Sunday Sermon

Please answer the following four questions:
(Make a reasonable attempt to answer before clicking on the "Correct Answer" link for each question)
1. How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator?
Correct Answer

2. How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator?
Correct Answer

3. The Lion King is hosting an animal conference. All the
animals attend except one. Which animal does not attend?
Correct Answer

4. There is a river you must cross but it is inhabited by crocodiles. How do you manage it?
Correct Answer

The simplest answers are often the best. By the time most of us reach adulhood we have accepted the idea that complexity is a necessary evil. Even the 14,000 year-old technology of the returning boomerangs that the Flock enjoys each Sunday is now explained and demysitfied by equations calculating lift, drag, and gyroscopic precession.

The Aborigine who first made a hunting kylie come back didn't know about Calculus. He just noticed one day that a larger hook on his hunting stick made it curve a bit in flight. He noticed that a bit of sanding in one spot made it fly higher, and somewhere else made it fly lower. He tried different things until he got one to come around. Simply put, he paid attention.

It's something we don't really know how to do today. Zeus and I went to the field last week armed with sheets of instructions on how to tune our MTAs, but the best way was to simply pay attention to what was happening. I thought about making a list of tuning instructions for others in the Flock who might want to get MTAs for themselves, but then I realized it would look like this:

1) Throw boomerang.
2) Pay Attention to the boomerang.
3) Twist boomerang.
Repeat steps 1-3 until flight is satisfactory.

So, this is an invitation to everyone to spend some time this week paying attention, just looking for the simplest answer. To EVERYthing.

Go in Peace.

P.S. Check out the Blessed Blogs - there are several new ones...

What's Your Number?

The Kinsey Scale was a major breakthrough in the 1940s - today we're just going to use it as a party game...

I know it's nosey and politically incorrect, but I don't care. I'm calling on all members of the Flock (if you're reading this, you're a member): put a number to your kink*.

The Scale
0 - exclusively heterosexual
1 - predominantly heterosexual, incidentally homosexual
2 - predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual
3 - equally heterosexual and homosexual
4 - predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual
5 - predominantly homosexual, incidentally heterosexual
6 - exclusively homosexual

Remember that it's not just actual sexual activites that count - fantasies, dreams, thoughts, and emotional feelings are to be included in this assessment. Commonly, those who identify themselves as heterosexual score anywhere between 0 and 3, while those who consider themselves homosexuals may score between 3 and 6. Decimals are allowed.

Gremlin here rates herself as a 1.5, mostly because she likes to lick herself and fantasize that it's Lassie doing it...

Bill likes tinkering with motors and he says he's seriously into leather - he's a 4.7 and currently single.

Now it's your turn - don't be a chicken! No matter how you rate yourself, we'll still love you. In fact, some of us might love you even more, if you get my drift...

I'll go first: I'm a 1 (I'm not a zero primarily because of a deep-seated love of show tunes and Jim's insistence on command performances of my patented "Predator growl." Oh yeah - and that one drunken evening in 1983...)

*For amusement purposes only. Please, no wagering.

Questions of Faith, Part X

Here to give us a slightly different look at Islam is Ayesha. As always, feel free to post your questions here in the comments section.

What faith do you espouse?
I am of the religion known as Islam.

Who was the founder of your faith? When did he/she live?
The founder of our faith is Prophet Muhammed and he was born in 572 CE (I believe).

What are the sacred texts of your faith?>
The Koran.

What is the central teaching of your faith?>
The Koran is what we go by and also Hadiths (stories of the prophet).

How does your faith define sin? What are the major sins?
We don't take sins very lightly. A sin is a really bad thing that you have done. The major sins are having sex before marriage, drinking, eating pork or any pork product, and killing a person intentionally. Usually when you make the pilgrimage to Mecca for Hajj or for Umra (the mini-Hajj), by the time you are done, you are just like a new born baby so any sin that you did in the past will be forgiven. Now, if you do the Umra and/or Hajj and then you do the same sins over and over again, then that means that you are going to be sentenced to hell.

Roughly how many adherents does your faith have?
Worldwide, I believe that there are 1.2 billion Muslims and we are still growing.

What does your faith teach about the afterlife? Is there heaven, and how do you get there?>
We do have an afterlife. Basically, we believe that our stay on earth is only temporary and the afterlife is for eternity. There is heaven and hell. After you die, you are sent up to God where he will question the things that you have done and if your good outweighs the bad, you go to heaven. If your bad outweigh the good, you go to hell. Heaven is paradise where you are transformed to your youth and you enjoy things like orange trees and date trees and milk rivers, whereas hell is fire and demons and the devil and bears and lions and snakes.

What are the practices of your faith? (Daily, weekly, etc.)
Practices of our faith is praying 5 times a day and also washing and cleansing yourself before each prayer, fasting in the month of Ramadan, reciting that there is no god but Allah and Muhammed is his messenger (the most important thing), paying charity, doing the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in your lifetime. Also reading the Koran is a major practice.

How is your faith organized? Are there priests and bishops and archbishops (oh my!)?>
We don't have priests but we have people called Imams who lead us in prayer. They are very knowledgable about Islam and its practices.

Are there regular services available to you locally? If so, where?>
Yes, at the Islamic Center of Laramie located at the corner of 7th and Garfield.

How did you come to be a believer?>
By birth. My parents are Muslims and they taught me everything.

What do you wish others knew about your faith?
That Islam is a religion of peace and whatever is going on around the world, Muslims are very peaceful people. What happened on September 11th was an act of terrorism by a Muslim group but that doesn't mean that all Muslims are terrorists.


In other news:
Down below there is an update on those Lutino Macaws.

Sunday Sermon
Taming the Golem

I was planning on posting another "Questions of Faith" installment on Islam, but the saga of Zeus and his MTA boomerang continues...

This morning, the Olympian and I met at the 'rang field an hour before the Flock was due to arrive to learn how to throw our new Golem II MTAs. Mine had never been thrown, but the stick Zeus was throwing was the very same deadly implement that nearly took the NerdyGirl from us last week. My list of private nicknames for it included, "Head Hunter," "The Reaper," and "Brain Seeker." Naturally, I was a bit leery of being on the field when this exotic monster was being thrown, but Zeus and I agreed that we had to learn how to tune and throw these things someday.

Plywood MTAs

For those who are not familiar with obscure 'rang slang, MTA stands for "maximum time aloft." These sticks are made very thin, and tuned to garner maximum float time. The event consists of each competitor making 5 throws which are timed from release to catch - if you don't catch, you get a zero for that throw. The score for each player is the total of their best 3 times, and the longest cumulative time wins. The flight of a standard boomerang might last 5-10 seconds, while well-tuned MTAs frequently stay up there for 20-30 seconds. You have time to consider the flight, and walk - not run - to where it is coming down.

Tuning is the arcane science of tweaking a boomerang to get the desired flight characteristics. For MTAs, tuning consists mainly of bending and twisting the arms, while using important-sounding terms like "positive dihedral," and "increased angle of attack" which we only vaguely grasp.

When they are tuned well, they are a thing of beauty; they seem very alive, like some kind of bird looking for a place to land. When they are out of tune, or thrown incorrectly, or the wind shifts, or you don't hold your tongue just right - they come screaming down in a death spiral, swooping wildly back and forth or packing into the ground with a scary thud.

Despite it being quite cold we were getting some good flights. We would each throw, then discuss the next little bit of mangling that we thought our 'rangs needed to stay aloft just a bit longer. Just before the arrival of the rest of the Flock, I was having some good results with "negative dihedral on the tip of the dingle arm" - which basically means bending the short arm downward. Zeus decided to try that with the Head Hunter. He carefully applied downward pressure to the short arm, forcing the thin plywood into a slightly different shape, as we had been doing all morning. Maybe it was the chilly air, or the numerous hard landings that the Reaper had taken earlier that morning - or perhaps it was simply karma - but the tip of the dingle arm snapped off in the Olympian's hand.

No fanfare, no amazingly high throw that breaks itself against the cold earth - just a little snap and a quiet, "Damn." The NerdyGirl wasn't even there to witness the demise of her nemesis.

The break was clean and thus repairable, so the Brain Seeker will fly again, but it will no doubt, be a changed beast. The distribution of weight will be different, the profile of the blade forever slightly changed. I like to think that it will be tamed by it's brush with death - a kinder, gentler, MTA. Perhaps we'll rename it the "Second Chance," "Take Two," or "Resurrection."

Long time readers know that this is the part of the Sermon where I draw some not-so-clever parallel between this anecdote and the spiritual lesson hinted at in the title.

Not today.

This time, you all get to tell me the moral. What does the parable of the MTA mean?

Go in Peace.

Strange Genetic Wonders

Over the centuries, man has selectively bred many animals. Usually, this breeding is undertaken to increase the productivity, tractability, utility, or heartiness of the species. Rarely is it undertaken solely to increase diversity.

Not so with pet birds. In the past few decades, parrot coloration has exploded. Breakthroughs in the breeding of Budgies, Lovebirds, and Cockatiels have yielded literally hundreds of color variations in each of these species. When you are next at PetSmart or PetCo, take a look at the cage filled with Budgies and realize that each member of that rainbow of animated skittles was bred from the plain old green parakeet.

Until fairly recently, this color explosion has been limited to the smallest and fastest breeding species. The larger birds are harder to breed, lay smaller clutches, require much more space, and cost a great deal more per specimen. In the largest species, like Macaws and Cockatoos, sexual maturity may not happen until the bird is six to ten years of age, and even then pairs are sometimes incompatible for unknown reasons. In short, it is quite an investment in time and money to try to create new color strains.

The Macaws that most people are familiar with are like those above - the Blue and Gold and the Greenwing are among the most commonly available in the pet industry (along with the Scarlet). It has become increasingly common to put mixed pairs like the one above together to get hybrid Macaws, but these are not truly new color strains - they are more like mixed-breed dogs, in that they usually retain something of the physical characteristics of each parent. They may or may not breed true (which means their offspring may or may not look like them). Many bird breeders frown on hybridization, as most of these species are dwindling in the wild. Some day, captive birds may be the only examples of these incredible species that remain, and when/if that day arrives we will need pure bloodlines to preserve them.

Below, however, we have a legitimate color strain mutation.

These three-month-old baby Macaws are lutino mutations. The lutino was one of the first mutations to appear in Cockatiels, and it is believed to be the key to many other color possibilitites. The presence of lutino chicks indicates that the male of this breeding pair is a heterozygous "split" to lutino - meaning that the cock carries the sex-linked gene for lutino in the recessive state.

The other good news here is that, as shown above, they keep this coloring in their adult plummage!

Soon, we may be seeing other colors of Macaws. I personally want one that is plaid...

I've since discovered that these birds were born in Texas. There was one female, but she died during a surgery to repair a broken leg. There are now 5 males, and they are all paired with normal color females at this point (the picture above is one such pair). They were originally hatched back in 2000, so they probably won't begin breeding for a while yet (B&Gs mature at around 8-10 years of age), but they have a lengthy reproductive lifespan (up until they are 35 or more) so it is possible that these birds could be the foundation of a new Lutino breeding line!

What did YOU do at work today?

smoked salmon makes a very poor lube
I would imagine so.
dogs can barf at will
Why do you know this?
but they don't like to
bears can barf at will too
and they don't seem to mind it as much
antelope can't look at you with both eyes at the same time
without a mirror
but how often are there mirrors on the prairie?
(they make the Buffalo feel fat)
Did you know that they are actually bison, not buffalo?
Seriously. Need To Lay Off The Crack.
true buffaloes are old world
they get pretty cocky about it too
Yes, actually I learned that in the 3rd grade when we did the mock Oregon trail.
talking smack about how they are "OG" and all that gangsta shit...
Original Gangsta
they form gangs, go around roughing up deer and stuff
shaking them down for their lunch money
making them go to other watering holes for drinks
you know, it's the age old story
you've got a bunch of young males
with no jobs and no hope of finding jobs
just hanging around, producing babies
males producing babies? Young males producing babies? I think you are mistaken my friend.
You know what I mean - they sharpen up their horns, buy some bling bling on Home Shopping Network
next thing you know, they're out there fucking your local farmer's cows
HSN still exists?
creating little mulatto beefaloes with no daddy bull to look up to
tragic, really
dude, you should blog this.

Bigger is Better

The Reverend's new 9.45 meter boomerang being delivered to the International Headquarters of the Ministry

I had hoped this would be the end of the whole size issue, but the Aussies just won't leave well enough alone...

Exact dimensions are unknown, but the guesstimate is around 10 meters. *Edit - just got an Email from Boyd at Jedda Boomerangs that reads, "The Boomerang out the front is 10.5 m wide..."

It has become clear that I need to have the boys down in R&D whip up something truly huge... something more in scale with the Imperial Galactic Throne of the GodPope. Since I'll only be able to throw it in space where there is no atmosphere, I'm leaning toward a kylie (non-returning hunting stick/warclub/percussion instrument/thingy) like these...

All kidding aside, I am thinking of getting one non-returning stick just to round out my collection. Anybody else want to go out and break targets with me?

Sunday Sermon
You Are the Target

The new stick had climbed high, and now was coming down fast. It was in an edge down attitude, which is the worst fear of every boomeranger - this is the kind of landing that tends to break ‘rangs. I have known the feeling of watching a treasured toy crumple on impact - boomerangs, kites, etc. - so I held my breath as if it were one of my own. As it neared the ground, it suddenly pulled up - as unlikely a recovery as any I’ve ever seen in my experience with flying stuff - and leveled off, converting all of that downward momentum into horizontal speed. I used to guess the speed of oncoming traffic for a living, and I’d guess that this ‘rang was doing at least 40mph as it whistled across the bulls eye, about four feet and ten inches off the ground, impossible to catch even if the thrower (Zeus) had been standing in its path.

I know that it was four feet and ten inches off the ground because NerdyGirl the Unbeliever is five feet and one half inch tall, and it hit her squarely in the forehead. There was a crisp, awful slapping sound, followed by a stunned silence.

Aside from a bit of redness and soreness she is ok, but I didn't think that was going to be the case in the seconds after the hit. It was a thin MTA (Golem II), and it hit her so hard it brought tears to my eyes. I was sure there would be blood and a trip to the emergency room, but she had only a red line to indicate where it had hit. The ‘rang survived the impact as well, which I found rather surprising considering the sound it made on impact. Good sport that she is, NG even laughed about it shortly after it happened.

We all get caught off guard sometimes. New boomerang throwers are sometimes told, “remember - you are the target.” Even with that advice, it’s easy to let your concentration slip, lose the ‘rang in the sky, and get popped by it as it comes home.

That's not what happened here. This wasn’t NG’s fault. She was standing in the same area we all stand in while we await our turn to throw. She wasn’t goofing off either - she was paying attention to the ‘rang, as we all were. She even told me that she watched it all the way in.

Nor is Zeus to blame. He let us know he was throwing a new stick for the first time, and he threw with due precautions, from the usual place.

To the scientist, it was a simple case of many variables combining to give an unlikely, but ultimately explainable outcome. To the spiritual man, it had all the makings of an act of God. Since physics is boring, I'll talk about the latter...

Often, through no fault of your own, some crappy thing happens to you or someone you love. Things stun us, frighten us, or sneak up and bite us, and there seems precious little we can do about it. Is the divine just a big prick who laughs about this kind of stuff?

Perhaps - but that needn't keep you from learning something when the shit hits the fan. The lessons here might be simple ones about where to stand and how to adjust for the wind in the future, but there are deeper levels as well - like how to accept physical pain as gracefully as possible, or how to give aid and express concern without smothering the recipient. Whatever the situation, we can take something useful from it.

I hope we all take something useful from this incident as well. Perhaps when the swelling goes down, NG will tell us what she learned...

L to R: Zeus, The Reverend, Squid, NerdyGirl (pre-impact), The Pink Princess

Go in Peace (and remember to duck).

Miraculous Google...

Is there anything that Google can't find for you?

May the Internet be with you.
And also with you.
Let us surf.

I did some very random surfing tonight. I typed in "kangaroos & wallabies" and started clicking on pages. With no further typing, I found everything from Denise Richards covered in chocolate
to Paris Hilton getting busy with Mario, and a lot in between.

Some of the highlights include these instructional photos on the proper use of jewelry:

and this solution for world hunger.

Eventually however, I stumbled onto a movie gossip site:
-Drew Barrymore may be making a remake of Barbarella...
-Charlize Theron is playing the title role in a live-action version of Aeon Flux.
-And once Arnold is done with the governor's mansion, he will be making a remake of the classic killer robot flick, Westworld.

Praised be the Internet.
The Internet's name be praised.


It's been a while since we've had a visit with The Devil's Dictionary. Here are a few entries selected for their applicability to our current academic, spiritual, and political situations...

Something acted upon by magnetism.
Something acting upon a magnet.
The two definitions immediately foregoing are condensed from the works of one thousand eminent scientists, who have illuminated the subject with a great white light, to the inexpressible advancement of human knowledge.

A dead Quaker.

A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made by God for man -- who has no gills.

The doctrine, or belief, that everything is beautiful, including what is ugly, everything good, especially the bad, and everything right that is wrong. It is held with greatest tenacity by those most accustomed to the mischance of falling into adversity, and is most acceptably expounded with the grin that apes a smile. Being a blind faith, it is inaccessible to the light of disproof -- an intellectual disorder, yielding to no treatment but death. It is hereditary, but fortunately not contagious.

A sufficient number of members of a deliberative body to have their own way and their own way of having it. In the United States Senate a quorum consists of the chairman of the Committee on Finance and a messenger from the White House; in the House of Representatives, of the Speaker and the Devil.

VOTE, n.
The instrument and symbol of a freeman's power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.

A wolf that was once, or is sometimes, a man. All werewolves are of evil disposition, having assumed a bestial form to gratify a beastial appetite, but some, transformed by sorcery, are as humane as is consistent with an acquired taste for human flesh.
Some Bavarian peasants having caught a wolf one evening, tied it to a post by the tail and went to bed. The next morning nothing was there! Greatly perplexed, they consulted the local priest, who told them that their captive was undoubtedly a werewolf and had resumed its human form during the night. "The next time that you take a wolf," the good man said, "see that you chain it by the leg, and in the morning you will find there a Lutheran."

(1) Any ugly and repulsive old woman, in a wicked league with the devil. (2) A beautiful and attractive young woman, in wickedness a league beyond the devil.

YEAR, n.
A period of three hundred and sixty-five disappointments.

Ever feel like this?

Sunday Sermon

The Wicked Bible

Back in 1631, when the bible was truly THE book in England, the king (Charles I) ordered 1000 copies from the printhouse of one, Robert Barker. Now Bob was a busy man, so he cut some corners, the way businessmen do, and he let some of the proofreading fall to his employees... who were either careless, or had a wicked sense of humor.

The result was this little gem...

I want one. To wave in the faces of absolutists. A book - ANY book - is a product of man's efforts. If you believe it contains the word of God, that's great, but don't pretend that man didn't mess with it as he wrote it down, or translated it, or typeset it.

So the message of today's sermon is; enjoy your holy book, whatever it might be, but be smart about it. Learn from it, be guided by its examples, but don't allow it to replace your common sense.

Go in Peace.

Questions of Faith, Part IX.V

Wahab's reposnes to our questions were longer than the comments window would allow, so they are posted here. To make it easier to follow, I've reposted the questions here as well.

Question #1 came frome ZEUS
First, thank you for your words. I find this discussion truly facinating.
Have you ever personally been able to make the Hajj? Is the journey or the destination more important?

I had the opportunity to perform Hajj, twice. The journey is more significant than the destination. It is not only a spiritual journey but a discovery journey for brotherhood, fellowship and love. You come back as Christians say, "Born Again" in the real sense of the word. God promises his faithful that once you perform the Hajj you are cleansed from your sins and it is your duty to try to stay clean again from sins and strive to remainn in that Hajj conscience as you live your daily life.

#2, by Linus
Hi Wahab,
Are you a Sunni? If so, which Maddhab do you follow, and why? (Thus far, all the Muslims I have known were Hanafis...)

I am Sunni but I don't adhere to any particular Madhab especially while living in the West. Muslim countries have populations that have tendency to follow a certain Madhab depending where they are located geographically. For example, most of North Africa is Maliki but in recent years with people more open to other Muslim countries and traveling is more easily practiced between countries, people may find themselves attracted to another Madhab or parts of the philosophy and practices, and therefore may pick and choose what suit them best. The most important thing to remember is that these Madahib, in general, have no conflict in the matter of worship, Sharia, Fiqh, Hadiths, etc... The belief and practice structures are very much the same and all based on the five pillars of Islam, Quran, Sunna and the Prophet's Hadiths.

Salaam and best regards.

Feel free to continue adding comments or questions. Also, tune in this Sunday for "The Wicked Bible" - demonstrators are surrounding the International Headquarters of the Ministry as we speak, protesting the heretical content of this sermon (even though I haven't actually written it yet...).

Just when you thought it was safe to return to the Ministry for some mindless entertainment, we bring you...

Questions of Faith, Part IX

Our guest blogger, Wahab, is a lifelong Muslim from Algeria. He works as an instructor at Regis University, where he teaches Islamic history (as well as Statistics and Calculus). As usual, feel free to post your questions in the comments section.

1) What faith do you espouse?
The faith I espouse is Islam.

2)Who was the founder of your faith? When did he/she live?
The founder was Mohamed who came following Jesus approximately 600 years later.

3)What are the sacred texts of your faith?
The main sacred book of Islam is called the Quran, which is also spelled Koran. Then, there is a collection of the sayings of the prophet Mohamed called the “Hadith."

4)What is the central teaching of your faith?
The central teaching of Islam is basically Abrahamic. It teaches us to believe in one Omnipotent, Almighty God. The God of Abraham: the creator of the universe. To believe in the resurrection or judgment day when we all have to respond to our deeds once faced with God. At that time we will enjoin in the companionship of the Almighty God and his beloved prophets and messengers and followers.

5)How does your faith define sin? What are the major sins, and how is one absolved?
A sin is any action or behavior that goes contrary to the teaching of God. The most unforgivable sin is to associate another deity with God. No one/nothing is worthy of worshipping except God. In this instance, the Trinity is a major sin in Islam as it associates a "three-wholeness" with God. Islam speaks of the oneness of God rather than the unity of God. A person is absolved by supplication and asking for forgiveness from God. Only God can grant such forgiveness, without any outside intervention, human or otherwise (no priesthood).

6)Roughly how many adherents does your faith have?
There are approximately 1.3 billion people adhering to Islam worldwide.

7)What does your faith teach about the afterlife? Is there heaven, and how do you get there?
Islam teaches that from dust we come and to dust we shall return and be resurrected on judgment day when all of us shall account for our good and bad deeds. We will join either the company of God in heaven or the company of Satan in the everlasting hell. The bottom line is that it's by the grace of God that we will succeed, not only through our good deeds in this life. It is a check and balance phenomenon where we’re all supposed to do good deeds and avoid mischief and malfeasance.

8)What are the practices of your faith? (Daily, weekly, etc.)
There are basically 5 pillars in Islam that must be reflected on the Muslim person on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis. Muslims are supposed to observe five daily prayers to regulate their daily lives and keep them constantly in touch with God while keeping Satan at bay. They are encouraged to share their wealth and what God has bestowed on them with the poor and needy. In addition, the wealthy in the community are ordered to share a certain percentage of their wealth on a yearly basis, similar to a tax levy. Fasting during the month of Ramadan from sunrise to sunset brings the community wholesomely together during good and bad times. It encourages fellowship and strengthens the bonding between members of the family and community at large. Charity is actively practiced during this holy period of fasting. Finally, the Hajj or pilgrimage to the holy land of Mecca and Medina is prescribed for the wealthy & healthy of the community.

9)How is your faith organized? Are there priests and bishops and archbishops oh my!)?
Islam is practiced by its followers but sponsored by the learned ones in the community. It does not follow a hierarchy of clerics or priests. Each person, mature male or female, is responsible for acquiring the knowledge to be a good practicing Muslim. There are scholars at the disposition of the faithful in order to help them learn the ropes for good practicing and understanding of Islam. Each faithful is wholly responsible for his or her actions. The Quran is the source of knowledge and understanding God’s nature and laws. The teachings of the prophet Mohamed are there during this journey to complement the search for knowledge.

10)Are there regular services available to you locally? If so, where?
There are mosques and gathering locations for Muslim to worship on a regular basis and on Friday afternoon community services in particular; Metro-Denver, Boulder, Golden, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins. (editor's note: In Laramie, we have the Islamic Center of Laramie, 612 E. Garfield.)

11) How did you come to be a believer?
I was born and raised Muslim but surrounded by people of the Jewish and Christian faith during my early childhood. During my adult life I reserved some time to learn more about Judaism and Christian and contemplated other faiths as well. I participated with many different interfaith groups and committees. This strengthened my belief in Islam and the teachings of the prophet Mohamed.

12)What do you wish others knew about your faith?
I wish other people would be more open to learning about Islam and discover its simplicity, rationality, and reasonableness.

If you have question that you wish to address to Wahab privately, feel free to send them to the Email address listed in my profile and I'll forward them along to him.

Sunday Sermon

President George W. Bush welcomes His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the White House Wednesday, September 10, 2003.

My call for a spiritual revolution is thus not a call for a religious revolution. Nor is it a reference to a way of life that is somehow other-worldly, still less to something magical or mysterious. Rather, it is a call for a radical re-orientation away from our habitual preoccupation with self towards concern for the wider community of beings with whom we are connected, and for conduct which recognizes others’ interests alongside our own.
-His Holiness the Dalai Lama

I don't think I could shake hands with President Bush, or at least not with a smile. It's not just the war mongering and the lying to us and the ever-expanding deficit - like many Democrats, I'm still pissed about the way he was elected.

It's been nearly four years, and I can still get whipped into a froth about it (after all, I am "the Furious"). I harbor conspiracy theories, speculating that it's not a coincidence that the problem state just happens to be governed by his brother. I think it's because I can still vividly remember the rage I felt when the Court's decision was handed down...I was even more angry when none of the main Democrats stepped up and offered legislation to do away with the Electoral College.

But mostly it's because I am a petty bitch.

The U.S. Government does not support Tibetan independence, and sticks to a "One China" policy which also opposes independence for Taiwan. This is because according to Colin Powell, "Sino-U.S. relations are at their warmest point in more than 30 years." The U.S. is the one country in the world that could single-handedly force China to give the Tibetans their country back and they won't - even though they have come to the rescue of numerous other countries that were annexed by larger neighbors. I suppose if a huge oil reserve were found under Tibet, things would be different, but simply put, China is of interest to the U.S., Tibet is not.

And yet, the Dalia Lama comes to the White House, smiles, shakes hands with George II, and discusses the things on which they can agree; the preservation of Tibet's religious, cultural, and linguistic identity.

A cynic might say that HHDL is just a good politician, but there is a lesson here none the less. The finding of common ground with this reprehensible Republican hawk would be something of a miracle for me - especially since the first thing I would do if granted an audience with George W. is kick him in the shins (petty bitch, remember?) - and yet HHDL seems to do it with grace. The stakes for him are much higher, and yet he finds a way to relate on a human level with the President.

I still have so much work to do.

Go in Peace.