Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Screwtape Emails (In accordance with the Gospel of Matthew) PART 2

Subject: Your are hereby re-enstated to your previous position
This one is dangerous. I myself have faced “God with us.” I have assessed that he is incorruptible, temptation won’t work. He wants neither physical comfort, miraculous glory, or imperial power. I had hoped to harness that dreadful power of our enemy, Scripture, and turn it against him. That too failed.
For this reason I call on you. You are one of the best Will Symbiotes we have; few humans can resist you. Use every trick of the trade to harry the Son of the Enemy. Work on the hearts of all those who he will come into contact with and turn them against him.
There will be Possessors who will be working parallel to you.
Also spy on him and report to me all that this Jesus does.
PS I trust your stay with the Mad Torturer has gained me your total obedience and submission.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Cubin to retire

I do feel bad about her husband's medical problems, at the same time I'm rather happy that she will not be running again.

The Screwtape Emails (In accordance with the Gospel of Matthew) PART 1

Subject: Re:Re:Re:Fwd: Urgent! Something strange.
He has escaped Lord, he has disappeared to where I do not know. I beg for mercy.
In groveling terror, boot licking, and pre-figured pain,

Subject: Re: Re:Re:Fwd: Urgent! Something strange.
You should have consulted one of our Scripture Agents, you fool. You have played into the enemy’s hands. For it is written, “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they were no more.” Find the boy; don’t rely on human agents. Kill him yourself!
In my Greatness, your Lord Beelzebul the Belial.

Subject: Re:Re:Fwd: Urgent! Something strange.
Oh Tempter, Angel of Destruction, Great Dragon, Father of Lies. I have done as you requested. I have further enflamed the passions of Herod. He is furious, his blood boils, murder… no Slaughter, is on his mind. His rage will surely overturn these prophetic mumblings that are rippling through the air. Have no fear. I serve my lord well.
Your terrified servant,

Subject: Re: Fwd: Urgent! Something strange.
My dear Mephistopheles your superior has informed me of your findings. The worst fiends of the Realm have been scrambling to assess the situation. It is dire indeed. An Underling in Genealogical Collections put together information we have been storing since Abraham and came to a disturbing conclusion. A pattern has appeared! The Son of the King and the Patriarch has arrived!
You were right in feeling this… disconcerting… fulfillmentness, for lack of a better word. Reality is conforming to Hebrew Scripture. Old words like “Behold, a virgin” and “you O Bethlehem” are being materializing into physical existence. This may well be the greatest threat facing the Great Rebellion in generations. There is a child named “God with us” out there. Destroy him by all means necessary.
In my Greatness, your Lord Beelzebul the Belial.
PS Report to me alone. If you contact anyone else, including Screwtape, I will have their heads, and when your return from Earth, yours as well.

Subject: Urgent! Something strange.
Sir, I beg your pardon, for I have a sore report. Something is wrong! Something… huge… is happening. Its as if reality is… curving in a particular direction. I can’t describe it better than that. There are strange portents in the sky, the Zoroastrians are moving toward Jerusalem. There is a report that an angel has been sighted dreamwalking in Bethlehem. I don’t know what’s going on, but its big Sir.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

No more Foundation, no more Universal Bones

Remember my two Blogozines, The Foundation and Universal Bones? Well, they've essentially been sitting there collecting dust for the last 6 months, so I've canned 'em.
Their premises were kinda neat, The Foundation was a place where I'd hoped people could practice becoming thier own pundits, and in doing that they would do their small part in moving the political process from one of style to one of substance, and ideas. There were a few interesting contributers at the start, but people apparently got tired of it. I think the death blow came when I thought we could discuss the meaning of the word sovereignity. As for UB it was fun, and I may try to finish writing "Days in the Cold" someday, but somehow the reality of living in a city in which people are getting shot on a somewhat regular basis has made me feel less like writing about two demented intellectuals mimicking Toni Morrison’s The Seven Days from “The Bluest Eye” and killing the rich and the poor in equal numbers in order to cause society to reflect on social inequity. It was an interesting plot though, not your everyday crime novel.

But, in memory of these two now departed blogs here are two excerpts that I kinda liked.

Universal Bones:

“What does it mean to read? What does it mean to write? When Faulkner put pen to paper was it only for his own edification? Did Steinbeck write for a paycheck? Did Morrison simply communicate?” William asked. First day of class was always the day to make the impression on the students. If they felt he took them seriously they would take him seriously.
“And don’t be fooled, there are some who would say that is all this is,” he said, picking up a copy of The Bluest Eye, “communication,” he threw it down onto the desk of a student in the front row. It’s bang reverberated through the lecture hall.
“That would be enough. Would it not? If all the novel was was a way to communicate with a lot of people that would be enough.” A student in the back row took off his headphones to listen, as William strutted to the other side of the classroom, “But, I contend that a novel is something more. If it was only a means of communication, why use symbolism? Why not simply spoon feed the reader bullet points like a non-denominational preacher?” he saw a few scowls in the audience.
“Do authors simply want to be clever? Do they want to be seen as witty, but don’t have the wit and spontaneity to be so at cocktail parties?” he paused, “that might be part of it,” he got a few laughs, “especially when considering Faulkner,” Fran Applebee and another grad student laughed, “but there is something more. When we read we enter into an experience. Narratives make communication, knowledge, and writing so much more than dots on a page. They make these iota into something more, communication becomes personal, knowledge becomes known, and writing becomes memory. Symbolic truth becomes unpacked and enters into the reader’s experience. These words, vivid masters that they are, change and shape the possibility and reality of the reader.”
The boy who had been wearing headphones in the back was wide-eyed and leaning forward in his desk. He was actually excited.
“Why will you remember this lecture?” William asked, “Not for the general statements about writing that I make today, but for the specifics. Non-denominational pastors wielding bullet points, Faulkner at a cocktail party, and maybe even my gesture, me throwing down a good book,” and so he continued on, quoting extensively from Faulkner’s Nobel Prize speech to describe what made good writing. Before long his 50 minutes were up, and the students were filing out of the classroom, syllabus in hand.

The Foundation:
The July pundit prompt of The Foundation (Martin Luther King Jr. and Bush address the UN)
This month I’m trying something different for the Pundit Prompt. This month write a response to the following speech.

While listening to Martin Luther King’s "Beyond Vietnam" speech I decided to take to heart his message that only when we look at things from the perspective of those we disagree with can we "see the basic weaknesses of our own condition." So I’ve decided to take the claims that the War on Terror and President Bush’s policies in the Middle East are like the civil rights movement, in so far as they liberate the oppressed and spread voting rights to those who would otherwise not have them, seriously. So what follows is a speech Bush could make this July forth to the United Nations that would lend a prophetic voice to his current actions.

Two score and three years ago, a great American, to whom this nation owes a great debt, told America about a dream he had. This dream came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of African Americans who had been separated from the bright promises this nation has to offer and trapped in the darkness of humiliating, squalorious, conditions, that man was not made to live in. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of calamity. But forty-three years later, we must face the tragic fact that we have stopped there.
Forty-three years later, the lives of colored people all around the globe are still sadly crippled by the manacles of tyranny and the chains of oppression. Forty-three years later, the West lives on a lonely island of material prosperity, political justice, and individual freedom in the midst of a vast ocean of poverty, injustice, and cruelty. Forty-three years later, the majority of the world languishes under absolutists, theocrats, and poverty.
So we have come here today to dramatize the appalling conditions played out on the world stage. In a sense we have come to the United Nations to cash a check. When the architects of this, our "last best hope for peace" wrote the magnificent words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, they were signing a promissory note to which all people were to fall heir.
This note was a promise that all people are born free and equal in dignity and rights. That all people have the right to life, liberty, security of person and equal protection of the law. It is obvious that the United Nations has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens living outside the West are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, the United Nations has given the people of the world a bad check, which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the giant vault of opportunity that is this world.
So we have come to cash this check—a check that will give the two-thirds world upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this important place to remind the United Nations of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage is the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of different measures of justice to the sunlit path of right government. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children. Now is the time to lift the world from the quicksands of injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.
It would be fatal to the world to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the terrorists. This sweltering summer of the two-thirds world’s discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Two thousand and six is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the attacks of the past few years were simply the two-thirds world blowing off some steam and now will be content will have a rude awakening if the West returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility around the globe until the majority of that globe has been granted the universal rights guaranteed to them.
The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of nightclubs and skyscrapers, and rock the very foundation of the world until the bright day of justices emerges. But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold, which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of freeing our brothers and sisters in the Middle East we must not have more Abu Ghraibs, Hadithas, or Samaras. In the process of freeing our brothers and sisters we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our just war to degenerate into uncontrolled aggression. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting terrorism with tenderness for the oppressed.
The marvelous new militancy in the Middle East must not lead us to distrust all arab people, for many of our arab brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.
We can not walk alone, but we can not afford to wait for the rest of the world to recognize the urgency of now. And as we walk with our coalition of the willing, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We can not turn back. There are those who are asking the supporters of the War on Terror "when will you be satisfied?" we can never be satisfied as long as our bodies are threatened with death, and our cities with explosive destruction. We cannot be satisfied as long as the terrorist’s basic mobility is from a smaller failed state to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as the Muslim in Afghanistan can’t vote and the Muslim in Iraq can only vote for Saddam. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of secret police. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Syria, go back to Sudan, go back to Somalia, go back to North Korea, go back to the failed states and theocracies of the Middle East, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this body of nations will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "To reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small." I have a dream that one day on the rugged mountains of Afghanistan the sons of the Taliban and the daughters of the Northern Alliance will be able to sit down together at a table of kinship. I have a dream that one day even the country of Iraq, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one-day live in a world where they do not fear bombs and their friends do not fear their own government. I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day the Islamic Republic of Iran, whose president’s lips are presently dripping with the word "enrichment" and threats to "cut off hands" will be transformed into a situation where that countries students and many dissenters may take to the streets and walk together and confront their government together. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to Washington with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of this world body into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God’s children, in all the countries of the world, will be able to sing "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring." And if the world is to be put right this must become true. So let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from the heights of the Andes. Let freedom ring from the rolling hills of Paris. Let freedom ring from the Duns of Scotland. But not only that; let freedom ring from the heightening Jabal Akhdar of Libya. Let freedom ring from the snowcapped mountains of Kashmir. Let freedom ring from the heights and depths of North Korea. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every hamelt and every village, from every capital and every country, we will be able to speed up the day when all of God’s children, Arabs and Americans, Jews and Muslims, Chinese and Chilean, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Sunday, November 04, 2007


I think most of us have thought about this one before, I mean Superman's creators were Jewish and thought of him as a golem. Anyway, the comic gives a rather secularized look at this connection.