Art&Personal&Spiritual27 Apr 2008 12:19 pm

Praying for lower gas prices

Oil is king, oil is god, and oil must be prayed to be merciful upon us poor miserable auto drivers. We witness a sign of the times in this SF Chronicle photo by Paul Chinn of Kendall Guy, an Oakland pastor (left), and Rocky Twyman praying for lower gas prices after filling Guy’s car.

Praying to higher powers tends to be one alternative employed by humans when dealing with situations beyond their control. Who knows? It may help, although finding inspiration to invent more energy efficient modes of travel may make God and Mother Earth smile upon us.

Recently, I’ve had two graphic design encounters invloving church and religiously influenced themes. The first was an offer through an IT recruiter to work in Flash on a large website. The work was to be performed on location at the production facility, Golden Era Productions, which is the promotional media arm of the Church of Scientology. Plans leading up to the assignment in remote Hemet, CA including paid room and board were nebulous, and after a few days the offer was withdrawn and I was told by the disappointed recruiter “the project had been put on hold.” Perhaps somebody was praying for me, or against me. I’ll never know what unique adventure I may have missed.

The second anecdote is a bit more of a hands on experience. A stock photo agency I often work with requested a 3-D rendering to be used for a breast exam publication. The breast image was to have the nipple removed at the request of the client.

In professional visual design you learn that revisions are a part of the job, so after submitting the first image (below left), I was advised to try and cover over as much of both breasts as possible by crossing one arm over them (below right). The client turned out to be a religious institution, and perhaps too much 3-D simulated, de-nippled breast could be fertile ground for Satan’s tempatation. Approaching breast examinations in the church is a delicate undertaking.

3-D Breast Exam rendering #1, pink x-ray look 3-D Breast Exam rendering #2, pink x-ray look, arm covering breasts

Version 2 and further revisions were still found to be too revealing for the client. (How do you show a breast exam without showing breasts?) So that my efforts were not a total loss, I decided to innovate, and insert a cross to aid in concealing the terrible breasts. In this version (below), I employed the cross style used by the Scientologists, perhaps giving this image some kind of blessed double whammy.

Breast Exam with a Scientology style Cross, version #3


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Internet&Spiritual04 Jan 2007 06:59 pm

Dalai Lama MeditatingSomeone e-mailed me this Tibetan Personality Test. It’s kind of fun, kind of spooky. Not sure what to make of it. Was supposed to email it, but it is better to let people who want to try it to CLICK THIS.


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Book Review&Spiritual07 Aug 2006 08:58 am

Painting by Hank Grebe

It has become clear to me that as war and deaths rise in the Middle East and the Congo that the world needs a new dream. Humanity is living a nightmare of its own making by clinging to old agreements.

An inciteful book, the kind I find myslelf recommending to friends and relations is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. This inspiring book will help you find freedom from old beliefs and judgements that you may have about yourself and others. It is a pathway to a new dream.

Another fellow human agent of change, is Dream Change founder John Perkins. His ideas involve using your personal power to shape shift your internal and external worlds into a better reality.

Surely by now you must know that you cannot rely on government leaders, priests, politicians or pharmaceutical drugs to make these changes. Too many rely on old ideas, invested in vendettas, based on fear and revenge. We must dream a new dream.

Politics&Spiritual02 Aug 2006 10:53 am

Very Gentile Teraphin

A recent newspaper article, Evangelicals militant when it comes to Israel, End of Days, in the local Sunday Contra Costa Times caught my attention. The author is a strange bird who seems to be pro Israel, but concludes his article warning of a coming religious apocalypse by putting down a Jew, and praising a televangelist:

‘The truth is, in this war, I’d rather be in a bomb shelter — or a foxhole — with Jerry Falwell than with Jerry Seinfeld.’

Maybe this is supposed to be funny, but who wouldn’t prefer to be holed up in a bomb shelter with Seinfeld, instead of a Bible thumping Rev. Falwell or the “ookie spongiform” author, Zev Chafets?

Much of the article gives credence to yet another religious genius from Texas, Rev. John Hagee and hisSeinfeld Cast Ministries of San Antonio. Hagee’s schtick is the fire and brimstone 10 Signs Of The Coming Apocalypse style of religious horror show. The truly scary part is that he raises lots of money, and has the attention of politicians such as Senator Brownback of Kansas, God’s Senator, the ever pious Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania (this guy’s really got to go into that pit with Falwell), and Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman.

Jerry, where are you when we need you?

See also: Anxious For Armageddon, Challenging Christian Zionism, Theocracy Watch, Seinfeld Shows, Birth Pangs of a New Christian Zionism by Max Blumenthal.

Spiritual&User Interface11 Jul 2006 09:34 pm

MAgic Mushroom Sculpture

In a nice follow up to the Timothy Leary theme… Neuroscientists Probe Psychedelic Psilocybin.

Neuroscientist Roland Griffiths of Johns Hopkins University and his colleagues tested the effects of psilocybin–a drug derived from certain mushrooms that appears to mimic the effects of serotonin in the brain–on 36 middle-aged Americans who had never tried psychedelics before.

More news coverage about the psilocybin research.


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Spiritual08 Jun 2006 08:59 pm

Playa Grande

What is Utopia? Is a perfect place possible in this imperfect world? If we had an island paradise, could we all get along and make it work out in a utopian way?

I live in a nice place high up in the Northern California hills. It could be Utopia, except for local motorcyclists who love to rev it up, throttling and growling their motors, sputtering mindless enhanced exhaust for miles around. Perhaps for them it is Utopia, but for me, engine noise is a brutal spell breaker. And I don’t get to play golf as often as I’d like. The ocean water is too cold for swimming, there’s too much traffic and the cost of living is too high. These things get in the way of my Utopia!

Alternative lifestyle communities need rules and leadership. They are often condemned with cynicism and sarcasm by jealous, weary victims of suburban commuting. Yes, there are the legacies of The Jonestown Massacre, The Branch Davidians, and many more groups who have tried to create happy places of their own. Brokeback Mountain‘s major theme was whether or not to break away from everyday society and attempt to shape a personal utopian life. After all, the American Declaration of Independence places life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as unalienable rights endowed by our Creator. Not trivial stuff!

I recently stumbled across a New Yorker article published a few months ago about Boykin Curry and friends founding Playa Grande, a Utopian community in the Domican Republic. Call me shallow, but I think it is a grand idea and I’m ready to pack my bags. I just hope Boykin is not a Harley freak.

Spiritual06 Jun 2006 09:36 am

What is the fuss about 666? It is a reference taken from the last chapter of the New Testament of the Bible, The Book of Revelation. This book is thought to have been written almost 100 years after the death of Jesus of Nazareth by a Christian from Ephesus known as “John the Elder.” The exact line referring to “666” is Revelation, Chapter 13, Verse 18,

“Wisdom is needed here; one who understands can calculate the number of the beast, for it is a number that stands for a person. His number is six hundred and sixty-six.”

It appears that the author is referring to a person, perhaps in a political context. Scholars have theorized it he may be the Roman emporer Caesar Nero. Beyond that, the Book of Revelation in my humble opinion is a strange and unimportant appendage to the Bible that has given rise to many imaginative interpretations and cults that are far removed from the core teachings of Christianity.

Book Review&Media&Politics&Spiritual13 Apr 2006 09:13 pm
Ann Coulter 666 on Godless Liberals

The howling idiot wind of the Republican noise machine is in danger of drowning itself out. With so many lies and explanations for poor intelligence swirling around, how’s a hysterical shrieking banshee to distinguish herself and make a living here? You produce a provocative title such as Ann Coulter’s upchucking, I mean upcoming, Godless: The Church of Liberalism. Holy Cow, are we back on the first grade playground again? I had been musing that some creative events might be planned for 6-6-6 day, but the June 6th release of a template for condemning millions of souls was beyond my sweet little imagination. She really must be nuts.

To cast out the demons from Ms. Coulter’s troubled mind, I recommend religious scholar Garry Willis’s book, What Jesus Meant. On a recent radio interview Willis placed Jesus above politics and systems of justice. He quotes Jesus as saying, “What you do to the least of these, you do to me.” This should be enough warning to the intolerant, holier than thou, would-be Christians.

But listen up people, when a Conservative says it’s true, it’s just true. Believe it, or else you have no faith and are Godless.


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