Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Santorum Distances Self From Sermon On The Mount

Coming under fire from the Tea Party wing of the GOP, presidential candidate Sen. Rick Santorum distanced himself from statements by "his longtime friend" Jesus Christ.

Calling Christ's now-famous comments to "multitudes" on a Judean mountaintop "an unfortunate choice of words," Santorum stressed that he still admires the itinerant preacher for his "inspiring life story."

"Jesus is a great guy," Santorum said, "but I'm not going to be responsible for everything my friends and associates say."

Christ has a long and complicated history with Republicans. Many party stalwarts have said he is the very symbol of what they stand for. But his message of feeding the poor and forgiving tax collectors and prostitutes has always made him enemies among both the libertarian wing and the so-called "values voters." But it's this "Sermon on the Mount" that's caused real anger among the grass roots, leaving many to ask whether Christ is a Republican at all.

"Blessed are the meek?!" wrote Ann Coulter about the sermon, "This guy is a hippy and a RINO, and he's older than Ron Paul. He needs to get out of the public spotlight and start taking his medication." Others have called Christ's pro-meek position "nothing more than Obama-style class warfare."

"Jesus is not a socialist," Santorum said, "I don't believe that for a minute. I think the quote that he supports the 'poor in spirit' was taken out of context. But let's just say I'd rather bless the job creators in this country. That's what we need."

Santorum also pointed out that while respecting the carpenter and part-time messiah, he's disagreed with him before on capital punishment and national defense. During the Sermon, Christ also praised what he called "the peacemakers," leading many in the party to question his resolve on Iran's nuclear program and his support for Israel. Santorum has spent the last few days dealing with questions about his relationship to Christ, whom he's called his "savior" in the past. Campaign insiders are privately upset by the issue.

"We're dealing with this Jesus thing, when we should be fighting Romney," said one staffer. "And it's all nonsense. I mean, Santorum is a friend of Christ, but it's not like he runs Santorum's life or anything."

I'd Like To See "Act Of Valor" But I'll Be Dead Soon

Wow. Act of Valor looks like one seriously kick-ass movie. Just from the trailer I can tell it's going to have everything in it. I mean, everything. I can't believe they used real Navy SEALs -- how did they even get permission for that? I'd love to be home with my buddies, sneaking a pile of candy into a theater and getting ready for some explosions. If my C-130 weren't about to shudder like hell itself and break apart in mid-air, that's one of the first things I'd do when I got back.

Obviously I'd spend a week with Jen and Carly, of course, just hanging out at the house. Carly turned seven recently. But Jen's great about letting me go off with my gang from high school. She's great about everything. I wish that crate didn't have to start smoking like that. It's kind of ruining my plans. And one of those plans is definitely to see Act of Valor.

I don't understand what's in the crate, but I know it's a highly-classified piece of equipment, and it probably cost a great deal of money. I assume it bought someone in Northern Virginia a second house somewhere nice. I assume they're with their wives and kids, enjoying life, and maybe seeing Act of Valor with their own friends. I bet they made some kind of promise that the equipment wouldn't just explode like it's going to in about 90 seconds. I hope there's at least an investigation.

When I saw Black Hawk Down back in high school, it was awesome. It had this hyper-realistic feeling to it, the way it was shot. And the cover of The Minstrel Boy at the end, sung by Joe Strummer... it gave you chills. It made me realize I wanted to do something brave and good with my life, something heroic. It probably gave a lot of people that same feeling -- like you want to be a good man, and protect the people you love.

I signed up a few years later, and a few years after that I tried to quit after I saw things I never thought human beings could do to each other. But they wouldn't let me. And now, here I am. And I'm going to miss Act of Valor.

We're getting better at making movies and games look like real war, and we're getting better at making real war look like movies and games (at least for the people who don't have to fight in them). Some of you are going to say movies like Act of Valor romanticize the killing. And they do. But you can't really blame the movie people. I mean, our problem as a country is we just don't pay attention to the difference between fake-dead and dead-dead. Whoa. What's that smell? Like burning plastic. Anyway, you people back at home talk about honoring guys like me, but you never do enough serious thinking before you send more of us off to some godawful place to die for reasons no one is able to explain in plain, simple language. I guess you could say I've been obsessing about this. It's kind of what I do out here. The strangest thoughts come into my head. Like... Carly will always have pictures of me, and that flag they'll give her, but in a month or two she is going to forget the sound of my voice. She won't even notice it, but the memory will leave her, and she'll grow up, and I won't be there. That's the part about real war they don't put into movies. Real wars leave a shadow, and it doesn't show up on film.

Well... it's time. You folks enjoy the rest of the show.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

"Evidently I Was In Some Kind Of Band" By Shane MacGowan

I'm not really much of a drinker.

It goes right to my head. I do stupid things, and I don't even remember any of it the next day. Some of you probably know the feeling. The party life isn't for me. You have to know your limits, right? Most nights I'd relax with a good book and a cup of green tea.

Then came Tommy Mundy's funeral. Real sad about Tommy. The nicest guy. It was a blow to all of us.

Do not act as if thou wert going to live ten thousand years. Death hangs over thee. While thou livest, while it is in thy power, be good. That's Marcus Aurelius -- it's one of my favorite quotes.

Anyway, we were all sitting in the back of Mundy's sister's living room, and my cousin Brendan passed around some short glasses of whiskey.

"A quick one," Brendan said to me before I could object. "It's for Tommy, and it's not going to kill you." One drink led to another, and then someone said we should start singing old folk songs that Tommy liked. I remember the music, and I remember a few more of the drinks, and then we all left to beat last call somewhere downtown. That was in Dublin. 1978.

Yesterday I woke up in a police holding cell, and I didn't really remember what happened. I figured I was in real trouble. I was just so embarrassed, you know? I hoped I hadn't made a scene. I was wondering if I'd be able to get out of jail in time for my Joyce book club. But then I noticed the badges on the cops, and I saw they weren't Dublin police at all. They were NYPD. That took a bit of time to process.

The officer who got my statement was really friendly. Almost too friendly. "You're Shane MacGowan!" he kept saying, even though he had my passport. "Shane Friggin' MacGowan!"

"Yes," I said. "Yes, I am. Terribly sorry if I caused a fuss." Then I saw the date on his report, and thought he'd made a mistake, or he was trying to play some prank on me. But he wasn't. When I realized I'd been out for 34 years I wanted to just kill Brendan. And I knew I was probably expelled from the book club for good. I didn't understand any of it. But the cop just asked me to autograph a poster of me wearing a cowboy outfit... and then he sent me out. I was wandering around the street when a car passed and some guy wearing a backwards baseball cap hooted at me and pumped his fist in the air for no reason. I suddenly felt ill from the night before. Or nights, rather. I felt very ill. I just knew I had to throw up. Humiliated and desperate, I ducked into an alley and tried to relieve myself in the most private and dignified way possible. Instead a crowd of dozens of people gathered around. They were actually cheering. Cheering!

Eventually this musician named Mr. Bono spotted me on Fifth Avenue looking lost and gave me a ride. He was able to put me in touch with a fellow who claimed he was my publicist, and they explained the whole story. It was quite a story. I discovered I have more than a million dollars in some account they'd been hiding from me for decades. "It was for your own good," my publicist said.

So I'm feeling much, much better now, and I want to thank anyone who has seen my concerts or other... exploits these past several decades. Supposedly there are quite a few of you out there who consider yourselves fans. You have my good wishes. But really I think I'll stick to literature and club soda from now on. Cheers!

(Note: Photo by Masao Nakagami. Rights information here.)
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