Before i Forget : Simon Jones's blog

May 2007

Faith & ReligionWednesday, May 16th, 2007, (8:22 am)

Religious right wing loony toon Jerry Falwell is dead. Right now he’s probably arguing with God over some of the crap he’s said while representing his boss who surely must be growing tired of the many suits who stand up and act like a spokesman for him.

Falwell was one of those big name preachers who stirred things up by launching attacks on everyone from fellow Christian bigwig, Billy Graham (whom he once called the chief servant of Satan), to Tinky Winky of the Telletubbies.

He sparked debate and while that might not have been a bad thing, those debates often centered around Falwell himself and the fact that at times he was a socially disconnected heartless bastard.

But let’s not speak ill of the dead. Instead let’s take a few moments to enjoy some of my favorite Falwell quotes, Falwellism’s if you will.

His crowning moment of ‘assholiness’ came with this now timeless Falwellism said on Pat Robinson’s 700 Club TV show on September 13th, 2001, as America and the world reeled in shock at the horror of 9/11.

“The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say, You helped this happen.

Falwell said in his exchange with host Pat Robinson, “God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve.” Unsurprisingly those comments didn’t work out so well for Jerry who later sheepishly tried to sort-of apologize for them.

Abortionists, feminists, gays and “the lesbians” are subjects one might expect a religious fundamentalist to take shots at, but Tinky Winky from the children’s TV show ‘Telletubbies‘ probably didn’t see the attack coming when Falwell accused Tinky of promoting a gay lifestyle!

“Now, further evidence that the creators of the series intend for Tinky Winky to be a gay role model have surfaced. He is purple – the gay-pride color; and his antenna is shaped like a triangle – the gay-pride symbol.”

Falwell warned parents to watch out for gay waves emanating from the TV when the Telletubbies was on (okay, I made up that bit about ‘gay waves’), and he was concerned about the release of Telletubbie dolls.

Back in 1989 Jerry took a slug at feminists saying that they were just hateful women who simply needed a man in the house.

“I listen to feminists and all these radical gals – most of them are failures. They’ve blown it. Some of them have been married, but they married some Casper Milquetoast who asked permission to go to the bathroom. These women just need a man in the house. That’s all they need. Most of the feminists need a man to tell them what time of day it is and to lead them home. And they blew it and they’re mad at all men. Feminists hate men. They’re sexist. They hate men – that’s their problem.”

Falwell also apparently believed that AIDS was the wrath of God against homosexuals and anyone who tolerated homosexuals.

“AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals. To oppose it would be like an Israelite jumping in the Red Sea to save one of Pharoah’s chariotters.” And also “AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals; it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.”

Jerry wasn’t a tree hugger or a believer in the biblical principle of stewardship of the earth that some Christians ascribe to. No sir, he drove a GMC Suburban and encouraged others to go out and buy SUV’s.

On CNN’s ‘Inside Politics’ show in November 2002, Falwell dismissed global warming as “created to destroy America’s free enterprise system and our economic stability.” Frequently interrupting the shows other guest whose views opposed his, Falwell went on to say “I urge everyone to go out and buy an SUV today.”

“I believe that global warming is a myth. And so, therefore, I have no conscience problems at all and I’m going to buy a Suburban next time.”

He didn’t get to see public schools replaced by churches which he apparently once hoped for. Though he was probably pleased to see the ongoing debate about teaching creationism as science in schools.

“I hope to live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won’t have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!”

Falwell once claimed to work from 6:00 am to midnight seven days a week. He said he was glad that he never drank or smoked because he had buried a lot of friends who used tobacco and alcohol. At the age of 73 he now joins them.

US evangelist Jerry Falwell dies
Big Scary List of Jerry Falwell Quotations
Jerry Falwell : Global warming is a myth

GeneralTuesday, May 15th, 2007, (7:51 am)

Tonight something that factually seems so obvious, really hit me. 1994 was 13 years ago! How the hell did that happen!?

My TiVo has been recording huge amounts of ER in the last few days. It’s worked out that I enjoy American drama shows of that genre and as a result has taken to recording hours and hours of CSI and ER which would seem to be shown several times a day across a number of channels.

I pretty much gave up on ER sometime after Dr Carter, played by Noah Wyle, left for Africa. There are only so many times my brain can believe that so much bad luck and hot nurses can fall upon a county hospital in America. I replaced ER with shows like The West Wing, Six Feet Under, and more recently Lost and Studio 60 on sunset strip. In truth though, thanks to the tireless efforts of TiVo, all I ever seem to watch are episodes of CSI, be that CSI Miami, CSI Vegas, CSI New York, CSI Burnley or whatever.

I usually check the date the particular show was recorded then delete it if its old. I know TiVo can be programed to do this itself, but I’ve not quite worked out how to get it to do that yet. Besides, there are some old episodes that I’ve enjoyed watching again, like the ER episode where Dr Green dies, or the one where Dr Romano gets his arm chopped off by a helicopter.

So when I got in tonight I made a cup of tea and flopped onto my couch to see chill in front of the TV for a while. I started doing my routine deletions of TV shows I don’t want to watch when I happened upon a very early episode of ER from 1994. “Ah what the heck” I thought to myself as I pressed play. I figured it would be fun to watch just a few minutes of the show from back then while I sipped on my last cuppa of the day.

As I settled into the show I was struck by how aged it seemed. The characters were familiar, but the acting, the lighting, even the sound had an aged feel to it, like a sun bleached magazine in a waiting room. The hairstyles and fashion were from a different era, and as I watched cars in the background of one scene it suddenly struck me that 1994 was now part of another era, and that watching this was kind of like listening to an oldies radio station.

1994 can’t be 13 years ago can it? I understand the math but really, it doesn’t feel to me like it was really that long ago. The 90’s don’t feel like years when we wore our hair that different and clothes that today make us think ‘what on earth was I doing!?’ But here I was watching an episode of ‘ER’ from that year and being utterly struck and how the characters have aged and how the fashion and style of the show looks utterly dated today.

Of course as I sit here and think about 1994 I realize that it was of course a different era. I was 23 and only just emerging from a couple of years where I wore nothing but black. I had long hair that made me look like Pauly Shore, and despite countless photographs of me with guitars I never actually got past learning just three cords.

In 1994 Democratic President Clinton was in office in the States, Conservative John Major was the Prime Minster of Britain, The Channel Tunnel linking England with Europe was opened, Formula One world champion Ayrton Senna was killed at the San Marino Grand Prix, Manchester bad boys Oasis released their debut album, Hugh Grant was stuttering his way to A list celebrity with the smash hit movie ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’, and the internet was something that only nerds used.

I recently learned that a 90’s revival bar is opening in Liverpool soon. I initially laughed at the idea, but seeing that old episode on ER made me realize that the 1990’s really have been dead for a long time now, and revisiting anything from that era will indeed require a certain amount of revival.

[Video] ER Favorite scene : Dr Greene leaves
[Video] ER Favorite scene : Dr Greene’s letter
Six Feet Under
CSI New York
CSI Miami
CSI Burnley
Ayrton Senna remebered

GeneralFriday, May 11th, 2007, (3:10 am)

How come no matter how full you are, there’s always room for chocolate?

Surely there is some merit in a scientific study that looks into why all of us are able too find room for chocolate after declaring “I couldn’t eat another thing.” And while the common thinking is that you can have too much of a good thing, I’m not sure that counts in the case of chocolate does it?

PoliticalThursday, May 10th, 2007, (9:13 pm)

Prime Minster Tony Blair has finally done the decent thing and resigned! Bloody good job too. He’s leaving number 10 Downing Street, the Prime Ministers official residence, on the 27th of June and probably moving in with Barney, President Bush’s other little lapdog, shortly thereafter.

Tony Blair has been Britain’s Prime Minister for 10 years though it feels like a lot longer. He said he is proud to have led the “greatest nation on earth” but that he feels that 10 years was “long enough” for him and the country.

President Bush said he “will miss” Mr Blair and praised him for his honesty, which he admitted was a trait that was hard to find in his circles.

In the UK however, the Mr Blair is leaving amid continued questions about his honesty and leadership. His popularity is in much the same state as the beleaguered President’s with his decision to follow America into war in the Middle East often cited as his biggest political mistake.

Recently Mr Blair has made the environment his parties top political priority, some might suggest because that is far more palatable to a British public that was dead set against the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. But criticism aside one cannot take away that Blair has managed to make some swift environmental changes putting the UK at the forefront of global efforts to address climate change.

It will be interesting to see how keen the new Prime Minister will be to be photographed with President Bush. Bush is extremely unpopular here in the UK and it would seem a politically unwise move to appear too friendly with a such a controversial and unpopular President given that the close ties between Mr Blair and Mr Bush did the Prime Minister little favor on home turf. There will of course be a meeting, but after that, I would be surprised at any further high visibility hand shakes and joint statements until America elect a new President in 2008.

Mr Blair’s replacement might be well advised to make some swift and radical changes and refocus the Labour party that it’s not unfair to suggest has been suffering from ‘Blaired vision’ for the last few years.

10 Downing Street
Blair quits
A Blairfaced lie
President Bush’s lapdog

Art and Found on the webTuesday, May 8th, 2007, (2:28 am)

Over the years I have travelled extensively across much of the United States, perhaps seeing more of that great nation than many of it’s residents. But of all the cities I’ve come to love in America only Portland in Oregon is called my favorite.

Portland Oregon is weird, and proud of it too. Other cities revel in similar weirdness, like Austin Texas, or parts of San-Francisco California, but Portland does weird effortlessly.

Make no mistake, this is charming weird I’m talking about here, not socially awkward or disturbing weird. It’s weird in a way that makes you smile, stirring something inside you that yearns to be that relaxed about being weird. It’s an eccentric city pretending to be just like anywhere else, like a child that puts on your shoes then has fun walking in them.

So when I saw a picture on Christina’s blog of a toy horse tethered to an old horse ring on the street in Portland, I found myself smiling at that trademark weirdness that seems so typically Portland.

The tethered toy horse would have been charmingly weird enough on it’s own, but perhaps not unexpectedly it turns out to be part of a much larger movement started by an artist named Scott Wayne Indiana.

Knowing about the many horse rings on Portland sidewalks, Indiana thought it was a shame that they had become forgotten over time and decided to change that. So back in 2005 he tied a toy pony to a horse ring on a sidewalk in the cities Pearl District. Since that time, thanks to the help of other wonderfully weird Portlanders, horses have been tethered to sidewalk horse rings all over the city.

Indiana’s idea has a name, The Horse Project, and there’s a website (but of course) where you can see pictures of some of the horses that have been tethered to the streets of Portland. There’s even a map for the hardcore plastic horse lover who might, for whatever reason, decide to make a day of visiting the horses that any other city might have just treated as roadside junk.

I’m no expert of Portland’s history so I can’t tell you if the city was ever as busy with horses in the past as it is with cars today, and it’s hard to imagine horses tethered on the busy streets of Portland’s yesteryear. But maybe the city placed the horse rings on the streets in the same way that there are today places in Portland where you can park and charge an electric car, evidence that while Portland might be weird, it is also optimistic.

Maybe in the future an artist will stop and wonder whatever happened to the electric cars that this weird city thought might one day crowd its streets. Who knows what art might be inspired by those roadside charging points. Little cars plugged into long forgotten and disconnected roadside charging points maybe? Whatever it is, it will be weird, and that’s just fine with me.

The Horse Project
Scott Wayne Indiana’s website
Keep Portland Weird
Long hours little pay

Found on the webSaturday, May 5th, 2007, (11:54 am)

The video clip below is a news report that suggests that having a friend with cancer might actually be good for your health because you are more likely to take up running or other such physical activities in order to raise money for those suffering from the disease.

Of course the news report is entirely fictitious and some might say it crosses the line into bad taste. The Onion produced the video and many more like it for their new twice weekly podcast.

The Onion have a long history of getting close to, and in some people’s opinion crossing, the line that divides humor and bad taste. After the attacks of September 11th the front page of the spoof newspaper showed one the towers bursting into flames as the second plane smashed into it. The headline across the picture read “HOLY SHIT!”

Carol Kolb, the Editor in Chief of the Onion said that the decision to bring some humor to that awful event was a very tough one to make. “Some staff members were shocked that we were doing an issue that week, and argued that it would offend people,” Kolb said. “We thought that it would be false not to comment on the mood at the time and, luckily, people understood.”

If you’re not afraid of cringing as you feel bad for laughing then the Onion News Network podcast is well worth watching. However if you need to take life seriously all the time then steer clear of it.

[Video] The Onion : The cost of Mexicans
[Video] Life Before The Segway
[Video] The Onion : Our Troops in Iraq
The Onion
9/11 hijackers surprised to be in hell
God angrily clarifies ‘Don’t Kill’ rule
Talking to your child about The WTC attack
Onion News Network podcast
Presidents weekly address

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