Saturday, September 24, 2005

Grace through the Years

I met Grace Slick tonight. Yes, Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane fame; the writer/ singer of a 1960's anthem song.

"White Rabbit"

One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don't do anything at all
Go ask Alice
When she's ten feet tall

And if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you're going to fall
Tell'em a hookah smoking caterpillar
Has given you the call
Call Alice
When she was just small

When the men on the chessboard
get up and tell you where to go
And you've just had some kind of mushroom
And your mind is moving low
Go ask Alice
I think she'll know

When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead
And the White Knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queen says "off with her head"
Remember what the dormouse said:
"Feed your head. Feed your head. Feed your head."

I was strolling through a local mall, Fashion Island in Newport Beach, when I came upon a group of people outside of an art gallery. Having an art degree, I was curious as to what was happening. I asked a young woman and she pointed to a sign advertising the work of Grace Slick was being shown tonight; Grace Slick was there in person. And the wine was free. No cheese.

Excited, Iwent in. There were many people of grand means standing around wearing fashionable fashions, saying artsy stuff as if they knew what they were talking about, and drinking their very tony martinis. Few were buying or were even being sold anything. The sales staff could see they were looky lou's.

I, on the other hand, was dressed in German Army surplus fatigue pants, brown riverguide shirt, hiking boots, unshaven and drinking a very unfashionable Merlot (soft and velvety.) Speaking to no one, I proceeded around the gallery, nodding my head at this painting, smiling at another, then laughing aloud at still one more.

Noticing my attention to the art work, Alex, a sales guy, stepped up next to me and asked which painting I'd like to buy. We talked and compared several paintings and drawings. I pointed out the one drawing I liked, not because of the image, but for the confidence with which the lines were drawn. Grace has never been known for hesitancy or doubt. Another, a portrait of Jerry Garcia, was done with vibrant colors and showed the innocence and magic of the Grateful Dead man.

Without much fanfare or inner debate, I chose this painting that was not my first choice upon entering. It is titled "Classic Rabbit". It is painted very much in the style of the Louis Carroll story "Alice in Wonderland", a story that I have never really liked. After looking at the many paintings several times, I kept coming back to this one. I really do like it.

Upon paying for the painting, I was escorted to a roped area where Grace was dedicating the art work and posing for the buyer photo. I introduced myself, we shook hands, and we had a short conversation about my cat, Alice, that somehow led Grace to tell me of her recovery from alcoholism with the help of an addiction counselor, himself a rock star and recovering addict. She is a very sweet lady with beautiful, bright blue eyes.

There aren't many stars I have wanted to meet - Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, Grace Slick. Norma Jean died while I was still just a boy and though a neighbor for many years, John Wayne was a very private man in his later years. Grace Slick was my last hope and she was everything I could have hoped for.

I was just strolling through the mall. I was almost late for a very important date.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Judging the Many by the Actions of the Few

I have just returned from the wedding of my niece in Solvang, California, a lovely and friendly Danish town near Santa Barbara and the Pacific Coast. The ceremony was held at the beuatiful Firestone Winery at 6:00 P.M. with the setting sun. Family members of the bride and groom came from the Carolinas on the US eastern shore and the wonderful country of Chile in South America. What a wonderful time!

While I was away, The Stratford Upon Avon Strumpet, Ron, commented on the last post, "[from my post] 'we are all seeing quite plainly the overarching desire of Islam to rule the planet. ' [Ron] Not quite sure I understand this? Isn't that judging the many by the actions of the few?" (BTW, Ron has an amusing obituary for Sundays post. )

Attempting a quick answer just off the top of my head: Yes.

The oft stated goal of Islam since its very inception has been that of tranforming the whole world to Islam. Now, you can say, Well, isn't that what Christianity intends? The answer is, "Yes, absolutely it is. " The difference is in the method and philosophy undergirding the religious philosophies.

The Quran and the Hadith very plainly spell out how the transformation is to take place: convert, pay the jizya (a poll tax on non-believers meant to be humiliating), or be killed. Again, you may say, "But, didn't Christianity do that themselves?" And, again the answer is , "Yes". Convert or die was a method used by Christians during a large part of the past Colonial period. Poll taxes were never required as the Christians simply took the riches.

So, what's the difference? The difference is that although Christians (the members) have used barbarism as a means of conquest and conversion, Christianity (the religion and philosophy) abhors violence in any form. There is no acceptable form of violence in the philosophy of Jesus. The Christian Messiah abhorred violence and killing as was made clear in the Gospels. That many Christain theologians have filed their interpretations over the centuries, they amount to little more than an apologia for very earthly thinking and behavior, a way of excusing the inexcusable.

When Christians and, by extension, Westerners kill, we know we are doing wrong. Without asking Gods forgiveness, those Christians involved in killing are on an expressway to perdition. The whole philosophy stems from a mistranslation of the Commandment, "Thou shalt not kill." The Commandment should have read, "Thou shalt not murder." Two very different acts and meanings which were spelled out in the Hebrew Torah (Jewish Law.) But, too late now - the damage has been done.

Killing infidels, heretics, apostates, adulterers (but, usually just the adultress), drug addicts, insulters of Mohammad and/or Allah, homosexuals, rape victims (but, usually not the rapist), and far more crimes, slights, and imaginings than can be counted here, are all mandated by Allah under Islam. Those who kill an infidel, apostate, or insulter are on an expressway to heaven. Those dispensing death in the name of Allah or Mohammad are absolved before they even conceive of killing another human being.

Lying has the Good Mosquekeeping Seal of Approval, also. In a Hadith (life and teachings of Mohammad outside of the Quran used as a model for the ideal life; much of Islam can be found in the Hadiths enabling Muslims to rightfully say, " such and such is not in the Quran"), Volume 5, Book 59, Number 369, Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah:

Allah's Apostle said, "Who is willing to kill Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His Apostle?" Thereupon Muhammad bin Maslama got up saying, "O Allah's Apostle! Would you like that I kill him?"
The Prophet said, "Yes."
Muhammad bin Maslama said, "Then allow me to say a (false) thing (i.e. to deceive Kab). "
The Prophet said, "You may say it."
Then Muhammad bin Maslama went to Kab and said, "That man (i.e. Muhammad) demands Sadaqa (i.e. Zakat) from us, and he has troubled us, and I have come to borrow something from you."
On that, Ka'b said, "By Allah, you will get tired of him!"
Muhammad bin Maslama said, "Now as we have followed him, we do not want to leave him unless and until we see how his end is going to be. Now we want you to lend us a camel load or two of food."
Ka'b said, "Yes, (I will lend you), but you should mortgage something to me."
Muhammad bin Maslama and his companion said, "What do you want?"
Ka'b replied, "Mortgage your women to me."
They said, "How can we mortgage our women to you and you are the most handsome of the 'Arabs?"
Ka'b said, "Then mortgage your sons to me."
They said, "How can we mortgage our sons to you? Later they would be abused by the people's saying that so-and-so has been mortgaged for a camel load of food. That would cause us great disgrace, but we will mortgage our arms to you."
Muhammad bin Maslama and his companion promised Ka'b that Muhammad would return to him. He came to Ka'b at night along with Ka'b's foster brother, Abu Na'ila. Ka'b invited them to come into his fort, and then he went down to them.
His wife asked him, "Where are you going at this time?"
Ka'b replied, "None but Muhammad bin Maslama and my (foster) brother Abu Na'ila have come."
His wife said, "I hear a voice as if dropping blood is from him."
Ka'b said, "They are none but my brother Muhammad bin Maslama and my foster brother Abu Naila. A generous man should respond to a call at night even if invited to be killed."
Muhammad bin Maslama went with two men. (Some narrators mention the men as 'Abu bin Jabr. Al Harith bin Aus and Abbad bin Bishr). So Muhammad bin Maslama went in together with two men, and said to them, "When Ka'b comes, I will touch his hair and smell it, and when you see that I have got hold of his head, strip him. I will let you smell his head."
Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf came down to them wrapped in his clothes, and diffusing perfume.
Muhammad bin Maslama said, "I have never smelt a better scent than this."
Ka'b replied, "I have got the best Arab women who know how to use the high class of perfume."
Muhammad bin Maslama requested Ka'b, "Will you allow me to smell your head?"
Ka'b said, "Yes."
Muhammad smelt it and made his companions smell it as well. Then he requested Ka'b again, "Will you let me (smell your head)?"
Ka'b said, "Yes."
When Muhammad got a strong hold of him, he said (to his companions), "Get at him!" So they killed him and went to the Prophet and informed him. (Abu Rafi) was killed after Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf."

The common interpretation within Islam concerning lying involves four cases in which it is okay to tell a "falsehood" (lie): 1st, to save one's life; 2nd, to effect a peace or reconciliation; 3rd, to persuade a woman; 4th, on the occasion of a journey or expedition. From these four precepts, one can find a way to justify any "falshood" one could possibly use in any possible situation; Islam is a very convenient religion. Because both Mohammad and Allah condone lying and Muslims face death if they do not believe the word of Mohammad and Allah, it is not possible to believe Muslims when they say Islam is a Religion of Peace, Islam does not desire the destruction of Israel, Islam does not practice terrorism, and Islam is not interested in converting the world to Islam by extreme force if necessasary. The question is a conundrum of logic: everything I say is a lie. Am I telling the truth or lying? One doesn't know and cannot know, except by the judgement of action. Since its invention of Islam, the actions belie the words.

Again, even though Christians lie, in no way is lying condoned or sanctioned by Christianity. When Christians lie, they know full well they are committing a sin and are willing to accept the consequences of the Final Judgement, or repent by confessing the sin and accept the penance here on earth.

In short: Christianity condemns killing: Islam blesses killing. Christainity condemns lying; Islam provides guidelines for acceptable "falsehoods." Christianity is a religion in which one may choose ones behavior vis e vis God, politics, and ones fellows. Deviation from the accepted teachings results in a new denomination which succeeds or fails in the court of public opinion and membership.

Islam is an integrated way of life encompassing every facet of life from politics to religion, from ablutions to menstruation and nocturnal emissions, from lying to killing; nothing is left to free will and deviation is severly punished in all of the Islamic denominations.

The actions of the few are condoned by the teachings of Mohammad and the revealed word of Allah which are accepted by the Muslim umma ( community) the world over. So, Ron, my answer must be "yes and no". Judging the many by the actions of the few is completely reasonable in this case and does not involve any bigotry as implied by the question itself. It is a judgement of discrimination in that a distinction has been made in favor of one over another.

I judge Christianity to be prefferable to Islam in every conceivable way. And that from an atheist.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.