Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time

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Meaty Mormons

I present this for whatever it is worth in the ongoing chronicles of religious history and ecumenicism.

It’s either a blow to orthodoxy and propriety, or it’s a wake-up call for tolerance and common sense. It’s Mormons Exposed, a pin-up calendar of gorgeous Mormon missionaries.

Boy Grows Up: Meaty Mormons

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Condomizing Jesse Helms’ House

Condomizing Jesse Helms’ House – Yahoo! News

In the summer of 1991, we were sharing a house in the Fire Island Pines, along with Kevin Sessums, the journalist and writer who was then Staley’s boyfriend, and several others. Sessums was a close friend of mogul David Geffen, who was also on the island that summer.

One day shortly after Staley began planning the action, Geffen walked up to Staley on the beach and pressed a wad of $100 bills into his hand. It totaled $3,000. “Be careful” Geffen advised. Then Geffen made Staley promise not to divulge Geffen’s role in financing the action.

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Atheists are Snobs

My only real issue with Religion (and ultimately, it’s a fairly small issue) is that it teaches people to be good for all the wrong reasons. Whether it’s the fear of a vengeful God and eternal life spent in the flames of Hell or the possibility of winning a ticket into Heaven accompanied by a boat load of virgins, people are still behaving well to escape punishment or to win everlasting life.

Ideally, people would be good because it’s the right thing to do.

Atheists are Snobs – Violent Acres

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Sexpelled: No Intercourse Allowed

Anticipating success with their feature film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, Producers Mark Mathis, Logan Craft and Walt Ruloff have already leaked a teaser trailer for the film’s sequel. Their “teach the controversy” slogan seemed to work well in getting the general public to believe that Intelligent Design is a viable alternative scientific theory to Evolution, so the team has moved on to promoting other theories that they feel are being suppressed by the scientific community. Sexpelled: No Intercourse Allowed tells of how Sex Theory has thrived unchallenged in the ivory towers of academia, as the explanation for how new babies are created. Proponents of Stork Theory claim that “Big Sex” has been suppressing their claim that babies are delivered by storks. Furthermore, Stork Theory proponents warn of the serious moral dangers posed by teaching children that sex has a function. They point out that evil dictators such as Hitler, Stalin and Mao all believed in Sex Theory, and they may have even had sex themselves.

There is also a late-breaking new development in the controversy, a new theory called Avian Transportation Theory.

Unlike the original Stork Theory, the modern, sophisticated “Avian Transportation Theory” (ATT) merely points out that there are gaps in the orthodox Sex Theory, and that current sonogram imaging is unreliable. Moreover ATT does not specify that babies are necessarily brought by storks but by “large birds unspecified” (although many individual ATT theorists PRIVATELY believe it is a stork). WATCH

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It Is What It Is

The expression “It is what it is” has become common in Western speech and writing, to the point of being trite. Even Dilbert has joined the party. It is the kind of phrase that’s easy to throw into a discussion in which we’re not especially interested or do not want to become intellectually involved, while still seeming to be engaged, rather like the “Oh, well,” said with rising inflection, that we might have tossed out back in the eighties.

That is an interesting, if mostly accidental, evolution of shallow thought, because, when we get right down to it, it is pretty much the ultimate answer (after 42, of course). Continue reading

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Chronic PTSD

Hargeisa — Abdillahi Abdi has stripped naked and set his clothes and bedding alight. His shouts ring out across the courtyard of Hargeisa Hospital’s mental health unit, where patients doze on foam mattresses in the afternoon sun. They barely stir as orderlies douse the flames. Abdi has learned there’s a doctor visiting the ward, and he wants him to know the CIA has bugged the place. When the doctor in question crosses the string of rag-piled beds to the smoking cell, the other patients rise and shuffle over: this, now, is something new.

“Ah-ah-s-s-salaam aleikum!” Stuttering and smeared with ash, Abdi shakes the doctor’s hand. Like most patients here, he has never met a psychiatrist.

The Walrus — Chronic PTSD

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“I must say, I’m a little envious. If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed.

“It must be exciting for you … in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger. You’re really making history, and thanks.”

The Commander in Chief, George Walker (Little George) Bush, speaking to troops in Afghanistan

Well, I suppose it’s understandable that he would feel that way. After all, he was cheated of his chance to experience Vietnam by his duty to go be a “fighter pilot” in the Texas Air Force, or whatever it was, flying obsolete jets and helping politicians in his spare time. I understand he actually accumulated more than 200 hours of flying time! Just gritted his teeth and did his duty, like Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rove. Whattaguy!

Are you Republicans feeling the love? Still glad your guy got in? Tell the truth, now.

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Cell Phone Symphony, by Improv Everywhere

Last Spring I received an email from someone who had heard about us on This American Life. He wrote:

There’s a scene I’ve been wanting to pull off, but I don’t have the manpower. Feel like helping?

This is the gist: you know The Strand? (I work there). Know the bag check? As you can imagine, with all those bags and coats and things, people leave their cell phones with the guy. Occasionally they go off.

What I’m thinking is, you get a group of people, thirty or so, who all come into the shop and check their bags with their phones in ‘em. At some later point, every single phone checked into the bag check starts to ring at the same time. It’d be bedlam.

Like to help?

Cell Phone Symphony at Improv Everywhere


Anatomy of a Bodhi Seed

Let us say your very dear friend and teacher returns from a pilgrimage to Bodh Gaya with a wonderful gift — an antique mala — of bodhi seed. You would be very pleased, perhaps, (although remaining unattached, of course). Let us say that later on the cord breaks and that you decide, before restringing, that the seeds are very dry despite occasional soakings and that, since they have long since lost their distinctive odor anyway, you can best rejuvenate them by applying lemon oil.Should something similar occur in your trip(ping) down the Dharma road, here are a couple of things you need to know.