Best Way to Deal with the Westboro Baptist Church


Saturday, August 27th, 2011 brilliant, humor, religion No Comments

Passover Cards

In lieu of actually celebrating Passover, please accept these greeting cards.

From someecards

From someecards

From Someecards

From Someecards

Monday, March 29th, 2010 humor, religion No Comments

A Face You Can Trust

Pope Benedict XVI, Kiddie-Toucher Enabler

Pope Benedict XVI, Kiddie-Toucher Enabler

Yep.  Hard to believe that guy helped to cover up the sexual abuse of deaf boys.

Thursday, March 25th, 2010 religion No Comments

“Happy” Passover

I am not a good Jew. I haven’t been since I was bar-mitzvah’d at thirteen. Last night was the first night of Passover and my largest concern was getting home before sundown so I could hide behind the safety of my mezzuzah and have the Angel of Death pass over me and not kill my firstborn ass. This is, of course, not religion but superstition. I just don’t know what’s the difference other than one’s codified and one’s not. And as I returned home before the sunset, I wondered how the rules applied. If the firstborn son is already dead, then does the second born son have to worry? What if the firstborn son is stillborn? Does he still count? What if it’s conjoined twins and one is a dead fetus but the dead fetus was born first? What then? If my understanding is correct, there’s a whole series of commentaries known as The Talmud which seems like the biggest fanboy attempt in the history of mankind to fill in all the gaps in the Bible. The fact that there has to be a user-manual seems a bit odd.

But as I was thinking about these question, I started thinking back to all the Jewish misery I’ve been taught over the years. If anything, it seems inherent in the Torah (or what Christians know as the Old Testament and not the shiny, brand-new iTestament 2.0 with messiah-ware upgrade) with its angry God who kills a lot of people. And I got to wondering: why is it necessary that the Jews put up the mezzuzah? Shouldn’t the angel just know? It seems like kind of a dick thing to do to tell the Israelites “Alright, you can leave Egypt but first you have to do these minor tasks so I don’t indiscriminately murder you.”

Since my fellow passengers on the drive home wished to know more about my Passover superstition, I told them I wouldn’t be going to seder because it’s just too miserable.  I told them about how you’re supposed to dip parsley in salt water to remember the bitter tears of the Jews.  On Passover, we literally re-enact the drinking of human tears.  Then we move on to the mazzoh which I never understood.  It’s supposed to remind us of how when we fled Egypt, we didn’t have time to let the bread rise.  Here’s my question: why shouldn’t we be enjoying the bread they couldn’t?  We made it!  We got out of Egypt!  Now here’s a giant saltine without salt.  If you find half of it hidden around the house you get a dollar.  Next year in Jerusalem (provided we can get rid of all those filthy Palestinians).

And then it hit me: we are all about misery.  THAT has become our tradition.  Even our victories seem minor.  Look at Hanukkah: we thought the oil in the lamp would last for one day and it lasted for eight.  We don’t celebrate our unlikely military victory; we celebrate a good cup of oil.  That’s like having a holiday where you celebrate how your car pushed the gas-needle further than you thought it would go.  I’ve seen better miralces on “The Price is Right”.

Or what about Purim?  Purim is supposed to be the happiest of the Jewish holidays.  You dress up, you eat pastries, you play games, you use noisemakers.  It’s a party!  What does is celebrate?  Our Jewish queen saved us from getting wiped out by someone who wanted to exterminate us.  Jews not getting genocided.  That’s the victory.  We weren’t murdered en masse.  While I am grateful for that, it’s not exactly what I would qualify as an “accomplishment” as much as a “necessity”.

So last night instead of being at seder, I was out with friend playing trivia at a local pub.  The MC asked the following question: “How did the Egyptians build the Pyramids?”  Reflexively, I shouted out “Jews!” even though you’re not supposed to shout out the answer.  While the question was actually asking what technology was used (answer: ramps), it made me realize that Jews have a lot to be proud of and they don’t teach you (or at least not me) one damn thing about that in Hebrew School or synagogue.

Jews built the Pyramids.  Jews created comic books.  Jews created the garment industry.  Jews created banking.  Jews created and run Hollywood.  And yet these accomplishments and others are ignored.  The best we get is “Sandy Koufax was Jewish.”  I have a theory that Jews don’t brag about these accomplishments because we don’t want to play into the bigoted and ignorant belief that “The Jews Run Everything!”  This is apparently a bad thing since we don’t believe a guy died for our sins.  And if he tried, we wouldn’t want him to.  If he had told us that killing him would absolve us of our sins, we would have told the Romans to get him off that freakin’ cross (Yes, it was the Romans who killed Jesus because I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the Jews who ruled the world in 33 C.E.).  Us Jews NEED our sins!  How else could we accept all the terrible things that have happened to us and still believe in a loving God?  It’s the ultimate abusive relationship.  “Oh baby, why you gotta make me Holocaust you?”

That’s all you learn in Hebrew School:  Holocaust.  Six million of us were murdered by the Nazis and in the 20th Century no less!  And we were white Europeans!  Never forget.  Never forget.  We have Holocaust Remebrance Day so we never forget even though basically every Sunday and Tuesday at Hebrew School was Holocaust Remebrance Day.  We have Holocaust Museums so we never forget.  “But what about all the genocides that continue over the world?”  Never forget that it happened to US.  “Ohhhh.”

The Jewish life is book-ended in suffering.  What happens when you’re born a boy and you’re seven days old?  They chop off a piece of your dick.  That’s the sign of the Jewish covenant with God.  Couldn’t be something painless.  Couldn’t be a nice dunk in the water like the Christians.  Couldn’t be a cracker and some wine.  Noooo.  Here’s the most painful way imaginable .  Welcome to the club.  It doesn’t get much better.

And when do you finally get some good treatment?  When does the pain end?  When you’re dead.  Your corpse is sacrosanct.  If you put a tattoo on it, you’re out.  If you’re cremated, you’re out.  But provided you kept your body as God intended (minus the penis part), then women will lovingly wash your body and carefully lay you to rest.  Well, they’ll lay you to rest where there’s room.  I was walking through a graveyard with a friend just chatting and we came upon the Jewish part of the cemetery.  We both wondered by the graves were so close together and then it hit me: it’s because Jews have to be buried with other Jews.  If you look at the Jewish part of the cemetery that’s on Memorial St. in Atlanta, you will notice that the tombstones are practically stacked on top of each other.  “What should we do with Josef?”  “Eh, just toss him on top of Herschel.”  But when the Leviathan comes to turn us all into zombies (don’t ask), it’s all about location, location, location.

Now compares the Jewish minority to the African-American minority.  The timeline may not be as long and the discrimination and hardship may be based on race instead of religion, but they inarguably have suffered.  But they celebrate their achievements.  They devote an entire month just to successful black people.  The highest tribute to Jews is Adam Sandler’s “Hanukkah Song”.  Then compare their religious services to ours.  Yes, they’re Christian but they’re so happy (unlike other Christian sects which also are bizarrely miserable)!  Even when they’re focused on how they’ve been wronged, they’re not defeated.  They’re angry and rightly-so!  They’re not angry with God, but they sing and cheer and rise up stronger the next time and persevere!  I attended synagogue on a fairly regular basis as I prepared for my bar-mitzvah.  Here’s what I gathered: we have no rhythm, no musical ability (unless we’re singing “Adon Alam” or “Aleinu” so that’s a fun ten minutes in a three-hour service), and the service consists mostly of standing-up, sitting-down, and telling God we’re not worthy.

Sadly, it seems ingrained in our Jewish-DNA that we’re set as the morose people of history, remembering mostly the bad times, breezing through the good times (or inflating minor victories into good times), and the best we get out of it are some great neurotic Jewish comedians.  Of course, we won’t note them.  We’re too busy not forgetting the Holocaust.

Thursday, April 9th, 2009 humor, personal, religion No Comments

Maybe Cain Was On To Something

Everyone knows the story of Cain and Abel: Adam and Eve do a less-than-stellar parenting job (granted, their only parental figure kicked them out of paradise for eating fruit) and one their sons ends up killing the other out of jealousy.  The lesson: love your brother.  However, I take away a different moral from this story: brotherhood is about balance.  If Abel hadn’t gone and tried to impress God, Cain wouldn’t have had to unleash some fratricide.

Balance is important between brothers and I have done my best to maintain it with mine.  I’m really into movies and he’s really into sports.  We’re both really into American History and give disturbingly similar (sometimes identical) answers when playing Loaded Questions, much to our mutual embarassment.  I get to be hilarious and he gets to be physically fit.  While his high school graduation speech caused me great consternation with its brilliant combination of wry observation, impersonations, and wearing a baseball hat with a suit, I managed to dismiss the incident as a fluke.  I was still the funniest.  I don’t have to kill him.  He just needs to go on his merry way and leave the laughs to me.

But today he posted the best commentary on the Brett Favre saga that I’ve heard in all its many weeks. There’s a line involving Outback Steakhouse and John Madden that made me laugh till I cried and then I just cried.  He had gotten…funny.  Funny was my territory.  He got to be physically fit.  That’s balance.  And since I’m getting winded just typing this, I’m afraid he’ll have to be…dealt with.  By someone else of course.  Lifting a club and beating him to death would be exhausting.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to take a nap and dream of my brother being dull and/or overweight.

Friday, August 8th, 2008 humor, personal, religion No Comments

Putting the CHRIST back in Christmas

Buddy ChristI don’t care what Bill O’Reilly says (ever) and I’m not sure how his delusional mind could think there’s a “War on Christmas” unless he was just doing it as a yearly ratings ploy. But he’s a serious journalist and would never sink to such a level. But if there is such a war, I would say that Christmas is winning against “secular progressives” (damn them with their modern, forward thinking ways!).

First there was the resolution introduced in the House of Representatives by Steve King (R-Iowa) that Christians and Christmas are important. Aside from that queasy feeling I’m getting in my stomach about the whole state/church deal, it seems like such a waste of time. I’m Jewish and even I like Christmas. I think it has nothing to do with Christianity (Jesus probably wasn’t born in December and, oh yeah, Christianity stole the holiday from pagans; it was originally called the Saturnalia and was when the slaves got to switch places with the master for a day (thanks Prof. Ben Lee!)), but that doesn’t mean it’s not a fun holiday.

Of course, this didn’t stop King from railing against the nine Democrats who decided to use common sense and vote against it.

“I recognized that we’re a Christian nation founded on Christian principles, and we’re coming up to Christmastime…. It’s time we stood up and said so, and said to the rest of America, Be who you are and be confident. And let’s worship Christ and let’s celebrate Christmas for the right reasons.”

Of course we’re a Christian nation! Just look at where the Constitution talks about Jesus! No, not there? Well I’m sure it’s in the Bill of–nope, not there either. It must at least be in the Declaration of–no mention? I mean, there’s mention of a creator and that was Jesus. Close enough.

But clearly this is just the work of one lone, nutbag Representative from Iowa, a state that no one cares about unless they’re running for President.

Oh wait. Here’s George and Laura Bush’s Christmas card:

WH Christmas Card

A) What the hell does that quote have to do with Christmas; and B) ARE. YOU. SHITTING. ME.

All I know is that if I were Christian, I would just send this out every year:


Friday, December 14th, 2007 humor, politics, religion, stupid No Comments

In Case You Needed Another Reason

After finishing A.J. Jacobs’s The Year of Living Biblically (I also met Jacobs last night and he’s a super-nice and funny guy), I have to say that I’m a bit more accepting of Evangelical Christians. Yes, I think they’re ridiculous for thinking that the Earth is only 6,000 years old. Yes, I think they’re willfully ignorant for denying evolution. Yes, I think they look silly when they speak in tongues. But now I appreciate that they’re not just a monolithic group that’s ruining our country. I especially like the “Red-Letter Christians” who actually adhere to the acts and words of Jesus, like fighting poverty and showing compassion, rather than pushing a hateful political agenda and then hiding behind the Bible.

But sometimes Christianity can be really fucking stupid (as can all religions) as it is in the case of Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue. First off, I’m wholly against electing anyone named Sonny to any office. The only thing guys named Sonny can do is to die horribly at toll booths. But he’s the Governor of my home state of Georgia and I have to live with that. And I also have to live with how he plans to respond to our drought.

Yes, Georgia is in a drought right now and it makes me feel guilty every time I use water. If I were Governor, I would fight a drought by trying to build reservoirs, aqueducts, irrigation; anything that utilizes the advancements of civilization. And civilization has come up with some good solutions because humans need water. We may need to boil it or treat it somehow, but we need it. And preferably in bottles that cost $1.09. But Governor Perdue has decided to eschew thousands of years of human ingenuity and return to basics: he’s going to pray for rain.

Let me say that again: he’s going to pray for rain.

I don’t know which is worse: taking the time to pray for rain when that time could be spent trying to find solutions to our water shortage or rallying your Conservative Christian voters in a cynical ploy to exploit a serious crisis in exchange for their constant support. No wait. The second one is definitely worse.

Look, if you want to pray on your own time, great. Go nuts. But when you want to rally your Christian base and pray on the steps of the Capitol because “Fuck it, what else can you do?” then I weep for my state. And then I quit weeping and say that shit like this wouldn’t happen if you fucking morons didn’t re-elect this chump last year. Also, if conservatives weren’t so busy denying Global Warming, maybe they wouldn’t have to pray for rain. You may believe in the power of prayer, but you know what I believe? Taking action.

In the end, all I can think of is the following parable:

There once was a flood and everyone had reached safety except for one man. He climbed to the top of his house with the water lapping at his feet.

A helicopter flew over his head and hung down a rope for him to climb, but the man was deeply religious and said, “It’s alright! The Lord will save me!” So the helicopter flew away.

The water continued to rise and a boat came to him but, once again, the man shouted, “No! Go AWAY! the Lord will come and save me!” and the boat sped off.

The water was getting dangerously deep by now so the helicopter came back and, on cue, the man repeated, “I don’t need saving! My Lord will come,” Reluctantly, the helicopter left.

The rain continued to pour, the water continued to rise, and the man drowned.

At the gates of heaven, the man met St. Peter. Confused, he asked, “Peter, I have lived the life of a faithful man – why did my Lord not rescue me?”

St. Peter replied, “For pity sake! He sent you two helicopters and a boat!”

Friday, November 9th, 2007 politics, religion, stupid No Comments

I Like The Way You’re Put Together

I was reading A.J. Jacobs The Year of Living Biblically and as he attempts to follow the rules of the Bible as strictly as possible, he comes upon the problem of lust. As all good books do (and this one is great), it got me thinking: Yes, our culture is inundated with sexual imagery. But at the same time, am I not allowed to appreciate it? Jacobs, attempting to follow his massively researched understanding of the Bible, tries to avoid sexual imagery whenever possible (which is especially difficult considering his job at Esquire magazine) and I just don’t understand this kind of sexual avoidance. I don’t understand why lust is necessarily a bad thing.

I do think it’s a bad thing when, in the presence of someone you find sexually attractive, you don’t look at them, but you leer at them (concept totally stolen from ViolentAcres). You’re not appreciating what turns you on about them but rather how what turns you on about them serves your sexual needs. And in the presence of a flesh and blood human being, when so much more than their looks is available for you to discover, you’re really just shortchanging yourself and the other person by only considering the physical.

But there is something to be said for the physical. I frequent sites that showcase naked women and I stopped feeling creepy about it when I realized that I wasn’t filing this material way in a spank bank but that I could appreciate and discern what was attractive about these women. They were models and they were naked and as a modern, mature adult, I didn’t giggle or slobber but decided which ones were too plastic and which ones had that most crucial element in their photos: personality. My heart beats faster at the faintest glimpse that this woman isn’t a statue but a three-dimensional person who will forever hold her secrets within the photo (these photos tend not to be the of the sexually explicit variety; sexually explicit photographs usually don’t have a lot of secrets).

Now you’re probably already gagging and enraged because I’ve referred to women as “ones”. I’ve sexually objectified them. To that I simply respond, “You’re absolutely right.” When it comes to photographs, everything is an object. The photographer and the subject can go to great lengths to create a sense of personality, but it’s incredibly difficult to have a conversation with a photo. When looking at a photo, it’s difficult to understand the depth of a model’s hopes, dreams, likes, and dislike and why she’s not just a still life. But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a woman’s physical beauty. Not define her by it or reduce her solely to it, but to simply appreciate it. And women can feel the same way towards an image of an attractive man. However, they probably don’t because while men initially respond to the physical, women are more stimulated by the mental/emotional. That’s why you can see some schlub on the arm of a beautiful woman but a woman considered to be generally unattractive will stay at home eating a pint of Haggen-Dazs and watching the Lifetime network (and hey, the only thing wrong with that is the Lifetime network; crappy TV isn’t going to make you feel any better).

So I don’t understand why we feel like we have to turn away. I don’t understand why fundamentalist religions like Judaism and Islam feel the need to hide the beauty of their women. Does it make the men feel weak? Does it make the women feel powerful? Or does constant sexual repression require the need for further repression lest a drop of sexuality leads to a torrent of uncontrollable lust? I don’t get it. And I don’t think anyone should feel ashamed for appreciating the beauty of anyone or anything. Whether you go overboard and become a slobbering monkey is entirely dependent on the individual, not the model.

Sunday, November 4th, 2007 hotness, religion No Comments

A Website At The Nexus of Time

Did you know that according to the Bible, it’s okay for parents to arrange marriages for their daughters? Even better, depending on the age of consent laws in your state, you can totally marry someone who would otherwise be totally illegal. Thank Christ we didn’t let the gays have marriage.

But where and how can I possibly marry off my adolescent daughter without coming off as incredibly creepy in this godless age we live in? Well, I guess modernity isn’t totally awful because with the advent of the Internet, I can marry off my underage daughter to anyone in the United States! Thanks, Internet! is unreal. Seriously, I keep looking for the “Gotcha!” and part of the site where they say “Of course this isn’t real! That would be fucking terrible!” But it is nowhere to be found. What is to be found, is the testimonials section, which contains glorious customer satisfaction such as this:

“At first we were worried that Janine was too young to get married, but then her new husband bought her a house and a car and jewelry and the money we got let us buy a house for ourselves. Getting out of the trailer park at our age was the best thing that ever happened to us, and it’s all thanks to Marry Our Daughter!”

That can’t be real. People in trailer parks don’t have access to the Internet, right? And how do they decide on the price? Who the fuck are these people? Of course, the site could only ever appeal to the richest of pedophiles. Also, none of these girls go for more than $100,000. I guess none of their parents were willing to dream the impossible dream that their daughter may be worth more than a luxury car. And you gotta feel bad for the girls who don’t even make it past $10,000.

I think I’m headed to jail just looking at this site. Look at the hidden keywords at the bottom of the page (Ctrl+A, scroll down, turn stomach).

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007 Internet, religion, stupid No Comments

No G-d but G-d

So I was subbing today and a couple students were going over a draft of a paper. The following conversation follows:

Student 1: What’s “G dash D” ?
Student 2: Oh, that’s how I spell God.
Me: (brain crumples)

I tried to explain that writing God like that is incorrect. The reason people do it (and in my experience, it only seems to be Jewish people) is that if they have to erase the name or throw it away, they’re not throwing away the name of God.

Except God’s name isn’t God. No one knows what God’s name is. It can be Allah, Yahweh, Adonai, and a host of other names. None of them is God’s true name so you’re only showing piety to a fake name.

When I tried to explain this, these students responded that it’s just a matter of personal preference. But you can’t make up words out of personal preference. You’re not demonstrating piety. You’re demonstrating ignorance. Then again, I suppose if you believe that erasing or throwing away God’s name is something you should avoid lest you invoke the wrath of the Almighty (also not his name), then you’re already past the point of logic. I understand it’s important to be respectful to God. At the same time, there’s a difference between respect and fear of a giant invisible parent figure who’s going to send you to eternal timeout if you fuck up his name.

But words are not a matter of opinion. They’re not a matter of personal preference. If that were the case, why not always write in l33t? Why not write “women” as “womyn” so that the word “men” is not present? The ideas will still get across so who cares if you shit all over the English language in the process?

I’m not trying to hold up spelling as more important than reverence of God, but using G-d isn’t reverence. It’s superstition.

Saturday, October 21st, 2006 religion, stupid No Comments