Monday, September 27, 2010

“I can believe anything, provided it is incredible.”

Fasten your seatbelts, my loyal murder. I've the usual amount of  miscellanea stewing about my head and, like oil, can only keep it contained for so long. Speaking of the bubblin' crude (Texas tea... oil, that is), Kevin Costner pitched a $900 million clean-up venture to Congress. Who knew? The next thing you know, Stephen Colbert will be addressing the same body on immigration issues.

My fake Twitter account, while named one of the funniest out there, ran its course awhile ago. How many times can you end a thought with, "know what I'm sayin'", know what I'm sayin'? By all accounts, Omar Minaya seems like a great guy who will land squarely on his feet when the Amazin' season mercifully concludes. I still believe the deadline inaction in '07 and '08 were disastrous, but those painful collapses will make the inevitable World Championship all the sweeter.

In the spirit of his pending fate, I've taken to firing all of my followers. The last one standing will be named my successor, should he or she want to or not. Perhaps they will have better luck than I working for Fake Fred Wilpon.

I'd like to thank everyone for enduring my Fauxmar ramblings, and I'm flattered to have been followed by the likes of David Lennon, Sweeny Murti, Jim Duquette, Rotoworld, Israeli Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Danny Ayalon and Vince Clarke. Yes, the Vince Clarke. I don't usually get verklempt about fellow humans, since "we all bleed and we smile", but this is different. He's been a hero of mine for over twenty years and expertly provided the soundtrack to my life. That's pretty heady stuff, and I'm very eager to hear his new Erasure and Audioscape work.

NPR is hosting a writing contest here and I'm considering giving it a shot.

Per New York Daily News writer and noted Phillies fan Andy Martino, Oliver Perez is considering winter ball in Mexico. [Forego good taste and insert Juarez quip here]

I received a letter from a friend the other day. In the mail, handwritten. There's something to be said for that, and people don't do it much anymore. Take a couple minutes out of your busy day and scrawl a few lines of affection, encouragement or interest. You'll truly make someone's day.

Autumn is here and the Appalachian Trail is calling. When I look at how much I've yet to complete, I feel a pang of discouragement. Then I remember that it's not about finishing, it's about doing. Should I never summit Katahdin on my own power, my ashes will via someone else's. Win-win.

I was asked recently what church I attend. I've been standing at a crossroads of late, unsure what to believe but at peace with the process. It's a lifelong journey, after all, and I certainly don't think and feel now as I did at eighteen. Why should matters of faith be any different?  But from what is Christian faith derived? "Trust your gut", sure-as-shite platitudes aren't enough. Anything less than an honest, direct analysis is, well, dishonest. You'd be half-fooling yourself and a full-tilt hypocrite to those around you. Faith, my friends, flows from a single well:


You didn't wake up one random day with water turned to wine. Someone told you, just as someone had confided to them. To quote Heather Locklear from the 80's FabergĂ© commercial, "And so on, and so on, and so on..."

When you reach the end, you come to the Bible. That's normally enough for some and the quest ends there. But why is this book, this cauldron with a hundred different cooks, so blithely accepted as the terminus of the trail?

Belief, based entirely on the letters therein. Do not question its formulation, ever, for you risk sentencing your eternal consciousness to a lava flow. That's like getting charged $700 for lunch at McDonalds and actually paying it. What the hell was on the bill?

Furthermore, how can I in good conscience accept divine truths from the same flesh and blood who also produced the Malleus Maleficarum, a flat earth, the promulgation of slavery, inherently evil babies, the Inquisition, the institutionalized torture of children and terracentrism? If the Church was your doctor, you would have have sued him for malpractice years ago. In fact, has their ever been an earthly institution more pervasive, bloody, cocksure and incontrovertibly wrong than the Catholic Church?

Again, I would be entirely devoid of integrity if I didn't ask these questions. I've no malice towards Catholicism and, while I do appreciate the foundations it laid within me, my search for truth goes on. If eternity is truly at stake, does it not behoove me to be thorough, even impolitely so? Just as Baldwin told Balian:

"You see, none of us chose our end, really. A king may move a man, a father may claim a son. But remember, that even when those who move you be kings or men of power, your soul is in your keeping alone. When you stand before God you cannot say, "But I was told by others to do thus", or that virtue was not convenient at the time. This will not suffice. Remember that."
I had been under the impression that the initial Turkish soirĂ©e had officially codified the Bible, but was proven pleasantly wrong. Apparently it was already accepted as whole at the time, so let's roll up our virtual sleeves and keep digging. In A.D. 170, the Muratorian Canon was settled upon. As evidenced by the link, this initial collection was flawed. Clearly, either the Infallible was having an off day, or those citing their attunement to His will were receiving some interference.

In a telling aside, it took them a paltry 217 years after the death of Christ to almost agree that the Torah was, in fact, divine and unworthy of their refinement. How nice.

The subsequent councils of Laodicea, Hippo and Carthage later finalized the Catholic Bible. But what of the excluded works? How could they question the legitmacy of these texts when those they'd accepted weren't even written during Jesus' time?
Again, the same guys who believed in compulsory celibacy and forbidding women to bathe were acting as heaven's gatekeepers. However gauche it may be of me, I must humbly take exception.

The myriad Apocryphal works, Nag Hammadi texts and Qumran discoveries are worthy of an entry all their own, so I'll start wrapping things up. Protestant friends, don't think you're getting a free pass, either. How can your churches claim a "truthier Truth" when your Bible has the same roots? An apple further down a broken branch is no less spoiled. While questioning these things feels like sitting on the jury of my own trial, it's fulfilling to take an honest and active approach to my faith.

Random Aside: Regarding the aforementioned "Information", I'm amazed at how our era is called the Information Age. I'd contend that the true epoch of information was thousands of years ago. Sans any routers, switches, CSUs, fibre optics, electricity (debatable) and in most cases even the written word, the messages of countless religions have been carried across millennia. I'm not going to throw my computer out the window, but faith is an equally powerful medium indeed.

In closing, let's revisit the esoteric. Some researchers believe the pyramids of Giza may have been power plants. A series of routes called ley lines emanate from such sites, with periodic obelisks along the way. Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

Go outside. This is a tall order for some, I know, but trust me on this one. It'll be fun! Find a power tower, like the one on the right. Go to its side and look at its profile. What do you see?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"Money isn't everything, Mortimer."

Ya' know how you can put a player in centerfield and they just don't "flow" like a centerfielder?

*cough* Shawon Dunston *cough* 

Cody Ross is not that player. I loathe the little @#$%er, don't get me wrong, but you gotta give credit where credit is due. San Fran just plucked him off waivers from the Fish, so now I don't have to invite him into my living room nineteen times a summer. Thank the Lord for small mercies.

Former Toronto Blue Jays G.M. and hand-powered Slavic blood drinker J.P. Ricciardi is now doing ESPN's "Baseball Tonight". Also, our old friend didn't get the Miami gig, but Gammons has him pegged for the soon-to-be-vacant Amazin job.

I'd gotten my hopes up for a meaningless late-September Marlins-Cardinals series, if for no other reason than Valentine can make even the micro-meddling Tony LaRussa look disinterested. The cat-and-mouse these two would play despite being mathematically eliminated would be a joy to behold.

*cough* Howard Johnson *cough*

Wait, isn't that Buck Showalter in the picture? He got the Baltimore job. I swear, it's like Peyton Place trying to keep track of all these managers-in-waiting. Speaking of which, Wally Backman still gets my vote. When the Mets won it all in '69, the last out was made by Baltimore second baseman Davey Johnson. Davey, of course, led the '86 squad to an incredible finish over the Red Sox. Boston Second baseman Marty Barrett made the last out in that series, but since he's not in contention, the honor would rightfully defer to the opposing keystoner, right?

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the current Mets' second baseman. He, Ollie and Beltran, all partners in the Flushing Axis of Evil, skipped a team outing to visit wounded veterans at Walter Reed Hospital. I think that alone says it all, but the irony is not lost on me:

Fred Wilpon has spent a fortune replicating the Brooklyn dreams of his youth, but gets angry when his players act like dodgers.

General Petraeus is pleading with that Florida church to not to burn Korans, lest it upset Muslims. I find this to be remarkable timing, since the Manhattan mosque continues to ruffle so many feathers. If sensitivities were of such importance in one direction, then why are they being overlooked in the other? What of burned flags, chants of "Death to America!", beheadings, kidnappings and countless other transgressions which offend American sensibilities?
 How about this: Have everyone switch sides for a day. Trading places and what have you. Like a player not meant to man centerfield, my feet are firmly planted on both sides of the fence. 

 *cough* Juan Samuel *cough*

Thursday, September 2, 2010

"History is the lie commonly agreed upon."

Alas, I have returned! My summer hiatus complete, I am now the proud holder of a degree. Granted, it took approximately 5½ Presidential administrations, but like Francoeur getting sprung, it's better late than never. I don't think he's going to get much playing time in Texas, however. He should keep in mind Pierre Charles L'Enfant, the last Frenchy to be buried in Arlington.

So much has transpired this summer that I'm not even sure where to start. The Amazin's, who were two games out at the break, are now broken beyond all understanding and watchability (Wally Backman, please pick up the white courtesy phone). Vince Clarke is collaborating with Martin Gore, who's also returning Alan Wilder's stunning Royal Albert Hall gesture. Autumn is just around the corner, which means some extended time on the Appalachian Trail is in order. With Georgia now a notch on my belt, I'm eager to finally adventure north through The Smokies.

In the latest installment of Life Is Stranger Than Fiction™, Jason Statham of "Transporter" fame evidently took a page out of Jenna Elfman's book and appeared in Erasure's "Run To The Sun" video. Who knew?

I came across this and found it an interesting aside to the ongoing Manhattan mosque debate. Then it really got me thinking: In the popular movie "National Treasure", Ben Gates' grandfather confides to him, "The secret lies with Charlotte." Was it, in fact, the ship encased in the tundra? Was it a reference to the North Carolina city, or perhaps even the queen for which it's named? I'll come back to this in a bit.

I've been fixated on the Crusades of late, and the Knights Templar in particular. The History Channel has been showing some incredible pieces on them, from "The Templar Code" to "Holy Grail in America". This alternate take on our past intrigues me to no end. In the latter program, the Newport Tower and Kensington Runestone are covered in great detail.

The tower, which incidentally was owned by Benedict Arnold's great-grandfather, contains compass points. One of these aims directly at:

B. Royal Albert Hall
C. Kensington
D. All of the above

If you guessed anything other than "C", boo!

With my rapacious interest in esoterica now fully engaged, I decided to dig a little deeper. Where else did the tower point, and to take it even further, what points lay beyond those points? For instance, repeaters are often used in telecommunications to propagate a signal. Why couldn't the Kensington Runestone have had a similar purpose? Not for communications, per se, but as a waypoint.

Using Google Maps, I plotted the two points, then connected them with a line extending well beyond each. I was working feverishly. Jerusalem bells were ringing, Roman cavalry choirs singing. Might I find the Grail's location? The Ark of The Covenant hidden in plain sight? John Maine?

The eastern line extends towards north Africa, while the one from Kensington cuts through the Pacific northwest. The most intriguing aspect of the this westerly course is what lies just beyond the British Columbian coast. See that tiny landmass touching the red line? Wait for it... wait for it...

It's the "Land of The Watchmen", a.k.a. The Queen Charlotte Islands. Much like the noted Oak Island mystery, could this remote locale be home to some long-lost treasure?

For the sake of context, the Prince Rupert town referenced in the article was named for this 17th century soldier and scientist, among many other things. His great-grandmother hailed from Mecklenburg-Schwerin, just as Queen Charlotte. The Hecate Strait separating the islands from Prince Rupert? Named for The Goddess of The Crossroads, the "Queen of The Night", to whom the power to control the seas and storms was granted.

As for Rupert, he was also a sailor, you see, and quite an accomplished one at that. A bonafide Admiral, even. In short, Prince Rupert was your quintessential Renaissance Man, and his ports of call seem to be in the vicinity of the eastward line emanating from the Newport Tower.

I'd better end there. What does all of this mean? I have no earthly idea, but should I turn up dead (or even worse, at Citi Field), at least you'll know why.