Perhaps Baal is on the john…

Drudge linked to an interesting article this morning. Read it here. It seems that Education isn’t fixing things. AIDS isn’t just the problem of the stupid, poor, black man who only needs European Education to save him from “his self caused immaturity”, as Kant would say. Now those who have been educated out the wazoo are climbing the statistics ladder. As the project manager of this study so poignantly put it,

“We are on the eve of a very scary reality unless we start making some changes.”

More true than you know, Tracy. But some insist that maybe Education just hasn’t been administered effectively enough.

“Researchers said there were many possible factors behind the spread of HIV among upper levels of society, among them confused government messages about HIV/AIDS…”

“He’s not dead, he’s just restin’. Wonderful bird, the Norwegian Blue. Lovely plummage.”

What to do, Bono? Raise money for the poor, sure. But for Christ’s sake, give them all the gospel. Otherwise your money, government safe-sex ads and condoms are only so much dancing and crying out, slashing your own skin with knives.

Tunes for this Morning’s Commute

5. Banshee Beat, Animal Collective (Feels)
4. Hours, TV on the Radio (Return to Cookie Mountain)
3. Hello Sunshine, Super Furry Animals (Phantom Power)
2. Lesson no. 1, Viva Voce (Heat Can Melt Your Brain)
1. Through the Eyes of Ruby, The Smashing Pumpkins (Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness)

In Which the iPhone is like Hooters

My wife was telling me about this restaurant (in Arizona or Nevada or some place where they have the free time to develop and patronize such a business) that caters to folks who have what we call ‘fetishes’, and not of the African religious variety. You are seated by a dominatrix, the bar is tended by a catholic school girl who looks about thirty, and when you order your three cheese chicken penne combo, a ‘hot nurse’ brings it out for you: You get the idea. I wonder if they have a “server menu” that they hand out with the wine list. It’s a two-for-one deal: Good eats and sexy treats. But of course, it’s not a brothel or a peep-show, it’s a ‘theme restaurant’. The leash and leather hood on the kid bussing your table are just ‘pieces of flare’. Don’t give the waitress no lines, and keep your hands to your self. And how good can the food be, really? What are the odds? Does Hooters really have great burgers? Or just surprisingly-not-bad-burgers for a restaurant that focuses its marketing dollars on the meat that doesn’t reside between two sesame seed buns?
I haven’t seen an actual iPhone, and I won’t buy one, mostly because of the fetish restaurant. Excuse me while I go into my grumpy old man routine. The more gadgets and peripherals a phone has, the more difficult it is to make it work well as a phone. Every phone now seems to have a camera and a keyboard and a mostly-fully-functional OS and internet access and an mp3 player (also makes julien fries). But the camera only takes recognizable pictures if you are two feet from the subject and the world has completely frozen in place for a second. The keyboard is too small to use (“you call that internet?”), the mp3 player’s controls are either confusing or take up too much space (sounds terrible anyway), and the fries are always soggy. Oh yeah, and it sucks as a phone. In order to keep a phone’s design user-friendly (i.e. smaller than the average desktop computer) and the cost below the luxury-market level, all the features have to suffer. The more features there are, the more each is weakened.
I’m not saying multifunction devices can’t be made well (or that some folks don’t need such devices). But it costs. Doing anything well costs. Doing several things well costs more. Our Wal-Mart complex makes us think we are owed more features for less money. But the manufacturer isn’t stupid. He has a pocket to line too. That’s why your flashy blueberry-iCamera-makemelooklikeparishilton-(ohyeah)-Phone is made of Seran-wrap and Scotch tape by a chinese foetus.

End rant, begin Wishfull thinking: I have an mp3 player that plays mp3’s: Well. I have a superb camera that takes great pictures. I can cut up some potatoes and fry them next time I desire a clogged artery. I would like a phone. Just a phone. Only a phone. A phone that actually works well every time, is comfortable and easy to use.

If I ever want a hooker who will play dress-up with me, I’ll take a trip to Amsterdam. But if I want “Moons over my Hammy”, I’m going to Denny’s.

Please Read

You must go to Makoto Fujimura’s website. There is a link on the sidebar as well (“Colour”). His current blog post is framed by his involvement as an NEA council member in the “Operation Homecoming” project. Within this context he offers poignant insight into the calling of artists in a fallen world. If you have any interest in the arts (or just appreciate good writing), go to his blog and read his essays (his other recent posts on Da Vinci and Fra Angelico are well worth your time as well).

Hymn After Dying

(Lyric on a theme of Prudentius)

The Soul is torn from the Flesh it encompasses
Rotting to dust, abandoned as God
“Eli, Eli lama sabachthanai?”
Crying descends as the soul into clouds

As our first father died, as his body was broken
As the mother of all was born from his side
As Abraham, Israel: Chosen of God
Disobedient, broken, pruned from the tree
Burned down to dust by the breath of the serpent
An offering of blood for the grafting of nations

So the soul which is shorn of the flesh it encompasses
Yearns for the day when it finally is whole
When Adam in love is united with Eve
When Abram, as Abraham, fathers the world
When the Church, in her millions, without spot or wrinkle
Stands at the altar to join with her Lord
The souls of the dead, of flesh uncorrupted
At their nuptial feast will lie down with the Lamb

copyright 2005 j. bennett carnahan jr

“Neat” and “Why”

Josh posted a link at the cedar room to a nifty little story on a scary little fish. And he makes a great point about NASA’s focus, and maybe where it ought to go. We don’t know our own planet yet. There are all sorts of things not yet discovered here. Not saying that some space exploration isn’t a good idea or profitable (particularly in the immediate vicinity of our atmosphere), but it seems that Mars expeditions should be lower on the priority list than our own oceans. I would think deep sea exploration would be cheaper (relatively) than space exploration, with a higher certainty of scientific and even economic profitability. Anyway, just thinking out loud.

Oh, and something else from that article. What evidence do ‘scientists’ have (are they part of the genus ‘most scholars’?) that this fish is a “living fossil”, as they call it? How do they know it hasn’t changed much since ‘prehistoric times’? How is it that all the animals on the ‘unchanged-since-prehistoric-times’ list look like creatures from a low-budget sci-fi movie? Is looking weird and sorta scaly-like all it takes? Why is nothing cute and cudly ever ‘pre-historic’?