I'm Don't Often Thirst For Revenge

But tonight, I'm feeling ready to make an exception.

Since 11/14/07, I've been experiencing what my web-hosting company quaintly refers to as "glitches".

I pointed out to them that a "glitch" is defined as a "minor malfunction, mishap, or technical problem", while being completely unable to access or edit your own website for seven continuous days and only intermittently being able to see your site online at all for 15 days during a critical business time might fall more into the realm of SNAFU or FUBAR .

I am not yet ready to name said web-hosting company (until I get out of their clutches and secure my refund) -- suffice it to say that I have switched web-hosts, and have spent the last week weathering that transition, which has been entirely flawless on the part of my new web-host, and incredibly frustrating on the part of my old web-host.

During the last week, I spent an average of 3 hours each day on hold for technical support to the old web-host (they decided to "improve" the service they provide for all their customers by making a major and unpredictable change in server technology, charging for things that had initially been included free in the package that I purchased, and then pretending that the problems that were happening were just tiny little mysterious "glitches", even though they were happening to so many people that the support queue usually said things like: "Welcome! You are number 235 in the queue! We apologize for any inconvenience!" ).

In fact, I think I was apologized to over 500 times this week by this company, by email, phone, or IM chat. At a certain point, apology begins not only to mean nothing, but to become infuriating -- at one point, when a tech greeted me with a cheery: "Hi! I'm Kevin! How are you today?", I responded, calmly but authentically, "Not so fucking good. My site's been inoperable for 5 days now."

He actually had the temerity to scold me for swearing. I was so busy being astounded by this that I actually stopped swearing for a minute.

For now, all is well. Sites are operational. New host is pleasant, efficient, and knowledgeable. I may actually get some posts written.

In the spirit of how I've spent the day(s) since Thanksgiving (well kind of -- except in this case, I was the "smart" one, helping talk my "tech support" through the ins and outs of their own control panel application):



I may be spotty on posting this weekend, as I am teaching a two-day workshop -- then again, I may have lots to say.

Posted byPortlyDyke at 8:10 PM 3 comments Links to this post  

Just for Mary Tracy9

A reader expressed dismay that I did not actually go into DETAIL on the Ten Commandments in my last post -- and since I am, after all:


What Famous Leader Are You?
personality tests by similarminds.com

h/t to Phydeaux

-- how could I deny one who hungers and thirsts after Teh Word?

So here are two versions of "The Big Ten" for your edification.
Noo Roolz - Teh Ten Commanders

1 Then Ceiling Cat spoked all them werds:
2 I iz Ceiling Cat An I iz Top Cat, An I broughted u out of hawt lend wit no cheezbrgrs for hard werk at all
3 No can has other ceiling cat!! U gotz other Ceiling Cat, I shoot yous wit mah lazer eyes.
4 If u try be Ceiling Cat of any of mai creayshunz up in floaty skai, down in erth or in watr or I shoot yous wit mah lazer eyes.5 If u think faek Ceiling Cat iz Ceiling Cat, I mek u ded An ur children ded An ur children-children ded, for being stupid.6 If not I wuv u An all ur childrenz-childrenz-childrenz!
7 U sez Ceiling Cat bad, I shoot yous wit mah lazer eyes, for I dun liek it. Srsly.
8 Remembur caturday An keep holy.9 U werk 6 dais An finish werk, K?10 Caturday, u no werk. U An all ur peepz go wrship me.11 I maded heavenz An erth An see An the stuff that does teh funney hoppey stuffz in An on it - so I make it holy cuz I no werk.
12 Bez u good to papa An mama so u has long lief.
13 U no mek peepz ded!
14 U no mek sexxes wit other gurlz or menz than ur wief (so no awsum treesum alowed!).
15 U no tek stuffs for free if not getz for free.
16 U no tell bad stuff about ur neibor.
17 U no wantz neibor stuff! No wief, no gurlz, no menz, no animulz, NO BUKKITZ! NOT YOURS.
18 When peepz see mai great orkestr wit thundr An all cool speshul effects thei wur scardy wimps
19 Thei sed to Moses 'U goez speek to uz An we will listen; but Ceiling Cat will shoot us wit its lazer eyes!'
20 Moses LOLled lotz, An a bit moar, for thei wuz such wimps, An sed 'Ceiling Cat no mek u ded; he just wantz to haef vun wit u gais An maek u scaredy cats so u obei him.'
21 But peepz wur still wimps An let Moses go ther to Ceiling Cat.

AND!


OK -- Now BE GOOD, Godammit!

Posted byPortlyDyke at 1:59 PM 10 comments Links to this post  

The Ten Commandments as Push-Back

Our story so far: God creates this Earth thingy, and a bunch of plants and animals to decorate it, and a thingy called "Man/Adam".

Man/Adam is lonely, so God clones a "help-meet" (whatever the fuck that is) for Man/Adam, by taking a discrete sample of his DNA (Lolcatbible Gen 2:23 "I calz her "whoa man!", k? -- cuz she in ur chest taken ur ribs"), which is kind of weird, since, in cloning, the clone usually ends up the same gender as the clonee (so maybe it really was Adam and Steve after all?).

For the sake of moving the story forward, however, let's assume that God really is a rocket scientist, and got all the parts to line up . . .

. . . . . . like so ------>>>

You know the rest of the whole temptation setup from Ricky Gervais, right?

Great, let's proceed.

Well, after God bounces the parents of humankind from the Garden, just all kinds of shit breaks loose -- brothers killing brothers, angels sleeping with humans, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together - mass hysteria.

God gets disgusted with all the shit-breaking-looseness and destroys all life with a flood except for this one guy and his family and a shit-load of breeding pairs of animals which get packed in a big boat -- something about this size, if we have our cubits right:
Peachy.

Except, when this dude gets off his boat (after five months of animal poo and too much quality time with his family) the first thing he does is get stinking drunk and passes out butt-naked in his tent, and one of his sons sees his dangly bits, and there's this whole scene where NoahLushyExhibitionist curses his son's son into servitude.

Even though the son's son wasn't involved in the whole Daddy-I-Saw-Your-'Nads thing.

And that's why God meant for black people to be slaves.

Keep up, will you? We're not even half-done.

Despite God's best efforts to wipe out wickedness, the wickedness just keeps coming, (although God does seem to be able to "look the other way" in certain cases which I'm not going to go into at great length -- Abram *cough*liar, pimp*cough*).

However, there is this one story, which I will include because The Queen Cunt of Fuck Mountain has ordained that it be so, and everyone in the entire Universe knows that all of us who frequent Shakesville are mindless thralls in service to Her every whim (unlike people who consider the Bible the inerrant word of God, who are free-thinking, intellectually-liberated types) -- and that story is:

Lot and His Daughters

The story of Sodom and Gommorah ("I rained down sulfur, man, there's a subtle difference"), and Lot's Wife Turning into a Pillar of Salt ("We were out of salt! You know I love the salt!"), are the stuff of publicist's wet-dreams -- the story just after? Not so much.

Which is why you probably didn't hear about it during Sunday School.

Sodom and Gommorah is a smoking ruin, and Lot has miraculously escaped with his two daughters (his disobedient, fully-salinated wife and his disbelieving, dude-you-so-funny! sons-in-law have been, unfortunately, destroyed utterly) and he is living in a cave in the mountains.

His daughters, charmingly called simply "Eldest" and "Youngest" (probably in keeping with their mom's family tradition of not actually needing a name as long as you've got a man), look around and cannot see any men anywhere, so they go all Spring Break on daddy's ass -- thusly:
Genesis 19:30-38
30 Lot mooved to mountains cuz he scared of Zoar (and smelled like old fart) n lived in a kave. 30 Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave.
31 Older dauter sez to younger dauter, "Old father is Old and I R in heat. 31 One day the older daughter said to the younger, "Our father is old, and there is no man around here to lie with us, as is the custom all over the earth.
32 I get daddy drunk and do PENIS GOES WHERE?! So we can save our recessive genes." 32 Let's get our father to drink wine and then lie with him and preserve our family line through our father."
33 That night they giv daddy winez and /b. Daddy drink winez to make imagez go away and older daughter do PENIS GOES WHERE?!. /b so bad daddy knot remember. 33 That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and lay with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.
34 neXt day, older daughter say "I do buttsecKs wif daddy, now ur turn" 34 The next day the older daughter said to the younger, "Last night I lay with my father. Let's get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and lie with him so we can preserve our family line through our father."
35 /b nasty again so Lot drinkZORS to stuporz and younger daughter doez PENIS GOES WHERE?! 35 So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went and lay with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.
36 Boaf gurlz get preggerz from daddy. 36 So both of Lot's daughters became pregnant by their father.
37 Older daughter plop out boy named Moab, He be Father of Moabates and Mother of all bombs (and smell like desert - recessives) 37 The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab; he is the father of the Moabites of today.
38 Lettle daughter plop out boy called Ben-(ken)Ammi who be father of (ken)Amminoites today n sing gud. 38 The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi ; he is the father of the Ammonites of today.

Nice.

Incest, passed-out drunken sex which is all the fault of the women who perpetrate this on a poor man who has no idea that he's having sex, twice (to be fair, it was the "Golden Age" -- maybe penises and vast quantities of alcohol interacted differently back then), nameless women serving as incubators so that -- horrors! -- a man's "seed" will not die out, and the extra-added dominionist goodness of -- nation-building! -- all neatly packaged in eight short verses (and all this time I was wondering what part of the Bible the Xtians get their "family values" from).

With all this fucking and boozing going on, it's no wonder God had to come up with the Big Ten, to get these stiff-necked assholes to behave.

So, this will be the last installment of my National Bible Week Series. At midnight tonight, it will all be over -- Thank Ceiling Cat.

In closing, I'll just say this: Know Your Bible!!!! It can tell you all sorts of useful things about the Xtianist movement that would like to convert our nation into a theocracy.

Since we started with Genesis 1, let's end at the end:
Revelations 22-10:21
10 Then ayngel says "this profissy, it all come true, here it comez, any second now, not long to wait, very soon"
11 "let evil kittehs be evilz, let skanky kittehs be skankz, left left-handed kittehs be lefteez, let good kittehs be good"
12 Jesus sayz "incomingz!" (reelly dis time)
13 "I is First and Last and Always" (goff kittehs lov dis bit)
14 "Blessed are kittehs wot had a baff"
15 "Magic dogs are outside! Run awayz!"
16 Ceiling cat's kitteh is shiny.
17 Uthirst? MAGIC TOILET!
18 Dis end ov book - No Moar! K?
19 Teh Holiez Bibul am © Teh Ceiling Cat
20 BRB
21 Da graze of Lord Jesus be wit u kittehs. Fer rlz. kthxbai!

I'd like to express my deepest appreciation to Zotnix and all the translators at Lolcatbible for making National Bible Week infinitely more enjoyable and fun for me.

Ai thnx Ceiling Cat fr dem.

Posted byPortlyDyke at 2:05 PM 3 comments Links to this post  

Happy Mythologized Harvest Feast!

I guess somebody had to mention this. Let it be me.

Let's just put the day into perspective, shall we?

When I was a kid, every Thanksgiving, we did some kind of project in school which involved black and white construction paper and staplers to make "Pilgrim hats", and brown construction paper with multi-colored construction paper (and staplers) to make "Indian headbands". We were then indoctrinated with a feel-good story about how the "Pilgrims" and the "Indians" came together in a wonderful environment of sharing and good-will and ate turkey and punkin' pie.

Of course, this was almost completely 100% crap. Pilgrims didn't dress that way, and neither did the members of the Wampanoag tribe (that probably did share a feast with the white "settlers" in 1621 -- if you can trust white historians. Jus' sayin').

During my grade school years, there was absolutely no education in my public school about the genocide of original North American tribal peoples, or forced relocation, or forced schooling and fostering of tribal children to white institutions and families. None. Zip. Nada.

On one hand, I am glad that awareness has changed somewhat in my lifetime -- public school curriculums (in my town, at least) now include information about how this continent was appropriated by white people at a devastating cost to its original inhabitants.

On the other hand, I'm disheartened that this is the second image in a Google image search on "Thanksgiving" (please note presence of small, female tribal person at lower right -- doesn't she look happy? And tiny? And insignificant?):

I can almost hear her now, saying: "Gee, I'm really glad these white people aren't killing me (yet). Let's eat!"

Another thing I'd like to point out is that the phrase "this most American of holidays" has not only become inanely overused (Google it in quotes -- I dare you!), but is only accurate to the extent that you consider "America" as a reference to a continent or two (as in North and South), rather than "America=USA".

People all over the world have celebrated their harvest season for thousands -- perhaps tens of thousands -- of years. Tribal groups on this continent had been celebrating the "Three Sisters" in prayer and thanks-giving during autumnal harvest gatherings long before white people arrived in the "Americas".

The Moon Festival has been celebrated in China for 3000 years or more, Sukkot is recorded as the first observance at Solomon's temple (approx. 955 B.C.E.), the earliest recorded celebrations of Onam are 800 AD, and indigenous tribal people all over the world have remembered to stop after the harvest and say: "Gee. This is great. Look at all this stuff we have! I'm grateful to (the earth/the gods/goddesses/ancestors/spirits/whatever) that I have all this. Let's eat a bunch of it right now! Then -- let's get drunk and dance! . . . . . After we have a nap."

Personally, I enjoy Thanksgiving more than most federal U.S. holidays -- no presents to buy, no patriotic fervor, no commemoration of wars fought, struggles waged, or lives lost. Its traditionally soporific menu and focus on gratitude fit well with the life I want to create for myself, and the world I want to help create and live in -- a world of peace and bounty for all.

However, I tend to think of Thanksgiving not as "this most American of all holidays", but "this most Human of all holidays".

Lest you think I would forget, in my tryptophan-induced semi-coma, that it is STILL National Bible Week -- I'm offering you my first stab at LOLCats Bible Translation:

Hymn Of Purrrrrraise To Ceiling Cat -- Psalms 105: 1-4
1 Oh hai! - giv Cieling Cat teh bg prrrrrrrrrrrrr; yel "Ceiling Cat?" rlly lowd: tel othr kittehs (mybe puppeez tu) whut him haz dided. 1O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.
2 Maek teh noizy mew at him, mybe maek up teh fnny song tu, k?: tel bout teh tiem he maek teh gushy coem out frm frigratr an oter majik stuf him canz du. 2Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.
3 Rll arown liek hiz naem iz yr ctnipz: beez hppy win yu lookz arown tu seez Cieling Cat. 3Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.
4 Go arown teh hole howz liek yu crzy cuz yu no canz find favrit toyz -- yu lookz arown to seez Cieling Cat, an teh mussels uv him, tu (hintz: dOOd! lookz up! him iz prbly in cieling -- yu lookz fr whskerz uv him -- RITE NOW! -- all teh tiem -- SRSLY!) 4Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.

Posted byPortlyDyke at 1:03 PM 1 comments Links to this post  

Things I Don't Mind About the Bible

Well, it's Hump Day for National Bible Week, and I thought I'd clarify some things.

I don't hate the Bible. There are some things that I don't even mind about the Bible, such as:

  1. Confusing and Contradictory Messages: God says "Thou shalt not kill", but then orders his chosen people to "slay both man and woman, infant and suckling".
  2. False Prophecies: Mark said that Jesus would return before his followers' generation was dead. Still waiting.
  3. Impossible Conundrums: Who did Adam's sons marry?
  4. Passive/Agressive, Pissy, Mind-Fucky Deity:
    • Let's say Adam's sons (as it is sometimes argued) did marry their own sisters, but then, later, God declares that incest is a sin? If you argue that this was a necessity given the limited amount of DNA God had to work with a the beginning, then why does God set Noah's family up for yet another incest-fest by destroying most of the available human gene-pool?
    • There's a whole section of Exodus where Moses tries to talk God out of destroying the Israelites, and basically wins the day because he convinces the Almighty that it just wouldn't look good for Him.
    • And seriously -- from Day One? That whole Garden of Eden thing looks like a gigantic setup:


As whack-doodle as I think some of this is, I will repeat that I don't mind it. The Bible, in itself, does not drive me crazy every day. It's not like I sit around brooding about it all the time -- unlike my Xtian brother-in-law who once informed me that he prays every day that I will get "saved", and turn from my sinful "lifestyle".

The Bible doesn't bother me at all. It's what people DO with it that chaps my ass.

If my brother-in-law wants to think that I'm going to fry in an extra-hot section of Hell (most likely extra-hot because all the lesbians are there, doing their lesbian thang), that's his right.

If he wants to believe that the Earth is 6,000 years old, because that's the number you get when you add up the generations listed in the Bible, that's his right.

If he wants to get all fixated on the evil homos (who are only mentioned 4-5 times in the Bible, three of these vague references with debatable meanings), but somehow breeze past the adulterers (who are mentioned more than 40 times in the Bible), that's his right.

HOWEVER -- if he -- or any Xtian, for that matter --wants to take his "inerrant word of God" and use it to legally determine: Where I can live, and how, and with whom I can make love, and who I can marry, and what can be taught in public schools, and whether I can enjoy all the rights that are afforded to heterosexual citizens, and whether my uterus is my own possession, and whether people who believe in other books can live their lives free of harassment -- well, that's the shit that bugs me.

The day that this priest can finish his opening prayer in Congress uninterrupted,


I'll be glad to start talking about National Bible Week readings being included in the Congressional Record.

I said I'd talk about it.

Posted byPortlyDyke at 3:25 PM 5 comments Links to this post  

Psalm 23

Psalms 23 (Lolcatz Bibel) -- (KJV translation for the lolcat-impaired)
1 Ceiling Cat iz mai sheprd (which is funni if u knowz teh joek about herdin catz LOL.) He givz me evrithin I need.

2 He letz me sleeps in teh sunni spot an haz liek nice waterz r ovar thar.

3 He makez mai soul happi an maeks sure I go teh riet wai for him. Liek thru teh cat flap insted of out teh opin windo LOL.

4 I iz in teh valli of dogz, fearin no pooch, bcz Ceiling Cat iz besied me rubbin' mah ears, an it maek me so kumfy.

5 He letz me sit at teh taebl evn when peepl who duzint liek me iz watchn. He givz me a flea baff an so much gooshy fud it runz out of mai bowl LOL.

6 Niec things an luck wil chase me evrydai an I wil liv in teh Ceiling Cats houz forevr.
In honor of National Bible Week, please bear with the commercial at the front of the video below -- after all, G-d needs $$$ too! :(



From Crackle: Mr. Deity and the Voicemail - Season 2, Ep 3

Posted byPortlyDyke at 1:20 AM 0 comments Links to this post  

It's National Bible Week -- Party Down, Y'all!!!

Even though Congress tried to steal my thunder by celebrating National Bible Week two weeks early (rass'n'frass'n early celebrants), I will not be denied my right to join in the festivities toutin' -- Teh Best-Sellin' Tome of All Time[tm]!

Since the National Bible Associations says that, even if you aren't a Christian, "Everyone else ought to read the Bible to better understand art and literature," I thought I'd run a daily entry in honor of NBW to help all you culturally-deprived non-bible readers.

However, I've stumbled on another thorny issue (there are so many these days!) -- Which version of the Bible should I use?

Since the National Bible Association doesn't endorse any particular version, and there are so many of them (over 450 English translations alone), I thought I'd go for a version that was likely to resonate with my readers, and start right at the beginning!


Genesis 1: Boreded Ceiling Cat makinkgz Urf n stuffs

(Side by side with KJV for the lolcat-impaired)

LOLCATS Version

KING JAMES Version

1 Oh hai. In teh beginnin Ceiling Cat maded teh skiez An da Urfs, but he did not eated dem.

1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2 Da Urfs no had shapez An haded dark face, An Ceiling Cat rode invisible bike over teh waterz.

2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

3 At start, no has lyte. An Ceiling Cat sayz, i can haz lite? An lite wuz.

3And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

4 An Ceiling Cat sawed teh lite, to seez stuffs, An splitted teh lite from dark but taht wuz ok cuz kittehs can see in teh dark An not tripz over nethin.

4And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

5 An Ceiling Cat sayed light Day An dark no Day. It were FURST!!!1

5And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

6 An Ceiling Cat sayed, im in ur waterz makin a ceiling. But he no yet make a ur. An he maded a hole in teh Ceiling.

6And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

7 An Ceiling Cat doed the skiez with waterz down An waterz up. It happen.

7And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

8 An Ceiling Cat sayed, i can has teh firmmint wich iz funny bibel naim 4 ceiling, so wuz teh twoth day.

8And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

9 An Ceiling Cat gotted all teh waterz in ur base, An Ceiling Cat hadz dry placez cuz kittehs DO NOT WANT get wet.

9And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

10 An Ceiling Cat called no waterz urths and waters oscunz. Iz good.

10And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.


Every day this week, I'll be bringing you a little Bible verse (and some commentary), so that you, too, can begin to understand art and literature.

If you're feeling extra-enthused about NBW, why not pitch in and help by translating a few verses? Go forth and giv kittehs sum hlp plz.

Posted byPortlyDyke at 12:23 PM 2 comments Links to this post  

How to Fuck Up

Because you probably will, at some point in your life.

Since it's likely that you're going to fuck up, in some way, at some time, why not do it with grace and aplomb?

Me? -- I think that I "fuck up" daily.

For me, currently, my main areas of "fucking up" are: Acting towards other beings in ways that I wouldn't want them to act toward me, not upholding or adhering to my own principles, not practicing what I preach, not walking my talk, etc. . . . . . . oh, just a thousand different things or so.

Remaining conscious and consistent can be a real bitch, sometimes.

However, I really want to remain conscious and I want to be consistent to my own principles and ethics. For me, that is the definition of personal integrity.

If your personal goals/values/ethics/principles in life are different from mine, I have no problem with that -- honestly. Still, I'm guessing that, even if your goals, principles, and ethical standards differ from mine, it's likely that you might "fuck up" with your own stuff every now and again.

That's what this post is about. "How to Fuck Up" -- and how to clean up when you fuck up.

I have a little tool that I call "The Four A's" (I learned it from an absolutely fantastic teacher) and it has helped me through numerous fuck-ups in my life.

When you "Fuck Up" (whether the fuck-up is minor or major) practice the "Four A's".

  1. Acknowledgment
  2. Apology
  3. Amends
  4. Action
#1) Acknowledgment -- is really important, IMO, because if you don't realize what you actually did, and how it was "fucked up", there's a high probability that you are going to do it again -- a very high probability.

#2) Apology -- is also really important -- but it has to be genuine (which requires #1 - Acknowledgment). Saying things like "I'm sorry if you felt bad about what I said/wrote" or "I'm sorry if your feelings got hurt", is, IMO, completely different from saying "I'm sorry that I said/wrote that. I see how it was fucked up, and here's how I know that it was fucked up . . . . . ". (Keep in mind that "if" is a word reserved for hypotheticals, and doesn't usually refer to real life. When used in apology, "if" is usually just a dilutive, and if you can't really apologize, then don't apologize at all. Sort of a perverse Thumper ethic.)

#3) Amends -- sometimes the energy required to actually think about how you fucked up and make an honest acknowledgment/apology is enough to return balance to the situation (depends on the type of fuck up, though). In some cases, "making amends" might also mean returning money/energy/time that your fuck-up created for someone else. This can be returned in any of a number of creative ways. Example: If you got all defensive in an argument, and therefore the argument took eight hours instead of 30 minutes (hey, I'm a lesbian -- I can DO me some processing!), consider just giving the person with whom you got all defensive eight hours of your time to do for them something that they might have gotten done if you hadn't been all uppity-up in yourself being a defensive shit (not that I've ever done that . . . .no, that has never happened with me. . . . . OK, maybe just that once . . . OK -- Fuck it! I'm completely busted here . . . .)

#4) Action -- This may be the most important of the 4 A's. If you know that you did something that was fucked up, and you've expressed that you're genuinely sorry that you did this fucked up thing, then really, the only concrete evidence of this will be that you will change what you do in the future. For me, if I don't take this step (action), the other three are just so much manipulation.

If you're thinking, "Well, if #4 is so important, and is really the critical thing, why bother with the other three?" Just trust me on this and try steps 1-3 out in real time. I've found them to be amazing, when combined with step 4. There is nothing . . . . nothing! . . . that melts my heart more than a heartfelt acknowledgment, apology, and offer of amends.

Not only that, but taking steps #1-#3 before moving into step #4 actually tends to make step #4 easier for me. If I know the other person now knows that I know that I fucked up, and that I felt bad about fucking up, and if I know that my fuck-ups have consequences (as in the amends I made), somehow taking a different action becomes so much more . . . . what's the word I'm looking for? . . . . . . Motivational?

If you're wondering what stimulated this post -- no, I did not specifically fuck up today (that I am aware of at the moment) -- (although it's likely that I did fuck up in some way today) -- (ok -- more than likely -- probable) -- (ok, more than probable -- nearly certain).

I'm OK with that. I don't mind fucking up nearly as much when I know the way back to grace.

My dad, who was a high-school band teacher before he retired, used to say: "If you're going to play a note wrong, at least play it wrong with gusto -- that way, someone might notice and give you the opportunity to correct it."

I love my dad.

Posted byPortlyDyke at 11:40 PM 14 comments Links to this post  

Thank God for A Question I Can Actually Answer

Thanks to all who posted questions/suggestions about posts.

I will definitely be posting soon about the whole "invective on the web" thing, but -- *in my best Scarlet O'Hara voice* --- I'll think about that tomorrow.

There seems to be a near consensus on the subject of: Portly's favorite books.

This is, in one sense, an easy question, and in another sense, a very difficult question.

Because there are sooooooo fucking many books!!!!!

I'll start with my hands-down, no-question favorite authors -- probably one at a time, because when I sing praises, I like to sing them loud and long.

Recipe for Incredible Reading Experience

  • Take (pretty much) any book by Mary Renault
  • Add: One quiet room and comfy chair/reclining device.
  • Stir slowly and tell everyone in the world to leave you completely the fuck alone until you are done.
I admit it. I have a soft spot in my head for really fine historical fiction. (Crappy historical fiction just gives me a rash.)

But with Renault, you get shit like this:
"Alexander rested from his thoughts in a waking sleep. Hephaistion watched him, with the steadfast eyes and tender patience of the leopard crouched by the pool, its hunger comforted by the sound of light distant footfalls, straying down the forest track." ~ Renault, Mary. Fire From Heaven. New York:Pantheon, 1969.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.

(If you haven't read "The King Must Die" or "The Bull from the Sea" or "The Mask of Apollo" or "The Persian Boy", I would say that you must have done something truly horrific in a past life to warrant such deprivation in this one.)

Now, I've read a butt-load of historical fiction.

What is different for me about Renault (as opposed to McCullough, for example) is that she somehow manages to incorporate bits of meticulously-researched historical detail without ever letting on that she might actually be educating you, or saying "Lookie - lookie how much I know!".

She even contrives to enfold the various disagreements of later historians about a particular character directly into the story (as in Mask of Apollo, where she gives a view of Dion of Syracuse from the perspective of a personal relationship, while constantly reminding us of the pressures inherent in his position to maintain a certain public persona -- thus reconciling the cognitive dissonance of Plato's portrayal of Dion and historical records of Dion's acts as a ruler) -- and she does all this without employing the sledge-hammer of dry political analysis -- opting instead to show you, through the strength of her characters and narrative.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.

I fucking adore her. Can you tell?

I think I'm drawn to historical fiction because I'm constantly seeking to put myself, and the culture I currently live in, into some kind of larger perspective.

Bertrand Russell, in his preface to A History of Western Philosophy, wrote: "My purpose is to exhibit philosophy as an integral part of social and political life: not as the isolated speculations of remarkable individuals, but as both an effect and a cause of the character of the various communities in which different systems flourished."

He goes on to state that he did not choose which philosophers to examine based on his personal opinion of their philosophic merit, but rather on the basis of how much their philosophies represented or influenced the culture of their place/time.

Somehow, Renault manages to transport me to a culture that is completely foreign to me in both space and time, and yet doesn't leave me as an outside observer to that culture -- she inextricably connects me there via universal human experience (I think this is the reason that I prefer her first-person narratives). This provides me with perspective -- perspectives on how my current culture may have evolved from that previous culture, and perspective on the elements of human experience which are "culture-proof".

Of course, it doesn't hurt that she writes about queers with such nonchalance that you don't even notice she's writing about queers. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

(For the quasi-homophibic, start with "The King Must Die" -- just good old fashioned het-sex in there for the most part, and by the time you're hooked on her writing, you'll be ready for Alexander and the incredibly tasteful Queens of Greek theater in the Mask of Apollo.)

My mother, who is a retired librarian, started shoveling Renault at me when I was 11 years old (including "The Mask of Apollo"). I was already a nutter for Greek Mythology (my uncle gave me a two-volume set of "Graves" when I was 9, probably because I'd been announcing since age 6 that I was going to an archaeologist when I grew up), but I've always wondered if my Midwestern, Lutheran mom knew something I didn't know, since she started giving me queer-positive books before I even had a glimmer of sexuality showing. (Don't ever mention that to her, though, because she'll probably think it's "her fault".)

There's my first literary analysis ever, and here is the recap:

Read Mary Renault. She rocks.

Posted byPortlyDyke at 1:02 AM 1 comments Links to this post  

While I'm Whining, Watch This

The new season of Mr. Deity started last month -- here's episode #2:

From Crackle: Mr. Deity and the Meaning - Season 2, Ep 2


Can I just say that I love these guys?

Posted byPortlyDyke at 12:58 PM 2 comments Links to this post  

Blog Ennui

This week, I've been very busy in "real life", and I haven't been posting here. Apologies.

Part of what I'm experiencing is not just "budget time" and a huge new project, but I've been noticing a certain melancholic sense when I've been reading blogs and comments.

So much invective. So much disconnection. It started to feel toxic to me, to the point that I really couldn't imagine what I might want to say here.

There's so much to say -- about life, culture, literature, philosophy -- but I've found myself typing, and then just saying: "Oh fuck it."

So, help me out readers. Please post some questions in comments -- help me get jump-started -- anything you'd like to know -- about me, my thoughts, anyone . . . .anyone???

Posted byPortlyDyke at 12:43 PM 5 comments Links to this post  

My Video Deconstruction

I struggled for a long time about why, whether, and how to post my Proverbs 6:16 video in the Jesus and Teh Gay post. I talked it over in advance with my Beloved, who serves as an unfailing "integrity compass" for me when I am flailing in the deep waters of my own intentions and desires. I also asked a blogger for whom I have penultimate respect to preview it and give me feedback.

Here were some of the questions I asked myself (and then asked my Beloved) -- (plus questions that my Beloved asked me that I hadn’t thought about yet) -- before I posted that video:

  1. What is my intention in posting this video at all?
  2. If someone else posted a similar video about me, would I be mad/upset or feel that they had represented me unfairly?
  3. Do I think this video will actually change anything, or am I simply succumbing to my “wit-demonz”?
  4. Am I using tactics which, if used by someone who I consider an “adversary”, I would think were incomplete in presenting a “whole idea” or "whole picture"?
  5. Does this video fit with my basic principles and ethics?
In truth, I haven’t answered all these questions for myself, and I opted to post the video and “let the shit fly where it may”.

I do have some answers to some of these questions though -- answers that I would never have had, if I hadn't asked these questions, or had them asked of me.

Question #1: What is my intention in posting this video at all?

My intention in posting the video is for people to understand that there are many, many, many interpretations and translations of the Bible, and that one of the problems with basing an institutional, legislative, or governmental structure on such a freely-interpreted religious text is that the text itself can be used to condemn or promote nearly any behavior that you want to either condemn or promote, a theme I've touched on before.

Question #2: If someone else posted a similar video about me, would I be mad/upset or feel that they had represented me unfairly?

I know that I am willing to be held accountable to the principles which I espouse.

When I breach my espoused principles, I'm willing to have others point this out to me, and I am willing to make apologies and amends if I think I've breached these principles. So, in that sense, I don't think that it's outside my own ethics to ask people who proclaim themselves as "Bible-believing Christians" to align with the things that they profess.

If I had claimed myself as an adherent to a particular text such as the Bible, and I weren't living in accordance with that text, I'd actually WANT people to point this out to me.

Question #3: Do I think this video will actually change anything, or am I simply succumbing to my “wit-demonz”?

I have found that I do have the hope that this video will change something.

I don't think it will (necessarily) change the minds of "bible-thumpers" (but I can hope, can't I?). However, I believe that many people in US culture are affected by "vestigial biblical overflow" (VBO) without realizing it.

I personally know "inerrant-word-of-god" type Christians who condemn homosexuality, consign women to subservient roles, and entertain a host of other judgments, and who do so because they believe that they are required to do so by the Bible -- whether or not their own actions are consistent with the actual mandates of the Bible, whether or not their interpretations of what the Bible says match up with literal translations, and whether or not their life experience with gays, women, etc. give them other, observable facts that might contradict what they are "supposed" to think/do/judge.

Because it is their religion, and I respect the right of any human to believe as they wish to believe, all I can say is: "OK, so that's the path they've chosen."

However, I think that there are people who don't claim Christianity as their religion, who are nonetheless affected by VBO.

These may be people who were "raised Christian", but who had deep, troubling questions about the obvious contradictions that they observed in the religion of their upbringing. (For me, this manifested very early on, as I witnessed the Vietnam War playing out on TV and compared it to the "Thou Shalt Not Kill" that I received at church, Vacation Bible School, Sunday School, and Catechism classes.)

These may be people who were raised with no particular religious focus, or in an entirely different religion from Christianity, but who were nonetheless steeped in the Judeo-Christian background noise that saturates this country's media, holidays, and basic cultural assumptions.

Example: Many of us grew up with the notion that being homosexual, or getting divorced, -- or being different in any way -- is "bad" and "wrong" (or at the very least, "undesirable" or "strange"). But how many of us were actively actually encouraged to ask the question: "Why?"

In fact, if you grew up like me, you were actively encouraged to NEVER ask the question: "Why is it bad/wrong to be homosexual/get divorced/be different? How does this actually harm anyone?"

So, at a time when there are pundits and celebrities throwing around Biblical justifications for oppression and bigotry, and bullying others with a book, I do want to post information about the many other possible interpretations that are based on literal translation of this ancient religious text.

So that people can, perhaps, begin to see how VBO might be affecting them, and how arbitrary and numerous and varied the interpretations actually are.

Question #4: Am I using tactics which, if used by someone who I consider an “adversary”, I would think were incomplete in presenting a “whole idea” or "whole picture"?

Ah, and now I come to the thorny problem.

The honest answer, when I ask myself this question is: "Yes, I think I used tactics which present a partial picture rather than a whole context."

I find a million justifications rising in my mind as to why this is OK -- but none of them really satisfy me.

I find this maddening sometimes.

In truth, I don't think that I can ever provide a complete picture. In five or ten years, the images included in that video will be virtually meaningless.

Which is the same problem I have with the Bible, or the Koran, or the Sutras -- that we're trying to create a living code of behavior from a book or writings that were pertinent thousands of years in the past.

If I'm honest with myself, this video doesn't "sit" quite right with me yet.

Yes, I think it is "fair" (if that's the word) in terms of asking people who claim to be Christian to adhere to their own religious texts.

However, if I think about how little most people actually know about the Bible, it's possible that the even the espoused Christians portrayed may not actually know that much about the text they claim to be espousing. This seems pretty evident to me when I see something like Ann Coulter claiming that Christians are "perfected Jews" (a concept which does not appear anywhere in the New Testament, as far as I can read).

I guess the biggest difficulty I have with the video is that it points attention toward these people, while I would really like to point my attention elsewhere -- to more expansive vistas.

Which brings me to:

Question #5: Does this video fit with my basic principles and ethics?

No -- and specifically, it flies in the face of one principle I'm working with a lot lately: What you resist, persists.

And another principle which I work on daily: Don't preach to the choir -- if you have a beef, take it to the person you have a beef with. (This is a bit more problematic for me, as I don't know how I'm going to manage a heart-to-heart with Bush, Cheney, Limbaugh, Coulter, Gonzales, or Rumsfeld -- but then again, you never know!)

I learned a lot in this process though, and I think that's the real point of any experience.

Posted byPortlyDyke at 10:45 PM 3 comments Links to this post  

Inane Filler

Well, I said that I would post my video-deconstruction today, but, as per usual, it's turned out to be a long and thought-provoking matter for me, and one that I don't want to just "toss off".

So, I'm posting my celebrity look-alikes for tonight (h/t Phyd and further encouragement from Jen).

I couldn't figure out how to include all ten of my matches (the next one was Alfred Hitchcock), and if I could have figured out how to bump Margaret Thatcher, believe me, I would have. (And Felicity Huffman? Who knew?)

Posted byPortlyDyke at 11:30 PM 3 comments Links to this post  

Fun Facts to Know and Tell: Jesus & Teh Gay

These days, you run into a lot of people who like to tell “stories”.

It’s really fun to tell stories.

One of the favorite type of stories that many people like to tell are “Bible Stories”.

Isn't that great?!?!

The problem is, some people like to tell “Bible Stories” that aren’t actually in the Bible.

I run into this problem a lot when people want to tell Bible Stories about “Teh Gay”, so I thought I’d put together a little primer for people who may not have actually read the Bible (and it turns out a lot of people haven’t actually read the Bible – especially people who like to tell Bible Stories and make them into big, fun cudgels to hit other people with!).

Fun Facts to Know and Tell: The Bible and Teh Gay

Fact or Fiction? Jesus thinks Teh Gay are sinful, and He said so.

Fiction.

Here’s an electronic copy of one of my very favorite Bible Tracts (click for animation):















Jesus never said anything about Teh Gay, or “Homosexuals” (or “Sodomites”, even).

It’s possible that it slipped his mind. He was awfully busy, and he only had three years to spread his message about how people should cast logs from their own eyes before they cast the motes from their brother’s eye and stuff.

Now that I think about it, though . . . . it would have been kind of hard for him to say anything about “Homosexuals”(or “Sodomites”, even), because there was no word in ancient Aramaic, Koine Greek, or Mishnaic Hebrew (the three languages commonly spoken in the Holy Land at the time) that means “Homosexual” (or “Sodomite”, even).

None of these languages had a word that meant “homosexual”, because at that time, the concept of a group of people who were “homosexuals” didn’t exist.

There were sexual activities that were prohibited by certain religions or cultures at the time (including having sex while on your period), but these were considered to be actions that anyone might participate in.

The idea that certain people were homosexual wasn’t conceptualized until the late 1800s. (The word “homosexual” is first recorded in print in a tract by Karl-Maria Kertbeny, which he published anonymously.)

In Biblical times, it was assumed that everyone was heterosexual, but that they might engage in homosexual acts. (So maybe Larry Craig is keeping up an ancient biblical tradition!)

Your head must be a-flutter at this point -- you must be wondering:

"But Portly Dyke! If there wasn’t any word for Teh Gay in Jesus’ time, what’s with all the 'Sodomite-This', and 'Homosexual-That' in the writings of the apostles, since Jesus himself had nothing to say about this pervey population?"

Well, as it turns out, the words which have been translated as "sodomite" and "homosexual" (from either “Kadesh” OT Hebrew or “Arsenokoitai/Malakoi” NT Greek) don't actually translate as "sodomite/homosexual".

I'm going to concentrate on "Kadesh" --as there is some reason to believe that "arsenokoitoi" might have been a word that Paul/Saul of Tarsus just made the fuck up! (OK, sorry -- I lost my "voice" there for a moment -- now moving back into light-hearted, comforting Biblical-scholar mode . . . . .).

“Kadesh”, in Old Testament Hebrew, refers directly to the concept of prostitution -- and not just any old run-of-the-mill street-walkin’, either!

Specifically, Kadesh means: “Temple Prostitute” (the word "Kadesh" is translated literally as "Sacred One/Sanctuary", and shares roots with the word "Kohdesh" -holy/sacred). Kadesh is the word for a male who has been dedicated in a pagan temple to provide sexual services in celebration of a specific deity.

Interestingly, the female version of “kadesh” (kadesh-ah) has always been translated in the OT as "harlot" or "prostitute", but as early as 500 C.E. (AD) the male "kadesh" magically became “sodomite” (even though there IS no word “sodomite” in Hebrew) – See, Look Here:






Click image for clarity.

The word for “Sodomite” (as in “dweller/person/man of Sodom”) would have been (and, in the OT, is always written as):
אַנְשֵׁי סְדֹם (pronounced: Ahn-shey S'dahm)
(Sodom) (Men of)
which looks (and sounds) nothing like "kah-desh" -- קָדֵשׁ.

Now, we all know that Sodom was a very, very bad place (and that is actually a Bible story) – but here’s what the Old Testament has to say on the precise reason why Sodom was such a very, very bad place:
Ezekiel 16:
49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom: pride, fulness of bread, and careless ease was in her and in her daughters; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination (תוֹעֵבָה Toyevah) before Me; therefore I removed them when I saw it.
So now we know – the dwellers of Sodom did, indeed, commit “abomination” (תוֹעֵבָה Toyevah).

No one knows exactly when they were committing abomination, but some historians figure it was around 1892 BCE/BC.

A lot of Bible story-tellers like to say that the "abomination" in Sodom was "homosexuality", but from what Ezekiel says above (it's estimated that the book of Ezekiel was written in 500 BCE/BC), there may be reason to question whether the whole "Bad Ass Homos in Sodom" qualifies as a real Bible story, but there may be a real reason for opponents of SCHIP to be worried. Uh-oh.

For those who want to argue about the sins of Sodom from a New Testament angle -- Jude did write about "strange flesh" in reference to Sodom and Its sins, but this may have been a reference to people who are into rape (or specifically, into raping angels -- Wow! -- that's just got to be Extra-bad karma!) -- but Jude was writing at around 50-60 CE /AD.

So who you gonna trust?

Someone writing one thousand 392 years after the event? (*Ezekiel saw the wheel, way up in the middle of the air*)

Or someone writing one thousand 948 years after the event? (Hmm. Can't think of a good song about Jude at the moment . . . . OK -- how about this? *Hey Jude, don't make it bad . . . *)

These are tough choices, to be sure.

And the question remains: Exactly Which abomination did Sodom commit? (Cuz, the OT lists a whole bunch of things that are Toyevah/abomination).

Sooooo ---- Ding Ding Ding Ding!!!! It's time for a round of Abomination BINGO!!!

Was it:
  • Remarrying a woman you sent away/divorced? ~ Deuteronomy 24:4
  • Sacrificing while you're wicked? ~ Hebrews 15
  • Following the way of the wicked? ~ Hebrews 15
  • Thoughts of wickedness? ~ Hebrews 15
  • Melting down an idol and keeping the gold? ~ Deut 7:25-26
  • Bringing this gold into your house? ~ Deut 7:25-26
  • Being Proud of Heart? ~ Proverbs 6:5
  • Committing wickedness when you're a King? (Uh-oh, Georgie!) ~ Prov 16:12
  • Sacrificing a blemished ox, or sheep to the Lord? ~ Deut 17:1
  • Lying with mankind as with womankind? ~ Lev 18:22
  • Making your children walk though fire? ~ Deut 18
  • Consulting divination? ~ Deut 7:25-26
  • Consulting a ghost? ~ Deut 7:25-26?
  • Wronging the poor and needy? ~ Ezk 18:
  • Stealing something? ~ Ezk 18:
  • Breaking your word? ~ Ezk 18:
  • Worshipping idols? ~ Ezk 18:
  • Charging interest? (Uh-oh, Corporate Banking!) ~ Ezk 18:
  • Giving someone more than 40 lashes?(Uh-oh, "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques"!) ~ Deut 25
  • Muzzling an ox when it is treading corn? ~ Deut 25
  • Not marrying your dead brother's wife? (You know, she can loose your shoe and spit in your face for that!) ~ Deut 25
  • Intervening in your husband’s fight with another man? ~ Deut 25
  • Weighing something illegally? ~ Deut 25
  • Watching while your brother's oxen and sheep are driven away and not bringing them back? Or his ass? Or his garment? Or not helping him if his ass or his ox fall down? ~ Deut 22
  • Wearing garments not assigned to your gender? (Uh-oh, Me!) ~ Deut 22
  • Making a graven or molten image and set it up secretly? ~ Deut 27
  • Justifying the wicked? Condemning the Righteous? ~ Prov 17:15
  • Saying "Peace, peace" when there is no peace? (Uh-oh, Military-Industrial Complex!) ~ Jeremiah 8:11
All of these things (and more!) are cited directly as “abomination” (תּוֹעֲבַת – Toyavah) in the Old Testament .

If you're trying to choose the "correct" abomination for what qualifies as true "Sodom-y", and you feel confused, don't feel too bad -- I, too, once felt confused about Sodom and just what, exactly, it had done to earn the firey, brimstoney wrath of God.

And that's when I discovered it --

THE pinnacle list of abominations (תועבות) -- That's right! --

The Six. . . uhm . . . Seven Things That God Hates
(neatly capsulized into succinct Bible verses ~ Prov. 6:16 -19)
video

(Please visit back tomorrow for my spiritual deconstruction of the struggle I went through in deciding whether or not to post this video at all.)

The point being: Sodom’s “Abomination” could have been any one of the things listed above. G-d just isn’t all that specific about it (except where He is specific about it).

Then again, like Jesus, God might have been very busy at the time of the Ezekiel 16:49-50 “snowflake” memo (like Son, like Father, as they always say!).

The moral of today's post is: 1) If you're going to tell Bible stories, make sure that you tell stories that are actually in the Bible, and 2) if you want to use a certain Bible story to validate your point of view, understand that another person might use the same Bible story (or any other wonderful Bible story) to invalidate your point of view, or validate a completely different point of view.

Cuz that's what's really FUN about the Bible!

Posted byPortlyDyke at 9:40 PM 12 comments Links to this post