far too much writing, far too many photos

According to my Simpsons calendar, this is quite a week when it comes to the birthdays of notable musicians:

Sunday, 7 Oct. — Yo-Yo Ma (b. 1955)

Monday, 8 Oct. — Columbus Day (observed), Thanksgiving Day in Canada (the same day the bombardment commenced in Afghanistan — what halfwit plans this stuff?)

Tuesday, 9 Oct. — John Lennon (b. 1940)

Wednesday, 10 Oct. — Thelonious Monk (b. 1917)

Thursday, 11 Oct. — Art Blakey (b. 1919)

Friday, 12 Oct. — Alistair Crowley (b. 1975), Dick Gregory (b. 1932) — not known for contributions to the musician world, but what the hell

Sat., 13 Oct. — Art Tatum (b. 1910), Paul Simon (b. 1941)

Whoa, hold on — Paul Simon just turned 60? That can’t be right. I was teeny when he and Art G. were cranking out the hits. That must mean that my age is now…. (Pause to count on fingers, followed by sound of embarrassed coughing.) Er… best we don’t go there.

A few more birthdays of note, mostly from the film/theatre world:

Tuesday, 9 Oct. — Jacques Tati (b. 1908)

Wednesday, 10 Oct. — Harold Pinter (b. 1930) (Yeah, Harold! Thanks for all the intense theatrical wackiness!)

Sat., 13 Oct. — Yves Montand (b. 1921)


The following item has made its way around the ‘net for years now in slightly differing versions. It arrived in my mailbox today, maybe the 10th or 15th time it’s sought me out, and considering there’s something taking shape in the world right now that many consider to be (a) a religious conflict, (b) a holy war, or (c) a war against terrorism (pick the term you find most appropriate), it feels fitting to slap the bugger into today’s journal entry [NOTE: this bit of entertainment has always made the e-mail rounds without any author being credited -- if any copyright, er, thingies are being broken, ruptured, spindled, folded or mutilated by me posting this bugger here, I grovel in advance with sincere, heartfelt apologies and humbly beg & plead that you not sue my still-surprisingly-shapely-for-my-age ass without first either giving me a chance to (a) remove this bit of harmless comedy from this web page or (b) supply whatever necessary attribution would calm you down and make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside]:

god working to improve his/her/its customer service. . . .


God would like to thank you for your belief and patronage. In

order to better serve your needs, (S)He asks that you take a

few moments to answer the following questions:

1. How did you find out about your deity?

__ Newspaper

__ Bible

__ Torah

__ Koran

__ Television

__ Book of Mormon

__ Divine Inspiration

__ Dead Sea Scrolls

__ My Mama Done Tol’ Me

__ Near Death Experience

__ Near Life Experience

__ National Public Radio

__ Tabloid

__ Burning Shrubbery

__ Other (specify): _____________

2. Which model deity did you acquire?

__ Jehovah

__ Jesus

__ Krishna

__ Father, Son & Holy Ghost [Trinity Pak]

__ Zeus and entourage [Olympus Pak]

__ Odin and entourage [Valhalla Pak]

__ Allah

__ Satan

__ Gaia/Mother Earth/Mother Nature

__ God 1.0a (Hairy Thunderer)

__ God 1.0b (Cosmic Muffin)

__ None of the above, I was taken in by a false god

3. Did your God come to you undamaged, with all parts in good

working order and with no obvious breakage or missing attributes?

__ Yes

__ No

If no, please describe the problems you initially encountered here.

Please indicate all that apply:

__ Not eternal

__ Finite in space/Does not occupy or inhabit the entire cosmos

__ Not omniscient

__ Not omnipotent

__ Not infinitely plastic (incapable of being all things to all creations)

__ Permits sex outside of marriage

__ Prohibits sex outside of marriage

__ Makes mistakes

__ Makes or permits bad things to happen to good people

__ Makes or permits good things to happen to bad people

__ Looks after life other than that on Earth

__ When beseeched, doesn’t stay beseeched

__ Requires burnt offerings

__ Requires virgin sacrifices

4. What factors were relevant in your decision to acquire a deity?

Please check all that apply.

__ Indoctrinated by parents

__ Needed a reason to live

__ Indoctrinated by society

__ Needed focus in whom to despise

__ Needed focus in whom to love

__ Imaginary friend grew up

__ Hate to think for myself

__ Wanted to meet girls/boys in church

__ Fear of death

__ Wanted to piss off parents

__ Wanted to please parents

__ Needed a day away from school or work

__ Desperate need for certainty

__ Like organ music

__ Need to feel morally superior

__ Thought Jerry Falwell was cool

__ Thought there had to be something other than Jerry Falwell

__ Shit was falling out of the sky

__ My shrubbery caught fire and told me to do it

5. Have you ever worshipped a deity before? If so, which false

god were you fooled by? Please check all that apply.

__ Baal

__ The Almighty Dollar

__ Left Wing Liberalism

__ The Radical Right

__ Amon Ra

__ Beelzebub

__ Bill Gates

__ Barney The Big Purple Dinosaur

__ The Great Spirit

__ The Great Pumpkin

__ The Sun

__ The Moon

__ The Force

__ Cindy Crawford

__ Elvis

__ A burning shrub

__ Psychiatry

__ Other: ________________

6. Are you currently using any other source of inspiration in

addition to God? Please check all that apply.

__ Tarot

__ Lottery

__ Astrology

__ Television

__ Fortune cookies

__ Ann Landers

__ Psychic Friends Network

__ Dianetics

__ Palmistry

__ Playboy and/or Playgirl

__ Self-help books

__ Sex, drugs, and rock & roll

__ Biorhythms

__ Alcohol

__ Marijuana

__ Bill Clinton

__ Tea Leaves

__ EST (now called The Forum)

__ Amway

__ CompuServe

__ Mantras

__ Jimmy Swaggert

__ Crystals

__ Human sacrifice

__ Pyramids

__ Wandering around a desert

__ Insurance policies

__ Burning shrubbery

__ Barney T.B.P.D.

__ Barney Fife

__ Other:_____________________

__ None

7. God reputedly employs a limited degree of Divine Intervention

to preserve a balanced level of felt presence and blind faith.

Which would you prefer? Circle one below:

a. More Divine Intervention

b. Less Divine Intervention

c. Current level of Divine Intervention is just right

d. Don’t know.

e. What’s Divine Intervention?

8. God also reputedly attempts to maintain a balanced level of

disasters and miracles. Please rate on a scale of 1 – 5 your opinion

of the handling of the following (1 =unsatisfactory, 5 = excellent):

a. Disasters:

1 2 3 4 5 flood

1 2 3 4 5 famine

1 2 3 4 5 earthquake

1 2 3 4 5 war & holocausts

1 2 3 4 5 pestilence

1 2 3 4 5 plague

1 2 3 4 5 Spam

1 2 3 4 5 AOL

b. Miracles:

1 2 3 4 5 rescues

1 2 3 4 5 spontaneous remissions

1 2 3 4 5 stars hovering over tiny towns & previously unknown hamlets

1 2 3 4 5 crying statues

1 2 3 4 5 water changing to wine

1 2 3 4 5 walking on water

1 2 3 4 5 coincidence of any sort

1 2 3 4 5 getting any sex whatsoever

9. From time to time God reputedly makes available the names

and addresses of Her/His followers and devotees to selected

reputedly divine personages who provide quality services and

perform intercessions in His behalf. Are you interested in a

compilation of listed offerings?

__ Yes, please deluge me with religious zealots for the

benefit of my own mortal soul

__ No, I do not wish to be inundated by religious fanatics

clamouring for my money

10. Do you have any additional comments or suggestions for

improving the quality of God’s services? (Attach additional

sheet if necessary.)

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