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Friday, September 29, 2006

Everything You Need to Know About 'Dante's Inferno' Chain of Massage Parlors

Marcythewhore says: In case you don't know who I am, I run a string of massage parlors in the Chicago area. I've named my massage parlors 'Dante's Inferno,' after the infamous poem from many centuries ago.

Now, if you are wondering why you have been going to your formerly favorite massage parlor to spend loads of money on massages that leave you, well, like eating Chinese food--- an hour later you're hungry again--it's because you haven't had your mind massaged.

Massage your mind and your body will follow for a lot longer period of Happy Ending time.

So, this coming month--October---is not only Halloween month, this is 'Dante's Inferno Month' at Marcy's 'Dante's Inferno' Massage Parlors located throughout the Chicago (Cook County) metropolitan area (and some in Milwaukee too).

Yes, this month when you come into Marcy's 'Dante's Inferno' you will not only be treated to a massage but during your Happy Ending you will be listening to piped-in readings of passages from the poem (not the massage parlor) of Dante's Inferno: Read by actor Bruce Willis....mtw

Dante Resources Biographies Commedia Texts & Translations Commentaries Books & Bibliography Book Reviews Essays Poems Images Lectures & Notes Journals News Philosophical Texts Societies Postage Stamps Dante Quotes Wisdom Portal

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

the myths and legends of king arthur


recently in a post of great honesty and clarity, Judas Hate described growing up in the home of an alcoholic. as he tried to remain balanced in his process, he made a statement that acted as a hyperlink to my aesthetic...

However, I had a dad (as unlike Ward Cleaver as he may have been).
Many children never knew a father.
(judas hate)
***


SERVE THE SERVANTS: (kurt cobain)

Teenage angst has paid off well
Now Im bored and old
Self-appointed judges judge
More than they have sold

If she floats than she is not
A witch like we had thought
A down payment on another
One at salems lot

Serve the servants - oh no
That legendary divorce is such a bore

As my bones grew they did hurt
They hurt really bad
I tried hard to have a father
But instead I had a dad

I just want you to know that i
Dont hate you anymore
There is nothing I could say
That I havent thought before

Serve the servants - oh no
That legendary divorce is such a bore

***

the myths and legends of king arthur are far more epic and interesting, both heroically and tragically, than any real monarch's life story...
enquiring minds want to know

of late, my older son has been reading a biography of alt-rock legend, kurt cobain. it's kinda cool to see my kid entering into dialogue with yet another voice of a generation, attempting in this discourse to determine whether this voice speaks for him...

although the book does get predictably gloomy at the end with suicide attempts and such, my son has long since grown tired of the tale anyway. it is just a classic case of too much information. the mystery of the man is replaced by all the grit in the grooves of the hero's back story. this account of artist's early years has proven to be more than my son is really interested in making part of his own personal musical upbringing. when this happens with a book, finishing the thing is more an act of will than anything else. i think that the voice question has already been decided.

but whatever the deal, there is a strange comfort in knowing the pain of another. in the case of celebrity, it can sometimes be a bit voyeuristic...

(it's not enough that these celebrity artists are entrusted with the feeding of the whole world in its starvation for new and original aesthetic ideas, but they are also expected live and die for our entertainment as well- gus van zandt's film 'last days' chronicles this really well in tracing the final steps of a suspiciously cobain-like anonymous rock star who fails to survive the relationships that have come to control everything he experiences while still leaving him gut-wrenchingly alienated)

...however it does nonetheless remind us that we are not alone. there is a kind of socioemotional salvation in the knowledge and acceptance that another has gone through the same stuff ahead of us (or along with us) and that we are therefore in good company. we can learn and grow, not only from the awareness that we are not alone, but also from the vantage point of being outside the situation and therefore able to weigh factors more objectively.

a friend of mine is going through a heavy time right now. we are called to similar vocations, and so i have the luxury of learning from the present pain of my friend. as i support him, it is as if he is running blocker for me (his words, actually)- something which i deeply appreciate. i get to follow him through a minefield, seeing where many of the hotspots are for him and vowing to avoid them in favour, i suppose, of unwittingly discovering a few of my own along the way.

judas has done something similar with his post. he has modelled sorting through past pain in a redemptive and honest way and has shown us not only that it can be done but that it can be done redemptively without paying some counsellor eighty bucks for a one-hour session. it is not a case of too much information when it is shared among friends (cyberspaced or otherwise...)

i think that that is called fellowship.
http://hatepudding.blogspot.com/2006/09/daddy-drank.html

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popcorn for the parched


can you feel it, see it, hear it today?
if you can't, then it doesnt matter anyway
you will never understand it cuz it happens too fast
and it feels so good, it's like walking on glass
it's so cool, it's so hip, it's alright
it's so groovy, it's outta sight
you can touch it, smell it, taste it so sweet
but it makes no difference cuz it knocks you off your feet

you want it all but you can't have it

it's cryin, bleedin, lying on the floor
so you lay down on it and you do it some more
you've got to share it, so you dare it
then you bare it and you tear it

you want it all but you can't have it
it's in your face but you can't grab it

it's alive, afraid, a lie, a sin
it's magic, it's tragic, it's a loss, it's a win
it's dark, it's moist, it's a bitter pain
it's sad it happened and it's a shame

you want it all but you can't have it
it's in your face but you can't grab it

what is it?
it's it
what is it? ...
('epic' by faith no more)
***
curious servant said "... we don't need to tell everyone everything."
there's a classic. we don't, do we? yeah, God doesn't either.

someone said that knowledge is power- okay, i'm cool with that.

the rub comes when one has knowledge and yet recognizes that withholding this knowledge from another will actually protect the other from the burdens attached inextricably to that knowledge. in shielding another from an unnecessary burden, are we empowering the other or simply being over-protective?

a good friend of mine and i were talking about a related something last night over some really great buffalo-ranch wings. along the road of his own faith journey, he regularly entertains heavy questions (dareisay doubts, even?) because for him there is peace in uncertainty and freedom in open-endedness. however, he was poking around for some parenting advice (his little one just turned one year old) as to how to respond to the big topics without loading his child up with his own faith (or lack thereof) baggage. we both laughed a lot because we realize that he probably has a little bit of time before the heavy questions start- still, it is good to think about these things because the context inwhich these conversations will take place later is being established even now. although he does not want to bear a facade, he also recognizes that his theological fluidity could very easily become basic spiritual instability and confusion in a younger, less experienced mind.

but how to honestly say "i don't know and i'm okay not knowing" to one who is still being built from the ground up developmentally, morally, spiritually and emotionally.

discernment right? comes with being a parent over time? sounds a bit dodge-y.

especially since the struggle for most of the people i know is that we have a really tough time being denied access to information that we know exists- even if it will bring pain to ourselves or others. we have this entitlement thing that nags at us until we finally gain that which was sought, especially as little children in a world perceived to be black and white. if it exists, it should be ours to choose whether we will possess it or not... even though it is usually about as satisfying as popcorn for the parched.

Jesus left it open- that our faith would grow in relationship with him.

one of those big questions went down to the bare wire for me awhile back. we are taught as children that Jesus was all man AND all God. we were just taught to believe it without question. but as i mentioned recently (and eventually threw onto this blog) the whole questioning thing has always worked for me. i don't see asking questions as evidence of a lack of faith so much as evidence of a faith that wants to grow and deepen (all depends on why we're asking, i suppose...)
anyway, how do you deal with the whole 2X100%=100% math? that was my question.

the answer that satisfied me (but may sound like a load to someone else) came to me around the time the passion of the Christ movie came out... i remember because i walked into the theatre and announced, without even a greeting, to two of my friends who had been waiting for me to show up that i was fine now, having grappled my whole life with the idea that i needed to believe in something that wasn't making any sense to me.

i don't suffer from delusions of intellectual entitlement. God doesn't have to explain anything to me. however, i really needed to be fine with the whole divinity/humanity equation because it seems to be of crucial importance to this faith being true at all.

i mean, if Jesus was just a good guy or whatever then great- another martyr, unjustly murdered in the name of love by a bunch of obviously bad people with some really antisocial religious convictions; if Jesus was just(?) God then great, but don't tell me he knows what it means to be stuck in this life of fallenness and pain and don't tell me he knows how i feel when i'm tempted by the carnal flavour of the day because i know it's just not true...

i was stuck in either/or thinking, but simply saying that it was a both/and scenario was an act of sheer will because it just wasn't working in my head. it went overripe when i found myself preaching something that i was struggling with myself, and coming off a bit glib because i was trying so hard to not share something that i hadn't sorted out yet. i'm not really into being the big answer-man, but i have to believe what i'm saying to an individual or a crowd or i'm like every other well-intentioned liar.

preaching can't be simply theological gossip...
hence my eureka moment in the movie theatre.

at the centre of every finite human being there is something eternal. we call it a soul, a heart, or whatever. it is not physical, therefore it does not die when the body does. it is the part of us that is changeless, untouched by the physical changes that we go through in a lifetime. it is our essence. it is, however, subject to the decisions of the mind in this physical realm and unable to express itself apart from our physical body.

at the centre of every man, there is an eternal self.
at the centre of Jesus Christ, the eternal self was not creation. the eternal self was Creator.

at least, that's how it came together for me. remember the hype over the whole da vinci code book/movie and the michael baigent theories as to who Jesus was as a man and all, upon which they were based? well because of this little bit of clarity, the whole da vinci thing didn't really touch my faith at all. Jesus was essentially God and because of this his words and actions were not contrary to his divinity. however, because he was a man, he grappled with the same physical, social and intellectual appetites that we all do- he just failed to fall.

however, not all things come in easy-to-open packages with a list of ingredients on the side.

some things are on a need-to-know basis, whether people like it or not. the epic things about life and truth and holiness and grace are pretty big for our little brains to summarize satisfactorily. they are revealed to us on an able-to-comprehend basis, lest our brains explode like those of the aliens in mars attacks upon hearing the yodelling of slim whitman.

thank God.

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Friday, September 22, 2006

karma

"The ultimate test would be to receive nothing in this lifetime and look forward to receiving our reward in the life to come." (Neil T. Anderson)

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Monday, September 18, 2006

"green" food...his words top mine any day

Open Your Eyes
( by Keith Green)

"This generation of believers that you and me are a part of, we are responsible for this generation of souls, all over the world.

We're responsible for them. We're responsible to pray daily for the needs of ministries around the world, and ask God "how about me not sending my money this time, how about me going?"

It's so easy to write checks, it's so easy. But God can't cash out of state checks in Heaven. He needs you!"



Open your eyes to the world all around you,
Open your eyes, open your eyes.
This world is much more than the things that surround you.
You must arise, and open your eyes.
Sometimes we're too busy to share, but Jesus wants to care, to care.

Open your arms to the naked and shivering,
Open your arms, open your arms.
We need a little less taking, a whole lot more giving.
We're so safe and warm, we can open our arms.
And love a little bit stronger, and pray a little bit longer, longer.

Jesus says, when we love someone in His name, we're loving Him.
Jesus says, when we touch someone in His name, we're touching Him.
And we've got to show them the light, we've got to pour out our lives.

Open your hearts to the ones who are desperate,
Open your hearts, open your hearts.
They may never repay you, but their souls are worth it,
The life you impart when you open your heart.
Jesus loves all men the same,
So we've got to go out in His name.

Jesus says, when we touch someone in His name, we're touching Him.
Jesus says, when we love someone in His name, we're loving Him.
Jesus says, when we feed someone in His name, we're feeding Him.
And Jesus says, when we reach someone in His name,
He feels, He says, it's all for Him.
It's all for Him

Open your eyes to the world all around you,
Open your eyes, open your eyes.
This world is much more than the things that surround you.
Jesus loves all men the same, so we've got to go out in His name.
Jesus says, Jesus says, Jesus says, it's Him.
Jesus says, when we love someone in His name, we're loving Him.
***
[okay... abusive administrator here again. first off, keith green was awesome. let's establish that. as a Jesus freakin' piano player, i listened to his albums and tried to emulate much of what he was doing in the music that i was writing as a teenager.

but, having said that, let me also ask if anyone else has been reminded of monty python's "man with a tape recorder up his nose" when looking at the BTO-esque ('head on') photograph of keith green giving the 'Jesus finger?' (major 70's "one way" gesture)

hey, maybe it's just me... jb]

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Christian Virtue vs. Business Ethics

I just finishing watching 'The Corporation' for the 2nd time. It's a documentary about the power of big business and the way they wield democracy over the heads of their customers. I was absolutely shocked by 2 things in that film (a) The Almighty Dollar & Ethics and (b) The Power of Business to own essential sources of human survival. This is my blurb on the Christian virtue in light of these issues.

The focus of most big business is 2 things - profits & more profits. They cover a lot of things with the guise of social responsibility and stakeholders, as if that would keep them accountable. The problem is solved by a simple riddle 'the police cannot police the police'. How can companies define ethics within themselves? How can a company decide what is a democratic policy amongst its own board of directors? You find a conundrum brewing in that type of thinking. You have powerful businesses defining what is right 'over and above' what their consumers think. Leaving you with little to no say.

An example is what happened with Kathy Lee Gifford & Wal-Mart (publicized highly on television). Wal-Mart had a company in the Honduras making clothes at $0.03/hour (that's what they paid their workers which included minors). They were approached by a certain person who fought for human rights, they denied all allegations. What happened is that human rights activist brought one of those teens working in the warehouse into a public forum. Kathy apologized (even in tears) and promised this would not happen again. However, Wal-Mart continued to make clothes in those warehouses for $0.03/hour still. Why? Profit. Those clothes being produced for $0.06 total is sold for $14.95 in your local store, now that's good business! It's good business, not moral business, nor approved of by its consumers.

Another point in case is IBM and their punch-card scheme from the mid 1930's (early computer system I guess). IBM sold tonnes of these machines to Nazi Germany during the early 1940's. The machines were used as a way to keep track of the people the Nazi's rounded-up for concentration camps, so they could effectively manage this endeavor. After the war, IBM got all the profits from the sales of these machines but took none of the flack for contributing to an effective killing machine. On another blog I raised a point about a case a Presbyterian church in Sudan made by sueing a national Oil company from Canada. The case was thrown out because it could not prove this Oil company was a part of the 'genocide' within Sudan. Funny enough, they did notice other companies were definitely invloved! Which left me with such a simple thought 'business may not be to blame for the war but they more than often benefit from it'.

Then we get into even darker issues concerning what of the earth is essential for survival and should not be privatized? Business has a way of becoming an almighty power in certain countries. It decides the prices of the very nature we have made a living off for centuries including food sources and water. Is this right? When did we as a people decide to 'give up' these rights? We may not feel the crunch so much in Canada but I can point to one poignant example.

In Bolivia a company (a bank unbelievably) and the government decided it was best for the country to privatize water. This led to the business owning the water and the rain that fell from the sky (this is not a lie - business played God). The people then had to pay to both collect water and to drink it...even though this was (for most people) 1/4 of their daily wages. What happened was the bank eventually started taking homes and land for deliquent payees. The people in the country got wise to the scheme and led a revolt, they thought water was a natural given resource and could not be bought and sold. Sadly, this isn't the only time something sacred was held as something worth cash (examples could also include slavery & the salt in India). So as you can see everything might have a price according to big business.

So what am I saying? Where does a Christian stand in the midst of this turmoil which unfolds before our very eyes? I take it back to one of Jesus' essential teachings on money, 'You love God or money'. Which is quite odd when you consider this was the one thing he really mentioned about 'serving another master'. It is becoming more apparent that you can only serve one of these two things: God or money (or else the lines get blurred and ethics take the backseat to financial gain). I think what is key here is to challenge the ideals you face in any workplace or company you shop at to say - "wait a minute...people never take a backseat to riches". Or else how can we truly say we 'love our neighbors'? (Matt 25: 31-46).

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

without sin?


somebody sent me the notice cited below at the tail end of a completely random email. heckuva long electronic signature.

anyway, this notice is just another reason why i really love being canadian... although whether the points made are truth or just pop paranoia remains to be seen.

however... posting it here makes me feel all subversive!


***
Citizens and Residents Of The United States and U.S Persons ;
USA PATRIOT Act Notice:

You are hereby notified that under the provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, you may be placed under electronic surveillance while viewing this or any other similar website/email by intelligence or law enforcement agencies at any time or for any purpose for which they may deem fit, without your knowledge or permission and without the order or supervision of any court of law, regardless of the provisions of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. As the provisions of the Act strictly prohibit, with fines and imprisonment, the managers of this site from disclosing such surveillance should it be known to us, you should assume that you are under surveillance while viewing this or any other similar web site, electronic mail or any other form of electronic communication related thereto. Due to Presidential Executive Orders, the National Security Agency (NSA) and FISA laws may have been ignored, and this email read and placed in your file without warning, warrant, or notice. They may do this without any judicial or legislative oversight. You have no recourse, nor protection from this intrusion on your personal freedoms.

You may not review your file which is secret. The President reserves the right to use "signing statements" to give himself permission to ignore the law, as he is above accountability. As Nixon said, "If the president does it, it is not illegal." If you are not with us, you are for the terrorists; be aware that dissent is considered sedition: resistance to lawful authority. It may be considered treason to question authority; as it is un-American and unpatriotic to criticize the actions of your President. Your only recourse is to remove the entire presidential cabinet thru impeachment proceedings.
***

the rolling stones say the same thing differently on their song sweet neo con (off of the abiggerbang album.) they will be playing in my town in less than a month unless mick gets tossed into jail somewhere for flapping his legendary lips or speaking his aged mind.

are people still silenced in the 'free world?'

You call yourself a Christian
I think that you're a hypocrite
You say you are a patriot
I think that you're a crock of sh*t

And listen now, the gasoline
I drink it every day
But it's getting very pricey
And who is going to pay

How come you're so wrong
My sweet neo con.... Yeah

It's liberty for all
'Cause democracy's our style
Unless you are against us
Then it's prison without trial

But one thing that is certain
Life is good at Haliburton
If you're really so astute
You should invest at Brown & Root.... Yeah

How come you're so wrong
My sweet neo con
If you turn out right
I'll eat my hat tonight

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah....

It's getting very scary
Yes, I'm frightened out of my wits
There's bombers in my bedroom
Yeah and it's giving me the sh*ts

We must have lots more bases
To protect us from our foes
Who needs these foolish friendships
We're going it alone

How come you're so wrong
My sweet neo con
Where's the money gone
In the Pentagon


speaking of aged minds... whose is more aged: mick's or george w's?


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Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11



(note from the administrator: this photo is a hoax. now, typically i don't abuse the administrator's priveleges of this blog by adding things to the posts of others. however, this image almost made my heart stop when i first saw it, as it poignantly represents how so many of us felt at the time. i thought that i'd attach it to Cinder's post here as an expressed acquiescence... JB)

I woke up this morning to the question, "How did 9/11 change you?" i now pay more attention to things. even though i might not have known anyone personally in 9/11, i remember and lift up those families. but the truth is, that even though i felt a sense of unknown fear that day, living in the Saskatchewan prairies causes you to be somewhat far away from the war on terrorism.

a little over 4 weeks ago, this changed for me in a mighty way. i found myself in a foreign situation...instead of seeing the news of a foiled terrorist plot on the news, i found myself in the city where it was foiled. it's a really surreal thing when you fly, as you don't hear any news and therefore have no clue what's happening on the ground. when our plane landed in heathrow airport, we were simply told there was a 'security breach', that security was at the highest level and that we, along with passengers on countless other planes, weren't allowed to deboard until further notice. we looked out the windows and the tarmac was full of grounded planes and there was no air traffic in or out...the airport was completely shut down. i have to commend our aircraft personnel...they were awesome! they knew that they had to keep a 747 full of people calm and they did it with the utmost of care and attention.

once we were allowed to have cells and blackberries on, we soon knew exactly what was going on. for the first time since 9/11, i truly felt that fear of the unknown. whether you would make your next plane or have luggage...if you missed your plane, you were then staying in a place where you had no control over what could transpire. once inside that airport, we were truly in a world of chaos. we were surrounded by people looking for family members, tv crews trying to get the latest news out to the masses and your trust was ultimately put in the hands of humans, in terms of making sure the danger stayed not only out of the airplanes, but the airport itself. once safely to our destination the next day, our main concern was to make sure everyone back home knew we were safe and that they felt secure in it. for many, they still don't know about this fear of the unknown which was felt, but i think it was instilled for a purpose.

my faith strengthened that day, as i saw mortality flash before me in some senses. now back home, i'm SO very humbled and grateful for the men and women who are dying selflessly, in the fight. we need to not take our freedom for granted, but be thankful each and everyday for it...a precious gift and something many people around the world long to experience, but never do!

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

heart pin


so i was trying to figure out why my friends and i often fall into the same old grooves, experiencing (and/or eliciting)

the same old pain
the same old grudges
the same old fears
the same old insecurities
the same old arguments
the same old apologies
the same old deja vu

in short, the same old same old.

we often speak of someone pushing our buttons and getting us going as if we had no choice in the matter. as i have been thinking about my own personal propensity to repeat myself- especially the damnable parts- i have come to the conclusion that my heart has a p.i.n. number and everybody in hell knows it. all that has to happen is for the right buttons to be pushed in the right order and *beep* my heart is wide open to rape and pillage. take a little or take a lot- either way, i know that i've been robbed and i know that there is nothing i can do about it...

unless i change the p.i.n. and then keep it between Jesus and me.
i know HE won't tell. now here's hoping i don't talk in my sleep.

***
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him."

In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."

"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"

Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

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Friday, September 01, 2006

peacefulness

PEACEFULNESS...for so long this seemed so far from my grasp...i live in a house with three kids under the age of ten 24/7!

just kidding...i longed to just feel peacefulness & calmness rather than the feeling of being continually battled around every corner i turned. then, without even knowing when it happened, i have entered a place where i am experiencing a deep level of peace...i can't recall the last time felt this. it's truly surreal and at times scary, because i'm here living life in my body, but i feel like a completely different person.

the biggest thing which has come from this though are feelings of guilt. because as i experience something i haven't felt in so long, people around me and close to me are being battled, some really hard. the other day i was really blessed to sit with my 31yr friend and her son in a hospital room...she was recently diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer and her son, who had been away this summer, had just found out that morning. i know it might sound weird to say that was a blessing, considering the circumstances, but for me God speaks through a real variety of situations. as we sat talking with my friend's son, making jokes and just basically letting him know that life will still be fun and that things will be okay...it was placed on my heart that just like He provided people in my life as encouragement and support when I was battled, that He now needed me to be that to my friend and her son and others who are doing battle.

basically what i came home with was this...i need to not be guilty, but to be extremely grateful for the place God has brought me to. i need to quiet myself and listen for exactly what He needs of me in all aspects of life. i need to rest in the peace and regain my strength and focus, as life is very unpredictable and you never know what you will face around the next corner.


"Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out." (Ephesians 6:13-18, MSG)

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