This post was created on my new iPod Touch. My faithful old mp3 player died a while back, and my iPaq never got along with my Mac, so I figured I'd replace both with one device. It does the job of each, it's true, but it does it so much better it's a bit bit like replacing your skateboard and bike with a bullet train.

I took it with me to campus today. I figured I'd use it to distract me on the frigid walk home. I hit shuffle and headed out. Turns out that it takes just about as long to walk home from class as it takes Trent to express his desire to fuck you like an animal.

I feel like it already knows me.


Our theories of the eternal are as valuable as are those of a chick which has not broken its way through its shell might form of the outside world.
- Buddha

I've been thinking about eternity a lot lately. Perhaps it's because I am deathly ill with the flu that has laid one of my roommates out since Friday... or perhaps it's because I have taken too much NyQuil lately. Either way, it's been on my mind, and like my man B-money said above, we have almost no clue.

My ego cherishes hope that there is something after this place. My rationality, however, is unable to escape the idea that we are just simple biological systems, and when we break down too much, it's over. I struggle, like so many before me, to find some middle ground between the two... but striking a balance between eternity and finality seems impossible. I envy the fundamentalist who is so completely absorbed in his faith that he feels no fear of death. To be so certain of the destination would be bliss... but to accept all of the dislogic that goes along with those beliefs would be like self-inflicted Alzheimer's for me.

Like the good little liberal arts scholar that I am, I am doing more research. I'm investigating the feelings of the Flock on this topic - and if you're reading this you're a member. Please post your answers to the following questions:

1) Is there an afterlife?
2) How do you know?

Any answer you feel strongly about will do; prose, verse, claymation, interpretive dance, etc. For entertainment and enlightenment purposes only - please, no wagering.

Fisher Resigns

Bobby Fisher, the most flamboyant of American Chess Masters, is dead at 64. No cause of death is listed at this time, but he was reported to have been ill for some time.

My career as a chess hack began when I was 5 (my step father taught me the game) but I actually got interested in playing better when the Fischer/Spassky championship games were taking place in 1972 - I was 7 at the time. Fisher was a certifiable rock star - you could watch the games on TV, or listen to the move updates on the radio. My uncles had set up a small board in the living room and kept up with the games as they progressed. He was that famous.

Unfortunately, his genius consumed him. He was petulant, reclusive, dismissive, and in his later years, increasingly antisemitic. His vice-like grasp of Chess strategy was the opposite of his tenuous grip on reality; among other things, he believed a world-wide Jewish conspiracy was out to destroy him. His life provides us with a lesson about balance. His dedication to chess made him the greatest player in the world and maybe the greatest player ever, but it appears to have cost him dearly.

If you're a chess player, today would be a good day to get out your board and play a game or two...

My Feathered Children

I was sorting through the photos from Flock Hall Christmas '07 last night. Just like a human parent, I am amazed at how different my kids are. They have very different personalities, and they're in very different places in life. Ajax is a mostly mature male, while Imelda is a female, and still a baby. Observe:

Ajax, checking out the Christmas tree.

Imelda, tasting the Christmas tree...

Ajax, the Christmas Parrot, posing nicely.

Imelda, the Christmas Dinosaur, refusing to pose...

Ajax, pondering the meaning of Christmas.

Imelda, pondering the camera...

I don't think either of them can read (yet) so I'm pretty sure that having some fun here at Imelda's inability to hold still won't give either of them a complex. Just to prove that she can hold still and be quite beautiful, here's the photo we put on her online dating profile...

Hi, I'm Imelda. I'm a Taurus who's into almonds, shredding toys, shrieking, and hanging upside down. Call me!


The true meaning of the precepts is not just that one should refrain from drinking alcohol, but also from getting drunk on nirvana. - Bassui

There are almost certainly readers of this blog, who won't get what old Bassui was getting at with this.

There are those who will get what he was saying, but not why I'm posting it.

There are those who will understand it, and my reasons.

If you're not in that last group, no worries - it's probably not for you.

The FINAL meme

Ok, I'm calling it - I'm over memes. I'm now proclaiming this blog to be a meme-free zone. I'll enjoy reading the memes I meet out in the blogisphere, but from now on, tagging me will do no good...

…(two names you go by)…
1. Linus
2. His Sinfulness

...(two things you are wearing right now)...
1. Black clothing
2. "Black" by Kenneth Cole

...(two things you would want (or have) in a relationship)..:
1. Understanding
2. Nookie

...(two of your favorite things to do)...:
1. Smite blasphemers
2. Make the beast with two backs...

...(two things you want very badly at the moment)...:
1. A canary - red factor
2. A Ramphastidae - possibly an aracari

...(two pets you had/have)...:
1. Ajax the Wonder Grey
2. Princess Imelda the Greater Vasa

...(two people you think will fill this out)...:
I hereby invoke Papal privilege and veto this question. (I don't want to tag people when I'm refusing tags myself.)

...(two things that you did last night)...:
1. Spent time with my birds
2. Ate a baked potato

...(two things you ate today)...:
1. rice
2. spaghetti

…(two people you last talked to)...:
1. G-Fresh
2. Flynn

...(two things you're doing tomorrow)...:
1. cleaning the kitchen
2. celebrating the end of my cubicle life

...(two longest car rides)...:
1. Black Vatican City, WY, to the unHoly Lands of So Cal via Idaho and Oregon, then back to Black Vatican City via the Grand Canyon.
2. Black Vatican City, WY to Raksha's lair in Columbus, OH, roundtrip.

...(two favorite holidays)...:
1. Christmas (, presents, duh...)
2. Thanksgiving (Being thankful is a great idea. Now, if we could just do that without the turkey slaughter...)

...(two favorite beverages)...:
1. Diet Coke
2. Amaretto sour

…(two people no longer alive who you'd like to talk to)...:
1. The Buddha
2. Samuel Clemmons


Yesterday, at 11:00 AM, Black Vatican Standard Time, I received notification that I have been officially admitted to the Graduate School. On the 14th I begin pursuing a Master's Degree in Sociology. I had already been told by several profs that I was in, but getting the notification was a relief.

I turned in my letter of resignation at work, and they came back a few hours later with a counter-offer. They offered me a half-time student position, at a very reasonable hourly paygrade. It was incredibly kind of them, especially since I kind of hung them out to dry by resigning a week before classes start, but I had to decline.

Soon I will return to the roots of this blog - hours of sitting in a computer lab as a lab assistant, or "labbie" as they are known locally. This is the job that made this blog great! Hours of screen time, sleep deprivation, and forced people watching is the combination that created this whole - THIS [gesturing vaguely at the blog].

All of it - the Black Vatican, His Sinfulness, the BCPs, the messianic complex - all were born in the all-night Bio-Science lab. I miss the blue glow of the screens, the sticky feel of hand sanitizer, the sound of the printer jamming, the smell of the lab users...

Ok, not really. It does, however, beat trying to explain to beer-sodden frat boys why their scholarships have been suspended.

"Yes, Timmy - they call it a "scholarship" because you have to be a "scholar" to have one..."

The 14th can't come quickly enough.

Cruel and Unusual

The supreme court is hearing arguments today in a death penalty case. The issue here is not guilt or innocence, or even the constitutionality of the death penalty itself, but rather the method of execution. The contention is that the current method - a cocktail of three drugs - may cause undue suffering to the inmate, and thus constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

I think it's fairly obvious that the death penalty itself is cruel, and it's become pretty unusual in Western democracies. All of Europe has banned capital punishment, as has Canada and Mexico. Although this case is not about the abolition of the death penalty, I hope it sparks national debate on the topic. It's time the US joined the rest of the modern world and stopped executing prisoners - especially in light of the recent exonerations. Since 1973, 126 people have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence. From 2000 to 2007 there has been an average of 5 exonerations per year.

We have no idea how many people may have been put to death wrongly, but it's safe to say that even one is too many. If we are to call ourselves civilized, we must treat even our prisoners with dignity and compassion.

Of course, our current administration disagrees...

Which of the Presidential hopefuls will have the courage to step up and take a stand on this? Does the death penalty stance of a candidate affect your feelings toward them, or are there more pressing issues for you? Do you think the Black Pope is a bleeding heart hippy liberal? Feel free to comment - anonymously if you wish - and we'll have ourselves a regular ol' cyber-salon right here...

Scar Me

"Yeah, so I'd like you to draw a tattoo design for me... something classy, like a '57 Chevy with a pin-up girl on the hood and and some comedy/tragedy masks that say "laugh now, cry later" next to a skull wrapped in barbwire with eight-balls for eyes, with a rattlesnake coming out of the mouth, surrounded by a flaming heart with a dagger stabbed through it, with an ace of spades on the handle, and maybe some dice rolling snake-eyes... with a banner under it all that says "Mom"..."

For some time now, I have wanted to get a new body modification. Unfortunately, I have all the piercings I want, and tattoos just don't appeal to me all that much (I regularly fantasize about getting a cover-up done on the one I have...). That leaves two choices - branding and scarification.

Branding is pretty much my definition of hell. I can't imagine sitting still while someone repeatedly burns me. The idea of sitting still while someone repeatedly cuts me seems somehow more feasible...

I think I want something on my forearms, in mirror image, or maybe different images that are related. Perhaps Celtic in nature, like on the torso of the young lady above, but a bit smaller. Maybe some symbol of my papal calling, or a clever bit of Buddhist symbology.

The point is, I don't have a design. I have friends who are artists, but they all kind of turned their noses up at the idea of art that would be cut into my skin with a scalpel. So I'm throwing it open to the Flock.

Have you ever wanted to take a knife to me? Here's your chance. Send me a design for a cutting that will go on my forearms. Don't feel limited to Celtic knotwork - surprise me. Try to think of how this piece of body art will fit into my look, and enhance the overall impression of widow-making, skull-crushing, virginity-ending power which it is my custom to embody.

Winner gets to help me pick the scabs.

What I Have Learned...

I learned some things in 2007. I've made a list of resolutions to put that learning to use.

I resolve to not do my usual "Best Posts of the Year" review post.
I resolve to not spend (so much) money on toys.
I resolve to not post about Harry Potter's wang.
I resolve to not eat cabbage without warning my house mates.
I resolve to not get another bachelor's degree.
I resolve to not go into a deep depression during February.
I resolve to not use the mandolin slicer without the safety handle.
I resolve to not post about handball, badminton, chinlone, etc.
I resolve to not posts about topics that no one cares about but me.
I resolve to not fool myself into taking a cubicle job again.
I resolve to not post about scary ethnic cheeses.
I resolve to not scrape all the skin off my knees playing handball.
I resolve to not steal every good idea WNG puts on her blog.
I resolve to not give up caffeine "cold turkey."
I resolve to not write lame list posts...