A blog whereby I motivate myself, and my readers, to punch me in the mouth.

  "Punchworthy feeds our deepest Freudian wishes!" --Entertainment

  "The consumate rocker's rocker. Charming, personable... a sucking void of inescapable inner turmoil."

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Deconstructing Bono ..and some other stuff..

With this latest edition, I'm beginning to feel like a Brant Hansen tribute blog. I'm considering changing "punchworthy" to "Hello to Juliet."

This post jumps off Brant's latest post. Could I have commented on his blog? Yes, I could've. But that would have gone against 3 strong points of logic:

a.) any internet discussion that can't be had in less than 25 words is pretty much a waste of everybody's time.
b.) I've got a lot more than 25 words to say.
c.) I need to get up some kind of post on my own blog, anyway, or everyone will stop reading.

THIS IS NOT REALLY A RESPONSE.. to Brant's post, specifically.. (i say that now, but i know, sadly, that i will probably end up saying it again). But that post, plus the article it linked to, plus past experiences with this topic, plus the 33 years that I have spent on this earth, plus nature, plus nurture, plus too much red meat in my diet, led to this post of my own. So if you want to know the backstory, go read the link above, and go read the link that the link above refrences, and then start... here:

Deconstructing Bono is a dangerous game. Not like rugby. More like taunting bikers. It's always going to end in serious pain. Or at least a bad case of disillusion.

This is especially true if we try and play the game on our home field of modern, western, rationalized Christianity, because Bono is not playing in that game. He's not even playing in the same stadium. He's not even playing in the same league with us, people--he's participating in a completely different version of the sport. We're baseball, he's cricket. We're football, he's futbol. We're greco roman, he's freestyle. We supposedly share a savior, and a faith, but we certainly do not share a walk.

So, again, every time someone looks at what Bono says or what Bono does and then tries to parse it for greater spiritual significance, and make it jive with Christianity as we know it, we may just as well be asking for a punch in the nose.

That being said, here are some options for what "without question, the most influential person in the world" could have meant by his words, "Jesus, Jew, Mohammed—all true."


1. That in their entirety, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are completely true. Or, one and the same. Cut from the same cloth. Peacefully coexisting despite their logical disparities in a relativistic etherworld of monistic bliss. And probably pot. Lots of it. All roads leading to Rome, or wherever you think is groovy, baby.

This doesn't seem likely, does it? But hey.. you never know. Maybe Bono has flipped his wig. Maybe the personal testimony of pretty much every Christian who has ever spent time getting to know him is completely off-base. Could be. Anything's possible. (wait! no it's not! darn.. now I'm confused..)

2. That these 3 Abrahamic faiths all teach essentially the same things. "Be good." "Don't kill," "don't steal", etc. They all point generally to the same style of life.

Okay, an existential post-mod wandering.. he's confused or whatever. He'll get over it? Or it will turn out he didn't really have a grounded faith, and he'll just wander off into the fires of hell?

3. That Jesus, the Jews, and Mohammed were all searching for truth. A political statement. They may not all have been arrows pointing straight to heaven, but at least they were shooting. We should all likewise be one in our pursuit of purity and truth.

Maybe kinda vague.. heart-string-y.. political.. activist. Completely out of line with the f-bomb-dropping Bono we've come to know and love, right..?

4. That Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all teach things that lead to the Truth. Christianity with it's focus on Jesus the God/man. Judaism with all the glory and history of the one true God, and the plan to deliver his people. Islam with it's recognition of Jesus as holy prophet--in some cases chief prophet, and even "Messiah" who will return at the end of the world. Oh.. and also all that "don't kill, don't lie, don't cheat" stuff.

I know, I know. This would require an intelligent, well-read, well-travelled, spiritually-aware person, with a strong understanding of Christian thought, a long and deeply-personal pilgrimage, and a desire to see all mankind united for peace and equality. It would require that we a.) give the guy some credit, b.) accept the idea that pointing out similarities breaks more ground than pointing out differences, and c.) not completely freak out every time somebody shakes our fundamentalist bubble as they brush past it on their way out to save the world. A lot to ask, I realize, and I probably shouldn't even have brought it up and wasted everybody's time. "United" indeed! pfftt!


Now... am I saying that I think that Bono actually meant number 4..? Or even #3? No. I'm not. I have no idea. Maybe he really has gone universalist/unitarian on us. I don't know. Maybe he didn't even have to "go" there! Maybe he's always been a universalist! Who knows? And why do we all care so dang much?

Okay.. maybe we care because we are human. And that's okay. Really. It's just fine. But while we're all rubber-necking our way along the top 40 here, let's agree that it's not really that important, and that we're never going to know for sure, okay? Definitely not based on one comment that he made in concert. Or even one Rolling Stone interview, or essay, or even book about his spiritual journey.

We are not going to know, and not only that, but that our focus on the issue serves to highlight our own stupid version of "the faith"--that we would be so concerned with whether or not something that one guy said somehow excludes him from the fold. And, hey! Maybe that's it!
Maybe Josh Henry said it best when he said,
"I think maybe the question, rather than 'How can we make church safe for the artist?' is 'How can we make the artist safe for church..?'"
What is it about us.. us modern-day Christians.. that is so focused on exclusion? Why is it that we insist on holding every single person's faith up to our personal scrutiny, so that we can say, "yes, this one's good" or "no, this one's not quite right?" Isn't God a big boy? Isn't He the one that's all about that "sheep and goats" business? Isn't it our job, as Christians, to be going about His work here on earth--or is it our job to watch His back and make sure no baddies slip through the gates while He's not looking? What, in short, is it that we are all so AFRAID of?

Yeah, I think that's it! I think that's what gets me. Maybe that's the reason we all care so much... Maybe Bono is gonna get into heaven.. (whoo-hoo! Praise God, Brother!) Maybe he's not. (That would stink.. but maybe he's not.) But what_on_earth difference does it make to what we, as Christians, are supposed to be about? And why is it so concerning to us that what he does makes perfect sense and is completely in line with the Christian walk as we know it? I think it's mostly just flat-out fear.

Fear related to Bono, really, at all. Interest not related to Bono. It has nothing to do with him, in particular. Rather, fear that there may not be a way to do this thing.. that there may not be this clear-cut set of rules, regulations and behaviors. Fear that, if we acknowledge or accept someone who does it a different way, that suddenly all bets are off! We no longer control it! God is outside the box! Running amuck! The lines are blurring, the shades are graying, and how, oh how will we manage to save ourselves now!?! huh?!

Is it just me, or is there a scary, scary tendancy in modern Christianity towards Orthadox Judaism? Do we like our rules, our extrapolated codes of conduct, just a li-ttle too much? I don't know, but I feel like we're living right there on the wrong end of a Pauline epistle, saying, "now, make sure you wait until the eighth day to cut that sucker off, or all the Jesus in the world won't save your sorry behind!"

How will we save ourselves now? We won't. And we never would have in the first place.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

flare post: "tubes"

One of the things I'm learning, as a blogger, is that it's a lot harder than it seems. Those of you (he says, as if the audience is listening at all) who read Brant's awesome blog know what I'm talking about. He cranks out some good stuff all'a time.

I know, it seems like he's just brilliant off the top of his head, but that's not true! That kind of cavalier brilliance requires *hours* of work on Brant's part. He can't just pull that.. er.. wait. We're off topic.

Anyway, Brant's blog is so good that the people at the Sun Sentinel sneak in at night and steal it for op ed pieces--"Woden it be nice" (you have to page down a few entries). That's how good it is. (except they exclude the phrase, "That's pretty much not cool" which makes the whole piece, imho)

Another brilliant blog example? I don't know if anybody in the aforementioned fictitious audience is aware of a currently popular song which contains liberal use of the word "hump".. but here is a GEM.

One other thing I'm learning is that, if you don't blog pretty much every day, sometimes multiple times, everybody stops reading.

"No," you say, "we don't stop reading because there's not a new post every day, we stop reading because there *is*, and they stink."

Well, you know what? Shut it. That's what.

Now... obviously, all of these brilliant bloggers cannot be on their game ever day. Presumably (although that may be a bad move) they have like, jobs and stuff, and in interest of not being summarily dismissed, they occassionally just have to fire a "flare" post.

Like this one.

Which was going to a be about amp tubes, and replacement speakers, because I didn't have anything worthwhile to say. But it isn't.

Maybe next time.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

WindowsXP Professional Magic Fairyland message of the day

"Please Wait. The Wizard is sending your pictures to the printer."

Oh really? So that's the line now, huh? Is Toto there, too? Is the entire tech department a beautiful sparkling shade of emerald green?

(Actually, our tech department has used cubicle partitions to *literally* wall themselves off from the rest of the world, so the only thing missing now is a big box full of tinted glasses at the gate.)

Fine! Have it your way. And tell the Wizard that while he's out getting my film developed, if he could also pick my shirts up from the cleaners there's a shiny new quarter in it for him.

Monday, December 19, 2005

"Yow!" Part 2: Warming up your laptop for winter

Since there have been some questions on this topic after my first post about cold-weather laptop exposure...

Well, okay. There have been no questions. But I can only assume that's because people are feeling a little bashful about this stuff! It's okay, people. We're all friends here. There's no need to carry the pain all by yourself; let it out! (some would probably argue that's what gets you into these situations to begin with, but we're not going to dignify them with a response)

But I digress. We're here to discuss your laptop, and we need to stick to it! (which reminds me of another cold-weather laptop tip, but we'll have to save that for another post) In the meantime, there's some dangerous mis-information floating around out there, and I aim to put a stop to it!

In the event that your laptop is frozen ...and this is the absolute best advice you're going to get, I promise you... I suggest bringing it back to temperature *slowly*, starting with submersion in tepid water.

Now, I've googled around the web enough to know that a lot of so-called "expert" sites (including Dell and Microsoft) are STRONGLY advising AGAINST this kind of thing, making wild, alarmist claims that you will be in danger of "voiding the warranty" or "severe electric shock". Hooey!!

The nerve! They're obviously using scare tactics to try and drum up business. Anybody who's been through this before can tell you that the first rule is, "Do not use *boiling* water," and the second rule is "don't repeat the exposure"--in the way that boxing up the unit and putting it on a UPS truck to Tallahassee most certainly would! They don't garage those things on overnight trips, people! Use your head!

I'm pretty disappointed that these big companies are trying to take advantage of consumer tragedy by playing on fears and insecurities, but I guess I should have expected it. I'm just a moon-eyed optomist for thinking otherwise, I suppose. I've written letters to both Oprah and my congressman about the issue, but it seems to no positive effect. I haven't heard back from the congressman, and Oprah's people inform me that some kind of restraining order has been issued.

I think I've said enough about this for today. Until the next installment of "Laptop Tips," be safe out there!

mmm... Koalas...

Suddenly, out of nowhere, there are boxes of cereal residing on top of my fridge that say...

"EnviroKidz Organic Koala Crisp(TM) cereal" (Note the hip "z" usage. Kidz dig that.)

My first thought on encountering this was, exactly,"W'zuh?!?"

More thoughtful reflection brought the realization that these are probably something inherited from a friend of ours, who keeps buying healthy, whole grain, all natural, earthy-goodness-that-can-be-spotted-coming-a-mile-away non-delicacies for her family, in a doomed attempt to save them from their natural-born cupcake eatin' tendencies--and then giving them to us when said family absolutely refuses to eat them under any circumstances, including threat of death (and not the cupcake-induced kind, either).

These Koala Crisps claim to be, "Good for the earth, good for kids, too."

Excellent! If there's any leftovers when the earth is done, we should let the kids have a go.

I turned the box around to see what was on the front and, of course, (duh!) loveable Koala! But that's not the fun part. The fun part is that all of the normal, "Eat these sugar cubes and win a free Disney Nick-X-Box!!!" ads have been replaced with even more wholesome earth/health-friendliness.

Corner banner: "Gluten free!"

Sticker-style: "USDA/ORGANIC"

Floating text: "ORGANIC COCOA" (in the dim light of the kitchen I briefly mistook this for "organic koala," which would've been another story entirely)

Bullets: "no addititives or preservatives" and "1% of sales donated to wildlife" ("Thank you, Mr. Orangutan. Please move forward and take your place in the line on the left...")

Anyway, I was a little taken aback, but now I almost can't wait to, as the box says, "Dig into the blissful taste of organic crunchy rice crisps covered with organic cocoa. Simply delish!"

Read that again, but this time replace "cocoa" with "koala." That's how my brain insists on seeing it.

For more information, log on to www.savethekoala.com, the website of the Australian Koala Foundation, AKA "AKF". Which I imagine is also the sound that you make when you eat this stuff.

"A Critical Defense" Part Deux

This just in! the LWW Critical Defense (C.D.) can also be used quite successfully for defending many other Christian positions/traditions!

For instance, in reaction to the obviously intentional and hateful anti-christian biased "happy holiday" wishing of many popular retail outlets...

"Thank you for shopping.. and have a Happy Holiday Season!"


As and instructive aid, here is a similar situation that recently occured in my own life, and an example of how I deftly adapted and applied the C.D., resulting in an "onward christian soldier"-type victory over evil! Watch and learn!

FOE: "We don't have a tree. We got going too late."

FAITH-DEFENDER: "Godless heathens."

FOE: "We'd have to put it up and immediately take it down."


(wa-ait for it...)

FOE: "brb, hating baby Jesus..."


There you go, faith-defenders all! Once again, my all-purpose defense of the Christian classics wins out! Good luck, and God speed.

P.S. -- Independent confirmation of the anti-"Merry Christmas"-ing conspiracy... My friend Tanweer (who is Muslim) asked me this weekend, "How come nobody around here says 'Merry Christmas'!? I was in Wal-Greens and I told the lady 'Merry Christmas!', and she just said, 'Happy Holidays'... what's up with that?"

I told him she was probably a Godless heathen and doesn't wish to participate in his archaic religious festivals.

: -|

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


From my workplace news-blog...

"Tip About Laptops and Cold Weather

As a general rule it is not a good practice to leave your laptop in your automobile overnight. This is especially important during the cold-weather season."

So remember kids! Don't leave your laptop in the car overnight! There's some things that just weren't intended to be that cold!