Category Archives: Pop Culture

TEARING OFF THE GIANT HOLY PENIS OF GOD

 Do we put God in a box?

 

The word God is a very heavy one and so let’s break it down a little before we move on. If I say the word dad to someone, they may get fuzzy feelings because their dad was amazing. The word dad has very positive emotional baggage for them.

 

Now, same word, different person. Dad can mean something vicious and upsetting to an individual that was sexually assaulted or abandoned by their father.

 

Let’s simplify this even further.

 

Wine Glass means something positive to an individual who enjoys the intricate tastes and aromas of the drink. However, I have a personal friend who sliced his hand so severely while cleaning a wine glass that he had to undergo extensive surgery and physical therapy before regaining the use of his tendons. He can’t hear the word without shivers running up his spine.

 

We each apply personal emotional baggage, whether that be good or bad, to every word.

 

For someone that received his or her first kiss in a movie theater, it’s a very pleasant thing. For someone who survived a mass shooting inside of one, the word elicits a very different emotional experience.

 

These are all very simple concepts that bring forward very complicated emotions.

 

Let’s try another word.

 

God.

 

Oooh, that’s complex. There are quite a lot of feelings coming to our minds right now and based upon the context of the last few paragraphs, you understand that someone else reading these same words is having a very different thought than you are. We are each experiencing God, in this moment, in very different ways.

 

Let’s mix it up a bit more.

 

Let’s take that idea you have in your head of God, whatever that is, whether it makes you feel nurtured or abandoned, and let’s add another layer onto it.

 

Bible.

 

I’ve written a couple paragraphs here that have made you, with your unique experiences, feel certain things. Just through a simple handful of words you and I have each come to different conclusions and emotional reactions. Now let’s look at a book that is filled with thousands and thousands of words. Some of them are poetic. Some of them are literal. Some of them are parables. Some of them are historical.

 

Now let’s apply each of our personal understandings to those words and you can see how this idea of God quickly spirals insanely out of control.

 

Should we complicate it further?

 

How about a multitude of holy scriptures? The Holy Bible. The Book of Mormon. The Apocrypha. The Gnostic Gospels. The Dead Sea Scrolls. The Torah. The Qur’an. This is to say nothing of the hundreds of scripture that exist outside of the Christian / Jewish / Islamic faiths.

 

Layers upon layers and words upon words written by people in different cultures in different eras that were influenced by different elements and then translated to other languages.

 

In fact, scholars believe that the pronoun Jesus used to describe the Holy Spirit in the original Aramaic was feminine. SHE. And then it was lost in the Latin translation.

 

The image that I have in my mind right now is the world’s largest ball of yarn that has been knotted up to such a degree that it can never be untangled.

 

And perhaps that is exactly what God is. Something that can never be neatly laid out in front of us, dissected and examined.

 

How do we reconcile ourselves to this and find the true meaning behind anything? If I don’t know what you mean or feel when you say wine glass, how am I to know what you mean and feel when you talk about God?

 

The words of the Bible, even if you believe that they were inspired by the perfect hand of God, are still limited based entirely off of our unique interpretation of them.

 

Let that thought linger for a moment.

 

Even if the Bible is without flaw, our own unique flaws create problems where none existed because each of us interpret the words differently.

 

BIBLICAL MIC DROP.

 

So how do we come to know The Truth of God? How do we get to the pure emotion at the center of the words? An emotion carries so much weight. Explain love or fear in simple words. Use those grunts that tumble stupidly from your mouth to tell me what love does to your soul.

 

Perhaps we start this process by removing our labels. When we call God HE, we are applying thought and feeling to God based on our understanding of the word HE. Do we really believe that God is a male? That He has a giant holy penis? I mean, I’m being serious. Let’s talk this out. When we use the word HE, we are talking about a he / she scenario and we’re not ONLY saying that God is a HE but we are ALSO saying that God is NOT a SHE.

 

We have now placed a box around God. We have created parameters for God to exist within. Rather than God being big enough to exist outside of human sexuality, we have placed Him in a box that is human sexuality and then put Him over on the baby blue half. If we call God HIM then HE cannot, by nature of sex, be HER. We have now limited God.

 

Holy sausage party, Batman.

 

By doing this, we limit God through our label. And labels form expectations. When we call God HE we expect a certain type of individual. If nothing else, we immediately picture God as more of a father figure than a mother figure. That alone sends us spiraling into, what may be, a completely inaccurate understanding of The Immortal.

 

Just by the word HE.

 

Just by two simple letters pressed against one another.

 

Now let’s apply that understanding to something slightly more complex. Let’s try to understand The Holy Trinity. This idea that God The Father (male), Jesus The Son (male) and The Holy Spirit (once female, now neutered) are all single but different units. All separate but all together.

 

If that is our understanding of God, what word do we apply to it in our language? How do we describe that idea of three-in-one? A word must be attributed to it.

 

Alright guys, we are monks and we need a word to describe our understanding of God. God is all knowing and all powerful. God is within everything, dipped in our very existence. God is inside you and me and the air and our food and our thoughts and God has seeped into every nuance of our existence. God is both mortal and divine. God is both physical and spiritual. God is above and beyond our comprehension. God is outside of time. God is beyond form. God does not exist in many forms. God is above and beyond form. What word do we use to convey this sophisticated understanding? How do we convey a being that is above our understanding of shape? We need a word that means both all form and no form simultaneously.”

 

Trinity.

 

You can see how that word sort of works to convey that complex thought. You can see that they were trying to boil this very deep and sophisticated understanding of God down into this simple label. And you can also see that it’s a very bland word used to describe a very impressive idea. You can also see that the word Trinity is never found in the Bible and the concept was not created until well after the death of Jesus.

 

Another idea that was pitched and followed by the Christian church for a while was something called Adoptionism. This was the idea that Jesus was born a man, just like you and me. Absolutely no different. This is the belief that he was NOT born as the Son of God and that he didn’t become “divine” until his baptism later in life. An actual promotion from regular human to a God-figure.

 

And right now all the Christians are gasping at the heresy of… the Christian church’s early belief in the interpretation of the bible. This is our heritage.

 

These are just a few of the real beliefs that real Christians really followed based upon their very real personal interpretation of words. My, oh my, how we can pull so many conclusions from simple letters that have been mashed together to form words that are trying to explain emotions.

 

Words.

 

And so we start labeling God.

 

Even the word God is somehow limiting as to what we actually feel GOD to be. We see time and again in the Bible where it is clear that the authors were trying their absolute best to explain how massive this idea of God is while their words fail them miserably.

 

God is the Alpha and the Omega. Beginning and End. This guy is trying to say that God exists beyond and outside of time. He’s saying that God is not bound by our watches and calendars. Time has no bearing on God and means nothing to God. Time is a unit of simple measurement that creatures of this dimension are bound to. The way we can hold a film strip at arms length and examine both beginning and end simultaneously, God is not bound by our moments.

 

Whoa.

 

When Moses asks God what his name is and God responds with “I AM,” the author is NOT saying that God’s actual name is I AM. He’s saying that God cannot be bound by a name. God cannot be limited by a label. He’s saying that God IS. God is not a singularity with a face. God IS the breath of existence. The fabric of reality.

 

And perhaps through this understanding we also realize that even words like Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Catholicism, etc, etc, are all just more labels that we use to further ourselves from The Truth that is The Truth. Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran. Just more splinter cells that are drifting further and further away as we carefully craft more and more labels to dissect God, placing him inside smaller and smaller boxes.

 

By our labeling of God, we are limiting our own understanding of God. We come to the wineglass and we apply ourselves to it. We decide whether it is good or bad based upon our personal experiences but not upon a truth.

 

We come to God and we limit the absolute magnitude that is The Eternal. And by doing so, we choose to live in a muted world where we intentionally sell ourselves short.

 

We must remove the labels and forget the simple grunting words. God is more a piece of art than a diagrammed sentence. Or, as Rumi, the 13th century Persian poet ponders, “Silence is the language of God. All else is poor translation.”

 

If we put God in a box, we are putting God in a coffin and eventually He will become so sterilized and clinical that we’ll kill Him, bury Him and then kneel at the graveside and continue to mumble our empty prayers which are just words without emotion.

 

It is our overly simplistic, two dimensional understanding of God that destroys Him.

 

But maybe our understanding of HIM should die. Perhaps that spineless understanding of The Ever Present Always should be both castrated and killed. It is not until we tear off the giant holy penis of God that we stop picturing The Nameless Infinite as He. Perhaps The Real Truth is waiting for us to turn away from this mannequin we’ve been worshipping and come to understand that we will never understand.

 

Accept that the search is the answer because The Timeless Conscious has no end. God is not a math equation meant to be solved or a ball of yarn that is meant to be unknotted. We are meant to expand ourselves and mature our existence by experiencing God in our very lives.

 

We find God in kindness and compassion. We find God in empathy and sympathy. We find God in friendship and giving. We find God in a phone call or a smile to a stranger. We find God in holding a door for someone. We find God in helping a charity or doing dishes at a friend’s house.

 

That tingly sensation under our skin when we help an individual? That sorrow we experience when we see someone hurting? A high-five. An orgasm. Laughter at a birthday party. Tears at a funeral. Holding a new baby. Hugging your child. Laying in grass. A day off from work. A day at a job you love. A job well done. The smell of coffee beans.

 

This is God.

 

God does not exist in a box.

 

God does not belong in a coffin.

 

God is not a word. God is a poem.

 

God is the very beating of our hearts.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sex Brain

There was a point in time, not that long ago, when our ancestors stood on the same ground that we stand on today, and they looked towards the sky and they pointed and they said, “There is the sun. It circles around us.” Today we know this to not only be false, but to be foolish. Today we understand that the Earth along with all of her buddies circle around the sun in a great big dosey-doe.

The sun sits at the center of our universe and burns bright. The sun does not set. The sun does not rise. The Earth spins, both on its axis and rotation. The sun rising and setting is an illusion. This is not news to either you nor I. I am not breaking new ground here. We were all raised in a world where we understand this to be true. We are operating out of fact.

And yet, at one point, not long ago, the whole of our planetary culture would have told you differently and some of them might have even used the bible as a resource to back their argument since Ecclesiastes says The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises.

The sun hurries through the sky.

No, it doesn’t.

Everyone would have stood against you, hand in hand, and told you how absolutely ludicrous you were for believing in what I am suggesting above. There was a planetary belief held by almost every inhabitant of Earth that the sun spun around us in orbit.

Don’t just brush over that. Think about it. We did not understand how our universe worked and then we made very basic assumptions about the principles of it. We jumped to conclusions based off of pre-conceived notions. Those notions were that god created us and so we were at the center of the universe and everything revolved around us because we were the most important things.

This, for a person of that culture, of that era, made sense. And in some regard, I can appreciate their logic. Airplanes, televisions and calculators were not invented yet, let alone to say anything of space travel, quantum physics and DNA.

That’s very heavy. Their worldview was crafted more by what they did NOT know than by what they did. In other words, they were not operating off of a provable scientific platform. They observed with their eyes and then made a call without further research.

You can take this back a little further to discuss how the Earth used to be flat. Human beings, not that much different from you and I, believed that the Earth was flat and that you could fall off into some kind of dark oblivion if you got too close to the edge. Again, these are people speaking from a place of the unknown. This wasn’t based on any kind of proof but was rather based upon a kind of UNproof. A table is flat. If you push a bowl to the edge of the table, it falls off. This makes sense. The Earth is a great big table.

You can appreciate their viewpoint. You can say to yourself, yeah, I can see how they thought that. I don’t agree with it because I am smarter than that, but I can see why they would believe this with their limited view of knowledge.

So then, let’s turn the camera around and point it back at ourselves. What is it that we see in our culture that future civilizations will raise an eyebrow at? What will future generations give us the sympathy sigh for? Ah, simple people of the twenty-first century.

Right now we believe that beyond our galaxy is just more galaxies and that space continues on forever and I guess this makes sense. But maybe not.

Right now we believe that time travel is a near impossibility and that it’s something out of science fiction movies. But maybe not.

Perhaps the next level of science we’ll push into is not the cosmos nor time hopping. Perhaps the next level of science we’ll push into is the human brain. There’s this gray mass living inside of our skulls and we don’t fully understand how it works.

I want to reiterate that last line. We do not fully understand how our own brain works.

That thing inside your head that secretes chemicals that makes you happy and that thing that holds all your memories and controls your breathing. We have no idea how it works. It may as well be alien technology.

Just like the Earth circling the sun. Just like people falling off the edge of the planet. We do not fully understand how it works.

And sometimes we jump to conclusions based upon what we believe to be true over what is yet to be proven to be true. Even today we are not so different than the people of hundreds and thousands of years ago. We still make the same, short-sighted mistakes.

What does it mean to be a homosexual? Do you know? If someone asked you to describe why an individual aligns themselves with homosexuality, would you be able to answer in a way wherein you would not sound like a “Flat Earth” person? Would you be able to answer at all? Could you speak with a sense of truth that is provable – like the Earth revolving around the sun – or would you speak with a sense of belief?

We look at the world around us and we see male and female. We see the majority of people on Earth operating in a very specific fashion. Male paired with female. But because a majority of people do a thing, does that make it so? Does that make it the only way to experience life? Because most people do something, does that mean that the minority are not only marginalized, but cut out completely?

Perhaps science will one day dissect the human brain and it will understand how it fully works. Perhaps one day we will understand the homosexual brain and the asexual brain and the transgender brain and the unisexual brain. But until then, how can we speak with knowledge on these things without understanding the truth of them?

How can we, as people, make judgment calls, moral or otherwise, on a people group that we do not understand? This is to say nothing of understanding them emotionally or having empathy for their pain in a world that tends to shun them, but to speak strictly of the neurological ramifications of what it means to have a brain.

We do not understand the human brain. To make definitive statements about a person’s genetic make-up without understanding their brain is like making definitive statements about someone on trial without listening to their court case.

At one point in my life, not that long ago, I was a staunch opponent of gay marriage, gay people and the lifestyle that they represented. It was a sin against God and it was damaging our traditional sense of marriage. In the simplest sense, these people were wrong. About everything. Gay people either made a choice (probably subconscious) or were raised to be gay by either a lack of a parental figure (probably a father) or some kind of molestation event.

Maybe you think this. There are, after all, a considerable group of people that do.

But what if… (ah, two of my favorite words) what if someday we do understand how the human brain fully works and functions? What if someday we do learn that gender binaries (strictly male / female), are not the absolute end of the line in regards to sexuality? What if science expands our minds and our culture and we understand that people are born with a very specific bend and to go against that is to go against all that is natural for them.

What if we learn that your belief does not matter because it is definitively wrong? Imagine the mobs that must have occurred when the philosophers said, “We are not the center of the universe. God did not put us in the middle. We are circling around the sun and the sun is not god. We are just drifting in space.” BOOM. Their faith has been not only questioned, but crushed. They could still believe in god but they had to go back to the drawing board to figure out what the new model looked like.

Whoa.

They had to re-define how they saw and experienced god.

God had to change.

That’s a scary thing.

It’s scary to question our belief of how god relates to us, especially when we think we are in proper standing with god. Justice and justification are very dangerous things when we wield them ourselves. When we believe that god is on our side and that we are doing his work, they can become lethal.

Let’s each of us remember that the KKK is a Christian organization.

Let’s each of us remember that the Westboro Baptist Church, those fine folks that picket at soldier’s funerals and hold up the God Hates Fags signs, are a Christian organization.

Let’s each of us remember that ISIS, who is beheading children and raping infants, are an organization dedicated to doing god’s work.

You are probably not like any of these things. These are big picture problems. And I’m not suggesting that Christianity or other religious groups are all like this. They aren’t. People of all faiths do absolutely amazing works of humanitarian service. But remember that each of us are capable of being blinded by our own passion for justice by the almighty hand of god. And what we think that god thinks is right, is not always so. And we must question our own motives. It is imperative.

It is easy for me, for you, for all of us, to point at a minority and say, “They aren’t doing it right.”

But it isn’t very easy to sit in the quiet – to intentionally, literally, go into a room by yourself in the absolute quiet – and to think about our own shortcomings. It is very difficult to pick apart ourselves and accept how fucked up we actually are as individuals.

I’ll end with this. God is a tool. Like a hammer. And that hammer can be used for good things and it can be used for bad things.

In 1994 a hammer was used to build an orphanage in Kampala, Uganda that has housed over 3,000 abandoned children that would otherwise be dead.

In 2002 a man bashed his wife’s skull in with a hammer after he caught her having sex with one of his friends.

And keep in mind that the Bible condones this behavior. It doesn’t call it out with a hammer but it condones stoning your wife to death if you catch her in the act of infidelity (Leviticus 20:10). And guys, that one goes for you too. If you’ve ever cheated on your wife, the old testament god calls for your blood. You can make the argument that Jesus came (new testament) and all of those laws are now moot but once they did matter. Once god told a group of people to bury a woman up to her neck and smash her face with rocks. Once that is how people viewed god. God was on their side and their acts were just.

We can say “That doesn’t count anymore.” But it did. To someone who was placed in a pit and buried, screaming for help, screaming out to god to help, screaming at her husband to please forgive her before he splattered her brains all over the ground, it did matter. Because it happened a long time ago, does not negate its reality.

Even the holocaust is in the past.

But that shit matters.

Remember that our perception of god has changed more than once in the course of human history. Remember that the way you view god today is not the way people will view god in a thousand years. Remember that the way people viewed god in the past is not the way you do today. Remember that everything, including the unchanging god, does change. Or at the very least, our perception of god changes.

Remember that you are broken as well. And remember that you’ve done things that might require you to someday be buried up to your neck and have your face smashed in by rocks.

God is a hammer. Be sure you’re using it properly.

I hope your take away is this.

Our world changes (science, technology, war, peace, providential boundaries). Our moral code changes (as an adult I drink alcohol but don’t eat meat, the opposite of my childhood). Even our moral code in accordance to god changes (where it was once acceptable to kill someone for adultery, today we think it barbaric). Our science has changed. Our perception of the universe has changed. And even if you believe that god does not change, our perception of god does. And it is our perception that we act upon. It is our perception of god that gives ISIS their justification. It is our perception of god that gives us our bearing for right and wrong.

Everything changes. It is unstoppable.

And so let’s remember that human sexuality will also change. It will change. Or at least our perception of it will change. The reality is that it was probably always here, muffled and quiet and now we’re finally speaking about it. And the only thing that is in our control is how we handle it – how we perceive it. The LGBT community is a hurting and broken one.

I won’t touch on the current transgender bathroom topic because I believe it is one of simple logistics. There is a solution that will be enacted and then it will be over. This is not about the bathroom topic. This is about the heart in which we approach it. Our world is about the heart in which we approach it. God is about the heart in which we approach it.

This is our opportunity, as human beings, to pick up the hammer and repair or destroy.

How we use it is up to each of us.

 

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SYRIAN REFUGEES DO NOT DESERVE OUR HELP.

I was standing in an arcade last night, sirens and flashing lights drowning my senses. A friend of mine had just jumped into this Star Wars immersive pod and I decided to check out Facebook while I waited for him to emerge victorious after destroying the Death Star. Upon opening my feed, I saw this photo re-posted a number of times by various people. Clearly it was striking a chord in the populous. A real hot-button meme if ever there was one.

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We’re all constantly badgered by one another’s political opinions and we all live on opposing sides of the fence. We all believe something different and we all constantly have to hear about it from the Too Conservative or the Overly Liberal. We all have That Mom, That Son, That Uncle, That Cousin, That Friend From High School that we want to shake because they are so frustratingly stupid. People can complain up and down about how tired they are of their feed being filled with opinions that are in contradiction to their own but it’s like… I don’t know. Facebook is a social media platform where everyone gets to stand on a soapbox and type in exactly what they’re feeling. That’s what it is. That’s what this place is. I thought everyone understood that. Like, “I gave this guy an opportunity to talk and he told me his opinion. I was so disgusted by his audacity.” So it’s always so strange to me when people say, “I’m tired of hearing other people’s opinions. I want to discuss things as long as you’re a carbon copy of me.” Diversity is what makes our culture rich and it’s what expands our world view. We as a people have to understand that even the people that believe something on the very opposite end of the spectrum believe it because, for some inner-logical reason, it makes perfect sense to them. They are not just hate-mongers. There is a decisive purpose to their decisions. It doesn’t mean that they are wrong. It means we don’t understand them. It is a personal failure of ours to not see the point of view of another. And understanding that, I believe, is the first step to finding common ground. We need to understand where each side is coming from. Listen, Donald Trump is not filled with hate. He is filled with fear. And I don’t need Yoda to tell me how that turns out… but just in case you do…

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We all have something to learn from one another and I believe it’s a very dangerous practice to start blocking out the variety of life. I understand that certain people were raised in a very different culture, in a very different city, in a very different family, with very different opinions than the ones I’ve been brought up in. It makes sense that we all view the same object from different perspectives. That is what life is.

But last night I saw this image on Facebook and it struck me quite hard. Really made me question everything I thought I believed about myself.

I just stared at it and it all suddenly clicked into place for me. I finally got it. I finally understood the deep, unsettling kernel of truth at the very center of this current historical dilemma.

The Syrian refugees do not deserve our help.

And it is my basic right as an American Christian to deny that help.

It’s OKAY to tell people that they’re going to die at the hands of savages. We don’t need to feel guilt over that.

I understand that ISIS is doing bad things over there but that’s what those people do. Their entire culture breeds hatred and animosity and it makes sense that hatred and animosity rises up out of that. I understand that ISIS is pure evil. I mean they are really the closest thing to absolute pure darkness that I can imagine. If an army of demons were to crawl out of Hell and begin attacking the Earth, I would imagine the headlines and acts of atrocity would look the same. The inhuman brutality of what they are doing is reprehensible. And we can all agree on this, right? No one is questioning who the bad guy is.

We can all look at the group of men that rape children and lock people in cages and cover them in gasoline and light them on fire and cut the throats of men and women while they videotape it to share with their friends and the public. We all know those are the bad guys. The guys that are stomping in the skulls of infants and cutting off their heads and taking photos for their social media feed. We can all look at those guys and go, “That is so fucking evil I feel like “evil” is too kind of a word for it.” No discrepancies. It is the one thing we can all get on the same side about. Great. That’s progress! We’re all coming together on something and let’s not take that lightly. Dude, Christians, atheists, gay people, straight people, let’s all high five. We are on the exact same page!

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Now, there is currently a group of people in this world that are just wreaking absolute havoc on another group of people. They are not bullying them. They are not ruling them with some kind of tyrannical fist. They are capturing them like prey. They are torturing them. And they are killing them. And they are doing this on a massive scale. It’s like real life Hostel. I can only assume that there are no words, phrases, images or otherwise that could possibly allow you and I to know the concentrated fear that has been placed on these individuals. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to watch a large group of masked men break into my house, strip my children naked, sexually assault them in front of me and then murder them. If someone cut off Rory’s head in front of me, I feel like I would just lose my mind. Like, legitimately my brain would slip into a place where there would be no coming back from. Something inside of me would just break and I wouldn’t be a person anymore. If someone raped Bryce in front of me, I would just… it’s as though my consciousness would simply shut off.

Now, these victims. These people that these acts are being done to. It is my understanding that they feel as though their home life has apparently gotten so bad that they want to run to The United States of America for help. They’re so broken and afraid that they are taking makeshift boats blindly across a sea. They would rather slowly starve to death in the middle of a body of water before hunkering down and seeing this problem through. I guess that, to me, it just doesn’t sound very patriotic. On their part, I mean. These people were born in Syria – they knew what they were getting into. And now they act surprised when this kind of thing happens. And then they try to come over to our country and pollute us with it. Y’know, America has done a really impressive job of being the greatest nation on Earth and we didn’t get here by helping out every asshole running from their problems.

America has it’s short comings, I get it. We’re not perfect. We have a homeless veteran situation. We have an orphan situation. We apparently are going through some kind of gun phase right now that I’m hoping we either grow out of or grow into. We. Have. Problems. There are so many bad things happening over here that we should focus on, we don’t have any room to help these other people – very specifically this group of people – because of… well, what they are.

And when I say that, I mean that they are probably Muslims.

This is a safe spot and if I can’t say it here, I can’t say it anywhere. America is for Christians. That’s what we’re ultimately saying, right? America was built by Christians, for Christians and there is no room for Muslims. Their faith is kind of like Christianity – I’ve read that they actually stem from kind of the same belief system although I’ve never dug deep enough into it to give you the details – but it’s different enough to make them bad people. I’m not sure where the disconnect is but the Muslim faith teaches hatred and violence. Here is a brief list of famous Muslims I’ve compiled to show you what I mean…

ICE CUBE: This is not a joke. He converted to Muslimism in the 90s. He raps about killing police officers.

SNOOP DOGG: See ICE CUBE.

MIKE TYSON: Rapist. Has tattoo on face.

ELLEN BURSTYN: This woman looks gentle but you can see in her eyes that she contains a sparkle of hatred. She was in Requiem for a Dream. This movie has lots to do with evil. She was not in The Notebook – that’s Gena Rowlands and as far as I can tell, Gena is not a muslim.

MUHAMMED ALI: This black man made a living out of punching people. He also changed his name and that is suspicious.

CAT STEVENS: Another black man. I’m seeing a re-curring theme here.

Sorry for being long-winded and really driving the point home but I want to make sure I’m heard properly. Some people deserve our help. Some people deserve our attention. Those people are people who were born in our country. If you were not born in our country and you need to get out of a situation where you’re being hunted by demons, this is not the place you should come to. Our shores are filled with enough people begging us to save their lives. We don’t need anymore. Your children are going to have to just get raped. I’m sorry. That sounds a little vicious but it’s the unfortunate truth. You might be a Christian and you might be married and God might even have his gentle hand on your marriage but if ISIS is going to cut off the head of your wife, that’s just the way of it. You are a Syrian and that is your biggest crime.

You, as a human, do not deserve my sympathy. And you as a Syrian do not deserve my American soil. And you as a Muslim sure as fuck don’t deserve my Christian kindness. Sorry, brah. Better luck next time. I’m looking out for numero uno and I’m okay with your family getting the sharp end of the Tragic Stick if it means mine gets to eat at Chuck-E-Cheese without fear of being blown up by one of your brothers in God.

Let’s just call a spade a spade. We are afraid of all the Muslims coming over here and killing us. And if a couple thousand local yokels from The Middle East have to die so that we stay safe, that’s the ticket. I hope I’m not coming across as selfish or prudish. Because I have my own problems. I get it. Life is tough sometimes. Next week I’ve got to figure out how to get the drain from my shower re-plumbed to my rain barrel so that I can water my lawn with grey water. We had a consultation done and they quoted us 10k. That’s crazy. I simply don’t have that kind of money.

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First World Problems

Sometimes too many words are just too many words so I’m going to keep this one short.

While visiting Nicaragua I heard a man say, “If you can fix it with money, it’s not really a problem… if you can’t fix it with money, then it’s a problem.”

Really simple words that have stuck with me for the last six months and have given me a simple clarity to most of my everyday issues.  I hope you can take a moment to meditate on that phrase and then go have a GREAT WEEK!  See you next Monday!

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/101108613″>First World Problems</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user3183899″>John Brookbank</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

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When Wives Go Wild

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There’s this old episode of The Twilight Zone where these two neighbors are super chummy with each other at a dinner party.  One guy says to the other that he just had a bomb shelter put in and the neighbor chuckles to himself and pokes fun at the homeowner; says he’s far too over prepared.  The gag in the episode, of course, is that the warning sirens come on moments later and suddenly the neighbor wants into the bomb shelter.  Sadly, there isn’t nearly enough food for both families so the guy that owns the place locks his guest out.  Well, the neighbor, not accepting death so nobly, decides that if he can’t be saved, no one will.  The man turns into an animal and just begins ravaging this door.  He’s going at it with an axe, he’s screaming, he’s losing his mind, his eyes wide in terror and rage.

This is no longer a friendly neighbor.  This is primal man.  Borderline animal.

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The episode ends when the door is finally kicked in and the two men are about to kill each other when the sirens go off and the, “This is only a warning” recording comes on.

Awkward. Situation. For. Sure.

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The men revert back to their civilized states, nod to one another and then sort of shift slowly towards the door as standard life has been restored.  BUT… it raises the question, what sort of animals are we?  What sort of beasts are lurking just under the surface?  Just behind the veil of security, the illusion of law, the commitment of marriage?

What I mean is this…

My wife left tonight.  Not left me, thank goodness, but left to head out with The Ladies.  She and three friends have gone to watch a Roller Derby Tournament.  Yes, you read that correctly.  That’s what type of woman I’m married to.  In her free time she goes to watch other women get beat up.  She’s like Patricia Bateman but in a good way.

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So I’m dealing with one of these circumstances where I’m on solo dad duty and everything moves sort of slowly but we get it done and we cycle the kids through the dishwasher and into the pajama machine and then tuck them away in the sock drawer and everyone is happy but then… the house is quiet… and there are no adults… and so I look around and try to decide what to do…

What to do…

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And the very first thing that comes to my mind, THE VERY FIRST THING, is to make myself a bean burrito at 9pm.  NINE PEE-EM!  I suddenly have a flashback of myself standing in a dimly lit dorm room ten years ago chasing a six pack and three unfiltered cigarettes down my throat with a can of cold refried beans; a diet my dog wouldn’t even touch…. if my dog were alive… which she isn’t… please see last blog…

Now, contrary to popular belief, I AM 30-something and so I actually DO try to watch what I eat from time to time and especially when I eat it.  Gone are the days of chowing down on Taco Bell at midnight.  I’m an adult.  I’m married.  I have responsibilities… and so I pick up my phone and I text The Guys.  I text the two gentlemen whose wives are currently out with my wife watching women shove elbows into each other’s guts and faces like a modern day Coliseum on skates.  I hear Shang Tsung shout, “FINISH HIM!” and then some roller derby enthusiast rips off her skate and crushes her opponents skull with it.  Blood spatters all over the ground and the audience golf claps gently.

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The first guy, we’ll call him Mickey, says, “I’m drinking.  I’m drunk.  I’m drinking drunk.  I’ve had five drinks.  I’m alone.  I’m drinking alone… and bisquits and gravy sounds amazing.  AMAZING.  I wish I had bisquits and gravy.  I only have two week old lasagna.”

I say, “Don’t do it, Mickey.  It’s too late and it’s too old.  Just stay away.”  He says, “I’ll be fine.  I’ll microwave it.  Heat kills bacteria,” and I say, “I’m not sure… if… that’s… trooooo…”

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ABOVE: This is what all microwaves look like in my imagination.  Just total last resort.

In another text thread I hit up the other guy.  We’ll call him Andre (just because I don’t know any Andre’s and so never get to tell stories about them).  I say, “Whatchyoo up to tonight?” and he says, “I just finished eating a Kung Pao 3 Musketeer,” and I say, “Is that one thing or two?  Is that like… an American-Asian candy bar?” and he says, “It’s just one thing.  It’s Kung Pao with chicken, beef and shrimp,” and I find that I’m thinking about that bean burrito again.  I’ve got some salsa in the fridge.  I’ve got some sour cream I bought for some kind of potato the other day… do we have tortillas?  Screw it… I’d eat it on bread if necessary… even just mixing it all up like a stew doesn’t sound terrible

Andre says, “This is what happens when girls aren’t around… just regret…”

I text him back and I say, “We’re never truly men.  We hit college and that’s full maturity for us – for every man.  Everything beyond college is just a mask.  Some guys are better at wearing it but it’s all just a chore to be civilized.  As soon as our wives leave, we immediately revert (just like the guy from The Twilight Zone).  It’s just masturbation and sadness and nachos, in that specific order.

He laughs but, as I’m opening up a can of refried beans at 11pm I catch myself in the mirror and I realize that if I ever lose my wife, I am totally and completely doomed.

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ABOVE: If she leaves me, everything in my life will immediately go wrong.  I am certain of this.

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To my wife, who I know will read this because you read all of the garbage I write, good or bad; thank you for making sure I’m not a slovenly maniac with an axe trying to chop down my neighbor’s door.  Thank you for making sure I don’t subsist on refried beans and Telemundo alone.

Please, please, please, go crush skulls.  Please, please, please, go absolutely wild.  Please, please, please, always come back to me.

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ABOVE: If this town isn’t big enough for the both of us, I don’t wanna live here.

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Fantastic Things: Band of the Day

I’m the kind of guy that, when I find something I like, enjoys talking it to death.  “Have you seen this app?  Have you read this book?  Have you heard this band?  Have you watched this show / movie / youtube video??”  So, in an effort to promote the things I love, be it big or small, popular or unknown, I’m going to… well, it’s not really a “review” per se because “review” insinuates that it could go either way.

This is only stuff that I think is fantastic and stuff that I hope you’ll think is fantastic as well.  And that’s why this segment is called FANTASTIC THINGS!

SO!!  First up on FANTASTIC THINGS is a free app called Band of the Day, available for both iPhone and Android.  If you love to discover new music and find that iTunes isn’t really cutting it by telling you to check out The Biebs newest cut or by Spotify informing you of the obvious, “Love Pearl Jam?  Then you may enjoy Soundgarden, Nirvana and The Smashing Pumpkins“, then this little fella might be just what your phone and ears have been craving.

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BotD basically spoon feeds you one underground / independent / insert-buzz-word-here band every day all month, ranging in a variety of genres from bluegrass to hip-hop.  You open the app and right off the bat you’re given a calendar wherein you can select any date up to the current date.  On each box of the calendar, a specific artist has been assigned with a brief blurb at the bottom regarding what type of music they produce.  You then have the option to preview one of their tracks or listen directly to the entire album.  A swipe of your finger allows you to read a quick biography, related buzz and even watch any music videos they may have available as well as a “Similar Artists” tab that most likely won’t include Miley Cyrus.

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The only two downsides of the app are, in my opinion, that the actual operation and navigation seems to be a little clunky and that, if you’re a fan of metal / hardcore, you’re probably going to be left wanting.

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Now, if you’re reading this review on your smart phone, close out of this poorly written blog, open up that App Store and download it now!  Like I said, it’s absolutely free so even if you hate it, you’re not out anything!

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I’d love to hear about your experiences with this monster and if you find any bands that you love; discover, listen, share!  Also, please feel free to shoot me over any strong recommendations for things I should check out, whether it be apps, books, movies, music, etc!  If I love it as much as you do, I’ll write about it on an upcoming episode of FANTASTIC THINGS!

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The Revolution Won’t be Televised

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I hate it when people tell me that they don’t own a TV.

There is, in fact, a very specific brand of person out there who doesn’t have a TV and probably they think it’s very cool or whatever but it seems to me that they just sort of lie in wait all day for the conversation to turn to something pop culture so they can say something to the effect of, “Oh, I don’t have a TV so…” or “I haven’t watched TV in ten years but…” and it just makes me crazy.  It’s like, “Here’s your little Scout Badge for being OH-SO out of the loop.  Go sell some cookies.  Oh, you don’t watch the news or reality TV and you don’t know what American Ninja Warrior is?  Did you even SEE what Miley Cyrus did at the VMAs?  WHO is ROBIN THICKE?  HAVE YOU SEEN HIS VIDEO!???  HAVE YOU SEEN HIS #THICKE VIDEO!!???”

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Television.  The word rolls right off the tongue.  Televised to your eyes.

It’s not all fantastic programming, though.  No.  There’s this really, really terrible TV mini-series from the late 90s called Merlin that my wife is in love with.  It’s disgusting.  It’s so terrible.  Sadly, somebody at some horrible little company decided it would be a good idea to take this tragic excuse for entertainment, transfer it to a VHS tape and then sell one of those tapes to my wife.  Needless to say (a phrase I hate) I’ve seen this movie more than enough times.  In the movie there’s the main character, this wizard named Merlin and then there’s this evil witch named Queen Mab and yes, I had to search IMDB for that information because I am not naturally privy to this knowledge and my wife is in bed so I couldn’t holler at her.  So, this evil witch goes about doing her evil things and causing chaos every which way and Merlin spends his life trying to stop her and blah, blah, blah.

At the end of this “film” (180 minutes, by the way, which is only 14 minutes short of Titanic, gag) the entire magical world gathers together and *spoiler alert* decides to stop the witch by not paying attention to her anymore.  They take her power away by turning their backs and pretending she doesn’t exist.  It’s a very happy ending because the witch goes away and Merlin is reunited with his beloved and Martin Short is in there somewhere but I can’t exactly recall what his purpose is.  Comedy relief, I suppose.  Remember him in Father of the Bride?  I love that movie… but unfortunately I can’t watch it anymore because I don’t have a TV.

In fact, I haven’t had a TV for over two years.  First, my wife and I cut our cable but saved the actual television to play our Wii on.  Then we threw away the Wii and put the TV on the curb.  Six months later we cancelled our Netflix subscription.  Now we read books.  I watched my first episode of American Ninja Warrior three days ago while I was at my sister’s house (The Salmon Ladder, are you KIDDING ME??!) and I thought Robin Thicke was a woman until roughly two weeks ago when I got on Facebook and saw The World At Large was throwing a fit over his music video which has naked women in it.  Could I believe it?  Well, click, click, play, and yes, there are boobs in his music video.  It’s sort of like that time Trent Reznor put boobs in his Closer music video almost 20 years ago and they made a censored version.  It’s like that time boobs were in any horror movie ever made.  It’s like that time boobs were on the entire internet and you could see as many as you ever wanted just by typing the word “boob” into your Google search bar.  Robin Thicke and his entire publicity team are, obviously, very cutting edge.  “Progressive Creatives” is the word they probably put on their resumes.

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ABOVE: Trent Reznor eats an apple.

Now, the internet is pretty much this web of incestuous knowledge, so it doesn’t take very many clicks to lead you to Miley Cyrus’s “new” music video wherein a man is eating a money sandwich.  Side note, everyone is talking about a young female adult doing a provocative dance that is popular with that age group but no one is talking about the man eating a MONEY SANDWICH!

Money.  Sandwich.

Dolla’, dolla’ bills, y’all.

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Both of these videos clearly set out to do one thing; start a dialogue.  They were meant to get people talking about them and writing about them and being angry about them and demanding blood for the innocence of the generation who is being forced to watch them like that guy from A Clockwork Orange, weird little toothpicks in the eyes and all.

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ABOVE: Alex desperately wanted to catch up on 28 years of Days of Our Lives.

Do I, personally, have a problem with Robin Thicke rubbing his smelly on a young girl who’s groping her vagina with a giant, scary ass foam hand like a realistic Frankenstein recreation of an artist’s rendering of a Minnie Mouse from my nightmares?  No.  These are small fish.  They mean nothing.  I don’t want to devote my time towards trying to stop Miley Cyrus.  I don’t want to create M.A.M. (Mother’s Against Miley) or Mother’s Against Robin or Dad’s Against New Dancing Youth (D.A.N.D.Y.).

If we want to solve something, let’s turn our attention towards big fish; human sex trafficking.  Let’s turn our attention towards the fact that real live women are being chained up in warehouses and raped everyday.  Let’s talk about our government passing one set of laws that apply to the layman and a second set of laws that apply to everyone in Congress.  Let’s talk about the homeless in our city.  Let’s talk about big fish because there are true and terrible problems out there that will dwarf Miley What’s-Her-Name and Robin “You-Know-That-Guy-With-The-Boobs-In-His-Video-I-Heard-His-Wife-Was-Cool-With-It-They-Must-Have-A-Really-Great-Marriage” Thicke.

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ABOVE: The only thing sweeter than their three-tier wedding cake was Gary “The Glare” Gorman’s ceremonial wedding mullet.

If you want to get rid of Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke or (Fill in Famous Person Here), all you have to do is treat them like Queen Mab.  You just…. turn around… and pretend they don’t exist.  You don’t have to talk about how horrible and immoral and untalented they are.  Just like there is power in talking about something (positively or negatively) there is even more power in simply imagining it out of existence.

I’m not saying you should get rid of your TV or kill your Facebook account or lock yourself in a cave but you should have personal accountability – to yourself, each and every one of us – about the things that come out of our mouths.  POP Culture – POPULAR Culture – is only made popular by you, by me, by us.

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Just turn around.  Point your back at the issue and guard your tongue.  Queen Mab only has the magic if we all believe she does.  Let’s not be Merlin and spend our entire lives talking about various witches and their bad influence on our culture.  Let’s just take a cue from a really horrible TV movie and make a difference.  Let’s kill all those small fish so we can focus our attention on the big ones.

*AUTHOR’S NOTE:  I fully acknowledge that by writing about the subject of not writing about this, that I’ve written about this.

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