Archive for November, 2005

Recipe For Christmas

Friday, November 25th, 2005

Although I am delighfully in love (and bound to monogamy on account of the whole full-time Christian gig) I could probably pack it all in for the ideal older lady. Revealing my secret Nigella Lawson fetish is certainly not a scandal since any idiot can be wowed by her flirtatious domestic goddess act and it is really just a way of introducing you to Zoomtard’s 3 step guide to the ideal Christmas.

Step 1: Ask your house if it has broadband. If it says yes, proceed to Step 2. If it says no, go to BT or someone else and get broadband, before proceeding to Step 2. If your house doesn’t respond, teach it a lesson and burn it down.

Step 2: HotAnorak is the inspiration behind this and as a result, I will be naming my first child HotAnorak. He showed me a wonderful, heavenly, Edenic corner of the Internet and now I show it to you. It is an album of Christmas songs from Sufjan Stevens. Use that broadband to download these delightful snowtime tunes.

Step 3: Curl up with a good novel (here is one I recommend), some mulled wine and a loved one (if you want to go the whole hog you could buy a few children, or if you are old fashioned, make them yourself) and wait for Santa’s birthday.

Your Correspondent, May Be Canonised Next Year

If You’re Deaf, This Post Won’t Mean Much

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005

OG has come along and pretty much taken over FuriousThinking. First she is the topic of a post over at neuro, who is kind of a furious thinker by default even though her Centre For Serious Thoughts is unused. Then today Stig got all inspired by her Wildean wit and now her comments have forced me to throw up this quick post in her name. See, she linked to something marvellous in a comment on my previous post. Most people don’t read comments because they come here for the Zoomtard magic, not some gibbering nonsense offered up by some no-name hanger-ons and so they won’t see the link. Please do click on this though because it is marvellous. Its a movie and soundtrack placed behind the musings of a now deceased American preacher. It is blooming fabulous.

But if truth isn’t your bag and love never caught on where you were living, you could just laugh at some video pranks done by clever college nerds somewhere in IvyLeagueVille, USA. Click on the Prangstgup genius faster than the Pope can condemn homosexuals.

Click this one then too! I did computer science and so never had to go to any crappy library where you had to sit and read things instead of play computer games or watch videos but I am sure some of you can empathise with this guy’s enthusiasm over books and ideas. For those of us who went to college only so we could spend 4 years anticipating the fortune we’d earn as programmers, we can laugh.

Your Correspondent, Sits Like Buddha In A 10-Foot Cell

This Might Occupy You Until Neuro Next Updates

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005

Although the definitive nerdy Zoomtard post on Creation and its alleged 6 days is coming, I am going to have to feed you a starter before the main feast. Fundamentalists have the novel idea that the universe isn’t actually billions of years old but just a couple of thousand. That is marginally more supportable than the Christ-as-gluon idea that I hope sweeps the board at next years star-studded Nobels.

You know when you look back on a week and you know you’ve been working very hard but you can’t remember doing anything of real substance? Of course most of you do. Andy however only ever does signifcant things. I did things like go to Thurles and have my ego dented by a poorly received talk and other terrors. I think I saw some films. I went on a date with a really hot girl. But as I look back over the week and think about things to spew out into the Internet, all I can think about is whether I can sell my semen for donation and if so, how much Cola Cao could I buy with the proceeds?

Dave is coming round to my house tomorrow morning to work. He does this whenever I have a whole day working from home and theoretically this just consists of me sitting at one side of the kitchen table theologising and him at the other, designing and doodling and being a big gimp. In reality, the day is taken up with him saying “ZTard, come look at this site” and me going for a walk down to the bookies or semen donation centre leaving him to play with the Scalextric track that winds its way around every room of my house. He says that it makes him more efficient to work with other people but I think he just comes for the framed signed photo of McGyver I have hanging over my fireplace.

I gotta go make Dave’s bed.

Your Correspondent, Has the Power of Jesus ( == 6 Leprechauns) In His Back Pocket

When in France…

Monday, November 14th, 2005

… do as the French do. RIOT.

We sampled some of the world famous French cuisine too!

Rioting in France was actually caused by me and my verbal incendiary bombs at a pizza stall in a small suburb of Nimes. It has since spread to Denmark and some Somali pirates are blaming me as the motivator for their piratey antics all over some old rich Brits.

Has anyone seen the trailer for In Her Shoes at the cinema recently? How appropriate that its soundtrack is a U2 song about suicide?

In other thoughts, that are a little bit more valuable to humanity than the latest Cameron Diaz laugh-riot, if human maturity is marked by a contentment with delayed gratification (up for debate in and of itself), maybe the 9 months of pregnancy is nature’s built-in course in maturity?

Last Thursday night I heard a Zimbabwean churchman talk. He was the child of a very unhappy arranged marriage and as a young boy he was abandoned by his mother in Harare. He ended up in an orphanage where he was welcomed by being tied to a stake for days, regularly taking a whipping for his troubles. I won’t go into the nitty gritty of his very sad life because I don’t want to defile the pure Internet with tales of death and debauchery. Anyway, he ended up a sociopathic guerilla in the Rhodesian Civil War. He became a Christian in a big tent one night. He and his gang of hardy warriors were planning to bomb the tent. God or some form of psychological crutch reached right into his life and healed him. Minutes later, a rival gang bombed the tent.

What I quickly realised once again while listening to him was that Africans are very much our superiors in the preaching of the Bible. We tend to take an arrogant approach to the southern hemishphere church because we in the Western world are so dominant in practically every other area of life. He simultaneously talked of the individual need to accept Jesus while being very strong on the corporate communal nature of faith lived properly but more than this, he did it with total confidence in his every word. It was compelling and invigorating and inspiring and very long.

Best of all was when he slipped into a living version of a Simpsons’ scene. You know the scene where Homer is watching TV and there is this black stand-up comedian making fun of the way white people drive compared to black people and Homer cracks himself up for no real reason saying “It’s so true!” The preacher started mocking the students in Trinity for their dour faces and for the uptight way we dance and the tuneless warbling we call singing. Patronising, racially perjorative and inspiring at the same time!

This scene is getting old.

Your Correspondent, Agrees that JC is quite the gentleman

The Ferns Report and the Gates of Hell Redux

Thursday, November 10th, 2005

Saying what I said before in a paragraph.

Crazy idea alert! When Jesus stands at the mountain site of pagan worship called the Gates of Hell and says “upon this rock I will build my church and the Gates of Hell will not overcome it” he may not have been talking primarily about the Pope. If a church is sick, the cure is in following Jesus closely.

Untidy office

Originally uploaded by Zoomtard.

Forgive me for the rambling nonsense I offered up yesterday on the Ferns Report and all that depressing crap. Those incoherent rantings can maybe be understood better when you consider the state of my office. How can a mind produce clear writing when there is battery acid leaking into the rabbit cage hiding underneath your pile of unfiltered notes? I didn’t even know I owned any batteries, nevermind a rabbit!

Get one IFTA, have another for free
My brother won another IFTA over the weekend. Congratulations brother! You keep making those moving pictures for the people of our fair land! Neither of these people are my brother, although they both look funny. The IFTAs, which I didn’t watch (I don’t even know if they were on the TV but I suspect TV awards were televised (though on TV3, of course, the station of crap only drug addicts and the bed-ridden will watch)) got quite a slagging in the papers. People indignantly wrote things like “They were meant to be Ireland’s answer to the Oscars but it was a list of c-list celebrities!” Do those columnists really think that the Irish answer to the Oscars would have a-list celebrities? What did you want? Tom Cruise and George Clooney agreeing to do a rap together in honour of the televisual extravaganza that is Nationwide? Bill Clinton coming to give a lifetime achievement award to Mick Lally? (“As you played Miley, he inspired me more than any other man as a leader and as a father…”) They are industry awards that happen to be on TV because they are the TV industry awards. If you had the mobile phone industry awards on TV, sure you’d get to see Stigmund but other than that, it would be a celebrity free zone. Except for a guest appearance by the Dandy Warhols. My brother isn’t a celebrity. Except in Sierra Leone where there is a bit of controversy about some diamonds. But his colleagues wanted to say, “That was some good camera pointing”. Fair play to all those IFTA boys and girls I say.

Not that I am biased or anything.

I am in the gaseous dimension!
Did you know that space has three dimensions? Kent Hovind told me and Dave today that space has three dimensions: solid, liquid and gas? That makes it just like time that has three dimensions which are the past, the present and the future. This is brand new info for me and I thank the eggheads over at Creation Science Lab for teaching it to me. My workmates hate me and as punishment I have to try and watch a bunch of Creation Science dvds. The first one today features the teachings of Kent Hovind who is famous as Dr Dino. His doctorate thesis was submitted to Patriot University and is just over a 100 pages long. It cites 12 chapters that have no content at all, has no title, is printed on dot matrix paper, features a great deal of mis-spellings (“shintu” Buddhism, “centrifical” force and we “immerged” from slime) and the university itself is accredited by a theological institute for $100.

I think we gave it up when somehow he made an argument against evolution by comparing Rosie O’Donnell’s weight problems with gun control. I wish I was joking. I wish I was mis-representing things to make theistic evolution look more substantial but I am not.

Creation Scientists would so win me over if:
a) They were hotties. Instead of hairy missing link types like Ken Ham
b) They hated cats
There is a website for cat haters called Stuff on my Cat. Go there and look at cats carrying loads. Burden those disloyal mofos and their hateful and poisonous emissions.

If you want something that isn’t like the poisonous emissions of cats (Zoomtard is allergic to their sweat) and completely unlike the poison of modern Creation “Science”, drop by old man Stephen Jay Gould’s archive. Gould starred in a Simpsons episode. He also wrote about evolution in a way that even I could understand it.

Finally, one last link. What if WWII was fought by geeks?

Your Correspondent, Causes the tides and resents the moon for taking all his glory

The Ferns Report and the Gates of Hell

Wednesday, November 9th, 2005

Beware. Here comes the theology bit. Click here if it ain’t your thing.
The Ferns Report was published while I was in the land of cheese and wine and I came back to a country where Christianity ought to be convulsing in disgust at the sins it has committed and the mistakes it has made. For those of you who can’t read and who are deaf and who live in isolation wards but get Zoomtard piped into your blood stream through i-mode, the report details the sexual abuse by Catholic priests in the Ferns diocese which is in the south-East. Per person, this area suffered an appalling rate of abuse and it was enabled by official bodies of the state, ignored by the general populace and most importantly, unchallenged (largely) by the Catholic hierarchy.

I am part of a clever little Presbyterian church but I regard myself a Christian and not a denominationalist. I knick the glory, therefore when a Christian in a different tradition does something brilliant but I share in their darkness when the clouds of their sins cover them. And so while no one in Ireland was surprised by the content of the Ferns report, seeing the details laid out so clearly on a table like that did take the wind out of my lungs. The major problem with my faith continues to be the apparent lack of Christ in many Christians and the sense of guilt I feel when I internally condemn people based on my flawed judgements. The likes of Sean Fortune do far more to unsettle my faith than any of the more general questions often asked by my peers. It isn’t so much “Why does a good God let bad things happen to good people?” but “Why does a follower of a good God seem incapable of being more good?”

Still, the point of all this public navel gazing is to explain why I am not a Catholic. My dad’s friend has written a very articulate and lovely book called “What makes us Catholic“. This post, inspired by Ferns and study I did in France, in one short illustration, hopes to explain “What makes Zoomtard not a Catholic (Anymore. Although he still wants to call himself Catholic when it suits (mostly to annoy uptight Evangelicals (which isn’t a very nice thing to do)))”.

If punning is a sin, Jesus is a sinner
In Matthew 16 we can read a famous passage that forms a cornerstone of Roman Catholic theology. Jesus has taken the apostles to the city of Caesarea Philippi, 25 miles north of Jerusalem. This is not the kind of place nice Jewish boys like the apostles ought to feel at home in. It was a city famous for its worship of the pagan god Pan and in previous generations had the name Panion.

The people of the city would gather to worship Pan with orgiastic group sex by one of the sources of the River Jordan high in the feet of Mount Heron at a cave called the Gates of Hell. Jesus and the apostles have gotten to know each other pretty well at this point and a conversation arises, as you would expect it to, on just why Jesus is able to do all these food appearing, sick healing, blind seeing, 1450 keep-me-ups blindfolded miracles. Simon Peter makes the startling conclusion that Jesus is in fact the promised Messiah prophesied throughout the history of Judaism by the Hebrew Scriptures. He says, “You are the Christ, Son of the Living God”. The record is ambiguous on whether he says “You are the best centre forward Nazareth has ever seen.” Jesus congratulates him on this insight and actually renames him. If you have ever been to mass and heard this Gospel portion read out or been in Sunday school you might recall this line from Jesus:

Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter…

Simon is a pun on sand. Peter means rock. This realisation has not come from book learning but from God and it changes the course of Peter’s life forever. Jesus continues:

…and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it.

The Roman Catholic Church interpret this to mean that Peter, who has been redefined as a rock, is the rock that Jesus speaks of. That is true. It takes some warping of history to make Peter and not Jesus’ brother James the first Bishop of Rome (or Pope) but then again, redefining James as cousin to permit Mary to remain always a virgin to substantiate Papal infallibility…. argh! It all gets a little convoluted and you see why I don’t go to Catholic mass every week. But my point here is that the Roman Catholic Church use this as the basis for papal infallibility. If you look closely at the text though you see that as ever, Jesus is saying much more than you could have conceived in Sunday school or at mass as a teenager.

We could parahrase these words as:

What I build on this rock, the Gates of Hell will not be able to defeat.

This rock, in the city they were in, Caesarea Philippi, would be instantly understood by his hearers to refer to the mountain upon which the pagan festivals took place at the cave known as the Gates of Hell. Jesus is actually saying two things here:

1. Peter, you are a rock who will form the foundation of my church which will never be overcome.
2. This church will have its origins in the very crimes it stands against, but those crimes will never defeat it.

Point 2 is far more interesting for me when you take the passage in context. Jesus is declared as the Christ and then he talks about his imminent death and how, somehow, this death will defeat death. See the real rock upon which Jesus’s church is founded is his cross. But in his cross he is put to death. This assasination was the definition of an evil act. But in the evil, Jesus plants roots that will ultimately defeat evil. On the site of human-degrading orgies in honour of gods that don’t exist, God will establish communities of human-elevating worship to Him.

What does all this mean?
This deeper meaning to the text reveals two key things of relevance. The first is that Jesus has a sense of humour. This is no small observation but he is constantly punning and making subversive allusions. He stirred the pot with relish. He’d be a great guy to have a pint with. The second thing is relevant to the state of a church that can give rise to the Ferns Report. This mission statement issued by Jesus at the base of Mount Heron is fundamentally subversive. It stands in opposition to the culture of the day and the way the structures of the world work. But the Ferns Report shows us that the church bought into the value systems of the world. They sought to protect themselves instead of having the moral courage to let the light in. They sought to hold onto power instead of relinquishing it gleefully. They put them their own comfort ahead of the safety of others, even exposed children.

I can’t help but think that more time spent dwelling on the deeper significance hidden inside the words of Matthew 16 instead of protecting their position as the representatives of God would have left the Catholic hierarchy a lot better prepared for the inevitable failures that any group will give rise to. Because of who God is and what we know of him through Jesus, the church should not be frightened when it fails to match the scope of its mission, which is to help in the redemption of the whole of creation. Why? Because our God won his final victory by letting the enemy kill him. He has achieved the victory for us by going through the Gates of Hell and coming back again. Out of our despair, the Spirit of God gives us hope.

And this is where the hope for the battered, beaten and self-mutilated Irish Catholic church is. In God. In the Scriptures. In justice, kindness and righteousness. In following this carpenter to the feet of Mount Heron and declaring that there we will stand and fight.

But they’ve missed the Zoomtard train. I want to follow the God who puns right now and I can’t hang around waiting for a church as it decides wether or not to reform when there is a church out there who has as its slogan, “Reformed and ever reforming.” That is why I am not a Catholic. I hope that in the history of the church written in centuries to come, the Ferns Report is cited as the end of the rot that began with the Ultra-Montane Cardinal Cullen in the 1850s and the beginning of a new focus.

Don’t laugh. Hope is a virtue after all.

Your Correspondent, Left 3 days ago and no one has noticed he is gone