Easter Cards

29 03 2013

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One might think that, as the “Religious” Easter cards (this is only a subcategory) are the only ones selling, Target might stock more than five of them.

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Sorry, grandma, but I guess you get a “funny” Easter card about poop or sex this year. Lots of those left for some reason. Happy Easter, everybody!

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Black Jesus

9 12 2010

A friend of mine recently mentioned the dangers of characterizing Jesus as a white European man.  For reference, one only has to look at any marketed image of Jesus from the last few decades — you’re probably picturing the type.  Definitely European, definitely white.  Okay.

For a collection of what images there are of Jesus over the years, check out this link.

http://www.religionfacts.com/jesus/image_gallery.htm

Obviously none of these is a portait for which he sat, and who knows if any of them is rooted in any fact.  It’s just as likely as not that they aren’t, but who knows.

The American Christian subculture was saturated with whitewashed, if you will, images of Jesus for a long time, and perhaps still is in some areas.  But I don’t know how that’s something we should still take seriously.  Everyone I have a modicum of respect for agrees that, yes, Jesus was probably not white or Aryan or born in the midwestern United States.  Yeah, he was an ethnic Jew.  Yep, he was probably fairly swarthy after 40 days in the desert (of course, actual melanin content isn’t solely dependent on sunlight exposure — we can only postulate so far).

But I just don’t care.

The benefit of knowing his skin color for sure seems…quite small, to say the least.  I understand the point that picturing Jesus as white can send a damaging message to people, and even alienate them.  That’s a whole different argument, though.  Bottom line — he wasn’t white.  We all know that.  Those namby pampy picture books we read weren’t correct.  Gasp.

Bottom line, though:  I don’t see a need to lambaste those images and to point out how racist American Christians are or were at every opportunity.  We’re sinful.  Like, really.  Most of us people tend to be.  And guess what?  Our selfishness or racism or whatever tends to hurt others as well as ourselves.  So can we please just admit those pictures are silly and move on?  Loving others and loving God sounds a lot better than trying to expunge the sins of the past through vicariously iconoclasm-ing those pictures now.

(I can barely write about this without audibly sighing.  I’d better just stop now and walk away.)

 





In the Eye of the Beekeeper: Our Word to the Beleaguered Women of the World

18 02 2009

Over the weekend, I talked to a few guys who expressed frustration in their dealings with women.  For you ignorant women who read the ol’ Robsteak Blogbake, here’s a few things my friends would apparently like to tell you:

  • Few things are as repugnant to us as the girl who consistently denies her beauty.
  • Claiming that one is unattractive is nothing more than fishing for compliments, even if you sincerely believe that you are repulsive.  Also, if you say how unattractive you are often enough, it will become true, aesthetically or otherwise.
  • Never think you’re too weird for men to be attracted to you.  I know men that are positively entranced by everything from the sound of internal combustion and exhaust fumes to a well-maintained defense in Starcraft.  Trust me, compared to most of what men spend their time around, any woman at all is usually going to look pretty good.
  • If a guy likes you, it is physically impossible for his mind to be changed by seeing you without your makeup and best shoes on.  It might be a little bit maddening, but anything beyond a paper bag passes for “acceptable” when it comes to clothing.  This doesn’t mean we won’t appreciate your good outfits (we won’t, usually, but that’s not what this specific statement means); it simply means that you could spend your time prepping for a date more effectively by checking the latest scores/standings in our favorite sport than by redoing your [insert stereotypical makeup item].
  • No, seriously, we’re really messed up.  We won’t tell anyone about how your new lipstick shade matches your pashmina, but we will never stop bragging to our friends about the time you changed a tire on your own.  It’s not hard, I promise.
  • Whining is bad.  Always.  Same for gossiping.
  • Work on your sense of humor.  As the smarter sex, we’re used to being the life of the party.  Making us laugh will not only impress us, but make us able to relate to you more like we relate to guys, which increases the comfort level of the relationship, which is the ultimate goal of any of our initial actions in a relationship.
  • Be disgusted by disgusting things.  It will encourage us to be less disgusting (which you should appreciate), and we will respect you for it.  If you’re not disgusted, just ignore it.  Indulging us will make us feel weird about it later because, although we generally prefer you to act like a guy in many respects, we secretely hope that you will be as good and judgmental to our future kids as our moms were to us.
  • Lie about how many kids you want.  You can lie either direction, but just don’t appear as certain about the number as you probably are.  We have no clue how many we want, so it’d be nice if you could pretend to be as clueless.
  • Be friendly with our friends.  If you don’t like our friends, then tell us so that we can dump you sooner.  By this point, you should know that we’re not gonna marry any girl that’s too terribly different from our guy friends (except in the obvious ways) anyway.
  • Don’t monopolize our time.  We usually can’t say “no” to hanging out with you without feeling like jerks or making up excuses, so if you could give us a couple of days a week, we’d really appreciate it.  Same for phone calls.  If you desperately need to tell us something that you think is important, then write it down and email it.  Better yet, just write it down and read it again yourself over and over until you realize that it really isn’t that important at all.  It usually isn’t.
  • Be nicer than we are to people in general, but show us your bitterness and resentful candor every now and then.  We don’t want to date Pollyanna, but we don’t want to date the mean friends of the lead actresses in chick flicks either.
  • Let us choose the music most of the time.  We’re better at it, and you’ll be better off for it.  Trust us.
  • Let us drive, always, unless it’s on a go-kart course, in which case we’ll use your inevitable crashing to further emphasize why we should always drive.
  • When you don’t understand something about us, tell us:  “You can’t really enjoy watching Yo Mamma! for three hours.”  We’ll then explain why you’re wrong, and you’ll be enlightened, and we’ll be able to squeeze in another episode while your brain is imploding.
  • Don’t lie about what you like in an effort to make us like you more.  If we know what you hate, we can know you better, which is always good.  If we end up liking each other, inevitable compromises will lead to new tastes/lies developing, and we’ll be happy then.  For now, tell us what makes you happy so we don’t get confused later when you start crying during the third overtime.  We won’t have time to care about you then anyway.
  • If you don’t get it, don’t laugh.  You can go back to watching Dane Cook while we go enjoy the good stuff, and your friends will all sympathize with you after we dump you for having a terrible sense of humor.

This was getting way to fun to be healthy, and I still have at least a dozen things I could throw on there.  I’m open for debate, of course.  Mainly because you will lose.





Hear, buds

27 01 2009
Seriously?

Seriously?

After having received Apple’s most basic ipod ever made for Christmas, I immediately proceeded to do two things:

1.  Prepare the most embarrassing playlist known to man.

2.  Get my headphones ready for use.

The first is because, thanks to the greatest innovation the Jobster never made, no one but you or someone you entrust your listening device to (that’s somwhere between 2nd and 3rd base in my book) can tell what music is on your ipod.  Thus, I can stock it full of horrifically nostalgic stuff (ELO, Kenny Loggins, Geoff Moore, Iona…) without fear of immediate reprisal.  If someone starts to get suspicious of my foot-tapping in Starbucks as I read some presidential biography, I can simply unplug my ‘buds and plead the 5th.  Especially if they look like they have money.

The second, which is the main reason I wanted to talk about this, is because the little rubber/plastic dongles mysteriously labeled ‘headphones’ are about as much fun to use as someone else’s retainer.  Even knowing this, I still decided to try them out the other day while on a walk, simply to test their merit.  After all, I have no need to sweat profusely into my good ones (read: headphones) all the time, so perhaps a backup pair wouldn’t be so bad to have, right? Right?

Totally, utterly and completely wrong.

The first thing I noticed about the Dongle Twins (as we’ll call them) is that they immediately seek to escape from your ear canal at any opportunity.  Turning your head to check traffic?  Oops, out they go.  Bobbing your head to the incredible synthesizer beats of “Here’s the News” at any time in any weather?  Ha.  Breathing too easily?  Swallowing ever?  Holding your breath? Blinking?  Gone.  It’s as if they traumatize each pair by beating them senseless with some earwax-covered mallet so as to infuse a mortal fear of anything Otolaryngologist-related.

The next thing I noticed was how much pain they begin to inflict upon the ear in so short a time.  I used to think a too-tight batting helmet was the best way to extract revenge upon the ol’ sounders, but now I realize that Steve Jobs has been selling the most masochistically-inclined piece of ear-wear on the planet for more than my first car sold for in 2007.

If there’s a good thing to be said about the DTs, perhaps it has to do with the almost-legendary length of their cord.  Specifically, their lack of such.  I guess they included a clip in the final product because the designers all realized that nobody with a torso containing five ribs or more is going to be able to keep the player in their pocket and the earphones in their ears simultaneously.  I even compromised and tried to clip it on to the top of my waistband, but as soon as I tilted my head up slightly, all semblance of slack disappeared without a trace.  Charlie Crews is looking into it.

See, I really don’t hate Apple that much.  They’re an American company, and their CEO might not have completely Jobbed his partner out of the business.   It’s just the little things they do that constantly prevent me from entrusting anything more than a small portion of my playlist to them at a time.  If you own an iphone, have you ever been thrilled about the deep-set 2.5mm jack that prevent you from using virtually any sort of output without buying their adapter?  Honestly, for a company that makes some of the best computers and MP3 players on the planet, you’d think they could actually try to design earphones that were at least usable for some period of time.  Every other company in the kingdom gets it, Apple.  You include some cheap replica of good earphones with the player that will at least work for a short period of time before breaking, leaving the consumer no choice but to purchase a higher-end set later on.  Apple, however, has somehow managed to seduce millions of people (many of them willing to pay exorbitant price for their computers) into sticking with these headphones even when Apple themselves sell better ones.  Somehow, Apple has reached the business Nirvana of convincing consumers that ownership of their goods creates such total happiness that even the most reasonable and minimal efforts to upgrade from admittedly-terrible hardware are forsaken.  Is it a status thing, or is it just apathy?

Personally, I suspect that the average ipod owner just listens to such terrible music in the first place that the agony of this earphone-wearing experience simply pales in comparison to the everyday rigors of enduring their ABBA/Gwen Stefani playlists on repeat.  Crank it, honey.  Crank it good.





Change Lingers

1 01 2009

Psuedo-enigmatic titles aside, I did see Clint Eastwood’s Changeling tonight.  While I loathe the self-important tone necessary for most good movie reviews, I do have some passing thoughts on the movie that bear mentioning on a selfish medium like this.

Much like Eastwood’s other movies (Million Dollar Baby and Mystic River readily come to mind), a tone of melancholy pervades the best parts of the film. From dialogue and characters to tones and coloring (not colouring), everything screams of the dour and dreary.  Angelina Jolie does a serviceable job of being the weak-yet-strong mother, although she seems to channel all the most grating quirks of Hillary Swank far too much for my liking.  During the movie, I commented to my friend that I felt like I was supposed to be realizing how “good” the movie was because of how much I sympathized with Christine Collins (Jolie).  However, I wonder if perhaps the subject (a boy being kidnaped from a mother who gets the cold shoulder from the police; drama ensues) isn’t so latently sympathetic as to render any half-decent portrayal of it utterly inflammatory.  When mothers are crying and crowds are protesting and courtrooms are cheering, Eastwood seems to be so overtly beckoning the audience to join them that I found myself almost disgusted with my own level of emotional involvment.  Eastwood seems to be playing some kind of grand parlor trick, and only occasionally passing on moments of bitter clarity.  One of Collins’s compatriots utters an oath directed towards “them and the horse they rode in on.” Collins replies that “that’s no language for a lady,” and Compatriot (an impressive Amy Ryan) replies, “Sometimes, that’s exactly the right language to use.”  Being not overly astute in the realm of the cinema, it still seemed to me that the movie was pleading with the audience to listen to their gut reactions when faced with horrors and injustices, and to react accordingly.  In no small part is my uneasiness with this message due to my sketicism of my visceral self; in fact, I wonder if perhaps Eastwood isn’t trying to point out just how easy it is to elicit such reactions in the first place.  Aside from passings moments pointing out the gross misogyny and political corruption of the day, the film heralds little excepte a purported “hope” in the face of all else.  The greatest irony, for me, was that I came out of the movie feeling more hopeless than I had all day.  Way to go, Clint.

Sent a CV to Cal/West Tuesday, as per Josiah’s suggestion.  We’ll see what comes of that and pray for rain to come.  Green rain.





A note on the poetry

21 07 2008

Just to clear it up —

I don’t have a blog to display my best writing, my best thoughts, or my best work. In short, I don’t have this blog for anyone else to read; I have it for me. I enjoy spouting off about issues and inanity, but I couldn’t care less whether someone reads it or not. To put it bluntly, I think the only people I really “want” to read this blog are complete strangers. Somehow, the thought of someone blindly stumbling upon the muddled and confused writings you see here intrigues me. Analyze that if you will, but please, refrain from asking me “what does that poem mean?” While I am keenly aware of the distaste some people have for overly-ambiguous poetry, I think that a moderate amount of ambiguity is both a safeguard for the writer and a challenge to the reader.

(In other words, mind your own . business, and y’all come visit again real soon now, y’hear?)

One of the seven dwarves