religion


Number One Thing Probably No One Told You About Ireland:
They have Dolphins there. Right off the coast. Dolphins that come up and swim with your boat and make you totally forget that you’re in the boat to see the Cliffs of Moher, which are about 40 stories high and totally amazing, but mean almost nothing when there’s a Dolphin five feet from you jumping and playing in the water.

Something You Probably Wouldn’t Expect:
Pringles has Ireland LOCKED DOWN. Every single pub I went to had Pringles for sale, and usually no alternative for crisps (that would be chips, except I think Pringles actually call themselves potato crisps even in the States).

Biggest Food Let Down:
No one wanted to serve me Bangers and Mash. I could get Sausage (I actually had to consciously avoid it to get through a day without eating any) and I could get potatoes, but no one seemed to want to combine them for me. Sad.

Biggest Food Success:
It’s so easy to get curry for your sausage and fries. Shop Keepers of the USA, when will you catch on?

Totally Accurate Stereotypes:

  • Irish People Love To Drink
  • People in Pubs Sing Songs Together
  • Irish People Are Friendly
  • The Roads are a Fucking Nightmare
  • Gaelic is Absurd

On My Second Day There:
My mom crashed our car. It was really minor, and no one was hurt, but it totally fucked up the plans for the day. The upside to all this was getting to do things in Ireland that a tourist normally never experiences, like riding around in a guarda (cop) car, hanging out at a tow yard, and riding with a totally awesome cab driver all the way from Bray to the Dublin Airport.

One of the Guarda Actually Said This When Talking About Our Trip:
“I dunno why anyone would want to holiday in Ireland. We’ve nothin’ to offer and the weather’s crap.”

It Was Awesome:
Clearly.

Seamus (the Cabbie) Told Me This Great Story About a Crook:
“See, his big trick was to make sure he got arrested. He’d plan a job, then the night before he’d get a drunk on and make sure he was locked up for the day. The guarda hated him.”

SPECIAL ALCOHOL SECTION

Guinness Does Taste Different There:
But I still didn’t really have any because I don’t like beer.

Something You Probably Wouldn’t Expect – Part 2:
Captain Morgan’s Rum, which is gross, is completely different there and totally drinkable.

Don’t Bother Looking for Bourbon:
I’m sure SOME pubs have Bourbon, but the closest most got was Jack Daniels, which is gross. Just get some Powers.

END SPECIAL ALCOHOL SECTION

People Assumed I was Irish Because of:
My beard.

This is Despite the Fact That:
Very few Irish men had beards.

Seamus (the Cabbie) Told Me This Great Story About a Crook – Part 2:
“Anyhow, he eventually got his license taken away, so he took up a horse and buggy. See, you don’t need a license of any kind for that. So he’d get roarin’ drunk and take his buggy up and down the street outside the guarda station.”

80% of Ireland Looks Like:
This

Better in Ireland:

  • Mars Bars
  • Fanta Orange
  • Social Values and Community
  • Coca Cola. Again.
  • Number of castles

Better in the States:

  • The roads
  • The price of a Coca Cola
  • Salad
  • Respect for castles

Sounds Great But Wound up Being Kind of Gross:
I was served bacon* at every single breakfast.

Something You Probably Wouldn’t Expect – Part 3:
Dublin has more non-Irish accents than Irish accents. It’s an insanely mixed culture.

Seamus (the Cabbie) Told Me This Great Story About a Crook – Part 3:
The crook from the story was later murdered.

Realization While Writing This:
I apparently see the world largely in terms of food.

*Irish bacon, but I don’t discriminate against the bacons of the world.

Where-in our heroes find that emulating a convicted murderer can be improving, so long as the imitation is entirely aesthetic.

I have Opinions. I think they are Very Important. That’s why I have this website. You can click any of these words starting now and be taken away to a Wonderland of Polaroids saying things that I think!

We interrupt JOKES! week for an important announcement. Pluto is still a planet. A bunch of assholes in an astronomers’ union can’t have a meeting and make Pluto a non-planet. Pluto is a planet because we believe it is, in much the way that the Appalachian mountains are not hills because we call them mountains. This is consensus reality at work, and if we want to count Pluto as a planet no one can stop us. Astronomers can call Pluto whatever they want, because honestly, once they got the whole The Earth Revolves Around the Sun, Which Revolves Around a Galactic Core, Which Itself Revolves, And We’re Not Even Near the Center of the Universe thing out of the way, all their important work was done. Go to your telescope, watch my sky for killer asteroids, and shut the hell up. Fuck Astronomers.

I am writing a book about the Rapture. In it, all the Fundimentalist religious people have vanished from Earth, and in the wake of this cataclysm everyone get’s their shit together. Equal rights are applied to all people. Vast forward movements are made in gene theraphy and stem cell research. The decisions of the world’s governments are often based on logic rather than an attempt to placate the superstitious. The title of the book is Left Alone.

I don’t want to shock anyone, but a lot of the people I hang out with are not exactly devoutly religious. I know! I come off as such a sweet, God Fearing, salt of the earth type. It’s hard to believe I keep company with racial minorities, sexual deviants and the damned. Occasionally, this leads to situations where someone will talk about how much they hate religion. If they single one group out, it tends to be Christians. In general, I’m the only person who is willing to present an opposing viewpoint.

[Yes, my grandfather is a retired Episcopal Priest. He is also a very intelligent and understanding man. When I told him I was considering converting to Reformed Judaism he approved, but said he’d been hoping for Buddhism.]

Currently, in the U.S. the primary interaction most people who do not themselves attend church have with religion is either being frightened by Muslim Fundamentalists, or tread upon by Christian Fundamentalists. These people are religious in the worst sense of the word. Religion is a tool for cultivating a more meaningful and powerful faith. These people have forgotten about the faith and spirituality, and simply cling to the tool. It’s like a farmer who stops growing plants and just walks around showing off his hoe. And occasionally beating them with it.

However, this is not ALL religion. Michael Jackson was, without a doubt, the most famous black person in the world during the ’80s. It isn’t exactly fair to assume that his flaws are held in common with all black people. In much the same way, not all religion, or religious people can be assumed to behave in concert with one another.

Put it another way: if you give a bunch of idiot rednecks a shovel and some concrete, then tell them to build a pool, you’re going to wind up with a hole that has some concrete and water at the bottom. This does not make pools bad. It just means that when you put idiots in charge you get idiot results.

This is kind of rambling and directionless, so I’ll close by reminding those who would immediately discount all religion that assuming an absolute, like all religions are corrupt, is just another form of blind fanaticism. You owe yourself more.

Apparently SOME people can’t tell the difference between The Atom, and Captain Atom. Sure, they’re both DC Superheroes that aren’t very popular, but that doesn’t make them the same.

FACT: Only the Atom was a member of the Justice League. Captain Atom was never a member.

FACT: Captain Atom, despite having been displaced in time, is still a Captain in the U.S. Air Force. The Atom has NO Governmental sanctions or affiliantions.

FACT: While both characters are Silver Age reinventions of Golden Age characters, only Captain Atom has a similar origin and power-set. The Golden Age Atom was just a short physicist.

FACT: Apparently there is a new version of The Atom, and he’s asian. I wouldn’t know. I haven’t read it.

FACT: Greg Weisman wrote Captain Atom for a while. He also created Disney’s Gargoyles. He recently wrote the first issue of the new comic, continuing the story. You should buy it.

FACT: The Atom’s ex-wife went crazy and killed some people to get him to love her again. HOLY SHIT.

FACT: Captain Atom recently destroyed the WildStorm universe, or restarted it or something. I don’t know. Then he killed Breach? Who was supposed to be Captain Atom from Earth-8 if there had been an Earth-8 instead of Crisis on Infinite Earths? I don’t know. Infinite Crisis didn’t make a lot of sense.

I have found a way to combine absurd comics with text heavy ranting. It’s a comic created entirely within WordPress, the software I use to publish this site. Please enjoy the first adventure of A Polaroid I Found IN The Ambiguous Nature of Truth.

There has been much activity in the realm of Mexican Snack Food.

First, Mexican Coke is, as Matthew noted, a well discussed phenomenon. I found some semi-locally, but not locally enough for the per bottle deposit to be reasonable. $4 a bottle when I want to stock up is Way Too Much. Fortunately, there are quite a few more Mexican Markets for me to look into, and if all else fails there are a few options online. The best deal for my needs appears to be MexGrocer. It came out to about $2 per bottle, shipped. It’s still steep, but I can afford to do it every once in a while.

Apparently the import of Mexican Coke is something the US bottlers do everything they can to fight. See, Coke is a very distributed company, in terms of who owns what, and all the production and bottling is done by several different companies. The bottlers in the US can’t really afford to use cane sugar instead of corn syrup, and are trying to block the import of the superior Mexican product. So much for NAFTA. Apparently in some places it’s so bad that Mexican Coke is only sold by distributors in person, for cash, with no receipt. There are even stories of local governments fining and bullying distributors despite the fact that there’s nothing illegal about importing a legitimate foreign version of a product.

Finally, if you want to try some cane sugar Coke, be ready next April. A little before Passover each year (April 2, 2007 is the next one), some stores will carry Kosher for Passover Coke. Since Jews Hate Corn* they refuse to have corn syrup during Passover. Since Thirst Knows No Season a bottler in New York puts out Coca Cola that even the most Observant Jew can drink.

Mexican Doritos however, are a bust so far. No sign of them in the markets, not a store online that sells them, and not even discussion of the superior flavor. Since Sabritos, the Mexican distributor is actually just an arm of Frito-Lay, I’ve sent an email to see if they have any suggestions on how I can give them money in exchange for a product that I enjoy. No reply yet.

Lastly, while I totally recommend the Nachos flavor of Mexican Doritos, the Diablo flavor is insanely bad. It’s not even just that they taste bad. They are Physically Unpleasant to have in your mouth. Tara thinks the aftertaste is ok, but the degree to which it isn’t worth it is not expressable using your Earth Math.

*Jews do not hate corn. One of the Mitzvahs of Passover involves avoiding eating or even owning any Chametz during passover. For certain Jewish communities, that includes corn, and corn products. This, of course, includes corn syrup. This basically leaves Matzoh, which sounds ok at first, since Matzoh is pretty good, but man, it would get old.

Perhaps some of you are wondering “Ian, where have you been?”

Perhaps others of you are wondering “Ian, which country’s regional food is your favorite?”

The answer to both of these questions is

MEXICO

A report of my findings. BUT FIRST:

A Note on Style:
Beginning with this post, and ending
Whenever I Feel Like It, I will be using
the device of Arbitary Capitalization.
Some people find this kind of thing
Very Annoying or simply Irritatingly
Precious. To them I reply that it was
long the standard of English Writing,
used even before there really were
standards, and It Was Good Enough
for Ben Franklin.

And Now, Mexico:

Mexico:

Is Very Hot.

Things That Are Really Good In Mexico, Which You Pretty Much Expected:

  • Tortilla Chips
  • Salsa Verde
  • Fried Cheese (this is good everywhere)
  • Hand Painted Plates
  • Swimming

Things That Are Really Good In Mexico, And You Had No Idea:

  • Coca Cola*
  • Doritos**
  • Cheetos***
  • Pizza
  • Reading During Siesta

Mexicans Apparently Love:

  • Futbol
  • Italian Food
  • Kung Fu Movies

The Most Amazing Thing About the Place I Stayed:

Every Room Has a Private Pool narrowly beats New And Different Flower Petal Designs Daily On Pillows.

Pasta in Mexico:

Always seems to be A Little Off.

Coca Cola in Mexico:

Really is a lot better. I brought a big bottle home.

Everyone in Mexico is Catholic:

Even if they’re not.

How Excited Mexican Cab Drivers Get When Tara Speaks Spanish:

Super Excited.

How Excited Tara Gets When Cab Drivers Speak Spanish back:

Extra Super Excited.

The Video Game Store I Found:

Was totally legit. That was kind of a let down.

Mexican Pornography:

Seemed to all be imported from Spain.


*In the US, Coke is sweetened with High Fructose Corn Syrup. This is mostly because the US Government has enormous subsidies for corn farmers, and enormous tarrifs on foreign sugar. Theoretically, this is to help small corn farmers survive, but of course, most farming is now done by huge corporate farms. In Mexico they use real sugar. The taste is a little less sweet, but also more subtle and smooth.

**Doritos in the US have, for years now, been crying out for help. Everyone is quite satisfied with the level of cheesiness, and still they announce that they are cheesier. They even changed the name to Nacho Cheesier!. Recently, they have gone too far, and now Doritos are gross. Mexican Doritos do not have this problem, and are instead totally delicious, with a very reasonable cheese level, and a hint of jalapeno.

***See Above.

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