Sunday, December 31, 2006

More Like Eid BULL-Adha

Saddam Hussein was hanged on the eve of the Muslim holiday of Eid Ul-Adha. Much has been made of this, and it was probably a very stupid idea, which will upset many in the Muslim world and may serve to make Saddam a martyr. However, I think the very notion of this holiday is a hideous thing.

Eid Ul-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice, commemorates one of the absolute worst stories in the original JudeoChristIslamic tradition. This is the story wherein Abraham (or Ibrahim in Arabic), prophet and father of this tradition, unquestioningly follows orders to kill his own son at God's whim. At the last moment, God sends a messenger to stop the sacrifice. This shows a God that is both cruel and despotic, but interestingly is no hypocrite. The story provides an interesting foreshadow of God's actions towards His own son in later portions of the Bible. Of course, this is beside the point, as this is a discussion of Islam, which does not hold Jesus as the son of God. The real point I'm trying to make here is, happy Eid Ul-Adha. Please use the opportunity to do something nice for your children, if you have them, and reflect on the symbolism of our sacrifice of Saddam as a child of American foreign policy.

Labels: ,

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Bush v Satan

This just in: Bush #1 Villain of 2006, or so says a poll conducted by the AP and AOL. When asked to name the person they thought of as the greatest villain of the year, 25% of respondents named G-Dub. Comparitively, 6% named Saddam, 5% named Ahmadinejad, 2% named Kim Jong Il, and about 1% each named Satan, Hillary Clinton, Rosie O'Donnell, and a whole grim cast of others.

The jokes are too easy. However, I think it's more remarkable that Saddam Hussein, a man who has been in custody for quite some time now (and indeed all of 2006) is considered a greater villain than a histrionic dictator known to have at least some nuclear weapons AND a far right muslim leader who puts on holocaust denial festivals. Also, I'd like to meet the people who responded "Satan." I'll bet they are very interesting folks.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Death: It surrounds us

Those of us who are fans of Dana Carvey and familiar with his work on Saturday Night Live will have a hard time with this news, as it is so easy to want to laugh, but at the same time definitely not the appropriate response.

Gerald Ford dead today at the senseless age of 93.

This is quite soon after the Christmas morning death of the godfather of soul, mr. James Brown. It's always remarkable to me how famous, influential, or interesting people can manage to die in groups. Remember last year, around April? Johnny Cochrane, Pope John Paull II, Terry Schiavo, Mitch Hedburg, and Bass Wolf died within weeks of each other.

I invite you all to respond with your thoughts on the recently departed, as well as who you think might kick off soon (Saddam is sort of the obvious answer).

Labels: ,

Friday, December 22, 2006

Hell Yeah We Fucking Suck

Following up on my nomination of Devin Townsend as exclusive person of the year (or as Time has probably trademarked that phrase, I shall rechristen him Wizard of the Year), I will now review the new Strapping Young Lad album, which I have just recently purchased.

Strapping Young Lad - The New Black
This album, like any Strapping Young Lad album, kicks total ass and is full of violent ear destruction of the highest caliber. The album, as has become increasingly true of SYL albums, and indeed of all of Townsend's efforts, is very diverse, from standard SYL anger ("You Suck," another in the long line of classics like Shitstorm and Oh My Fucking God) to an epic tribute to metal and metality ("Far Beyond Metal") to ethereal hard rock slightly more reminiscent of albums like Accellerated Evolution and Ocean Machine ("Almost Again"). Of course, the production and sound quality are absolutely top tier, as is to be expected with any work Devin puts his hands to. To use a cliche, The New Black has it all: rock, roll, metal, killer solos, horn sections. There are even a couple of golden guest appearances. Hard rocking Canadienne Bif Naked appears on the mid-paced love-fest "Fucker," and GWAR frontmonster Oderus Urungus quotes his own lyrics in "Far Beyond Metal."

While like every Devin Townsend venture this album is new and forward-thinking, it also feels in some ways like SYL has gone back before going forward. That is, it feels more like a continuation of the older SYL style than the logical sequel to 2005's Alien. While Alien felt like an expansion on the style of 2003's self-titled SYL album (which itself seemed to come out of nowhere after a long hiatus for the project), The New Black feels like it is jumping in right where City left off in 1997. This of course begs the question of where next will SYL be going? Will they be going further down the path of raging speed as they have here, or back to the more groovy, cerebral path of Alien? Wherever they go, I'd just like them to stop here on the way.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

We Did It!

Time Magazine has announced its Person of the Year. Joining such great figures as Nelson Mandela, Charles Lindbergh, and George Herbert Walker Bush, joining such lame editions of the annual love fest as The Computer, "Middle Americans," and the Earth itself is:

You, me, your grandma, and whoever she buys groceries from.

What a fucking crock. Everyone knows that the persons of the year is Devin Townsend and only Devin Townsend.

PS. The pictures totally make it seem like an ad for iPods or herpes meds.

Labels: ,

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Mephisto v Mephisto

Today, in celebration of being done with school for almost a month, I will turn my bloggy guns on a subject which I am grossly unqualified to be shooting at: evolutionary biology. Specifically, the present madness involving the incessant attacks upon the science thereof by crazy bible heads. As I cannot argue real science, I will make a brief philosophical point on the matter that has been poking at my mind for some time.

The point involves the concept of Occam's Razor. If the simplest answer truly is the most likely, one must ask, which of the following is the simplest answer: all life evolved from single cellular organisms over countless millions of years, or God did it. Well, the latter certainly wins for brevity, but now I shall have a grand old time debunking my own theory which I only introduced seconds ago!

Point 1: Occam's Razor is not a law. It is at least a suggestion, at most an ideal type. Not all things can be forced to apply to this standard.

Point 2: This is only a partial interpretation of Occam's Razor. The full thought implies that competing theories must be equal in other respects for the simplest one to necessarily prevail, and the theories of creation versus evolution are nowhere near equal, as there is more than zero evidence for protracted evolution, and approximately zero evidence for spontaneous creation.

Point 3: "God did it" is not necessarily the simplest answer, because one third of the words in the sentence represent a philosophical debate that has lasted for the entirety of human communication. "God did it" can only be the simplest answer if God is a given, which he she or it is most certainly not.

Well that was fun. The best part about debates against oneself is that you always win!