December 1, 2020

Saturday Ramblings 6.11.11

A hearty Rambler thanks to Adam Palmer for filling in last week in a great way. I was “on assignment,” watching my niece graduate from high school, visiting family, and spending a great day with some of my fellow iMonks. First Lady Denise Spencer, Chaplain Mike and his wife Gail, and Lisa Dye all gathered with me in Ohio to attend the Reds game and eat incredible ribs. The Reds lost, but the ribs were great. No, sorry, there were no leftovers. Well, I still have some peanuts left from the game. Before we dig into those, shall we ramble?

Let’s start with some medical news, shall we? Apparently there are those in San Francisco who are opposed to circumcision. By “those” I mean one Matthew Hess, the author of the series of Foreskin Man comic books. The National Association of Evangelicals is taking the side of Jews and Muslims, as well as Christians, in opposing this opposition. So, what will their cartoon superhero be? And who should star in the movie version of Foreskin Man?

The “Surfing Madonna” artist has come forward to tell why he painted the mural under a train bridge in Encinitas, California. And as you read his reason why, check out some of the other “interesting” pictures on this page, such as the face of Jesus in a three-cheese pizza. It’s enough to start a new religion.

And speaking of new religion, how many of you pastors have ever referred to your church as a “real zoo.” Well, you have nothing on this Canadian zoo owner who now calls his zoo a “real church.”

So you want to learn a new language? Forget Spanish or French or German. Russian? Korean? One of those African languages made up of clicks and others sounds our Western tongues can’t seem to make? No. The next language craze will no doubt be ancient Mesopotamian with its Assyrian and Babylonian dialects. Chaplain Mike pointed out this article about a new 21-volume Mesopotamian dictionary. We’re still waiting for the Rosetta Stone version.

Ok, which of these phrases is NOT a verse in the Bible? 1) “Spare the rod and spoil the child.” 2) “God helps those who help themselves.” 3) “There will be no internal combustion engines in heaven.”  Give up? Ok, it was a trick question. None of those are verses in the Bible. But according to this article, many Christians think they are. I haven’t decided if this is incredibly hilarious or the saddest thing I’ve ever heard. Probably a bit of both. Sigh…

A Vietnamese priest serving in Taiwan made a giant dumpling in order to get Catholics to return to church. What, no gravy? Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama announced he is Marxist, not Leninist. Which of course brings to mind one of the greatest album covers of all time.

Ok, you’re really going to hate me now. At least one of these songs will be stuck in your head the rest of the day. But which one will it be?

Happy birthday this week to Rosalind Russell; Dr. Ruth Westheimer; Marky Mark Wahlberg; Dalai Lama; Dwight Twilley; Steve Vai; Tom Jones; Liam Neeson; Prince; Barbara Bush; Boz Skaggs; Les Paul; Donald Duck; Michael J. Fox; Johnny Depp; Natalie Portman; Saul Bellow; Ruth Graham; and Prince Phillip (Mr. Queen Elizabeth).

In honor of Michael J. Fox’s birthday, and of my Boston Bruins being in the Stanley Cup Championship (against some team whose name I’ve forgotten), I present to you as your bonus video The Iceman Hummeth. Enjoy.

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  1. I live in Encinitas, Calif and the most disturbing claim by the City Council is that the “Surfing Madonna” mixes church and state, thereby warranting its removal from the public square. PU-LEEZ! That mosaic is about religious as Andres Serrano’s “Pi__ Christ”! But never under estimate government’s fear of Christian imagery unduly influencing, or thereby offending, the general public’s sensitive psyche. And to think I voted for those clowns…

  2. The foreskin saviors also trumpet the technology to restore the purloined hide to those who have been brutally assaulted without their permission. Check out to see what they are talking about…sounds more barbaric then circumcision to me!

    • I’ve often advocated that, instead of using the slang terms for certain body parts as insults (you know which ones I mean) when they’re perfectly good body parts and deserve respect if not outright admiration, we should use the term “ruptured foreskin,” since it’s painful and serves no useful purpose.

      Call someone that, and they’ll KNOW they’ve been insulted!

      • David Cornwell says

        Good idea! I’d bet that for at least 85 percent of the men on which this is performed, it serves no useful purpose. Of course there are examples here and there presented to produce evidence in support of it. Still it should be the adult male’s decision. It hurts a baby just as much as it does an adult.

        Next they will be doing cosmetic surgery at birth. Some parent doesn’t like her child’s pointed nose or big ears, just trim part of it off. Make the decision for the child.

        • And what of Jewish and Muslim ritual practices? Do we pass laws prohibiting it? I was circumcised at birth and have enjoyed a perfectly normal and satisfying sex life despite it all. Tonsillectomies and inserting tubes into the ears of children are also of dubious value, yet these things are commonly done…at far greater cost and effect. Do we ban these as well?

          • Donalbain says

            I don’t like the idea of exceptions from laws because of religion. If something is bad enough that we think it should be illegal, then I don’t see that a religion makes that bad thing any better.

    • Donalbain says

      If an ADULT wants to do that to their own penis, then fine. That is substantially different to performing a medically unnecessary mutilation on a child without their consent.

      • Search Wikipedia for “Foreskin restoration.”

        I’ve read that originally circumcision didn’t involve removal of the entire prepuce, but only involved cutting part of it. Full circumcision was instituted to make it harder for epispasm to restore the foreskin for Jews who wanted to reject or hide their Jewishness in order to be accepted at the Greek gymnasium.

      • textjunkie says

        +1 Donalbain

      • My grandfather was never circumcised. When he was an old man in a nursing home he got an infection because of it and they had to perform one. He was an ADULT in his late 90’s. Sound good to you?

        • Donalbain says

          And you can solve the problem of children not washing behind their ears by cutting off the ears. And yes, a medically necessary procedure on an adult who gives consent is better than a medically unnecessary mutilation on a child without consent.

      • I’m just really glad I’m a woman.

      • Franklin Yarbough says

        I agree. This is a serious issue (not as bad as FEMALE genital mutilation, but still offensive) which has become impossible to make any progress on. The Jewish lobby is a big part of it. Circumcision spread to American gentiles in the 19th century, because some deluded people got the idea that it would prevent masturbation. Doctors’ groups understandably fear class-action suits, and some fathers want their sons to look like them, so the tradition remains.

        “Foreskin restoration” involves stretching the remaining skin by means of weights and ties. And urinating from a seated position for a year or so. The aim is to recreate a layer of lubricating smegma which would have existed under a natural foreskin, and which enhances sensitivity during intercourse. (The only men who can really understand are those who have been circumcised as adults.) This calls to mind recent research which suggests that circumcision arose in polygamous societies in which older men with multiple wives feared “poaching” on the part of younger men with none. In short, circumcised men take longer to achieve orgasm (which I realize some women will cite as an argument in favor of the practice), and thus are more likely to be caught in flagrante.

        On the religious issue, shouldn’t Jews take the lead in pushing for this ethical stance which states that only adult males should be allowed to undertake this sacrifice? Of course they are concerned that few will volunteer, and their ethic identity will suffer as a result, otherwise they would let it go the way of the side-curl. I recognize that enforcement would be all but impossible, however. The main thing is to get parents who are on the fence thinking about this, and not in a position where they just go along with whatever doctors or relatives suggest.

    • This is a painful topic to read

    • Anyone here see or remember the “Happy Bar-Mitzvah, Bernie” film in THE APPRENTICESHIP OF DUDDY KRAVITZ (with Peter Dreyfuss)?

      • That’s RICHARD Dreyfus, by the way…

        • Thanks! I think it was because I always associate Richard Dreyfuss with JAWS, and I typed it while I was trying to think of the other actor in Duddy Kravitz (Randy Quaid), and when I couldn’t think of Quaid, I just decided to hit “Enter” without proofreading it first.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      I wonder if any of these Thin Grey Ponytails in San Fran have ever heard of the REAL history of Anti-Circumcision laws. Such as the ones in Tsarist Russia. “Anti-Circumcision” laws historically were written as a legal fiction to arrest Jews at any time for any reason.

      • Donalbain says

        That simply would not work, since there is no plan to prevent ADULTS from being circumcised if that was what they wanted. Just to prevent them from mutilating their children.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      “The Foreskin Saviors”…

      Kyle’s Mom With A Cause alert!

      Apparently there is even a superhero comic by one of the people involved in this: FORESKIN MAN!

      (I am not making that up; Enema Man (superhero mascot of Fleet Enemas) and Bibleman (no explanation necessary) have officially been topped for lamest superhero.)

      “All-righty… What you say we get on out of Creepytown and over to Sweet Apple Acres?”
      — Rainbow Dash

  3. How could they list those TV theme songs and leave out the most beautiful one ever created — namely, Mike Post’s “Hill Street Blues” theme?

    (Shaking my head.)

  4. If not for the courage of the fearless crew, the Minnow would be lost, the Minnow would be lost …

  5. Steve Newell says

    On not knowing the difference between the Bible and Poor Richards Almanac, this is an indictment of American Churches that they are not preaching and teaching Christians the faith and not training Christians on how to both know and use Holy Scripture.

    Consider this question on Sunday: How much scripture is used in Worship? It’s part of the music, the prayers, the readings and the sermon?

    • David Cornwell says

      You’ve got a point Steve. You forgot one thing however: How much scripture is used in the entertainment of the morning? The weekly Big Show?

  6. Saturday is moving day for me. a quick read then off to get the moving van, then over to the storage complex, load up the stuff divided as a result of the divorce, then off to my new city…

    EXODUS: cue Bob Marley… 🙂

    • We all assume you will have internet access where you are moving to, Joseph.

      We’re praying that you have a smooth ride, an easy transition, and a warm welcome awaiting you.

  7. There was this discussion about circumcision agood 20-30 yrs. ago in medical circles. Also about 10 yrs. ago a discussion about neckties on Docs. spreading germs and recently some political in New York wanting to out law necktie wearing Docs. There is nothing new under the sun!

  8. Leninism and Stalinism and the oligarchy they created have nothing in common with Marx. Marx was one of the many students of Hegel who threw their essentialist mentor under the bus, and in some ways, for good reason. I guess I would need to hear more on what the Dalai Lama means. I’m guessing this more posturing with China, whose Maoist Communism is equally divergent from Marx as the Soviet variety.

    • “Marx was not against religion or religious philosophy per se but against religious institutions that were allied, during Marx’s time, with the European ruling class.” – Dalai Lama.

      I guess that makes me a Marxist, too. He describes a sad chapter in European history, when the churches sided with the ruling classes against the working classes. And Hegel’s status quo philosophy entrenched the oppression of the working classes for the sake of peace and tranquility. This betrayal perpetrated by the church is another reason why European churches are empty now. Evangelicals need to learn from the mistakes of European churches by not getting in bed with rich and powerful politicians and lobbyists, who defend corporate profits at the sacrifice of the poor. When will “pro-life” cultural warriors turn their guns against multi-national food companies that are selling poisonous produce? Never, of course.

      I’m not sure how the Dalai Lama comes to terms with Marx’s emphasis upon revolution. Again, he may still be playing some political cards against the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Stay tuned. This could get interesting.

      • Don’t hold your breath. The Chinese government is obviously waiting for the Dalai Lama to die. None of his olive branches have ever led to anything. Negotiations were a fraud–the Chinese keep insisting that he is not “sincere” or some such. (They are much friendlier with Taiwan, since they don’t have it yet.)

        Do you realize that, as the Chinese population increases, more and more of the world is doomed to fall into their cultural orbit? Imagine the impact of a growing Chinese minority on America’s politicians, for instance–it would be just like Southeast Asia.

  9. “Spare the rod and spoil the child.” is not in the Bible? Are you tempting the wrath of the cultural warriors? How much of their agenda is based on that proof-text?

    • No.

      • Donalbain says

        Can I just say that you now owe me a glass of rather expensive wine that I just spat out while laughing at this comment!

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        And it’s not a “rod” per se.

        It’s a length of quarter-inch plumbing supply line.
        Doesn’t leave marks for Secular Child Protective Services.

  10. I’m pretty sure Michael J. Fox the Vancouverite is not cheering for the Bruins 😉 Go, Canucks Go!

  11. The simple workaround on the circumcision ban would be this: perform the circumcision prior to the severing of the umbilical cord, thereby allowing the mother to claim this was still a decision related to her body and therefore outside the power of others to control. Liberal minds will explode as a result of the conundrum.

    • cermak_rd says

      Well, this liberal is already annoyed because this rule flies in the face of multiculturalism–which as a liberal I strongly support.

      Ritual circumcision is an important part of Judaism and Islam and does not impact the future sexual health of the individual the way that a clitorectomy does. There is a form of female circumcision that involves only making a nick in the labia, which again, heals and has no permanent effects and is frequently the compromise that immigrant families make.

      There are also Christian groups who continue to practice circumcision as well.

      And don’t forget there do seem to be some heatlh benefits to it (mainly a reduction in the spread of HIV/AIDS in circumcised populations in Africa, and a reduction in cases of cervical cancer in the women who are partners of men who have been circumcised). Now, I’m not sure if these have been thoroughly studied to eliminate causation vs. correlation effects, but there do seem to be some benefits.

      A compromise I could see is to allow it, but to eliminate the immunity that a parent has for having it done. Such that if a child gets to be an adult and decides that he has been unjustly denied his foreskin, he can sue his parents for the harm done him.

  12. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    “There will be no internal combustion engines in heaven.”

    That’s just…BIZARRE.
    What’s the actual source?
    (Besides the Book of Hezekaiah…)

  13. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    By “those” I mean one Matthew Hess, the author of the series of Foreskin Man comic books.

    Foreskin Man?
    Foreskin Man?
    Foreskin Man?
    I think Enema Man (a real promo character for Fleet Enemas) has just been topped.

    “All-righty. What you say we get out of Creepytown and over to Sweet Apple Acres?”
    — Rainbow Dash

  14. Dwight Twilley…Wow! I was just reminiscing the other day. I had met up with a couple of his band mates that were staying at an apartment complex in Hollywood in 1975 after “I’m on fire” was released and HOT on the airwaves. To make a long story short, I was able to meet Dwight and the team at a small practice studio and set them up with a quantity of “herbal remedy” that I was specializing in, “back in the day”. Crazy times, and barely remember the night for sure, but I did get an autographed 45 of “I’m on fire”…doubt that I still have it though.

    Dwight Twilley….1975… lotta water under the bridge.