Lyrics | Elvis Costello lyrics - God's Comic lyrics

Oh yes I was a comical priest
With a joke for the flock
and a hand up your fleece
Drooling the drink and the lipstick and grease-
paint down the cardboard front
of my dirty dog-collar

-----God's Comic, by Elvis Costello.

Over at PZ's place, the world's most notorious zebrafish torturer has a thought about....clerical garb. It seems that it's not enough that Our Godless Hero has taken the high ground of reason to bedevil the faithful. He's now concerned that there's an inherent inequality in perception, driven by the fact that some clergyman wear a 'uni' that supposedly announces their moral superiority. Apparently the existence of clerical collars, orange robes, bald pates and long beards claims some sort of 'high ground' and unfairly leverages the way debates about religion are perceived by the public. PZ writes:

I guess I'm just going to have to put it on my to-do list of things to accomplish while we're destroying religion: diminish the credibility of the clerical uniform.

Well, as I wrote over at PZ's place, do tell. Perhaps you should also take steps to undermine the gravitas of their buildings? I mean, certain architectural styles simply mark the religious as a privileged class in this world or the next, especially if (by way of comparison) you work in the cinderblock wing of academia. Seriously, PZ, the shot on this page of your school site looks like a prison:

How in the Name of Cthulthu are you supposed to compete with something like this, that practically screams out, "I'm going to heaven...and you're not!"....?

I await with great interest the details of your visit to the local Planning Commission. Down with all spires, stained glass, gargoyles and the like....or, if that is not feasible, perhaps a warning sticker? Something, perhaps, like this:


After all, we would never want to privilege our views....right?



Well, to start things off, I had to leave Texas a day after the funeral, just when I was enjoying myself with the rest of the family. It was a shame to be together so briefly.

Then, the Cowboys somehow managed to blow a ten-point lead in the fourth quarter after dominating on defense. Just awful, especially since I boarded Flight 541 (Dallas to Phoenxi) with that lead intact, and the game's script seemingly foregone.

Then, the connecting flight from Phoenix to Fresno made it to Fresno in good time, around 10:20.......

....and circled

....and circled

....and circled

Eventually it was announced that we could not land due to the heavy fog conditions, which seemed difficult to credit given the amount of detail I could pick up from my window seat, but I don't make these decisions. Bakersfield was mentioned as an alternate destination, but it quickly came back that their airport was also shrouded in condensation. Then, Burbank was discussed but (comically) I overheard the very put-out stew (I was in the front row, seat 1C) express her disbelief that 'nobody in Burbank is even answering the phone!'

After another ten minutes, the decision was made to go to Santa Barbara (!) because someone there had answered the phone. When we arrived, a young man in a snow cap and shorts (!) came up the ladder and expressed shock that any passengers would deplane, much less require alternative transportation to get from Santa Barbara to Fresno. He actually tried to convince the crew of the (Canadair) Bombadier CRJ-200 to take off and go to some other airport!

Once we left the aircraft, it was pretty clear why: the place was a ghost town. Nothing was open at the airport other than the main lobby. Nothing. No coffee, not so much as a candy bar machine. Just ominous posters from Homeland Security and desks to check baggage and issue boarding passes to, apparently, nowhere. It was dark, slightly misty and for about 30 of us passengers (mostly total strangers) it was limbo. Under stress, many of that not-too-happy band began revealing their grace, or lack of it, in what were likely characteristic ways. The faux-Mission style architecture merely added to the creepiness of a scenario right out of a Stephen King novella, in which no doubt members of the motley crew would be dispatched horrifically one-by-one. Or, at least, this is the sort of thing that pops into your head in such a scenario. I tried to put the heebie-jeebies aside by calling the district's automated line and requesting a sub for my Monday classes which I would clearly not be able to teach.

Eventually, the young man in shorts reemerged to 'explain' that there was no bus company in Santa Barbara willing to transport us back to Fresno Yosemite International, but that a bus could be engaged from Fresno, but they would have to go the long way due to the fog down I-5 and over through Ventura County, but perhaps they could be here by 3:00 in the morning, and could he get a head count of those who want to take that option? Well, in point of fact nobody wanted to take that option, but since it was the only one on the table that promised a return by Monday morning (the car rental place had closed), many of us acquiesced. And, when the bus eventually pulled up at 4:48, it was a bit of relief. I was walking to the parking lot at FYI to find my truck a little after 10:00, a mere eleven hours or so later than originally planned. And it wasn't such a tough Sunday after all.

Because it was Monday. I'm rolling my eyes so hard at this point I may develop callouses. My sub carried my morning classes, but I'm going in this afternoon because we have staff meetings and because I'm assisting Mr. Oliver in coaching ACADEC. At least I get pizza!


Oh, but it gets better. It seems that while I was purchasing tickets from USAirways through Expedia.com, someone swiped by credit card info. By Wednesday of this week my wife was drawing my attention to a supposed purchase of goods on-line from Armani. As if I was 'Mr. GQ'! When we contacted the bank, we learned of several more transactions that hadn't yet posted, nearly a thousand dollars worth of stuff. Well, we canceled the card and filed paperwork to get our money back, so the lesson's not too expensive, but man, I've had a week!




Many of my readers don't care too much for religion, and others don't care too much for religions they view as opposed to Christianity.

Allow me to offer a different perspective: religion taps into an awesome well of human potential for personal growth, community renewal and transcedence of the barriers to same...or for depersonalization, fragmentation and a whole host of divisive and destructive 'isms'.

Consider the awesome potential of the hajj for Muslims who embark upon this spiritual quest, one of the 'five pillars of Islam'. It is a task that requires a significant commitment of real-world time and resources, rich in symbolism:
It is stunning to consider that perhaps three million of my fellow human beings are in the midst of this quest, and that this aerial view of worshippers at Mount Mercy is but a small fraction of this convergence:

Now, where there are that many people in one place there is opportunity for mischief, and so we see that some want to politicize the event, using it as a backdrop to draw attention to their concerns about the world. But, as news accounts show, the vast majority resist this tendency and appear to be focused on the pilgrimage. May the messengers of peace attend them.