Monthly Archives: September 2005

Dumas

Three Musketeers bar
from the fourth floor snack machine:
You were delicious.
 
Copyright Sept 23, 2005.  All Rights Reserved.
 

Frost

Two books on the shelf;
I read the one less read from.
That made the diff’rence.

©Sept 23, 2005. All Rights Reserved.

(I composed it in my head on my drive in to work this morning.)

Dream the impossible dream

The Top 15 Religions in the St. Louis Area.

(This includes Clinton County, IL; Jersey County, IL; Madison County, IL; Monroe County, IL; St. Clair County, IL; Franklin County, MO; Jefferson County, MO; Lincoln County, MO; St. Charles County, MO; St. Louis County, MO; Warren County, MO; St. Louis city, MO)

Of the first seven in the list, from 1990 to 2000, six went down in gross numbers, and one went up. Yay!!
Only up by 1060, though. Sigh.
But with Catholics (#1 on the list) dropping by 4742, if both keep up this pace….Jews will surpass Catholics in the area in 1015 years!
——-
Here’s some nice colorful county-by-county maps of the US showing the percentage of residents who are Jewish. Catholic, Muslim, Eastern Christian (e.g. Armenian or Greek Orthodox), or Eastern (e.g. Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist)

But the most colorful map of all is the percentage of residents who claim any religion map. It will either confirm, or not confirm any suspicions you might have. It pretty much depends upon your suspicions. There is one county on the border ot Texas that looks to me like it contains a bunch of atheists (or at least none of its residents claim to belong to any religion). According to this map it is Loving, Texas. Least Populous County in the US. (67 people). It’s possible this might be related somehow.

Yes, all this data is 3-5 years old. But the first map above was posted elsewhere yesterday, and I went in search for more information.

With the title of my blog, I have to write about this

This author states, according to Rabbinic texts, human blood is Biblically permitted. That is, there is nothing in the Tanakh (aka the Old Testament) that prohibits it. It is only prohibited in later Rabbinic texts if it becomes detached from the body (for example, if it drips into food). It’s prohibited then, because someone might see you, and think you are eating forbidden animal blood, or you might accidentally eat animal blood.

If you are surprised by this, the author goes on to say that human flesh is controversial! This is because humans are classified as neither kosher nor non-kosher. Ramban (aka Nachmanides) says if human blood is permitted, so is human flesh. Several Rabbis agree, but one adds that the restriction that it must not be detached from the body applies. (Suggesting the others don’t make this restriction). A couple Rabbis say that the Biblical commandment not to eat non-kosher animals prohibits human flesh, and another Rambam (aka Maimonides) says that the positive commandment to only eat kosher animals prohibits it. This makes a difference because violating a negative (thou shalt not) commandment yields in punishment from the religious courts. So the two most influential Rabbis (Maimonides and Nachmanides) either say human flesh is permitted, or if consumed, there’s at least no Earthly punishment. Yet another Rabbi agrees that technically human flesh is permitted, but one is not allowed to eat flesh from a living animal, and one isn’t allowed to derive benefit from a human corpse, so the issue is moot.

Here is more information on the passage referenced above. It goes into more detail on whether it is permitted to suck or swallow blood. Unfortunately, it maintains a focus on one’s own blood.

I am a reader of science fiction, fantasy and horror…and I am a writer of fiction. So the concept that a major Earth religion isn’t solidly against drinking human blood and eating human flesh is instantly creating several possible story ideas in my mind. (That this is MY Earth religion makes the concept juicier, so to speak.)

It needs to be said very quickly, that the ‘Sixth Commandment’ still exists. If you need a refresher, that’s the “Thou Shalt Not Kill” one. A negative commandment. Most vampires in most fiction kill their victims. There are probably commandments (I’m not sure, but it’s likely) against disturbing gravesites. So there is a thin layer of opportunity between death and burial for the “Concerned Vampire.” And that is if we choose to ignore those who say that the commandment not to derive benefit from a human corpse applies.

Even if the vampire doesn’t make a kill, there are commandments against assault and battery. Consensual? That’s a possibility. You probably won’t find a human who will consent to you eating their flesh…but drinking their blood’s just a bit kinky. And some people like kinky. Is there enough blood for a vampire to survive on from ‘love bites’? Well, that’s up to the author. But without going that route, it looks like to me that the vampire will need to hang out around hospitals and funeral homes.

It gives deeper meaning, though, to the scene from the Roman Polanski movie, Fearless Vampire Killers, where someone holds up a cross at a Vampire, who responds, “Oy! Have you got the wrong vampire!”

What do Dr. Evil and the House Republicans have in common?

They can’t decide whether they mean Millions or Billions.

…they propose to “eliminate attache positions in the Foreign Agricultural Service.” And this they claim they’ll get more than $37 billion of savings just next year. More $347 billion over ten years….

If you look down into the explanation section, it notes that the savings are in millions, not billions, on this and the item below on cuts at the Department of Education. Yet, they push this transcription error through the whole document. So about half a trillion dollars worth of savings they claim don’t even exist.

Of course, I’m sure, we shouldn’t nitpick over such minor errors.

Catch up for Serenity

According to reports from someone who’s seen a sneak preview, you will not have to have seen any past episodes of Firefly to enjoy Serenity, which will be released next week.

However, in case you don’t want to buy/rent/borrow/steal the DVDs and spend 12 hours watching the episodes (minus the commercial breaks), but still want to know what went before, Local blogger Brad Hicks is summarizing the information across a series of posts in the next few days. He’s seen a sneak preview, but is actively trying not to include any spoilers. He’s summarizing only that which has led up to the movie. (Including a 3 issue comic book that filled in a small part of a gap between the episodes and the movie)

Sing, Sing a Song

An elementary school student wanted to sing a religious song in the school talent show. The school wouldn’t let her. The ACLU is coming to her aid.

“We are getting involved because we believe it is important to support this second-grader, and individual religious expression in general,” said Ed Barocas, legal director for the New Jersey ACLU chapter.

The Attorney for the Alliance Defense Fund, another party defending the student, expressed surprise:

“Typically they are anti-religious speech in the public square.”

As I said 3 years ago about school prayer:

I often did pray. Yes, silently, to myself. No teacher stopped me. And I can guarantee no teacher would stop someone praying in that manner today. And if a teacher did try to stop a student, that student should go running to the nearest branch of the ACLU. They would love the publicity they’d get in taking that school to court.

Are you, like the attorney above, unable to see the difference between the cases the ACLU are famous for and this one? I’ll quote my old blog post again:

Can’t the critics see the difference between voluntary, and forced? It’s the same difference between the concepts of love and rape. If someone doesn’t want to swallow something, it shouldn’t be forced down their throats…

If students are allowed to sing any songs in a talent show (as long as they are G rated), then they can sing religious songs. It’s the student’s choice, and completely voluntary.

Schools just can’t require students to sing religious songs (like at a Christmas Pageant). That makes it no longer voluntary. And the excuse: ‘oh, they can just mouth the words’ or ‘they can just stand and do nothing while others sing’ isn’t sufficient. If the former, they’re being asked to sing it silently in their head. And if the latter, they are being asked to distinguish themselves from their peers at a time when peer pressure makes all kids want to conform.

Errata

It appears Google Print has a few small ‘errors’ in their library

An Example.

Ultimately, I am sure, this will be fixed. So for those who follow this link in future days after that fix.

The title of the book is “Marathon Training” by Joe Henderson.
At least, that’s what the copyright page says.
The book scanned in is “Victor Hugo”, a biography by Graham Robb.