Archive for September, 2008


Two-fer Tuesday: Rapture by Deacon Blue

It seems like every critic of Sarah Palin on blog posts these days has to pop in a comment at some point about her or her supporters “waiting for the Rapture.” Geez, I hate to be left out. Except I’m not going to rail on Palin at the moment. Miz Pink tells me that’s her job with this week’s Two-fer Tuesday topic. So, I’ll just rail on the folks who obsess about the following things and all things related to them:

The Rapture, the End Times, the End of Days, Armageddon, the Book of Revelation, etc., etc., ad nauseum.

It’s not that I think we shouldn’t ever think of such things or cogitate on them a bit. Hell, let’s even get some entertainment from them. Enough movies and books have played off the end of the world and the Rapture, right? I liked the Left Behind series well enough for the first five books or so, until it became clear that not only was the plot getting kind of silly, but the authors were dragging things out to write as many books (and get as much money) as possible.

The problem is that there are Bible scholars—and pseudo-intellectual blowhard hacks a-plenty, too, to be honest—who make their living theorizing about the “end times.” Who try to figure out what, if anything, in modern day ties into prophecies about the second coming of Jesus and the road to Armageddon. And I ask you: Why the hell are you spending so much time on this?

Jesus himself said, “no one knows the time but my Father in Heaven.”

No one.

Jesus said “no one.”

That means him, too.

God the Father is the only one who knows what the day and time will be that He starts wrapping up things here on Earth and moving us on to whatever it is that is far more important for us to do for the rest of eternity in the spiritual realm and perhaps elsewhere in the physical universe.

Only God.

If Jesus wasn’t fretting over the time and was willing to wait…if Jesus doesn’t know the precise signs that will tell us the day is nigh…if Jesus said only the Father knows…

…how in hell do you expect, as a measly mortal, that you are going to figure it out?

Are you smarter than Jesus? More connected than Jesus? If you think so, you need to re-examine whether you’re born again, because if you think you’re better than your Messiah, Lord and Savior, then you haven’t submitted yourself to God.

There are too many millions upon millions of things going on amongst us billions on this planet—even if you focus just on the movers and shakers and political dealings—to tie anything to the Book of Revelation. I might get a bit worried if I hear about a seven-year peace agreement between the Arabs and the Jews, but even then, it wouldn’t prove anything. It would be about the clearest warning sign, but it still could just be a false start. If it ever happens in my lifetime or yours, which it probably won’t.

No matter how bad Christians may think the world is, this isn’t the worst it’s ever been and it isn’t as bad as it could still get. I suspect this planet has plenty of life left in it. Yes, the end days could come tomorrow. The Rapture could happen a few minutes from now. But is that likely?


And frankly, I have bigger things to worry about, both in terms of my worldly/family obligations and Jesus’ Great Commission, than to fret about when the end times are coming.

So should you.


Two-fer Tuesday: Rapture by Miz Pink

Sarah Palin worries me. She worries me on so many levels my head hurts to think about her. I know so many of my fellow left-wingers have really harped on how unprepared this woman is for the job, how ignorant she is of world affairs, how she brings things down to the lowest base crap and adds nothing of value.

What worries me is what I read in an article on Salon:

Munger also asked Palin if she truly believed in the End of Days, the doomsday scenario when the Messiah will return. “She looked in my eyes and said, ‘Yes, I think I will see Jesus come back to earth in my lifetime.'”

Deke is talking today about why the fascination with the Rapture and End of Days is so wrong but I’m gonna take a different path. I don’t think that someone who is convinced the end of the world is near should be in charge of our nuclear (or as Sarah would say, “Nuke-yoo-lar”) arsenal. And make no mistake she very well could be if McCain and her get elected. McCain is old. Acturial tables say he stands a good one in three chance of dying in office. His father and grandfather checked out early. He’s had cancer before. He has anger issues, and stress often leads to early death.

I’m not afraid that the end times are near. They might be they might not be but it doesn’t matter in my life. I’m already living under Jesus’ grace so whenever they come, I’m ready.

But there are scary people in the end times crowd who think it might be their duty to help usher along the end of days. They seem to think that if we can help push things along and get the kingdom of heaven here on earth sooner all will be well.

It’s scary first of all that they think God needs or wants their help. It’s also pretty arrogant to think that they can push up God’s schedule. It’s also scary to think that they think its their destiny to play a role and whatever they do consciously to help move civilization to the brink is okay because it was probably part of God’s plan for them to do that anyway.

Sarah Palin, thinking in the back of her mind that she will see Jesus return in her lifetime means that she stands a good chance, consciously or subconsciously, of doing stuff to piss off world leaders, start wars and do other stuff to rock the boat with the notion that she can help move along the timetable and get the Antichrist to show up so that Jesus can show up so we believers can all be raptured up to heaven (even though the Bible is pretty unclear on what exactly the rapture is. I don’t really want it rushed because maybe it doesn’t mean we believers get whisked away. Maybe we have to live through the hell one earth scenario with everyone else).

Sarah is convinced that an event people have been predicting will happen really soon for the past 2,000 years will really finally happen in her lifetime. She could be in a position to try to “help” that come to pass. More so than any of the other wackos who follow her line of thought.

I don’t want that. You see, Sarah’s been pregnant a few times, just like me. She should know about false labor. You feel like you’re going to give birth, you head to the hospital and they shake their heads and say go back home.

False labor is bad enough.

I don’t want a false apocalypse before the real scheduled one arrives.


Jesus the Grifter

So, it was brought to my attention recently through the comment thread at another blog that Jesus was the ultimate con-man.

Imagine my surprise. Well, that’s it. I’m going to stop doing this blog and renounce Jesus.

Or not.

Look, I understand a lot of folks don’t buy into Jesus’ divinity. But as much as I can see how they come to their views, I find the notion that Jesus was a kook—who gathered around himself 12 easily led automatons who mass-hallucinated his return from the dead—far, far more believable than Jesus as con-man.

But hey, let’s entertain the notion for a moment. For Jesus to have been the ultimate con-man, here’s what he had to pull off (mind you, this mixes the skills sets of a grandmaster stage magician, con artist, orator, community organizer and master manipulator):

  • Jesus had to convince not only his followers, but also a priesthood and government (both of which were predisposed to think him a fraud), that he could cure obvious ailments (blindness, leprosy and paralysis).
  • He had to convince his immediate followers that he was able to calm storms in pretty much an instant, as well as cause food to multiply.
  • He had to convince a lot of Hebrews that he was the messiah and that a healer and teacher would be the messiah, at a time when the kind of messiah people wanted was a leg-breaker and sword-swinger who would get rid of the Romans.
  • He had to survive a brutal beating after being condemned to death but before being crucified, without once giving into the temptation to save himself possibly by recanting the notion that he had declared himself the son of God.
  • He had to fake his death on the cross, arrange to be buried alive, and then be spirited away before he died wrapped up in his tomb.
  • He had to convince his apostles that he could walk through a wall, after they thought he was dead, and perform other tricks and convince them they were real miracles.
  • He had to fake his ascension into heaven.
  • He had to do all of this so convincingly that his remaining 11 apostles would risk their lives for years to preach that he was the risen son of God.


That’s a lot of risk for a guy to go through for a con, don’t you think? And pretty hard to pull all that off without slipping up over a three-year period. And let’s see, for all that effort and risk to life and limb, his ultimate goal was, um…hold on…whoa…yeah.

Folks, the only reason to pull off a deliberate con that elaborate is to get something fantastic out of the deal. Power. Money. Prestige.

By being dead, Jesus couldn’t enjoy any of those things. And if he was “fake dead,” then how was he profiting or going to cash in? From the loads of money that the early church was raking in? Oh, that’s right, the early church was mostly struggling not to get wiped out by the Romans and the Jews, and it wasn’t anywhere near the fabulously wealthy thing we see with Protestant mega-churches and the Roman-Catholic Vatican.

Yeah, ultimate con-man indeed.

Don’t be fooled folks. If you want to believe Jesus was a nut (rude, but I’ll forgive you) or that he didn’t exist (doubtful, given the historical record), fine.

But con-man?

Give me a break. It sounds good as a soundbite from a non-believer and it might sound good to another non-believer who doesn’t bother to think things through.

Me, I’m not conned.

(Image: “Christ in Profile” by Georges Rouault)


The Madness of the (Too) Faithful

Any of y’all who have been around here for long probably know that I really like the blog Deus Ex Malcontent, being one of my top five blogs I visit, really. It’s pretty common over there for religion, particularly Christianity, to get some ribbing and, frankly, an ass-reaming at times. It has been happening pretty frequently, lately, thanks to folks like Sarah Palin and the Duggar family.

One of the problems, of course, are those believers who simply stoke the fires by being bald-ass ignorant.

I mean, here we are, already believing in a spiritual realm that cannot be proved by science. We believe in a being who demands faith and keeps Himself purposefully out of view, and that already makes us look a little odd to folks who are living totally in the realm of the intellectual and the visible world.

We don’t need to be ignoring the basic reality of the world on top of that.

You see, it’s OK to believe in things spiritual. And if you’re Christian and actually obeying the Word of God, you won’t be hurting anyone or causing any havoc with your beliefs. And frankly, looking at the other side, it’s silly for those who are purely rational to hold up religion to scientific standards because the spiritual realm is not something that can be examined and poked and prodded and analyzed with instruments.

But people, stop taking the Bible so damned literally that you ignore the realities of, well, reality.

The Earth is not 6,000 or 7,000 years old, OK? Dinosaurs and humans didn’t walk around at the same time at any point. Crude oil was created by millions of years of organic decomposition of animal and plant matter; it wasn’t just put there by God. Satan didn’t manufacture fossils and stick them in the ground to fool us.

Look, God gave us intellect to do some wonderful things (look at how far science has come in even just the past 20 years, with probably more amazing stuff than in the previous 100 years), and I just don’t see him allowing a bunch of imitation shit to be part of his created world (and universe) just so that we can be tripped up. God’s not trying to make it harder for us to find him. Jesus came along to make it easier. Sure, Satan deceives us in many ways, but he didn’t make a bunch of props and slip them in under God’s nose.

So, back up off the literal nature of the Bible for a moment. Because while it is literal in a sense, it also isn’t.

A lot of the events of the Old Testament, particularly the first several books of it, are not to be taken precisely as they are written. Those words were put down for the benefit of a bunch of people who were not scientifically savvy. I mean, get real. Is God going to have prophets write down shit about relativity and physics at a time when people don’t even know what the hell gravity really is, except for the fact that things fall down? Is God going to talk about the Earth being formed and developed over millions—nay, billions—of years for a people who wouldn’t have any conception of numbers that large?

The answer is no.

We are expected by God to have the intelligence to realize that the Bible was written for a certain group at a certain time. The spiritual things hold true age to age to age. But the explanations and descriptions were dumbed down, people.

A lot of the nit-picky laws the early Hebrews had to follow were an example of this, I think. Why all the dietary laws? Well, part of it was probably just to give them some silly rules as part of the overall plan of letting them know they they’re human and needed divine intervention, because they wouldn’t follow even simple instructions from an almighty God. But the other part was to protect their health. No refrigeration, folks. Cross-contamination. Microbes. But they couldn’t possibly conceive of microbes in that day and age. So, it’s easier, for the sake of preserving the Chosen People, for God to say, “Don’t eat this shit.” Some of the other hygienic laws, too, probably came from a similar place.

I already feel weird enough trying to make sure people know I didn’t stick my head up my anal sphincter when I hang out at places where agnostic and atheistics intellectual folks go. I take the ribbing (and even the hostility, most of the time) with good humor. I comment on the ridiculousness of some of my Christian brethren too.

But damn it, there are a lot of you out there who are ignorant and don’t think, and you act like science textbooks are anti-God, and I’m sick to fucking death of it. Use those brains that God gave you. Realize that the Bible is essentially true but that doesn’t mean you have to believe the world was created in six days and that Adam and Eve had a pet stegosaurus.

Trying to bridge the spiritual and intellectual and providing some thoughts as to how things really might have happened in early creation and early human history is part of why I started this blog. But it disheartens me that so many people who share my faith won’t use their heads to see that there are deeper and more complex theories and possibilities to explain why the world looks one way when the Bible says something else.

But there are too many ignorant folks out there who won’t think and, frankly, you are making it harder for those of us who do try to be more than just “sheeple.” You make it hard for us to be taken seriously by non-believers. More than that, by making us all look like fools, you reduce the chances that we will lead non-believers to Jesus. So, in short, you wallow in ignorance by saying “Well, the pastor says” or “Evolution is bunk” and you inhibit your ability to do the one thing Jesus told you to do: Spread the gospel.

Trying to spread the gospel in 2,000-year-old to 7,000-year-old terms to a modern world is foolishness.

The sad thing though, is this: Everything I just said is probably not even worth saying, because the people who are truly wallowing in ignorance and hiding behind the Bible like this are highly unlikely to be reading my stuff to begin with.



Acts of the Hummus Idol, Late September Bonus

Too much is happening right now in the world for me to wait until October for my next Q&A, both because of activities on the physical plane, where the U.S. presidential candidates are waging a war for the souls of the trailer park residents, rednecks and resentful Hillary Clinton supporters…and on the spiritual plane, where I recently won handily in a poker tournament against Thor, Osiris, Loki and that pansy-ass Dionysus (who brought fucking white zinfandel wine to the game, by the way). In short, I’m feeling my oats…well, my chickpeas anyway…and my inbox is bursting with questions from you miserable humans, so I might as well clear a couple of you off my olive-oil-smeared plate.

I, the great and powerful Hummus Idol, will now entertain your questions and grant unto you the wisdom that only a pile of very angry crushed chickpeas, tahini, olive oil and other seasonings can offer. Don’t let the smiling face fool you. I am a fridge-cold killah. Bow down before me, speak your question, and incline your ears or any other convenient part of your anatomy as I spew my advice upon thee.

Q: You miserable fucking traitor! I will see you ground up into an even finer mash than you currently are. I sold my soul to you for the vice presidency and I look like an idiot out there! Why aren’t you whispering answers into my ear? I got owned by Katie Couric, for God’s sake! Not only has George Will turned on me, but now that bitch from the National Review! The conservatives are supposed to looooove me. I believe the Earth is only 7,000 years old and I have said I expect the second coming of Christ to occur in my lifetime! I support drilling my state harder than Ron Jeremy did his leading ladies in porn movies. But I don’t know shit. I need your voice in my ears. Where are you…where are you? Damn it, please help already… – Miss Congeniality, Juneau, Alaska.

A: First off, Sarah, while you did indeed sell your soul to me for your current high profile role, let me point out two things.

First, you have recently aligned yourself with that fetish-whore Sister Mary Malcontent, as I noticed the other day. Instead of having faith in my powers alone, supercharged as they are with the tahini of the gods, you decided to hedge your bets by stooping to the use of sexual wiles to keep McCain from dropping your ass. By seeking the carnal talents and dominance training of Sister Mary, you have forsaken me. For reasons you need not be privy to, there is nothing but enmity between me and the bad sister. No extra help for you from me, you wannabe-fascist, extremist, hypocritical, shallow, opportunistic, book-banning wench.

Second, I never promised I’d get you elected. When you had that nutcake witch-hunting Pastor Muthee pray for your financial and political success instead of for wisdom or clear leadership, God turned His back on you. That’s why you had to turn to me. You sold your soul for the most powerful position currently open to someone of your talents in the United States. And that was the vice presidential candidate slot for the Republicans. Candidate. Not victor. You’re on your own now, toots. Next time you sell your soul, be more specific and have someone other than your himbo husband review the contract. Oh, that’s right, you only have one soul to sell, so there won’t be a next time. Ha hah ah hah ha ha haaaaa.

Q: Whazzat! Where’s am I? Who! Get me my Viagra, you cunt! Damn young uppity whipper-snapper negro! Straight talk express, dammit! Horseshit! – An Old Fart in Arizona.

A: Go back to sleep, Senator McCain. A private nurse will be along shortly with your meds.

Q: I just can’t vote for Barack Obama. I mean, shit, he has the same middle name as Saddam’s last name and his first and last names are so…so…African or Islam or something. He must be Muslim. And all Muslims hate America. He’ll aim all our nukes at our own cities and push the button as soon as his ass gets in the Oval Office. – Charles Dahmer Gacy, Crapshoot, Nev.

A: Uh, Chuck…if you want to cast stones at someone simply because of the name their parents gave them instead of the evidence, let me mention a few to you: Charles Manson. Jeffrey Dahmer. John Wayne Gacy. All of them psychotic killers. I’ve notified the FBI of your address, since you clearly must be just like them.

Q: Hummus Idol! I just saw Jesus’ face in my oatmeal! And last week, the Virgin Mary’s face was burned into one of my pancakes! What is God trying to tell me? – Gretchen Pablum, St. Oilstain, Texas

A: I’ll have Senator McCain’s private nurse drop by your place with some medications that will help you with that problem of yours.

Q: I really like hanging out at atheist discussion groups and blogs online and telling them of Jesus’ love for them because I know if I tell them enough times and I just keep at them, I will save their souls. Aren’t I special? And when I finish college, I plan to become a door-to-door evangelist in my spare time after work. – Arthur J. Brickwall, Shriner Heights, Ohio

A: Yes. Commendable. Yeah. Let me provide some career advice and offer you up some jobs that are well-suited to your personality: alcohol distribution manager to Mormon communes, ice salesman in the Arctic Circle, intelligence analyst for the CIA, or animal testing and fur-coat industry liaison to PeTA.

(Image by Stewart Butterfield, who is not affiliated with this blog and who doesn’t even know I or my opinions exist, and used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License)

(Hummus Idol does not speak as a representative or agent of Deacon Blue or anyone else associated with this blog. In fact, Hummus Idol doesn’t exist. He is wholly and completely a manufactured character that acts as an angry facade behind which Deacon Blue can hide for petty entertainment purposes and for times when he needs to be extra crusty and get shit off his chest. That said, you can feel free to shower the Hummus Idol with offerings of jewelry, money or fine art…he will make sure it goes someplace where it is needed.) View complete list of Humus Idol entries here.


Ole Blue Eyes by Miz Pink

Nope. I ain’t talkin’ ’bout Frank Sinatra. But I’m sure y’all guessed that from the photo. I mean Paul Newman. I’m not much of a celebrity-phile kinda gal but Paul Newman was something special.

Sure  he had a failed first marriage. But so did I and what makes me love about Paul Newman was that he was married to Joanne Woodward for 50 year. Fifty. Five-oh. That’s uncommon enough in normal life, much less in celebrity circles. I don’t even hold that steak comment against him. A lotta lot ‘o year ago, he did an interview with Playboy and when asked if he ever cheated on his wife, he said, “Why would I go out for hamburger when I have steak at home?” Feminists slammed him for refering to his wife as meat while missing the big picture. He adored her and valued her.

He also founded Newman’s Own which aside from bringing us some darn fine food on the store shelves also supported charity interests and that means a lot.

He also raced cars, and even though he didn’t do it in my beloved NASCAR class of racing he’s still aces in my book. I woulda left Sir Pink for a couple nights if Paul had beckoned, even at 83 years old. I’m sorry Joanne, but I won’t lie.

Sexy. Smart. Devoted. Talented. Politically involved. And that’s just a few. I don’t know what he did religiously  (having one each of a Jewish and Catholic parent), but spiritually he walked the walk, and it showed in his demeanor, his actions and his legacy.

Miss ya, Paul…


And Now, a Word from Sister Mary

Good day, I am Sister Mary Malcontent, a member of the Merciless Order of the Riding Crop and headmistress at the Marquis de Sade Academy of Secondary Learning. As some of you may already know, I have had a hand (wielding a hickory switch at the time, as it happens) in helping Deacon Blue to draft some of his official discussions on matters sexual (see the Porn Again Threat Assessment and Whips and Chains and Gags…Oh My).

It has come to my attention, particularly as the porn again threat assessment system (patent pending) gains broader appeal, that there may not only be types of pornography that you are concerned about but, indeed, methods of sexual intercourse itself that you may worry blur the line between acceptable and forbidden. And, while I am quite…liberal…in my views on what is acceptable, it is certainly true that there must be social and sexual order, and my sisters and I are here to enforce that. Rigidly.

The good deacon is a bit…tied up at the moment…not that I had anything to do with arranging that…and I thought I might take time during his enforced absence to apply some of the ratings of the porn threat assessment table to some areas of sex that might cause you concern with regard to just how immoral they may be. So, without further ado…what the hell?

(Sound of a chain crashing to the floor and the squeak of door hinges.)

Halt, senator! On your knees, you craven dog. Now, now, johnny-boy…We are not finished with your session. That’s right, worm, slip that cuff back on your ankle and return to kissing the toes of your running mate. Get that smug grin off your lips, sarah-girl. I’ll be signing my name in red across your ass with my malacca cane in a few minutes.

Where was I?

Oh, yes, questionable sexual acts and their level of threat to society and to your possible standing as a human being. Well, such as you are, anyway. You’ll never be as fully realized in your humanity as I am, no matter how much I purify you with hot wax and floggings. Note that I will only be covering questionable areas. Pasttimes that involve children and animals are completely outside the realm of decency, as is permanent scarring or overt assault, unless those latter two are performed against certain of my rivals, whose names I can provide to you upon request.

Biblioerotica: I am hereby coining this term, and if you should hear anyone else use it, notify me so that I may extract royalty payments in the form of cash or physical pain. While I am highly educated and know that this term should probably apply to sexually charged writings and/or sex with books, I will instead use it to refer to “naughty librarian sex.” As my research thalls have noted that sexy librarian outfits are sold out at all the costume company web sites they visited—and given that the current Republican vice presidential nominee presently nuzzling my thigh has been said to cultivate the “naughty librarian” look—I suspect that many people between now and Halloween will be getting sweaty with thoughts of musty bookshelves on their minds. I shudder to think what kinds of stains will be found in the reference sections as a result of little sarah-girl. In any case, this is an annoying but harmless area, and I can rate it no worse than threat level Goldenrod.

Puppet Sex: I was alerted to this by certain of my clientele and student bodies who have attended the Broadway show Avenue Q. Aside from this show, I am aware of no other notable puppet sex activities outside of some parody-oriented YouTube videos on sock puppet sex. While no one that I know of is seriously considering any of this as porn or as a true sexual diversion, I know how perverted the public really is and I realize that is probably only a matter of time before people are leaving bodily fluids all over puppets in  pay-per-view, webcam or specialty fetish videos. You are a sick collection out there, and you all deserve a severe beating, from someone less important than me. While this isn’t truly an area of sexual endevaor yet, I am forced to give it a rating of Scarlet for infringing too closely to childhood-related areas. If you participate in “fuzzy sex,” which really is a fetish area and involves people dressing up in cartoon-character-style or cartoonish animal costumes and going at it like, well, cartoon bunnies, I must likewise classify you as Scarlet with possible Tan tendencies. Even I have respect for the children’s cartoon and children’s television community.

Cake Farting: Ever since the Deacon mentioned this activity in a post after seeing a post about it at Ephphatha, I have, frankly, been horrified—at the inane nature of such a fetish, the waste of perfectly good desserts and the idea that anyone would be capable of achieving erection while enshrouded by a cloud of flatulence (or even imaging in in their mind). This activity does no harm to society but because I am judgmental and proud of being so, I classify all practitioners of it as threat level Red.

(Sound of breaking glass.)

Hmmmm…that sounded like it came from Deacon Blue’s cell. He must have slipped his knots. johnny-boy and the Deacon in the same day? I smell treachery on the part of one of my thralls. Oh, well, good slaves are so hard to find these days. Pardon me, as I must release the hounds and return to my regular duties.


Cleansed by Fire, Part 17

For the previous installment of this story, click here

Or, visit the Cleansed By Fire portal page for comprehensive links to previous chapter installments and additional backstory and information about the novel.

Cleansed by Fire

Chapter 4, Requiem’s Eve

Harry had checked in long before him at the hotel lobby, but had stepped out with his “new bird,” whom Daniel was surprised that Harry had actually brought along after all. Not that there was much risk at the moment for Harry or her, of course. By the time Daniel was noticed missing, his cousin would be gone too, back to the safety of Britannia, Gaul or France. Of course, the chances were decent the Vatican might connect the dots, so Harry wouldn’t be able to step foot in any of the Catholic Union’s many fine vacation spots safely for some time.

So Daniel reclined in a luxuriously supple gripcouch in the solarium at the Glitterati Casino, content to let Harry enjoy himself before getting to the work of arranging for Daniel’s early retirement and flight from all things Vatican-related for, ideally, the rest of his life.

Daniel switched from his music library to a news feed on his vox, and listened with rapt attention to a report that Ghirisksthan had just invaded neighboring Bulgaria with, apparently, a small army of heavily armed and armored meat puppets and a slightly smaller army of norms in its wake.

Damned cowardly way to wage war, using meat puppets, he thought. Damn expensive, too.

But there was ruthless praticality to such tactics, he admitted to himself, if you had the cash on hand to finance it. Bodies grown to exact specifications, sliptrans-piloted by elite soldiers who were safely in command centers and stood only a one-in-three chance of dying if their meat puppets took a killshot. It was going to mean a shite-load of international outrage, though, given that meat puppets were either altogether outlawed or highly regulated and almost never used in just about every nation on the planet. But the Ascendency of Ghirisksthan had never been known for giving a piker’s ass about what other nations considered ethical.

In the end, it mattered little to Daniel. Most of Europa will be between me and Bulgaria or Ghirisksthan, and soon an entire ocean between me and the Godhead. The only thought that disturbed him was that he had no idea how much space would separate him from the Godhead’s child, nor whether he should be worried about that fact.


After he left Ghost’s atrium, Gregory put his “Peteris hat” on again and slogged through two policy meetings; endured a grip-and-grin with Mars’ new Secretary of Social Welfare, who was boring to the point that Gregory wanted to check his pulse; and enjoyed an all-too-brief linkpad call with his middle daughter Isis, who was fretting with worry over her mother’s as-yet-unknown status even as she was giddy with news that she was officially pregnant with her first child. 

The announcement that he would be a grandfather again quelled some of the rumblings in his gut over his next meeting, which would be with Domina xec-Academie. Giving her asylum had granted her certain rights—even if full freedom of movement wasn’t one of them—and now that she was settled, he would be on her turf when he entered her apartments. That the floors were owned by the UFC meant little; the subtle psychology of occupation meant that she would have the upper hand in this, their first post-asylum meeting. He had considered conducting the meeting in his office, but wondered if Domina might be more likely to let something important slip if she was confident she controlled the environment—and thus more comfortable.

Enroute to Candlestand 33 in a tubecar, Gregory’s linkpad chimed, and the avatar on the viewer was Ghost’s.

“Yes?” he answered.

“Gregory, are you ready for the first-fruits of my vast investigative skills?”

“Give me the dump, my dear.”

“Pope Tommis of the Red Orders was engaged in a pet project to author the definitive biography of his hero and sometime-mentor, the White Pope Kuang-Hsu. Aside from—presumably—Domina xec-Academie, it seemed to be his only true passion in recent years.”

The name stopped Gregory cold. Pope Kuang-Hsu held a special place in infamy, if only by association. A talented biochemist and geneticist before his rise to the papacy of the White Orders, he had designed the nano-attenuated gene-binding virus that had devastated the Muslim world, and a good chunk of the non-Muslim Arab population as well. As originally designed, it was intended to be used in conjunction with a possible military campaign to incapacitate those with genetic markers common to Arabs. Plans had gone back and forth for years about possibly releasing it widely in the Middle East, to which the Muslims had, for the most part, retreated and remained after the Conflagration. Not surprisingly, since even now a huge portion of the population blamed them for that near-destruction of civilization.

Pope Kuang-Hsu never did release that virus as part of the Renewal Crusades against the Muslims, but some overachieving and highly militant folks in the Vatican got hold of the virus and modified it to kill. The end result was that by the time the airborne version of the virus self-terminated as part of the nano-attenuation safeguards, More than 90% of the Arabs in the Middle East, whether Muslim or not, were infected, and quite a few others worldwide. Three-quarters of them died within days of infection, and the rest were effectively rendered infertile, as the virus killed men’s sperm and women passed the virus on to their fetuses, leading to miscarriage.

The Arab race itself was still of a formidable size, but because the Muslims had been concentrated in one region, the Final Crusade waged by a rogue Vatican black ops team had crippled that religious subgroup by denying them the ability to reproduce. Now, 80 years later, they were still limping toward reconstruction, zealously guarding the few fertile members of their decimated ranks, wrestling with ethical issues around whether to research mass cloning options, and trying to covert people en masse to Islam.

But that still doesn’t explain why Ghost found it so important to share this information with me.

“Help me out here, Ghost,” he said. “What am I missing?”

“Nothing you would have reason to know. In fact, it took me a while to find an AI in the know who could tell me why it mattered. When Kuang-Hsu was assassinated, it was just a few days before his cognos was to be uploaded to the Godhead.”

Just like Tommis, Gregory realized.

“And Domina?”

“Worked closely with Tommis on that project. As closely as she worked him over in the bedroom, I imagine,” Ghost said.

He still didn’t know what it all meant or how it tied together. But at least he now had a weapon he could bring with him when he entered Domina’s apartment.

(To read part 18 of this story, click here)


They Call Me Chickenshit McCain

I’m not even going to put up a front on this post. I’m not pretending there’s any spiritual angle here. I’m not trying to get one iota of religion in this one. I simply need to spew.

If there are any readers of this blog out there who genuinely support John McCain for president, I implore you to tell me how, after today, you can have any respect for this man. Look, I don’t care if you tell me you just hate Barack Obama’s political stands and you’d rather have the reek of McCain because it’s more comfortable to you.

Just don’t freakin’ tell me you have any respect for McCain anymore. Lord knows, George Will sure doesn’t, and he’s as conservative as they come, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if he might swallow his own tongue if a black democrat became president. Now he’s almost tacitly supporting Obama simply because he’s ripping John McCain a fresh new sphincter.

Not only has McCain flip-flopped on multiple issues with sometimes mere days (or even hours) between one stand and the opposite one that he now insists he always believed in, not only did he pick his running mate virtually sight unseen and fail to vet her, not only has he used dirty and deceitful tactics in his campaign commercials…but now he had to take a break from campaigning because things are too crazy right now?


At a time when we desperately need to know how our presidential candidates stand and what they plan to do, McCain wants to put off the presidential debates (which, conveniently, would force the vice presidential debates back, too, likely meaning that Sarah Palin would never had to do one before the election). He expects people to believe that in the next couple weeks, if he works really hard and Obama stops campaigning too and joins him, they and the rest of the government can solve the anal reaming that we’re getting in our economy thanks to eight years of total ineptitude. Just like that.

Poor Johnny Boy can’t juggle too many things at once. Oh, and he also called off his appearance with David Letterman, too, phoning him to say he just had to run off to Washington, D.C., instead. Yet he didn’t leave town, but instead stayed in New York and did an interview with Katie Couric, someone desperate to hold onto her own job and probably eager just to have him on her set, and thus perhaps less likely than Letterman to skewer him on the air like a well-cooked hunk of kabob meat.

So, McCain can’t multitask, he lies to get out of an interview, and he wants to protect the woman who would be second in line for president if he wins from the media and from debating her democratic VP opponent…and we’re supposed to trust this man with our country?

Really, once again, any die-hard McCain supporters. Please tell me, if you still respect this guy and trust him…

…what kind of drugs are you taking and where can I get some?


New Look

No big surprise unless you’re a new visitor that I just changed the look of the blog. Let me know what you think of the new look compared to the old one.

Also, have the usual pair of Two-fer Tuesday posts today and part 2 of my “F-Word” discussion, which were posted earlier today.

Tomorrow will likely see another installment of my Cleansed By Fire novel.

Update – 09-24-2008

OK, scratch the new look. I like a lot of things about it, but some things I’m seeing now don’t please me too much, and too many posts have been designed around this format and color scheme to go back and fix ’em.

Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley


Jeff Bouley

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September 2008

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