Surely this must be the end of days, when religious fanatics overrun entire sections of the globe—with martyrs, books and fear; opposed by corrupt governments—with lawyers, guns and money; overseen by Empires and umpires—with commentary, updates, and buzzfeed; with the fossils of forgotten ancestors funding it all, sowing seeds of hate where no flowers have grown for years, decades, or centuries; in deserts laid waste by millennia of neglect and eons of misuse. For any religion to use fear as a weapon is to do a grave disservice to all parties concerned. Fear is a weapon of war, not religion… (More …)
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I hate birthdays, and Christmas is even worse; Thanksgiving is okay, but the New Year is a blessed curse, as if one day were really better than the other, as if wishing could make it so, as if we were born again Christian every moment of every day best part being the childhood the holidays and the presents no past only future surfing the current like a rogue wave tsunami, traveling at the speed of light mass infinite begging for forgiveness I’d like to say it doesn’t matter but really it does the little things like the candles on a cake and a peck on the cheek or the lips life is too short to stumble through unnoticed and un-noted sleeping in caves when a split-level would be nice or merely riding the waves when a double-decker would do well we came down from the trees to cross swords we came down from the trees to cross oceans to cross thresholds…
Tucson, Arizona 2015–I especially like the small imperfections, like when a brick had to be hacked to fit into a too-small space, or the mortar had to be thicker just to reach the ceiling or the mason dropped a stitch when a cigarette burnt his lips or the mortar got slathered sloppily when the helper forgot to tie his shoelace or the foreman was trying to remember the Spanish word for bricks and blocks and the clock kept lurching in ticks and tocks and somebody thought they saw the stigmata of Jesus, corpus christi or the Virgin of Guadelupe in the blemishes of the bricks but you don’t get paid until you finish the work so here I am one hundred years later building a church where unlicensed workmen only saw simple shelter…
Apparently the problem with the Iraqi troops defending Ramadi from ISIL is that they were under the mistaken assumption that they would be staying at the the Ramada… oops… that explains why the beds were so hard… and where’s that chambermaid, anyway–and that gun? Iraq’s commander said that there were bright lights… and loud noises… so they left. Ooohhh, sounds like a bad episode of the Kardashians…
Kc is discussing. Toggle Comments
“Everything happens for a reason.” How many times have you heard that? Is it accurate? Is it true? Is it even valid? Meh; that probably depends, on who or what is sentence subject and who or what is object in a life sentence with no parole. Fortunately our language structure allows for a multitude of possibilities, with its general vagueness, allowing plausible deniability. But is that what you want—plausible deniability? No, you want certainty. That’s the beauty of religion, and that’s the slice of thought that statements like this come from.
The answer is probably ‘no’, of course, that ‘everything happens for a reason’, given no reason to think that it is true, and that is, after all, the bottom line: truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth… But that is the basis of life, not religion, which relies on the power of positive thinking and retrofit of spurious logic. That’s not a bad thing, and can offer more than silly smiles on sullen Sundays, reasons to push on another day. But life is more than the agreement of subject and object, isn’t it, after all? Life is neither happy nor sad, in and of itself. Any serious Buddhist knows that… (More …)
Esther Fabbricante is discussing. Toggle Comments
If there were (subjunctive mood) a vote for the legalization of marijuana, would that be a reeferendum?
mary is discussing. Toggle Comments
Pyongyang, North Korea: City without cars…
If it seems unbelievable at first, that the bastion of Capitalism is really not much different from Communism, then consider the following: freedom is illusory and our lives are largely programmed. Most American cities have been reduced to hulking shells of their former selves, vast and brooding, devoid of any life, or not much, anyway. The fact that this is by and large a civilicide sui generis accomplished by volunteer transmigration to suburbs and gated communities is irrelevant in my humble opinion. Suicide is no better than homicide.
The typical American city resembles nothing so much as the typical Communist city, with broad avenues and pompous statues, monuments to nothing so much as collective national ego. There are few if any people in the parks, few if any tacos on the streets. You can see this today in many a leftover satellite of the USSR like Tashkent, Uzbekistan, as easily as you can see it in many a leftover satellite of the USA like Shreveport, Alabama (yeah, I know; I’m making a point). (More …)
Swedish movies are known for their brooding interiors, but brooding exteriors? Now there’s fresh food for thought, thought experiment, that is, which best describes this little peach of a movie from Swedish director Ruben Ostlund. The premise is simple enough: a ‘controlled avalanche’ in the French Alps goes a little bit out of control, giving tourists dining on the view and crepes a good scare, and their split-second reactions a good lesson in metaphysics. Spoiler alert: get your popcorn before the movie starts, because the climax comes within the first ten minutes. Everything else is denouement. Alternative title suggestion: ‘Premature Extrapolation’….
The French title (better than the Swedish title ‘Turist’ btw), of course translates most obviously to ‘Major Force’, but that sounds like a Charles Bronson movie, so ‘Act of God’ is probably the better rendition, referring as it does to the clause in most contracts that allows a way out for everyone, much harm but no foul; i.e. ‘sh*t happens’, responsibility must be shared, if the concept even applies. And that’s the plot: when the ‘little avalanche’ comes, people revert to basic instincts for survival. The wife and mother immediately protects her kids. The husband and father pulls a George Costanza and makes for the exit, reappearing only long after the fog of disaster has cleared. Food for thought? You bet… (More …)
American cities need to lose weight, and waistlines, fat-ass plastic-wrapped white-bread montrosities—monstro-cities—sprawled-out to kingdom come, but kingdom won’t come like this, not on concrete and steel, asphalt and false expectations, extending out to God-only-knows-where there is no limit by statute good taste or common sense just red lights and turning lanes…
This is democracy gone horribly wrong, one-man one-vote now obsolete one-man one-car the order of the day, red-light districts everywhere now, and no limit to the number of quickie customers just looking for strange anywhere everywhere doing it in the road living lives and dying deaths in mid-lane even homeless people have cars to sleep in the American way, just look for an empty parking-lot and circle the wagons…
I get it, the new democracy, that is, but I don’t like it: vehiculocracy, vote with your wheels, just drive somewhere else if you don’t like it here; I look at most cities and only see blight, ugliness, the devil’s workshop: truth beauty and goodness selling out to commercial interests and highest bidders, not the city so much but the endless sprawl, America the worst offender reduced to whipping boy for oil interests and poster boy for bank interest, asphalt concrete and steel; lawyers, guns and money-changers…