Sweet Chocolate Jesus!

Jesus made of food is bad but Jesus as food is… holy? No wonder I don’t get religion:

NEW YORK (AP) — A planned Holy Week exhibition of a nude, anatomically correct chocolate sculpture of Jesus Christ was canceled Friday amid complaints from Catholics, including Cardinal Edward Egan.

The “My Sweet Lord” display was shut down by the hotel that houses the Lab Gallery in Manhattan, said Matt Semler, the gallery’s creative director. Semler said he resigned after officials at the Roger Smith Hotel shut down the show.

The artwork was created from more than 200 pounds of milk chocolate and features Christ with his arms outstretched as if on an invisible cross. Unlike the typical religious portrayal of Christ, the artwork does not include a loincloth.

The 6-foot sculpture was the victim of “a strong-arming from people who haven’t seen the show, seen what we’re doing,” Semler said. “They jumped to conclusions completely contrary to our intentions.”

But word of the confectionary Christ infuriated Catholics, including Egan, who described it as “a sickening display.” Bill Donohue, head of the watchdog Catholic League, said it was “one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever.”

I’d think that something like the President’s response to Hurricane Katrina or Abu Ghraib would be a worse assault on Christian sensibilities, not a fucking sculpture made of chocolate. But then, I’m not a giant pick like Bill Donohue.*

Via Boing Boing.


*Who now will call me anti-Catholic for calling him a prick.

Paging Number 5

Now that we’ve all had a few days to chew on the details of last weeks BSG season finale, (which is where I’ve been all week. It was a lot to ponder), some questions still remain:

Is Starbuck the 5th Good Cylon or just in Apollo’s head? If a Cylon, where’d she get the viper? If just in Appollo’s head, how does she know where Earth is?

I’m leaning towards her being the number 5 good Cylon. She fits with the other four, who all have similar traits: high profile positions in the fleet, all dedicated to the freedom and protection of humanity and all in secondary service roles rather than leadership capacity. Tigh and Torri are the Right hand Man/Woman to the two most powerful people in the fleet and though flawed, often act as the conscience of the leaders. Chief and Anders (and Tigh and Torri) were all Resistance leaders on New Caprica (and Anders led the resistance on Cylon occupied Caprica). Starbuck, likewise is a protector of the fleet (a Viper pilot) as well as someone others looked up to. She was a motivational force to the other pilots, egging them on, encouraging them to be their best by leading as an example. It would also explain how she knows where Earth is: The fleet is close enough that when she died, she uploaded on Earth, which is where the 5 are from. The other 4 will pick up on this next season. Starbuck, as usual, is one step ahead by having died.

And this is what makes the 5 different from the other 7 Cylons. Where the 7 change bodies on a whim,uploading and downloading as you or I would change our shoes, they’ve hindered themselves from learning what it means to be Human and so lack that empathy gained by the 5 from not just living among the humans, but by living. They age, experience and learn. while the 7 Cylons retain memories from one body to the next, they seem to loose experience whenever they download into a new body, as if the shock of the Resurrection process dislocates them from humanity. All previous lives were just dreams, some more fruitful than others but all distant. It puts space between life and death, making them more meaningful.

And just how close to Earth are they? Distance in space is relative, but if Starbuck died only four weeks ago and is close enough to have been there and back and bought a shiny new viper along the way, that means they can’t be more than two weeks from Earth. Now, a lot can happen in two weeks and their could be any number of diversions between the Ionian Nebula and Earth but however way you look at it, Earth is close. Very close.

Princely Tantrums

An update on yesterday’s post: it looks like Bush’s bid for Kingly privileges with the Constitution will not pass.

By lopsided bipartisan majorities, the House passed bills March 14 to reverse an executive order issued by President Bush allowing presidents to withhold their records from the public and to require donors to presidential libraries to identify themselves.

The Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2007 (H.R. 1255) would rescind an executive order issued by President Bush in 2001 allowing incumbent or former presidents to prevent the release of their presidential papers. At that time, critics said the order reversed the premise of the Presidential Records Act of 1978, which called for the release of presidential papers 12 years after a president leaves office.

The White House issued a statement saying that the bill was “misguided, and would improperly impinge on the President’s constitutional authority, in violation of settled separation of powers principles,” the Washington Post reported March 14.

He’s threatening to veto the new bill, which will reascend his executive order but he’s only used that once, to discard frozen embryos that would otherwise go to good scientific research, and given his problems with Gonzales and the  Capitol Hill Eight, it looks like he’ll have other things on his mind, like ensuring that he has a legacy to whitewash.

The Petulance of King George

Not content with bending the constitution over the Lincoln Bedroom divan and having his way with it fortnightly, The Boy Who Would Be King has decided that not only does he get to decide who reads his papers, but so will his children and grand children:

As professors at Southern Methodist University have mobilized against the plans to build President Bush’s library there, their focus has not been the library, but a policy institute to be affiliated with it that would have as its mission promoting the Bush philosophy.

Such an institute, with an explicitly ideological identity and reporting to the president’s foundation instead of to the university, runs counter to academic values, the critics have said. Many times they have attempted to contrast their dislike of the institute with the library itself, which could be a valuable source of documents on the Bush administration — open to scholars with a range of views. And SMU officials, in defending the library plans, have stressed the scholarly value of the archive.

But with opposition to the SMU plans growing, national groups of archivists and historians are trying to broaden the debate. Weeks after 9/11, President Bush signed an executive order giving presidents and former presidents much more control over their records — and extended that right to a family member when a former president dies. While there have been periodic disputes over how much control presidents should have over their papers, the Bush order goes beyond the control asserted by any president since Nixon (whose efforts to control his papers led to various laws to promote access).

Basically, what this provision means is that not only can GW keep Reagan’s paper’s locked up and out of the reach of researchers for longer than the usual 12 years but he’ll be able to look up his own papers, and his daddy’s, for however long he wants– even after he’s dead. He can grant his children and descendants the power of sole ownership, meaning that if you want to view his paper’s fifty years from now, you’d have to buy Jenna and Barb a drink and even then, maybe they’ll let you.

W keeps saying that no one can judge him now, that only history can do that. What he isn’t saying is that he’s going to do everything in his power to ensure that the only history involving him that you get to read is written by his loyal true believers. No one bothered to teach hi the difference between hagiography and history, but then, he’s always held the view that their was one set of rules for him and different, more stringent rules for those not chosen by Jesus, God and the Easter Bunny, that is, everyone else.

What, No Children To Coerce Into a Life of Military Servitude?

This BBC headline is brilliant: Gay Sex Immoral Says US General

And war, of course, is family values, good as apple pie and kittens. Please General Pace, Sir, lecture me some on what is Right and Honorable:

“As an individual, I would not want [acceptance of gay behaviour] to be our policy, just like I would not want it to be our policy that if we were to find out that so-and-so was sleeping with somebody else’s wife, that we would just look the other way, which we do not. We prosecute that kind of immoral behaviour,” he said.

Just to clarify: your job, sir, is to fucking kill people. And seeing as how you’ve attained the lofty rank of General in these, our armed forces, you’re pretty well versed in the methods and tactics of your butchery. But, oh, the thought of two men in passionate embrace turns your delicate stomach. In what twisted version of reality did I wake up in to find a fucking hired killer lecturing the world at large on what is and is not moral? General Pace claims to be a Christian, though he receives a paycheck for violating a major commandment of his religion, while simultaneously arguing for the enforcement of some obscure prohibition, one concocted in the dim mists of antiquity, when the wise men of the day declared that the sun turned about the Earth and shrimp were an abomination in the eyes if their imaginary friend.

General Pace, Sir, get a fucking grip. Homosexuals were loving one another long before you came about and will be doing so, in and out of uniform, far after your delicate sensibilities have turned to dust. I know you have a lot of free time on your hands, now that you’re no longer in charge of torturing people in Iraq, but can’t you maybe find something slightly more constructive to do unto King George calls on you to take your professional services to Iran? Maybe there’s a baby somewhere itching to inspect your bayonet.

Not As Many Pixels As You Think

An interesting article from the NY Times on digitization of library collections:

“There’s an illusion being created that all the world’s knowledge is on the Web, but we haven’t begun to glimpse what is out there in local archives and libraries,” said Edward L. Ayers, a historian and dean of the college and graduate school of arts and sciences at the University of Virginia. “Material that is not digitized risks being neglected as it would not have been in the past, virtually lost to the great majority of potential users.”

To be sure, digitization efforts over the last 10 years have been ambitious and far-reaching. For many institutions, putting collections online, for both preservation and accessibility, is a priority. Yet for every letter from Abraham Lincoln to William Seward that can be found online, millions of documents bearing fine-grained witness to the Civil War will never be digitized. And for every CD re-release of Bessie Smith singing “Gimme a Pigfoot,” the work of hundreds of lesser-known musicians from the early 20th century are unlikely to be converted to digital form. Money, technology and copyright complications are huge impediments.

The largest impediment to getting most everything on line is money. We’re talking millions of dollars to get this far, which is just a drop in the proverbial bucket. That’s not saying it couldn’t be done. The Library of Congress and NARA could be made top priorities, if only they didn’t have their budgets routinely slashed and staff cut. And it isn’t just an argument of there not being money, either. For what we spend in Iraq in one hour, we could pay for everything at the LoC to be digitized and hire the people to do it. But the money isn’t spent in making the nation’s archives available to everyone everywhere, it’s spent blowing the arms off Iraqi children.

As I said, this is only part of the problem. Another is simply advertising. No one thinks to brag about what their collections have. In order to attract researchers who don’t know that you have the Steinbeck papers or Spanish Colonial records, why not have a blog? Even a weekly feature of of one item from your collection, using the power of the Internet to communicate it’s existence to a wider audience would attract some attention. There are thousands of librarians (OK, hundreds, maybe even dozens) who would be able to pas so the news that your library has genealogical information, if only they knew where to look. Making blogging and social networking acceptable practice in the Library field is another hurdle, but time will solve that one. As younger, technologically savvy librarian bloggers become more influential and the old dinosaurs who fear that Technology is killing the trade rather than revitalizing it (I’m looking at you, Michael Gorman) then the more likely it will be that emerging technology will be put to service in a library near you.

Then of course there’s the dirty secret of the library world: not everything is worth saving. while genealogical information and the history of Scott Joplin’s recording sessions are important, the napkins that Einstein scribbled his equations on are not. Knowing what is valuable and what is trash is always a tough call, as one person’s trash is anther’s dissertation topic, but still, it’s necessary to weed out the Danielle Steele Manuscripts from the Vonnegut first editions.

Thanks to Steve for the link!

You’re Asuming He Was Real To Begin With

Jean Baudrillard, 1930-2007:

PARIS: Jean Baudrillard, a French philosopher and social theorist known for his provocative commentaries on consumerism, excess and what he said was the disappearance of reality, died Tuesday, his publishing house said. He was 77.

[…] Baudrillard, a sociologist by training, is perhaps best known for his concepts of “hyperreality” and “simulation.”

[…] The Sept. 11 attacks, in contrast, were the hyper-real event par excellence — a fusion of history, symbolism and dark fantasy, “the mother of all events.”

His views on the attacks sparked controversy. While terrorists had committed the atrocity, he wrote, “It is we who have wanted it. . . . Terrorism is immoral, and it responds to a globalization that is itself immoral.”

Although many Americans were puzzled by his views, Baudrillard was a tireless enthusiast for the United States — though he once called it “the only remaining primitive society.”

“Santa Barbara is a paradise; Disneyland is a paradise; the U.S. is a paradise,” he wrote. “Paradise is just paradise. Mournful, monotonous, and superficial though it may be, it is paradise. There is no other.”