Friday, February 29, 2008

United Ireland on Shaky Ground

On Tuesday, a magnitude 5.3 earthquake shook northern England. Sinn Féin and the factions of the IRA missed a golden opportunity when they failed to claim responsibility. Decades of political maneuvering and sporadic violence have brought Ireland little closer to unification, but the Brits might be frightened out of Ulster if they think Irish republicans now have the power to shift the Eurasian plate...especially if Gerry Adams can come up with some strange, unidentifiable contraption with, say, wires running into the ground, and have a photograph taken of him "operating" it.

England at the mercy of Irish earthquakists is a troubling prospect for a nation of tea-drinkers whose boiled lifeblood is so vulnerable to falling dust...and especially grim for chubby UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who is prone to embarrassing jiggling.

Such a ruse could finally force the British to relinquish Ulster, achieving a unified, free Irish nation bloodlessly.

Like how Gandhi non-violently got the British to quit India by putting on a scary voice and claiming to be the cause of an early frost that ruined Clement Attlee's petunia garden.

I'm Dreaming of an Olive Christmas

For centuries, countless Western artists have portrayed Jesus as lilywhite, blue-eyed, and flaxen-haired, creating his likeness in their image rather than admit his true ethnicity. But genealogy, biology, and common sense tell us that Jesus, a Middle Eastern Semite, almost certainly possessed olive (or even darker) skin, as well as coarse, dark hair. Our institutional images of Jesus—cast into public consciousness centuries ago by Europeans who could not, or would not, accept so foreign a savior—amount to ethnocentric self-deception.

Yet today, many Americans and Europeans still can't bear the idea of Jesus as anything but the classically wholesome, fair-skinned, Nordic type. Witness the blatant denial of Jesus’ desert heritage in this current ad for a S’mores nativity scene. Could Jesus be any whiter?

When will someone offer a historically accurate S’mores nativity scene using roasted marshmallows that properly reflect Jesus’ true ethnicity?

(Photo of S'mores nativity scene copyright Santa’s Depot.)

Monday, February 25, 2008

To Sleep, Perchance to Vote

One of my dreams Saturday night included a midget doing yoga. I don’t know what it meant, but I suddenly feel inclined to vote for McCain.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Curse of Cato

Sports “curses” have haunted luckless franchises almost as long as professional leagues have existed: the Curse of the Bambino, the Curse of the Billy Goat, The Curse of Muldoon, and the Curse of Billy Penn, to name some of the most infamous.

I believe it’s time to add another “curse” to that list: the Curse of Cato.

Cato the Younger (95-46 BC) was one of Rome’s greatest senators, a staunch defender of the republic, known for his honesty, integrity, and his opposition to power-hungry militarist, Julius Caesar. A man of inscrutable moral fiber, Cato would be appalled that the Ottawa Senators franchise carries as its logo not the pride of the Roman republic, but a Roman centurion—the symbol of brute imperial dictatorship. As senator, Cato devoted his public life fighting to maintain Rome’s republican principles. Such a slight to republican ideals by the Ottawa Senators angers not merely the hockey gods, but Jupiter, Mars, and the entire Roman pantheon.

The Curse of Cato is starkly reflected in the fortunes of the Ottawa Senators. In fourteen full seasons in the modern NHL, the Senators have progressed from league doormats (losing 70 games in 1992-93) to paper tigers. Ottawa has registered at least 100 points in six of the last eight seasons—and is well on its way to a seventh—yet the talented Senators fall short of the Stanley Cup every year.

Prior to the Ottawa Senators’ re-institution to the NHL in 1992 and its adoption of the centurion logo, the first incarnation of the franchise won eleven Stanley Cups as one of professional hockey’s early powerhouses. In those bygone years, Ottawa donned a truer, more honorable logo—one that didn’t mock the franchise’s very soul by featuring its political arch-enemy. In fact, it could be argued—especially after a 12-pack of Labatt’s—that Ottawa’s original logo (seen here, on the sweater of Frank Finnigan) paid senatorial homage to Cato, who was known to friends, Romans, and countrymen simply as “O.” Even if you don’t drink Labatt’s, you can’t deny that the Ottawa Senators enjoyed infinitely more success sporting their Cato-friendly logo. When Ottawa shunned that in favor of an imperial image, the Senators lost power like their Roman counterparts in the wake of the Caesars.

Until the Ottawa Senators lift the Curse of Cato by replacing that centurion on their chests with the deserving image of Cato, Cicero, or one of the Gracchi, don’t expect a parade down Wellington Street any time in the next millennium.

(Ottawa Senators' logos copyright the National Hockey League. Graphic wizardry at center ice courtesy of Mount Drinkmore's Dave.)