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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Blotter test



  Alice Russell performing 'Crazy' at Union Chapel in London (2010)

'The Sound of Silence', Simon and Garfunkel (1964)

"I remember when I lost my mind. There was something so pleasant about that place.
Even your emotions have an echo in so much space [...]. Come on now, who do you
Who do you, who do you, who do you think you are?  Ha, ha, ha bless your soul.  You really think you're in control? -Crazy (originally performed by Gnarles Barkley)

"The words of the prophet are written on the subway walls.." -Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel

I will attempt to list most of the crazy incidents that I have been witness to on the subway. This compilation is due to the fact that I seem to magnetize crazy people, and they literally seek me out.  I think it's largely because I am partially crazy myself, and you know what, I embrace it.  Hell yea, it feels good to be a little crazy! (in a good way)

 The following piece is an homage to those interesting people who pass me by all the time and often go unnoticed in a city where being a little 'touched in the head' is the water we drink and air we breathe in. All of the following pieces are bits from various observations I've made and recall of run-ins with the unusual.

One time while I was standing on the platform, I saw an older man with white hair, perhaps in his 60's, who was doing Tai-Chi (is it?) He looked at me on the opposite side of the platform for the uptown Bronx bound B train, while I stood on the downtown Brooklyn bound side. But, what the hell was he doing? He was moving his arms and hands around in small circles, positioning his feet in a way that totally weirded me out. Thank goodness he was far away! How many times has this exact thing happened? I'm here, the weirdo over there.  Or am I also the weirdo, and 'they' stare at me thinking what I am about them.

Always while waiting for a train or while actually on the subway, I see the weirdest shit possible. I always wonder if anyone else is watching but me? Now that I live here, in New York, it's like a cattle call, open casting audition for lunatics. Like how taxi and car services send a dispatch for waiting customers. Or, how day laborers sit on a bench waiting for that job to get their daily pay stub to feed their family.

Just in the past few days, I've seen a hell of a lot.  Yesterday evening, while waiting for the Q, I saw a man dressed nicely in a white button down shirt, black dress shoes, nice dress slacks, and a chapeau.  He kept laughing and going 'ehh ahh ecch ahh' in the back of his throat.  He was holding a conversation with someone who wasn't there.  He kept looking at people, standing on the opposite platform, standing around him, pointing and laughing.  He kept moving his eyebrows up and down opening his eyes wide.  His smile was eerie, his laugh a little sinister.  He kept this performance up on the train as well.  The yuppies around me told themselves that if this man came near them, they'd drop kick him onto the tracks.

Then, the other day, I saw a rapping transexual.  She was dressed in a tight leopard print skirt, some colorful print stockings, and a tight fitting shiny top.  She was colorful, wore lots of clinky jewelry, and had bright red hair.  Her face had lots of piercings and she wore spikey heels.  Everyone looked at her because they could tell she wasn't 'truly' a woman in their opinion.  To me, she was 'born this way'; I didn't really care.  The thing is, if she were born a woman, this outfit would be considered outlandish (though the transexual part is beside the point).  What made this woman stand out was the fact that she was hardcore rapping.  When I say hardcore, I mean every other word was a cuss word.  She was gangsta rapping using swears and rapping overtly sexual lyrics.  The woman next to me was offended because there might be kids around and didn't like the language.  I agreed.  Then on the train, I had a conversation with an African American woman about how this transexual rapper needed to be on stage.  It was so entertaining to watch her, the outfit combined with her low voice and choice of lyrics.  She was a good rapper too, very talented. 

The day before this, I was on a G train on the way to an interview.  I was late.  The reason?  A woman (crazy) decided to threaten to jump in front of the train.  So, they had to stop the train and call the police.  They had to contain us inside the car without opening the door for at least 15-20 minutes.  The woman also threw a jacket on top of the train car.  She muttered something about the enemy putting a computer/laser control device in her head.  She had to get away before her mind was taken over, before it was too late.  These are the facts I gathered from the subway control operator and other passerbys.

That's not all though!  One time, I saw a man open a gym bag, only to reveal a three foot Boa Constrictor.  As soon as the snake came out of the bag, the man started slapping/petting the snake.  People freaked out and moved away to one side of the subway car.  I couldn't believe it when I saw it.  My mouth/jaw dropped wide open.  I couldn't believe that I was seeing a snake on the subway.  Forget snakes on a plane, man!  What is even more hilarious is that this man was selling exotic animals on his phone.  He had alligators, lizards, other snakes, and iguanas.  Not all in the bag though.  They were on his farm somewhere upstate.  He was handing out his name and phone number for people interested in buying his pets.  Unbelievable!!  That's not all, though.  As I went upstairs to Union Square, the Occupy Wall Street protesters were making noise and attracting a crowd.  Then, I saw a woman, bare breasted (with no shirt) taking pictures/video of people walking around her (who were mostly taking pictures/video of her).  She also had a moustache drawn on her upper lip and a blonde wig!  Performance art?  Or was she just another crazy person?

Here's the thing!  Sometimes, I imagine a room, maybe padded, where the world's crazies wait and then...'Calling all nuts and comes Charlie!..calling all nuts...Charlie is walking down 14th and Broadway..send out 'Screaming Jesus' or 'Psychedelic Suzie'. It's like the movie 'Running Man', a 1980's not quite cult classic with Arnold Schwarzenegger as the star. The basic premise is that he is placed in a game/reality show for criminals (though he and his delinquent friends are all innocent due to being framed by host Richard Dawson). 'The Terminator' has to battle different characters including an opera singing fat guy in an electric suit. I've digressed from the main point here, but I feel like the governor of California when I walk through the subway. I'm minding my business and all of a sudden a Chinese man in a hockey suit is blocking my path toward safety.

Best subway rides of all time:

C) Female preaching how females wearing pants is against the Bible, and she knows because it's right next to the prohibition on homosexuals (which she also talks about). Then, she starts telling everyone how to pray, not to Allah, Hashem (which I think she pronounces like Hashish), or Mary but to the big J-man. There were many older people on the train, and she said that for them, time was slipping away fast. They had, five, maybe ten good years left on them, describing these senior citizens like they are a vacuum cleaner or a washing machine. She pointed to them, especially, making them more aware of Jesus (did I mention there was a man sitting by her with a Bible making sure she was quoting it correctly?), but more importantly what they knew already, that they were going to die. In the words of Stephanie Tanner from 'Full House': HOW RUDE!

R) Oh, and how can I forget the woman asking for money for food. She was an older woman, too rouged up in old sweats. Maybe a power walker going on some errands or a love sick Jane Fonda workout groupie. She looked like she had been jogging for the last fifteen years. She started bending down like she was trying to sit in an invisible chair. She had her eyes closed and kept doing it slowly, over and over again. I thought that maybe she was delirious and tired from hunger, or perhaps she would just keel over right there. Maybe she was sick. She just kept rising an falling like that in a tiresome, repetitive motion. She was like this sad, slow, old elevator. Then, she just stopped, departed, and went on her merry way.

A) Then, what about this one woman who was opening and closing her mouth wide and stretching her fingers. She was tapping her nose and moving her hands and wrist like she was drumming for a band only she could hear. I watched her for the duration of my subway ride. I suppose that she had some tics, but it was beyond something one can just ignore. Was she a marionette?

Z) Or, the guy who preached that homosexuality was a conspiracy of evil and sent by aliens to corrupt us. We should all be watchful of evil crumbling priests who are really robots in disguise. Or, something along those lines. I lost his train of logic after he mentioned homosexuals and aliens.

Y) The famous one that I tell all the time, is of this Indian looking guy with most of his teeth missing. He had wiry, gray hair and was wearing beach wear for what was now mid-November. He was rocking back and forth very fervently like he was in an Orthodox synagogue. I was watching him closely to make sure he didn't get close to the group I was with. I got on the subway car, and watched our guy to make sure he didn't get in with us. He did one better than that. As the car was pulling away, he started moving toward it. He looked right at me and waved. I looked around in a state of confusion. He pointed his bony finger at me, smiled a wry, toothless grin and waved again. Then he started saying something emphatic as if we knew each other for years. I was astounded at this expression of gratitude, like I was a god of craziness and he was merely paying homage.

What is it about me and crazy people? Sometimes I think that other people on the subway look at me and stare thinking, wow, look at that guy. OR, maybe crazies flock to me because they feel safe, like I'd understand them and their plight. Maybe that I landed off of the same spaceship they did. Well, at least they aren't me, and next to me their flaring shit for brains space antics are barely noticeable. All of these people who I've seen that I classify as deranged either talk to themselves in muli-harmony voices, look like they might erupt with violent outbursts, or dress like they selected their wardrobe in a blackout.

I don't know why so-called batshit crazy people flock to me. Since, I've moved to NYC, it seems I always have some story involving public transit though. Like the time I was on the bus and this man going to the hospital could barely stand up, let alone keep his pants up, because he was so drunk. Then, the time that the subway got delayed because someone got sick and passed out. That isn't the bizarre part though; Right before the authorities came, everyone was crowding on the platform and there was this woman trying to box fight this guy for no apparent reason other than being annoyed that he was trying to sell candy bars on the train. By the way, this prize fighting woman looked just like Flavor Flav's little sister!

I also recall the guy who had too much to drink the night before. I was on the train with my brother-in-law at the time of this incident, so he can vouch for it's authenticity. The drunken party guy was eating Funions and not very gracefully might I add. He was playing darts with the chips and his mouth, and losing badly. He also was drinking something out of a paper bag, and I guess it was of the alcoholic variety. He began to pass out and spill beer all over himself while also slumping on my brother-in-law. My brother-in-law told me that as we got off the train, to get up slowly so that he'd spring release the drunk onto the seat. As we did, he spilled bear all over himself, but did not wake out of his drug induced/drunken stupor.

I figure that in New York, dressing like it's Halloween when it's March or dancing and singing in a line a the post office or Associated supermarket like it's an American Idol audition just adds to the flavor of this place. Why not tell the checkout girl that you're so angry that you'll blow the place up? By the way, all of the suggested scenarios have happened to me in some shape or form. Right now, you're probably scratching your head, going Oh shit, this guy really does have a crazy magnet.

When does the noticeably idiosyncratic get abrasive and plain terrifying though? Once, when I was on the subway, and it was packed to the brim during rush hour. About five or six kids thought it would be funny to get into the car, begin talk/beat boxing/rapping very loudly and treating the car like their own personal mosh pit. Then, they were telling obscene jokes and commenting on various women's (on the train) anatomy while telling anyone who challenged them to 'shut the fuck up'. I think I have a pretty high tolerance for erratic behavior. But, in that situation, even I made sure to alert the MTA woman, hanging out the window of the train, as I walked off the train.

All my life, no matter how or where I travel, I'm followed by some strange individual who wants to reach out and embrace me with 31 flavors of insanity. The person always looks me in the eye as if acknowledging that I'd understand my compatriots' point of view. Sometimes, I really do wonder if these people see me and think, "Wow he's crazier than I am! That makes me feel much better.

I embrace my craziness.  I know it takes one to know one.  I also dedicate this post to my dear friend, Mary.  She understands this concept and we are kindred souls, peas out of the same pod.  Mary, I wouldn't change my artsy fartsy crazy ways for anything in the world!  Embrace your crazy!!

Crazy is as crazy does,


Note to crazy people (in a sarcastic tone): Leave me alone. The joke's not funny anymore. Don't speak, look, terrorize, or bother me. Go find some Wall Street suit or German tourist. Let's make a deal; take your technicolor hallucination fantasy that you really are Abraham Lincoln and go enlist in a Civil War reenactment ceremony.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Black Hole Summer

'You're Standing on My Neck'!

Summer is upon us so I will give you a mix tape of my favorite tunes for a sunny, breezy day. 
  In no particular order, I will give you  a few, now vintage tracks (mostly 90's) to rock and roll to:
Note: These songs are summer memories from my adolescence and teenage-hood years.

1. 'All Washed Up'- The Urge (1996)

2. 'Hobo Humpin Slobo Babe'- Whale (1994)

3. 'Blister in the Sun'- Violent Femmes (1983)

4. 'Vasoline'- Stone Temple Pilots (1994)

5. 'Sabotage'- Beastie Boys (1994)

6. 'Feel the Pain'- Dinosaur Jr. (1994)

7. 'Tennessee'- Arrested Development (1992)

8. 'Looking Through Patient Eyes'- PM Dawn

9. 'I Swear'- All 4 One (1994)
Note: I couldn't find the real music video on You Tube!

10. 'Lucas with the Lid Off'- Lucas (1994)

11. 'Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)'- US3 (1993)

12. 'Laid'- James (1993)

13. 'Longview'- Green Day (1994)

14. 'Mary Jane's Last Dance'- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (1993)
15. 'Gentlemen Who Fell'- Milla Jovovich (1994)

16. 'Natural One'- Folk Implosion (1995)

17. 'Stars'- Hum (1995)

 18. 'Hot Steppa'- Ini Kamoze (1994)

19. 'Doin Time'- Sublime (1997)

20. 'Good'- Better Than Ezra (1995)

21. 'Runaway Train'- Soul Asylum (1993)

22. 'Fade Into You'- Mazzy Starr (1994)

23. 'Wild Horses'- The Sundays (1994)

24. 'No Rain'- Blind Melon (1992)

25. 'Viva Forever'- Spice Girls (1998)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Rainbow Rights!!

So lately, gay marriage has been a hot topic of debate.  All across America, people have either decided that they are for or against allowing homosexual couples to marry and have the same rights and heterosexual couples.  I mean, I really don't see the big deal about allowing people, who are attracted to the same sex, marry and fully enjoy their love of another human being.

However, there is the religious debate for many.  Many people quote Leviticus as being the reason why men should not have a sexual relationship with other men, and women with other women.  Horseshit!

Okay, so the Bible states, 'man shall not lie with another man as he lies with a woman'.  It is 'an abomination'.  Perhaps that means that men, when lying with men, 'are not lying' as they do with women, as women have different parts.  Catch my drift?  Homosexual sex is very different than heterosexual sex.  Though, if the language is right, and it might not be a direct translation, as the Bible was written in Aramaic, was translated to Hebrew then Latin and other languages.  So, even if it is the correct sentiment in English, who knows if we got God's intention right.

Also, I fathom that many people are bothered by that very thought because they themselves are insecure with their own sexuality.  The famous biologist and zoologist, Alfred Kinsey, who created the field of sexology, came up with a theory on human sexuality that debunks the idea that people are either gay or straight exclusively.  With his research, he formulated the theory that most people are within the grey area of sexuality, not being purely 'gay' or 'straight'.  Yes, the two labels exist, but according to Kinsey, most human beings are attracted to both the opposite and same sex; this means that the majority of people in the world are bisexual.  Okay, so sexuality might be more fluid than we think. 

Kinsey report on homosexuality

Sexual fluidity is especially called into question with those who are so strongly opposed to gay rights and homosexuality, in general.  I say that people often hate and discriminate what they don't understand and what they are afraid of.  Many of the religious and political figureheads who come out against gay marriage and gay rights are gay themselves.  What about all of those politicians caught with male escorts or masturbating in a mens' restroom.  Or, what about those Jerry Falwell or Fred Phelps type religious zealots who say that 'God cures fags through AIDS'.  What's disgusting and immoral are the members of the Westboro Baptist Church who protest military funerals, and were taken to the Supreme Court over such activity.  By the way, the WB Church hates Jews and homosexuals equally; they dislike any group and people who are 'sinners'.  According to them, apparently God hates both Jews, homosexuals, and all Americans who condone homosexual behavior.  I would not be surprised if there were some statistic that 60% of people involved in gay bashing, hate crimes, and extreme homophobia had some questionable tendencies of their own.  Many gay people, themselves, talk about going through a period of self-hatred and denial, where they antagonize and make fun of other gay people, that is before they officially come out themselves. 

Westboro Baptist Church

Going back to religion, I get the whole religious debate, sort of.  Okay, so the Bible talks about homosexuality, supposedly condemning it.  However, the Bible/Torah never outright condemns the attraction itself as immoral.  There is no passing or judgement; only the act ITSELF is listed as profane.  Also, there never is an exclusive prohibition, as in, never is there a clear statement where God says that only heterosexuality is 'natural'.  There is not a very clear outline; one shouldn't eat a kid boiled in its mother's milk.  Does this mean that gay men and women should live a life being heterosexual?

I mean there's the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, where homosexual behavior flourishes.  However, I am to understand from this story, that the people living with Lot and his family were immoral and corrupt in many ways that preclude their sexual preferences.  For those who don't know the story, Lot is told to leave Sodom and Gomorrah because of its corrupt ways, and the fact that it will be destroyed.  This is what angels tell Abraham; Abraham asks God to save his nephew, Lot.  These same angels (appearing as men) visit Lot, and when some men want to supposedly rape these men (who are really angels).  Lot offers his virgin daughters to the men of Sodom, but the refuse.  At seeing this, the angels proceed to let the town get destroyed.  As Lot leaves with his family, they are told not to look back; Lot's wife, however, does and she turns to a pillar of salt.  Interestingly, this reminds me of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.  When Orpheus is allowed to go to the underworld to get back his deceased wife, he is told not to look back; he does and Eurydice spends eternity in Hades.  Back to Sodom, though.  Perhaps there just happened to be a lot of gay men/women there because if there are loose morals, then there is more acceptance.  It's possible, just like it's possible that Kinsey was right.

I want to try and discuss the claims about why homosexuality is wrong within a mostly Jewish context (since that's what I know best):

  People condemning homosexuality quote the Bible for Leviticus 18:22 where it says "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination"The Bible goes on to say that this behavior should result in one's death.  Note, however, that there is a lot of condemned behavior where death is prescribed. There are many instances in the Old Testament where a person should be killed or stoned for their actions/behavior.  Religious and Leviticus.

 As religious scholars/students know, the passage from Leviticus is not isolated.  Within Jewish tradition, in the Torah, this passage is read within the parshah (Torah portion) Acharei Mot.  Within context, the whole of this describes many sexual forbidden relationships including those with relatives such as family and people like family, which include parents, siblings, aunts/uncles, cousins. etc.  There is also a prohibition on sexual relations with menstruating women and a neighbor's wife.  Also, as we know one cannot have sexual relations with idol worshippers or animals.  However, the passage from Leviticus is always taken in isolation, and people ONLY pay attention to the prohibition on gay behavior, if that's what it is.  By the way, I really do believe that God loves everyone (at least the God I believe in).  If God hated gay people, then why does homosexuality exist?  To tempt us toward living in hell?  Again, bullshit.  For starters, Jews don't believe in hell, so nice try with the whole argument 'you don't believe in Christ so you're going to hell'.  Also, we don't know what God's true intentions are.  No one does, and I believe in a God who loves and acts with compassion.  In Judaism, this form of God is known as Elohim (the all loving incarnation of God, or Hashem). 

Moving back to Leviticus, if we look in context, the parts before and after the sexual transgressions speak about idol worship and not making figurines to worship.  There are pieces of the Torah which say that one should knock down and destroy all idols and temples of idol worship.  However, Jews don't go around destroying churches, temples, and mosques do they?  Also, it is clear, within Judaism that other religions do make idolatrous images, but we let them be.  Also, as Jewish Torah scholars know, the Torah cannot be taken in pieces.  It has to be weighed against everything within itself.  Everything is important, and I think of it as a beautiful woven tapestry.  The Torah brings up many important ideas and illuminates countless contradictions within itself. 

In fact, a very imporant piece of the Torah states the following:

הריני מקבל (מקבלת) עלי מצות הבורא: ואהבת לרעך כמוך 
I am taking upon myself the command of the Creator to "Love your neighbor as you love yourself."

Judaism and homosexuality 101

So, yes, religious Jews believe that homosexuality is a to'veh (a forbidden act).  However, the act is separated from the idea.  The actual act is called a mishkav zakhar (ie. male-to-male anal sex) There is no prohibition against the actual attraction of men to other men and women toward women.  So many rabbis would say that gay men and women are fine as long as they live a life of celibacy.  I don't buy this either.  The link, for me, about this passage is the idea of family.

Perhaps the thought is that Jews have been through many times where we were almost decimated beyond repair.  So, maybe many rabbis are scared that allowing homosexuality would deflower the Jewish people in the sense that they could be led astray in the same way that the Torah describes the situation both with Lot and Pinchas.  However, within modern times, there are many immoral and abhorrent things going on in the world.  Homosexuality is NOT one of those.

Obviously, the common thought about the Leviticus portion and the prohibition in general (for many Jews and non-Jews) is that homosexual behavior transgresses one of the most vital pieces of Jewish (and non-Jewish) culture/religious practice, having children.  The idea of family, and for Jews to be numerous 'like the stars in the sky' and 'the sands of the ocean' goes back to Abraham and God's promise to him.  God says that he will make Abraham's people numerous, too numerous to count.  Also, a big mitzvah (good deed) within Judaism is to procreate, have children.  However, can't gay couples have children?  Is that a sin?

I urge everyone to see the movie Trembling Before G-d which speaks about Orthodox Judaism and homosexuality.  Yes, there are Orthodox Jews who are also homosexuals (both openly and closeted).
Look, I am not condemning religion at all.  I believe very strongly in religion and my own, as a principal.  However, the commandment 'to love your  neighbor as yourself' trumps many other things in the Torah for me, personally.  I treat everyone with respect and dignity.  I believe in the rights for every single human being.  I don't buy into the whole God hates gays argument at all.  God created all of us, and we're as different as can be.  The most important thing in life is to be an upright person, and stand tall for those who cannot speak for themselves.  It is important to be moral and promote as much positivity as possible.

I'm not saying that every other commandment in the Torah/Bible is stupid.  I try, as much as I can, to be 'a good Jew' by: going to synagogue on Saturdays, eating matzoh/in a sukkah, lighting candles on Hannukah and Shabbat, laying teffilin, and observing the rites and rituals for festivals/holidays.  I am not perfect; no one is.  However, I will not condemn other human beings solely because one passage in the Bible might lead to that conclusion.  The Bible proscribes many things that we should not be doing.  However, many of these have gone out of practice or fashion.  Take, for instance, what I say above about wiping out idol worshippers and destroying their temples. 

The Torah and its commentary continue to be in dialogue about a great many things.  Many scholars believe that homosexuality is not outright condemned, rather that when people worshipped idols, they also engaged in orgiastic behavior.  This is clearly condemned.  The Israelites are not supposed to cohabit with or become prostitutes.  Note: This happened with the story of Balak and Ballam, where the latter, a wizard, was sent to curse the Jews and failed.  So, the former sent idolatrous, loose women to tempt the Israelite men.  This story ends with the passage where Pinchas stabs an Israelite male and non-Israelite female to save the Jews.  Look up the Torah portions, Balak and Pinchas for the full story. 

In conclusion, I stand tall for gay rights, as I have many gay and lesbian friends and I tolerate respect and rights for all people.  No one chooses to be gay, as I imagine that people would never choose to be a minority (if there were ever a choice).  The pray the gay away campaigns (a la Michelle 'bat shit crazy' Bachmann and her husband) are bullshit too.  Again, if someone had a choice to be gay or not, many would probably choose to be heterosexual in the sense that they would love to be viewed as 'normal'.  However, it is not them who have to change.  The non-gay and non-accepting world has to change.  We need to see homosexuals not as pariahs but as people.

There is too much shit going on in the world today not to be more tolerant and loving to everyone else, our fellow humans.  If the world will prevail and continue on as the society we know, then we HAVE to turn this around, people.  Love they neighbor indeed!

I will leave you with a FB status from one of my college professors.  I think it was originally a statement made on Dr. Laura.  It is great:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from y'all, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind him that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, howeve...r, regarding some of the specific laws and how to best follow them.

a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

b) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

c) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

d) Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

e) I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

f) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an Abomination (Lev 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

g) Lev 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

h) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev 19:27. How should they die?

i) I know from Lev 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

j) My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev 24:10-16) Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

 Feel the rainbow,


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cuz you're Not Hardcore Unless you LIVE Hardcore!

Clip of 'Legend of the Rent' from School of Rock:

According to the greatest teacher ever, Ned Schneebly (aka. Dewey Finn), you 'must LIVE harcore' to 'BE hardcore'.  Well, I, my friend, am NOT 'hardcore'.  I used to be into metal, back in high school.  I had the black steel toe boots and the camouflage shorts.  I went to Ozzfest and saw Metallica, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, White Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Black Sabbath.  If you saw me now, you'd be like, are you for real, bro?  I would say, yes, I am for real.  There was a time where all I listened to was headbanging 'diarrhea', that's what my grandpa would call my taste in music.

I still have hung on to some of my old metal/punk/grunge cd's.  For my 30th birthday, I made a list, a tribute to the 30 greatest 'hardcore' rock songs of all time.  It was an homage and a so long to a type of music that I have mostly abandoned since leaving my carefree 20's.  That ship of safety pins and mosh pits has sailed away.  I prefer much calmer music now, so calm that most of it would probably put you to sleep.  Every now and then, though, I like to dust off that Powerman 5000 or Metallica cd and let it roar.  I find, though, that I feel very old for music that loud.  I used to own a KISS shirt (that my sister stole) which said 'If it's too loud then you're too old'.  Touche, Gene, Paul, Peter, and Ace, touche!

Reproduced below (IN ORDER) is my 30 hardcore rock songs of all time:
*Note- I never listened to death metal/more hardcore bands like Sepultura,  Megadeath, Anthrax, or Mudvayne.  I just never got into that stuff!  So many will consider some songs on this list too fluffy and softcore to be considered hardcore.  Some I consider hard rocking and edgy because of the lyrics or instrumentals while others have a lot to do with the rock out with your socks out video!  Take a look and see for yourself.

30) No Doubt- 'I'm Just a Girl'  (1995)
29) Garbage- 'Only Happy When it Rains' (1996)
28) Green Day- 'Basket Case' (1994)
27) Marilyn Manson- 'Man That you Fear' (1997)
26) Bush- 'Everything Zen'/'Comedown' (1995)


 25) Hole- 'Violet' (1994)

24) The Runaways- 'Cherry Bomb'(1976)
23) The Plasmatics- 'The Damned' (1983)
22) David Bowie- 'Scary Monsters and Super Creeps' (1980)
21) Powerman 5000- 'When Worlds Collide'(1999)
20) Queen- 'Bohemian Rhapsody' (1975)
19) Soundgarden- 'Black Hole Sun' (1994)
18) Sonic Youth- 'Kool Thing' (1990)
17) Silverchair- 'Anthem for the Year 2000'(1999)/'Pure Massacre' (1995)
16) Aerosmith- 'Cryin'/'Eat the Rich' (1993)
15)- Twisted Sister- 'We're Not Gonna Take It'/'I Wanna Rock' (1984)

14) Muse- 'Uprising' (2009)
 13) Iron Maiden- 'Run to the Hills' (1982)
12) Guns n' Roses- 'Welcome to the Jungle'(1987)

11) Sex Pistols- 'Holidays in the Sun' (1977)/'Anarchy in the UK' (1976)

10) Metallica- 'Unforgiven'(1991)/'Master of Puppets' (1986)
9) Black Sabbath- 'Paranoid'(1970)
8) Smashing Pumpkins- 'Bullet with Butterfly Wings' (1995)
7) System of a Down- 'Toxicity' (2001)
 6) White Zombie- 'More Human than Human' (1995)

5) Nine Inch Nails- 'The Perfect Drug' (1996)

4) Dead Kennedys- 'Holiday in Cambodia' (1980) /Misfits- 'Die, Die My Darling' (1984)

3) Nirvana- 'Heart Shaped Box'(1993)
2) Pearl Jam- 'Jeremy' (1991)
1) Pink Floyd- 'Another Brick in the Wall' (1979)
I also must mention that while volunteering for the Obama campaign at the HQ in Midtown, I met Ben Apatoff who writes a blog about heavy metal.  We got to talking about metal and music; our conversation inspired me to write this post and share my '30 songs that rock' list.  His blog is: Apatoff for Destruction
  As you might notice, my list spans quite a long period of time, from about 1970 to 2009.  That is 40 years of loud, hard rock n' roll.  I wanted people to realize that the idea of 'hardcore' didn't just suddenly originate, nor did it come about with the advent of metal in the 80's.  The punk movement was going strong in the UK in the mid-70's and even the glam rock movement had some heavy hitters.  I hope my list makes you realize how long rockers have been head banging and hip thrusting. 
I will leave you with these clips that some kids made I found on Youtube; I found them mildly entertaining. Enjoy!

 'You're Not Hardcore' series:

Episode 1:
Episode 2:

Episode 3:

Rockingly and shockingly yours,