Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mr. Deity and the Matter

The part about the blood of the sacrificial ram sprinkled on the side as opposed to on the altar is the part that got a big laugh from me.

I just finished reading the book of Exodus, the last portion of which god has wasted a ridiculously boring ten chapters describing EXACTLY how to build the ark of the covenant and the tabernacle to house the ark and exactly how to design the priest's robes, including materials, measurements, design of imagery, exactly what animals to kill for sacrifice and exactly what to do with their, blood, skin, entrails, etc.. ad nauseum... These are the things they tend to gloss over at Sunday School...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Combustible Machine

Jean Tinguely- Homage to New York    1960
My wife played live last weekend at the Plush Gallery in Dallas. The show went well and she was able to get a good video of the show despite the crowd noise. You can view all of the songs from the show on her blog, Lived as Art. I am focusing here on one of my favorites from the show, called Altrusim. Her music has the amazing pop ability to worm its way inside your head and stay there for days, but then, if you care to look at the lyrics, you are faced with something much darker and much less pop...

Her songs never address one single issue, but usually poetically encompass a whole host of issues...With this song, Altruism, from what she has told me, she was addressing the volatility of the art market in general as well as volatility in relationships by focusing specifically on the work of the artist Jean Tinguely. The most famous of Tinguely's works were complex and convoluted  Dada influenced machines that were designed to self-destruct as critiques of the mechanization and overproduction of material goods.

Her lyrics for the song are here after the break:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

"Fuck you" Sign language performance

My mother-in-law is a sign language interpreter and I've gained an appreciation for these performances.

Giant Stinson Beach Bubbles

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Magnets, How Do They Work?

The short answer is that scientists are still unsure how they work once you get down to the sub-atomic level of quantum physics. For a great layman's description of the subject, I've just finished reading the book, The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow.

But here is a casual description by one of my all time favorite scientists, Richard Feynman, describing it in a manner only he can do...

This doesn't make the Insane Clown Posse any less idiots because scientist know perfectly well how magnets work on an atomic level... But they may have unwittingly brought up a subject that scientists are still grappling with when you get down to the sub-atomic quantum level.
Thanks to Unreasonable Faith blog for the link.

Monday, January 10, 2011

An Interest in Chinese Landscape Painting

If you have seen my work you will probably agree why I am interested in Chinese landscape painting.

Why Can't We Walk Straight?

A Mystery: Why  Can't We Walk Straight? from NPR on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Why on Earth Am I Reading the Bible?

Reading the Bible is a truly odd proposition to undertake when I've been an atheist for 25 years... I first bought Why I am Not a Christian by Bertrand Russell in 1986 when I was sixteen. Even before that, my family was what you might term "christian-lite", in that we occasionally went to a church but never spoke at all about religion other than that. So with that said, the stories we were told from the bible have always seemed like odd folk-tales to me, completely removed from everyday life. Later I discovered that the stories they told us usually censored out the parts that were too disturbing, lurid or obscure... In other words, they totally left out the stuff that makes it an interesting and human document.

What was really interesting for me is to realize that these words are not the infallible word of god, but a huge series of disputes and revisions between multiple cultures, philosophies, political theories and ideologies over the past three thousand years... and it is still evolving. This evolving thought is an incredibly important part of our literature, art, music, architecture, philosophy and our system of law. It has influenced the good parts of our culture as well as the bad... I think it is all worth looking into.

I've been wanting to look more into the actual text of the bible for a while, but it is a huge undertaking. At the first of this new year, someone started a new blog that is a sort of bible study for atheists...
Over the course of the next year, he and whoever follows his blog will read and discuss the oddity, the beauty, the inconsistency, the humanity and the inhumanity of the bible from start to finish. The commenters on this blog have been incredibly knowledgeable so far.

 This is a recent video on  a similar subject. The amount of research that went into it is admirable.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Orson Welles on Cold Reading

Re-posted from Unreasonable Faith

Emo Phillips on Religion

This clip from Emo Phillips is an old favorite from over twenty years ago. I was a big fan of him when I was in high school.