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Saturday, February 11, 2006

what luminous is all about!


Friday, February 10, 2006

Luminous Friday Night Videos! Special Edition

Why special? Because I need to forget my troubles - that's why!
And, verily, we all need to! From time to time...
Here are some tunes that might help achieving just that...
First off, let's learn -live some and learn some that is- with the Cardigans!
Next - sampling time: check what Jessica and The Click Five can do... at their very best (in their very best moments especially selected for good lasting impressions that is...)
After that, we have "une valeur sûre" - Céline Dion. In French too. That's "Tout L'Or Des Hommes" by the way - double-check when it's a foreign language, videocodezone - please!
Next we have Mad-Onna aka The Erstwhile Esther aka Veronica Electronica, performing her mega-hit "Hung Up" live from... Lisboa, Portugal! This would prove why I don't like live performances - the quality of the song suffers greatly. Why pay for mediocre renditions, even if performed in person, when ye can listen to the song at its optimal potential when it was recorded in studio? The thrill of being under the same roof as one of them *ephemeral stars* is simply not worth the tickets' cost... (Note that the Cardigans' video is a live performance - but the song one hears is the studio version found on the CD!)
Note also the MTV 2 logo - seems like they felt more "European-ish" by adopting Cerberus as their symbol... oh well, whatever works to "fit in" I guess...?
Some more party music follows with an oldie but a goodie - Earth, Wind & Fire's "Let's Groove Tonight" (seems like videocodezone is just typo-ridden and/or lazy)
An oddity follows - the unlikely duet of Michael Jackson and Britney Spears! (The video is chock-full of "positive" reactions from the crowd to Michael - and, yes, with the misspelling of even as simple a name as "Michael", we get confirmation that videocodezone is typo-ridden... and really lazy!)
And, to finish off with a bang of sorts, Ashlee... she who goes merrily "la-la-la-la" through the kitchen, out the door... or something like that! Her sister Jess is the would-be classy star - while Ashlee prides herself in being a suburban ______... fill the gap there by yourselves, l.o.v's!

Oh - if you are missing the previous tunes, from the previous playlist - click on the link to find them again there!

Myspace Layouts for Myspace :: Music Video Codes

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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Saints & Angels: The TLB Prime series!

Saint Anthony of the Desert as he is often called is a most fascinating "case" - as he is totally and absolutely devoid of any material attachment (an admirable feat at any point in human history - especially if one is born in this day and age or amongst riches). As the case is, Anthony was indeed the son of well-to-do parents (and he is not to be confused with St. Antonio de Padua, who was born some 900 years later!)
Anthony had indeed inherited a fortune... However, he wanted to emulate the Apostles, and proceeded to do so. Upon hearing, at his local church, the Gospel words, "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell all thou hast", "he received (these words) as spoken to himself, disposed of all his property and goods, and devoted himself exclusively to religious exercises."
"Long before this it had been usual for Christians to practice asceticism, abstain from marriage and exercising themselves in self-denial, fasting, prayer, and works of piety; but this they had done in the midst of their families, and without leaving house or home."
Around 270 A.D., St. Anthony withdrew from the world completely - "then he took up his abode in one of the tombs, near his native village, and there it was that the Life records those strange conflicts with demons in the shape of wild beasts, who inflicted blows upon him, and sometimes left him nearly dead."
Note that the chief source of information on St. Anthony is a Greek tome titled "Life" which is attributed to St. Athanasius and is to be found in any edition of his works.
After fifteen years spent battling these demons, at the age of thirty-five, "Anthony determined to withdraw from the habitations of men and retire in absolute solitude. He crossed the Nile, and on a mountain near the east bank, then called Pispir, now Der el Memum, he found an old fort into which he shut himself, and lived there for twenty years without seeing the face of man, food being thrown to him over the wall."
He would be visited there, this time good visitors too... Pilgrims who wished to become his disciples in fact. He would refuse at first - but, in time, gave in to the demands for spiritual guidance... "about the year 305, he yielded to their importunities an emerged from his retreat, and, to the surprise of all, he appeared to be as when he had gone in, not emaciated, but vigorous in body and mind. For five or six years he devoted himself to the instruction and organization of the great body of monks that had grown up around him; but hen he once again withdrew into the inner desert that lay between the Nile and the Red Sea, near the shore of which he fixed his abode on a mountain where still stands the monastery that bears his name, Der Mar Antonios."
There he would spend the last forty-five years of his passage on Earth - but not in complete seclusion this time. He made trips to Alexandria at that time, to strengthen the faith of others during the persecution of 311 A.D. and he would see all those who would visit him.
"The Life says he dies at the age of a hundred and five, and St. Jerome places his death in 356-357. All the chronology is based on the hypothesis that this date and the figures in the Life are correct. At his own request his grave was kept secret by the two disciples who buried him, lest his body should become an object of reverence."
More details on his legacy - the many writings and teachings that he left behind - on the link above (not the main link, which is about angels!)
And speaking of which...

As our Angel of the Day for this edition of "Saints And Angels"... how about Gabriel... hmm?
Although he is mentioned only twice in the New Testament, Gabriel is clearly the best-known angel of all-time (with one or two other exceptions, maybe...!)
That must be because "he is throughout (his appearances - which include two more in the Old Testament) the angel of the Incarnation and of Consolation, and so in Christian tradition Gabriel is ever the angel of mercy while Michael is rather the angel of judgment."
Consolation and mercy is what we all seek, ultimately... hence the popularity of Gabriel is easily explainable.
Having noted that, it is equally important to note that "Gabriel is, in accordance with his name, the angel of the Power of God" and that, as such, he is attributed "the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as well as that of the host of Sennacherib". This is the hebrew point of view (as usual, somewhat the same but also different from that of christiandom) as "the Jews indeed seem to have dwelt particularly upon this feature in Gabriel's character (his name signifying the Power of God), and he is regarded by them as the angel of judgment, while Michael is (the one who is) called the angel of mercy."
To be fair, Judaism also regards Gabriel "as the angel who buried Moses, and as the man deputed to mark the figure Tau on the foreheads of the elect (Ezekiel 4)."
Fascinating it is also to point out the "uncredited appearances" that Gabriel most probably has made, for "it is not unreasonable to suppose with Christian tradition that it is he who appeared to St. Joseph and to the shepherds, and also that it was he who "strengthened" Our Lord in the garden (cf. the Hymn for Lauds on 24 March)." Gabriel is generally termed only an archangel (though most people naturally presume archangels to be the highest-ranked ones - see the main link here in the post's title or at the bottom of it to learn more about that.)
"The expression used by St. Raphael, "I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord" (Tob., xii, 15) and St. Gabriel's own words, "I am Gabriel, who stands before God" (Luke 1, 19), have led some to think that these angels must belong to the highest rank; but this is generally explained as referring to their rank as the highest of God's messengers, and not as placing them among the Seraphim and Cherubim (cf. St. Thomas, I, Q. cxii, a.3; III, Q. xxx, a.2, ad 4um)."



Wednesday, February 08, 2006

"In My End Is My Beginning"

Mary, Queen of Scots' last words were magnificent - and indicative of her great faith. She knew the Truth and feared not death in the least. Life had not been kind to her - her loves had been disappointing, her royal rights had been negated, her freedom had been taken away from her... When her end finally came, in this life, on this date in 1587 (although sometimes things cannot be so well pinned down - such is the inexact "science" of history; at the mercy of documents left behind - written records that can be doctored...) she departed without any hesitation whatsoever; and even looking her executioner in the eye...
She died so that another queen could keep her crown - Queen Elizabeth the First, of course. A temporary and elusive reign - not meant to last. What does last, is the soul. Mary Stuart, rightful queen of Scotland, (and of England and France too) knew so much. Ironically, it was to be her descendency that would remain - as Elizabeth the 1st died heirless. The current British Royals are the descendents of the Stuart line indeed. Her last words were hence proven to be prophetic in that sense too...
A great subject that I was always fascinated by - Mary, Queen of Scots! Misfortune with a capital M - and yet a glorious end and legacy. Surely she is a saint.

It was my term paper's subject one time - and I garnered an A+ for it. As they say; when you've got it - flaunt it!
More on the Queen of Scots
And still more on the Queen of Scots

Another truly great beginning on this date is that of Afonso, King of Portugal. The beginning of his sojourn on earth, that is! Afonso IV, also known as Afonso The Brave, was born today in 1291. He would be King from 1325 until his death in 1357. He was born on the 8th - and would be succeeded to the throne by the 8th king of Portugal as he had been lucky number 7 of a still burgeoning young empire. Afonso IV actually laid the groundwork for that empire to become one, as he invested a lot in the building of a naval fleet. That set the stage for Portugal to eventually become a great sea power - and the discoverer of almost the entire world. They would not hold on to their discoveries though - as evidenced by their very first, made during Afonso IV's reign too; the Canary Islands! Those belong to Spain now...
Not a big deal, for, as Mary Stuart surmised so well, in our end is our true beginning...

Note that the main link today is about King Afonso IV - much more on him there!


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

more protests to be expected...

Most men are individuals no longer so far as their business, its activities, or its moralities are concerned. They are not units but fractions. - Charles Dickens (1812-1870).
Ah - my dear fellow insightful linguist! Just as with me, with the long, complicated phrases difficult to grasp in the first reading...!
Although my true inspiration remains Lucian, Greek scribe of the 2nd Century!
Tis as it should be, indeed. :)

As Dickens put it though, too many individuals are no more than the mouthpieces of their trade... mere "fractions" of it hence... such as, oh, I don't know... the defenders and champions of the liberty of the press?
Onwards to press with anything that might offend, stir up controversy... it pays dividends! Oops - sometimes it does NOT pay dividends - at all.
Note also that, ironically, The Champions and The Defenders have largely been unsuccessful titles for both TV series as comic-bookies... but that is another story.

Alas, the violent protests in the Arab world have continued - and have turned deadly.
The situation is grave.
However, as with my own personal dramas, during which trials I credit my sense of humor -and GOD, chiefly- for having preserved my sanity through it all...
I dare suggest some levity at this time to better "swallow" THIS particular bitter pill (especially if your loved ones are endangered in all of those embassies targeted...)

I offer, quite humbly, my own caricature at this time...
I rather doubt that such an outrage would incite the TLB Prime fans -the few, the proud, the l.o.v.'s- to turn aggressive and, say... torch down Blogger headquarters in... uh... wherever they may be actually!

Yes... tis me, standing ready to go on the next crusade! Fighting fire with fire! That's the way to go - right? Not - I know. Remember - this is just a bit of levity!
Courtesy of South Park too - on the link here provided! Knock yourselves out doing similar depictions of yourselves, your family members and friends... heck, it truly can get amusing when you do a South Parkian version of your boss, or your neighbors... or anyone that you sort of despise... but that is another story.
I am mighty proud of mine - the "fighting fire with fire" bit is allegorically represented (not so subtly though, I admit) by my carrying the scimitar, the traditional arabian sword... on one hand. And in the other, a true firey weapon - a light-saber! Goes with the luminous, you know... So does the cross motif. The great thing about these South Park toons is that they can evoke any kind of resemblance - without giving it all. Great generic quality - but also a dead-on similitude. Here, the luciano likeness is striking - it tells of my passing resemblance with Bill Murray, Oliver Platt, Philippe Noiret and Leo McKern quite well too - without being able to emphasize what traits it might be that I share with each stalwart though (hint: most of it is in the eyes - but that is not all, far from it!). Gee... I'd never thought I'd be praising the merits of the art in South Park on this blog (maybe on the lunacy blog but not on this one, no!). Is it that apparent that this is sort of a "fill-in" post, published only because I am tired of commenting this sad "controversial cartoon affair" already...?


Monday, February 06, 2006

more of the same...

"A society that puts equality...ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom." - Milton Friedman
Hmm... maybe not the quote that I should go with today - both after my long-winded tirade lambasting media ethics and on this day... lame duck day! Our society needs exposing as a lame-o one though - hence, why not?
Lame-o reasoning, such as Mr. Friedman's, leads one to think that freedom is to be prefered to equality. Yet, out of control, freedom can lead to chaos and anarchy.
Whereas equality may only lead, at its extreme point, to utopia.
I don't know about you flks - but I always lumped up together the concepts of Nirvana, Heaven and Utopia! Once upon a time, Atlantis was there too. But, with added wisdom, I came to realize that, in all likelihood, Atlantis was closer to the wicked Roman Empire (with a bit of Pompeii in it) than anything idyllic.
But that is another story...
Equality is fairness. Life is too short to have so many subdivisions and classifications. We certainly are all equally defenseless when we come into this world - and all equally as feeble and weary when we depart from it.
Whether we are doctors, lawyers (ewwww), scholars, blue collar workers, entrepreneurs, businessmen, politicians, ecclesiastics, blue blooded, commoners, secular or plebeian - we are all in the same boat (lest it is trendier to say nowadays that we are all on the same spaceship called Earth!)
Frowning upon equality because it might "endanger" some freedoms that an elitistic mindset wants to preserve is simply of extreme poor taste.
I guess the lame duck today, on lame duck day, is the atheist who uses this Milton Friedman quote as his signature...
Figured that it would be an atheist...
Figured too that a guy named "Milton" would think he knows better than, say... Nostradamus? His quote sure sounds like a bit of foreboding there...!
The only Milton I've known and actually liked remains Milton Bradley!
Now - for true lame ducks, check out the Canadian government today!
A lame duck, of course, is an incumbent (not an incubus now!) politician who lost in the November elections. They usually remain in office until the beginning of January. Such is the case of Paul Martin, ousted Prime Minister of Canada. He and all of his cabinet of ministers will officially lose their jobs today as Stephen Harper takes over Canada... under the watchful eye of the American interests that financed his meteoric rise to the top.
Hmm... someone should tell Mr. Harper that meteors come crashing down eventually.
The West Wing's Martin Sheen would disagree with my sardonic tone, I am sure. He was recently quoted saying that "we can be very cynical about the people that lead us," while doing his best Dubya pause impersonation before adding that he hoped his show managed "to make people realize that being a public servant is an honor . . . and that so many good and decent people do it and never get any credit."
Credit, eh? Is that what Dubya is going on to finance all of his wild and wacky campaigns around the globe? Who will foot the bill ultimately? Sure as heck is not going to be him, I think!
But I digress...
More data on the lame duck species, courtesy of our good friend The Word Detective
"A lame duck (I suppose I ought to call it "flight-challenged") is one unable to keep up with the flock and who is thus easy prey for predators. The phrase "lame duck" was first applied on the London Stock Exchange in the 18th century to brokers who could not pay their debts. Beginning in 19th-century America, "lame duck" was used to describe a Congressional representative who had failed to hornswoggle the voters into re- electing him in November, but who was not due, under the Constitution, to actually be booted out until the following March. Thus freed of even the pretense of accountability to the voters, such "lame ducks" usually voted themselves a scandalous jackpot of perks, until a stop was put to the practice by the "Lame Duck Amendment" of 1934. Today, new Congresspeople take office in January, their defeated opponents no longer have an opportunity to loot and pillage on their way out, and thus Congress has become a temple of honesty."
Right... Just like the House of Commons, now with Harper headlining it...


Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Vatican agrees with me - aren't I proud now...

"The right to freedom of thought and expression ... cannot entail the right to offend the religious sentiment of believers"
That seems unequivocal.
Now, will there be anyone out there who will dare accuse the Vatican of any form of "islamophobia" for stating such things...?
Obviously they understand Islam well.
Obviously they fear not any violent reactions from Islam - or all these popes from the past would have never dispatched crusade after crusade back in the day...!
And, obviously, the Vatican is not being irrational in calling for the so-called "sacred" freedom of speech to BACK OFF and NOT offend religious sentiments!
In the name of "freedom of speech", anyone can say anything he or she wants - regardless of who or what it is running through the mud?
I don't think so!
Religion is a personal thing - we can all agree on so much (although my opinion is that the Truth is One - with many ways to reach it and discover it. And Muslims have it that God Is One - there Is Only One God and that is final. Amen.)
Freedom of speech though, like almost everything else, has its good side... and its flipside too!
At its best, freedom of speech and the liberty of the press divulge the hidden truths to the public who does have a right to know these things. They expose shady going-ons. They blow the lid on corruption. That sort of thing.
At its worst though, such freedom indulges the basest caprices of downgrading, villifying and mocking what one neither understands nor accepts. And that is just not right.
Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten, the culprits for the incendiary cartoon(s) here, sure know that they did something that "is not right" - for they apologized several days ago for it! (On January 30th, in fact). They are conscious about having hurt Muslim sensitivities - after the fact. Too bad they were not as conscious about it BEFORE publication...?
The violent reactions are not to be dreaded... Actually, they are kind of fun! Finally, some real action on the evening news broadcast! However, it is lamentable to see a perfectly preventable "stirring up trouble" kind of action getting green lit and going ahead to publication... while other, far more worthwhile works vying for publication DO NOT GET THE GO AHEAD FOR IT!
Of course... dissension and controversy sells better than "unifying" writings... we all know that. Bet these Great Danes here did not expect the boycott on all things Danish that they got now as whiplash effect, eh? So much for better sales...
I guess my Danish pastries idea wouldn't work either then - hmm?
But that is another story...
And now the situation is flaring up - in SYRIA.
How interesting... Syria!
There are many who believe that the antichrist will rise from there - and we have this date coming up later this year... which will read 06/06/06! Hmm...
All Bible scholars -almost- agree that the antichrist will arise from the wretched world of... world politics!
How ironic then to see, under this light, that the Syrian government is the one who fails to provide security to foreign diplomats from Denmark and Norway during this sorry situation. A situation I am tempted to call "the avoidable crisis" - that wasn't avoided, evidently! All in the "sacred" name of freedom of speech...
Great going.
Note though that most in the Western world would agree that the cartoons appear to be "funny". Hilarious and thought-provoking. As described by CTV (bomb them, not me!), "one cartoon showed Muhammad wearing a turban shaped as a bomb, while another had him telling apparent suicide bombers that there were no virgins left in Paradise."
First off - the media needs to make up its mind about how to spell the prophet's name - Mohammad or Muhammad? Secondly, that second cartoon is just plain wrong. There seems to be no virgins left on Earth (in the Western world, yes). However, in Paradise, they are all pure or purified! And SPIRIT! Surely you cannot have copulated when you are no longer "with body" - logically, hmm? This Danish cartoonist sacrifices logic in order to be funny... and controversial too! I guess it is his prerogative... his choice to make... all thanks to freedom of speech!
All in all, I have learned that there are no less than twelve cartoons here. A dirty dozen, hmm? "Publications in Norway, France, Italy, Germany and other countries have since reprinted some of them in a show of solidarity over freedom of speech issues."
And now, they will all have to face the music and deal with the Muslim world's issues too...
The heights of irony have been reached though, in Jordan this time... As a very muslim editorialist pronounced himself on this whole controversy - very objectively.
"Three of the 12 drawings were reprinted in a Jordanian newspaper on Thursday, alongside an editorial questioning whether the angry reaction to them in the Muslim world was justified."
Apparently, examining a situation like this with some detachment is forbidden in the Muslim world, for "the editor who wrote the editorial was fired on Friday and, despite a letter of apology, arrested Saturday on charges of blasphemy, according to Jordan's state prosecutor."
What is ironic is that this editor's name is... "Jihad Momani".
What foreboding we have here... Hmm...
One of the vehement protesters who did speak out in a moving way, Ali Duale, said it plain and simple - the cartoons are hurtful and show a lack of respect. "You don't know how much you hurt me unless I tell you what you say to me hurts my heart."
Another voice "of authority" was heard over this question - Randi Warne, a religious studies professor at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. She was quoted saying that non-Muslims (who are not like the non-Muslim that I am) "should try to empathize with the outrage Muslims feel." (Something I've done a long time ago).
She added "I think we should ask ourselves how people would feel in the West if pictures of Jesus were being drawn this way, committing heinous acts or in compromising positions," and concluded "I'm quite sure that there would be outrage all around the world."
Hmm... I am not sure in what cave some scholars live, however, me, I have seen it all already. I have seen much worse than these cartoons. About Christ - who, to me, is not merely a prophet but the SON OF GOD AND THE SAVIOUR HIMSELF. And I have seen all matters of blasphemous drawings of Him... What I did NOT see is this "outrage all around the world" that Mrs. Warne here is talking about. Either there was none - or it was minimal. Or us Christians are just too damn used to "turning the other cheek". Something I will admit to doing less and less these days.

In somewhat related news, it is odd to me that, now that I've mentioned muslims on TLB Prime, goooogle ad sense generated some ads for "muslim singles" AND EVEN "the raving atheist" for me (somewhere on this page...) when I never asked for such things.
Hmm... ads like that ON THE LUMINOUS BLOG?!? Thanks for nothing, gooooogle ad sense... you don't make any sense to me, goooogle ad sense! Just because I make mention of something does not mean I am condoning or sponsoring it! Here I am lambasting atheism - and goooogle puts ads to promote it - on my own blog?!? I have found a cyber equivalent of Judas here...
How many times have I mentioned Jesus - and not one ad about Him appeared?
Okay - you might not have any ads from any evangelical organization whatsoever...
What will happen though if I make mention of Satan - will an ad for his Californian (or "californication" - if ye will allow the red hot chili pepperism!) "church" appear here too?!? Oops... I just made mention of him... I guess it's on now!

What else is on now? The final conflict, or so it appears...


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