Saturday, January 26, 2008

Two Words: LOLCAT Bible

This is the funniest thing I have read in a long time. I will give you just a couple of selections.

Genesis 1: 1-3

1 Oh hai. In teh beginnin Ceiling Cat maded teh skiez An da Urfs, but he did not eated dem.

2 Da Urfs no had shapez An haded dark face, An Ceiling Cat rode invisible bike over teh waterz.

3 At start, no has lyte. An Ceiling Cat sayz, i can haz lite? An lite wuz.
4 An Ceiling Cat sawed teh lite, to seez stuffs, An splitted teh lite from dark but taht wuz ok cuz kittehs can see in teh dark An not tripz over nethin.
5 An Ceiling Cat sayed light Day An dark no Day. It were FURST!!!1

Matthew 1: 18-21

18 Now, teh burth of teh Christ was liek dis: After Marry and Joseph waz all "We's gonna get marrieded, kthnx", but before dey could had hankiez pankiez Mary was all pr3ggerz from Teh Forse.19 Joseph was liek "I has virjn - NOOOO dey be stealin my virjn! Must hied hur".20 But when he was tihnkin, zomg, a WallCat frm Ceiling Cat was liek, "Oh hai! I'm in ur dreemz, givin u messij. Don't be scairdy cat. Take Mary as ur wife - is virjn. But teh Forse is strong in tihs wun, lol! HoverCat is on hur, givn hur feetus, srsly.21 "And she gonna made a son, and you gonna call him Jeezus, cuz he save kittehs frum bein bad kittehs. Kthxbai."

Friday, January 25, 2008

A Religion Joke to End the Term

We finished the Sociology of American Religion in our January term yesterday. Before I begin the grading binge, I thought I would share a joke that I composed for the occasion.

We studied a great range of religion, from Pentecostal gifts of the spirit to high-class liberal Episcopalian such as the retired bishop of Newark. Yes, we ran the gamut from speaking in tongues to antiquing and Spongs.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Gruntled Song of the Year

I know it is early to be making a selection, but there is one out there in enormous national release that will be tough to beat: "Things I Like to Do," by They Might Be Giants.

And why will tens of millions hear this song? Because it is used in a Dunkin' Donuts ad, as the donut peddlers go national as a working stiffs' espresso chain. And the song is perfect for that sensibility.

The ad is here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Middle Way, Even With Bin Laden

Osama bin Laden's son wants to mediate between his father and the West. He claims his father wants a truce. Omar bin Laden and his wife are planning a cross-Africa bicycle race to raise money and awareness for kids injured in the religious wars there. This is a good cause. And perhaps young bin Laden, who is 26, is right that a negotiated settlement with Al-Qaida is possible. It seems unlikely, but I honor anyone willing to make the attempt, however quixotic.

On the other hand, Omar does appear to be a bit of a flake. His partner in this desert bicycle race is new wife, an English woman twice his age who is now on her fifth husband. And it is more of a hoot than a sign of serious politics to see an Osama lookalike in dreadlocks a biker jacket.

There was one fascinating insight into bin Laden thinking in this article. Omar told the Associate Press reporter,
"My father is asking for a truce but I don't think there is any government (that) respects him. At the same time they do not respect him, why everywhere in the world, they want to fight him? There is a contradiction."

If Osama bin Laden thinks that forcing all governments (including his own) to fight him means that they must respect him, then I think we have a window into his tangled mind. And, oddly enough, this might make it truly possible that he would also take our willingness of negotiate as a sign of respect. If that is what it takes to get him to stop murdering people, it is worth a try.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Joshua Obama

Barack Obama is Joshua to Martin Luther King's Moses. He is not the only Joshua, and there is not only one promised land. The long exodus is not about the presidency, but about overcoming the great original sin of America: anti-black racism. However the presidential race turns out in 2008, I am glad to live in a time when there is a Joshua like Obama. Not the one I expected -- the product of a Kenya/Kansas hippy union, by way of Occidental, Columbia, Harvard and then Chicago community organizing, and then the U.S. Senate. But he is a good one.

Barack Obama gave a pretty good Joshua speech at Ebenezer Baptist Church for Martin Luther King Day; if every word of that sentence seems deeply meaningful to you, we share the same religion.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Jackson and Cromwell

As a democrat and Presbyterian, I have long tried to admire Oliver Cromwell. I once had an argument with his statue outside the Parliament building, going over his pros and cons. I think he did assist the cause of Reformation of the Church of England. On the other hand, his suppression of Parliament was a setback to the cause of republicanism in Britain for centuries, and his brutal treatment of Catholics is just unpardonable.

As a Democrat and Presbyterian, I have long tried to admire Andrew Jackson. I believe he is mostly a positive figure, and his refounding of the Democratic Party has been a hugely beneficial gift to the nation. On the other hand, his destruction of the Bank set back the national economy for generations, and his brutal treatment of the Indians is just unpardonable.

Still, Jackson's excesses were constrained by the presidency, which he respected and left voluntarily. Cromwell's excesses just grew and grew and were constrained by nothing but death.

So here is one cheer for Andrew Jackson. Cromwell will have to be content with his statue.