Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sex Sells: Olive Oil


Click image for enlargement.

This is an honest-to-God real ad that appeared on page 204 of the August 2007 issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine. I only scanned it and did not alter it at all.

"Discover the secret ingredient Italian chefs don't want you to dip into," it says.

Extra Virgin olive oil with "rich taste" is apparently this "secret." (The best secrets are the ones you share with someone you love.)

Well, of course, we are supposed to think, "Oh, yes, bread dipped in a nice extra virgin olive oil does taste good." But surely the art director in charge of creating this ad realized that their bread looks like a huge penis. Are we also to conclude that penises dipped in extra virgin olive oil taste good too? ;-)

Maybe there's something going on that I'm unaware. Do men use extra virgin olive oil as a lubricant when stroking their breadsticks? Maybe they should? Olive oil is supposed to be good for your skin, as well as your heart and tastebuds. All natural and healthy, smooth and delicious. How can you go wrong?

(I wonder if Bertolli sales are going to experience a sudden increase now.) ;-)


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For those who don't cook much or know much about olive oil, extra virgin olive oil is the premium grade because it's from the first pressing of the olives and retains the best flavor.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Little Birdie Told Me


It seems that my presence in the pig sty has been greatly missed to the point that they are imagining a whole spectrum of me. Well, if the pig wasn't such a filthy pig he would easily free his sad readers of their delusions. Sorry little piggies, but it really hasn't been me gracing the pig sty. And I'm sure the big pig CIP knows the truth.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Ho, Ho, Ho, Green Giant!

We have had our first casuality in heroes attempting to meet the challenge proposed in my previous post. The Jolly Green Giant has tried and failed.



I really didn't mean to emasculate him, but maybe because of his advanced age his fruits were probably about to fall off anyway. I guess the heat was too much for him.

Well, in memory of the Green Giant's (he's not so Jolly anymore) younger and more intact and virile days, here is a commercial from 1970:




Actually, maybe the feminists will say that I'm a hero for making the Jolly Green Giant pay for all those cans of niblets. ;-)

Besides, It's Not Nice To Fool Mother Nature!

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Please accept my apologies. I'm afraid that the recent heat wave of record-breaking proportions (by one or two degrees in reality) is entirely my fault. No, it's not because I drive an SUV approximately 32 miles a day. ;-) The real reason is because I am absolutely burning up inside and all that heat has to go somewhere or it might literally cook my insides. This is probably some pre-menopausal red giant phase which will eventually end in collapse into a smaller, cooler white dwarf phase. So just bear with me as we all suffer through it. It won't last forever. I'm not sure if there is any way of "stopping" it or reducing its intensity. Perhaps we should set a challenge, in the tradition of fairy tale heroes, to find a solution to redirect or absorb this heat? Please feel free to offer suggestions, except to kill me because that wouldn't work anyway since that would cause me to blow up into a supernova and destroy everything. ;-)

Thanks for your understanding. And really, I am terribly sorry for all this discomfort and am wishing for some real relief soon.

Sincerely,

Rae Ann aka Vicious Momma

Friday, August 24, 2007

Matters of Faith

Some of the buzz today has been about revelations of Mother Teresa's spiritual struggles. It seems that everyone is so surprised about it. But really, wouldn't it be even more surprising, and possibly disturbing, to learn that she never had doubts and struggles with her faith? She was human after all.

In some scientific circles it's even being considered that she was some sort of closet atheist. I guess that reaction is understandable when so many of those people consider calling something "religion" is the ultimate insult because it implies blindly accepting things despite any contradictory evidence. Perhaps Mother Teresa can minister to them even after her death by showing them that even the most faithful of religious people don't always blindly accept things without question. Wouldn't you imagine that scientists would recognize that already if they are so smart and logical? But I guess even they can confuse faith and certainty.*

My point here is not to bash atheists or scientists though. My point is to say that the lesson in Mother Teresa's struggles is that we all are human with the same emotional, intellectual, and spiritual conflicts regardless of how we label them. And her example clearly illustrates what our relationships with God are supposed to look like. If we never question things we never learn and grow. God knows that and that is why we have our minds and souls anyway. God wants us to evolve, not just physically but also spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, and socially.

I think that it's entirely possible that Mother Teresa suffered some depressive stages in her life. She was a woman, and we women do go through stages in our lives that can affect us in every possible way. At the time of her publicized "crises of faith" she was past her reproductive years, and I must wonder if she had some sadness about not living the fullest possible life as a woman. Yes, I know that her relationship with God was utmost and her service to humanity was her "calling." But she was also fully human and could not exactly escape all the human needs.

This is where I think the Catholic Church has gone way off track in their teachings. I just don't believe in celibacy. It's not normal, and it's not necessary to be celibate in order to have a deep, meaningful relationship with God. I think God wants us to fully experience our humanity and the bodies and minds that we have. God does not think that sex is dirty or sinful. Why in the world would God 'create' sex and require it for our own reproduction (creation of new life) if it was a bad thing?

Of course, this is only some twisted kind of psychological 'thought experiment', but I wonder, how would Mother Teresa's views, thoughts, feelings, faith, and so on have changed if she had ever experienced the total physical union of love with a man? And by extension, how would those things have changed if she had born children from such a union? Surely she would have recognized the divinity incarnate in deep human love and reproduction. And the darkness that seemed to torment her might have been lightened by her appreciation of the power of the human body to celebrate God and Creation in that way.

Certainly, all the suffering and poverty that she saw in the world would challenge even the strongest faith. It can be hard not to ask why God allows such things in the world. But perhaps that's like asking why we must crap. It's just the world working according to the "Natural laws" prescribed by God. Why would God want to go around breaking the Laws of Nature? That wouldn't teach us anything but confusion. If you had created a Universe would you go around messing it up with random changes? Well, I wouldn't. I'd want to watch how it grew and evolved without my interference.

But that's not to say that God has abandoned us and the Universe. God is always here/there for us. Although we are "separate" from God in some sense, He has provided us with ways of being closer to Him. I'm sure that Mother Teresa knew these things intellectually. And it's perfectly acceptable that doubts about this truth entered her mind.

It would have been fascinating to meet and talk with her.


* On further thought, I'm afraid that paragraph sounds a little too crotchety. I certainly didn't intend for it to come across that way. Apologies about that.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

List

Things that need fixed:

1. laptop (needs speakers and the battery charging pin-hole thing broke)

2. Centipede game (trackball is out of track)

3. microwave oven door (falling apart)

4. electric outlet downstairs (replacement)

5. Corvette lights (opening switch went out)

6. Sony Vega TV (won't turn on)

7. swing frame (needs welding)

8. credit card reader (for business, it's just completely f'd up)

9. beverage refrigerator (door falls off)


I'm sure there is more, but isn't this enough?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Startled by the Obvious

Do not use my name for evil purposes, because I, the Lord your God, will punish anyone who misuses my name.

Exodus 20:7 (Today's English Version)

Also known as the Third Commandment, or the Second Commandment for Catholics and Lutherans


How Religions Start

Thinking back to the time of the earliest Homo Sapiens it seems there must surely have been some highly intelligent individuals who thought of questions like "Why am I so different from the other animals?" He might have noticed that humans look somewhat similar to the other ape species, but how did we end up different?" These are not new questions that have arisen only in the last couple of hundred years.

Maybe some guy thought up something like "I can see some greater wholeness to all of this world and I will call it God." He figured out that we are the "highest" forms of life and tried to figure out how that happened. That intuitive knowledge about ourselves and our universe is what he called "God spoke to me." Where else did these ideas come from? He didn't know about brains and neurochemicals and all the other biological stuff that makes up our consciousness and creativity. At that time his revelations about his thoughts were novel and revolutionary.

So he told others what he knew, and his explanations made some sense of otherwise unknowns and people talked about them because new ideas tend to stimulate people that way, even way back then. ;-) And he was probably the family or community or tribal "wise man" that everyone trusted because he had been right so often in the past. So an oral tradition of passing along these ideas and stories began to grow and spread.

So over time maybe some people would ask, "Why do we believe these things?" And many people would say, "Because so-and-so told us and he's always right." And maybe they got angry when their accepted ideas were questioned without the questioners offering better answers. Some basics of human nature probably haven't changed all that much since then.

Aside: A Question of Time

There is no dividing line or boundary in "real time" evolution. The timeline of human evolution constructed by paleotheorists is rather imprecise in when exactly the different Homo species lived and died. When they say that the Neanderthals disappeared it doesn't mean that one day they all just disappeared. It took thousands of years for them to die off (or be absorbed into Homo Sapiens, my own particular pet idea). What do we think really happened in the time between this species and that species? The changes were gradual, not instantaneous. I suspect one might could apply some kind of quantum or whatever view to the evolving human populations and see that at the individual and small groups levels the forward movement in development isn't always obvious. Well, maybe that's a really whacked out thing to say. I don't really know. Anyway, my point is that it's wrong to think of these different periods of time as distinct or discreet in that one starts and one stops and there is no overlap. There is a lot of overlap.

The Relevance of Religion

Eventually new evidence is discovered that challenges old ideas. Not everyone is open and accepting of their long-cherished knowledge being questioned. But some people can take new knowledge and integrate it with the old, while yet others will completely dismiss the old ideas as worthless and accept the new, sometimes as blindly as some refuse it. Like with the "timeline" of evolution, there aren't always distinct boundaries within the range of beliefs.

Looking back at our guy who "saw" God and thought his intuitions were God speaking to him, we must remember that his language and ability to describe his intuitions were much more limited than ours today. The old stories were told in the ways that made sense at their time. And at one time these stories were novel and revolutionary not because of the words they used but because of the ideas they conveyed. The revolutionary idea behind God was that there is a reason why we are humans and not apes, or pigs. ;-) In our modern time we know the real, scientific reasons we are human, and not apes or pigs, but knowing the ways how doesn't diminish the significance of the idea itself. Well, I don't think it should anyway.

Even today, we are still processing our intuitions and observations of the universe. It's important to respect the origins of these processes, whether the origins are explained in the modern parlances or the old oral traditions (mythology and religion). They are basically explaining the same things if you can reduce the words into the ideas that they convey. And this is one of the reasons why it bothers me so much when Religion is vilified and degraded: becasue doing so completely disrespects the intelligence of our ancestors and the evolution of our minds.

Sure, over history many terrible things have been done in the name of God or religion. But so has it happened in the name of love and any other ideas. Does that make love and other ideas necessarily evil? Of course not. You can't really blame an idea or feeling for the actions of evil or bad people. And that is the meaning of the Commandment quoted at the top. Do not use the name of God for wrong purposes.

Well, here in the Baptist dominated Bible Belt, people are told that this Commandment forbids using God's name in an invective phrase, such as "Goddamn!" or "Oh my God!" or whatever endless variations people can create. Strictly, or Fundamentally speaking, I suppose that's true enough, but it's just completely naive and misses the deeper meaning of the Commandment. Besides, when someone exclaims, "Oh my God!" in surprise or any other strong emotion God knows those are really just prayers. ;-)

The people who are really breaking the Commandment are the ones like Al Gore, the current AntiChrist, who invokes God's name for his own selfish purposes (fame, glory, power, influence, and so on). But there are others who are abusing God's name as well. They are the ones who try to tell everyone that a belief in God and religion is the source of all the problems that have ever existed. How is it not obvious that the Commandment is a warning against any kind of abuse of power and control? And these antireligionists, or militant atheists as some call themselves, are really just false prophets abusing the name of God by spreading lies of ommission about religion and its influence on the evolution of mankind.

Well, of course, who am I to indict anyone? But I do want to show people their misunderstandings about the role of religion and a belief in God in our human development. There is a deeper meaning to the stories and mythology of religion, and to deny that or to demean it is a asking for trouble. ;-)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

China, Britney, and Other Observations

China

More Chinese manufactured toys have been recalled due to lead paint and shoddy workmanship. Well, I'm kind of concerned about all the recent recalls of Chinese products. Some have suggested that it's not really "that big a problem" or that more attention is being paid to China's errors than those of others these days. If you have young kids with popular toys that were made in China, then it is that big a problem. Duh. And if your tires have exploded or if your dog died from bad food or if you were poisoned by tainted toothpaste, it is that big a problem. My concern is that the Communist government of China, in its movement into their own form of Capitalism, is just not playing by the rules. They seem to be making their own rules which aren't exactly ethical or fair. And what of our huge 'trade deficit' with China? My prediction is that it will shrink considerably as more and more crap from China is discovered to be crap and fewer and fewer Americans tolerate it. And maybe they should start balancing things out a little differently if the quality of what we're getting is so low. Of course, there are some quality products from China too. But that's not what I'm thinking about here. Basically, I think that when an institutionalized atheist communist government tries to do capitalism they will have to learn that quality matters as much as price, and that is the kind of 'ethics' that institutional atheism doesn't teach. Well, neither does communism for that matter.

Britney

She is clearly suffering from some severe mental illness. Perhaps it's postpartum depression or maybe even bipolar disorder. Both of those conditions can manifest themselves in erratic, reckless, and psychotic (lost touch with reality) behaviors. Exactly like Britney has demonstrated over the last year. Someone please have her committed to a mental hospital so she can get the treatment she needs before she ends up dead. It's really sad for her two young sons when she's obviously not interested in being a good mother to them and when her skank of an ex-husband looks like a saint in comparison to her. Well, maybe he's not really all that bad after all? If any "regular" person did the things that Britney has done they would most likely end up in a mental hospital. I recall a couple of college classmates who "flipped out" (had psychotic episodes of crazy behavior) and had to leave school for a while for treatment (both did finish their degrees). Getting treatment for mental illness is not a stigma or anything to be ashamed about. On the contrary, not getting treatment is the thing to be ashamed about when there are so many things available nowadays, especially to those for whom money is not an obstacle. If there are any people who are still close to Britney they really must do some kind of intervention before it's too late.

Weather

I absolutely hate the Weather Channel. I'm certain that they are one of the biggest players in the whole "global warming" hoax. I mean, just look at how the channel has changed and become so slick and highly produced in the last 10 years. Climate change is big business for them and they are milking it for more than it's worth. For several years now we've been comparing the Weather Channel's forecasts with our local meteorologists' forecasts. The Weather Channel is consistently off by 3-4 degrees, like if the local guys say it will be 96 the Weather Channel says it will be 100. The same is true for the cold weather forecasts: the Weather Channel consistently says it will be 3-4 degrees colder than what the local guys say. And the local guys are always more accurate. You'd think that after so many years of being wrong in their forecasts that the Weather Channel would try to be more reliable. Well, no, apparently reliability and accuracy aren't their primary motivations. Their primary motivations are to promote extreme weather and climate change and to increase their profits. I really wish someone would do a big expose and reveal the Weather Channel's corruption.

Local Government

Recently we've been learning about the wide extent of corruption in our local government. Apparently, people have no qualms about exploiting public money for their own benefit. This is the core reason why communism and socialism will never work well. One of my favorite high school teachers used to talk about how communist and socialist systems tend to promote people wallowing in the "muck of mediocrity." The longer I live the more I see he was absolutely correct about that.


Jesus, why didn't someone alert me to that typo in government?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

HOT

I think that title is a good subsequent one, and I'll like the way it looks on the sidebar. ;-)

It is HOT here, as it usually is in August. Yesterday was 94 and today it is 95 and tomorrow is supposed to reach 97 and then Friday is supposed to reach 95. But no, it's definitely not a sign of any kind of global warming or climate change. We have hot times in the summer, usually in July and August. Seven years ago when my youngest was born, it was 96 (Aug. 6).

Well, whether or not it is remembered as normal by everyone, it's still miserable and worthy of complaint. Just like the aches I get every month. ;-)

Anyway, school starts tomorrow. Wow, this summer has flown way too fast, and it's the first time I haven't been really ready for school to start. It could have something to do with the kids being old enough now for us to really enjoy being together. And we've had a really fun summer.

But something else really bothers me about this starting school in early August. It makes no economical sense in any way. Here we are at the peak of the hot weather and TVA is bitching about record power demand. How much sense does it really make to go and start school at that time and add even more stress to the power system? Knox County has a lot of schools and that means a lot of air conditioning. There should be at least another month of summer break or we might really cause some global warming! ;-)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

SEX

How's that for an attention grabbing title? ;-)

Top 10 Reasons Why Men and Women Have Sex

Women

1. I was attracted to the person
2. I wanted to experience the physical pleasure
3. It feels good
4. I wanted to show my affection to the person
5. I wanted to express my love for the person
6. I was sexually aroused and wanted the release
7. I was "horny"
8. It's fun
9. I realized I was in love
10. I was "in the heat of the moment"

Men

1. I was attracted to the person
2. It feels good
3. I wanted to experience the physical pleasure
4. It's fun
5. I wanted to show my affection to the person
6. I was sexually aroused and wanted the release
7. I was "horny"
8. I wanted to express my love for the person
9. I wanted to achieve an orgasm
10. I wanted to please my partner

Source: "Why Humans Have Sex." (PDF) Cindy M. Meston and David M. Buss. Archives of Sexual Behavior, August 2007.