Sunday, February 27, 2005
Thursday, February 24, 2005
Nude dining would seem, however, to defeat the whole purpose of dining out, which is why the concept is, very frankly, eluding me. Exposing one’s shortcomings while simultaneously trying to impress your date appears, at first glance, and let’s face reality, most such relationships will not survive that first glance, to be mutually exclusive goals. It is also more than a little awkward as well, as there’s no place for you to put the fifty you’ll be slipping the maitre d’ for a good table, and now place for him to put the fifty that is but isn’t influencing his choice of a seat for you and your date. I’ve checked and there are no good answers to these questions, or to the question of whether or not placing a napkin over one’s lap in a such an establishment constitutes a breach of etiquette, or if hot soup is always on the menu or is vichyssoise the soup du jour in perpetuity, given that restaurants catering to the nude trencherman, no less than any other small businessman, do not want to risk a lawsuit if a customer spills something hot on themselves. I do not know this for certain, but I assume that nudist restaurants offer free showers for the clumsy customer and that kosher nudist restaurants are not any great improvement over their more orthodox clothed counterparts, although the whole idea of a restaurant full of unclothed Hasidim chomping on knishes and kreplach while discussing the finer points of the Talmud is almost too bizarre to grasp outside the special circumstance of a drug induced stupor, although I wonder if the Hasidim were to patronize such an establishment would they take off their hats?
Strange juxtapositions like kosher nudist restaurants were standard fare in the 1960’s, as evidenced by the near simultaneous passing of two of its icons this past week. Sandra Dee was the poster teen of the early 1960’s, a time of hope and optimism, of the New Frontier. She was the pert and plucky epitome of All-American girlhood, a sun kissed bikini clad California virginal Venus arising from the Pacific surf off Malibu to hang ten with Moondoggie and the boys, even if she was, in fact, the daughter of a Ukrainian family from Bayonne, New Jersey. And Hunter S. Thompson…well, whatever else you can say about him, no one ever accused Hunter S. Thompson of being pert and plucky; the man kept an arsenal of high-powered firearms in his home. His career took off just as Sandra Dee’s career began to wind down, starting with a truly righteous stomping by the Hell’s Angels, who didn’t like the way they came off in Thompson’s book about them, and then he documented the fear and loathing of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, following the long, agonizing trail through a landscape of Las Vegas lounge lizards, disappearing Chicano lawyers, Richard M. Nixon, and acute paranoia, with other nice looking if you don't look at them in a strong light mental disturbances along for the ride and maybe score some cheap dope.
Still, you can’t help but wonder what the two of them would have ordered in a nudist restaurant. Ms. Dee’s public persona would, no doubt, have found the whole thing too embarrassing for words; Mr. Thompson might have taken a cold, hard look at the reality of nude dining in America and concluded that the nation was descending into a maelstrom of bottomless vice and utter depravity, and decided to get there before the tourists arrived and ruined it, and immediately consumed as many hallucinogenics as humanly possible in as short a period of time as possible, no doubt convinced that this whole unmedicated reality gig was an experience better read about than lived through. Placed in such a life-threatening predicament, he might have even attacked the naked Hasidim with a frozen spear of asparagus in each hand, stabbing his way through the packed malevolent mass of nude and munching monotheists in a desperate break for freedom. Hey, stranger things have happened, you know; John Dillinger broke out of prison using a piece of wood and some shoe polish and no one laughed at him, did they?
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Monday, February 21, 2005
I should also point out that while these relatives may be incompetent, they are not stoics; the diligent searcher would have to go to the Julliard School or some other acting school to find a larger collection of hams and drama queens. Each and every unintentional confrontation with tools both sharp and blunt comes accompanied by shrieks, wails, imprecations, anathemas, and enough volume to rouse the comatose from their slumbers, and then, having gotten themselves patched together again at the local emergency room, this mob of dullards go a-trudging back to the very same situation that landed them in the hospital in the first place, thereby disproving most of Pavlov’s and Skinner’s conclusions on the role of pain and pleasure in experimental animals. Dogs and mice, it appears, are that much more smarter than the unruly mob of my relatives, who never cease in their attempts to find new situations in which to harm themselves.
I suspect that these findings about the cranial incapacity of crustaceans are simply salve for the burdened consciences of seafood lovers who want to enjoy their lobster without dealing with thinking about the violent and horrific death their meal just suffered, although one wonders why they should feel guilty about it. If they had some nice fresh salmon instead, wouldn’t the salmon have just as much claim on their consciences, given the slow, choking death by suffocation the salmon suffered? Or are we simply projecting our own fear of this sort of violent death onto the lobster? Most of us will never find out how the lobster feels; even missionaries no longer have to worry about winding up in the cannibal’s pot, not with the USDA warning most of the planet’s indigenous tribes of savage cannibalistic headhunters that eating a diet rich in preservative laden, presweetened American missionaries causes cavities and stomach cancer in laboratory rats; but we dislike having to think about it at the same time. If we can tell ourselves that the lobsters don’t feel any pain then we can go right on dunking them into vats of boiling water, although this doesn’t explain why the lobster turns red when dunked. Somehow or other, I don’t think it’s because it wants to look good on a bed of white rice, but that’s just my opinion.
Saturday, February 19, 2005
People, on the other hand, have to deal with each other every day and whether we are saints or sinners, one thing is true: some people just get on our nerves. We all have our pet bugaboos: telemarketers, door to door missionaries, the paparazzi, if you are sufficiently well known, the wailing baby, the noisy kid, the annoying kid, the noisy and annoying kid; you get the picture. For me, it’s insurance salesmen and dogmatic atheists, especially the latter. Dogmatic atheists are the ne plus ultra, which is not a brand of razor blade but a Latin tag that has something to do with my point, although I’ve forgotten what it may be…the definition of ne plus ultra, I mean, not the point; I do remember my point and I will get to it in just a moment; the ne plus ultra, as I was saying (this is the point coming up right now. Thank you for waiting. Please check the overhead rack for your belongings), of annoying. I don’t mind practical atheists so much; some of my best friends are practical atheists, to coin a phrase; they are usually very nice people.
Now, at this point, having safely arrived at my last point with only a few minor bumps, bruises, and a slight concussion resulting in a minor subdural hematoma, you may be wondering just what on earth is a practical atheist. You may even be asking yourself what sort of training and education is needed to turn an impractical atheist without skills or long term prospects into a skilled, highly trained atheist with a skill that employers want in today’s high tech job market; you may even qualify for financial aid, so call now, operators are standing by. You may even be asking yourself how does a practical atheist differ from the dogmatic and tiresome dogmatic atheist, which, if you’ll remember, was the point of this whole screed in the first place. Well, a practical atheist is a person who lives his life as if God did not exist. He may not deny the existence of God intellectually, but in the conduct of his life he makes it clear that religious faith is irrelevant to the conduct of his life. In short, there’s no There there.
I can live with all of that; I don’t agree with it, but I can live with it. I can’t live other people’s lives for them; I can only tell them that I think they are wrong when they ask me for my opinion and leave it at that. Dogmatic atheists won’t leave it at that, though, something that grates on my nerves no end. The problem with dogmatic atheists is that they won’t stop talking about God. You can get the religious to carry on a conversation about other things than their beliefs, but atheists go back to God and how they don’t believe in Him and neither should you like sinners and drunks backslide: over and over again. You can’t get them to stop talking about how much they don’t believe in God and how stupid the rest of us are for believing in such twaddle, something that always makes me think of life insurance salesmen, who are number two on my personal list of annoying occupations. Those guys will keep after you until they make the sale and every pleasant chat you have with them about something else inevitably leads to a pitch for a policy to protect your family should, God forbid, anything ever happen to you, knock wood, even if you don’t want to leave your family anything because the idea of that bunch of lazy moochers profiting from your death is utterly abhorrent to you. But back to the main point again; it does seem to keep moving around, doesn’t it? It seems to me that professing atheism gives one an entirely unwarranted feeling in one’s own superiority over the great mass of one’s fellow citizens, something that may explain its popularity in modern academia. In any case, I wish they would take up quilting or beekeeping or some other hobby and leave the rest of us alone. I sometimes wonder if the loudness with which your average dogmatic atheist pronounces his faith in his lack of faith is more to reassure him of his correctness than to convince the rest of us of his arguments.
Thursday, February 17, 2005
The most recent example of this occurred when the President of Harvard University mentioned that there might be some genetic differences between men and women and that maybe, just maybe, that had something to do with why women didn’t enter certain male dominated fields of enquiry like belching loudly and igniting one’s own flatulence with a lighter. A female biologist, offended by the suggestion that there might be physiological and psychological differences between men and women, immediately fled the room to find her smelling salts before she swooned. The president of Harvard has apologized for his remarks since then; in fact, he has enjoyed apologizing so much that he apologized three times that I know about and may go on apologizing just for the fun of it. He may even go into the apologia business, in fact, and supply apologies for every occasion. It takes a great man to recognize when he’s wrong and to make a fortune out of his errors.
As for the offended biologist, well, the fact that a biologist, of all people, cannot tell that male and female members of the same species often have more than a few differences bespeaks a terrible failure in the American system of education. One wonders if sex education classes in this country spend any time at all on the larger purpose of the reproductive organs or whether they spend all their time discussing how to best manage a ménage a trois for maximum effect, whatever that may mean. Many people routinely castigate American students for lacking such basic information, and rightfully so, I think, but one wonders how a biology professor managed to get as far as MIT without someone noticing that she didn’t know much about her subject.
Monday, February 14, 2005
I have tried to remember just what the very funny idea was, but I am not having much success. At first I thought it might be this idea I’ve had kicking around about St. Thomas Aquinas and how after he died the locals tried to cut him up for relics; a bone from his left arm is in one church and his entire right arm is in another; relics were a big thing in the Middle Ages. One of the disadvantages to being very religious during the Middle Ages was that after you died people wanted to cut you up for relics. Having a piece of a real saint in your church bestowed all sorts of blessings on the church and the people who attended it. Now if the Church recognized your saint and their bona fides by actually canonizing them, as opposed to your saint being some holy Joe local everyone down at Murphy's Bar & Grill said was a saint but in reality could’ve been some old fart just a few beads short of a full rosary, then your local church might become a center of pilgrimage that everyone and his uncle Bob would want to go to, which meant hotels and restaurants would fill up during the pilgrimage season and there’d be jobs as busboys, bartenders, and baggage handlers open for the locals, so whenever an especially religious person came down with anything more serious than the common cold during the Middle Ages they’d have to hire a few bodyguards to keep the local Chamber of Commerce from putting a pillow over their faces and keeping them in town for perpetuity as a tourist attraction. I thought I could compare our modern celebrity culture with that; you know, compare and contrast sports memorabilia with saintly relics, for example, but I couldn’t get the concept to work to my satisfaction so I just dropped it. And besides, that wasn’t what the great idea I had was all about, insofar as I can remember what the great idea was all about.
Then I thought that it might have something to do with politics; the adventures of politicians can supply a lifetime of funny ideas and they can often supply them in just one legislative session, particularly here in New York, where the politics and the politicians who practice them tend towards the extremely dysfunctional. Once upon a time in New York, the once upon a time being just a few weeks ago, in fact, state legislators did not have to show up to cast votes on legislation; if they weren’t there they voted yes. A New York state legislator could, in theory, never go to the floor of the Legislature in either the Assembly or the State Senate, never propose a bill, or even go to Albany, and still acquire an impressive legislative history to run on in the next election, where he would more than likely not have to worry about his opponent, since there wouldn’t be an opponent: New York state legislators think that incumbency is one of their civil rights, and it is a right that they will defend to the death. They find winning handily over some no name sacrificial lamb tossed up by the opposing party to be an almost blissful experience, and to run unopposed as paradise itself. But I don’t remember politics playing a big part in the great idea that got away. Maybe I’m wrong about that, but I can tell when politics get involved; my liver starts to ache, for some strange reason.
The great idea wasn’t sports related; I don’t follow football, basketball, or hockey, not that I could follow hockey this year even if I wanted to, what with the players on strike and all; and pitchers and catchers haven’t reported yet for baseball, which is the sport I do follow. So that whole avenue was a dead end from start to finish, and now the constant probing of my now shot to pieces memory for some thread of the great idea that got away is starting to get to me; is anything worth this level of psychic pain? I wish that someone interrupted me; that way I could blame them for my forgetting the great idea and pop their kneecaps off with a crowbar for all the mental anguish they’ve put me through.
Friday, February 11, 2005
European cheeses, by contrast, do not face this constant existential angst, which is surprising since most of the leading existentialist thinkers were big cheese eaters; all Parisians knew that Sartre ate Brie morning, noon, and night, and that Camus’ craving for Stilton was an open secret at the Deux Magots. Secure in their cheesiness as a powder blue leisure suit, European cheeses are never uncertain of their identity or where they fit in the overall scheme of things. There is scarcely a cheese anywhere in Europe that does have a legion of fanatic admirers stretching well back into history, even if the cheese smells so bad that the impartial observer can’t tell if the people in the room are eating the cheese or cutting it. Most people know that Philip II of Spain launched the Spanish Armada against England in order to secure a constant supply of Cheddar and that after the failure of the Armada Philip would not deal with his rebellious Dutch subjects for fear they would find a way of cutting off Spain’s supply of Gouda and Edam cheeses. Henry IV turned Catholic to secure the French throne; Paris, he said, was worth a Mascare, although he paid a high price for it; his assassin, Francois Ravaillac, was a fanatic partisan of Roquefort. Supported by a long tradition of cheese making, the European cheese, no matter what its provenance, finds itself in the admirable psychic position of knowing exactly who they are and what people expect of them in that role.
American cheeses do not have that psychological luxury. They come into the world unsure of who and what they are and what their role in the cosmic order of things might be, and they go to the grill without knowing even the most basic information about themselves. Faced with this uncertainty, one can see why American cheeses lead all the world’s cheeses in rate of mental illness per thousand slices, and many surveys of American cheeses display shockingly high rates of anomie and disaffection from the larger society, which manifest themselves in all manner of social dysfunction. The reasons for this should not come as a surprise to the informed psychosocial observer. If you take the time to look at the packaging of your average slice of American cheese, you will clearly see, in clear and unequivocal English, that the contents within are “processed cheese product” or sometimes “pasteurized processed cheese food” or some other polite euphemism containing the word cheese, leading the unsuspecting American consumer to suppose that because the wrapping contains the word cheese the inside of the package must also contain cheese as well. This is not always the case, as the taste and color of many American cheeses owe less to the skill of the cheese maker and more to do with the ingenuity of the American chemical industry. The effect this has on a young American cheese is usually nothing short of devastating. Faced with an uncertain provenance, unsure if they even qualify as cheese, the American cheese faces an always bitter battle for acceptance and self-respect in a world that usually takes an unkind view of them.
Geometry compounds the American cheese’s struggle for self-respect. Studies performed at my house by my niece and her posse of fourteen year old gal pals show conclusively that cutting a grilled cheese sandwich into two diagonal halves, as opposed to the traditional straight across slice, leads to profound learning disabilities and cancer in white Canadian laboratory rats, although the skeptical observer can always point out that everything causes cancer in white Canadian laboratory rats, including blowing your nose in the general direction of Canada. Still, people have died because of the way they cut their grilled cheese sandwiches. In South Central Los Angeles, members of the feared Crips gang cut their grilled cheese sandwiches into square chunks, while their rivals, the Bloods, prefer to take the crust off first and slice the sandwich into a series of small triangular wedges. The results, I fear, were entirely predictable: customers died in droves as shootouts erupted between the two gangs on a daily basis in fast food restaurants from the San Fernando Valley to the Pacific Ocean. The situation got so bad that the Los Angeles City Council banned the making and selling of grilled cheese sandwiches anywhere in the city, and now devotees of grilled cheese must drive over to Beverly Hills or Burbank to feed their obsession. Similarly in Northern Ireland, the manner in which you choose to cut your grilled cheese marks you as either a Protestant or a Roman Catholic, with Protestants preferring a simple crosscut pattern that divides the sandwich into four easy bites, whereas the Catholics prefer slicing the bread straight from top to bottom without crosscutting. The significance of the patterns is unknown, but scholars have found fossilized grilled cheese sandwiches in sites along the southwestern coast of County Kerry that suggest that the straight down pattern came to Ireland with the Celts in the fifth century B.C.E.
So then, what is the deeper meaning of the grilled cheese sandwich? Can we even say that the cheese undergoing the grilling by police who suspect foul play in the case is even cheese in the first place, or some sort of changeling dairy product fobbed off on the nation by the denizens of darkest Wisconsin, who seem intent on keeping the best cheeses for themselves? Wisconsin’s decision to put a wheel of cheese on its state quarter points to a cheese hoarding conspiracy so vast that it dwarfs any previous attempt to hoard the nation’s cheese, even the attempt by black marketers to corner the nation’s supply of mozzarella during the Second World War, a plot that implicated high ranking police officials from New York to Chicago and back again twice and the fan dancer Trixie Bellini, the Toscanini of Tush, better known, or maybe not known—they always denied they were her parents—to her mom and dad as Myrna Weinstein of Rego Park, Queens, in a cabal designed to seize all the mozzarella in the country under the guise of confiscating enemy property and then selling the mozzarella to pizzerias as a fifty percent markup. The plot failed due to the unstinting work of the Truman Commission and the undercover work of Gypsy Rose Lee, who never liked Trixie Bellini; she thought Trixie was a trollop that gave exotic dancing a bad name. What any of this has to do with the deeper meaning of the grilled cheese sandwich is, of course, anyone’s guess and one that I do not feel qualified to comment on; why you don’t like grilled cheese is entirely up to you.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Now those of us born in the waning days of Ike’s second term can have the musical and fashion faux pas of our youths, if you regard the leisure suit and platform shoes as mere faux pas and not the mind-boggling catastrophes they really were, hurled back in our faces (and rightfully so, if you ask me. I mean, platform shoes?! What the hell were we thinking?). Having actually lived through this period, I think I can say with some degree of confidence that the disco era bit the metaphorical big one.
The disco generation was my generation, the generation of the late boomers, those baby boomers born after 1955, the boomers too young for civil rights marches, anti-war protests, and Vietnam, the generation for whom Elvis and the Beatles were just names. We came of age during the Watergate years, when the United States government seemed absolutely bent on proving our darkest fantasies about the psychic corruption prevalent at the highest levels of power, except for that one about the feds having a high energy mind control laser beam buried in a mountain near Camp David that could turn us all into a mob of hunchbacked feculent ritually cannibalistic Presbyterian zombies; that one didn’t pan out, although I haven’t given up hope—the truth is out there, you know. Our music had lost the freshness of the rock and roll pioneers and the British invasion, becoming, by the early disco years, a vast and putrid swamp of harmonic corporate pabulum utterly unfit for human consumption, but that went well with the terrible haircuts all of us had then.
Yes, we waited through the long years while our champion, the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen, fought his way through the lawsuit that silenced him for years while the pestilence of disco gathered strength and virulence, spreading swiftly from one end of our poor, suffering country to the other with the speed of a case of chickenpox going through a kindergarten class in the middle of winter.
And so disco was upon us when we least expected such a phenomenon, laying hold of our radios and our record stores and the dance floors of the nation, glorying in the triumph of polyester in all the colors of a garish but otherwise nonexistent rainbow brought to you courtesy of America’s chemical industry and leaving us to wonder if that’s really the way we like it, uh huh, uh huh, or whether we were just kidding ourselves. For KC and the Sunshine Band posed a question then that no one has answered to my satisfaction. Did we actually like this musical goop, or did we go along with disco because there was nothing else was available? Certainly, there were other forms of music available, even if they did not receive the financial backing and radio airtime that disco got. I remember seeing one musician of the time who could play all of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos by putting one hand in his armpit and flapping his arm up and down; sometimes you couldn’t catch all of Bach’s contrapuntal subtleties when he played his armpit, to be sure, but the music was definitely recognizable as Bach. In addition to this gentleman, there were the animal bands. One of the most popular of these bands was a mixed band of wolves and coyotes that howled in a variety of genres; their rendition of Cole Porter’s Night and Day was especially good, I thought. Yet another unjustly forgotten trumpeter of the day could play a bebop version of Melancholy Baby after eating several plates of refried beans; the arrests for indecent exposure did not help his career and he quickly faded from the scene; getting the smell out of the furniture took a little longer, however. Still, why should the New York Public Library give disco, which most people simply tolerated, if my memory is anything to go by, a place of honor when these and other musicians active at that time are ignored and sometimes written out of the musical record entirely?
No one can answer that and, for some strange reason, the period has never lacked for admirers, though I can’t say why this should be so. The whole period was stuck in a mire of materialistic malaise, and I know that because the President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, went on nationwide television and told us so, and that I can say that Jimmy Carter was the President of the United States at the time tells you almost everything you need to know about the era; an era that elects a peanut farmer to the highest office in the land will not shrink from any enormity, including wearing bright fire engine red platform shoes with a lemon yellow leisure suit to a wedding. He didn’t actually use the word malaise in his speech, but the press figured out that Jimmy was telling us that we were in a collective funk for some reason and that it was all our fault, too. Anyway, however we came to be hip deep in a malaise, we were in it, and disco was the soundtrack of us trying to pull our feet out of the muck without losing our galoshes.
Then, of course, there’s the embarrassment factor. Coming of age in the disco era means having to explain away stupidity in a way few other generations have had to do. Even our elder boomer confreres can explain away their more egregious nonsense by saying that they were protesting the war in Vietnam. For the disco generation, no such explanation is possible. Stupidity and synthetic fibers reigned supreme because we wanted them to, which is a discouraging thing to say in a country that bases its political stability on the universal franchise. Nothing makes you want to restrict the right to vote to people over thirty more than looking at your haircut, or the lack of a haircut, in your high school yearbook and remembering that you actually had the right to vote while thinking that hair looked good on you. I doubt that picture is something that you want to explain to your kids any time soon.
Monday, February 07, 2005
Sunday, February 06, 2005
This is all very earnest, isn't it? Not a speck of facetiousness or humor anywhere to be found in this post...there must be something in the Dr. Pepper today, I guess.
Thursday, February 03, 2005
The Huygens soldiered on manfully despite the inconvenience, if you can say something so politically incorrect nowadays in our gender inclusive world, and now we know that Titan is a cold, dark world with an atmosphere of methane gas; in fact, it is so cold on Titan that liquid methane flows in streams on the satellite’s surface. Methane also occurs on Earth, where the major source of the gas is flatulent cattle. The Europeans have not as yet ascertained what the source of Titan’s methane is or whether or not that source needs a few rolls of toilet paper or maybe some Di-Gel.
In any case, while the whole world should applaud this expansion of the boundaries of human astronomical knowledge, it is also clear that the Europeans have just dumped a large pile of metal on Titan’s surface and have absolutely no way of getting the thing to the junkyard once they are done with it, despite EU ordinances that require them to do so. What will happen now, of course, is that the Europeans will try to duplicate their success by sending more probes named after people you vaguely remember from your high school science classes to Titan, until the whole of the planetoid’s surface is covered with junk. The old probes will go up on cinderblocks in front of the mobile homes, and before anyone realizes what is going on property values will plummet like a fat man’s gut once the pretty girls go by and the crime rate will skyrocket astronomically (yes, I did that on porpoise; that one, too). Remember, all it takes to destroy a community is the sense that the authorities no longer care what happens there. One broken window leads to another, after all, just as one probe leads to another, and before you know it no one wants to live on Titan anymore and everyone heads for Ganymede or Io or northern New Jersey. Before long, I fear, local juvenile delinquents with nothing else to do with their lives will smear the Huygens and the follow up probes with disgusting graffiti and crack dealers will terrorize whole neighborhoods in order to open up fresh areas to their illicit traffic.
It is little wonder, then, that the search for intelligent life in the universe goes so badly; no one wants us to find them for fear we will trash their planets in the same way we’ve made the Moon, Mars, and now Titan cesspits of social pathology whose freakish psychosocioeconomically deprived inhabitants routinely make asses of themselves on daytime television. Respectable interstellar civilizations want no part of a race whose greatest accomplishments are the pop-top beer can (and the Bud Lite to go in it), a Scrabble game that swivels to face you when it’s your turn, and the lime green leisure suit. Frankly, with the amount of television programming we’ve beamed into space over the past fifty years, I find it hard to believe that someone hasn’t declared this whole solar system a blighted slum area and tried to knock it down and put up a Wal-Mart in its place.
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
WILL NO ONE FREE US FROM THE TYRANNY OF THAT GODDAM GROUNDHOG?! Who decided that this Punksareusanytakers Phil was the groundhog of all groundhogs, the one true meteorological rodent before whom we must all bow down? What was it about this particular woodchuck that made him and not, say, the woodchuck who is, even now, undermining the foundation of my garage, the go to rodent in weather forecasting? And how do we know that Phil is on the up and up? How do we know that powerful skiing interests and the sellers of snowmobiles have not entered into a secret cabal to extend winter in order to maximize their profits? What's in it for Phil? In short, I want a second opinion
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
Having spent eight years in Catholic schools being frightened by nuns tougher than anyone you’ll ever meet, buster, I think I can safely say that aerobics never formed a part of the religion curriculum; I’d remember if they’d made us do wind sprints while reciting the Beatitudes, so the whole concept seems odd to me. I do not know if Gospel Aerobics is a Protestant theological concept or no; Protestant missionaries in California, for example, may need to adopt such outlandish local customs as running, weightlifting, and eating organic granola bars, insofar as they are consistent with Christian theology and not a occasion of sin or cause scandal to the congregation, in order to convert the heathens who dominate that strange country. But I must admit that I am not able to make the mental leap that links the Gospels with exercise that raises your heart rate and burns fat off. Perhaps the link comes with the exercise leader, who I suppose must be the leader of this particular service, helping the congregants sweat off the excess pounds they packed on over the holiday season, although the association of Christmas with mass societal gluttony is not one any Christian church that I am aware of would countenance for a minute.
So I remain clueless as to the details of this particular form of religious expression. I must admit, however, that the concept of performing aerobic exercises to the Psalms gives a whole new slant to the phrase “sweating to the oldies.” King David would probably object, of course, but his Psalms are not, despite the best efforts of the United States government, the Disney Corporation, and intellectual property lawyers everywhere, covered by copyright, and so anyone can use them. I was going to think about the deeper implications of all of this as I stood there, but as I did it occurred to me that I could no longer feel my nose, and that any such contemplation could, in all likelihood, wait for me to get back to work, where I could contemplate to my heart’s content courtesy of the magic of central heating while at the same time retaining my sense of smell. I scurried along then, or I scurried as much as a treading man can scurry, treading and scurrying being mutually exclusive activities most of the time.