In the tradition of No Carbon Footprint guy and every other pointless test of will documented in a book, the Gimmicks & Stretches Publishing Company is proud to announce the release of PAWING AT LIFE: MY YEAR WITHOUT HANDS. A minor onion chopping accident gets Lillian McWordsmith thinking, “What would life be like if I just didn’t use my hands?” With that premise-–and no thought of a future book deal whatsoever, seriously––McWordsmith decides to to spend one year with hands inside giant thumbless oven mitts, which render them useless. Her hilarious stories––from sexual escapades gone wrong to feeling slighted at the phrase “five finger discount” and more––are compiled in this life-affirming and thought-provoking text, which is based on the blog she maintained with the help of a disability monkey and voice-activated software. If you’ve ever wondered if you suffered from body integrity identity disorder or just like a rollicking good time, this is the book for you! Dedicated to A. J. Jacobs.
Archive for the ‘Conspiracy Theories’ Category
I genuinely cannot remember if I posted this already, but when I search for “Tao” nothing comes up, so here goes: some quotes from that Zen text that proves assholes sleep better.
“I enjoy my serenity and people correct themselves.”
“Ruling a large country is like cooking a small fish.”
“Difficulty and ease bring about each other.”
“In handling affairs, ability is good.”
“While average people are clear and bright, I alone am obscure.”
“If you want to grab the world and run with it, I can see that you will not succeed.”
“You can finish your life without anxiety.”
“People certainly have been confused for a long time.”
“Only by being frugal can you recover quickly.”
“Since there are few who understand me, I am valued.”
From a Daily Beast article entitled “Should You Be Your Kid’s Facebook Friend?
“Should parents implement something like ‘device-free’ Saturdays?
“Yes. Call it the new “family plan”—one that’s focused on creating some tech-free time for conversation, play, outdoor activity, or just time alone. There is no substitute for unplugged family time and the way it gives relationships and closeness a chance to grow. Maybe it’s a day each week, or smaller chunks of time more often. Be realistic. Make it manageable. On vacation, most kids and grownups want time at the ends of the day to check devices. Parents often report that kids complain or refuse, but your persistence will pay off. Hang in there; this too shall pass. Kids also complain about parents being hypocrites and cheating on the tech-free time period. Let that be part of the discussion before the time arrives. Don’t cheat.”
Um, like, sabbath?
I am continuing to clean out my work desktop, and came across this amazing print, which I really wanted to buy until I realized it was 10K. Oops! The artist, Mike Levin, is blowing up all over the place. Also, below, a funny little tidbit about the Rebbe’s possible insanity.
From Jewish Ideas Daily, ages ago:
“…[O]ne finds bizarre accounts of three-year-old Joel Teitelbaum repeatedly engaged for long periods of time in rinsing his mouth, washing his hands, and sitting on the toilet, often interrupting his own prayers to return to the outhouse. The explanation offered for this behavior, which was a source of great concern to his mother, is that the saintly child could not appear before his Creator in prayer without having completely purified his holy body of all forms of uncleanness.
“Needless to say, a very different, clinical explanation jumps out from these narratives of childhood fixation: namely, that they testify to an extreme, textbook case of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The refusal even to touch Israeli currency can be adduced as another example of the same psychological disorder, as, still more weirdly, can Teitelbaum’s unusual interest in the density of the fabric (the technical term is denier count) of the stockings worn by women in the Satmar community.
“In Meisels’s words, ‘The rebbe taught that even 70-denier stockings should not be worn. The numerical value of sod (secret) is 70, so the secret is out that this [stocking] is also transparent.’ There then follows a lengthy account of Teitelbaum’s creation, with the help of a Brooklyn businessman named Lipa Brach, of an exclusive line of fully opaque women’s hosiery:
Money in hand, Reb Lipa Brach began to work on the project. He went to several hosiery manufacturers, collected samples, and brought all of them to the rebbe to inspect. The rebbe was very pleased with the progress, and he tested each sample by pulling it over his own arm. If his hair showed, it was no good…. The new stockings were given the brand name, ‘Palm,’ the English translation of the Rebbe’s surname…. To this day every Satmar woman and girl wears Palm stockings.
“In many years of reading hasidic literature, from theoretical mystical tracts to tales and hagiographies, I have never encountered anything remotely like this image of a rebbe testing the thickness of stockings on his own arm, let alone naming a line of women’s undergarments after himself. Was he aware of what he was doing? Most people who suffer from OCD are highly conscious of their disorder; a revered religious leader, zealously guarded by a closed circle of worshipful acolytes, would be more likely to mistake psychiatric symptoms as messages from God.…”
Calling all community activists: you have probably heard that our beloved Prada outpost in the Chihuahuan Desert near Marfa, Texas, has come under fire recently, probably from the same Texan morons who want to micromanage your fetus and fuck a horse (simultaneously.) I don’t particularly care about the nuances of public advertising law, but I do care about DAMN FUNNY ART, and so I am leading a group of serious people down to Marfa THIS SUNDAY via private jet to camp next to the store and protest not just its possible removal, but anything critical that anyone would ever say about it. You should definitely bring your wackiest outfits, tents and/or teepees, whisky, peace pipes, books, and musical instruments. Also, it will be helpful to have chainsaws and other tools, as we will send out small groups during the night to systematically destroy “Playboy Marfa.” We will make signs that read “I <3 ELMGREEN AND DRAGSET” large enough to be read by helicopters flying above. Prepare to act as dead weight when the police arrive, and scare roaming cowboys by making out with the nearest person to you of the same gender.
To apply for one of the 20 seats on the private jet, please send a short essay describing your most transcendent experience to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be in touch to discuss the Friday shabbat dinner meeting and trust-fall session, and Sunday’s departure. Until then, namaste.
Someone come up with an app that hooks up people with large credits at stores who’d rather have the cash with people who were already planning to spend that kind of money on Fancy Boutique Emporium Whatever, so they can circumvent the system and end up with what they need most. Calling all web designers!
Today, my intern came in wearing a short reddish wig, fake glasses, and a very short red skirt, and I internally panicked. “Fuck,” I thought, “she’s having an Amanda Bynes-style nervous breakdown. EVERYONE knows that wigs are the first step. I’m going to have to call Bellevue and then get in touch with her parents and then maintain a mentor-type relationship with her for years to come, and she’ll show up at my doorstep when I’m 43 with 3 kids in the middle of the night wailing that everyone’s after her and I just am NOT in the mood for this.”
And then I realized: it’s Halloween.
“[Mr. Packer] has a few complimentary things to say about Ms. Winfrey, but his section about her amounts to a comprehensive takedown. About her audience he maintains: ‘They had things that she didn’t — children, debts, spare time. They consumed the products that she advertised but would never buy — Maybelline, Jenny Craig, Little Caesars, Ikea. As their financial troubles grew, she would thrill them by selecting one of them and wiping out her debts on the air.
“He goes on: ‘Being instructed in Oprah’s magical thinking (vaccinations cause autism; positive thoughts lead to wealth, love, and success), and watching Oprah always doing more, owning more, not all her viewers began to live their best life.’ It gets harsher from there.”
From a review of George Packer’s NBA-nominated The Unwinding: An Inner HIstory of the New America
“The Traumhaus was highly selective. According to a Trumpet survey, one out of three Trudians felt that they could benefit from a stay there, but the ratio of admission was much lower than that––a far cry from the somewhat sluttish admissions policy at Trude U. The whole process was shrouded in secrecy. There is no clear science to it. Sociopaths, schizophrenics, the baroquely mad, were not admitted. Adolescents were not admitted. Illiterates were not admitted. Religious fanatics were not admitted, unless they had personalized their delusions in some compelling way. The average old were not admitted. Contented people were generally not admitted, though there were some exceptions. Typically depressed middle-aged males were not admitted. My own application to the Traumhaus, honed in the wake of Molly’s disappearance, had been classified in this last category. It still stung. I consoled myself by using my visiting privileges three times a week. The Traumhaus seemed to be the only place where I could find peace. In the autumn its birches turned yellow and burnt orange, complementing the dark green of the pines almost too well.
“To the charge that it was an ‘elitist institution,’ the Traumhaus responded with tranquil silence. As the reflection of the building in its pond suggested a castle, an element of gentility clung to the place. Though I might feel privileged each time I passed through the double doors, there was a sense in which I remained excluded, unselected. Some who had been living at the Traumhaus for years continued to feel this way at times. This largely had to do with the presence of the so-called Pinkies, a select caste within Traumhaus culture. They were special beneficiaries of Bernhard’s will. It was easy to recognize them by their distinctive shuffling step, their looks to devastation, and the pink bathrobes they wore at all times––markers of a twenty-four-hour suicide watch. These pampered disconsolates wore clear plastic slippers and received their breakfasts on silver trays. They occupied the best rooms, overlooking the pond: the Robert Walser Room, the Klaus Mann Chamber, and the Schreber Suite, where Bernhard had spent the last months of his life. Pinkies were a rare sighting in the Wittgenstein Lounge or any of the other public areas. When they passed, slippers squeaking on the linoleum, the other residents went silent and gawked at these suffering virtuosos––increasing, one can only imagine, the burden of disappointment and loneliness that had made them Pinkies in the first place.”
~Eric Lundgren, The Facades
So I’m totally intrigued by SPAM––where does it come from? how does it work? how many people fall for scams via email?––and today got one particularly interesting one that hooked me not because of its nonsensical aspects, but because it, in fact, was legible, coherent, and… well, perhaps a secret message from Allah? Don’t feel pressured to read the whole thing, even though I did, in case a warning regarding the next big terror plot against America was encoded within.
Sent: Mon, 14 Oct 2013 05:54:22 -0400
Subject: delivered a message to this year’s hajj pilgrims!!!
Supreme Leader’s Hajj Message
Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, delivered a message to this year’s hajj pilgrims. The following is the full text of this message issued on October 11, 2013.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds and peace and greetings be upon the Master of Prophets and Messengers and upon his immaculate and pure household and chosen companions.
The arrival of the hajj season should be regarded as the great Eid of the Islamic Ummah. The great opportunity which these precious days provide for Muslims throughout the world is like a miraculous elixir. If the value of such days is appreciated and if we benefit from such days in an appropriate way, many of the maladies of the world of Islam will be cured.
Hajj is the bubbling spring of divine blessings. Each and every one of you happy pilgrims has gained the opportunity to cleanse your hearts and souls with these religious practices, which are full of warmth and spirituality, and to collect many blessings for your entire life by using this source of mercy, dignity and power.
In this divine arena of self-edification you can express your humility before Allah the Merciful, carry out the responsibilities which have fallen on the shoulders of Muslims, show enthusiasm and dynamism in the affairs of the world and in your religious duties, offer mercy and forgiveness when you interact with Muslim brothers, demonstrate your courage and determination in the face of difficult events, become hopeful about divine assistance in all arenas and, finally, build your human character the way Muslims should.
When you are ornamented with these precious resources and when you have benefitted from them, then you can offer yourselves as gifts to your country, your nation and the Islamic Ummah.
More than anything else, the Islamic Ummah needs individuals who can utilize thoughts and actions as well as faith, sincerity and purity, who can show resistance in the face of the spiteful enemies as well as exercising self-purification and piety. This is the only way for the liberation of the great Muslim community from the problems which have been created, either by the enemy, or as a result of the lack of determination, faith and foresight among Muslims. Muslims have suffered from these things for a very long time.
Without a doubt, the present era is an era of awakening, one in which Muslims can find their true identity. This truth can be easily discovered through the challenges which Muslims are faced with. It is exactly in such conditions that our determination- which is based on faith, reliance on God, foresight and wisdom- can help Muslim nations achieve victory against these challenges and bring about a dignified and honorable fate for Muslims.
The opposing camp which cannot tolerate Islamic Awakening and the dignity of Muslims has entered the arena with all its power and it is using all kinds of psychological, military, security, economic and propaganda tools to suppress Muslims, make them inactive and busy them with trivial things.
Taking a general look at the conditions of West Asian countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Palestine and countries surrounding the Persian Gulf, and North African countries such as Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Sudan and a number of other countries- reveals many truths.
The existence of civil wars, religious and denominational prejudices and political instabilities, the prevalence of cruel terrorism, the emergence of extreme groups and orientations- which like savage tribes in history, cut open the chests of human beings and rip their hearts out with their teeth- the emergence of armed mercenaries who kill women and children, cut off the heads of men and rape women and who do such horrible and disgusting crimes in the name of religion are all the products of the satanic and arrogant plots of foreign intelligence services and their regional agents.
Such plots are implemented in countries in which the ground is prepared before-hand and as a result, they create a disastrous situation for these nations and peoples. In such conditions, it is clear that one cannot expect Muslim nations to remedy their material and spiritual shortcomings and to achieve security, welfare, scientific progress and international dignity which are the results of achieving awakening and finding one’s true identity.
These disastrous conditions can abort the progress of Islamic Awakening, destroy the mental awareness which has been created in the world of Islam, drag Muslims- once more- towards stagnation, isolation and decline and consign to oblivion important and fundamental issues such as the liberation of Palestine and other Muslim nations from the transgressions of the USA and Zionism.
The most important cure for this situation can be summarized in two key phrases, both of which are among the clearest lessons of hajj:
First: unity and brotherhood of Muslims under the flag of monotheism.
Second: knowing the enemy and confronting his plans and methods.
Strengthening the spirit of brotherhood and cooperation is a great lesson of hajj. During hajj, even quarrelling and arguing with others is forbidden. During hajj, wearing the same clothes, following the same practices, making the same moves and behaving in a kind way, all mean equality and brotherhood for all those who believe in and rely on monotheism.
This means that Islam strongly rejects any idea and belief which views a number of Muslims and believers in Ka’bah and monotheism as people who are outside the circle of Islam. These orientations which are based on takfirism, which have become playthings in the hands of the treacherous Zionist politicians and their western supporters- commit serious crimes and shed the blood of Muslims and innocent people, and the people who claim to be religious, who call themselves clerics and who fuel the fire of fitna between Shia and Sunni and other denominations- should know that the hajj pilgrimage will thwart their claims.
It is surprising that those who say it is forbidden to take part in the hajj in order to express one’s opposition to the polytheists – a practice based on the Holy Prophet’s (s.w.a.) Sunnah – are among the most significant elements in provoking bloody conflicts among Muslims.
I, like many Islamic scholars and sympathetic personalities in the Islamic Ummah, announce that any statement or action which fuels the fire of discord among Muslims, any insult to the sacred beliefs of each one of the Muslim denominations and any act of takfirism against Islamic denominations equals serving the camp of atheism and polytheism and betraying Islam. All of these things are haraam.
Knowing the enemy and its methods is the second important factor. First, we should not forget about the existence of a spiteful enemy. Performing the ritual of the stoning of the jamarat during hajj is a symbolic sign of this awareness. Second, we should not make a mistake in knowing the main enemy, who in the present time is global arrogance and the criminal Zionist network.
Third, we should properly identify the methods of this hostile enemy which is creating discord among Muslims, promoting moral and political corruption, threatening and tempting outstanding personalities, exerting economic pressures on all nations and arousing doubts about Islamic beliefs. Moreover, we should identify their agents and those who are, knowingly or ignorantly, dependent on them.
Arrogant governments, headed by the USA, conceal their true character with the help of comprehensive and advanced propaganda tools. By claiming that they support human rights and democracy, they deceive public opinion in different countries. They speak about the rights of all nations while each day Muslim nations feel- with their bodies and souls- the fire of discord more than the past.
For decades, the oppressed Palestinian nation has been receiving strikes as a result of the crimes of the Zionist regime and its supporters. In the countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, terrorism – which originates from the policies of global arrogance and its agents in the region – has ruined the lives of the people.
Syria has come under the attack of arrogant powers and their regional agents because of supporting anti-Zionist orientations and it has experienced a bloody civil war. In Bahrain and Myanmar, Muslims have been ignored and their enemies are supported. Other nations are threatened by the USA and its allies with military attacks, economic sanctions and different acts of sabotage. Taking a general look at all these countries can reveal to all people throughout the world the true face of these leaders of global arrogance.
Political, cultural and religious personalities throughout the world of Islam should consider it their responsibility to draw everyone’s attention to these facts. This is the moral and religious responsibility of all of us. North African countries, which are unfortunately suffering from deep domestic conflicts today, should pay attention to this responsibility more than other countries. They should pay more attention to the issue of knowing the enemy and its plots and methods.
The continuation of these conflicts among nationalist orientations and Muslims’ negligence about the threat of domestic wars in such countries is a great danger. The loss that may be inflicted on the Islamic Ummah because of such events will not be quickly compensated for.
Of course, we have no doubts that the people who have risen against global arrogance and who have become the embodiment of Islamic Awakening in such countries will not, by Allah’s favor, allow time to go back so much so that the era of the corrupt, dependent and dictatorial rulers starts again. However, ignorance about the role of arrogant powers in creating discord and bringing about destructive interference will create a difficult situation for such countries and will cause a very long delay in achieving an era of dignity, security and welfare.
We believe, from the bottom of our hearts, in the capability of nations and in the power, faith, determination and foresight which Allah the Omniscient has offered to the masses of the people.
For more than three decades, we have seen this in the Islamic Republic with our own eyes and we have experienced it with all our hearts and souls. Our determination is an invitation for all Muslim nations, to this experience of their brothers in this dignified and indefatigable country.
I ask Allah the Exalted to bestow peace on Muslims and to foil the plots of the enemies. I ask Him to accept your hajj pilgrimage and bestow physical and spiritual health on you. I ask Him to provide you pilgrims of the House of God with an overflowing supply of spiritual blessings.
Greetings be upon you and Allah’s Mercy
Sayyid Ali Khamenei