Saturday, May 31, 2008

DJ Spooky and Obama

I'm not an Obama myrmidon, but this is pretty damn good. If this is the spirit, then I'm ready to believe that we can make America better.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Protecting the Holy Sausage Party

Pope Owns the Earth

I remember back in the late 80's, early 90's reading an article about an increased call for women to have the right to be priests in the Catholic faith. At that time, Pope John Paul II called bullshit on these devout women and invoked the Infallibility Clause, stating that by being the Pope, he is receiving this direction straight from God and since God is infallible, what he's saying must be right. Because these women believed in the faith and, by proxy, the power of the Pope, they had no recourse but to snap their fingers and grumble "Nuts!"

Well, Benedict didn't want to be left out of the scuffle. Namely:
The Vatican insisted Friday that it is properly following Christian tradition by excluding females from the priesthood as it issued a new warning that women taking part in ordinations will be excommunicated.
In other words, if you are a female and love Jesus so much - in the Catholic tradition - that you want to serve in the best way you know how and become a pastor to spread the word and love of Jesus, and if you're not happy with just becoming a nun, we're going to remove your connection with God.

This is equatable to me loving America so much that I worked very hard to build the support of my ideas and ran for President of the United States, and instead of the media just ignoring me, the US Government said "You are not allowed to do that; you will no longer be allowed in the United States."

Except that it's God, and personal salvation - not citizenship - at stake. The Pope is giving women who love him and love Jesus and love God and the Catholic religion and want to express that by becoming stewards of Jesus himself and giving them the red card to Hell. Because they're women.
I don't want to start any blasphemous rumours
But I think that God's got a sick sense of humor
And when I die I expect to find Him laughing

So, with that in mind: How is the Catholic religion even relevant today?

Cincinnati Cicadas, Round 3

They're here. More numbers today. Here's my white picket fence (I know; I have a white picket fence: WTF?)

Cicadas in Cincinnati

Every one of those dark spots is a husk.

Cicadas in Cincinnati

Remember I mentioned molting? They crawl from the ground, gain ground on trees or - in this case - a man-made object, and pop out of their exoskeleton, reborn with wings. I have yet to see one of them climbing, one of the wingless before they break out.

But since I've been watching all the live bugs crawling and flying around in the yard all day and see none now, I'm guessing the daily cycle is emerge in the morning, husk-out, fly and eat and - I guess - mate. I've got to do some more reading.

I did hear more horror stories today at my daughter's 6th grade graduation, about the streets being a bug muck, about people who say it looked like their front porch was moving, so covered it was. And the smell. If all these bugs do, while covering our reality, is eat to mate and die, that's a lot of organic material. One rotting bug is not a concern. A million is said to be pretty awful.

And the noise is already pretty bad - during the day, at least. I guess the misleading aspect of the first few days is that everything eats them - birds, bats, spiders, etc. But they're so big, that soon these animals get tired of the snack and/or fill up. And then the high point of the bell curve of population hits. And as the cicada shit hits the proverbial peak, I'll be there with my camera, making you squirm.

But back to the husks. You know you want a close-up.

Cincinnati cicada husk

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cincinnati Cicadas, Round 2

Cincinnati Cicadas

Today, walking by a couple in the parking lot, I heard one of them say "I'm just worried about the cicadas."

As I mentioned, I'm excited. People are netting their trees. More photos tomorrow.

Bugs, bugs, bugs, yay!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

When Patriotism isn't Patriotic Enough

Veterans For Peace was kept out of the Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C.



I don't know what this means, but it showed up on the image search for 500

This is my 500th post.


I dumped verbal yesterday, so I'm not going to pontificate today. It's been a long day. And I must plan for the cicadas.

Bless the internets.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ricky's Treatise on Religion vs. Spirituality

The Cage Holds the Secret

I've heard the rants of the right wing radio hosts: "He says he's spiritual but not religious. What the hell does that mean?"

Here's what it means:

I grew up Catholic.

No, that's not the whole thing. I grew up Catholic, where I learned about sin, repentance, and all the codes and rules that are necessary to be a part of a higher power. Many of the things I learned labeled as "sin" were things I already picked up as a human being as bad: lying, stealing, killing, etc.

When I grew up, I eschewed the Catholic Church in search of other modes of religion. Every form of Christianity I studied and explored held - even if in diluted forms - the necessity to congregate in a "House of God" in order to be a part of Him. The problem was, for me, that a church always housed obligatory visitors, those that are resentful of having to be there, those that would much rather be doing other things.

And as soon as I learned about God, I wanted to be part of it. And I do mean It; I think at some superficial level that I believed that God was a Big Man in a Flowing Beard, but I always felt cheated on a practical level when it came to Him: Where was He? Why couldn't I talk to or even feel him? Would I ride around to different churches, to different temples until I felt some sort of connection?

And then came nature. Around 15, I started studying the Wiccan religion, Pagan precepts - "Do what you will, though you harm none" - and felt more at home. The wind and trees said more to me in minutes than any priest on a thirty minute homily. You can smell the Earth, touch the soil, stare at the stars and feel an awe that I still experience to this day, and technology only makes it more intense.

When I look at that picture, I see hundreds of galaxies like our own, each holding billions of stars, each holding planets, perhaps some holding life, and I get teary. That is beauty. That is god.

So after much searching, mostly amongst stories and fairy tales, I finally came to the conclusion that all religion was about being a part of - or at least getting a chance to touch - god. And that all the religions of the world were elaborate rituals evolved from cave people about how you can and why you should want to and who was out there. Fire, incense, chanting, dancing, blood, wine, ritual. And you may never even sense "inside" because even then, only those in power could touch the center of control. Because if everyone could touch it, there was no control.

And without ritual? You had it down to: yourself and the ultimate power of the universe, should you choose to believe in it. You had the power of the mind that took the form of prayer or spells or practice. They were all words for a single, basic idea: you can connect with something Higher: no cage to dance through, no arcane rules to follow, just you and your heart and your innate sense of good and evil. And you could do it.

And when you take away the box or maze or cage of religion, you are left with Something Higher, and you don't have to dance the dance or wiggle through the maze or get the ointment to pass: it is You and Whatever You Call God and you are free to smell the ocean and cry at the sky and feel a connection with Everything that Is.

So for all the Conservatives who laugh at anyone who says "I'm spiritual, not religious," here's the crux: Religion is the cage. Spirituality is the connection with what's inside. I prefer to focus on the locus and live with my own conscience and deeds. There is no cage, though you keep pretending to rattle it.

Can you live with that?

Cincinnati Cicadas, Round 1

Cincinnati Cicadas
Taken by Me on my front porch

This bug digs itself from the ground, molts, looks like it does above, fucks, and dies. Its offspring burrow into the ground to do the same thing. And in Cincinnati, Ohio, that means 13 years later.

Question 197 for God: Concerning cicadas, WTF?

Lore is that 68°F ground temp makes them come out. Lore is that - in these old neighborhoods of Cincinnati - it gets pretty damned bad.

Today, I had one fly at me, saw several dead and half-dead on the driveway. Should lore be correct, we should be swimming in the next week. For someone who has never experienced it, I am excited. It'll probably suck; I'll probably bitch; but sometimes you just have to go see Poison twenty years later because you want to shiver and bathe in the suck. (Okay, Poison rocked - bad analogy. Substitute with: your comments - hand it to me!)
And out of the smoke locusts came down upon the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were not given power to kill them, but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes a man. During those days men will seek death, but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.

     - Revelation Revelation 9:3-6
Mmmm...I can't wait.

Quitting? How About Joining?

Ricky the Dolphin
Ricky the Dolphin from e-Reef News

As many of you may know, one of my favorite ways to read blogs is to get them sent to me via Feedburner. Which is why I joined for the pleasure and ease of others (except for the embedded videos that never appear in the email), so they may receive Ricky in their box.

I do not have many official subscribers (hey - now's the perfect time to enter your email on the left to subscribe via Feedburner!), and yesterday I received a cancellation from Feedburner for "Reason 2: Offensive, does not agree." What-what?

How do you read my blog for the regular offensive, often witty, and sometimes even inspired commentary about everything from tech gadgets to local and world politics to parenting to - very often - religion - long enough to say "Hey, I want to see these posts in my inbox every day" and then say "Ooh, that's distasteful! Shame!" Huh?

I appreciate and love all my readers. I appreciate and love all comments, even those from trolls. I'm almost at 500 posts and my actual numbers increase every month, slow and steady. And it gives me a jump to see that people like it. But I want to lay it out, just in case I haven't offended you yet:

I'm a liberal, a progressive. I'm a registered Democrat and will vote for either of the current candidates despite what may happen in the coming months, despite my vigor for Kucinich's reasonable, not-for-profit health care plan and the media's rape of the electoral process.

I believe in god, but not God. I believe in spirituality, but not religion. Jesus rocked out, but he was a radical that went directly against conservative thought of the time and now he's embraced by conservatives who stand for exactly what he stood against. I think all organized religion has the same potential for good and evil and that balance is constantly in flux. I have tattoos and piercings. I smoke. I drink. And when we finally realize that marijuana is not the devil and put it on the same footing as beer, I will smoke the shit out of it. Again. I do not fit in a box.

I think people should have the aid of the community if they fall on hard times but have no tolerance for people riding the welfare wave. I have pity on sorrow but no tolerance for "poor me." I've lived in - and occasionally return to, for a brief hour or two - complete and utter despair, but have no tolerance for depression as an excuse. Maintenance medication in general is an oxymoron.

Sex education should be taught in schools; condoms should be given out. Kids are having oral sex at 9 years old, if not younger. Abstinence programs have resulted in more pregnancy. And that is the fault of the parents. Not one parent, but unless all of us give a shit, it is all our fault. See Violence, Apathy.

I love my wife, my daughter. I love cats, like dogs, and am allergic to both. I love listening to the trees and staring at the clouds, the stars. I love Necco Wafers, Spree, and Penn Station Artichoke subs. I love nuance, irony, and people-watching. I play video games.

If these things turn you off, rile you up, or simply get you pissed: subscribe. You may just get the motivation to fire your own rockets into the blogosphere. If these things resonate: subscribe. You'll only get more of the same.

Either way, here I am. The center may not hold, but I promise to. Regardless.