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Apr. 21st, 2006 @ 12:55 am smokey the bear says: only you can prevent faaagblggghph
Current Music: Shiina Ringo - Souretsu
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I know the pictures of Ellsworth Air Base's overly successful fire safety test are probably all over the Web by now, but I just had to share.
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Apr. 21st, 2006 @ 01:16 pm unnervingly authentic
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Artist Helena Keeffe ran a speech contest with the following theme:

Can you imagine a speech given by president Bush that would convince you that he has had a change of heart and could actually be the president of your dreams? It is all too easy to criticize our president and his administration. Life changing events (often of the extremely painful variety) force us to reevaluate our values and actions. What if something like this happened to our president. What if he were humbled in some way which caused a profound change in his outlook on life and his role as the leader of our country - turning the aggressive posturing of an all-attack-all-the-time leader into a gentler, wiser soul determined to demonstrate the power of honesty and vulnerability.

The winners are a group of 7-10 year old students at Rooftop Elementary. Keefe hired a professional Bush impersonator to read their entries out loud, and, well...listen for yourself.

Speaking of silly humans: dance, monkeys, dance.
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Apr. 21st, 2006 @ 02:52 pm metatron: more than meets the eye
So it looks like I'm writing my Intro to Talmud paper on

misleading picture


No, not a hipster version of the Decepticon pictured above. Metatron.

Metatron, the angel that Rabbi ben Ebuya mistook for God when he got so stoned he got to the third level of Heaven, leading to Ebuya's eternal banishment from the astral plane.

Metatron, the angel the ancient Jewish Gnostics worshipped as a lesser God.

Metatron, the angel that would not stand up in a place where only God was allowed to remain seated. (The punishment: lashings of fire.)


As a former atheist, I have a keen interest in false but convincing perceptions of God, and am very excited about this paper. Modern religious culture is riddled with Metatrons: the gentle-eyed Anglo-Saxon Jesus*, the Michelangeline flowing beard God, the Santa Claus. Never mind that Revelation tells us to be wary of false prophets--if a brown-haired, milk-voiced Englishman in a purple robe and a crown of thorns mysteriously appears in your back yard, you're going to get the wrong impression. Guaranteed.

Oh man. So many directions to go with this paper, I don't know where to start.

Among them:

  • There's a Gnostic sect called the Hekhalot that literally believes in getting so stoned you go to Heaven. They believe there are seven levels of Heaven, with God at the seventh, and that no mortal human has ever made it past three. Ancient legends, disputed even by the Hekhalot, speak of one man who made it to level six, and looked at the rippling marble and said "water" (which was forbidden). He was instantly decapitated, and ten thousand bars of iron were thrown at him.
  • Metatron is mentioned in neither the Tanakh (the Old Testament) nor the New Testament, but appears in various Talmudic sources. So where does he come from?
  • Metatron spends an hour a day writing all the good things Jews have done. Why he does this, no one knows.
  • As Beelzebub is confused with Satan, Metatron is confused with God. Silly mystics.
  • Some believe that Metatron is the secret alter-ego of the archangel Michael.

    *Jesus was an angry Arab Jew. He'd never get through an airport security check in Arkansas.
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    Apr. 21st, 2006 @ 03:23 pm revenge of the iceberg!
    Current Mood: amused
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    Titanic 2: The Sequel!

    A masterpiece of editing, almost on par with Brokeback to the Future.
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