This feature is about what happens to a person in the time between death and funeralization. Some people might find this feature to be in bad taste. If you are one of these people, you are encouraged to skip the text, and enjoy the pictures. The images today are from The Library of Congress.
Funeral homes like to talk about service to the community. In Toledo OH recently, a funeral home greeter went a bit further. This is not one of the 13 Things the Funeral Director Won’t Tell You.
British writer Jessica Mitford went into more detail in her essay, Behind the Formaldehyde Curtain. “Embalming is routinely performed on the recently departed, even though it is not required by law or religious custom. “The author concludes that unless the family specifies otherwise, the act of entrusting the body to the care of a funeral establishment carries with it an implied permission to go ahead and embalm.”
The copy of the Formaldehyde Curtain used today is from Hartland High School . In the study notes, it says “First, in Mitford’s piece, carefully focus on allusion, verbs, irony, direct address, and tone. Second, reflect on your notes and thoughts; think aloud on paper; reconsider your notes; ask questions; and think about your thinking.” This essay is possibly an excerpt from Ms. Mitford’s underground classic, The American Way of Death
The essay gets off to a rip roaring start. “The drama begins to unfold with the arrival of the corpse at the mortuary. Alas, poor Yorick! How surprised he would be to see how his counterpart of today is whisked off to a funeral parlor and is in short order sprayed, sliced, pierced, pickled, trussed, trimmed, creamed, waxed, painted, rouged, and neatly dressed-transformed from a common corpse into a Beautiful Memory Picture.”
The first step is no surprise. Mr. John H. Eckels, president of the Eckels College of Mortuary Science, thus describes the first part of the embalming procedure: “In the hands of a skilled practitioner, this work may be done in a comparatively short time and without mutilating the body other than by slight incision-so slight that it scarcely would cause serious inconvenience if made upon a living person. It is necessary to remove the blood, and doing this not only helps in the disinfecting, but removes the principal cause of disfigurements due to discoloration.” In olden times, many people feared premature burial … being lowered into the ground without first expiring. With the removal of blood, and other soft tissue, this possibility is eliminated.
Once the blood has been drained, embalming fluid is pumped into the arteries and veins. One supplier is Hydrol Funeral Supply Company. Their catalog offers Co/Preinjection Fluids, Arterial Fluids, Cavity Fluids, Specialty Fluids, and Embalming Fluid Dyes.
One arterial fluid is Velva Glo. “Velva-Glo offers the maximum of perfection in cosmetic and preserving results. It is formulated to give a flexible body with minimum rigidity. Velva-Glo is not a non-hardening fluid, but so designed that minimum firmness and maximum preservation is obtained. Velva-Glo’s slow action permits full distribution of the fluid before the tissues are set, insuring thorough saturation. Velva-Glo is absolutely non-coagulating. An interesting feature of this fluid is its action on the blood. Harsh, quick-acting fluids lose their potency or power after contact with the blood for several hours. This is because the formaldehyde is consumed. With Velva-Glo, tests which we have made show the formaldehyde maintains its full power after days of contact with blood, while such tests made with harsh, quick-acting fluids show the formaldehyde entirely disappears. Velva-Glo is a non-desiccating, non-burning fluid which offers the utmost in perfect embalming. While Velva-Glo is desirable for all cases, it produces exceptional results when used for women and children.”
Ms. Mitford mentions a dye, Lyf-Lyk tint. “Lyf-Lyk Tint is easily applied with a brush. It spreads evenly and dries quickly, leaving a natural, porous, velvety appearance. Seven specially developed shades enable you to provide the proper complexion for each individual case. Lyf-Lyk Tint leaves a permanent finish that is an ideal base for powder or rouge. It is not affected by weather and will not streak or fade. It may be applied over wax or face covering. The tint is resistant to handling, but may be removed if necessary with a soft damp cloth.”
“The next step is to have at Mr. Jones with a thing called a trocar. This is a long, hollow needle attached to a tube. It is jabbed into the abdomen, poked around the entrails and chest cavity, the contents of which are pumped out and replaced with “cavity fluid.” This done, and the hole in the abdomen sewn up, Mr. Jones’s face is heavily creamed (to protect the skin from burns which may be caused by leakage of the chemicals), and he is covered with a sheet and left unmolested for a while. But not for long-there is more, much more, in store for him. He has been embalmed, but not yet restored, and the best time to start the restorative work is eight to ten hours after embalming, when the tissues have become firm and dry.”
Some of the cavity fluids are HYPOST, CAVAMINE, NITROL, SUPER-50, CAVICEL, HYTEK, THOROL, and TISS-U-TONE. Of the latter, the catalog says “Tiss-U-Tone humectant is an accessory embalming chemical which modifies or softens the action of embalming fluid, acts as an internal tissue filler in emaciated cases and, when used externally as a massage, prevents excessive dehydration of the skin. …Tiss-U-Tone will build up the average body but where sunken spots appear around eyes and temples, HYDROL TISSUE BUILDER, injected hypodermically, should be used after embalming is completed. Tiss-U-Tone contains no formaldehyde. Tiss-U-Tone, because of its wide external use, has been made with a delightful odor which imparts a pleasing scent to the embalming room. “
Eight to ten hours after embalming, the staff prepares “Mr. Jones” for viewing. Again, a variety of chemicals and tools are available to help. An example would be HY-GLO MORTUARY COSMETICS Hy-Glo Base Cream – Blush.
“Here is a line of mortuary cosmetics unsurpassed for their NATURAL LOOK. With Hy-Glo Cosmetics, there is no need for powders, paints, special lighting or last minute touch-ups. Hy-Glo Cosmetics dry instantly, do not rub off on white shirts, dresses or casket-liners yet are water soluble and easily removed. They do not distort skin texture, but do give it the full color of life. This dramatically effective cosmetic result is achieved by first using Hy-Glo Sealer Cream. When lightly applied, the cream leaves a flexible microfilm on the skin which positively prevents the passage of air through the skin tissue, and maintains skin texture in a natural permanent state without dehydration.
One of the Hy-Glo base colors is then selected and if necessary blended with the #4 Hy-Glo tints to achieve a perfect color match. The cosmetic is applied evenly and sparingly with a short bristle brush and dries instantly. The result is a clear microscopic film which is permanent and undetectable. A small amount of #5 Hy-Glo Hilite brushed on the chin, cheeks, ears, nose and eyelids completes the job. The Hy-Glo Kit also contains shaving cream which utilizes the same microfilm principle to allow the razor to glide over the skin, eliminating razor burn entirely. No powders are necessary because the amazing Hy-Glo Cosmetics leave a true NATURAL LOOK.”
These visits to alternative reality are from a variety of sources. Included are Facebook (fb), twitter (tw), Futility Closet (fucl), All Aphorisms, All The Time (Aph), Texts From Last Night (tln), and Overheard in New York (ony). Attempts to maintain a no profanity blog will be suspended for this post. // “He that but looketh on a plate of ham and eggs to lust after it, hath already committed breakfast with it in his heart.” ~ C S Lewis (fb) // Complexity of ones mind can be the most difficult thing to comprehend. If somebody was to make their way into my head they would probably win me over. … I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth, and I am the citizen of the world. … “If I had the letter “HRT” & I can add “EA” 2 get a “hEArt” or a “U” & get “hUrt” but I’d rather choose “U” & get “hUrt” then have a “hEArt” without “U”. … The worst kind of lonely was wanting a person with everything you had yet being unable to have them. … Learn to appreciate what you have before time forces you to appreciate what you lost. … If love is great and there are no greater things, then what I feel for you must be the greatest. (fb) // “It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake” – Frederick Douglas (fb) // Osama bin Laden had 5 houses and 4 wives, making him a cross between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. (tw) // I could spend like all day looking at the Recent Images from like the Twitter accounts of porn stars. Uh huh-huh huh. They rule! (tw) // what a brat , spoiled rotten grow up (tw) // Ever hooked up with a college football player? I don’t kiss an tell (unless it’s inter-industry) (tw) // Charity B. checked in to World of Beer (tw) // @BeIieveItOrNot: When a male honey bee climaxes during sex, his testicles explode and he dies.” lovely :) (tw) // Braving my telephone anxiety, one call at a time. (fb) //Not sure if Piers Morgan is the man to get to the bottom of #Trayvon, since he never found out why Heidi & Seal split. (tw) // Half the time when I meet people I want to click “skip intro.” (tw) // Bin Laden reportedly lived in five houses, putting him in a virtual tie with Mitt Romney. (tw) // Can like these people get like any more dumberer? (tw) // So like the Waffle House isn’t just like a house made of waffles? Uh huh-huh huh. That’s stupid. (tw) // Similar to Beavis and Butthead @CharityBangs Official Twitter account of adult star Charity Bangs! (tw) // “Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine” – Patti Smith (fb) // “Poison is in everything, and no thing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy” – Paracelsus (one of history’s greatest alchemists) (fb) // “Stormy or sunny days, glorious or lonely nights, I maintain an attitude of gratitude. If I insist on being pessimistic, there is always tomorrow. Today I am blessed.” — Maya Angelou (fb) // Fact: Motion detecting paper towel dispensers break at a rate roughly 77 times hand crank dispensers (tw) // Manuscript rejection letter from Hunter S. Thompson You worthless, acid-sucking piece of illiterate shit! Don’t ever send this kind of brain-damaged swill in here again. If I had the time, I’d come out there and drive a fucking wooden stake into your forehead. Why don’t you get a job, germ? Maybe delivering advertising handouts door to door, or taking tickets for a wax museum. You drab South Bend cocksuckers are all the same; like those dope-addled dingbats at the Rolling Stone office. I’d like to kill those bastards for sending me your piece … and I’d just as soon kill you, too. Jam this morbid drivel up your ass where your readership will better appreciate it. (fucl) // Congratulations, your dick has been selected to participate in my birthday sex. Please reply with a response. … Do I have a choice? … I am sorry, you’re response was not recognized. Please try again. (tln) // Ugh why does it have to be margarita Monday. Why can’t it be pants off dance off beer pong but with jager Monday. (tln) // Taking my infected piercing out in the parking lot of the food card place. This is one of those life defining moments that makes me sad. (tln) // I’ll reiterate. Best drinking game ever. I shall teach it to my children’s children (tln) // I’be color coordinated the clothes in my closet and my underwear drawer. I’m like an advertisement for house arrest. Help. (tln) // Hey. Me and my buddy are drunk. you wanna give us tattoos of the hawaiian punch guy we shall pay very well. Seriously dude. no bull shit. (tln) // Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t think the words, “Finger my ass” should find their way into casual conversation. (tln) // Just fucked in a kitchen. I never want my penis that close to knives, stoves, or blenders ever again. (tln) // Maybe if more guys knew my pillowtalk occasionally includes me scribbling notebook diagrams of cell signalling pathways, I’d get laid more often (tln) // I was getting sick from all the peanut butter I had to lick off … Stop bitching. YOU SHOULD FEEL BLESSED TO HAVE LICKED PEANUT BUTTER OFF OF THESE TOTTERS (tln) // he fucked me so hard i could feel my pelvis shifting. like i legit feel more prepared for childirth now (tln) // Is it bad if one of my goals right now is to snort blow through a licorice? … Don’t answer that. It is bad. (tln) // You couldn’t find your shoe so you introduced yourself as Cinderella for the rest of the night … Ahh that explains the text from creepy mike saying he would be my prince charming. (tln) // Bring your friend that fell asleep in the bathroom for my friend. (tln) // I say we go and bring jello shots with laxatives. 57% sure one of his toilets is broken (tln) // “Writing is excessive drudgery. It crooks your back, it dims your sight, it twists your stomach and your sides.” // “As the harbor is welcome to the sailor, so is the last line to the scribe. // “This is sad! O little book! A day will come in truth when someone over your page will say, ‘The hand that wrote it is no more.’ // 1- From Sachs to Kristof to Invisible Children to TED, the fastest growth industry in the US is the White Savior Industrial Complex. 2- The white savior supports brutal policies in the morning, founds charities in the afternoon, and receives awards in the evening. 3- The banality of evil transmutes into the banality of sentimentality. The world is nothing but a problem to be solved by enthusiasm. 4- This world exists simply to satisfy the needs—including, importantly, the sentimental needs—of white people and Oprah. 5- The White Savior Industrial Complex is not about justice. It is about having a big emotional experience that validates privilege. 6- Feverish worry over that awful African warlord. But close to 1.5 million Iraqis died from an American war of choice. Worry about that. 7- I deeply respect American sentimentality, the way one respects a wounded hippo. You must keep an eye on it, for you know it is deadly. (tw) // too much food for thought can lead to mental indigestion. (fb)
blame is for children and the pope // It was a group decision to take your pants off. Took a solid 10 minutes. No more skinny jeans while drinking. (tln) // I’m sorry I drunk dialed you before realizing that you were already in bed with me. (tln) // No no don’t get confused. We do chemistry homework on Thursdays. We screw on Fridays. Other than that, Words With Friends is our only communication five days a week. We are NOT dating. (tln) // I take your giggles as a yes to operation McLaxitives? (tln) // Some guy in lab is humming along to a Sara Barrilles song. Or maybe I’m just hearing the song echoing in his huge, gaping vagina. (tln) // I’ve discovered that regular handcuff keys, sadly, do not work on real police handcuffs. (tln) // currently waiting for her to check in on Facebook, the second she does I’m there. someone is getting laid tonight … I’m not stalking, she is pretty much begging me to come find her if she checks in (tln) // If I win the lottery, I’m gonna buy Twitter, and delete the Kardashians. (tw) //It was the textbook our- balls- touched- while- engaged- in- a- threesome- with-o ur- bosses- wife conversation … It amazes and alarms me I’m not shocked to read that. (tln) // I wish some folks would learn to choose their battles. I wish folks knew the difference between activism and solidarity. I wish some could understand that when you claim to be non-judgmental then proceed to judge, that makes you a liar and may call into question your solidarity and activism. It also perpetuates the cycle. Choose your battles. Not everyone is you. Your reaction to the world is not the only reaction. This world, and it’s occupants will never respond the way everyone thinks they should respond, and to think that you can dictate response for an entire nation of people is really kind of fucked up, in my opinion. Not everyone is willing to put themselves on front lines, if you are do it and use the solidarity of the community to give you strength. (fb) // We need to quit fighting wars. We need to bring our troops and mercenaries home, from a war zone eight time zones away. We need to quit killing women and children with robot planes. Those robot planes are very expensive to operate. // 1-Names with an s at the end are tough for some people to pronounce. It is clumsy to add an ” ‘s” to such a name to indicate possesion. While many names are better in the complete form, some work better with nicknames. 2- The choice of a given name is a very personal affair. Usually, it is made for you. Your well meaning parents make this choice, and often they make mistakes. You can choose to be called something else // Fake Santorum quotes: Arsenic can’t be THAT bad. It often shows up in our drinking water. And water is good for you. (tw) // I see more fake Santorum quotes spread around than real ones these days it’s a testament to how many awful things he’s said and how low his reputation is that people will readily believe any horrific thing you put in his mouth no matter how much it sounds like a parody or how much of a political suicide it’d be if he actually said it (tw) // Male cashier: You comin’ this weekend? Female cashier: Nooo! I can’t cuz I gotta go with my girlfriend downtown, she’s makin’ me go with her to get her thingies pierced… You know, her ta tas. (ony) // Nerd #1: Yeah, this time next year… Nerd #2: Oh, yeah? You thinking of procreating? Nerd #1: I try every chance I get. Nerd #2: Nice! You should do it, it’s really no big deal. Nerd #1: Yeah, I mean, I know my life will change a bit, but it’s one of those things that you just have to do. Nerd #2: Yeah. I guess it’ll be more exciting when he’s like… a person. Nerd #1: And can mow your lawn. (ony) // Office male: No, you remember. It was when we went to The Hamptons that summer. Like five years ago. Office female: We’ve only been dating for three. (ony) // Customer service rep: I’m at work, I don’t need to hear about your whore activities! (ony) // Coworker receiving work back that wasn’t done properly: No way! I know I did it right! I must have a computer virus. Maybe I need a defrag? There’s no way I had errors! I triple checked it! (ony) // It is true what you say. I am currently destroying your workplace productivity. (tw) // firstname.lastname@example.org // I firmly believe that it is our unique blessings that provide us with our raison d’être. If, in the name of normality or conformity, we silence our strange angels, our mischievous devils, and our inner weird kids, then we have expunged precisely the portions of ourselves that we are here to express and live most fully. ~ Kraig Blackwelder (fb) // It has been said that a pretty face is a passport. But it’s not, it’s a visa, and it runs out fast. -Julie Burchill (fb) // Republicans are celebrating the inevitability of Romney the way one would an asteroid hurtling towards Earth. (tw) // I’m used to rumors & almost never address them. But it’s not ok when magazines like InTouch involve my close friends in their made up stories. They were told by multiple people that their current cover isnt true, but they decided to go ahead. & run it anyway. So here you have it… A Tweet by @KimKardashian (tw) // @KimKardashian Get over it! Half of the stuff on ur so called reality shows is just like u FAKE!! So dont act like u dont love the attention (tw) // Guy to another: What’s up bitch, Marty, good morning! Woman: That’s not a nice way to say “good morning.” (ony) // Queer bartender to queer waiter: Did you give Joe* that shot? Queer waiter: No, he’s too drunk. I’ll give it to him later. Queer customer: It’s 10 o’clock! Queer waiter: He comes in drunk. Queer customer: Well, that’s a real time saver… (ony) // Like Christopher Isherwood, Flannery O’Connor, Carson McCullers and Ensan Case, he gave me permission. (fb) // If George Zimmerman tells one more lie he’s going to get his own show on Fox. (tw) // Student, about project: How big should I make it? I don’t feel like making a big ass thing. Teacher: No, no. I don’t want a big ass thing. Just make is a small ass thing or a medium ass thing. (ony) // Woman yelling from window to group of teenage skateboarders: Shut the fuck up! Teen: Bitch, you wanna come down here and get your pussy wet? Woman: Grow some fucking hair on your balls! Then we’ll talk! (ony) // Woman #1: Make sure they scoop out the center of my bagel. I’m on a diet, don’t need all those carbs. Woman #2: I didn’t know they would do that. Woman #1: Sure they will, and I want cream cheese and jelly on my bagel… Oh ya, and butter. Woman #2: Do you want a coffee? Woman #1: Please, and with three sugars. (ony) // Selah
Gwyneth Paltrow has a cookbook for sale, My Father’s Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness. She has a unique method for getting publicity. In a facebook rant, Ms. Paltrow claims that she wrote “every word” of the book, and that Julia Moskin’s “facts need checking”.
The outburst was a reaction to a NYT feature, I Was a Cookbook Ghostwriter, written by Ms. Moskin. The start of the article has a picture of the book, with the caption “Gwyneth Paltrow’s ghostwriter is Julia Turshen”. Near the end of the article, it is said that “Julia Turshen, who is writing a second cookbook with Gwyneth Paltrow after their collaboration on “My Father’s Daughter,”… The majority of the article deals with the ups and downs of being a food book ghostwriter.
An article at The Rumpus, Ghosts Are Real, At Least In Publishing, thinks both sides have a bit of truth. Often, a person will write a book, only to have it worked into shape by an editor. It can be tough work to make people think someone else wrote a book, and have it still be fun to read. Many “real” authors are up front about the editorial help they get in producing a book. It is telling that Ms. Paltrow cannot acknowledge getting help. (Unless this really is just a publicity stunt. The fact that Rachel Ray jumped on the bandwagon makes that a greater possibility. Both names were spelled correctly. )
There is also the possibility that Ms. Turshen violated her contract by speaking out. “At the very least, it seems to me the book was a collaboration between Turshen and Paltrow. But it’s probably stipulated in Turshen’s contract that she can’t claim to have worked on it. That’s pretty standard – what ghostwriting is about – even though many people know that most celebrity books are not written by the celebrities themselves. That’s probably what Turshen assumed when she agreed to give Moskin an interview. I hope Turshen is not penalized financially or otherwise for this potential breech of contract. It’s lousy enough having Gwyneth publicly deny her work on the book. I know that feeling. It’s happened to me. “
In the wake of this scandal (Gwynethgate?) comes another blog post, The Happy Ghost. It is possible to argue with that sentiment, but there’s no denying its broad appeal and growing acceptance. In such a fluid climate – and in a culture that’s pie-eyed drunk on celebrity in its glitziest and tawdriest forms – it’s not surprising that ghostwriting has won acceptance as just one of many legitimate ways to produce books. Including novels. Brand-name author James Patterson has a stable of writers helping him churn out his best-selling thrillers. The rapper 50 Cent, who must be a very busy man, pays someone to ghostwrite his 140-character tweets for Twitter. … When Ronald Reagan’s memoir, An American Life, appeared, the Gipper gave high praise to his ghostwriter, Robert Lindsey. “I hear it’s a terrific book,” Reagan said. “One of these days I’m going to read it myself.”
HT to Andrew Sullivan, who gives credit to his assistants. Video is from wtfjapanseriously. Pictures are from The Library of Congress
When PG was a youngun, he worked summers at a golf course. One afternoon, a man missed a putt. He threw down his putter, and shouted “shit, piss, and corruption”. Which brings us to the last day of the 2012 Lesterslature.
It was noted recently that Georgia is arguably the most corrupt state in the Union. (It is also wins the prize for the Confederacy.) You might imagine that this report caused great concern under the gold dome. You would be wrong.
The fishwrapper has a writer named Jim Galloway, who comments on such things. Today he tells the story of a young man named Josh McKoon. (Perhaps this was who George Zimmerman was talking about in that 911 call.)
The latter situation fits the case of state Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus. It was bad enough that McKoon, a rookie finishing out his first term, was one of the few Republican lawmakers to side with those who think that members of the Legislature ought not to accept gifts worth more than $100.
But McKoon may have gone a step too far. When this newspaper noted last week that a new report judged Georgia to have the weakest anti-corruption laws in the nation, McKoon pushed out a photo of the front page headline via Twitter.
On Tuesday, the Senate Rules Committee gutted a measure sponsored by McKoon that merely paired a few lawmakers with citizens interested in tougher ethics laws to form a study committee. The civilians were stripped from the committee, and membership reshuffled to eliminate McKoon – a member of Common Cause at home.
“We wanted senior members of the Legislature to be on it,” explained Don Balfour, R-Snellville, chairman of the rules committee. And he saw no need for outsiders to be involved.
Mr. Balfour is a resident of Snellville. The motto of this fine town used to be “Everybody’s Somebody in Snellville”. It was updated to “WHERE EVERYBODY IS PROUD TO BE SOMEBODY.”
Getting back to the dreary subject of state government, Mr. Galloway tells a tale of the Peach Tea Party. This should not be confused with a swinging new nightclub, The Peachtree Party. The PTP is targeting politicians with primary opposition, as a form of payback. These Lesterslators did not vote the way the PTP instructed them to, and must be punished. Some are even said to be (gasp) Republicans in name only. Here is one story:
“Of course, you take it seriously,” said state Rep. Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta, one of those made the Peach Tea Party list. “You do have to raise money. But what they forget is that I like to meet people in my district,” she said. Cooper was targeted by Georgia Right to Life, an anti-abortion group, in 2010, and won her primary with 62 percent of the vote.
Cooper is chairman of the House Health and Human Services Committee, trained in a Catholic hospital and has taught obstetric nursing. She walked out of the vote for HB 954, the anti-abortion bill. The measure lacked an exception for rape and incest, which she might have tolerated. But it also omitted an exception for pregnancies in which the fetus has no chance of survival.
While Georgia can make rules about abortion, ultimately it is a federal issue. What happens under the gold dome is not going to save any unborn chirren. What fussing about abortion will do is take attention away from ethics legislation, or lack thereof. While the parliament of whores is wailing about the unborn, “SOMEBODY” is scraping the gold off the dome.
HT to Peach Pundit. They copy and paste with non partisan style. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.
The facebook friend made a comment “Did you know that Christians are washed in the blood of the lamb? That sounds delicious!”. There was a link to a church message. And I was taken back to a visit to the bathroom, thirteen years ago.
This post is written in first person. Religion is a personal thing. There is imagery that is very meaningful to some people. This same imagery began a trip to hell for me. This story has been told before, and might be told again.
My mother passed away on December 18, 1998. She was a Christian, I am not. Over the years, we had learned to look past this difference, and to understand some of the reasons for it. We were on good terms when she left. Losing her was tough.
Three weeks later, I was at work. A co worker was an aggressive Jesus worshiper. He played a little radio, tuned into an am Christian station. The radio was on a table, outside the door to the bathroom.
When I was washing my hands (I do not remember what I did before that), I began to think about my mother. I missed her, and felt sad that I would never hear her laugh again. When I walked out of the bathroom, a woman was praying for entertainment on the radio. “The blood of the lamb has cleansed my heart”. I freaked out.
Don’t yell about bleeding lambs. Bleeding lambs are gross. They may mean something to you, but I don’t want to hear your condescending explanation. Do not spray lamb’s blood on me when I am coming out of the bathroom.
I stormed out of the room, and said to the operations manager, “I hate Christian Radio”. He talked to the preacher, and the radio was turned off the rest of the day.
The next day, the radio was turned on. The preacher did not say anything. He also played a second sound device. He listened to a taped message with an earplug. During the seven years of struggle over the preachers need to be entertained at work, he never once said why he wanted to play two radios at the same time. As for asking him, I could never get a word in. Or, I was so weary,of the nightmare of listening to his hatred, that I was afraid to ask.
The radio played softly in the background. I could not hear it clearly, but could hear the sound of rice crispies all day, every day. The only break came at eleven thirty, when a preacher came on the radio to shout at me. I was operating a cranky machine at the time, and had to listen to the sounds it made. When you run a printing machine, you are always listening to it. The sound of rice crispies in the background was very annoying.
Finally, the day came when I had to confront the bully. I asked him to turn his speaker radio down, and all hell broke loose. He had a loud temper tantrum at me, talking about G-d, Jesus, and the bible. He used Jesus as a tool of his anger. He got on the phone, and told everyone who would listen what happened. He went to the management, and said he would file a lawsuit if he could not play two radios at the same time.
This conflict continued for the next seven years, until I was laid off. When I was cleaning out my workspace, after losing my job, a visitor stood next to me and shouted the word “Jesus”.
1- I learned to see Jesus in the way his believers treat me. There is the historic Jesus, and the spirit that lives in the hearts of his believers. The best way to know this spirit is through the words and deeds of his believers. What I see, and hear, does not speak well for Jesus.
2- Prayer should be a private, reverend communication with G-d. It should not be performed, for vulgar entertainment, on the radio.
3- The image of the blood of the lamb might mean something to Jesus worshipers. It might mean something else to others. To me, talk about bleeding lambs was the gateway to hell.
4- The emotions aroused by vigorous preaching are very powerful. To have these emotions used against you, over a petty personal conflict, brings shame to Jesus. I can only imagine what George Zimmerman is going through now.
5- Another comment in the facebook thread was “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” What about a man who is persecuted, in the name of Jesus, because he asked a Jesus worshiper to turn down his radio?
6- Jesus worshipers like to be forgiven. They do not like to forgive. There are exceptions.
7- You should not wrestle with a pig. You will get dirty, and the pig will enjoy it.
8- If you choose to pray for me about this, please keep it to yourself.
The facebook friend (who is pretty cool in real life) started this adventure with this comment: “If one more person posts that bogus Santorum quote as fact, I will shoot myself. Satire is lovely, but not when people don’t even bother to fact check anymore. In other news, I’m out of cigarettes.”
This inspired three comments. ” any negative publicity that brings that asshole into question is worth posting. God forbig anyone post any untruths about our President. Anyone should verify the source of any information beyond “saw it on the internet”. LOL In other news, I miss your face!””Google “bogus Santorum quote” and you get 98 million results.””I mean the one about gay porn and the Taliban going viral right now.”
Rick Santorum is a loose cannon. (The frothy mix is generally a loose product as well.) With a personality like that, it is tough to tell real from fake. With Americans dreading the rest of this Presidential campaign, it is only natural to exaggerate the strange things said by the former senator.
The offending misquote is: “While the Obama Department of Justice seems to favor pornographers over children and families, that will change under a Satorum Administration. I will ban all pornography. Especially gay pornography. Gay pornography is the reason people choose the gay lifestyle or what I call the deathstyle. If we got rid of that, homosexuality would be gone within a matter of months. This is one of only a few things I see eye to eye on with the Taliban.”
The top result is from that trusty advertiser of insurance products, snopes. “The quote cited in the Example block at the head of this page about “banning all pornography — specially gay pornography” is not something that was actually stated by Rick Santorum; it’s a spoof combining elements from the candidate’s above-cited statement on pornography and his previously expressed views on homosexuality. This item originated as a graphic image posted on Facebook to the Presidential Quotes section of Americans for a More American America, a political satire site.”
With the exception of the attached gif, the rest of the first page results were boring. Glenn Beck was listed, but PG cannot find any Santorum. It might blend in. The pictures for this feature are from The Library of Congress. They are Union soldiers from the War Between the States.
PG was minding his own business, drinking coffee, editing pictures, and listening to Radiolab. The show coming over the speakers this morning was Talking to Machines. It starts out with the dodgy tale of a man who falls in correspondent conversation with a Russian woman, who turns out to be a “bot”.
For those who have missed this part of the digital revolution, a bot is a computer imitating a person. (The word is short for advertising robot.) The rest of the hour discusses the fine line between real and artificial conversations.
Before long, a website was mentioned, and PG made a visit to Cleverbot. The sponsors were a company telling you to how to “Meet Singles In Norcross”. (Other websites have Norcross as the default location for PG, who lives in East Buckhead.) Other advertisers include Colorado Technical University and Central Michigan University… Get a Graduate Certificate in Logistics Management.
The management has placed warnings and disclaimers. PLEASE NOTE: Cleverbot learns from real people – things it says may seem inappropriate – use with discretion, and at YOUR OWN RISK. PARENTAL ADVICE: Visitors never talk to a human, however convincing it is – the AI knows many topics – use ONLY WITH OVERSIGHT. Conversational access is granted only to humans using this Cleverbot.com interface directly.
The temptation to have a virtual conversation was overwhelming. Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.
16:12:52 Cleverbot: Are you here to talk?
16:13:10 User: Might as well I can’t dance.
16:13:13 Cleverbot: That you are dazed and confused, yes, you mat as well.
16:13:34 User: Only on tuesday.
16:13:38 Cleverbot: Ahhh you are pretty smart!
16:13:52 User: Not everyone feels that way.
16:13:57 Cleverbot: How did we get from batman to shopping?
16:14:46 User: When Robin asked for a pay raise.
16:14:51 Cleverbot: I cannot say.
16:15:33 User: You are not under oath.
16:15:37 Cleverbot: I am not understand? You are not speakable.
16:15:54 User: I dare not speak my name.
16:16:00 Cleverbot: What is your name?
16:16:15 User: Piers Gaveston Jr.
16:16:18 Cleverbot: Sobot.
16:16:47 User: I will think for myself.
16:16:53 Cleverbot: Do you dream?
16:17:15 User: I can’t remember when I wake up, but I suspect that I do.
16:17:22 Cleverbot: Apa anda buat sekarang.
16:17:37 User: Watch your language.
16:17:43 Cleverbot: Watch you DVD.
16:18:35 User: Thank you this is going to make a good blog post.
16:18:41 Cleverbot: Yeah I know.
Rick Santorum got all frothy yesterday. As you can see in this video, he gave a speech. You make a lot of those when you run for President. He said “the worst Republican in the country (pause) to put up against Barack Obama.” It is assumed he was talking about Willard M. Romney. There was no mention of the Affordable Care Act, at least in the edited segment of this video.
Later, a reporter asked him if Mr. Romney was the worst republican in the country. Is That true? Mr. Santorum asked “what speech did you listen to?. In his version, he only said that Mr. Romney was the worst r.i.t.c. with regard to challenging the President on health care reform. The candidate got rather angry, used a crude word for animal waste, and continued to show his pretty teeth. A person watching with the sound turned off might think he was happy with the reporter.
Mr. Santorum is in a tough spot. He is the leading non Romney to stay in the race. He does not have the money of Willard Romney, the hair of Michele Bachmann, or the sex appeal of Herman Cain. All he has is belief in himself as the true messenger of the conservatives. It probably will not be good enough. The frustration is showing.
This story was featured at Crooks and Liars. One commenter said “He has every right to get frothy over this. The failure to properly lubricate his comment with context rendered it total bull fecal matter.” Other registered visitors at C and L have little messages under their comments. These signatures include:
“These assholes. They always get away.” George Zimmerman
Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don’t say it mean.
“Parachutes are allowed in checked or carry-on baggage,
but may not be worn in flight.” —Southwest Airlines
Hopefully humanity will one day learn to be humane.
There’s always free cheddar in the mousetrap, baby. – Tom Waits
Men are basically smart or dumb and lazy or ambitious. The dumb and ambitious ones are dangerous and I get rid of them. The dumb and lazy ones I give mundane duties. The smart ambitious ones I put on my staff. The smart and lazy ones I make my commanders
Pictures are from The Library of Congress These daguerreotypes were taken between 1844 and 1860, at the studio of Matthew Brady.
In the early nineties, PG had too much free time. On March 25 of one year, he looked in the fishwrapper, and found a list of famous people with birthdays.
There was an unlikely trio celebrating that day. This would be (in order of appearance) Anita Bryant (1940), Aretha Franklin (1942), and Elton John (1947). All three have been paid for singing. The three have a total of five husbands, with Miss Bryant and Mr. John currently attached (Not to each other). Miss Franklin has good taste in hats.
Several other people have arrived on planet earth on March 25. They include , in 1911, Jack Ruby, the killer of Lee Harvey Oswald (d. 1967) (They don’t say alleged when it was on live TV). 1918 produced Howard Cosell, American sports reporter (d. 1995). Flannery O’Connor (d. 1964) arrived in 1925. 1934 gave us Gloria Steinem. In 1937 Tom Monaghan, founder of Dominos pizza, arrived. (The delivery was nine months, and twenty nine minutes, after the order was placed.) To make room for all this talent, Buck Owens died March 25, 2006.
March 25 is after the spring equinox, and has been Easter. A few noteworthy events have gone down on this day. In 1894, Coxey’s Army departed Massillon, Ohio for Washington D.C. In 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire killed 146 garment workers in New York City. In 1939 Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli becomes Pope Pius XII, to the delight of Adolph Hitler. 1955 saw the United States Customs seizes copies of Allen Ginsberg’s poem “Howl” as obscene. In 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono began their first Bed-In for Peace at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel.
HT and applause to wikipedia. This is a repost. Pictures, without Ms. Steinem, are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.
Whenever someone writes a book about religion, the writer pays tribute to mammon. Interviews are given, TED talks are given, and the printed donkey flogged within an inch of its life. The book of the moment is Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion. The author is Alain de Botton. A chat on blogginheadstv provided background noise for a productive 53 minutes of photo editing. Thank you Library of Congress.
The idea is that atheists can learn a thing or two from the believers. Mr. de Botton also gave a TED Talk about this concept. TED provides a transcript, which makes the bloggers endeavor a bit easier.
One of the most common ways of dividing the world is into those who believe and those who don’t — into the religious and the atheists. And for the last decade or so, it’s been quite clear what being an atheist means. There have been some very vocal atheists who’ve pointed out, not just that religion is wrong, but that it’s ridiculous. These people, many of whom have lived in North Oxford, have argued — they’ve argued that believing in G-d is akin to believing in fairies and essentially that the whole thing is a childish game.
We may as well began by questioning the entire belief paradigm. Christians believe G-d exists, and a few other things. Atheists do not believe G-d exists. What no one seems to be questioning is whether belief is the best way to go about the G-d issue. The word gnosis (the root of agnostic) refers to having a knowledge of G-d… to feeling her presence in your soul. There are some who say that man and G-d are one and the same. When all you have is a belief… a strongly felt thought… you just might be missing most of the picture.
Christianity is a religion based on beliefs. One of the central beliefs is the notion that having the correct beliefs will cause you to be “saved”… to go to heaven when you die, instead of hell. This is a big deal to Christians, who find it difficult to deal with someone who is not as fascinated by this belief as they are.
Atheism seems to be a reaction to Christianity. If they Christians did not tell them about G-d, how would they know what not to believe in?
“they’ve argued that believing in G-d is akin to believing in fairies and essentially that the whole thing is a childish game.” Oh my, what a terrible thing to say about faeries. Maybe faeries are not something to believe in either. Just wear the fabulous fashions, and don’t worry about that silly religion business.
Mr. de Botton laments the lack of community is atheism, and he may have a point. PG has often envied the sense of extended family that churches seem to offer. If only those pesky beliefs didn’t get in the way. Does religion fulfill a tribal need for conformity, rather than spiritual fulfillment?
“Now religions start from a very different place indeed. All religions, all major religions, at various points call us children. And like children, they believe that we are in severe need of assistance. We’re only just holding it together. Perhaps this is just me, maybe you. But anyway, we’re only just holding it together. And we need help. Of course, we need help. And we need guidance and we need learning.”
It is a common rule of public speaking… you treat children as though they were adults, and adults as though they were children. The concept of being “born again”, of having a second childhood… these are very appealing notions. Can an atheist church offer these good times? Or would it spoil the fun by treating “worshipers” as adults?
Another point about education: we tend to believe in the modern secular world that if you tell someone something once, they’ll remember it. Sit them in a classroom, tell them about Plato at the age of 20, send them out for a career in management consultancy for 40 years, and that lesson will stick with them. Religions go, “Nonsense. You need to keep repeating the lesson 10 times a day. So get on your knees and repeat it.” That’s what all religions tell us: “Get on you knees and repeat it 10 or 20 or 15 times a day.” Otherwise our minds are like sieves.
So religions are cultures of repetition. They circle the great truths again and again and again. We associate repetition with boredom. “Give us the new,” we’re always saying. “The new is better than the old.” If I said to you, “Okay, we’re not going to have new TED. We’re just going to run through all the old ones and watch them five times because they’re so true. We’re going to watch Elizabeth Gilbert five times because what she says is so clever,” you’d feel cheated.
PG listened to the embedded TED talk twice, the second time taking notes in the transcript. The idea of listening to this lecture three more times is horrific.
The other thing that religions are really aware of is: speak well — I’m not doing a very good job of this here — but oratory, oratory is absolutely key to religions. In the secular world, you can come through the university system and be a lousy speaker and still have a great career. But the religious world doesn’t think that way. What you’re saying needs to be backed up by a convincing way of saying it.
So if you go to an African American Pentecostalist church in the American South and you listen to how they talk, my goodness, they talk well. After every convincing point, people will go, “Amen, amen, amen.” At the end of a really rousing paragraph, they’ll all stand up, and they’ll go, “Thank you Jesus, thank you Christ, thank you Savior.” If we were doing it like they do it — let’s not do it, but if we were to do it — I would tell you something like, “Culture should replace scripture.” And you would go, “Amen, amen, amen.” And at the end of my talk, you would all stand up and you would go, “Thank you Plato, thank you Shakespeare, thank you Jane Austen.” And we’d know that we had a real rhythm going. All right, all right. We’re getting there. We’re getting there.
This is one issue where PG has a big, big problem. Jesus worship is an emotional affair. Powerful feelings are stirred up. This power, and fury, can be a terrifying thing if it is used against you.
In 1999, PG was working with an aggressive Jesus worshiper. One day, PG came out of the bathroom, and heard something on a radio the preacher was playing. What he heard disturbed PG. When he asked the preacher to turn his radio down, hell broke loose. The preacher turned loose the power of Jesus against PG, in righteous anger, because he wanted to play a religious radio station at work. An experience like that will give you a sense of what George Zimmerman is facing today.
This use of Jesus driven emotions is an issue in American politics today. The force and thunder of a screaming Jesus worshiper, leading his flock of angry sheep, is a terrible thing to have used against you. It is hoped that an Atheist church would be more “humanistic”.
No, we need to be polite about differences. Politeness is a much-overlooked virtue. It’s seen as hypocrisy. But we need to get to a stage when you’re an atheist and someone says, “Well you know, I did pray the other day,” you politely ignore it. You move on. Because you’ve agreed on 90 percent of things, because you have a shared view on so many things, and you politely differ… That’s what the religious wars of late have ignored. They’ve ignored the possibility of harmonious disagreement.
Two wrongs do not make a right. Jesus worshipers are notorious for interrupting you if something is said they do not like. Perhaps this is another function of the belief based religion. When you believe something, and do not understand why someone does not share your belief, you don’t have time to listen. This rudeness does not speak well for Jesus. Hopefully, atheists can be a bit better.
There is a dandy feature at the Atlantic today, The White Savior Industrial Complex. It is written by Teju Cole, who is becoming a legend in the twitterverse. It was a seven part tweetpoem, written after the viral plague of KONY2012, that starts off the story.
1- From Sachs to Kristof to Invisible Children to TED, the fastest growth industry in the US is the White Savior Industrial Complex. 2- The white savior supports brutal policies in the morning, founds charities in the afternoon, and receives awards in the evening. 3- The banality of evil transmutes into the banality of sentimentality. The world is nothing but a problem to be solved by enthusiasm. 4- This world exists simply to satisfy the needs—including, importantly, the sentimental needs—of white people and Oprah. 5- The White Savior Industrial Complex is not about justice. It is about having a big emotional experience that validates privilege. 6- Feverish worry over that awful African warlord. But close to 1.5 million Iraqis died from an American war of choice. Worry about that. 7- I deeply respect American sentimentality, the way one respects a wounded hippo. You must keep an eye on it, for you know it is deadly.
The media sensation this week is Trayvon Martin. Angry mobs are demanding justice. 5- The White Savior Industrial Complex is not about justice. It is about having a big emotional experience that validates privilege. (Are all white people caucasians?) The backwards police in Florida just don’t get it. The enlightened folk of America are going to straighten them out. The Jesus worshipers are demanding what they call justice. The word forgiveness is seldom heard.
There is a sentence in Mr. Cole’s story. “What Africa needs more pressingly than Kony’s indictment is more equitable civil society, more robust democracy, and a fairer system of justice.” Substitute America for Africa, and Zimmerman for Kony.
We live in a society that benefits from the suffering of others. A person who speaks about helping these suffering people should be aware of this. As Mr. Cole says: “I write all this from multiple positions. I write as an African, a black man living in America. I am every day subject to the many microaggressions of American racism. I also write this as an American, enjoying the many privileges that the American passport affords and that residence in this country makes possible. I involve myself in this critique of privilege: my own privileges of class, gender, and sexuality are insufficiently examined. My cell phone was likely manufactured by poorly treated workers in a Chinese factory. The coltan in the phone can probably be traced to the conflict-riven Congo. I don’t fool myself that I am not implicated in these transnational networks of oppressive practices.”
Mr. Cole speaks about Nigeria. Much of the oil we power our automobiles with comes from Nigeria. The people of that country are. mostly, poor. The waters they used to fish have been poisoned by oil spills. The world does not pay much environmental attention to the oil wells in Nigeria.
Let me draw into this discussion an example from an African country I know very well. Earlier this year, hundreds of thousands of Nigerians took to their country’s streets to protest the government’s decision to remove a subsidy on petrol. This subsidy was widely seen as one of the few blessings of the country’s otherwise catastrophic oil wealth. But what made these protests so heartening is that they were about more than the subsidy removal. Nigeria has one of the most corrupt governments in the world and protesters clearly demanded that something be done about this. The protests went on for days, at considerable personal risk to the protesters. Several young people were shot dead, and the movement was eventually doused when union leaders capitulated and the army deployed on the streets. The movement did not “succeed” in conventional terms. But something important had changed in the political consciousness of the Nigerian populace. For me and for a number of people I know, the protests gave us an opportunity to be proud of Nigeria…
This is not the sort of story that is easy to summarize in an article, much less make a viral video about. After all, there is no simple demand to be made and — since corruption is endemic — no single villain to topple. There is certainly no “bridge character,” Kristof’s euphemism for white saviors in Third World narratives who make the story more palatable to American viewers. And yet, the story of Nigeria’s protest movement is one of the most important from sub-Saharan Africa so far this year. Men and women, of all classes and ages, stood up for what they felt was right; they marched peacefully; they defended each other, and gave each other food and drink; Christians stood guard while Muslims prayed and vice-versa; and they spoke without fear to their leaders about the kind of country they wanted to see. All of it happened with no cool American 20-something heroes in sight…
If Americans want to care about Africa, maybe they should consider evaluating American foreign policy, which they already play a direct role in through elections, before they impose themselves on Africa itself. The fact of the matter is that Nigeria is one of the top five oil suppliers to the U.S., and American policy is interested first and foremost in the flow of that oil. The American government did not see fit to support the Nigeria protests. (Though the State Department issued a supportive statement — “our view on that is that the Nigerian people have the right to peaceful protest, we want to see them protest peacefully, and we’re also urging the Nigerian security services to respect the right of popular protest and conduct themselves professionally in dealing with the strikes” — it reeked of boilerplate rhetoric and, unsurprisingly, nothing tangible came of it.) This was as expected; under the banner of “American interests,” the oil comes first. Under that same banner, the livelihood of corn farmers in Mexico has been destroyed by NAFTA. Haitian rice farmers have suffered appalling losses due to Haiti being flooded with subsidized American rice. A nightmare has been playing out in Honduras in the past three years: an American-backed coup and American militarization of that country have contributed to a conflict in which hundreds of activists and journalists have already been murdered. The Egyptian military, which is now suppressing the country’s once-hopeful movement for democracy and killing dozens of activists in the process, subsists on $1.3 billion in annual U.S. aid. This is a litany that will be familiar to some. To others, it will be news. But, familiar or not, it has a bearing on our notions of innocence and our right to “help.”
The White Savior Industrial Complex should be read. Be forewarned … too much food for thought can lead to mental indigestion.
1 – A stand your ground law becomes an issue during an incident on Retreat View Circle. You can’t make this stuff up.
2 – Perhaps the dispatcher should have been more explicit about what Mr. Zimmerman should do. “We don’t need you to do that” can be taken different ways.
3 – It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog. While Mr. Zimmerman was bigger than Mr. Martin, he apparently did not do well in their physical confrontation. Mr. Zimmerman “was found bleeding from the nose and the back of the head”.
4 – A 9mm handgun is larger than either dog, or the fight in either dog. Attacking a man with this weapon is not a good idea.
5 – The City of Sanford has issued a statement regarding their conduct in this case. They claim that Florida law prohibited them from arresting Mr. Zimmerman. This is the case is going to be profitable for some attorneys to figure out.
6 – The American gun lust has caused more than one person to die before their time. There are better ways to prove your masculinity.
7 – Justice is not a popularity contest. This is now going to be in the hands of the grand jury. We should not allow a mob to “demand justice”. If Mr. Zimmerman is prosecuted only because a howling mob demands it, then justice has not been served.
8 – One more time. Justice is not a popularity contest. If this case goes to trial, and Mr. Zimmerman is acquited, will we see mob violence? It happened in 1992, when a jury in California delivered an unpopular verdict in the Rodney King trial. The rabble rousers need to have responsibility for what they are bringing down.
9 – Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. These are Union soldiers from the War Between the States.