
2nd Best Position :
Gemini - May 21 to June 20
Geminis are the original multi-taskers. They can eat, drink, read the newspaper, shave, or apply make-up all while driving, although this is NOT recommended, even if you're a Gemini. It’s the sign of the twins; while one is driving the other co-pilots.
Number 1 Best :
Leo - Jul. 23 to Aug. 22
Leo is generous, and comfortable in sharing the roadway. They‘re known for having a huge ego, which is their driving force to be the best.
Tickets & The Driver's Sign
Here are the Astrological Signs that had the most influence over drivers, causing them to have the greatest number of tickets, from worst to best.
1. Pisces – Worst
12. Gemini – Best
Accidents & The Driver's Sign
Here are the Astrological Signs that had the most influence over drivers, causing them to have the greatest number of accidents, from worst to best.
1. Libra – Worst
12. Leo – Best
Car Carma is an information packed book that describes which astrological signs represent the best and worst drivers. It also gives "insider information" on what you need to know about tickets, accidents, insurance and the law before it's too late.
A link to the original site
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
A link to the original site of the video
Monday, March 24, 2008
Meant to put this up yesterday, but my daughter got a new video game for Easter - and I didn't stand a chance! - OlderMusicGeek
Report: Singapore retailer pulls "Jesus" cosmetics after complaints
Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2008 5:16 AM ET
Canadian Press: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
SINGAPORE - A cosmetics line that extols the virtues of "Looking Good for Jesus" has been pulled from stores in Singapore after some Catholics complained the items were disrespectful.
The Strait Times reports the product line included a "virtuous vanilla"-flavoured lip balm and a "Get Tight with Christ" hand and body cream.
Promising to "Redeem your reputation and more," cosmetics were sold by British retailer Topshop and produced by Blue Q.
The newspaper says Wing Tai Retail, which manages Topshop in the city-state, removed the range late last month after receiving complaints.
One of the complainants says the products trivialize Jesus Christ and Christianity.
An unnamed Wing Tai Retail official apologized for offending the Christian community.
As Zuhn said in her blog, a cosmetics tagline was not the first thing that came to mind. And I have to admit that I don't think Jesus would want me to get tight with him using hand cream! - OlderMusicGeek
A link to the Vanity Run Amok post
A link to all my Easter posts
This is from me, not reprinted from somewhere else. - OlderMusicGeek.
Well, I have the perfect gift for anybody this Easter. And it also makes a great Christmas gift too!
Yes, it's the Answer Me Jesus!
To quote the Answer Me Jesus site - Answer Me Jesus™ finally answers the question "What Would Jesus Do?" Like a magic 8 ball but infinitely more wise, Answer Me Jesus™ delivers the answers you seek. Hold the wisdom of the Lord in the palm of your hand and let Jesus shepherd you through the quandaries of life. Hallelujah!
Not intended for use by the closed minded.
And to show how great it works, they have a Ask Jesus webpage on their website.
So I will interview Jesus to show how great it works.
ME: Hey Jesus!
JESUS: I still love you.
ME: What did I do to make you not love me?
JESUS: I still love you.
ME: Okay, fine. So do you think Answer Me Jesus makes a good gift?
JESUS: I died for this?
ME: (uncertain) I don't think so..... So are you saying it would be a bad gift?
JESUS: The holy water will sting!
ME: What? Is the gift too frivolous?
JESUS: Ye of little faith.
ME: Okay, I admit I'm not a Christian. So how about as a gift for non-Christians?
JESUS: Have a nice afterlife.
ME: Okay, you know what? You're getting too snooty for me. Time to end this conversation!
ME: Believe this!
JESUS: Wait for a sign.
JESUS: Resist the devil.
But wait! There's more! Not only can you get the Answer Me Jesus, but there's also the Answer Me Buddha.
To quote the Answer Me Jesus site - What Would Buddha Do? Let Answer Me Buddha™ enlighten you. This faithful plastic friend may only be 6.5 inches tall and 6 inches wide, but he will give you the enlightenment you need to resist life’s temptations. Ask Buddha when you feel you’re losing your Zen and one of 20 responses will offer you guidance in the magic viewing window. “Bend with the wind”, “Seek the truth”, "Good Karma" or “Meditate on it”—you will never cease to be amazed by Buddha’s insight!
Yes, that's the Buddha AND Jesus for all your moral dilemna needs!
But wait! We must crazy! There's still more!
Yes, more than just Jesus and Buddha, the two big saviors!
There's also - if you go amazon.com quickly - Answer Me Santa!
To quote the product description there - Ask Santa a question and turn him upside down for some magical holiday guidance. Answers include "signs point to coal", "if you're good" and "maybe next year".
And finally, I can only quote the Answer Me Jesus website again - Accept Answer Me Jesus™ into your life today and the rewards will be everlasting. Over 11 inches tall and 4 inches wide, Jesus offers 20 different answers to help you choose the righteous path. Ask a question and turn him over—the answer you seek magically appears. Your personal Jesus will respond with wisdom such as “Have faith”, “Yes my child”, or “Sinner”. So the next time you are pondering one of life’s many dilemmas, find out what Jesus would do and repent no more!
ME: You got anything you want to say Jesus before we go?
A link to the Answer Me Jesus site
A link to all my Easter posts
HUMOR and SPIRITUALITY/RELIGION: Two Jesus Jokes, One Bunny Joke and a Video about "That Darn Jesus"
This is from me, not reprinted from somewhere else. Though I didn't make up the jokes. :) WARNING: Jesus is used for humor here and some sexuality is suggested. - OlderMusicGeek.
Jesus is up on the cross.
He looks in the distance. Then looks at Peter.
"Peter, you got to come up here."
So Peter rushes for the cross.
A Roman punches him in the nose and knocks him down.
"Peter, you really got to get up here!"
Peter rushes again. He ducks under the fist of the guard.
But another guards comes and smacks him back with a spear.
"No, Peter, I mean it. You have get over here."
Peter rushes once more. Ducks under the fist and jumps over the spear. A third guard comes, but he slides between the legs.
He scrambles to Jesus hanging on the cross.
Anxiously, he looks up at Jesus and asks, "Yes, Lord, what is it?"
"Peter, look," Jesus says pointing with his head. "You can see your house from here!"
This next joke is visual, so I filmed it...
Q: Why did they crucify Jesus instead of stoning him?
I actually got this one from my mother - though I don't think she'd approve of the above jokes or the video below. :)
Q: Why does The Easter Bunny hide the eggs?
A: Because he doesn't want anybody to know he's doing the chicken!
And finally the video about that darn Jesus. I don't believe the beginning part is true. I looked it up on the internet and couldn't find anything. Plus, the station has FIVE call letters. Makes it doubt the authenticity of the beginning statement.
A link to all my Easter posts
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Letter from Bob Reich
November 4, 2004
First, remember you're not alone.
Imagine standing in a room with 99 other people -- a random sample of America. 48 of them voted with you, against George Bush. All you need to do over the next few years is convince two of the others to join with you, and you've got a majority. We've got a majority.
Second, learn the power of a moral message (if you didn't know it already). Republicans ran on a moral agenda -- God, guns, gays, and true grit in fighting the evils of Saddam Hussein and terrorism. Democrats ran on a policy agenda -- affordable health care, deficit reduction, and combating terrorism through stronger international alliances and a smarter strategy. George Bush spoke about right and wrong in moral terms -- as matters of righteousness and faith. John Kerry spoke of right and wrong in pragmatic terms -- for example, saying he had the right way to get the economy moving again or to fight Al Qaida, and George Bush was going the wrong way.
I don't think most Americans rejected John Kerry's policies. It was Bush's moral vision they found more compelling. When politicians talk about having a plan for this or a policy for that, many eyes glaze over. But when they speak with righteous indignation -- with passion and conviction about what is morally right to do or morally offensive -- they can inspire the nation.
My recommendation to Democrats is not to become more religious. Religion is a personal matter. But perhaps Democrats need somewhat fewer plans and policies, and a bit more moral conviction. They also need to talk more about faith -- faith in what this great nation can accomplish if we work together.
Democrats used to talk in moral terms -- about fighting for civil rights, for example. What could Democrats say now and in the future? That it's morally wrong to give huge tax cuts to the rich while cutting social programs for the poor and working class -- especially when the gap between the rich and everyone else is wider than it's been in more than a century. That we have a moral obligation to give every American child a good education and decent health care. That it's morally wrong that millions of Americans who work full time don't earn enough to keep their families out of poverty. And much else.
My faith -- and yes, it is a matter of faith, a great leap of faith -- is that in all these respects, and many more, this nation can become a more just society.
I'm not saying Democrats have to adopt my particular moral positions. But unless or until Democrats return to larger questions of public morality, they won't inspire the American public. Plans and policies are important, of course. But there's no substitute for offering a vision of what we can become as a nation -- and giving citizens the faith we can get there.
So keep up the good fight. You're needed more now than ever.
-- Bob Reich
BadMovies.org's entry for Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter
The Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter website from the people who made the movie
The Internet Movie Database's entry for Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter
Allmovie.com's entry for Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter
A comicbook review for a REAL comic...
Loaded Bible: Jesus vs. Vampires One-Shot
Writer: Tim Seeley
Pencils: Nate Bellegarde
Finishes: Mark Englert
“In the near future, the United States is ruled by bloodsucking vampire hordes and only one man can end their reign of terror.”
“What would Jesus do?”
“He’d kick Vampire ass.”
Plot: After 9/11, Americans who fear Muslim extremists vote in a president that they feel will allow Christianity to rule the day over these “heathens”. This president attacks foreign countries in the name of God and puts down these devil hordes. When people begin to realize that vampires are among us the government creates a special council to defeat them.
When the vampires attempt to assassinate the council, all hell breaks loose and they nuke everything. In the future, Jesus comes down to save the human race from these vampires (who survived because they are immune to radiation) in the form of a sword wielding action hero with a message.
*48 Christ-tacular pages*
Review: (sarcasm alert) Thank God. It is about time that a comic book, television show, news story, etc. comes out that denigrates our government and attempts to reduce Christianity to a bunch of catchy slogans and bumper stickers. I was starting to wonder if someone would ever be courageous and “edgy” enough to attempt it. Kudos…
Now that I got that out of my system, let’s actually review the book. The above rant notwithstanding, I actually enjoyed the book. Very well rounded characters, beautiful artwork by Nate Bellegarde and Mark Englert, and as an action story I was turning the pages at a pretty quick pace. The bad puns and heavy-handed anti-establishment panels were a little much. The only thing missing was a reference to “kicking ass for the lord”. But that would have just been silly.
At least Tim Seeley seems to have a sense of humor about what he is doing. The action and the message are evenly dispersed throughout the book without ever mixing so it is easy to move past the sermons (irony) and on to Jesus kicking a little ass. You should pick up this book if you agree with the political opinion of its writer or are just a person that really can’t take political messages in a book about a sword wielding Jesus killing vampires very seriously. Because, in context, it is actually a pretty good read.
A link to the review
Yahoo! Answers: Was Jesus a Vampire?
Well think about it. In order for someone to gain eternal life and immortality they had to drink Jesus' blood. Is that the ritual that vampires have in order to make someone become a vampire and therefore gain immortality? This would mean that Jesus was a vampire that sacrificed his own blood to feed everyone else with. Or am I wrong about the vampire mythology or the biblical mythology?
He could have also been a werewolf. He killed himself to save others, and commanded they consume his flesh like a werewolf would do. Nasty huh? Christianity sounds like a grotesque cannibalistic death cult.
Some of the more interesting answers she got...
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
Alice Chaos: Interesting analogy. It does seem a bit ghoulish to take communion, if put that way! I'm basically Christian, yet I wonder just how different things are from what was supposed to be.
DrCoraline: Ask Anne Rice, she would know.
cha0s: You have been watching a lot of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, haven't you? Or Underworld, both are equally idiotic, though the chick in Underworld is hot. Oh well....
some random guy: lmao. That's cute. And did you know Santa claus is part of the Illumnati formed to keep the masses uneducated?
A link to the page with people's various answers
Jesus was Gother than You: The Proof
A link to the Jesus was Gother than You: The Proof website
From the Uncyclopedia...
Some theologians and religious scholars have argued that certain translations of the Gospel, as well as some parts of other translations, point to the possibility that Jesus came back not as a zombie, but as a vampire. If this is true, certain parts of the Gospel that seemed a bit odd could be easily explained. Such as the fact that Zombie(?) Jesus was not killed by a shovel in the head, as his head was not actually completely removed, and his apparent desire to have his followers drink his blood (something zombies have no taste for, as they can't chew it). This would also explain the inherent fear of crosses that all vampires seem to have.
The debate over whether Jesus came back as a zombie or a vampire caused yet another schism in the Christian Church, and forming two new Christian denominations: Zombie Christians and Vampire Christians. About half of the population of Vampire Christians claim that they converted because "Vampires are just so much more awesome than zombies". These people were insane, of course. Zombies are far superior.
A link to the complete Zombie Jesus entry in The Uncyclopedia
Answerbag Question: Jesus resurrected - zombie or vampire?
By The Devils Own
Asked Jul 27 2007 12:17AM
some answers that were given...
nvg70: Well according to my friends who are vampires, they say zombie. Hahahahahaha, but I don't think he ever rose up from the dead. He would have to have been bitten, or he would have to have been raised my a necromancer.
DuchyVonChops is proud to be Irish ABFB: Zombie, never did buy into the vampire thing.
Ender is happy: Well, whichever one sucks the fun out of life.. Probably a vampire.
Answerbag: Answer Question Watch this question Email to a friend
A link to the Answerbag page with this question
Exposes us to sun
At which we celebrate rebirth
And--please excuse the pun--
Everything now 'springs' to life
That's why we call it spring?
And some pair off as man and wife
It's all about the strings.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Good Friday! Happy Purim, Eid, etc...
Wednesday, Mar. 19, 2008
By DAVID VAN BIEMA WITH SIMON ROBINSON/NEW DELHI
On Friday more than a billion Christians around the world will mark the gravest observance on their Calendar, Good Friday, the day Jesus died on the cross. (To be followed in two days by Easter Sunday, to mark his Resurrection).
But unlike some holy days — say, Christmas, which some non-Christians in the U.S. observe informally by going to a movie and ordering Chinese food — on this particular Friday, March 21, it seems almost no believer of any sort will be left without his or her own holiday. In what is statistically, at least, a once-in-a-millennium combination, the following will all occur on the 21st:
Purim, a Jewish festival celebrating the biblical book of Esther
Narouz, the Persian New Year, which is observed with Islamic elaboration in Iran and all the "stan" countries, as well as by Zoroastrians and Baha'is.
Eid Milad an Nabi, the Birth of the Prophet, which is celebrated by some but not all Sunni Muslims and, though officially beginning on Thursday, is often marked on Friday.
Small Holi, Hindu, an Indian festival of bonfires, to be followed on Saturday by Holi, a kind of Mardi Gras.
Magha Puja, a celebration of the Buddha's first group of followers, marked primarily in Thailand.
"Half the world's population is going to be celebrating something," says Raymond Clothey, Professor Emeritus of Religious studies at the University of Pittsburgh. "My goodness," says Delton Krueger, owner of www.interfaithcalendar.org, who follows "14 major religions and six others." He counts 20 holidays altogether (including some religious double-dips, like Maundy Thursday and Good Friday) between the 20th (which is also quite crowded) and the 21st. He marvels: "There is no other time in 2008 when there is this kind of concentration."
And in fact for quite a bit longer than that. Ed Reingold and Nachum Dershowitz, co-authors of the books Calendrical Calculations and Calendrical Tabulations, determined how often in the period between 1600 and 2400 A.D. Good Friday, Purim, Narouz and the Eid would occur in the same week. The answer is nine times in 800 years. Then they tackled the odds that they would converge on a two-day period. And the total is ... only once: tomorrow. And that's not even counting Magha Puja and Small Holi.
Unless you are mathematically inclined, however, you may not see the logic in all this. If it's the 21st of March, you may ask, shouldn't all the religions of the world celebrate the same holiday on that date each year?
No. There are a sprinkling of major holidays (Western Christmas is one) that fall each year on the same day of the Gregorian calendar, a fairly standard non-religious system and the one Americans are most familiar with.
But almost none of tomorrow's holidays actually follows that calendar. All Muslim holy days, for instance, are calculated on a lunar system. Keyed to the phases of the moon, Islam's 12 months are each 29 and a half days long, for a total of 354 days a year, or 11 days fewer than on ours. That means the holidays rotate backward around the Gregorian calendar, occurring 11 days earlier each year. That is why you can have an "easy Ramadan" in the spring, when going without water all day is relatively easy, or a hard one in the summer. And why the Prophet's birthday will be on March 9 next year.
Then there is the Jewish calendar, which determines the placement of Purim. It is "lunisolar," which means that holidays wander with the moon until they reach the end of what might be thought of as a month-long tether, which has the effect of maintaining them in the same season every year.
Good Friday, meanwhile, like many of the other most important Christian holidays, is a set number of days before Easter. The only problem is that the date of Easter is probably the most complicated celebratory calculation this side of Hinduism, which has a number of competing religious calendars. The standard rule is "the Sunday after the first full moon on or after the day of the vernal equinox." But in fact, the actual divination of the date is so involved that it has its own offical name: "computus." And so challenging that Carl Friedrich Gauss, one of history's greatest mathematicians, devoted the time to create an algorithm for it. It goes on for many lines. You can look it up. And, of course, it doesn't work for Eastern Orthodox Easter (about one month later than the Western Christian one this year, on April 27).
So, should we celebrate all these celebrations? Yes, says William Paden, the author of Religious Worlds: The Comparative Study of Religion and a professor at the University of Vermont — at least to the extent that we revere the drive to carve out sacred time in the middle of the day-by-day profane. "Each of these religions is creating its own world, with its own time and space and memory system," he says. They recognize what's of real value, and they encode it, and it forms an architecture of memory." Yes, says Bruce Lawrence, the head of Islamic Studies at Duke University, who was invited to speak at a nearby synagogue when the beginnings of Rosh Hashanah and Ramadan happened to coincide last year.
But be cautious, since human nature is as fickle as coincidence. "When one group is grieving and one is jubilant there are some unfortunate tensions," says Anand Kumar, with the Centre for the Study of Social Systems at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, a city with considerable experience with multiple faiths. Such conjunctions have led to conflicts and even riots, not just when moods clash, but because "the public sphere is being contested." Kumar is convinced, however, that "a new generation is emerging that is more pluralistic and they don't feel threatened just because someone is from another religion."
And that will be what this writer meditates on this Friday.
Happy Holidays! :) - OlderMusicGeek
A link to the article at Time.com
Arthur C Clarke died on March 18th.
And being a big science fiction fan, I was a big appreciator of his work. And I will miss him.
To me, Arthur C Clarke was the best of the "hard" science fiction writers. The ones that dealt with strongly with science and technology. Strangely enough, even though he was writing about science and technology, his books could take on a rather mystical bent, as Childhood's End obviously showed.
He was one of the few writers, in my opinion, whose work improved as he got older. Some people will complain about him writing a bunch of sequels and remakes, but the sequels and remakes had some interesting new ideas - and the plot, characterizations, mood and just plain storytelling was much better than in the earlier work. His best ideas for stories may have been in the past, but his best STORIES were the later ones!
Below are some excerpts from remembrances written for him. - OlderMusicGeek
The Science Friday Blog
Thank You, Arthur C. Clarke
posted by Ira Flatow on Tuesday, March 18. 2008
Arthur C. Clarke, author of more than 100 books including the one that made him known to many more millions, "2001: A Space Odyssey," has passed from us.
Thank you for your passion and your prose. Thank you for your vision.
Thank you for speaking out on important issues, for not keeping silent.
We all have favorite scenes, chapters or quotes from his novels or movies.
But my favorite remains this one not published in any novel: Years after missions to the moon had ended, Clarke was asked what he thought was the most amazing part of the whole race to the moon.
What's most amazing to me, he said, was that we could go there...and not go back.
Posted by Ira Flatow on Tuesday, March 18, 2008, 3:40 PM | Comment (1)
From BBC News...
British science fiction writer Sir Arthur C Clarke has died in his adopted home of Sri Lanka at the age of 90.
"Sir Arthur has left written instructions that his funeral be strictly secular," his secretary, Nalaka Gunawardene, was quoted as saying by news agency AFP.
She said the author had requested "absolutely no religious rites of any kind".
He served in the Royal Air Force during World War II, and foresaw the concept of communication satellites.
When asked why he never patented his idea for communication satellites, he said: "I did not get a patent because I never thought it will happen in my lifetime."
In the 1940s, he maintained man would reach the moon by the year 2000, an idea dismissed at the time.
"I have had a diverse career as a writer, underwater explorer and space promoter. Of all these, I would like to be remembered as a writer."
Clarke says goodbye to fans in 2007
David Eicher, editor of Astronomy magazine, told CNN that Clarke's writings were influential in shaping public interest in space exploration during the 1950s and '60s. Watch how Clarke stands among sci-fi giants »
"He was very interested in technology and also in humanity's history and what lay out in the cosmos," Eicher said. His works combined those "big-picture" themes with "compelling stories that were more interesting and more complex than other science fiction writers were doing," he said.
More from Jeff VanderMeer's Arthur C. Clarke: An Appreciation of a Life Well-Lived on Omnivarious: Hungry for the Next Good Book...
Over his lifetime, Clarke received many honors, including being knighted and having the Apollo 13 Command Module and the Mars Orbiter both named "Odyssey" in appreciation of his work. Clarke remained a vital force up until his death. He authored books, made appearances via videophone from his home in Sri Lanka, and continued to deny the polio that had kept him mostly wheelchair-bound for two decades.
Arthur C. Clarke's fiction embodied a fundamental optimism about the future, tempered by a healthy skepticism about the human condition and an ongoing fascination with certain forms of spirituality. Unlikely to indulge in dystopic visions, but rarely sentimental or unrealistic, Clarke was, quite simply, curious about the world.
From the New York Times....
An Appraisal: For Clarke, Issues of Faith, but Tackled Scientifically
By EDWARD ROTHSTEIN
Published: March 20, 2008
Such apocalypse is the bread and butter of science fiction, but sometimes with Mr. Clarke it is also the communion, the sharing of a moment of transcendence in which some destiny is fulfilled, some possibility opened up. Hence the fetus of “2001.” That transformation may also not be something to be desired by current standards. The prospects are just too alien, like the ineffable Overmind in “Childhood’s End” that propels humanity to a new evolutionary stage, inspiring as much horror as awe.
This side of Mr. Clarke’s work may be the most eerie, particularly because his mystical speculations accompany an uncanny ability to envision worlds that are eminently plausible. It is Mr. Clarke who first conceived of the communication satellites that orbit directly over a single spot on Earth and allow the planet to be blanketed in a network of signals. There are many other examples as well.
But acts of reason and scientific speculation are just the beginning of his imaginings. Reason alone is insufficient. Something else is required. For anyone who read Mr. Clarke in the 1960s and ’70s, when space exploration and scientific research had an extraordinary sheen, his science fiction made that enterprise even more thrilling by taking the longest and broadest view, in which the achievements of a few decades fit into a vision of epic proportions reaching millenniums into the future. It is no wonder that two generations of scientists were affected by his work.
For all his acclaimed forecasting ability, though, it is unclear whether Mr. Clarke knew precisely what he saw in that future. There is something cold in his vision, particularly when he imagines the evolutionary transformation of humanity. He leaves behind all the things that we recognize and know, and he doesn’t provide much guidance for how to live within the world we recognize and know. In that sense his work has little to do with religion.
But overall religion is unavoidable. Mr. Clarke famously — and accurately — said that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Perhaps any sufficiently sophisticated science fiction, at least in his case, is nearly indistinguishable from religion.
A remembrance for Arthur C Clarke from NPR's Morning Edition
Monday, March 17, 2008
A St Patrick's Day classic from The Muppet Show...
A rap for St Patrick's Day about an important time in Ireland...
I've put this video up before, but it's too good NOT to present for St Patrick's Day...
A great video made to Flogging Molly's "Drunken Lullabies"...
WARNING: This video makes generous use of profanity!
Mark Day on being Scottish on St Patrick's day and explaining saints and St. Patrick....
WARNING: This one contains religious views some will find offensive.
A link to all my St Patrick's Day posts
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Favorite Local Music Acts
- The Hollowmen (the best band EVER to come out of my state) on The Secret History website
- The Hollowmen (the best band EVER to come out of my state) on The Underground Archives and Network website
- Head Candy (80s local alternative rock)
- The Vandon Arms (local Celtic punk) official website
- The Vandom Arms (local Celtic punk) on MySpace
- The Vandon Arms (celtic punk) on YouTube
- North Of Grand (local pop punk/hard rock) official website
- North Of Grand (local pop punk/hard rock) on MySpace
- North Of Grand (local pop punk/hard rock) on YouTube
- Look Out Loretta (local pop punk/hard rock)
- Slaughterhouse 6 (local ska/alternative)
- Gumbohead (midwestern Cajun/Zydeco band)
- Gumbohead (cajun/zydeco) on YouTube
- Pumptown (local pop/rock) official website
- Pumptown (local pop/rock) on MySpace
- Pumptown (local pop/rock) on YouTube
- Old Scratch Revival Singers (local punk folk/alternative)
- Old Scratch Revival Singers (local punk folk/alternative) on YouTube
- Buick McSnake (local alternative)
- Buick McSnake (local alternative) on YouTube
Favorite Internet Sites
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