An Embarrassing Admission (Psalms 23-30)

I recognized the following psalm instantly: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death/I fear no evil/for thou art with me/thy rod and thy staff/they comfort me” (Psalms 23:4). I wish I could say I remember it from church, which wouldn’t be that odd considering that I still remember a lot of the things I’ve had to memorize by rote over the years – from the “Our Father” to a passage from “Lolita” I used for a second year drama class. But I’m embarrassed to admit that I remember the psalm from a scene in “Titanic” when the ship starts to tilt and some poor bastard starts reciting it and Jack says, “You wanna walk a little faster through that valley there?”. Definitely one of the comedic high points of the movie.

My roommate once admitted to me that she went to see “Titanic” eight consecutive times in the theatre when it came out. She’s able to spit out an impressive amount of the narration voiced by old Rose (The sheets had never been slept in… the dishes had never been used… Titanic was the ship of dreams… and it was… it really was). I bested her: I went to see “Titanic” ELEVEN times in the theatre. One my tenth or eleventh visit, my friend Summer(oni) and I were late and we couldn’t find seats together so we got some lawn chairs that I happened to have in the trunk of the Corsica (a pretty sweet ride for a highschooler) and parked them in the back of the theatre like we were at a Barenaked Ladies concert.

I went to see Titanic several times with friends and several times alone. I don’t know what it was about the movie that appealed to me; at the time I considered myself an intellectual, rebel and all-round weirdo. Sidenote: a friend once asked me if I was popular in highschool and I replied, “Let me put it to you this way, Ken. I was thirty pounds heavier, played on the boys’ rugby team, had green hair and my “good” shirt was a Far Side t-shirt. You do the math”. Funny enough, “Titanic” struck a chord with me and I cried at each and every one of the eleven viewings. Maybe it was the three and a half hour running time – it wears you down emotionally and you wind up a puddle.

I toyed with writing this post today but I’m SO glad I did. Here’s why: I started to type in the word “embarrassing” in the Google search to see if it had one “s” or two and something called “Embarassing Bodies” came up. It’s precisely my kind of show. First, it’s BRITISH and second, it’s BRASH in handling STUFF MOST FOLKS DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT. I was looking for something to take the place of “Supersize Versus Superskinny” (the concept to that show is self-explanatory). Not only is it in the same vein, it features Dr. Christian Jessen, the smarmy doctor who was on “Supersize”. This is a red-letter day for me. I know I’ll find this show endlessly entertaining.

As proof of that, here is the FIRST clip that came up for “Embarrassing Bodies”.

That girl looks twelve but is, thankfully, twenty-three.

DownloadedFile

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How to Headbutt (Psalms 15-22)

These psalms were all supposedly written by King David, who is kissing major ass in all of them. In Psalm 18, for example, he goes on and on about how the Lord is his rock because he helped him destroy all his enemies. Since all the psalms are all meant to be sung and accompanied by music, I kept hearing this:

Did you notice the guy with the bandage over his left eye? Clearly, he represents the demographic this early 90s commercial is meant to appeal to: someone who’s both reckless with their vehicle and their face. Someone who probably appreciates giving and receiving a good headbutt.

Wanna know how? Here’s an instructional video on how to headbutt that hilariously opens with, “There’s no arguing that one of the most effective close quarters combat strategies is the headbutt” (I beg to differ). SPOILER ALERT. Grab the guy’s shirt, not shoulders. I’ll see YOU in the alley behind the bar.

Psalm 16 is not only a psalm, but also a “miktam”. I didn’t know what this meant so I Googled it and, as it turns out, no one does. Not even biblical scholars (frankly, I’ve always had trouble marrying these two descriptors; I’d much prefer “biblical enthusiast”). BAM.

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Published in: on May 23, 2013 at 12:04 am  Comments (2)  
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You’re Better Than That (Psalms 7-14)

“There is no God” (Psalms 10:4).

Well, that settles things. Thanks for reading, folks!

It’s actually in the Bible. I’ve taken it out of context, of course, and hilariously so. But it’s in there.

I’m still waiting with baited breath for the Psalms to spice up. Unfortunately, they seem to consist of bellyaching about enemies and begging God to hurt them. The Psalms get alarmingly specific about the kind of bodily harm, too. Here are some examples:

“Break thou the arm of the wicked and evildoer” (Psalms 10:14)

“On the wicked he [God] will rain coals of fire and brimstone/a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup” (Psalms 11:6)

“May the Lord cut off all flattering lips/the tongue that makes great boasts” (Psalms 12:3)

That’s mean.

I don’t know for sure who wrote this stuff but to him I say, “C’mon. You’re better than that”. Personally, I get most of my aggression out by working a mortar and pestle to make my own Thai curry pastes. And sometimes, if I see someone’s about to pull the cord on the streetcar for an upcoming stop, I try to beat them to it. That’s just me though.

Psalms would appeal to whoever wrote this.

Psalms would appeal to whoever wrote this.

 

Published in: on May 21, 2013 at 1:52 am  Leave a Comment  
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I Write the Psalms (That Make the Whole World Psing) (Psalms 1-6)

It’s been over a year since my last crack at the Bible. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever come back to Atheist Bible Study but I hate not finishing things, a trait of mine that’s most pronounced when a generous helping of anything is put in front of my gob.

I also heard that the Psalms are kind of sexy.

Most of the Psalms are supposedly written by King David, who didn’t have enough on his plate ruling over all of Israel. It’s a pretty small country after all. I think it’s cool that he took some time out of enacting laws and quashing rebellions and hucking stones at giants to indulge his artistic inclinations. Remember how Bill Clinton played the sax? That was pretty cool. I once convinced a dude at a party that the sax solo in M83’s “Midnight City” was Bill Clinton’s. I really get a kick out of flat-out lying to people.

Psalms 1-6 aren’t sexy; they’re whiny. What I got out of them was the following (slightly paraphrased): “Hey, God. You’re powerful. I’m not. People are always picking on me. Can you make them stop or at least feel kind of bad?”. I based my interpretation on passages like: “I am weary with my moaning/every night I flood my bed with tears/I drench my couch with my weeping/My eye wastes away because of my grief/it grows weak because of all my foes” (Psalms 6:6-7). It does indeed read “eye” and not “eyes”. I guess that makes it even more pitiful. Having one eye is definitely worse than having two eyes. 

I’m glad I’m doing some worthwhile writing again.

Published in: on May 19, 2013 at 10:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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I Write the Psalms (That Make the Whole World Psing) Psalms 1-6

It’s been over a year since my last crack at the Bible. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever come back to Atheist Bible Study but I hate not finishing things, a trait of mine that’s most pronounced when a generous helping of anything is put in front of my gob.

I also heard that the Psalms are kind of sexy.

Most of the Psalms are supposedly written by King David, who didn’t have enough on his plate ruling over all of Israel. It’s a pretty small country after all. I think it’s cool that he took some time out of enacting laws and quashing rebellions and hucking stones at giants to indulge his artistic inclinations. Remember how Bill Clinton played the sax? That was pretty cool. I once convinced a dude at a party that the sax solo in M83’s “Midnight City” was Bill Clinton’s. I really get a kick out of flat-out lying to people.

Psalms 1-6 aren’t sexy; they’re whiny. What I got out of them was the following (slightly paraphrased): “Hey, God. You’re powerful. I’m not. People are always picking on me. Can you make them stop or at least feel kind of bad?”. I based my interpretation on passages like: “I am weary with my moaning/every night I flood my bed with tears/I drench my couch with my weeping/My eye wastes away because of my grief/it grows weak because of all my foes” (Psalms 6:6-7).

It does indeed read “eye” and not “eyes”. I guess that makes it even more pitiful. Having one eye is definitely worse than having two eyes. 

I’m glad I’m doing some worthwhile writing again.

 

 

Published in: on May 19, 2013 at 10:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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An Easter Miracle (Job 38-42)

Since Easter is a time of miracles, I’ll mention something I consider to be a miracle: my gargantuan appetite. Here’s what I ate last night at my parents’ place:

– a 16-ounce steak

– 2 large sweet potatoes

– copious amounts of salad and asparagus

– 2 large pieces of cheesecake

– 1 large glass of red wine

Impressive, n’est pas? Even more so considering that I’m shorter than Natalie Portman. I tend to brag about my sizeable appetite fairly openly because I think most women feel like they have to pretend to have a small one in order to appear dainty and feminine, lik Melody Wilkes from Gone with the Wind. I’m starting a dialogue right now and encouraging ladies to “take back the plate,” so to speak. I’m not joking.  

Anyways, I’ve polished off the Book of Job, which culminates with God bragging about all the cool stuff he can do like hasten dawn and call the wind and shit like that. One thing which I thought was worth bragging about was his control over two bad-ass beasts: the Behemoth and the Leviathan (one, the inspiration for a roller coaster and the other, the inspiration for a 1989 underwater horror movie… the best kind of horror movie in my opinion). This is something that the Church should focus on if it wants to remain popular among the youth of today – monsters. More sermons on monsters, for sure.

At the end of the day, God has pity on Job and gives him his life back (and then some) and everyone has a big party for him. I guess that’s good but the guy’s been through a lot and probably has severe post-traumatic stress disorder. I mean, at this point it’s kind of like throwing a pizza party for a Vietnam veteran.

Published in: on April 8, 2012 at 8:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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No More Whine-a-tribe: Job Finally Shuts Up (Job 30-37)

Job has been a trying chapter for me to read. I’ve given it some thought and I would say the reason is that Job is a major whiner and I hate whiners. I really do. Most people I know complain about the stupidest shit, like why they don’t own condos or how expensive organic avocados are. I usually cut off such whine-a-tribes (I’m working off of diatribe here – get it?) with statements like, “Well, you weren’t born with AIDS into a nearly inescapable prison of poverty and illiteracy.” Perspective, folks. If I’m feeling really edgy then I might also bring up female circumcision.

Job bellyaches about how God has “cast him into the mire” (Job 30:19) – which sounds bad – and how he’s “a brother of jackals and a companion of ostriches” (Job 30:29 – which doesn’t sound that bad to me since I’ve always wanted to ride an ostrich. Ostriches would be fun to ride in the same way those old-timey bikes with the huge front wheels (penny-farthing) would be fun to ride; because you’re high up and they’re just wobbly enough to make things exciting… will I crack my head open on the pavement… or won’t I? 

After Job finally shuts up the old guys who he’s speaking to tell him that God’s right and he’s wrong although they can’t cough up a satisfying argument. This one guy named Elihu goes on and on about all the wondrous things in the universe that God is responsible for (n.b. these thing have since been explained by SCIENCE) and how these wondrous things make it impossible to question God at all. His argument comes to the conclusion that Job just doesn’t “get” God, which makes Elihu sound like some desperate girl who wants to date God.

Hup hup hup.

Published in: on April 1, 2012 at 3:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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You Can Run But You Can’t Hide… (Job 25-29)

… from the female body.

Unless you happen to be a test-tube baby. It’s a plain fact that we’re all dependent on the female body for our transition from embryo to bean-shaped fetus to bawling infant. This has never sat well with the men responsible for formulating most major religions, and their icky feelings towards XXs are apparent in writings like the following passage from Job: “How can he who is born of a woman/be clean?/Behold, even the moon is not bright/and the stars are not clean in his sight;/how much less man, who is a/maggot,/and the son of man,/who is a worm!” (Job 25:4-6). As newborns, they all would have slid right out of their mothers’ birth canals into the shower if they’d been unhindered by umbilical cords and able to walk.

Women and their functions are supposedly more closely linked to the animal kingdom than men and their functions. I’ve never understood this since I’ve smelled a teenaged boy or two in my time (this is not a current practice). Periods, giving birth, breastfeeding – all these were obtrusive reminders to dudes like Aristotle that we’re not pure mind, but animals (newsflash!). The best thinkers like him could do was to create a hierarchy in which women were more animal-y than men, at least. While I was reading through some of this stuff, I came across a particularly hilarious tidbit from Plato who, in his limited understanding of anatomy, believed that a woman’s uterus was an actual animal unto itself. Not an organ. An animal. With its own sense of smell and ability to roam the female body like a grazing cow. All I can say to that is, “Wow.”

It kind of looks like it's doing one of those ready-to-strike kung fu poses. You know?

Published in: on February 21, 2012 at 1:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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Judaism aka Low-Self Esteem Club (Job 23-24)

The Book of Job is basically a long, protracted rant by Job, a man who God has battered like a 50s housewife. In these particular chapters, Job talks about how terrifying God is. God IS terrifying; his actions have never squared with the supposed loving and compassionate persona later Christians perpetuated. Love and compassion are Jesus’ bag but most definitely not God’s. Here’s what Job has to say about God: “…I am terrified at his presence;/when I consider, I am in dread of him./God has made my heart faint;/the Almighty has terrified me;/for I am hemmed in darkness,/and thick darkness covers my face.” (Job 23:15-17).

None too uplifting. I think it says something about the Israelites collective self-worth that they’re willing to settle for a god who’s so shitty. At the time there was a veritable cornucopia of gods to choose from. Remember Baal? He was so bad-ass. In Carthaginian worship of Baal, people grooved together in orgies, in celebration of reproduction (as far as rituals go, that one was prett literal – not a lot of symbolism there). In another ritual – and this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea – people would sacrifice their own children. After taking in “We Need to Talk About Kevin” this past weekend, this seems like a sensible way for society to get rid of bad seeds. I’m for it.

Baal fist-pumping.

Published in: on February 16, 2012 at 11:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Sassy (Job 21-22)

Job’s got a lot of sass. On a slightly unrelated note, does anyone remember that now-defunct teen magazine Sassy from the late 80s and early 90s? Decidedly less condescending than, say, Seventeen, it was aimed at female weirdos who liked indie music before it was cool and tried to do things like pee standing up and maintain the popularity of the query, “What’s your damage?” I loved it, personally. It had stuff on looking good too, but it was more in the vein of “How to Sharpen Your Black Eyeliner with a Hunting Knife” than “Get that Perfect Pout”. Scanning through some old Sassy covers on the Internet, I came across the following ACTUAL feature title: “Feeling Alienated? Make it Work for You!”.

In Job 21 and 22, he gets going on the issue of fairness. In particular, why is it fair for shitty people who do shitty things to have a great life? Good one, Job. Religion has failed to come up with no better answer to that than, “hell,” which is lame because it’s pretty easy to skip out of, if you ask for forgiveness. And  God has to give that, I think.

“Why do the wicked live,/reach old age, and grow mighty in power?” Job asks (Job 22:7). The standard answers fall short; he calls them “empty nothings,” which are far less persuasive than sweet nothings.

This girl totally carries a rape whistle in her backpack.

Published in: on January 24, 2012 at 2:32 am  Leave a Comment  
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