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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Matthew A. Richard's LiveJournal:

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Monday, September 6th, 2004
6:54 pm
Classes and Work.
So...work is going pretty well.  I get really great hours and my bosses are sooooooooo easy going about mostly everything.  I basically work four days a week from 4pm to about midnight.  I do a double (open to close, 12 hour) shift on Sundays so it's what I wanted.  Bartending is as much fun as I thought it was going to be.  I've always been good at talking and nowhere else does this literally pay off - except for maybe after law school. 

Class is going well, but the forecast for the semester looks like it's going to be pretty difficult. 

I have Spanish first at 8:00am on Tuesday and Thursday.  Interesting class - especially since I noticed my teacher has an accent, and later on in the first class revealed that it was because she's from Russia.  She had married an American man and I guess kicked him to the curb and started teaching college Spanish.  She's funny, though, and does not assign homework. "Because, after all, who has time for it when you're all working?" She's awesome.  I have Philosophy with a man who is pretty dry.  Even his name is dry. Dr. Senalik.  His readings are pretty clear cut, but interesting.  Thank G-d there's no textbook haha.  He put all the articles he wanted online in PDF format for download from the library and is now, apparently, deluged with copyright infringement notices.  lol.  My History of Western Civilization class is awesome.  My teacher is Dr. Jefferey Kleiman.  We go to the same synagogue. lol.  But beyond that, he gave a great lecture the first day about how rediculous SAT's and multiple choice tests are etc.  He's a Holocaust educator in the area and he's just a very emotional, sensitive man.  This passage from a letter he wrote to the college while he was teaching in Poland last year, I think captures the grief the area brought to him and the hope as well:

I chose this country because it was the site of the killing fields in World War II.  Poles were the second-largest victims of the Nazis, the Jews being the first. There were approximately three million Jews in Poland in 1939 (that’s about two-thirds the total population of Wisconsin today).  There were almost none in 1945.  Everyday I am confronted with items in pawnshops and flea markets that came from families and congregations that were wiped off the face of the earth in a spasm of hatred that destroyed a cultural presence that had existed in Europe for 1,000 years.

Were I Catholic, I would be heartened by the revival of worship and attention paid to the rededication of churches, long neglected.  Golden domes and facades restored slowly and carefully. But my people are gone. It is hard to imagine unless you can see it and empathize with it.


To give you an idea, the first essay is comparing and contrasting ideas of creation, action, empathy, and humanity's relation to G-d from the book of Genesis as well as from the Epic of Gilgamesh.  I'm sure a lot of us would find that very interesting to take a look at how all the religions of the world borrowed from one another.

My sociology teacher is just nuts.  She's so odd.  I want Mr. Maher up here!! 

The other thing is my work study.  Tuesday and Thursday I work for four hours in the IT lab here at UW.  Awesome job.  I sit with a couple of fellow geeks and talk computer stuff while occasionally answering a phone and retaking photo ID's for people.  But it's a sweet ass job.

Now. Bed.  I have school from 8:00 - 4:45 and work from 5:00 - 11:30pm, so I'll post again soon.

S to the H to the A to the lom.

Current Mood: okay
Sunday, August 29th, 2004
2:08 pm
For my friends who like House Music...
These are the tracks from a compilation of other people's music that just happens to go well together.  There's only like 2 of you that actually listen to house.  But since this is a good place to list them (so I don't have to IM all this stuff to each person); Download, at will, the following, add funk and stir.

1. Stonebridge ft. Stockholm Sound Machine - "Put 'Em High" (JJ 12" Mix) - 7:34 (overlap last 22 seconds with beginning of next up-fade cross)
2. ATFC Ft. Lisa Millet - "Sleeptalk" (Bad Night's Sleep Mix) - 7:09 (can fade down at end, and start next at reg. vol. overlap)
3. Biti - "Shine On" (Original 12" Mix) - 7:09 (complete stop before starting the next at reg. vol. up 20bpm)
4. Lighthouse Family - "High" (Francois K. 12" Vocal Mix) - 11:40 (start next 2:00 into it.  fade up but keep low, replay after 10:50)
5. Junior Jack - "E. Samba" (Rasmus Faber Club Mix) - 7:29 (just a complete stop and start next when done)
6. Frou Frou - "Let Go" (no special mix, just the original) - 4:14 (just a complete stop and start next when done)
7. Benni Benassi - "Able to Love" (no special mix, just the original) - 7:02 (cross fade at end)
8. ATB - "Marrakech (adventure)" (Jay-Jay vocal dub) - 3:45 (good ending song, replay last 20 seconds twice and fade down)


Anyways...perhaps I'll post life-oriented events later, I just needed somewhere to post this - but feel free to try them out if you want. :)

Shir la Shalom.

Matt.
Friday, August 27th, 2004
10:33 am
But is it America's Favourite Neighbour?
asdfa

Oh, well.  Life so far has been pretty good.  I've been up here for a little bit now, and I'm getting used to living in the area and it's nice.  I've been able to snag a job.  This was a lot less hard than I thought it was going to be.  All my peoples in Canton will note how goddamn hard it is to even get a part time job there, but here it seems that there are WAYYYY more jobs than they need people for. 

I went to Applebees when they opened at 11:00, handed in the application, and was interviewed at 4:00pm.  I was interviewed again the next day and hired.  I was expecting I would automatically get a serving position, but the interviewer asked me if I was interested in hosting, waiting, or bartending.  I thought he was just trying to see what I'd say (because in Illinois you need to be 21 to bartend, and I didn't think it would be different here), so I said "Well, I've always wanted to bartend, but I don't think I'm old enough yet."  Apparently you only need to be 19 to bartend here, so I was offered the job.  I was ecstatic.  I've worked in food service all this time, hoping that one day I would get to do bartending because the hours and pay are great, and it's a good job for a college student, and now I can!! ^_^ yay!!

I'm now a student at the University of Wisconsin.  It's a pretty sweet school.  I spent an hour and a half taking a French placement test, and placed into the 300 level classes - only to find out that they are, in fact, not offering French for either fall or spring.  *smacks forehead*.  They've been awesome with Student aid up here.  For once, I haven't been screwed out of my money.  I got a work-study in which I work at the IT help desk, which is cool because it's a great job for doing homework and I get to fix computers which is cool.

My schedule is rediculous, but I think it'll be good because there won't be down time.  I can't stand down time. 

I do miss all of you wonderful folk.  I think about you all a lot.  I haven't been online recently because of problems with the wireless router that Verizon DSL (which is perhaps the worst ISP ever) gave us.  It's now up and running, although they are cheap bastards and they've extended their DSL area to tons of people and not bought new DNS servers to handle the load.  Ergo, the network congestion can be infuriating at times.  Slowing download speeds from 500 - 700k/s to a slothy 80 - 150k/s.  Although, it sure beats the 33.3k/s dialup gets. 

I had to enroll in a language, I enrolled in first semester Spanish. *sigh* Spanish.  I hate Spanish.  Oh well. 

Other than that, I'm spending this month with work and school and getting ready for September which is going to be very important.  Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the holiest day in the Jewish calender) are next month. 

I WANT TO SEE "HERO" SO BAD!!!!!!!!!! AND THE BEST PART IS THAT IT'S NOT DUBBED - IT'S SUBTITLED IN THE ORIGINAL CHINESE!!!!! *head explodes* Jet Li is so, so, so, so cool.  Anyways, that's about all for now.  I'll be trying to play catch up for the next bit. lol. Anyways. Shalom to all.
Sunday, August 8th, 2004
6:54 pm
Dum, Dum, Dum, Dum, Dummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
A Scary Statistic

98% of the teenage population believes everything they read on the internet. If you're one of the 2% who does not, copy and paste this into your profile.


Actually, the statistic reads: "98% of the teenage population does or has tried smoking pot. If you're one of the 2% who has not, copy and paste this into your profile."

Now, a few of you are gonna read this and say "Hey, I have that in my profile - is he calling me stupid?! That asshole!"  Ok, well, no.  I'm not calling you, personally, stupid.  But did anyone think about this before it started spreading around people's journals/LJ's/Blogs and whatnot like herpes? Not only that, but the statement itself is an attempt at manipulation.  It asks you "Don't you want to be one of the two percent?"  Aren't you great for being  one of the two percent? One of the lucky few who had the resiliance to resist this? 

Well, in a word - The statistic is bullshit.


I did a little research...


www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/ - This website provides facts and stats about drug use in the U.S.A.

Table 1. Percentage of students reporting marijuana use, 2002–2003
Past Month  Past Year  Lifetime
Grade      2002  2003  2002  2003  2002  2003 
8th grade  8.3    7.5    14.6  12.8  19.2  17.5 
10th grade 17.8 17.0    30.3  28.2  38.7  36.4 
12th grade 21.5 21.2    36.2  34.9  47.8  46.1 
Source: Monitoring the Future Study.

Seems a far cry from the alleged 98%.  So, the moral of the story is: Don't believe everything you read.  The reason I got so upset at this is because of the attempt to single people out.  The attempt to demonize everybody who has ever even tried smoking pot.  It's rediculous,  because it says "I'm a good person with high moral ground...are you?" 

Well, I've never smoked or tried smoking pot but I also don't care what people do in their spare time.  No, it's not a great thing to do to your body...but it's your body...not mine. The statement itself sounds snobbish and hypocritical - as if it were the worst thing that someone could possibly do? It exudes a "holier than thou" aura that is almost tangeable. And I suppose that why I said "what the fuck?" under my breath when I read this on the AOL IM and LJ profiles of five of my closer friends. What is the thing with white people always doing stuff like this. Annnnnnyways. Again, this isn't an attempt to hurt anyone's feelings just seems sooo rediculous to me.

So take this stuff off your profile and save the effort for a problem that is worth worrying about.

Peace and carrots.
Matt.

Current Mood: annoyed
Saturday, August 7th, 2004
2:21 pm


M. Night Shyamalan's "The Village"


Lately, to my extreme displeasure, I've been reading a lot of negative stuff on the internet about M. Night Shyamalan's newest film "The Village."  It seems that every critic is looking for the flaw, the great hubris of M. Night Shyamalan so that they can predict his "fall." So that these people can be the ones to uncover the "formula" of his techniques and expose him (and his movies) as nothing more than rejects from "The Twilight Zone."  However, this isn't going to happen.  A while ago, the weekend it opened as a matter of fact, some close friends and I went and saw The Village at the Rave theaters in Peoria.  I guess I should have expected it to be like it was in the lobby of the theater. 100+ 9th and 10th graders all primped to the nines out to see a "scary movie" wayyyyy past bedtime.  Perhaps because the movie was rated PG-13 and yet still had a midnight showing.  As one of my friends pointed out, and I didn't realize it until he did, there was almost no one there over 150 pounds (save for one group of gentlemen), and they all looked like they were Hollister models.  So, anyways, luckily the movie isn't sold out, and barring some crap with my check card, I got in just fine.

As the lights dimmed, excitement piqued in the room.  I'm a huge fan of M. Night's movies, and I was ready to be impressed again.  But I think, due to the publicity of The Village, and the way the previews were laid out - the majority of the theater was looking for something other than the movie was.  All those young un's were there to see a good old horror/thriller, which ended up being a dramatic thriller.  Now, don't get me wrong - the parts that are scary will scare you shitless, but they're well timed, not overdone, and beautifully shot. 

The movie is set in, as the title would indicate, a village.  It looks to be very closely based on the look of Amish villages again showing Shyamalan's affinity for his native Pennsylvania.  His movies are shot no more than one day's drive outside of Philadelphia, where M. Night, refusing to move to L.A., grew up and makes his home.  The people of this village wear a mustard yellow colour for their cloaks.  They refer to this colour as "the safe color."  Conversely, the colour red is "the bad color."  The monsters in the movie wear red cloaks.  So, why yellow and red?  Red is a colour the connotes anger, blood, death.  That's obvious, but the choice of yellow? If he were going simply for contrast, most artists would say he should have used blue because that's the colour across the wheel, so why yellow?  Yellow is a colour associated with cowardice, with deciet, with decay, and it becomes apparent later on in the movie why he would choose this.

In addition to the use of colour, he uses archetypal characters.  The blind girl who sees people's souls, the mentally challenged man who posesses a pure innocence but is not free of passion, a man so caught with duty that the only way he can express his love is through the performance of duty, and yet can understand people's motivations and yearnings.  The cast is spectacular, as is the scripting.  One is left with a surreal feel through the whole thing, as if one was floating inside of a Salvador Dali nightmare of some kind. 

It would be ruining to plot twist to say what the real nature of the whole thing is anyways, but I will say this:  If you're looking for some stupid horror flick, don't see it.  If you want something that's going to make you think - if you feel like you need to think - then see it.  M. Night Shyamalan's movies are not supposed to be horror movies.  Look back on all of the ones he's done - those are not horrors.  They are thrillers that happen to have some horror-like parts to them.  As a whole, the movie explores what running from our problems turns us into.  It explores how people deal with life in a society where evil is still present.  The movie makes a very profound statement and the end leaves you caught.  Is blissful isolation from reality a better fate than a reality racked with violence and hate?  Can you really run away from problems?  Can you love your children so much you decieve them?  Can money buy happiness? 

Rating:  10 out of 10. Go see it. 

Current Mood: contemplative
Saturday, July 24th, 2004
1:33 pm
Of songs and brownie points and wonderful people.
Ohhhhhhhh.....Guess what I did?  I wrote a song.  lol.  Ok, I write lots of songs....but this one's different.  Many of you may be aware of a pianist by the name of Jim Brickman.  Jim Brickman writes these...melodies...and pretty cheesy lovey-dovey songs and melodies and makes an assload of cash upon them.  And this is where our story begins.

The mother is having her installation tomorrow.  Many of you may be aware of the fact that my parents are, unfortunately, Christians.  And, as such, my mother is being "installed" at the church where she has just been appointed to be the minister.  So when that happens they have a big service called "the service of installation."  And all the other ministers come to attend and welcome you to wherever it is.  Anyways.  I'm a singer.  My mother is real big on having music in her services and she is also a notoriously bad judge of range.  She really only listens to female vocalists...and she always wants me to do some cover of a Celine Dion song or a Barbara Streisand song or something.  Like she doesn't realize I'm a second Baritone.  So I agreed to do that Josh Groban "You Raise Me Up" song.  Which is, needless to say, not only too high but a piece of crap song. 

My solution:

One Jim Brickman CD with 12 straight piano melodies (no vocals)
Take four tracks of the same BPM and volume.
Piece together tracks to make a coherent and pleasing melody.
Spend 5 - 7 hours glued to a laptop screen cutting, slicing, chopping...
Clean up track by adding transitions to make it seem as if it was recorded originally in that form.
Spend another 2 hours writing lyrics suitable for the occasion.
Re-record completed track adjusting for vocal pitch, speed, crecendos and silence.

=


Majour points with the mother.  She still thinks I'm singing that John Groban garbage.

Also....

Going to Canada in the third week of August.  I went to Chicago and got my permenancy done so, for the first time in 5 years I can leave the country.  We stayed ON Michigan avenue.  Right down the street from UC, Loyola Marymount, DePaul University, and several others that I recognized.  And the coolest thing - It was wednesday and we were in the Congress Plaza hotel - across the street is Grant park.  And we go out (my brother, my sis in law, and myself) to see the city after dinner.  It starts raining.  So David and Kristin take their pics and they go back to the room...but I can see this huge crowd of people in the park, and some really good techno - so I go down to check this out.  Apparently, there's this thing called "Summer Dance."  Every Wednesday in the park from 6:00pm - 9:30pm they have a DJ setup in this like...open bandshell thing...and people just dance.  And you know that some of the only people out there on a Wednesday in a park are 1) Drunks 2) People that are high 3) Ravers 4) Gay people.  All of the above were present and everyone was SOOO nice.  Like a big-ass outdoor club.  And the DJ was one of the best I've heard.  The rain ended just as the dancing did.  Fun all the same. 

Current Mood: happy
Wednesday, July 14th, 2004
12:41 pm
For Those People...
For those people who think I'm "arrogant," or you disapprove of my writing, or the way in which I write or what I choose to write about and the way I express those opinions....there is but one obvious and simple solution to your problem:  Don't read.  Going along with that is the following caveat: Don't comment.  If you don't read it, and you have nothing nice to say - don't say it, and I give you the following message:

title or description

It's my journal, and I'll write what I want to.  Have a nice day.
12:00 am
An Explanation: So You'll Always Have the Upper Hand in the Argument.
Homosexuality.  GAYYYYYYness.  Natural? Inborn? Learned? Adopted?...Chosen? Whatever you believe, if you use the Bible to back up your claim of immorality, your a git.  And I'm going to explain, just so people don't ask my why this is any more, why there is no such prohibition contained in the text of what the Jews call the Torah. 

So let's begin ~~~~~~

First, back this shit up about 2,000 years, and you have Judaism in it's original form.  A rather gory religion involving animal sacrifices and "burnt offerings."  Jerusalem was a pretty cosmopolitan city.  It was the New York of it's day.  A main trading centre en route to the dead sea and into other areas of asia minor, a city close to the biggest cultural centres of Egypt, Sumeria and Nubia.  Now, up until this point you had nobody who worshiped a single diety  only, but the Hebrews of the day were different.  The first Jew (who was a convert) named Abraham was, as it is accounted, told to worship the "one g-d." To make a very long story short the religion that was passed down and developed through him became Judaism and Abraham became the first "Patriarch" of Judaism.

StupId TRIvia FaCT:
Question: "If Jews claim the first Jew was Abraham, why then do we call them Jews?  Why not...Abra..ham...s...ians?"
Answer: In Exodus, there is a part of the story where Moshe climbs a mountain to get the 10 commandments, and he leaves the whole twelve tribes of Israel that escaped from Egypt (we are told it's supposed to be thousands of people) on the bottom of the mountain.  Well they get antsy and ask for Moshe's brother, Aaron, to make them a G-d to worship.  Aaron asks for all their gold and from it creates a golden calf, whom the Israelites fall down and worship - except for a few.  Moshe is warned by G-d that his people are committing Idolatry and he descends the mountain to find them engaged in an orgy.  He's pissed.  Really pissed.  And he grinds up the calf into dust in his anger and puts it in water and makes the Israelites drink it. (yay! The first Goldschlager! ^_^) Then he gets more pissed and says "Who of you did not commit this act," and the tribe of Judah stands up and says they didn't.  The tribe of Judah then kills all the others on order of Abraham and the tribe of Judah becomes the sole inheritor of the promised land...hence...JUDaism, and JEW.


So anyways, continuing.  This new group of people, these Jews, had to figure out some ways to separate themselves from the other people around them.  It's at a time where national identity is very important, and the Jewish identity was being born - so they adopt some rules.  A lot of the pagan temples around have male prostitutes which are paid by male worshippers to have sex with the worshippers and thereby achive communion with the G-d(s).  Judaism didn't want to even resemble these other groups.  Understand, it's not out of hate but of a need to establish one's identity - which is hard when there hasn't been anything like you before except one Egyptian pharoah who tried it and was deposed by his people.  So all these rules concerning everything from diet to clothing to moral conduct get written down.  These are all a mixture of common sense and a lot of ritual.  Ie. "Don't eat pork." 2,000 years ago it wasn't a good idea to eat a meat that bred bacteria so easily as pork does compared to beef.  And I think they also know what I now know - it tastes like shit.  so they write all these laws down and they become known as the "purity code." The priestly purity code....the Levitical purity code...Levitical....Leviticus!  The book of Leviticus becomes the basis for what you do, as an ancient Jew, to differentiate themselves from everyone else.  And in all of this is one verse of one chapter which becomes the basis for the discrimination against GLBT people from then on.  Leviticus 18:22.  Most of us will know this as the  "A man shall not lay down with a man..." commandment.  But just to show you the bunk of translations, check this out.  (borrowed from www.religioustolerance.org) This is from a few of the 23223423424 English bible translations out there:

1) ESV: (English Standard Version): "You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is abomination." 

2) KJV: (King James Version): "Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is abomination". 

3) LB: (Living Bible): "Homosexuality is absolutely forbidden, for it is an enormous sin" 

4) Net Bible: "You must not have sexual intercourse with a male as one has sexual intercourse with a woman; it is a detestable act." 1

5) NIV: (New International Version) "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable." 

6) NLT: (New Living Translation): "Do not practice homosexuality; it is a detestable sin. 

7) RSV: (Revised Standard Version): "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination

So, yeah....baaaaaad translating.  At this point they're translating translations.  So let's look at the Original. 
This is from the JPS Hebrew-English concordance edition of the Tanakh (Old Testament).  It's got the Hebrew in one column on a page and the English on the other and you can follow verse for verse in both.  Ok.  So, in Hebrew it says the following:  "Ve'et zachar lo tishkav mishk've ishah toevah hiv."  You can't translate something without looking at each word, and when you do that you find the following.

Ve'et, is an indicator.  It basically means "and if."  Zachar is a specific word.  It is only EVER used to refer to a "male of the covenant."  A Jewish male.  Lo tishkav - "shall not" or "should not," followed by "Mishk've ishah."  Here's the ringer.  Mishk've means "to lie down with," and ishah means "a WOMAN."  The masculine word is Ish.  Ishah is a feminine, it means WOMAN, followed by "Toevah hiv." meaning "it is an abomination because of uncleanliness." 

We now understand this passage to mean the following: "A man shall not lie with a menstruating woman, since the bed is unclean." or as this site puts it: ( http://hometown.aol.com/spiritandflesh/leviticus.html ) in his own interpretation of the passage:

"The Holiness Code of Leviticus prohibits male same-sex practices because of religious considerations, not because of sexual ones. The concern is to keep Israel from taking part in Gentile practices. Homogenital sex is forbidden because it is associated with pagan activities (i.e. cultic prostitution), with idolatry, and with Gentile identity. The argument in Leviticus is religious, not ethical or moral. That is to say, no thought is given to whether the sex in itself is right or wrong. All concern is for keeping Jewish identity strong.
Therefore, it is a misuse of the Bible to quote Leviticus as an answer to today's ethical question of whether homosexuality is right or wrong. Leviticus was not addressing this question. The concern in Leviticus, the cultural context of that text,
and the meaning of male-male sex in ancient Israel are all very foreign to the present situation. Today's question and that in Leviticus are simply two different things.
To further underscore the point, the word "abomination" is simply another word for "unclean." An "abomination" is a violation of the purity rules that governed Israelite society and kept the Israelites different from the other peoples. Early Israelites thought male homogential sex was dirty. It was prohibited not because it was wrong in itself but because it offended religious sensitivities. Homogenitality made a Jewish man look like a Canaanite. And to the Israelites, God's chosen people, that was unacceptable."

Make sense?  I've had a lot of people ask my why I always cite mistranslation.  That's why.  Sorry if it's boring, but I just wanted to get it out.

Shalom.

Current Mood: complacent
Monday, July 12th, 2004
12:36 pm
Today I was a-flippin' through the channels on my TV and up pops this "minister."  This "reverend," was talking about his "training" in the "art of the ministry of Jesus."  This dude starts talking about how he went to "seminary."  For those of you that don't know, seminary is like minister school.  They learn to do their stuff there and get their "degree" so they can become the leader of a congregation.  Other "ministers" are just "called by the spirit," and are appointed without training at all - other than a strong voice, and a good ability to speak.  For those of you that have the unspeakable pleasure to know Abbey Van-Dyke, her father is one of the latter.  Anyways, I've had arguments with people before about the necessity of training in order to do that particular profession and you would be shocked at the number of people that think it's perfectly okay to just, you know...do it. 

To allow someone to be a minister with no formal theological training and no training as a counselor
is the same as giving someone an M.D. without teaching them anatomy.


For most mainstream protestant denominations in this country: The United Church of Christ, The Disciples of Christ, The Presbyterian Church U.S.A., The Lutheran Church (NOT Missouri Synod Lutherans), The American Baptist Coallition (also called A.B.C. Baptists), The Evangelical and Reformed,  Universalist Unitarian (though they are not explicitly "christian," since they don't profess Jesus as a savior), The Moravian Church, most United Methodist churches, the Episcopalian church and a whole bunch of others require the following as training:

1) A degree from a four year institution, preferebly not in theology.  No theological instruction is preferred because they don't want you to be biassed without having all the facts.

2) A rigorous set of psychological testing to evaluate your ability to lead a congregation and be a minister of sound mind.

3) The GRE (Graduate Requirements Examination) a test you take to move on to grad school.

4) Grades are taken into consideration as well as volunteer service and a written personal statement.

5) Once accepted, four years of seminary.  Seminary includes courses in Old Testament, New Testament, Biblical interpretation, Archaeology, Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, Jewish Culture, Islamic Culture, Ancient and Modern Christianity, The Role of Women Through the Evolution of the Christian Church, Christianity and Children, etc.  and they can go to classes with as narrow a focus as: "Christianity in the Japanese-American Community," "The Role of Ethnic Congregations," "Gay Theology and Universal Love."  They read the original texts of the Bible and learn how it differs from the English.  They have Jewish teachers of the Old Testament and the Torah, and Islamic teachers of the Qur'an. 

6) More psychological testing to get someone ready for CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education).  This is where they spend 1 - 2 years working in a hospital or something in order to feel what it's like to be around those who need someone like them.  They confront things like death, hoplesness etc.

7) They then spend a year or so shadowing a minister in a congregation setting.  They learn on the job.  Then, usually they get a church of their own.

That is the education process for the mainstream.  It's difficult, but they learn the reality of what they're talking about.  Next is what those fly-by-night idiots do at MOST:

1) 2 years of "bible college" (NEVER trust anyone who says they got an education at a "bible college")  This means two years of very, very slanted theology.  Usually they study an English version of the bible only.  They are taught that the bible is a literal document and to interpret it is "twisting the words of G-d,"  they usually get some sort of degree afterwards and some mail away for  "Doctorates" at the end of the process.

But even then, when one is brought up in a mainstream denomination.  A lot of Christian children (I would think 99%), don't even know about the other dimensions of their faith:  Like for instance:  Ask any Christian who's into "bible trivia" how many books are in the Bible.  Most would say 66.  Ok. Yeah, that's the Christian cannon.  Meaning, those are the ones the catholics use.  But how many of you know that there are 129 books that were edited out of the Bible by the catholic church in the early days of the church because they didn't jive with catholic belief?? How about the Gospel of Nicodemus where Jesus descends to Hell after his crucifixtion? The Catholics didn't like this because "Hell" was not a place for "bad people" to go when they died.  Hell was a place where EVERYONE went.  And they slept there.  And Jesus frees the prophets of old Elijah, Jeremiah etc. from this place.  This should prove to you all that the Christian idea of Hell is based on the Jewish idea of Shaol.  A place where everybody goes.  And there's no mention of fire or brimstone etc.  What about the other ones where there's a second creation story, or where Jesus is born in a cave to Mary and she is alone and starving?? It seems to me that people need to learn how to read before they can talk about something as if they know it front and back. 

"Know your bible" is a terrible statement.  Know and love each other, regardless of difference, and through that know what the purpose of this book was in the first place.

So, now that you've read this.  And I could go on to talk about things like how women were the leaders of the early church, and how priests were told to remain celibate so the church would inherit their property, or how gay people have been hated for centuries because of a bad translation done in the 12th century....but next time you hear someone claiming to be a "minister," don't just trust them.  Don't ever take what someone says as cannon just because they say it.  Look for sources, look for corroberation, get a second opionion. Make an effort to learn and if this "minister" doesn't want you to - you can be certain that there's something not right.  My gripe with conservative Christianity is not totally the hateful things they say, it's that they encourage people to NOT think.  They try to feed them answers and that brings me to tears because what is any religion if not just one of trillions of paths to whatever you call G-d? (Adonai, Buddha, the Goddess etc.) And how can you walk a path without reading a map first.  Anyways.  Here are some links for you.  Want to read the apocryphal books?  Want to know that they really exist.  Check out these links.  You won't be dissapointed.

http://www.comparative-religion.com/christianity/apocrypha/new-testament-apocrypha/ (the New Testament ones)

http://www.carm.org/lostbooks.htm (The Old Testament ones)

All the information on the training of mainstream ministers comes from my parents who are mainstream ministers.  So that's a primary source.

Shalom, all. Thanks.

Current Mood: Scholarly
Saturday, July 10th, 2004
2:41 pm
ARGH!!!
Don't go see Spider Man II, wasn't Spider Man I shitty enough for all of you? Toby McGuire is a terrible actor, and they've replaced the story with some cheesy love thingy. Ugh. Sorry to offend any of you that like(d) the movie, but this is Titanic, only with superheroes. Blarg.
Friday, July 9th, 2004
3:22 pm
"Tzedek, Tzedek tirdoff"


The above in Hebrew says "Tzedek, Tzedek tirdof." Translated: "Justice, Justice shall you pursue."

There is perhaps no greater mitzvah (commandment) for a Jew to follow then this one.  It is the one that demands the most out of a person, the most selflessness to achive.  Because pursuing justice does not mean you always have justice.  To truly pursue justice, one must step outside of their own identity, their own concerns and help those to whom we have no other connection then the most important and fundamental one - we are all human beings.  And as human beings it is our job to defend eachother and to support one another even if occasionally that flies back in our collective faces.  The other day, a good friend tells me that this other friend of his has had an incident that is described in the July 8th entry on his journal here: 

http://www.livejournal.com/users/peeinginthedark/

As a Jew, and as a queer person, I think we owe a debt of gratitude to those who fight the ignorance around them at the cost of their own safety.  Those who pursue justice beyond themselves. 

"May America remain loyal to the declaration of independance,
and apply them to ever-widening areas of life.
May our country be free from oppression, persecution, and unjust discrimination.  May we overcome racial, religious, and class conflicts; and may we be restored as a haven of refuge for the victims of injustice and deprivation.
May we learn the art of living together, and come to understand how to appreciate the differences, to reconcile clashing interests, and to help one another achieve a harmonious and abundant life.
May we acquire the wisdom to choose honest and capable leaders who will govern us by democratic and ethical principles.
And may the enterprise of our American people be blessed that we may utilize the resources the good of this land for the good of all the world."


- 1945 Reconstructionist Jewish Sabbath Prayer Book.


"I will not..."

I will not choose silence,
Because silence kills.
I will not sit still,
Because idleness breeds ignorance.
I will not stop fighting,
simply because it causes a fuss.
I will not close my eyes,
Because too many are blind already.
Because we must heal where there is hurt,
Soothe where there is pain,
Give when others take,
And love
When
Others
Hate.

-  Matt Richard, 2003.


That's all for now, folks. Shalom.

Current Mood: blah
Thursday, July 1st, 2004
10:40 am
July 1st
July 1st is Canada Day - Canadian Independance Day


On July 1st 1867, Canada declared its independance from Britain.  I don't want to preach, but I'll say this.  The reason I'm proud that I'm Canadian on Canada Day is because I come from a country that's truly free.  When I sit in American political science classes, I have trouble being awed by the past that the United States puts forth.  I don't feel inspired by the grandiose language of constitutional preamble, or the Declaration of Independance.  I don't feel liberated and free by the laws of the nation, because government in this country sometimes cares so little about it's people.  It's so rife with the corruption of corporate campaign finance, and the best positions go to those that have a large sum of money to begin with.  The electorate, if anything, takes the power from the people and LGBT people are still considered second class humans, indeed non-humans by some.  And some of the people in this country are still arguing over the teaching of evolution in public schools.  And it doesn't exactly set the stage for a country that is a "beacon of freedom" if we are still arguing over something so ludicrous.  It's science - school is for science, religion is for synagogues, churches and mosques. 

So fear me.  I'm the American nightmare. Bisexual, left-handed, French - Canadian Jew.


"In only a century and a quarter since Confederation, Canadians have shaped out of the North American wilderness one of the most privileged societies on the face of the earth. Ranking among the seven most prosperous nations in the world, Canada is rich not only in the abundance of our resources and the magnificence of our land, but also in the diversity and the character of our people. We have long been known as one of the most tolerant, progressive, innovative, caring and peaceful societies in existence"
- The Will of a Nation: Awakening the Canadian Spirit by George Radwanski & Julia Luttrell


Love to you all.  Happy Canada Day! :)

Current Mood: bouncy
Monday, June 21st, 2004
11:29 am
"À la Vie Nous avons Vécu. Au Monde Nous avons Su"
"À la vie nous avons vécu. Au monde nous avons su. Je sais ce jour que le monde est différent. Je sais ce jour que ce peut jamais être pareil. Mais je vis. Je vis pour le demain. Puisque je crois en plus lumineux demain. Je ne crois pas que le monde doit rester la même chose. Je ne crois pas que mes efforts sont futiles. Il a pris une tribu barbare pour conquérir Rome, et il a pris la colère des picts écossais, avec les armes primative, au tour en arrière leur armée entière dans la défaite. C'est ma mission. Et je l'accepte."

(une poéme francaise - par moi.)


Je n'ai pas mis à jour mon journal dans un moment et j'ai pensé que ce pourrait être amusement pour avoir un poteau français chaque tellement souvent que j'obtiens lentement au-dessus de cette affaire entière avec la coupure vers le haut. Il devient plus facile mais j'essaye et appelle et bourre toujours. Je devine qu'il est probablement l'une des première fois où j'ai jamais essayé de me séparer de quelqu'un j'ai vraiment aimé. Mais puits de l'oh. La pitié d'individu, et moi ne vais pas vous charger de celui. le  aujourd'hui a été entretenir dépensé mon ordinateur - faisant des balayages de virus et les nettoyant. Il est plus rapide pas, qui est gentil. Je devine que j'écrirai pour le reste du jour - ainsi verrons-nous ce qui vient de celui, oui? Quoi qu'il en soit. Salut tout.

Current Mood: blah
Monday, June 14th, 2004
3:41 pm
Simmering...
I'm tired of trying. I'm about worn out trying to give CPR to a dead person. Is it worth it to keep trying to ressurect old emotions now? Is it worth it to sit up every night thinking "why am I doing this?" I would rather free myself from the whole mess, but, like a knife in the leg - you should leave it there because while it might hurt right now, it'll be worse if you take it out and your femoral artery starts to bleed again. But bleeding to death, save for the pain of the wound itself, isn't painfull. You just kind of fall asleep. Things that run through my mind. I don't want to show them to anyone, and no one WANTS to even see them. Fuck this. But, you know, dead people may not really be dead, right? Miracles happen, right? So you give all you can give. You breathe all the breath you have into that corpse and it's lungs pump artificially up and down with your hands. I don't remember what it feels like anymore. I can't take it any more. I want my hope back. Sitting in my chair, catatonic wondering what the fuck is going on? Why can't I get definate answers out of this world. Is that why I envy math and science so much? They have answers. They have methadology.

People will not understand where I come from. They don't get me. They can't. People that I'm close to don't understand what it's like to move around so much that you've never had a friend you've been physcially close to for more than two years. To them, there's no comparable event. They know where they've lived for the past 10 years with maybe a move in between. And you hold on. You wrap your fist around what love you can get. What other humanity you can be a part of because it's all that keeps you from being swept down a river of apathy.

People won't understand what it's like to cry at the simple act of breathing because it's so sacred. So necessary to life that to be able to do it is a beauty in itself. Just as the Dalai Llama said to stop and close your eyes, clear your mind and listen to yourself breathe. Focus on what breath is. what it means for your life. But don't quote that. They'll call you pretentious - because you've studied something, heaven forbid, that they don't care about. But then they don't call you pretentious anymore - then you're a nerd. Pretentiousness minus the snobiness.

You bare your soul and they say "Put on a towel. I'm not in the mood."

So, we'll see.

Current Mood: frustrated
Tuesday, June 8th, 2004
2:06 pm
Chapter 1...errr...a part of it...
My novel that I'm working on. It's got a good plot that I won't tell you, and the story is good too - but how's the writing? Let me hear your reactions. I guess the tagline for it could be: "What if you lived in a world where anything was possible?" That probably sums it up best. Anywho - let me know what you think. Be honest, please. I'm a writer and I need criticism.

Prologue / Part of chapter 1Collapse )

Current Mood: weird
Sunday, May 23rd, 2004
10:47 am
Today, I cooked.
no
Fuck Hashbrowns.

Last night, while I was working, the manager (Melinda) came in to the kitchen and asked if anyone wanted to make 75 bucks for five hours of work, so, of course, I said "ok."

Catch 1: The hours you will be working are 5:00 - 10:00am.

Catch 2: The person you will be cooking with, and that will be supervising you is the owner of the restaurant.

Catch 3: You will be cooking at an airport for a "fly-in" breakfast, which means an assload of rednecks who are coming to cavort with the pilots. (Note: Fat, redneck men dressed in plaid overshirts and mesh caps + all you can eat breakfast = really bad. Eventually one of these men will get so massive that their bodies will collapse in on themselves and the body will be consumed by it's own gravitational field - thus we'll end up with an infinately small, yet infinately dense and massive particle called a singularity. They will, in essence, become a neutron star.)

Catch 4: The grill you will be cooking on will be the hottest motherfucker you have ever put a spatula on, and I ain't jokin'. I wish I had a digital camera so I could show you the fact that if you look at the hair on my forearms really closely you'll realize that what hair hasn't been burned off is white and curled because it's been singed by the heat of this thing.

Catch 5: You will cook only hashbrowns.

Catch 6: Where there is a grill, there will be war wounds. I sustained quite a bad first degree burn on my right middle finger today. It hurt so bad that I kept my finger in a cup of lemonade while I cooked one-handed. Burns are fine as long as they're cool (in water or whatnot), but once it gets exposed to room temp or heat again it stings like fuck. When I went on my break, I ditched the lemonade and sat in my car while the nerves in that fingertip slowly ceased to even transmit. So, I was wrong, dead nerve tissue - 2nd degree burn.

At 10:00am, I finally finished. I'm still debating whether or not it was worth it. I still feel satisfied. It was $15.00/hr and that's pretty good. Now, I must bathe and recoup. Shalom.

matt.

Current Mood: cynical
Wednesday, May 12th, 2004
8:23 pm
An Ode to the Land of Lands
"Le Canada."

I'm sure all of you, at this point, know that I'm from Canada. A few of you may even know that I'm from Ottawa (the capital.) I've never done this before - but I'm going to attempt to tell you about some of the unique, endearing things about the country that I'm from that make me love where I'm from. No Dez, don't worry, no political views - well...a few...but not too many, I promise :). Well ok, let's get started.

Why is Canada so endearing? The answer can be boiled down into one point. Canada and Canadians are cute. They're so fucking cute and nice. According to Stats Canada, The population of Canada in 1998 was 30,675,398 with a land area of 9,976,100 square kilometres. In 1998, the USA had a population of 270,311,756; in a land area of 9,372,600 square kilometres. When you don't have that many people living in your country - you have more control over the environment, pollution and well...people just have more space they're happier. Now, I tell people I was born in Ottawa, Canada - but its a LIE!!! I was born in a suburb of Ottawa called Nepean, pronounced (na-PEE-en).

Home
Caption: Look South-West of Ottawa, it's south of City View. Things are a lot closer together than what it looks, though.

I was born at 50-D Medhurst Dr., Nepean Ont. K2G-4B4. Note the K2G-4B4, in Canada we have postal codes like Britain, instead of zip codes. Canadian independance day is July 1st, 1867. On that day we declared OUR not independance from, but the declaration of becoming a commonwealth country. We are commonwealth, and therefore the Queen is considered to be the supreme head of state - just as she is in Britain. In Canada, however, we have a "governor general" which functions as the Queen's representative in Canada. The GG lives in their own residence just up the street from the residence of the prime minister.

GJ
Caption: This is the current Governor General, The Honourable Adrienne Clarkson (Note: A WOMAN, and an ASIAN woman)

Canada has a parliamentary system of government, and therefore we have a parliament that looks quite similar - but the architecture is much different than those of Britain. The rooves are copper, and the style is gothic. It is supported by hundreds of thousands of hand-carved, beautiful stone arches. The flag you can barely see on top of the large clock tower (called the "peace tower" in Canada) is replaced every 3 days, because the windspeed at that altitude tears it to bits. This is a panoramic view of the buildings and the Ottawa river. The pyrimidish type building is the parliamentary library.

Parliament

And this is what our legislation room looks like, the Canadian House of Commons:

Commons

There are several majour parties in Canada because the system makes it easy to be elected as an adjunct party. The most majour of these, however, are: The Liberal Party (kinda Democrats...but WAY more left wing. Their campaign signs use the colour red.), The Progressive Conservative Party of Canada (kinda Republicans but a little more liberal. Their campaign signs use the colour blue.), The New Democratic Party (essentially, they're socialists; they're voting base is usually young idealists generally university students. Their campaigns signs use the colour orange.) The Canadian Alliance (err...these guys, becuase they're mostly male, are very, very conservative. They make republicans look like hippies, they have very little support, though, and will soon be no more).

And, last but not least, the Bloc Quebecois pronounced: (block kay-beck-WA). The bloc is a party whose sole purpose is to make Quebec cease to be a member of the Candian union of provinces and territories and become an independant French state (their own country). Needless to say, they never get anywhere - but they're usually a riot because they refuse to speak english for the benefit of non-french speaking members of parliament, they veto everything on principle, and they get REALLY mad often so they bluster.

Gille
Caption: This is the leader of the Bloc Quebecois, Monsieur Gille Duceppe - and boy is he pissed. See what I mean? That's hilarious.

In canada, specifically in Ontario, the drinking age is 18. There's not really an issue with underage drinking in Canada because the BAC that you need to be arrested is so low. (0.08, as opposed to 0.1 as it is in many states, yes, I know, not Illinois. Shut up. I know.) We call it a DUI instead of a DWI. Canadian alcohol, however, is an art. In Ontario, liquor stores are government run - as they are in the whole country, except for old Quebec. They're plainly labeled, and there's no such thing as a "bargain" because a bottle of wine one side of Ontario costs the same as the same one on the other side. And realize, when I say that, Ontario is huge. I mean fucking huge - if you drove across it at 60 miles an hour it would take you two entire eight hour days of straight driving. Also, in Ontario, as in all of Canada, beer is an entity unto itself. "The Liquor Store(s)," and they ARE called just that, do not sell beer. To get beer you have to go to "The Beer Store." Canadians know their beer so well (they are the biggest consumers of beer per person in the world next to Germany)that when one goes into "The Beer Store," there aren't any displays. It's a bare white room with a clerk behind a counter with a conveyer belt that crosses in front of them. You tell them what you want, and it rolls out on the conveyer belt because the person says it into a microphone. The entire rest of the store is a giant fridge full of beer that you never see and these people hear the microphone and put the beer on the conveyer so it comes out. It goes something like this:
"Good day, welcome to the beer store."
"Good day, eh, uh...may I have a two-four of Heineken, please?"
"Sure," [goes to microphone] "I need a two-four of Heineken, eh."
*the beer loudly rolls out on the rollers and the clerk rings you up*
"Thanks, eh."

Beer Store
Caption: Behold.

LCBO
Caption: The sign says "LCBO," this stands for "Liquor Control Board of Ontario."

Is it worth mentioning that beer has 5% alcohol, as opposed to the 3% that's usually in American beers?

Now let me fill you in on some of the terms that I use, and other little random things that I think are funny.

Terms:

ALLOPHONE - somebody whose first language is niether English nor French, that speaks both but prefers English over French.

JOUAL (JWALL, the "J" is pronounced like the "S" in "Asia") - sometimes called "franglais," or "frenglish." The closest American thing would be Cajun French - anyone who took a high school French class knows that ain't real french. It's a dialect of uniquely Quebeqer French that is spoken by the working class and varies from place to place. Joual is to French what Ebonics are to English, Ex:
"Savez-vous où j'ai laissé le pneu?" (means: Do you know where I left the tire?)
"Savez laissé de tire?" That's what it would look like in Joual, nuff said.

BACK BACON - A Canadian favorite. It's not "Canadian Bacon" like Papa John's says, because that's only ham. Back bacon comes from the literal back, instead of the flanks, of the pig. It has a sharper flavor, it's tougher, it's very lean and it's rolled in peameal to give it a unique flavor (crushed dried peas)

stuff
Caption: Something like this

CHOCOLATE BAR - We don't say "Candy Bar." Some of the uniquely Canadian bars are Aero bars, Coffee Crisp, Bounty, and Caramilk.

CRIMCOE also VI-CO - A popular slang term meaning, of all things, chocolate milk.

HOMO MILK - I remember laughing about this as a kid. Homo milk is awesome because it's got the word "HOMO" in huge capital letters, very funny when you're a 12 year old boy. Dez or Sherry, if I hear any gay comments...I swear to G-d... HOMO milk means "homogenized." It refers to milk with a butterfat content of 3.25%, there is whole milk, too...but it's hard to find. Also, milk is not sold in cartons. It's either sold in Bottles (because it's recyclable) or plastic bags which one puts in a special pitcher and cuts the corner.

Buying
Caption: You buy it like this.

Then you open the big bag which has two half-gallon little bags in it, or three in this case:

Bags

Then you put it in a plastic pitcher specially made for holding these bags and you cut the corner and it pours from there. It's cheaper, there's no waste and everything is recyclable.

ICING SUGAR - Powdered sugar. Doesn't it just sound sweeter?

SMARTIES - To Americans, smarties are little, chalky, tart, round stacked candies rolled in clear plastic. In Canada, a Smarty is like a Canadian form of the M&M. They're a lot sweeter, though. Incidentally, the American smarty in Canada is called a "rocket," as they are marketed under the brand name "rockets."

DEPPANNEUR (day-pan-UR) - Slang (Joual) term for a corner (convenience) store in Quebec and only in Quebec. Deppaneurs are known for selling very shitty stuff at very high prices.

DEP WINE - Nasty, rancid, gross, house red wine that one buys at a depanneur.

FLAT - A case of 24 beers, or a "two-four."

MOLSON MUSCLE - A beer gut.

SCREECH - Home-made liquor made in he maritimes, particularily the province of Newfoundland.

SWISH - this is the grossest of all. You take a barrel that has had a liquor made in it like wine or something, and you put water in it, and you let the alcohol leech out of the wood into the water so you get water that is pretty potently alcoholic It's beyond gross. Drunk by college students who think it might be cool to go blind.

BUNNYHUG - A hoodie with a front pocket. Very cute term, but I never use it anymore.

DEKE (Deek) - A term meaning to cross the border to go shopping.

HACK - A montreal taxi cab.

MINTY - An expression used to mean "cool." I used this about two weeks ago, people were rolling on the floor. I felt like an ass. "D'ja see that new car oot there, minty, eh?"

GST - Ugh. The federal "Goods and Services tax." You pay it on EVERYTHING!!! You pay it on top of the provincial sales tax. We have to pay 8 cents tax per dollar in Ontario plus 7 cents GST (because it's currently 7) thus for every dollar you spend it's an extra 15 cents. 1.99 item is really, 2.29. GST is also referred to as the "Grab and Steal" tax, as well as the "Gouge and Screw" tax. See, we bitch about taxes too ^_^

TOUQUE (took) - A winter hat one wears for warmth.

GUEDILLE (gay-DEE) - Quebec term for a hotdog covered in tomato sauce. Pretty gross.

And my favorite...because it's the most disgusting thing ever:

BEEP - Manitoba drink made from about 1% real Orange Juice, 99% sugar water, and food coloring. Don't drink. It's called "beep" for Christ's sake!! You wouldn't drink something called "honk" would you?!

Canada

I guess that's about it for now. Night All. :)

Current Mood: happy
Sunday, May 9th, 2004
3:39 pm
If.
If I have maimed, let me atone,
If I have hurt, let me be the healer,
If I have abused, give me your pain,
If I have judged, don't show me your glory,
If you have ever doubted,
Then I am not worthy of you,
If you have ever felt alone,
Then my promises mean nothing,
If you were ever scared,
Then I have not been there,
But if you ever loved me,
And I have done any of these,
Love me enough to know,
That I don't deserve you.
And leave to find true happiness,
Knowing,
You,
Are,
Loved,
And,
Always,
Will,
Be.

- Le Pense D'Amour, Matthew Richard.

Don't ask why. I just felt like it. I never let people read my poetry normally.
Thursday, May 6th, 2004
8:55 am
Well, Well, Well, Well....
republicans
Evil.

I got one of the projects back the other day that I did for one of my classes. Damnable. I guess the question is...do you sacrifice your ideology for the sake of playing to an overly conservative professor? I wrote a paper on "The Eagle's Shadow," a book by a man by the name of Mark Hertsgaard in which he attempts to expose, and offer to the public for change, American foreign policy. The same destructive American foreign policy that brought about the bombing of the WTC on Sept. 11th, 2001. I tend to agree with this - Mr. Aten, however, did not. We butted heads in class and when I finally gave him the paper (in which he asked us to be critical, and to assert our opinions) he ended up giving me 85%. 85 fuckin' percent. Gee thanks, Mr. Aten, maybe I can get into Podiatry school or some shit. I was dumbfounded I had Mr. Maher (my sociology prof) read it and critique, I had my dad read it and they both thought it was good enough - but it wasn't conservative enough for old, Mr. Aten. His comments on the paper made me nauseous to the point of nearly vomiting, most poignantly of which was when I had made a listing of all the conflicts the USA had stayed out of because, I contended, there was no political interest (therefore making it rediculous to claim that Iraq was "liberated" because of human rights violations) some of these included Pol Pot's murder of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children in Cambodia, White oppression of native south Africans in South Africa (Apartheid) - I also should have added Israeli subjugation of Palestinians. And I also had ethnic cleansing of ethnic Albanians by Serbs in Bosnia - which he underlined and then put a question mark near, like as if denying such a thing happened. I was enraged. No one who did the same book and agreed with the author (and there were 5 in that 20 person class who did the book) got an "A." And all of them (myself included) are pretty careful writers when it comes to papers.

The Paper in it's EntiretyCollapse )

Now, I have to get to school and finish up some stuff for my persuasive final speech on marriage of blasted, dirty homosexuals...but I get to see Dez...*butterflies etc.*

Love to all and Shalom,
Matt :)

Current Mood: bouncy
Thursday, April 29th, 2004
7:18 pm
It's raining...
It's raining outside right now. Not the usual sheets of water that central Illinois rains usually are - but the sweet smelling spring kind of rain that makes one want to meditate. It's this kind of rain where the sky doesn't turn black in anger, it becomes gray - as if thoughtful, as if pensive. And I, in my curiosity, wonder what it's thinking about. It's the kind of rain that doesn't pound the flowers mercilessly to the ground, but caresses them with the essence of life itself. I was thinking this, and then I remembered a quote from the Mishnah Torah. It's a section of the Talmud where Rabbi Maimomodes is explaining the meaning of the creation story as a figurative metaphor:

"Every blade of grass has it's own angel that bends over it and softly whispers: "grow, grow."

Perhaps the quote itself is not as important as the question that is asked after it - or at least the one that occurs to me; with the obvious answer:

"So, is it then that we are to be the angels to a world full of blades of grass, to encourage every person to grow, grow?"

No. I would think it's more than that:

"We are to be the angels of the angels who encourage but never hear encouragement for they, themselves, to grow."

The other night I was looking around at random sites and I happened along this:

http://www.findarticles.com/cf_dls/m1058/21_119/93306899/p1/article.jhtml

When I see things like that, I can't help but think that there is truly good in the world. I can't help but believe that we are on a path of healing but that path needs to be nurtured. If you skimmed the article - go back to it and read it again. Think about how much the two groups hate one another and read it again. Read it again and again and again and again. Stories like that. I refuse to believe they are isolated incidents - it's just that in the face of war and fear, we ignore the sacrosanct of peace.

So it's raining. But what does that rain mean to you? I used to get depressed when it rained. I used to want it to be sunny all the time when I was a kid until my dad said "You know, Matthew, if it was sunny all the time this land would be a desert." The rain gives the earth life. The rain doesn't judge - it doesn't say "this flower, but not this one. This patch of grass - but not this one. It's not the right shade of green - that flower is deformed and ugly." So what lessons can we learn from the rain? To water everyone with that which we have to water with, to not discriminate in the recipients of that water, and that eventually, those clouds break up and let the sun through.

~Dedicated to the one who makes me think like I do when it rains, who gives me real reflection without the vanity of mirrors (and you KNOW who you are ^_-). Thankyou.~

every

To all - most peacefully,
B'shalom.

Matt:)
I...bleed....optimism. lol.

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