Escape from Elba
Exiles of the New York Times
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luee
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« Reply #630 on: June 24, 2008, 11:23:13 AM »

RIP George Carlin;

When it comes to bullshit, big-time, major league bullshit, you have to stand in awe of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims, religion. No contest. No contest. Religion. Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there's an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever 'til the end of time!

But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He's all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can't handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bullshit story. Holy Shit!

But I want you to know something, this is sincere, I want you to know, when it comes to believing in God, I really tried. I really, really tried. I tried to believe that there is a God, who created each of us in His own image and likeness, loves us very much, and keeps a close eye on things. I really tried to believe that, but I gotta tell you, the longer you live, the more you look around, the more you realize, something is fucked up.

Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed. Results like these do not belong on the résumé of a Supreme Being. This is the kind of shit you'd expect from an office temp with a bad attitude. And just between you and me, in any decently-run universe, this guy would've been out on his all-powerful ass a long time ago. And by the way, I say "this guy", because I firmly believe, looking at these results, that if there is a God, it has to be a man.

No woman could or would ever fuck things up like this. So, if there is a God, I think most reasonable people might agree that he's at least incompetent, and maybe, just maybe, doesn't give a shit. Doesn't give a shit, which I admire in a person, and which would explain a lot of these bad results.

So rather than be just another mindless religious robot, mindlessly and aimlessly and blindly believing that all of this is in the hands of some spooky incompetent father figure who doesn't give a shit, I decided to look around for something else to worship. Something I could really count on.

And immediately, I thought of the sun. Happened like that. Overnight I became a sun-worshipper. Well, not overnight, you can't see the sun at night. But first thing the next morning, I became a sun-worshipper. Several reasons. First of all, I can see the sun, okay? Unlike some other gods I could mention, I can actually see the sun. I'm big on that. If I can see something, I don't know, it kind of helps the credibility along, you know? So everyday I can see the sun, as it gives me everything I need; heat, light, food, flowers in the park, reflections on the lake, an occasional skin cancer, but hey. At least there are no crucifixions, and we're not setting people on fire simply because they don't agree with us.

Sun worship is fairly simple. There's no mystery, no miracles, no pageantry, no one asks for money, there are no songs to learn, and we don't have a special building where we all gather once a week to compare clothing. And the best thing about the sun, it never tells me I'm unworthy. Doesn't tell me I'm a bad person who needs to be saved. Hasn't said an unkind word. Treats me fine. So, I worship the sun. But, I don't pray to the sun. Know why? I wouldn't presume on our friendship. It's not polite.

I've often thought people treat God rather rudely, don't you? Asking trillions and trillions of prayers every day. Asking and pleading and begging for favors. Do this, gimme that, I need a new car, I want a better job. And most of this praying takes place on Sunday His day off. It's not nice. And it's no way to treat a friend.

But people do pray, and they pray for a lot of different things, you know, your sister needs an operation on her crotch, your brother was arrested for defecating in a mall. But most of all, you'd really like to fuck that hot little redhead down at the convenience store. You know, the one with the eyepatch and the clubfoot? Can you pray for that? I think you'd have to. And I say, fine. Pray for anything you want. Pray for anything, but what about the Divine Plan?

Remember that? The Divine Plan. Long time ago, God made a Divine Plan. Gave it a lot of thought, decided it was a good plan, put it into practice. And for billions and billions of years, the Divine Plan has been doing just fine. Now, you come along, and pray for something. Well suppose the thing you want isn't in God's Divine Plan? What do you want Him to do? Change His plan? Just for you? Doesn't it seem a little arrogant? It's a Divine Plan. What's the use of being God if every run-down shmuck with a two-dollar prayerbook can come along and fuck up Your Plan?

And here's something else, another problem you might have: Suppose your prayers aren't answered. What do you say? "Well, it's God's will." "Thy Will Be Done." Fine, but if it's God's will, and He's going to do what He wants to anyway, why the fuck bother praying in the first place? Seems like a big waste of time to me! Couldn't you just skip the praying part and go right to His Will? It's all very confusing.

So to get around a lot of this, I decided to worship the sun. But, as I said, I don't pray to the sun. You know who I pray to? Joe Pesci. Two reasons: First of all, I think he's a good actor, okay? To me, that counts. Second, he looks like a guy who can get things done. Joe Pesci doesn't fuck around. In fact, Joe Pesci came through on a couple of things that God was having trouble with.

For years I asked God to do something about my noisy neighbor with the barking dog, Joe Pesci straightened that cocksucker out with one visit. It's amazing what you can accomplish with a simple baseball bat.

So I've been praying to Joe for about a year now. And I noticed something. I noticed that all the prayers I used to offer to God, and all the prayers I now offer to Joe Pesci, are being answered at about the same 50% rate. Half the time I get what I want, half the time I don't. Same as God, 50-50. Same as the four-leaf clover and the horseshoe, the wishing well and the rabbit's foot, same as the Mojo Man, same as the Voodoo Lady who tells you your fortune by squeezing the goat's testicles, it's all the same: 50-50. So just pick your superstition, sit back, make a wish, and enjoy yourself.

And for those of you who look to The Bible for moral lessons and literary qualities, I might suggest a couple of other stories for you. You might want to look at the Three Little Pigs, that's a good one. Has a nice happy ending, I'm sure you'll like that. Then there's Little Red Riding Hood, although it does have that X-rated part where the Big Bad Wolf actually eats the grandmother. Which I didn't care for, by the way. And finally, I've always drawn a great deal of moral comfort from Humpty Dumpty. The part I like the best? "All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty back together again." That's because there is no Humpty Dumpty, and there is no God. None, not one, no God, never was.

In fact, I'm gonna put it this way. If there is a God, may he strike this audience dead! See? Nothing happened. Nothing happened? Everybody's okay? All right, tell you what, I'll raise the stakes a little bit. If there is a God, may he strike me dead. See? Nothing happened, oh, wait, I've got a little cramp in my leg. And my balls hurt. Plus, I'm blind. I'm blind, oh, now I'm okay again, must have been Joe Pesci, huh? God Bless Joe Pesci. Thank you all very much. Joe Bless You!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeSSwKffj9o
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MrUtley3
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« Reply #631 on: June 24, 2008, 12:16:19 PM »

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - As Barack Obama broadens his outreach to evangelical voters, one of the movement's biggest names, James Dobson, accuses the likely Democratic presidential nominee of distorting the Bible and pushing a "fruitcake interpretation" of the Constitution.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25343812
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"That guy over there played with Ty Cobb," said Phillies bench coach Jimy Williams, pointing to Chase Utley. "He's been here before."  quoted in the Boston Globe
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« Reply #632 on: June 25, 2008, 07:59:20 AM »

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - As Barack Obama broadens his outreach to evangelical voters, one of the movement's biggest names, James Dobson, accuses the likely Democratic presidential nominee of distorting the Bible and pushing a "fruitcake interpretation" of the Constitution.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25343812

Which says more about Dobson than it does about Obama.

BTW, Dobson's not an ordained minister; he huckstered himself into the position he holds.  He's just the kind Carlin railed against.

BTW, why would anyone follow an individual who is named after trout bait?
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FlyingVProd
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« Reply #633 on: October 20, 2017, 07:35:37 PM »

In ancient Rome, if you helped the homeless and widows and orphans and ministered to people in prison and stuff like it says in Matthew 25; 31-46, there were people who would become suspicious that you are trying to run for public office, etc, etc, etc, because by helping people you earn love and people give you power. And you will be known by your deeds. Mother Teresa had a lot of power. Pope Francis has a lot of power. Pope John Paul II helped to free Poland, and helped to bring down the USSR and helped to bring down the Berlin Wall. But no matter how powerful you become, you must give all glory to God. You must remain a humble servant of God no matter how powerful you become, and you must follow the word of God.

Salute,

Tony V.
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« Reply #634 on: October 22, 2017, 07:21:20 PM »

The Italians know the secret of life. Here is an article that everyone, everywhere, can learn from, it is about the Italian immigrants in Roseto, Pennsylvania, USA, they had ZERO crime and they had ZERO people on welfare, read this article and you will see that there is a better way to do things than what is happening now, plus the people of Roseto, Pennsylvania, were healthier and they had fewer heart attacks. And they did it without any help from the government (although in a nation "Of the people, by the people, for the people" the government is us, and the government is part of our team, we in the USA are self governing). And we always knew that it was healthy to go to parties, and to throw parties!

The whole "Rugged Individualist" thing is really, really, really, BAD.

-------------------

14.2 "The Roseto Effect"

I. HEALTH AND CULTURE

People are nourished by other people. The importance of social networks in health and longevity has been confirmed again by study of a close-knit Italian-American community in Roseto, Pennsylvania. At first blush, Roseto seems a diorama of what once was the nation's ideal lifestyle-neighbors who looked after one another, civic-minded joiners and doers who formed the grass roots of American-style democracy. It seems to showcase those virtues that have all but disappeared elsewhere in what has become what we are now--a nation of strangers.

At one time the village came to be a living laboratory demonstrating that neighborliness is good not just for the body politic (community) for the human body (self) as well. Now Roseto is changing, becoming a community of suburban commuters with satellite dishes, fenced-in yards, and expensive cars.

Thirty years earlier, medical researchers were drawn to Roseto by a bewildering statistic: in defiance of medical logic, Rosetans seemed nearly immune to one of the most common causes of death. They died of heart attacks at a rate only half of the rest of America. Doctors were mystified in that residents led what medical textbooks predicted would be short lives.

The men of the village smoked and drank wine freely. They spent their days in backbreaking, hazardous labor, working 200 feet down in nearby slate quarries. At home, the dinner tables each evening were laden with traditional Italian food, modified for local ingredients in ways that would drive a dietitian to despair.

The Mediterranean diet, with its use of olive oil rather than animal fat, has been touted lately for health benefits. But, poor immigrants couldn't afford to import cooking oil from their homeland and instead fry their sausages and brown their meatballs in lard. Yet, the resulting hefty bodies contained unusually health hearts. Why?

.....

II. A RESEARCH OPPORTUNITY

Study of the "Roseto Effect" began with a chance conversation over a couple of beers. A local physician happened to mention to the head of medicine at the University of Oklahoma that heart disease seemed much less prevalent in Roseto than in adjoining Bangor, occupied by non-Italians.

When first studied in 1966, Roseto's cardiac mortality traced a unique graph. Nationally, the rate rises with age. In Roseto, it dropped to near zero for men aged 55-64. For men over 65, the local death rate was half the national average.

The study quickly went beyond death certificates, to poke, prod, and extensively interview the Rosetans. Instead of helping to solve the puzzle, all the data simply ruled out any genetic or other physical sources of the Rosetan's resistance to heart disease. Two statistics about Roseto were eye-catching: Both the crime rate and the applications for public assistance were zero.

.....

III. HEALTH AND SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS

Subsequent study showed that all of the houses contained three generations of the family. Rosetans took care of their own. Instead of putting the elderly "on the shelf," they were elevated "to the Supreme Court." The scientists were led to conclude that the Roseto Effect was caused by something that could not be seen through the microscope, something beyond the usual focus of medical researchers.

It seemed that those groaning dinner tables offered nourishment for the human spirit as well as the body. In fact, all of the communal rituals--the evening stroll, the many social clubs, the church festivals that were occasions for the whole community to celebrate--contributed to the villagers' good health.

In "The Power of Clan," an updated report on studies by Stewart Wolf, a physician, and John Bruhn, a sociologist, cover a broad period of time from 1935 to 1984. They found that mutual respect and cooperation contribute to the health and welfare of a community and its inhabitants, and that self indulgence and lack of concern for others exert opposite influences.

Tracing the history of Roseto, the sociologists found that early immigrants were shunned by the English and Welsh who dominated this little corner of eastern Pennsylvania. According, the Rosetans turned inward and built their own culture of cooperation and as Wolf and Bruhn noted, "radiated a kind of joyous team spirit as they celebrated religious festivals and family landmarks."

"People are nourished by other people," said Wolf, noting that the characteristics of tight-knit community are better predictors of healthy hearts than are low levels of serum cholesterol or tobacco use. He explained that an isolated individual may be overwhelmed by the problems of everyday life. Such a person internalized that feeling as stress which, in turn, can adversely affect everything from blood pressure to kidney function. That, however, is much less likely to be the outcome when a person is surrounded by caring friends, neighbors and relatives. The sense of being supported reduces stress and the disease stress engenders.

"We looked at the social structure of healthy communities," Wolf said, "and found that they are characterized by stability and predictability. In those communities, each person has a clearly defined role in the social scheme."

Into the 1960s, Roseto was the epitome of predictability and conformity. In clothing, housing or automobiles, any display of wealth was taboo. Women knew that, from their teens on, they would work in one of the many small blouse factories scattered throughout the village. Even the evening meal followed a rigid cycle.

"Monday" recalled 66-year old Angie Martocci, "almost everyone in town ate spezzati (a spinach and egg soup). Tuesdays, it was spaghetti and gravy (tomato sauce). Wednesday was roast chicken and potatoes. Thursday, spaghetti again. Fish on Fridays, of course. Veal and peppers on Saturday; and antipasto, meatballs and spaghetti on Sunday."

All of that conformity reduced the distance between the haves and have-nots, thereby reinforcing everyone's sense of conformity also spared Rosetans the stress that comes with freedom of choice. (My comment: the anthropologist David Maybury-Lewis in his video series Millenium that individuals in a tribal society grow up in a defined world where people know their place and their relationship to others. We grow up with freedom, he says, in a limitless world where we are often lost and terribly alone.)

Possibly the strongest conformity in the village was the work ethic. No only did everyone work here, they worked toward a common goal--a better life for their children. The reverence for work was the legacy of Roseto's first priest, Rev. Pasquale de Nisco. Arriving in 1896, De Nisco practiced what he preached. Taking up a pick and shovel, he started clearing ground next to the church to build the graveyard, where he now lies. Above all, De Nisco, whose influence is still strong in Roseto, preached education.

.....

IV. THE EFFECT FADES

In the slate quarries and blouse factories, the men and women of Roseto labored to be able to send their children to college, which they did at a rate far above the national average. By World War II, Roseto had a small white-collar class and was prospering. And of course with that, life began to change.

Wolf and Bruhn's study took place just as Roseto's golden age of community was drawing to a close. They were able to predict that Rosetans then under 30 would not long be content with their rigid, traditional lifestyle. By the '70s, homes on the outskirts of town were in the suburbanized style that had become the American norm: large single family houses, swimming pools, fenced years, country clubs, and churches outside of the community.

As people moved and achieved material success, they found those gains at the expense of traditional communal values with which they have been raised. One person said, "I'm sorry we moved; everything is modern here and we have everything I need here, except people."

The principal of the elementary school said that children's lives changed. They went from days filled with activities to lives of watching from the sidelines. She found she had to teach children how to play jacks and marbles. The strongest evidence that change had come to Roseto was in 1985 when the town's coronet band, founded in 1890, demanded for the first time to be paid for playing at the church's big festival.

As Wolf and his colleagues continued to monitor the health of the community, they noted that social change in the village was accompanied by increasing health problems. In 1971, the first heart attack death of a person less than 45 occurred in Roseto.

Nationally, the Americans' vulnerability to heart attack began to decline because of the widespread adoption of exercise programs and healthier diet. At the same time, the Rosetan's rate rose to the national average.

Roseto has lost its statistical uniqueness. Yet, it makes clear to a visitor that it retains a sense of community--one that would be the envy of almost any place else in the nation. For many families, eating remains a ritual of the communal nature of life here. On Sundays, extra chairs are drawn up and leaves are added to dinner tables all over town for a ceremony that satisfies both physical hunger and the hunger to be surrounded by people who share our lives.

At Rose's Cafe, the only restaurant remaining in town, proprietor Rose Pavan calls everyone by name. Anyone with questions about menu items is swept into the kitchen for a sample. Children, most in Catholic school uniforms, flock in for an after-school snack--just as parents did back when Rose's was Mary's Luncheonette.

A visitor is bound to come away from Rose's with a full stomach and even fuller appreciation how far the rest of us have drifted from the civic-mindedness that marked much of the nation's history.

(My comment: this article is drawn from a series done by The Chicago Tribune on America's loss of community. Other articles focused on our changing urban/suburban social fabric. They noted the social changes implied by suburban homes where the garage is in front and both parents are employed, often an hour drive away. This article was especially relevant for medical anthropology's emphasis on bio culture, the interrelationship between culture, health and disease.)

If older Rosetans are concerned that they have traveled too far down the path of materialistic fulfillment--a path that seems never to end in lasting contentment--shouldn't other Americans be at least as concerned?

We now know that people's reaction's to the same stressful experience vary widely and those who have a greater sense of control, support and satisfaction in their lives are less at risk of illness. Those who get sick most seem to view the world and their lives as unmanageable while those who stay healthy have a greater sense of coherence and control through faced with the same problems. The Rosetans, to put it in Darwinian terms, were a successful adaptation.

A wide range of illness reflects the role that ineffective coping and inadequate support play. The highest rates of tuberculosis have been found among isolated and marginal people who have little social support, although they may live in affluent neighborhoods. This article focused on heart disease, others are indicators of social life as well. These include respiratory diseases, accidents, and mental illness. Studies in England have shown that civil servants with the highest rate of death from coronary heart disease occurs amongst those with little social support. We are indeed nourished by contact with others.

.....

V. SOCIALIZING AND LONGEVITY

A study published in the British Medical Journal in 1999 found that people more than 65 who like to eat out, play cards, go to movies and take part in other social activities live an average of two ½ years longer than more reclusive people. Simply mixing with people seems to offer as great a benefit as regular exercise. Social and productive pursuits are equivalent to and independent of the merits of exercise.

In a similar study at Harvard, it was found that those who were most engaged in productive pursuits were 23 percent less likely to die than those least involved in such pursuits. When each activity was examined individually, doing a lot as opposed to not much, extended live in almost every case regardless of the activity.

Does humor matter? While it is popularly accepted that laughter speeds healing and fights disease, some researchers say that laugher isn't the best medicine after all. A review of humor research does not confirm a direct therapeutic effect of laughter.

Does love matter? In a study of 10,000 married men, it was found that-in the subsequent five years-men who felt love from their wife had significantly less angina that those that felt no love.

People who perceived themselves as socially isolated were found to be two to five times more at risk for premature death from all causes. Persons with low interpersonal conflict in their lives do best.

..... CJ '99

Resources

Condor, B. "Romantic Rx Studies link love and intimacy to improved cardiovascular health" Chicago Tribune April 2, 1998.

Grossman and Leroux "A New Roseto Effect" Chicago Tribune October 11, 1996.

Justice, B. Who Gets Sick New York: Tarcher/Putnam Books, 1987.

McFarling, U "Humor's touted medical value faces skepticism" Chicago Tribune July 7, 1999.

Shaffer, C. and Anundsen, K. "The Healing Powers of Community" Utne Reader September-October, 1995.

"Whether bingo or brunch, study touts socializing" Chicago Tribune August 20, 1999.

--------------

Here is another article about the Roseto Effect...

Link...

http://tinyurl.com/Roseto-Effect

Salute,

Tony V.
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