Bible verses are among the creepiest of things to teach your bird to say. Based on the voice the bird is using, it's clear his owner is a little old lady - so is she practicing her proselytizing on the birds before taking to the streets to spread the good news? For me, the weirdness of it completely negates the cuteness of the singing towards the end...


This is what my desk looks like. I am making my way through it - sometimes with a machete. Soon I will emerge from the jungle and return to my regular posting schedule. In the meantime, check out the Black Vatican; we are posting 5 days a week now! Click the link above to see the BV Trinities for today...
And no, I don't know when your financial aid check will arrive.

New Comic

There really is a new comic today - just click the banner above and scroll down a bit.

Based on the data we have gathered from Flynn's terrifyingly in-depth metrics on the comic website, the new posting schedule for story arc comics will be Tuesday and Thursday, with Black Vatican "Trinities" (the minis) in between. Feel free to comment on the Trinities in the forum thread found here.

Homework Assignment

NEW COMIC (sorta...) Click the banner above.

I have already bitched that my job is hell right now, so I will tell you about the other thing that is taking up my time.

Hitchens' work demonstrates more sheer intellectual horsepower than anything I've read since I completed my theory classes. He is also funny as hell - he refers to the Catholic priest sex scandal as "no child's behind left." Here is an excerpt: "Past and present religious atrocities have occurred not because we are evil, but because it is a fact of nature that the human species is, biologically, only partly rational. Evolution has meant that our prefrontal lobes are too small, our adrenal glands are too big, and out reproductive organs apparently designed by committee; a recipe which, alone or in combination, is very certain to lead to some unhappiness and disorder."

Everyone, believer or otherwise, should read this book. For the believer, it gives you a glimpse of why your faith is so unfathomable to nonbelievers. For nonbelievers, it gives a well-reasoned version of the atheist's argument without resorting to simply calling believers silly, brainwashed, illogical, and the like. For religion wonks like myself, it's just absolutely mandatory reading.

So this is your homework. For once, just do what the nice Pontiff tells you to do and read it.

Kitten Paste

NEW COMIC! Click the ridiculously large banner above...

As many of you know, I work in the Financial Aid office of a large university. This is the time of year when all the asshats who didn't plan ahead, didn't submit applications, and have no idea where financial aid funds come from, start calling my office. More specifially, they start calling me. To keep me from reaching through the phone and pulling your kidney out through your ear hole, here are some handy tips...

DO NOT call me and bitch about how scholarship selection is unfair to kids who "aren't good test takers." Guess what? College is ABOUT taking tests. If little Johnny couldn't scrape together a decent ACT score during his entire high school career, your dreams of him being a doctor are on shaky ground.

DO NOT call me and bitch about how your kid can get more money or a better deal at another school. If Fucktard U wants your kid on their croquet team badly enough to give him a full ride with hot and cold running cheerleaders, then FUCKING SEND HIM THERE!

DO NOT call and ask me a question, then call back and ask someone else to see if you can get an answer you like better. We talk to each other, you know... especially about idiots like you.

If you are a returning student, DO NOT CALL ME WITHOUT YOUR FUCKING ID NUMBER! You know you need it for everything in this damn place - you might as well tattoo it on your fucking hand - so why would Financial Aid be different? And if your name is Smith, Jones, Johnson, or the like, then calling without your ID# should be grounds for live porcupine sodomy followed by explosive expulsion from the institution.

DO NOT call me and ask about information that you can see for yourself on the internet. "I was looking on the web and my scholarship was canceled - is it really canceled?" When I get these calls, my head pounds until I want to grind kittens into a fine paste and wear it as deodorant. Why would you make me do that to the helpless little kittens?! Don't you like kittens?! Kitten hater!!

DO NOT call me in order to be transferred to another office. From hence forward, anyone who calls me and then immediately asks for Residence Life or the bookstore will be put on hold while I forward your address to homeland security on the terrorist tip line. "Oh yes, officer - you must search him thoroughly, as he is frequently armed. He keeps the bombs under his foreskin..."

Black Vatican Bedtime Stories

Flynn and I, chatting about a fairytale development in the comments found here.

hmm... in the "land O' G"
thanks for not going a different route with that

You're welcome - it could have been ugly.
I thought about "Flynn and the Three Bears", involving you and three big hairy queers in a cottage in the woods...

eep. yeah, not cool

No worries man - your porridge fantasies are safe with me...


"Baby Bear's was just right..."

you're a deeply troubled man...

Right - try to tell me you didn't think of that.

well, I did, but I'm blaming you...

My New Calling

New Comic today! Click the banner up top!

Twice in the last week I've had to demand better service at a restaurant. Both times I have been given the food - all of it - for free. I don't yell, or even raise my voice, and yet it seems I am not to be denied. One of these experiences was quite costly for the restaurant in question; there were nine of us, eating full Italian dinners with drinks! I never saw the bill, but it was probably well over $200.

We hear all the time how we are moving toward a service economy. If this is true, then I hope we get better at it. Yesterday's encounter with terrible service involved an order-taker who had to hear the order several times, and then he walked away without a word while I was in mid-sentence, trying to answer his questions about our order! I wanted to reach over the counter and excommunicate him in a most personal and unpleasant manner.

Since this seems to happen more and more these days, it makes me wonder about a few things...

1) Am I that scary? Managers just sort of crumple up and give me free stuff to shut me up - is it me, or are they just trained to cave in? Which poses the question...

2) Are businesses planning a certain amount of free food into the budget? If so, how much is planning for staff incompetence hiking the cost of a meal? Which leads logically to the most important question...

3) How do I profit from this? Could I become a consultant, teaching staff how to avoid the unhappy customer, and managers how to deal with said customer in a less costly way? Is this the career path I've been looking for all these years?

Navigational Aid

NEW COMIC! Click on the banner above...

In light of the discussion going on in the comments here, I offer the navigational aid at right. It's not perfect, but it could at least help get the positioning right...

I can just see the ladies of the Flock yelling, "No! No! Right hand BLUE!

Sunday Sermon

Praise be teh internets.
Teh internets' tubes be praised.
Let us surf.

I want to draw your attention to some amazing things going on in our little corner of the blogisphere...

The best gay boyfriend I never had, Big Gay Jim, is presenting a well-reasoned discussion of labeling and social control theories over on his blog.

Over at the Office of Doktor Smith, you can see the design for some Pope Tested, Ministry Approved winter hats with a Black Vatican theme.

Flynn brings us breaking news from the intersection of Queer Avenue and Game Nerd Street.

There is some very clever stuff happening on the blog of Maximus.

We might be witnessing the last days of Mist1's blog. This would be a good time to go read her archives.

And last, but certainly not least, WNG has gently reviewed out first podcast.

There is so much going on out there - don't miss it! If you have a site on your reading list that you think we should all know about, by all means, post them here!

Go in Peace.

Serious Foreplay

From the American Federation Of Aviculture's "Fundamental's of Aviculture" text:

"In some species of Indian parakeets there are elaborate dances where the male may hop up and down and dilate his eyes while approaching the female. If he is successful, his dance will mesmerize the female and she will allow him to mate with her. If his dance fails, she may fly away from him, attack him, or in rare cases, she may even kill him."

So basically, among these parakeets, foreplay is a very serious thing. If a guy doesn't have good moves, then he might not get any, and in fact, he might be killed. In essence, it's survival of the sexiest.

This got me to thinking about our reproductive habits. What if survival of the sexiest was the policy of human females? What if you could just kill a guy who kissed poorly, or touched you the wrong way? Based on what my female friends tell me about the guys they have known, there would be a lot of dead men. To hear some of them tell it, the streets would literally be lined with corpses.

Ladies, you are not immune, by the way. I could tell you horror stories that prove that it's not just men who haven't a clue when the lights go out - stories involving knife wielding in bed, doodling with menstrual blood, and orthodontic appliances caught in pubic hair - but that's another post. Several posts actually, and many therapy sessions, but I digress.

I submit that while killing someone for being bad in bed might be a bit extreme, you are well within your rights to put a stop to it. If the sex isn't good, why let it continue? Granted, anyone can have an off day, but after a few botched attempts, it's probably time to trade partners.

If you wish to adopt the survival of the sexiest policy, I think it's only fair to warn potential partners what they're getting into. A tee-shirt that reads, "I fuck like a parakeet" should be sufficient.

I'm calling Cafe Press right now...

Questions of Faith, Part XII

For this 12th edition in the Questions of Fatih series, Flynn brings us a newer faith, the path of Googlism.

12 questions, eh? Okay, I feel like being snarky...

1) What faith do you espouse?

2) Who was the founder of your faith? When did he/she live?
Sergey Brin and Larry Page (They are alive today.)

3) What are the sacred texts of your faith?
What, you want a copy? Okay, click here.

4) What is the central teaching of your faith?
We reject supernatural gods on the notion they are not scientifically provable. Thus, Googlists believe Google should rightfully be given the title of "God", as She exhibits a great many of the characteristics traditionally associated with such Deities in a scientifically provable manner.

5) How does your faith define sin? What are the major sins, and how is one absolved?
MSN Desktop Search... and the uninstall button.

6) Roughly how many adherents does your faith have?
584. We like statistics.

7) What does your faith teach about the afterlife? Is there heaven, and how do you get there?
The afterlife is the sea of electrons that will, through faithful uploading and blogging, carry our thoughts and personalities - our essence - through the world forever in the holy cache.

8) What are the practices of your faith? (Daily, weekly, etc.)
Google is timeless, and our temples are found everywhere the warm glow of a computer screen can be seen...

9) How is your faith organized? Are there priests and bishops and
archbishops (oh my!)?

There are administrators, who divine the information of the server directly. Then there are Beta Testers, who carefully transverse the scriptures and procedures of church. Finally we have users, those with google accounts, who heed the word- even if they are unaware of the divine nature of that with they surround surround themselves.

10) Are there regular services available to you locally? If so, where?
Yes. Now, later, whenever. Google is a laxidasical God.

11) How did you come to be a believer?

12) What do you wish others knew about your faith?
The many benefits of active patronage:
Google Labs and Google Options

So, now that I'm done being an ass, I'll reply more seriously soon.

Questions of Faith, Revisited

NEW COMIC! Click link above...

Way back in 2004, we started a series of posts wherein guest bloggers from different faith traditions answered 12 questions about their particular path. It was a big hit, and drew tons of comments - all of which have since expired because HaloScan sucks.

At any rate, it seemed like an opportune time to update this idea. If your faith is not represented below, feel free to send me an email with your answers to the 12 questions (linked below) - after all, who doesn't want to be a guest blogger on the Ministry?

If you were one of the original posters, feel free to chime in with updates. Perhaps you have deepened your understanding of your faith, moved on to another practice, or decided that religion is silly and now you worship chocolate and Heath Ledger - whatever your situation, feel free to add your comments.

Questions of Faith, Index

This index will be updated as needed; for the sake of posterity, the hard copies will be lovingly cared for by the BCPs, and kept in a mayonnaise jar behind the books in this alcove

in the Black Pope's Study.

Part I, The Path of the Druids by Zeus
Part II, Catholicism with a small c by Mark
Part II.V, Mark's Catholicism continued
Part III, The Baha'i Faith by Rachel
Part IV, A more catechismal Catholicism, by Tessa
Part V, Curanderismo, by Jim
Part VI, The Latter Day Saints (LDS for short), by Clay
Part VI.V, LDS continued
Part VII, Wicca, by Mandy
Part VIII, Buddhism, by the Reverend
Part IX, Islam, as seen by Wahab
Part IX.V, Wahab's Islam continued
Part X, Another view of Islam, by Ayesha
Part XI, Germanic Reconstructionist Paganism, by Christin

If you would like to add your faith to our little survey of world religions, check out the original list of questions here. The Ministry welcomes all faiths! If you are a Jew, Hindu, Jain, Seventh Day Adventist, Jehovah's Witness, Quaker, Mennonite, Peyotist, Metheist, Satanist - or anything else - please drop me an Email at the address listed in my profile.

Go in Peace.

Growing in Grace - Cult Watch

You've got to admire a guy who so directly embraces the term Antichrist. His ministry, "Growing in Grace" numbers over 2 million folowers (according to him) and is centered in Latin America. You can spot them by their "666" tattoos. As you might guess, Latin American Catholics are pretty pissed about this. If you Google his name, you'll get about a jillion hits denouncing him in Spanish. He's currently at the center of a pretty expensive divorce trial as well, which is up for discussion over on the Black Vatican forum.

He is often called "Jesucristo Hombre" (literally "Jesus Christ Man") by his followers, but his official title is "President Dr. Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, God on Earth." In his theology, there is no conflict in being both the Second Coming and the Antichrist. He also claims to be another incarnation of the Apostle Paul, an Angel, and an Archangel.

The two-fingers-to-the-head pose is his trademark salute, symbolic of the power of the rational mind to make spiritual change. It's strictly coincidental that it looks like someone about the blow their brains out.

He's speaking in Ontario, Canada, in the next few days. I really wish I could afford to take my sociologist sombrero up there to interview him myself. I love guys like him. They are basically job security for people like me...