October 24th, 2007

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The end of the matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride (Ecclesiastes)

Well, I just finished A.J. Jacobs' book The Year of Living Biblically and I'm not sure exactly what I feel about it. I liked the book overall and read for entertainment it was great. I'm just not sure if I expected something more out of it and if so, whether I got it.

Overall, it's very similar to his previous book, The Know It All, in style and content. Someone commented over at Amazon that the book is more like a blog than anything else. It basically consists of chapters seperated based on month and then each section within is about one particular day wherein he tries to follow the bible, similar to when he seperated his last book based on Britanicca volumes. Since it's a memoir, many of the characters are retreads. He, of course, stars as the not-so-mildly neurotic guy at the center of the project, and we once again meet his long-suffering wife who is sketched in very sympathetic terms as she tries to deal with what might almost be considered an extended bout of insanity. Into the mix are drawn various family members and friends, as well as a whole host of spiritual experts that function as some sort of religious hotline to be used in times of need.

First and foremost, the book is incredibly entertaining. It's hard to imagine that it wouldn't be considering that the premise is for someone neuroticly OCD to follow every rule in the bible as literally as possible. Right from the start he stops shaving, eventually turning into an ambulatory hedge, attaches tassles to all his clothing, only wears white clothing, and refuses to touch women because they might be impure having just menstruated recently. Hijinx ensue.

On the otherhand, Jacobs actually makes quite an effort to actually go out and mix with the various religious groups. He could have easily just stayed in NYC and milked the local angles, but ends up going to Jeruselum, as well as visiting the Amish, snake handlers, and Jerry Falwel's church. He ends up going to lengths that most people could and would have avoided. Considering the sheer number of biblical rules out there, he probably could have avoided tithing 10% of his income without anyone really batting an eye. Paying a hundred dollars to swipe a pidgeon egg in order to fulfill some obscure hsidic ritual could also be considered overkill. In the end, a lot of the focus was on the weird rather than any real spiritual journey. He even acquires a slave (unpaid intern) and proceeds to list just how severely he could beat him based on biblical rules.

I guess in the end, if for entetainment, the book is a winner. As long as you're not really looking for some sort of epiphany moment or anything much deeper. Even in those moments where he seems to find something more in his biblical exercise, he's quick toa jerk himself back as if almost embarassed to have let us see him strting to slip from a completely logical (and superior) agnosticism.

On the plus side, the book is filled with all sortsa interesting little facts that might come in handy one day if I ever become a contestant on a quiz show and see a bible category. I've only tried to read the bible once in my life and got flummoxed by the near endless pages of begat's. I tossed it aside and I've never gone back since. I think I might even have a book of mormon somewhere in the garage after a couple of runins with missionaries around a decade ago. It's sad but the most interesting fact that has stuck with me so far is that 'tarnation' is actually a bastardization of 'eternal damnation'. And all this time I thought it was just some nonesence spouted by Yosemite Sam.
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Things have been pretty blah over the past couple of days and I'm not sure exactly why. More than anything else, it's probably just the normal cycle I tend to get hitting another peak. I've increased the dose of codeine but it hasn't resulted in any positive effects yet. I'm just generally McGimpy.

The sleep disturbance is getting more obnoxious too and I've been using the time to get some reading done. I finished Jacobs' book in less than a day and I've already started on Until Proven Innocent. After that, I've got a bunch of books that I bought years ago and never got around to finishing. When you mostly read books that come in a series format, it's easy to get waylaid halfway through or buy a couple of the beginning books but never follow through on it. It seems a huge waste to just have them sitting around never read after I went through the cost of buying them.

Other than that, there's nothing all that interesting. Two halloween parties on saturday and then Ubercon the week after. I'm not exactly looking forward to any of it. It's hard to view events as anything other than a burden when you feel like crap. I might end up missing the parties but I'm pretty much locked into Ubercon. I agreed to run events there and I could hardly reneg on that now. Hopefully things will be better in a week or so.
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Satanic Cat Watch: Day 1541

Who hates a shaved pussy? Hmmmm, maybe....SATAN?

SWANVILLE (Oct 23): Maine State Police are attempting to locate a 22-year-old Swanville man who fled into the woods near the Stevens Road on Monday afternoon after allegedly choking his sister.

Trooper Luke Cunningham said Nicholas Palmer, who is believed to have a cut hand from the skirmish, is wanted for questioning.

Four troopers and two K-9s searched the area from about 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday, but did not locate Palmer.

Cunningham said he was dispatched to the home when Palmer's 18-year-old sister called 911 to report that her brother was choking her. The siblings allegedly had fought about whether their cat, which had fleas, should be shaved.

According to Cunningham, Palmer was reportedly trying to cut the cord of an electric razor that his sister was using to shave the cat when she kicked him, and he sliced his hand with the knife he was holding.

Cunningham said Palmer allegedly then began to choke his sister, at which time she called police. Palmer reportedly broke his sister's cell phone and then ran into the woods.

I'm guessing this might be a good example of cats exerting demonic mind control abilities over their human slaves. No doubt the Hellbeast (codename: Mittens or some such) took control of the sappy brother in an attempt to avoid being shaved. It's a well-known fact that shaved cats are hilarious looking and we rob them of a little of their power whenever they become the object of ridicule.

See what I mean?