HTT: How To Archeology



So I read this headline today about the confirmation of four skeletons being confirmed as members of the original Jamestown settlement.

It said something like "First English Speaking US Settlers."

It sorta had to qualify things like that because we're talking east coast settlers from around the year 1600.

For a little reality check, Europeans landed about 100 years earlier, Vikings had been raiding the coast 700 years earlier, and well, the land bridge that probably brought all the people that were already living on the two continents, well, they'd sorta been around about 11,000 years before that.

Not that they had really done anything special with the place in all that time.

They genetically modified a tasteless, nutriciousless, grain weed, into what we now know as corn.

That's about it.

Which you're probably saying to yourself . . . but wait . . . didn't they build empires like the Aztecs and Incans and Mayans? Great pyramids and roads and cities and such?

Well sure . . . but, and I couldn't freakin beleive this when I looked it up . . . those empires didn't get rolling until the 1300's. The first Incan cities were't established until around 1437 and were completely abandoned (conquered/anihilated/whatever) by 1572. They had about 70 years of pre-european fun and then the rest . . . history.

Put that into perspective, if the US lasted that long, we would've gone under in 1911.

Just before the First World War.

Imagine the world without 20th Century America. Can't say good or bad . . . but I can say different.

Anyway, despite the heat, and the dirt, and the having to teach undergraduate classes at a liberal arts college the rest of my life . . . I think I would've made a pretty good archeologist.

I like the puzzleness about the endeavor.

Dinosaurs are neat and all, but the rise and fall of civilizations can teach us so much about the present and the future as much as it can about the past that it is almost criminal that we don't teach history more effectively.

Like pre-internet, if you were to ask me about the timeline of humanity . . . this is what i could tell you.


Apes . . . Egyptians . . . Jesus . . . King Arthur . . . Columbus . . . George Washington . . . Abe Lincoln . . . Hiroshima . . . One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.

One small step indeed.

And nothing in between.

That's some serious tragedy right there. And it's not just limited to numskulls like myself.

After finding ancient recurve bows, european museum currators broke hundreds of them before an amature archer realized they were stinging them backwards.

Ooops.

But you can't know everything, and they just wanted to see how far the bows could shoot. Why? Because that will tell you buttloads about hunting and fighting techniques. It'll tell you about Fort structures and why they had to be a certain height. Warfare, colonization, and alpha-male pissing contests are the main drivers of all of human history. A little knowledge goes a long way.

I think if I were to be an archeologist I'd like to concentrate on all the really stupid things that were tried and should have failed but didn't and then summarily changed the world.

Take Jamestown for example.

Lets send a bunch of dandies and their manservants across the Atlantic to establish a colony and send us back gold.

That was the thinking.

That a bunch of upper middle class twats could arrive in uncharted land half a word away and within a few years build Downton Abbey. And it lasted just about 100 years until a fire burned most of the church which meant that the capitol had to be moved to Williamsburgh (where it sits today)

Jamestown, which by all accounts shouldn't have lasted the winter, lasted just thirty years shy of the entire Aztec Empire.

How rad is that?

Or how come after the fall of the roman empire the anglo-saxons saved Jesus but didn't bother to consider sanitation as important?

Running water? Screw that. Pee wherever.

India still hasn't figured out how to keep people from dumping dead bodies in the Ganges.

Eww.

On average they speak three languages and yet still a massive amount of their population dies of dysentary.

Frigging dysentary.

My new favorite . . . and this is classic . . . and brings us right back to Jamestown . . . is that interred with one of the skeletons . . . was a little silver box.

The archeologists . . . I shit you not . . . haven't figured out a way to open it.

They know what's inside . . . a small bone fragment and a vial of what is probably Holy Water . . . relics like that were extremely very common for the era and the man was a priest.

But they had to x-ray the box.

Like . . . they had to use the power of nuclear radiation . . . to do what probably couldv'e been done with some needle nose pliers and a squirt of WD40.

Maybe they didn't want to contaminate it, but I'm pretty sure radiating something doesn't not contaminate things.

Anyway . . . they still can't open the box.

So the moral of today's How to Tuesday is simple. If you don't know what to do with your life . . . go be an archeologist. No matter what happens . . . you never ever not once . . . be bored.

Hot and sticky and bested by a four-hundred year old tchotchke, maybe.

But never bored.

ProNation


I got to learn a fun thing this week.

Apparently I'm a bit of an over-pronator.

Along with being a procrastinator and a Leo.

It's really not anything that is that much of a big deal. It just essentially means that when I run, I kinda run on the outside of my foot and push off with my little toes instead of my big ones.

It's a fun bit of info, because earlier this month I'd been finding that during any kind of exercise my outside calves were screaming at me. I would have normally assumed it would be the rest of my body doing all the yelling, but no, it was the calves that were very super angry.

Which they had every right to be.

Because I was clearly not wearing the correct shoe.

A running shoe isn't just a running shoe.

Like one might think.

Nope . . . now they are very specifically designed for which style of running you'd been running all this time.

Supination, running on the inside of your foot.

Neutral, practically perfect in every way.

Pronation, me  . . . that one's me.

My calves were clearly angry because I was trying to force their pronating ways into a supinator's shoe.

It's like that feeling you get when you put your T-shirt on backwards. You could get away with it but you'd feel weird all day.

And when it comes to the literal shoe fitting, a lot of importance is placed on impact for the sake of all the muscles and joints and effluvia that makes you you.

Luckily . . . it was my birthday . . . and I was taken out to get new shoes just after learning this fun new shoe fact. (Thanks Mom and Jeff)

It was not hard to notice a difference right away. Like immediately.

So my concern here . . . (other than the fact that this is the longest amount of writing I've ever dedicated to footwear) . . . is why . .. if this is indeed a thing . . . why I'd never heard of it or noticed before?

Why don't shoes say what they are on the package?

I'd been running on the wrong shoes for a month thinking that my calves were just being little babies. I could've done real damage.

Well . . . maybe not real damage . . . but I certainly called a few outings short because my legs were gonna give in. (We're talking reducing a 20 minute workout to 15 minutes, I'm not an athlete nor will I ever play on on TV.)

Anyway . . . to make a long story fit a certain amount of column inches . . . there are certain things that just aught to be made common knowledge.

Like I shouldn't have gotten this far without someone explaining the importance of shoe structure.

I knew that new is better. They should be comfortable, not unreasonably ugly, and priced in the neighborhood of a good sit down meal.

But Nike just assumed I knew more than that.

Which is weird because back when I was in customer service . . . I always assumed the opposite.

I even trained my staff to always assume that the customer knows nothing. If you walked into my store, an I didn't recognize you, it was my duty to treat you like a stupid petulant child until you proved anything but.

Like . . . if you walked up to my counter and ordered tea . . . I would not just go get you tea.

There was a protocol. An entire dropdown of menu options and possibilities.

So . . . you walk up and say you want tea . . . the first thing I do is ask if you would like iced or hot tea. If you said hot tea . . . the next question I would ask is if you wanted black, green, or herbal tea.

(Yes . . . I know it's technically an Herbal Infusion, but remember, I'm talking to a stupid child at this point.)

Now, if you said you wanted a green tea, I would ask you if you wanted something smooth, grassy, or floral.

If you said floral, I could then point you to a very nice Jasmine Green tea.

That might seem like a lot of effort for a two dollar beverage, but there are literally hundreds of differing possibilities when someone says the word "Tea" and my crew was talented enough to single out one by asking four little easy to answer, close ended questions.

So I'm 39 and you would've thought that at some point in my life I walked up to a guy behind the counter and when I said the word shoes, I'd have gotten the pronation question.

He would say: Do you pronate when you run?

And I would say: I have no idea what you just said.

And then he would begin his stupid child speech with: Well . . . [insert eye roll] let me explain . . .

And so on and so forth.

The good news is that I'm now fully aware of this whole sub-genre of running shoe construction thanks to my step-dad's early research and a plethora of very passionate websites dedicated to this subject alone.

And I'm learning new things too . . . like how tightly to tie my shoes and how to make sure i use the upper-most eyelet to increase stability.

And my calves feel better.

Which is fantastic.

I think I shall go have some tea.

TBT: Word to Il Duce

So this one caught me by surprise.

Apparently . . . in 1929, the fascist government in Italy banned all foreign words.

Like . . . if you wanted to have a glass of red wine after work, you no longer could try the Bordeaux . . . you had to open a bottle of the Barola.

If you went to a movie, it was no longer il film, you now went to la pellicola, and afterwards you would go out and have a coda di gallo at the bottigliera instead of having cocktails at the bar.

Sounds a little terrifying.

Texting must take a very long time in Italian.

Though . . . I must admit . . . walking up to a pretty girl and saying slightly of the cuff

"Coda di gallo para bottigliera?"

Is a much better opening line than say . . . "Drinks at a bar?"

Italians must get laid a lot.

True story: in the 1200's, pretty much anything that was published was published in latin. Nobody spoke latin, it was just the universal way to write things.

Unless you lived east of the Mediterranean, and if you were, thanks for the system of letters and numbers.

East Asian pictograms would make typing this a total bitch.

Then Dante comes along (yes . . . that Dante) and begins for the first time to write in the vernacular of Tuscany and Rome and with his long epic poems and essays, he pretty much single handily gave the world the Italian language.

In fact . . . in France . . . they still nickname Italian "La Langue de Dante"

That's awful sweet of them.

If you think it's crazy that one man could give us language . . . think about this . . . Chaucer gave us English through almost exactly the same method . . . and a few hundred years later Shakespeare gave us an additional 1,700 new words and almost uncountable phrases that are still in modern use.

Wanna hear a statistic? Shakespeare used about 16,000 different words in total . . . by a little cheating with the maths . . . means around one out of every ten words he wrote . . . he made up.

And not unlike a text string between me and my wife . . . a lot of those invented words were pretty dirty.

I'll just leave that there.

Anyway . . . back to Il Duce (Or The Duke) if you wanna be a real jerk and Americanize his title, he comes into power in 1922 and promises to get the trains running on time.

Or so the story goes.

But timeliness is not a particularly fundamental Italian thing like it is here in the US.

They're never late for two things . . . meals and soccer.

Or il pasto e futbol.

Whichever.

Everything else, well . . . my absolute most favorite phrase in any language:

Que me frega, que tu fie?

Which translates precisely as "Why should what you do be important to me?"

But really means: Fuck if I care.

Now that doesn't mean Italians are by any means lazy, uncooperative, or in anyway blasé about all the stuff we take seriously, but . . . you know . . . they'll get to it when they get to it.

Not a particularly malleable group for a Fascist government.

But they tried anyway . . . god bless 'em.

And in 1929, with I'm sure a lot of patriotic fervor, they did their best to remove all foreign words from La Lingue de Dante and make it a crime to write their thoughts out on a typewriter instead of la machinna de scrivere.

That's my wife's favorite word to say in Italian . . . la machinna de scrivere.

Is it getting hot in here?

Anyway, the ban obviously didn't have a chance after WWII, American culture is just too damn pervasive . . . sorry about that, rest of the world . . . it's a little infuriating . . . I know . . . but if it makes you feel any better . . . we don't have a National Language . . . we keep making stuff up all the time.

What globalization is going to mean to the rest of the world's languages is anybody's guess.

There are some parts of Europe where people speak several languages fluently, which in a perfect world, would be the way to go . . . but I really super doubt it . . . and so does everyone else who has ever really thought about . . . so I can see the nationalistic need to ban foreign words just for the sake of saving a culture.

Which indeed . . . do need saving.

But we'll get to it when we get to it.




Twitter Twaddle

Nikki Menaj is clearly disappointed that her video for Anaconda wasn't nominated for the top pop Video Music Awards, but instead was shuffled off into the non-descript R&B category.

She's got rhythm.

She's got blues.

What she doesn't have is long legs and blonde hair.

Like a certain country pop crossover super-it girl.

That'd be Taylor Swift . . . if you already didn't know.

Nikki . . . god bless her . . . took to the Twitter sphere with hurt feelings and a thinly veiled barb at the statuesque Swift, which launched a whole Twitter buzz around who supports who and the unfairness of life when it comes to nominating rich/pretty/wealthy/semi-talented people for faux gold statues.

Swift was saccharine about the whole thing.

Makes me wonder how dark and dirty her private soul might be since her public persona is as cloying as a packet of Splenda.

It occured to me . . . as I write this . . . that if you were born in a year that started with a '1' there's a good chance that you have no idea what I'm talking about and are getting a little angry, but don't worry . I'll bring it home soon. There will even be a Mozart reference at some point . . . so hang in there.

The reason it caught my eye with enough attention to write about is several fold. One . . . I really miss MTV. The late eighties, early nineties, I'm not saying the music was all that good, but there were music videos on all day . . .

Lots of noise has been made about that from my generation. We miss when Music Television played MUSIC.

And I could take you through it from Thriller to Smells Like Teen Spirit.

1992 was the year MTV launched "Real World" . . . the first ever reality TV show. You''ll hear some notables say that "Survivor" was the first, or even give that moniker to "American Idol", but they're a whole decade off.

Never trust a notable.

Anyway, I also could go into the whole "Reality TV has killed civilization!" debate of which there are many fervent proponents. They will always quote Andy Warhol's bit about being famous for being famous.

And now I have too.

But I think what reality TV brought to us, wasn't necessarily the end of times. They didn't solidify the notion that trainwrecks make good TV. Watch 'I Love Lucy' or the 'Three Stooges'

Modern trainwrecks like the Kardashians and Honey-Boo-Boo are just spins on the same theme, just without heart.

And there in lays the difference.

I don't think bad/ridiculous behavior has ever not been part of the entertainment lexicon. What's new to me . . . and I think what leaves such a bad taste in our mouths is that reality TV has replaced slapstick with bratty indulgent behavior. Removed irony and replaced it unjustified bravado.

Petulance.

That's the word.

Petulance.

We usually reserve that word for toddlers who refuse to eat their vegetables.

But it's the right word for the era. These kids aren't fully realized entertainers . . . they're petulant ninnies.

I was trying to think of a historical parallel, like, was there a time when the Stones and the Beatles took to the airwaves and publically whined about the other?

Eric Clapton stole George Harrison's wife, but he never had anything but nice things to say about the man.

Bob Fosse made fun of Hal Prince in the movie 'All that Jazz', but in order to get the joke you had to be familiar with their NY rivalry, and he also poked fun at Cander and Ebb, Stephen Schwartz, Ben Vereen, himself, and he actually had his mistress Anne Reinking play, of all people, herself.

But there might be a thousand people who knew any of that.

Not 27,000,000 Twitter followers.

In the MTV era, there was that time when Jethro Tull beat out Metalica for "Best Metal Album"

The drummer for Metalica sniped a bit about that, but it wasn't at Jethro Tull so much as the Grammy Voters not knowing the difference between Metal and ProgRock.

In the mid-nineties there was a whole clash between East Coast and West Coast Hip-Hop which got extreme enough to leave a trail of bodies.

I can't even go into detail. I could tell you the difference between a Gibson Les Paul and a Gibson SG just by the sound of two notes, but hip-hop all sounds the same to me.

Not tonally . . . just under the category of uninteresting.

There's rivalry of every sort everywhere. But it's weird in subjective mediums.

Like who's the better impressionist? Monet or Van Gogh? And if we wanna go like super classical we could point to the rivalry between Mozart and Salieri, but in all honesty, I don't know if that was even true or it was just used to manufacture a plot for Amadeus.

So I really couldn't point to a historical parallel (setting politics and sports and science aside) where petulance has become so prevalent.

And poor Taylor Swift seems to get the lion's share of inhospitable tantrums from her R&B cohorts.

If I was her, I'd stop putting my stuff in the running. She's won them all twice over already. The next one ain't gonna make a damn bit a of difference to album sales.

And if I was Nikki Menaj, well I might ask myself if her video Anaconda, a three and a half minute dick joke, is even worth watching, let alone worth praise.

But her bratty little petulance got her on the front page of BBC News . . . so maybe, she, unlike me,knows  what she's doing.

HTT: How To Dog-Sitting

We got to dog sit for my dad this weekend, and I say "got to" because we actually requested the privilege.

We wanted to dog sit.

Although . . . the three of us had very different reasons to do so.

My son, the nine-year-old know-it-all do-it-all be-it-all, really really wants a dog.

He doesn't really know why, or what for, it just seems like having a dog is the kind of thing he should want. Also, not so secretly, he wants something in his room that will scare off the ghost in the bathroom mirror.

That's the new scary thing.

The ghost in the bathroom mirror.

Dogs are pretty reliable when it comes to fearless protection from bathroom mirror ghosts.

So he was excited to get the opportunity to show how good he would be with a dog. Prove he could be responsible and such. It's actually a very reasonable plan.

My wife too wants a dog.

Not because of the bathroom mirror ghost, but for a whole slough of reasons. The clacking of toenails on the hardwood floor. The wagging tale, the perked up ears when strangers knock on the door, the energy, the feeling of having a familly pet, the look of unconditional love.

That's probably the biggie.

The look of unconditional love.

That and she secretly hopes a dog will melt my cold cold heart.

Because I . . . absolutely . . . unconditionally . . . do not want a dog.

Nor do I want my cold cold heart melted.

But  I especailly don't want a dog.

Not that I have anything against them . . . in particular. Big ones scare me. Little yappy ones annoy me. They're very expensive, time consuming, poo and pee on things, they require their own shampoo, don't know how to use a fork, without opposable thumbs they have to experience the world with their faces, I'd mention that they leave hair everywhere, but so does my wife, and they don't laugh at my jokes.

They just look at you.

And wait for food.

So my reasons for wanting to dog-sit were simple. I wanted to show the other members of my tribe that dogs require things of you and the stuff they do isn't all that interesting after about an hour.

27 hours with some one else's dog would scratch that particular itch with no commitment or side effects.

Told you . . . cold cold heart.

Anyway, I thought for today's How to Tuesday I'd share a little bit about what I learned through the whole experience.

The first is a bit of a caveat. The dog in question . . . sweet adorable Lila . . . is a seven year-old boxer . . . well trained . . . doesn't yap jump or chew on things that are not hers . . . super energetic when it's play time, a big breathing meatloaf when it's not . . . she exemplifies the dog as family member. She'd sit a the table if she knew how to use a fork.

Now . . . every dog owner will tell you that their dog is part of the familly. But they're almost always lying. Unless they grew up in a family where face licking and leg humping were daily occurances. If you have to put a member of your family in the back yard when people come over . . . then it's not family . . . its a pet.

You don't see a lot of apartment listings that say "No Smoking and No 5th Graders"

But Lila's not that dog. Lila's people.

So if you are thinking of dog sitting, for whatever reason, make that first one an easy one.

Second is the level of concern dog owners have about non-dog owners taking the leash for a day or two.

Like . . . when I told my brother that I was going to be a dad . . .  that I was going to be responsible for the life of an entire human being for the next twenty years . . . he was like "Congratulations!"

When he found out I was going to watch a dog for 27 hours, he was like "I hope you know what you're doing . . . if it gets rough . . . call me."

Third, the instructions really aren't that tough. What to feed it and when.

We were warned against table scraps because doggy farts can be thoroughly unpleasant.

There was some concern about the heat in regards to taking Lila for a walk, but we all agreed that the rule of thumb would be when I break a sweat it's time for us all to go in. Easy . . . seeing as how I break a sweat from here to my car.

There was a lot of concern about bedtime. Where, when, with whom? But in the end, I just dragged her mattress/pillow/thingy over to the edge of my son's bed (remember the whole mirror ghost thing) and the dog followed me in, plopped down, and went to sleep.

And that was pretty much the whole weekend.

A little trepidation that we were gonna some how screw things up, a little "okay . . . that was easy" followed by a "what next?"

Which brings me to my final thought about the whole dog-sitting thing:

I never realized how boring I must be.

Poor thing waited on pins a needles for something exciting to happen and it never did.

I would move just slightly and she would jump to her feet, tail wagging, tongue ready to lick just about anything . . . and I was just leaning up to get remote.

So yeah. My life is not exciting enough for a dog.

And in the end, my son realized he'd much rather go swimming with friends than walk a dog. And my wife realized a dog may be all those other wonderful things . . . but it's a whole nother level of worry and concern and she's got enough on her plate just reminding me to shower daily.

As for my cold cod heart?

Softened . . . like gourmet ice cream.

But not melted.

I'll watch a dog, assuming it doesn't mind being really bored, but I'm not dog people.

Not yet.

Ayatollah'd You So

So I was scanning through my usual cycle of news sites and this story kept popping up about Ayatollah Komenei's response to the Iran treaty and the whole lifting of trade sanctions in return for some stern anti-nuclear proliferation.

In short . . . we wanna sell them iPhones but they have to promise not to build weapons to nuke the Jews.

Or something like that.

It makes sense to me because I'm a capitalist. It's much more fun to kill religious fanaticism with cheeseburgers and flat screen T.V.s than it is to launch drone strikes.

But that's just my opinion.

I'm sure there are finer points to concede.

Anyway . . . the stories were mostly about the Ayatollah dismissing the whole peace proceedings, saying things like "We were gonna stop building bombs anyway." and "We will never surrender to the arrogant U.S."

Which he did amongst a group of believers shouting "Death to America!" "Death to Israel!"

The stories were alarming . . . if you're the kind of person that gets alarmed about that sorta thing.

I thought it was a non-issue.

Let's see how many people show up to those rallies when half of Iran is sitting at home waiting for Comcast to set up their Wifi.

You miss your Comcast window and you're gonna have to wait at least another week to set up a second appointment.

Nobody wants that.

I also thought that the Ayatollah is a rabble rouser likened more to Jerry Fallwell and Donald Trump (sells tickets but nobody takes 'em seriously) than an acutal Head of State.

Religious leaders always sound like professional wrestlers to me. If Hulk Hogan stood up in the octagon and screamed "Death to Israel!" . . . we'd all be looking around for that grain of salt.

So I did a little digging.

Turns out . . . me . . . like totally super wrong.

The Ayatollah isn't a.m. radio. He's kinda like the top lawyer who oversees all three branches of government.

Imagine a democracy, just like ours, except that everything that passes through the legislation has to wait the final approval from a non-elected official.

The non-elected official who has a direct line to God.

That's gotta be weird.

I grew up in opposite land.

The framers of my constitution didn't want god within a hundred yards of the legal system. (anyone who says otherwise needs to read more and NASCAR less)

Article VI implicitly states that no religious test should ever be used on an elected official.

The First Amendment says believe what you want.*

There should have been a little asterix that coincided with a footnote to read : *Fuck if I care.

But after the dissolution/overthrow of the failed Iranian monarchy that . . . ahem . . . we set up . . . the Iranians set up their own democratic constitution with a religious leader at the top to make sure everything went along smoothly and in accordance with Sharia law.

Not the Suuni version of Sharia law.

The Shia version.

Which . . . is kinda like the difference between Blue M&M's and Green M&M's.

It's all in the Yellow Dye Number Five . . . baby.

But after you finish turning up your nose at the whole idea, it's kinda unique and interesting.

You build a democracy that debates the finer points, deals face to face with the rest of the world and then you get Ayatollah Hogan to beat the drums for the Wrestlemania crowds.

Imagine if when we passed the Affordable Care Act, three days later Rush Limbaugh (a prime example of a man who lived off of well-fare and food stamps and went on to be a very successful capitalist like myself) took to the airwaves in praise of what goverment can do for you.

Disciplined policy through rigorous public debate followed by a frenzy of patriotic furvor.

Not gonna happen, because of all those other pesky parts of the First Amendment, but an interesting thing to think about as sort of an intellectual exercise.

But just like Rush . . . the Ayatollah can't just do a 180 spin like that. For twenty six years he's had to keep an entire country alive under brutal wars, harsh economic sanctions, without anyone second guessing his motivations.

Death to America.

Death to Israel.

Good if you wanna keep your constiuents hungry for blood . . . totally counter productive when you want to enjoy Wendy's Dollar Menu.

One thing you gotta know is that this Khomenei isn't that Khameini.

Spelling differences aside, when we think of the Ayatollah, we think of the guy from the 70's and 80's.

Black turban, big black eye brows, deep deep black circles under the eyes.

The face of shear evil.

This one's softer. Cuddlier. Less Airline Hostage taking . . . and more Uncle Pull My Finger Ayatollah.

But he's gotta sound a little crazy for a while. We like to think in internet speeds, but hearts and minds move at Joseph and Mary on a Donkey speed. It's gonna be a while before the Netflix binge over takes the pilgramage to Mecca. Maybe even a generation or two.

So when you read newspapers, or watch the nightly news, you're gonna hear a lot of crazy. Blood boiling crazy. But don't forget that Iran is actually one of the most stable democracies in the region. Every place else is a totalitarian monarchy, or in the case of Iraq and Syria, just a total dumpster fire.

And the case is to be made that Iran is a huge financial supporter of ISIS, or IS, or whatever you wanna call those particular crazies . . . but don't you dare be so naive not to know that American Evangelical Christians are massive financial supporters of Palastinian Radicals because Israel is considered to be the land that will lead the charge against the anit-christ come armagedon. Can't have Jews leading the fight against the anti-christ.

Your tax dollars go to arming Israel . . . Your donations to the 700 Club go to arming the Palastines.

Seriously . . . look it up.

And don't forget that this is Uncle Pull My Finger Ayatollah. Even if Iran is to progress at the speed of the great industrial America it's still going to be another 120 years before women can vote, 170 til anyone can sit wherever they like on a bus, and about 220 years before transgender people get their own Reality TV shows.

Stability will come . . . and it will come in the form of fabric softeners, vitamin water, and toaster ovens. 

And when it does . . . don't forget that you heard it here first.

Now pull my finger.



TBT: Got Any More of Them Indulgences?

The 95 Theses.

No . . . Theses should not rhyme with Jesus.

But it does sorta rhyme with feces.

With that soft "TH" sound . . . like in thistle.

Anway . . . the 95 Theses . . . or the declaration of protest against the purity of indulgences.

Or better yet . . . the  paper Martin Luther nailed to the church. He got into a lot of trouble for that, but unlike Galileo, Martin didn't give a flying @#$%. He burned the church's letters telling him to chill out, practically started the Protestant Reclamation, and today in 1519, publicly debated theologist John Ech and claimed that the Divine Right of The Pope was sheer poppycock.

I'm not sure poppycock is the kinda word he used, we're still talking another 70 years before Shakespeare gets rolling, but I like to think of Martin Luther as sort of a fussbudget who changes the world by being a total crank.

Cranks should shoulder more civic responsibility.

Anyway . . . he was all cranky because the Pope needed some cash to refurbish St. Peter's Basilica so Rome started selling indulgences.

Memorabilia from the bible. Straw from the manger, cups from the last supper.

Blessed tchotchkes that will ease your suffering in purgatory.

Is it weird that there are only two vowels in tchotchke?

Anyway . . . Martin Luther didn't like that idea. The Pope shouldn't be selling god's love. And the Pope was like . . . "Dude chill . . . I just need an extra sink in the bathroom for those moments when me and my mistress want to brush our teeth at the same time."

And then Luther was like "I will not chill . . . in fact now that you mention it . . . I got 94 other things I wanna bitch about . . . in fact . . . after I've nailed those to your door . . . I'm gonna go out and tell everyone that you're just a skinny poo-poo head and we don't have to listen to you anymore . . . and tell the bishop of canturberry to get off my lawn!"

The was exactly 494 years ago.

Sorta. There was a whole calendar transformation right around Shakespeare's time, so we really don'tknow  when anything happened exactly. Scholars do . . . but let's asuume the rest of us are american and we ain't got that kinda time.

So the church splits and all hell breaks loose.

Did you know that there's never been a single religion that hasn't splintered?

Is it possible that God is THAT indecisive?

Food for thought.

Anyway . . .I was thinking about indulgences and our new Pope. Pope Frankie.

(It's actually Pope Francis . . . but Pope Frankie sounds awesomer.)

Do you think the bishops knew what they were getting into when they elevated him? Were they thinking that "It's cool, he's all quiet and pious and since he's mexican he's probably not smart enough to notice all the shit we've been up to."

For the record, Pope Frankie is actually Argentinian, and before beginning seminary school he worked as a chemical engineer . . . and no shit . . . a bouncer at a night club.

I do not think they knew what they were doing.

I wonder what history will make of Pope Frankie. Within minutes of the white smoke billowing out of the vatican, he did a complete 180 from the nazi rumblings of Pope BeneDickHead, and dragged the entire Catholic Church so far to the left he makes Hillary Clinton look like Anne Coultier.

It's like he said to himself that first morning . . . "Hey . . . I've got like ten to twenty years where over fifty million people are going to be hanging on to my every word. What would happen if I just cut through all the serious bullshit and tried to change the world for the better?"

Better in a Catholic sorta way. You still gotta confess your sins. You still have to accept the blood and body of christ. And you really shouldn't keep that roserie in the junk drawer. But recognizing that all religions have something to say, gays are cool, pollution is bad, prison systems are badder, and who needs that extra sink when it's just you in the guest house?

Pope Frankie doesn't sleep in the Pope's house. He sleeps in the guest quarters. He probably uses the hand towels more than once to reduce the laundry bills.  

I think cranky old Martin Luther would have liked him.

He might have been a bit peeved about all the trinkets at the vatican gift shop . . . but . . . we all need our little indulgences.