Friday, November 28, 2008

What makes Christianity stand apart

In answer to the age-old question "why does God allow evil and suffering?" Christianity is the only world religion or faith system where God took on human form and suffered and died so in answer to the Question we may not have the full answer in this life but you could at least say God took part in our own suffering so to speak. Of course this all collapses if you view Jesus Christ as mere man, nice prophet and nothing more but for me the essence of Christianity is what I just said and you can't say this of the other religions. It helps make the Question bearable if not answerable and for a good read along this line read Taylor Caldwell's The Listener. It's almost as if God were saying to the human race since I gave my creatures free will I will allow evil to exist in the world but I, in the Second Person of the Trinity will also partake in the suffering it causes. Pretty profound if you stop to think about it. Now the dogmatic theologian will object that Christ died solely for our sins and to save us, that mine is an errant theology but that's my personal faith as Patrick M might say. Deep thought for the Day.

Lest we need a reminder

I am afraid to say I am detecting a pattern here, it seems the terrorists are intent on giving each individual country their own 9/11. What kind of a religion is this? Monday morning quarterbacking for a minute during the cycle of the Big Election public opinion surveys and exit polling consistently told us terrorism was very low on the list of voters' concerns, shockingly low imo and the Economy was all the rage. Now we have the atrocity in Mumbai, India and, thinking out loud here if terrorism was more properly important in voters' minds as it should have been conventional wisdom has always held that this helps the Republican side more, in this case McCain. Put another way if the collective voting psyche was different and more attuned to reality would McCain have done better, even pulled it off? 9/11 is like some unhappy island drifting off and disappearing into the fog, seems the further we get away from it the more we forget. I haven't yet yielded to the temptation to conclude the voting public is stupid but in addition to the social issues hardly making a blip on the radar screen, dunno, it's like having a big jigsaw puzzle with pieces missing. It is also conventional wisdom to treat everything coming out of Joe Biden's mouth as one big guffaw, the personification of the brain fart but is it that far behind that Obama will be tested, will face some sort of crisis during the first six months of his Administration? In four years will he even want the job? The 3AM phone call, just transfer the call. "Hill on line 1."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

soapboxgod's sex as a contract

The gist of soapboxgod's contract idea here is that a man and a woman going into the act should accept beforehand the risks and responsibilities going in. I'd go so far as to say that the very lack of the idea of intercourse as a contract is what has led to our unusually high abortion rates in the first place. Now I'm not coming at this from a puritanical angle, I've often thought in some alternative mythical universe humans would reproduce another way and sex would just be sex but that's The Way He Made It. Now sex is enormously attractive to the vast majority of us but each and every act has the potential to create new life and so you'd think that in and of itself would give us pause, some time to reflect but no. Of the personal stories I've heard about people making abortion a way of life and yes I guess people up here in the Northeast with the funky water supply just talk about these things more as opposed to the normal folk out in Ohio but it seems in all these cases it's just people doing IT whenever and wherever but liberalism would not have us poke our nose into other people's business so that's that. Say what you will but making abortion illegal whether you agree with that or not would at least force people to look at the procreative angle of sex more, as it is now we don't and the pornos only reinforce this with its circuses and flying fluids, sex as a joke...worked once with a Jamaican chef and he's hardly the social conservative type but he said to us one day "sex is the most overhyped thing there is. Don't get me wrong, it's nice, it's OK but..." I've known young men who've had a kid or two out of wedlock, yeah this ain't a great social trend as the conservatives and the pro-aborts alike are only too fond of pointing out (strange bedfellows there) but they seemed to accept the risks and responsibilities going in...SEX, it is what it is.

In short abortion is a philosophical disagreement with God about Sex or as my friend put it once "people gotta have their Pops."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The problem with the world

A chef friend and I were talking once and he told me what's wrong with the world in a nutshell,

nobody's cool.

It's like the boss you have, you'd think that once you get to know each other he'd ease up on the workload a little and even crack a joke every once in a while but NO, or the time I took the bus to high school and the fare went up overnight and I was a dime short and the bus driver was glaring at me, a passenger grudgingly had to give up a dime and that was when the economy was good. In fact Obama should give a major address on the subject, the total lack of coolness in today's world - "al-Zawahiri, would you lighten up a little? you're weirding us out."

There are songs on the radio I'm not too fond of. Some are downright terrible, some are ok but I just don't care for them and when they come on your hand automatically changes the dial, it's a built-in reflex thing. Stations that play the same playlist everyday, they will force you to like this song, before you know it you'll think it's good too otherwise they wouldn't be playing it so much right? Pravda Radio.

Xmas Shopping

I no longer knock myself out trying to be creative and stuff. I just go to the liquor store and that takes care of half of them in one shot (Glenlivet Single-Malt Scotch Whiskey aged 12 years!), the rest I can give money to. I just get it out of the way, go out and blow a whole week's paycheck and I'm done.

Don't you just hate it when you get up to go to the bathroom at 2:30 in the morning, just a brief intermission in your sleep, you're walking down the stairs and you see it, that sliver of yellow light coming from the crack in the bathroom door. Like two ships passing in the night but the timing is off so you just pull up a stool and take a seat...few minutes later you're wide awake.

Ashley Dupre. She said to People magazine that when she had an affair with a married man it finally gave some meaning to her life what with the hooking and all. It's almost like you gotta be married to score these days or become a priest. GO AWAY!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Flippin' through some quotes

The ancient Chinese philosopher Chuang Tzu (389-286BC) was one of the earliest interpreters of the religion of taoism. Googled some quotes and here's a gem: "Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness." Here's another one for Bill Maher: "Men honor what lies within their sphere of knowledge but do not realize how dependent they are on what lies beyond it." But perhaps my favorite is this:

"To say that something is chance is to deny a principle at work."

Every now and then I look back at chapters in my own life, often the odder or more enigmatic events stand out, chance meetings, funny characters, mysterious chains-of-events, the unexplained meanings of things. Worked with a guy once and maybe it's because he's of a spiritual bent but he said to me one day he almost wound up at another job but felt he's at this one for a reason. Beth feels there's a significance in us forming an online friendship and I agree, it's as if it were destined to happen. We're living in a kind of agnostic existential vacuum right now where many place no more meaning on Life's little events than accidentally kicking a pebble while walking but quotes like this fascinate me. It then becomes this - since there are physical laws in place governing matter and the universe might not there be another operative set of laws that a philosopher can discern, a kind of spiritual physics? There is something vaguely optimistic in Tzu's quote even if we can't explain why we got four years of Jimmy Carter or the Dinkins Administration in New York. Hamlet said "there's a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew (prepare for) them how we will." So enjoy this little fortune cookie. Now if someone could just explain David Lynch's Inland Empire.

I was never into the whole wake scene

My friend's job-hunting alot lately and so we drove by a cemetery yesterday and I said in jest "won't don't you apply there?" and he said "don't laugh, gravediggers get paid very well." The thought occured to me this is one area that can never be affected by whatever happens on Wall Street, we could have another Great Depression but you'd still have a job at Gate of Heaven (now there's an optimistic title, no bastards buried there?). Here's another safe investment, toilet paper no?

pirates still exist?

It's finally gotten autumnal out here, I was beginning to think the Goracle had a point.

The Materialist Assumption

I have to work this Thanksgiving so my boss goes "everyone wanted to work but I gave it to you." No, thank you! She must think I'm some fiscal conservative, no social life.

No matter what you're into these days quality is not the norm. Entertainment, books, movies, music, doesn't matter but it's like when you find it you want to put it away in a safe place.

There's something I like about the whole diner experience. We were at some diner yesterday and I joked to my friend what if you saw Gordon Ramsay in the back yelling at people, they're filming an episode of "Kitchen Nightmares." Just finish your coffee, fold your paper in half and leave.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The gay marriage debate - what conservatives are afraid to say

On the drive over to the library this morning I was thinking of the whole gay marriage debate and why it still sticks in people's craws. Judging by the ballot box people still have a problem with it although conservatives won't state the real reason why. Sure Americans still want to protect the institution of marriage but opposition to gay marriage is not necessarily based on cold hard logic anyway, it has more to do with the loss of masculine culture. Perez Hilton on 'PLJ, Cojo on "E.T.", Richard Simmons, I'm like why are you talking like that? it's hardly an exercise in stereotyping to say that many gay men act and talk like women. The beauty of true masculinity, it's Dirty Harry jumping from the overpass on to the schoolbus being held hostage by the sniper, it's being bit by a 2 1/2 foot garter snake that you brought home when you were a kid because you went exploring in some swamp with your buddy instead of staying at home playing with a doll, it's going trout fishing and getting lost in the woods and finding your way out alone when the sun has already set. The continuing opposition to changing our marriage laws, it's just a cultural feeling, something offensive to our sensibilities. Obama saying to Steve Kroft on "60 Minutes" that taking out OBL would be a top priority of his administration, say what you will that's a masculine statement, some strategic advisor must have said grow a pair already. Here's where tao is wrong, most people seem to retain at least some level of social conservatism, a large swath of the country may be pro-choice now but on a cultural level the whole gay marriage debate is offensive to them. It's like when you read Average American's blog, it just has that masculine stamp all over it, you just know Joe wouldn't go for such nonsense. I was thinking too of how feminists have emasculated the culture with their a man can only ask a woman out once nonsense, give me that all-American red-blooded male any day who makes a valiant effort to win over her heart. I don't know man, it's just why are you talking like that?

Monday, November 17, 2008

When should human life begin?

For your typical pro-choicer when human life begins is utterly irrelevant to the subject at hand. For all intents and purposes they are saying that even if human life we are willing to go along with the Woman's decision. This is a totally radical new moral formula though. Even Harry Blackmun who wrote the majority piece in Roe acknowledged in a footnote that if Science ever proves the humanity of the unborn the abortion case collapses as in totally. So in effect the choicers make no moral distinction whatsoever between contraception and abortion (I hear some protests in the audience), it's all about the Woman (or is that Womyn?). They may as well say because there is an umbilical cord I'm pro-choice.

A word about legislating morality which so many of my fellow bloggers have brought up. A very poor framing of the issue, doesn't apply in the sense that a burglar would probably feel the government is legislating his morality to take your goods. Your typical pro-choice line of argumentation is like some old piece of Melba toast that's been sitting behind the washing machine, even the ants are bored with it.

Abortion is the only subject where Logic doesn't reign supreme.

SC & FC tensions coming to a head

Like that Thanksgiving family blowup that was destined to happen the fiscal conservatives (FCs) want the social conservatives (SCs) out of their house or is that the SCs' house? Now the staunchly pro-life Ronald Reagan won two landslides so an objective observer would say when people vote for pro-life candidates they either want the abortion laws changed or they are indifferent to the issue, either way the FCs' case againt the SCs is overstated. People with no social conservative pull at all are technically known as libertarians and are a subgroup of the FCs, they are a distinct minority even within their own party and so for them to assert a certain dominance shows an inflated sense of self-importance and a misreading of the political culture, even people who are for abortion might be against gay marriage for instance. The issue is most often framed by the FCs as government encroaching upon the rights of the individual aka liberty, this is their E=mc2 or Unified Field Theory but this is a false reading of liberty. Folks voting for pro-life candidates is hardly undemocratic and if pro-life laws are ever passed in the future it is to be presumed that a consensus exists in their favor.

Then you have another species altogether, people who say they're pro-choice but that really only applies to abortion. This is your typical liberal or nanny-stater who has a constant problem with what you put in your stomach, the fact that you may smoke or own a gun and in some cases an SUV, they don't like school vouchers, they wanna protect you against trans-fats, the risque joke in the workplace and the list goes on and on. For them pro-choice is not an overriding concern, for some idiosyncratic reason it only applies to Woman's Right to Choose. Now another Z-principle is that when push comes to shove the majority of people who call themselves pro-choice are really pro-abortion, this is why they reflexively oppose proposed informed-consent legislation. Completing Z's Equation then Pro-Choice = Anti-Informed Consent so from time to time we'll be referring to them as the anti-informed choicers.

Shut up sit down and pass the scalloped potatoes already, I'm starving!

Friday, November 14, 2008

On the road again, a drive thru Disturbia

Yesterday my friend and I hit the big YO and the main drag there with its endless strip malls and plazas but before that he said take this side road and so we did. You know these areas, tucked away off the main road and all the action, full of cul-de-sacs, circles and dead ends, easy to get lost in but generally a tony part of town, upper middle-class suburbia with its tree-lined streets, English Tudors, white houses with white picket fences and those Brady Bunch homes so I says to him "nice houses, I wouldn't mind living here." He goes "yeah it's nice but there's something depressing about this place." "What?" "It oozes dysfunction, the parents are successful but the kids are potheads." The art of the rant, it's just getting started. "You probably have refined mobsters living here, not the demented types and he goes into an excellent impersonation using an older Italian voice: "yeah Sal got me a nice piece of property here." Then he goes off on people who complain alot, like about everything, it's a nonstop drumbeat of negativity and he says "it's like he was going into one of his autistic attacks" (I'm not sure what this means) "and he got me all jittery I wanted to tell him just Shut the F**k Up already!!" It's like this woman boss I had, every morning without fail and this was early when nobody is fully awake yet and nobody feels like even talking and for two straight hours she'd bitch and moan nonstop about this and that and I'm like shut up lady, you're getting everyone all twitchy. So I'm driving and he wants to get something at Nathan's and I pull up to the drive-thru and I go "just tell her what you want and speak loudly enough" so it reminded me of that old Will Ferrell skit on SNL where he has this speech disorder and can't help talking overly loud, right in my ear. These intercom systems ain't the best and the girl repeats the order as best she can but you could tell it was a little bit wrong and he goes "OK". When you really don't know what to do with yourselves there's always that old fallback place, Barnes & Noble, the alternative being prison boredom. On the way back we're talking about our jobs, some physical labor is involved and how it destroys you physically, takes its toll over the years, bad back, bad leg, groin pull and I go "in about 20 years time I'll retire with a withered arm and one nut." It's still early so I drop him home, it's only around 7 in the evening and I have trouble finding a parking space, go around the block a couple of times and think maybe I live in a community of agoraphobics, they come home right after work and hide, nobody goes out anymore, maybe they're at home watching scat videos, dunno.....The Travelblog

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Oh hell

My pastor's been talking alot about Hell lately. His theme: if there is no Hell then it really doesn't matter what we do in this life. He preaches the Devil's favorite weapon is to convince the masses that Hell doesn't exist. He's not wrong exactly but this is known as thinking out loud. He makes the strong although not quite explicit point that there are people in Hell right now, has to be, he would deny this of course so maybe that's my spin on his sermons but he's venturing into a theological mystery here, don't go there. There is imo a psychological need to believe in eternal punishment, it soothes us knowing that the people who did us dirty will get theirs in the End. Now I accept the logic and necessity of Hell but there's a part of me that doesn't quite believe in it at least in the sense of it being overpopulated (which sphere contains the Onanists and the premarital sexers?) but I have seen bad karma, a kind of Eastern version of Hell time and again. Not that long ago had a boss, a real nasty piece of work. He got a good guy fired and only a few weeks went by before he was transferred and demoted himself. Some people think they have an Exemption from Bad Karma card they carry around in their wallet.

Since we've all been blogging like mad it seems about the topic of abortion lately for me at least this all ties into what I see as a lack of fear of God in society at large, I mean if you're at all uncertain about abortion wouldn't you want to at least hedge your bets but like my friend says some people thrive on chaos. Throwing dice, uh-oh snake-eyes! How many people are pro-choice on their deathbeds? I think it's like Beth says though, people may not be committed on abortion one way or the other but want it as an option, it's kinda like a sex shop down the street, you can't help going there every once in a while.

(copyright Z-man 11/12/08, all rights reserved)

Monday, November 10, 2008

That bad thing

By now we almost universally acknowledge that

abortion is a bad thing,

at least we say it is and this pretty much goes for both sides but it's a philosophical impossibility, for all of us to say this that is. It all goes back to Religion 101, Man is a rational creature (no don't laugh) and as such cannot choose evil for evil's sake. This applies to the angels too, the hordes who fell with Lucifer felt they had some logical points to take up with their Creator, they felt they were of a higher nature than Man and were given to understand (this at least according to The Mystical City of God by the Ven. Mary of Agreda) that the Second Person of the Trinity was to assume human flesh and be born of an actual woman and they would have to worship both, no dice. So the way I was taught in Catholic high school is that man cannot deliberately choose a bad thing knowing it's a bad thing, evil has to be rationalized, somehow justified as a good. This doesn't explain serial killers of course but for the vast majority of us we're at least deluded in how we act and think.

Now here's the rub, the feminists are pretty much passionate on abortion, they're hardcore it should remain legal and then some, they're a polar opposite in the abortion wars but what I'm getting at is how can you so passionately, so vehemently and so consistently fight for something that everyone, even your own side will acknowledge is a bad thing? This kind of thinking never pertained to civil rights, to clean water and air, to equal pay for equal work, to a cure for cancer. These are all good things and so Z has the suspicion that the feminists are lying through their teeth, in their hearts they really feel abortion is a good thing, a positive social good and if feminists are rational creatures like the rest of us they can only fight for and hold onto something that they consider good, one does not protest for evil unless you're a Satanist.

Oh God my head's about to explode!

Bill Maher (I'm sorry to bring him up again)

I agree with Patrick M, for me personal faith is more important than dogma but here's another thing. The vast majority of us can, if we look hard enough, find various items of faith that we disagree with, that we may even find illogical if not wholely irrational. In the Catholic faith we have the doctrine of transubstantiation, that when the priest consecrates the bread and wine at Mass it literally turns into the Body and Blood of Christ. We also have the Sacrament of Confession and many question why we have to confess our sins to a priest if we are sorry in our hearts. BUT here's the larger point, just because we don't accept everything and btw I don't think we should, reason should never take a back seat to faith, they can and should co-exist, so just because we come across a particular religious item or two (or even three or four but who's counting?) that turns logic on its head we don't turn into little snarky Bill Mahers. We still retain our faith, just because of a couple of technical points we don't say the whole edifice of faith is wrong or somehow corrupt or doesn't have any value or useful purpose. Many people like to say they're spiritual but not religious, I don't know what this is supposed to mean. I'll cut this in two and reserve a philosophical point for my next blog.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

How much emphasis to give the abortion issue?

Pro-life doesn't seem to be a great theme here, the higher concern, the broader context is the continuing socialist narrative. While this of course is not unimportant it shouldn't have been the only thing on the table. Maybe it's because re abortion we're so settled in our ways on the issue and we see it as a distraction from the Larger Cause but I think we could have made a more effective presentation. Obama and his Socialist Agenda, folks probably don't even know what the word means, it has that amorphous ring to it but let's say Obama is a regular reader of the conservative blogosphere as well, he might be forgiven if he concludes they don't seem to talk about the a-word all that much so why should I be nudged or cajoled towards the Center on the issue? Maybe it is all about money, our money in the end only trouble is Obama the Socialist doesn't have a womb-view, a broader package. It's Ayn Rand and reading nothing else. There was a shade of grandeur when McCain addressed pro-life head on during the third and final debate but it didn't take long for the Boat to steer back on its Animal Farm voyage. Just my post-election post-mortem for what it's worth.

At one part in his victory speech Obama threw an olive branch to us, "and to those who didn't vote for me I hear your voices" but does he really? Well if he's listening we're taking notes, well some of us are anyway, for when he runs for his second term and it's quite obvious that's a given since he said it's probably gonna take more than one term to clean up The Mess. Now it is assumed that Mr. Men's Vogue is pro-choice of course, it is the only rational position after all but most folks really don't know the extent of it. He needs to distance himself from the FRINGE of NOW and Planned Parenthood, it's like the friend you need to dump, who holds you back, who pulls you down and this would finally free him up to formulate his own abortion policy. I never really got why social conservatives hitched their wagon to the Republican Party in the first place, they really don't give a damn about the issue anyway, they became infatuated with a whore. Should have gone their own way but that's a pet peeve of mine. Obama has said to pro-abortion groups that his very first act as president will be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act which would codify Roe vs. Wade should that decision ever be overturned but when he attempts to woo The Middle again in 012 it'll come back to haunt him.....

the socialist narrative will continue after these brief commercial messages.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

It was a personality-driven election anyway

McCain had a more than respectable showing, there's gonna be the usual grumblings about doing something with the electoral college and apparently Beth's homestate is the most important state in the nation. My channel-surfing was on overdrive last night, there was Bob Schieffer saying Palin was terrible during interviews, the WonderBoy over at ABC, Shepard Smith and the babes on FOX (yum-o), Brian Williams, Gwen Ifill...My id thought up a terrible joke that I haven't seen black people this happy since O.J. Simpson got acquitted but ya wanna know something? they participated in the process, my brothers were happy at work today, all was civil and there ain't anything undemocratic about it. So why should Obama govern from the center? with a Democratic House and Senate he doesn't have that leavening effect that Clinton had with a Republican Congress so expect at least four years of polar liberalism. As for abortion we've had our Republican day in the sun and abortion is still legal but regardless of the legal status of abortion if we want to call ourselves a pro-life country people need to stop having abortions. Yes I was down for a time last night when the election was beginning to take on definite contours, I'm not into getting hardcore drunk but I had an extra helping of the Christian Brothers just the same. The future of the Supreme Court is depressing and I haven't read the rest of the blogs yet but I would imagine they would say the usual in such a dire situation that we need to focus our energy and grassroots on the mid-terms. Sean & RUSH for four more years, I ain't gonna subject myself to this. The turnout was absolutely massive yesterday, a historic one where close to 65% of the country actually voted, biggest turnout in the last hundred years they said so whatever you think of the results this is heartening.

People who work off the clock during their day off even though the company doesn't want them to, the black man would never do this. People who punch for lunch and then work through lunch, the black man would never do this.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

So win one for the (black) Gipper

Conservatives have even drunk deep from the Kool-Aid well, what's in it? more on that in a minute. So check it out, in today's election day edition of the New York Post we have DC Bureau Chief Charles Hurt getting, I don't wanna say, a little aroused?

"Like Ronald Reagan before him Obama began outside the party gates and crashed through them. The party establishment was aghast and his political opponents ridiculed him as a lightweight. But both men offered an optimistic (? - question mark Z's) vision for a despondent and troubled country. Obama's gauzy outlook is vague (ya think? - ed.) but so was Reagan's 'shining city on a hill'.....Like Reagan Obama speaks over the heads of the media directly to people, tens of thousands at a time, sometimes a hundred thousand or more."

Holy shit Batman, this stuff is strong!! So what have the weird masturbators put in the Kool-Aid this time? an advanced form of lysergic acid without the bad trips, something so subtle yet so potent you don't even know you're sick? Allow me to wax conspiratorial for a moment, when Obama and Hillary were duking it out in the primaries you even had some conservative commentators saying she should drop out for the good of her party but this begs the question why would a conservative worry so much that a Democrat is potentially undermining and ruining her own party? Honorable mention goes to Rich Lowry though for being a vocal and consistent conservative critic of the Obama Agenda early on but he seems to be in the minority.

I just got back from voting, did it early at 9 and got it out of the way but dunno if I can stand the election coverage which actually has been going on for two years now already, never saw anything like it in my life. Amy Fisher Caught on Tape vs. today's election coverage, yes it's that bad folks. I was always dubious about this polling thing, not that they're totally fabricated mind you but as Daniel pointed out recently polling companies like Rasmussen push the undecided into giving some type of answer and let's face it when push comes to shove when pressed for an answer they're gonna go with the guy with the most favorable press coverage. Then there's the concern of the self-fulfilling prophecy, if the vast majority of polls are so bad for McCain will this have a dampening effect for him as in why even bother? IMO the constant barrage of new polls almost becomes politically irresponsible if you will, what is the point and btw I was never polled in my entire adult life about The Things That Matter Most so who exactly are these people, the constantly polled?

It's a hot toddy kind of evening (or maybe two or three).