Thursday, April 20, 2006

Remind me not to mix alcohol and Ambien and then start instant messaging with my parents.
I finally got to pop the question to one of my Muslim friends today. The question, of course, is the following: If God exists, and He is merciful and compassionate, how do you account for the existence of flies?

Yes, flies. Horrible useless little creatures, and when I’m reborn as one, I’ll be anxiously abuzz looking for the nearest swatter.

She responded with the parable of the boat. If you don’t know the parable of the boat (I didn’t, and count me totally unmoved) it goes a little something like this:

If you’re standing on the shore of a river, and you want to get to the other side, and there’s some driftwood in the river, would you imagine the driftwood would come together and form a boat so you could cross? No, of course you wouldn’t. Likewise you could not expect something as perfect as mankind and womankind and all the sensible stuff that surrounds us to have been created without the agency of a higher power called God.

As ever, I felt like Mark Twain at Bayreuth:

This opera of "Tristan and Isolde" last night broke the hearts of all witnesses who were of the faith, and I know of some who have heard of many who could not sleep after it, but cried the night away. I feel strongly out of place here. Sometimes I feel like the sane person in a community of the mad; sometimes I feel like the one blind man where all others see; the one groping savage in the college of the learned, and always, during service, I feel like a heretic in heaven.
Those raised to believe that all people are intrinsically and necessarily of one religion or another (in this part of the world, either Muslim, Jew or Christian) cannot bring themselves to believe that atheism is akin to anything other than nihilism.

Listening to: Belle & Sebastian, Tigermilk
Drink: Eight parts vodka, one part Bailey’s
Stage of grief: Phenomenally insulted

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Stories like the one about the riots in Solomon Islands (where? and why?) and Australia's entanglement there remind me how unfathomably large the world still is.
Ten days left before I leave Cairo for Dubai to start my new job. I'm thinking (or perhaps hoping) it'll be a bit like pressing cntl-alt-del. For anybody still left wondering what ever happened to that South Africa trip, I opted not to go. This weekend I'm spending a leisurely three days in Siwa, a secluded oasis in the Western Desert way out toward Libya. In the meantime I'm just finishing up some long overdue work from my two weeks in Kiev in February, while researching something about golf courses in the vicinity of Cairo.