Archive for September, 2008

Congregational cage-fighting: A word on public prayer

September 29, 2008

Since the first century, the institute of communal prayer has been a foundational practice of Christendom. Ecumenical leaders have long relied on public prayer to encourage the body, explicate Biblical truth, and unite the church beneath a common language. Those of us who are not the sole Christian in our village/ethnic group/theater troupe, will – no doubt – be called upon at some point to lead a group of believers in correspondence with the Home Office. This needn’t be cause for trembling or trepidation. Nay, it should be embraced for what it truly is, an opportunity for spiritual showmanship of the highest order.

Like it or not, the Christian community is a cage-fight of religious oneupmanship and it’s no good being pious unless you can be pious in a very public setting. To halfheartedly recite prayer requests in the same conversational language you use to address other humans is to waste an opportunity that may only come along once an eternity. Don’t let this chance for discipleship domination pass you by. Reach out, grab it by the throat, and strangle it into submission! (more…)


PETA Confirms Insanity

September 29, 2008

PETA’s ridiculousness isn’t really news. Remember how they thought it would be a good idea to stop animal exploitation with their super progressive naked babes ad campaign? That rationality makes a lot of sense, right? “Stop exploiting animals! These hot chicks are naked! Fur is bad!” So what you’re saying, PETA, is that rather than participate in the horrible fur market, we should instead tap into the highly underpopulated sexual objectification of women market? Fantastic idea. You guys are awesome.

It’s not because I hate animals, or because I really like eating them (even though I really do). It’s because rather than focusing on real, legit issues like a good tar and feathering for Michael Vick or maybe something that helps HUMANS – they instead urge Ben and Jerry’s to use human breast milk in their ice cream. I’ll give you a chance to deal with that bit of vomit that just came up in your mouth.

WTF? Well, their rationale is based on some disputed research that links dairy milk to various diseases, as well as the super convincing argument that “the breast is best!” While I agree that breast feeding is legit for newborn babies and I agree that boobs are indeed the “best,” the thought of drinking human breast milk as an adult makes me want to drink beer until I can’t remember that idea anymore. Just watch this video of a mother who still breast feeds her daughter at the age of EIGHT. Ready to pry this bottle of Don Julio out of my hands and pound it until you can’t see anymore? I thought so. Yeah, PETA, you encourage violent, memory-altering alcoholism but you save cows from being milked (which apparently they really enjoy). Some help you are.

The main problem I have is how much they’ve lost touch with reality. So we replace cows with women? Women that get paid to have those boob milker things on all the time? And that’s going to bolster a humane boob milking industry or something? What?

PETA, if you want to continue breast feeding at whatever not-newborn-and-therefore-super-gross age you are, that’s fine with me. But please, stop trying to force your crazy on the rest of us.

Some News In Review

September 28, 2008

I’ve been intending to write some articles for a few days now. Needless to say, I’ve been busy trying to convince people that Kent isn’t an anchor weighing my future down. Also, I’ve been working on getting the real site off the ground. It’s almost ready. Anyway, I’ll try to condense my wisdom into as few articles as possible. Let’s go over some news that I think begs commentary.

So, apparently Clay Aiken came out of the closet. I’m not just making small talk, that was actually one of the news pieces I wanted to comment on. “What’s news about that?” you ask insightfully. I asked the same question. We really have to wonder why both CNN and FoxNews thought this was important enough to feature it multiple times for multiple days on the front page of their sites. They ran these stories and the country yawned. But more than that, FoxNews decided that we needed to hear some celebrity reactions on the “news.” Let’s review some of the gems.

“That’s his business, but good on him,” says Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. First of all, you’re right Hugh – that is his business. So why does anyone give a damn? Especially with Clay Aiken. It was like the whole Lance Bass thing. Give us a surprise please, pop culture. Secondly, one really has to doubt the sincerity of the second half of Hefner’s comment. “Good on him,” Hef? This coming from the man who has like 27 “girlfriends” at the same time? Right. Good on him.

This next one is my favorite.

“I was very proud of him as a man to say ‘I’m gay,’ especially in the Hollywood industry where you can be blacklisted. But I salute him — we live in the greatest country in the world and I’m so proud of Clay,” says “Glam God” host Vivica A. Fox. Okay Vivica, it’s true – I’m just a pathetic civilian. I know nothing of the harsh realities of how Hollywood does everything it can to keep prominent gays out of TV and movies. That’s the God’s honest truth, I’ve really never seen it. I’m not going to say it doesn’t happen, I’m just going to say that it sure as hell seems like it doesn’t. It really seems like Hollywood is down with people of alternative lifestyles, such as scientology. You never saw Will and Grace? And I’m glad you’re patriotic, even though I’m not sure why you felt the need to make note of that.

And finally, we have the comment from Nigel Lythgoe, the former Executive Producer of American Idol. He said “I was surprised, but I was delighted for him.” You spent all that time with Clay Aiken on the show and you were surprised? That’s like lying on the tracks for a year and being surprised when you get hit by a train.

Everyone knew it was going to happen. The headline should have read “Clay Aiken Confirms Gayness, No One Cares.”

Please, if there is a merciful bone anywhere in your body, just split the check for us

September 24, 2008

Of all the awful, unforgivable things a waiter can say to me (i.e. “Unfortunately, we’re all out of meatloaf.” “We don’t have Dr. Pepper, is Mr. Pibb okay?” “We don’t serve your kind.”) unquestionably the most abhorrent is some rendition of the following: “I’m sorry, we can’t split dinner checks.” My heart sinks, my eyes are downcast as I prepare for the weeping and gnashing of teeth that is to follow.

Things were going so well. There was a brief spat over the just apportionment of the pre-entree bread roll, but otherwise all was laughter and fraternity. Then, in an instant, this seemingly innocuous utterance transforms our pleasant gathering into a petty, spite-filled bidding war where friendships and fortunes are lost in a matter of minutes.

Never, not once, have I seen a dinner bill divided equitably and amicably by a group of friends. The problem is that most of us have only recently figured out how money works and are still completely baffled by high-level mathematical concepts like fractions and percents. I can comprehend that my hamburger costs $8.99, which I know to be almost $9.00. I am vaguely familiar with the idea that I need to pay an additional 7.8% to the government. What 7.8% of almost $9.00 is, I haven’t the faintest. On top of that, I’m supposed to calculate an additional 15-20% for the tip, and divide the price of our cheese fries into sevenths and pay for my portion. Do I look like Stephen – mother freaking – Hawking? Do I carry a TI-83 in my pocket for emergencies like these?  Did I really get 1/7 of those cheese fries?  No. I did not.

Even with these mathematical hurdles, the whole process might be bearable if it weren’t for the inevitable self-interested posturing that accompanies it. There’s the kid who doesn’t have any cash. There’s the kid who owes someone money from before and the kid who’ll pay someone back if someone will “get him this time.” There’s the guy who dramatically throws money in one dollar at a time so it looks like he’s paid too much when really he’s only paid for his drink. Worst of all is the guy who’s meal cost $17.00 but says, “lets just all put in $12.00. That’d probably be easiest.” I hate that guy.

All of this creates a quagmire of currency and IOUs that makes our current economic crisis look like a game of tic-tac-toe. And the most tragic thing about all of it is that it could have been so easily avoided. I refuse to believe that any, non-Chinese restaurant in America today lacks the technology to print tickets for individual items. They can do it, waiters just don’t like pushing extra buttons. Do they not realize that it’s in their best interest to provide this final service? With all the angst that accompanies dividing up our own check, that tip percentage starts sliding from 15 to 10. Plus, 10% is a lot easier to figure in my head.

I’m not trying to be an ass. I’m sure writing down orders and filling water glasses for four hours is exhausting, but I’m tired of losing friends because they’d rather have five extra minutes to smoke a cig out back.

A word on the incomprehensible, inexplicable laziness of the single, adult, male

September 24, 2008

After making a three year incursion into the third decade, I can state unequivocally that being a single male between the age of 18 and 30 is one of the most catastrophically unhealthy decisions a person can make. Now please, don’t assume I’m talking about the usual binge drinking, smoking, and sexing depicted on The OC, Gossip Girl, and the news. Yes, these hobbies – along with Tivo and microwave dinners – are destroying an entire generation of Americans, but what terrifies me is an entirely different threat. While much is made of the considerable effort young men invest in shortening their lives, far more dangerous is the stupefying and awe-inspiring laziness that single men are capable of. To put it simply, we will die young because we expend no effort to keep ourselves alive.

It is impossible to overstate the lethargy that my generation is capable of. Truly, it defies credulity and the furthest reaches of the imagination. If it weren’t for the civilizing effects of Christian marriage, I am convinced that none of us would live to see thirty. Temporary fixes like jobs, and visits from mom can force short bursts of exertion, but they do not touch the languid gene that controls the minds and limbs of my peers. Allow me to cite some unsubstantiated, anecdotal evidence to affirm this. (more…)