You couldn't make this s**t up

Monday, March 14, 2005

Any Christian Rock Fans Out There?

St. Paddy's Day is around the corner--and since I'm the product of a pair of Irish immigrants myself--I've decided my next few posts will feature a decidedly Irish theme.

U2 and more specifically, Bono, are known to humbly proclaim themselves as the "world’s greatest rock band." I haven't heard anybody argue the point, but what about the mantle of "world’s greatest Christian rock band?"

Now, the four lads from Dublin are Christians by default simply because they’re Irish, but apparently the boys' faith has always played a much larger role in their lives' and music than many may be aware. In fact, there's a course now being offered at a Grand Rapids, Michigan college exploring U2’s method of conveying its Christian and social justice message through pop culture.

But unlike traditional Christian rock bands that openly proclaim their love and devotion to Jesus and/or God, U2 doesn’t stuff its morality down your throat, instead hiding its spiritual questions in the unlikely place of heavy rock tracks such as Mysterious Ways and Where the Streets Have No Name, or I Still Haven't Found what I'm Looking For just to name a few.

"They seem to be seeking to just give an open invitation for people to move into the realm of asking questions about spiritual life, about God, about Christ," said the Rev. Beth Maynard, who co-edited Get Up Off Your Knees a collection of sermons based on U2 lyrics and biblical texts.
"It's raising the questions but not overtly or forcefully prescribing the answers."

I love that last quote. Just raise the questions. I think God gave us free will and minds of our own to draw our own conclusions.

Other links exploring U2's Christian influences:

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Think any feminists will boycott Ikea as a result of this....?

Somedays there’s nothing interesting to talk about, and then there are days like today...

Ridiculous: Deserving or inspiring ridicule; absurd, preposterous, or silly.

Norway's prime minister, Kjell Magne Bondevik (a man) says Ikea is guilty of sex discrimination because it shows only men or androgynous figures in its instruction manuals. Ikea, which has 200 stores in 32 countries, says it fears offending Muslims if it were to depict women assembling the furniture. "It's important to promote attitudes for sexual equality, not least in Muslim nations," said Bondevik.
1.) Any man, Muslim or otherwise, who would be offended by that, is a pre-historic dick.
2.) Ikea’s morals appear to be as strong as the legs on one of its $30 tables.
3.) Somebody should tell the P.M. of Norway sexual equality will not improve in Muslim nations if women start appearing in instruction manuals.
4.) What’s the big deal anyway? Everybody knows men can’t put Ikea stuff together and their sister/girlfriend/or mother ends up doing it for them.

Police in Mexico City have been told they must read at least one book a month or forfeit promotion. Mayor Luis Sanchez says the edict will improve low standards in the force. Many Mexicans believe the police are corrupt, incompetent and lazy. Sanchez has recommended titles such as Don Quixote and The Labyrinth of Solitude by Octavio Paz.
There is one problem however: a substantial proportion of the police are semi-literate and 20 per cent were not educated beyond primary level. Sanchez didn’t say whether Dr. Seuss or Mr. Mugs titles will be made available to such officers.

A Milwaukee father and his 17-year-old son have had their lawsuit against mandatory summer homework thrown out of court, with the judge saying the pair should have done a little more studying themselves before bringing the case to court. The father had argued that it was difficult for the boy to do the assignments because he had a summer job as a camp counselor. Oh man, suing over homework? I bet this kid's dad is the type who would sue a girl if she didn't go out with his son on the basis he's being discriminated against because he's a spineless, cowardly, pussy.

If baseball was truly serious about cleaning up its image problem, this isn’t the way to go about do it. Yesterday, Major League Baseball announced it will fight subpoenas issued by a U.S. House committee to some of the game’s biggest stars as it investigates "suspected" use of steroids by players. Eleven subpoenas have been issued to players for next week’s hearing and MLB has been subpoenaed for documents related to its handling of the issue. If you ask me, it’s pretty obvious that those who have agreed to testify have nothing to hide, while those that haven’t, clearly do.
Agreed (reportedly): Jose Canseco, Frank Thomas, Curt Schilling,
Resisting (reportedly): Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Jason Giambi, Sammy Sosa, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, MLB Players' Association head, Don Fehr.
*Barry Bonds has not been invited to testify before the committee.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

There's a reason there's no International Men's Day...

Today is International Women's Day, something I was not aware of until I read the paper this morning. While reading a story on the subject, I was shocked by some of the statistics cited below. But having said that, when it comes to economic-discrepancies, it's really not all that suprising when you consider that most of today's business leaders are still conservative, sexist, white, male from the Baby Boom generation. And I've seen and heard many of their attitudes towards women first hand.
Issues of voilence are obviously more serious and complex, but if there's any silver lining in all this, it's that the Baby Boomers are set to retire over the next 10 years and its then that I think women can expect some real equality in the workforce.
But in the meantime, consider this:

25% of Ontario women experience spousal assault at least once in their lifetime.1

Only 27% of spousal assaults perpetrated against women are reported to police.5

56% of women entering shelters are admitted with their children. Over two-thirds of those children are under the age of ten.6

InCanada women's total incomes are 61% of men's.

In full-time, full-year work, women earn 72% of what mean earn ('98)

1 in 5 women in Canada live in poverty.

56% of single parent women are poor.

In the 1997 - 1998 academic year, 55% of all full-time university students were women, up from 37% in 1972 - 1973. (that blew my mind, only 37 per cent in 73!)

Women represented 49% of the victims of all violent crime reported to police.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

But is your husband a good provider?

I bet that's the argument this loser's lawyer brings out...

TEHRAN, Iran (Reuters) -- An Iranian woman has requested a divorce from her husband on the grounds that he has not washed for more than a year.
"My husband says he does not like water and does not want to take a shower ... He doesn't even wash his face when he wakes up in the morning," Mina, 36, was quoted as saying in court by the state-run Iran newspaper.

They didn't teach me this in Catholic school

With the Pope in the news so much these days, it has got me thinking once again about his predecessor, John Paul I. For many Catholics such as myself (whether practising or not) very little is known about this man perhaps other than the fact he held the shortage papacy in history at 33 days.
He wasn't expected to win and in those short 33 days he showed himself to be a reformer and someone determined to take the church in a new, more humble and perhaps even progressive direction.
He refused to wear the papal tiara or to be carried in the king-like chair. He was viewed—and feared—by many as a liberal on a mission to reverse the Church’s position on contraception, clean up corruption in the Vatican bank and dismiss many Masonic (right-wing) cardinals.
Then he died, apparently of a heart attack.
But for you Dan Brown-loving conspiracy buffs out there, consider the following circumstances surrounding the death of PJP I:

- The Vatican lied about who found the body (it claimed it was papal secretary John Magee; in fact it was later revealed that he was found by a nun in the Papal Household.)
- The Vatican lied about the time of death.
- The Vatican said that his personal property (his glasses, his will, and documents he was working on when he died) disappeared from his bedroom and was never found (In fact that was shown to be untrue. His possessions are in the possession of his sister's family.)
- It hinted that that his ill-health was due to heavy smoking; in fact he never smoked.
- The pope's body was embalmed within one day of his death. The sudden embalming raised suspicions that it had been done to prevent a post-mortem. However the Vatican insisted that a papal post-mortem was prohibited under Vatican law. This too was later revealed to be incorrect: in 1830 a post-mortem was carried out on the remains of Pope Pius VIII.

Anyone seen the Godfather Part III? Apparently the movie makes insinuations that PJP I may have been murdered after discovering discrepancies in Vatican Bank funds.

Whether or not he was actually murdered, I think this is fascinating stuff, especially for us progressive, non-practising Catholics.
Want to find out more? Check out: (pure conspiracy stuff)