Friday, September 16, 2011

From 90s Christian Shirts to YouTube to You!

I realized that I hadn't taken a poke at McDonald's in a while, so I went looking around for something interesting. What I found was some fellow in the tiny country of Liechtenstein, Fr. Johannes M Schwarz. He doesn't seem at all disturbed by the mixture of animal-torturing factory farming, food that destroys your health, the production of massive amounts of solid waste, and... the Blessed Virgin Mary. Yep. Says the artist himself, "Not fast food - but fast grace! For your catholic enjoyment!"

Goodness, what a deep voice! Okay, I know what the guy's trying to do, it's just... well, the shirts from a decade or two ago, when some Protestant Christians seemed eager to show that they can be cool and hip too, were one thing. The animation and sound kinda take it to a different place.

Remember seeing "Jesus Christ" in the Coke-logo font across the chest of some young person who, really, is just like anybody else? Here's the video version. Kinda.

"Well it doesn't always have to be a soft drink. And I get to bust that fake Santa. Enjoy - Always ;-)"

What's the connection between Christianity and junk food? During my time on a campus last year, I would consider the food that various religious groups offered when they set up on the lawn. I appreciated the vegan items at Krishna lunch, but the Catholics set out Pringles and chocolate chip cookies for us to enjoy while they strummed guitars and beat bongos. And I've known people brought up in Christian homes who still lived on their childhood diets of candy and soda. Is it in lieu of alcohol and other recreational drugs? I dunno.

Or maybe this guy's trying to tell me something. I know I did a soda one already, but come on, these are well done.

Now please don't get me wrong. I had a "Get Out of Hell Free" shirt myself about ten years ago, done in the style of a well-known card from the Monopoly board game. I like finding unusual t-shirts, and I'm fine with the ideas of many religions. In fact, if I stumbled upon this on a shirt at a thrift store today, I would probably want it.

"This one I made with my students in mind. :-) Ludwig Ott wrote the popular and widely spread Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma. And now he might be the only author with a movie style intro to his book :-) If you want a generally solid synthesis of the catholic faith, check out ignatius press or amazon to get a copy."

Okay, by now you may have guessed that I've become an instant fan of this guy, and that's why I'm putting so many videos into a single post. You just have to make a little space for yourself when approaching something new, y'know? What can I say? I have a complex aesthetic sense. One more and I'll let you go, okay?

"This being a Mary clip it is bound to attract protestant slurs. For all those fundamentalists out there: Stop whining. Start reading up on the early church. Long before any one sacred book was in anyone's hand, there was tradition. Jesus founded a living Church, not a book club! 2 Thess 2:15. This mystical body subsists in the Catholic Church!"

Thank you for bearing with me. As you were!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Baby Gorilla Takes a Bath

That's pretty much all there is to say about it. Except maybe "awwwwww." That's an option. The choice is yours!

'Tween-Time Motels: Gateway and Murphy's

Before the bustle at the lower end of corporate capitalism begins along US 19 in the Tampa Bay area, fairies go about spreading the sobs of long-dead broken hearts and the sighs shattered dreams. This is a 'tween time, and its beauty can seize a bleary-eyed driver drifting between here and there. Weeds triumphing though pavement cracks and peeling paint seem to signify something more now. I'd like to show you a little of that silent magic.

Look out! I guess that, judging by the name, once you've stayed here a few times, you'll want to move on to seedier and seedier motels. You won't be able to stop yourself. There's a discount liquor store right there, so you'll be able to ease your passage downward a bit.

Hm, if you can't afford to stay with the leprechauns, just turn right.

Do you think St. Patrick would be willing to chase roaches out, too?

Sure and 'tis full this mornin'.

So there we are. More eerie and decadent beauty will be coming your way soon, courtesy of your favorite Monkey. Stay tuned!


Some readers may have been exposed the the often-surprising East-West blends that pop up in Japanese culture, and surely more than a few have checked out an Engrish blog or site. But what about south of the Himalayas?

When ancient Hindu traditions and American comic books meet, the results are... well... see for yourself...

Naggingly catchy, isn't it? Yes, those were chakras wiggling around on his back there, and a big ol' Om in the beginning.  Shakti is the active, feminine principle of ultimate Divinity, so this guy doesn't have to come from another planet or anything, God Herself gives him his might! See, seven gurus blessed him with his powers, and they led him in awakening Kundalini, the serpent goddess that coils around the base chakra and springs up through the other six and out through the top of the head.

He's such a do-gooder, he even wants kids to take their ayurvedic tonic. That's traditional Indian medicine. What a fellow, huh?

So, if you're really intrigued, how 'bout some longer stuff? I like how the green guy's head shows up in all that fire at 4:47. Better than any old Dr. Who episode I've ever seen! It seems that something is awfully funny to him. Maybe the flames tickle.

Kinda neat, no? Better than some fellow whose name calls to mind Nietzsche's ├╝bermensch, a favorite notion of Hitler's. This guy has God on his side. Shaktimaan! Shaktimaan!

I'm gonna be walking around singing that all day, aren't I?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Nervous Vegan's Nuttiness Exposed!

Let me explain.

The weather's been relatively mild lately, so I sit on our screened-in front porch while I chant and say the Rosary now. It's been enjoyable, and fruitful too. I do a lot of praying before and after, longing to find a place in the world where my spiritual bent and practical concerns merge, seeking a state in which life just flows. I pray for protection, strength, peace, vision, perspective, faith, and well-being for Kat while she's away, and I also try to share blessings with her two sons and my two sisters. Let's not be selfish now!

I've also felt free to return to a long-time interest in the chakras. See, I need to balance my self more than ever now, since Kat and I are on this trip together. I've got to do my best for her, I've got to be my best for her. The state of another soul is at stake here. I can't mess this one up. I can't even begin to tell you what she means to me. I feel a reaction in my tear ducts even as I type. I have to call on all the help I possibly can.


In this post, I mentioned my discovery that the inner part of a Rosary has 54 beads, so if you go around twice, you can chant Hindu japa in the traditional number, 108. Yesterday, out on the porch, I spontaneously developed a method for using the entire set of beads, starting on the cross with a Gayatri Mantra. Today, I recited this Shakti Rosary to great effect.

I've been chanting a bija, the basic sound for a chakra, 108 times. I examine myself using chant and visualization, spotting the weakest chakra and choosing the corresponding sound to activate it. As I've mentioned before, I won't try to vouch for the objective reality of such things, since I don't think it even matters. What works, works. You've got to stop analyzing and start doing before too long.

It was clear that the chakra of the day is Manipura, the third, fiery one. This is the center of power, of self assertion. As I chanted, I was thinking more and more that I had to come in and start typing this post. I have to assert this side of my experience more clearly.

I have to start telling you about the Shakti Rosary. And the other Rosary method I've developed, one that requires much more explanation: The Disney Rosary.

See, religion is culture too. It's good to remember that the culture is not the object of worship, but simply a means to Something greater. So The Disney Rosary helps you maintain your sense of humor about religious practice. But I'll tell you more soon.

So the Rosary as a versitile instrument for attainment is something I'll be promoting here.

The post title up there makes it obvious that I intend to maintain my sense of humor. I don't mind if I seem nutty. Perhaps a funny show is what some people need to make the spiritual accessible. That's just fine.

So here's my third-chakra challenge: let myself be myself online. Here I am.

'Tween-Time Motels: La Mark Charles

US 19 in the Tampa Bay area is something of a horror during the day, an endless stretch of... eh... unique driving styles, nonstop traffic, and strip malls. Starbuck's, Subway, McDonald's... it's a litany of humanity buried in its own works. New monoliths arise amid crumbling relics of Space-Age exuberance. Beeping, growling, carbon-monoxide-wheezing construction vehicles perpetually perform surgery on this great, calcified artery.

But in the early morning, when only a few straggling headlights meet yours, there's something a bit haunting about it.

Dawn and dusk are 'tween times, liminal moments when fairies are said to roam. These particular specimens may be spreading mildew and dry rot rather than dewdrops, but the beauty of their work is apparent nonetheless. And I'd like to start sharing some of that beauty with you.

The enigmatically-named La Mark Charles... a reference to a famous place I've never heard of, or was some optimistic entrepreneur sure that adding a touch of French to his own name would create a mystique about the place? I'm afraid I don't know enough to say. There's a gothic air about it now though.

Does it seem to you that the glowing word "vacancy" is telling you about something more than the simple availability of rooms? Maybe it's just me.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Moving at the Speed of... Slow. But C'mon, Dr. Jesus is Awfully Swell!

Just a nifty little cultural whatever. I see that this has been kicking around for years, but I just discovered it. Oh well, maybe not being up on 'net stuff is a sort of badge of honor in itself.

Malaria kills.