Sweet Jesus…

So an art gallery in Manhattan had plans to exhibit this life-sized chocolate likeness of Jesus in the window of its art gallery for two hours each day during the Easter season, on Monday.

But guess what?

A Catholic organization – the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights – angrily boycotted the exhibit, called My Sweet Lord. According to a League press release, the artist had invited the public to visit the exhibit and take a bite out of the cocoa Saviour when the piece made its official debut at midnight on April 1.

And there also were plans in the works to boycott the hotel – which the Catholic League called “morally bankrupt” in a press release.

“The Roger Smith Hotel will rue the day it sought to declare war on Christian sensibilities”, said the press release published March 29.

In the end, the gallery scrapped the showing; the Catholic group dropped its planned boycott of the hotel, delighted they got what they wanted.

On top of that, the gallery’s artistic director, to protest the exhibit’s cancellation, has tendered his resignation.

Everyone’s entitled to their opinions and beliefs.

But just a sec. Is the offense here the fact that it’s a chocolate Jesus? Or the fact that it’s a naked chocolate Jesus? What if he had a little chocolate loincloth? Would the cries of indignation be as loud?

Or was it the fact that – if the press release reads true – the sculpture, on top of being naked and chocolate, was going to be possibly be eaten, mouthful by mouthful?

I can’t speak for the Son of God ever. But think about it: the holiest of men made out of (in my opinion) the holiest of foods?

If someone wanted to make a likeness of me out of chocolate, I wouldn’t stop them. I’d consider it the sincerest form of flattery.

I’m not sure about the whole anatomic correctness part … but a chocolate Loquacious D? A real one?

I’d probably eat my likeness if I saw it!

It could’ve been a lot worse. It could’ve been a Jesus made out of animal poop.

I’m just sayin’ .

Sanjaya Must Be Stopped

(Epic Post warning …)

So I’m going to admit two things I should probably be ashamed of:

1) I watch American Idol (when my work-commute schedule allows).

2) I want that guy off the show.

For people who watch, he needs no introduction. For the rest of you who have no clue (and thank goodness I took my meds before writing this, or else I’d be covered in hives), that perma-grinning contestant is Sanjaya Malakar. He’s one of two 17-year-old contestants on this season of American Idol. And he can’t sing.

I’ve never professed to be a singer, period. But I’m pretty sure I could sing better than him.

Now, I know I’m probably going to get rained on by from 11-year-old girls and other members of Team Sanjaya (including my dad!), who think I should be ashamed of myself for even saying such things, ’cause he’s just doing his thing, etc.

But for some reason that boggles me and many others who feel this way, every week, he gives what would be a middle-of-the-road, mediocre performance. And every week so far, someone who sings way better than he does gets kicked off the show.

And in addition to his crazy tapioca warbling, there’s another thing driving me absolutely batty.

His hair.

Yes, there are guys out there with long hair. It’s not a new concept. But seriously? He looks like a girl. If it was shorter, or if he had a bit of facial fuzz, I could probably deal. But no. And not just his hair. It’s the things he does with it. The picture above is usually how he wears it. But lately, he’s been messing in a whole ‘nother type of wrongness.

A few weeks ago he decided to dabble with a man-perm probably not seen since the days of disco (or Wayne Gretzky in his early days as an Oiler):

Do me a favour. Please. Do NOT call this a ‘fro. I have a ‘fro. I (and millions of other people like myself) have earned the birthright to the ‘fro.

And you don’t mess with birthrights.

If I hear someone ever use that term sacreligiously to describe this mess, I will hunt you down and smack you. I have ways and means.

And these days, that includes Facebook.

LAST night, he had the audacity to do this while completely mangling one of the few No Doubt songs I really like:

Everyone called it a faux-hawk. I call it the Seven Ponytails of Hell. And because of it, he caused host Ryan Seacrest to create a new verb when tonight, Seacrest came out in a fake wig in the same seven-ponytail design and proclaim: “I’ve been Sanjaya-ed.”

Whatever he’s doing, it’s causing enormous numbers of people amongst the tween set (and maybe his five dozen relatives) to pick up their phones and start voting furiously when the lines open for audience members each Tuesday night.

He even made this 13-year-old girl cry uncontrollably last week for an entire hour :

The story I read says she was overjoyed when Sanjaya hit the stage.

Really?

NEVER make this girl upset.

But he’s doing more than making little girls cry. He’s making people like me grouse about this to their fitness trainers, dentists, co-workers, podiatrists, doctors, falafel-stand owners and taxi drivers.

He’s even given a woman in New York the most bizarre reason to go on a hunger strike, now in its 12th day. She even has an explanatory You Tube video.

Forget global warming and obesity. This will kill us all first, starting with that girl.

Since it’s evident no matter what he sings, he’ll continue to crush fellow contestants in his wake, I have a theory and a solution to end the madness:

My theory: It’s not his voice keeping him on the show. It’s his hair.

So someone, in a stealth operation, needs to take an electric shaver to his head.

It’s totally Samson and Delilah. Fuh serious. Samson had his strength in his hair. And Sanjaya’s carrying his luck somewhere in that shaggy mop.

No need to shave him completely bald. Just give him a stylish, not-so-shedding-on-the-carpet coif. That way, once people can see his face, they’ll come to their senses.

Boy is probably overdue for a haircut, anyway.

Even now, he’s done enough damage to secure himself in the Top 10 and a place on the tour that takes place when the show is over.

But for right now, I want to be able to see and hear properly when I watch TV on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. For the love of God.

The Planning Begins

So, if you can recall, almost three months ago I made a wishlist of things I wanted to happen or see happen this year.

Fast on the heels of my one-date quota, it seems another goal of mine may be starting to realize itself.

As of last Friday, three friends and I officially started planning about going to Spain this summer.

Yessssss!

We’re aiming for mid-August, mainly because that’s the only time we would all be able to take time off at the same time. Also because there’s the chance I could potentially be going to a wedding in Dublin around that time (but we’ll see what happens).

We’re still in the early stages. We met at a bookstore last Friday, trying to pore over travel books and make heads and tails of things. We started making a list of places we’d like to see on our travels. And we’ve already got a fairly good list.

We definitely have a list of cities to choose from: Bilbao, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Madrid, and Grenada. And let’s not forget Gilbraltar.

Tonight, I bought myself a travel guide, and right now I’m trying to do everything in my power NOT to stay up late at nights, reading it obsessively.

It’s also hard NOT to get caught up in the romantic idea of Spain – the culture, the siestas, the late-nights. And in the case of my friend Jeannie, all the paella she can get her hands on.

I’m trying to be level-headed — thinking about looking into potential hostels and guesthouses to stay at … how the hell I’m going to get from Toronto to possibly Dublin and then on to whatever our first stop in Spain might be.

But just the thought that I could be doing this makes me giddy.

So, if you have any advice on where to find good accommodations, or the best way to travel, both by air, and around Spain, holla at me. I’ll happily take suggestions, being a novice and all.

The (Dis)comfort of Silence

I have to give props to The Catalyst on this bit of food for thought …

Blog-hopping, as I tend to do fairly frequently, I was reading the latest entry, in which my fellow blogger was writing about the effect our techno-gadget-crazy society is having on us, the way we communicate …

And then she wrote:

The other downside of this whole technology blackberry, instant messaging, text messaging, cell phone phenomena is, I miss the silence.

It sent my mind reeling backwards to Friday night. There I was, just finished my shift, hanging out with a couple of work friends (albeit at work), eating and talking.

And I just remember at one point just not talking. Which is when I heard it. No one audibly talking within earshot. No TVs blaring. Maybe just the big whirring sound of the central air system, plus whatever computers were on and buzzing. It was like this pocket of soundlessness.

And I just turned to my friend and said, “It is ridiculously quiet right now.”

That statement now makes me ask the question: since when did silence become ridiculous? Unnerving? Unnatural?

It’s not weird to have silence in the dead of night, or while I’m asleep. Why is it so, during the day?

I do remember the days before technology took hold. And the scary part is, it wasn’t that long ago.

I remember when people didn’t have cellphones. Hell, there weren’t touch-tone phones – they were rotary! When you wanted to talk to someone, there was no texting, no instant-anything. You called them. If they were farther away, you wrote them a letter.

When I was a bit older, if I was going out to meet friends and had to call someone, I used a quarter for the payphone (which I sometimes didn’t have, despite the “always have a quarter!” mini-lecture I’d get from my mom). Otherwise, you were late, and figured things out when you got to where you were going to.

I don’t remember being in front of a computer for anything other than video games (ah, the Commodore 64 and Atari days!) until sixth or seventh grade.

And at nights when I was trying to sleep, the thing that would probably be most annoying would be a dog barking somewhere in my neighbourhood or the noise of a car or motorcycle as it drove past my street.

But there was more silence back then.

And it makes me realize how much noise there is now, whether by way of my environment, or because I put it there. I always make sure my cellphone has different ringtones for different friends. On public transit, I fill my ears with music from my MP3 player to drown out whatever sounds are around me – like a sonic self-medication. Work is constantly noisy. Even at home, I notice that I always have the TV or my radio on in the background.

And when I’m at home alone on a weekend morning, and it just happens that there’s no one home, the silence – the few moments before I fill it with noise from the radio – are almost eerie.

Am I afraid of silence? And if so, why? What do I think will happen if I shut everything off and down?

How much silence do you get in your week? Do you take it as it comes? Do you take the time to make sure you incorporate it into your daily life? Or can you just not stand it whatsoever?

A Scent-sitive Subject

As my mom and I were driving home this afternoon, I was listening to the radio and the host of the particular show on at the time, recalled a story she came across a bit earlier:

A woman in Calgary was kicked off a bus on Friday because the driver said he didn’t like her perfume.

The driver had apparently given her a warning the day before not to wear the perfume again or he wouldn’t let her ride. Nonetheless, she boarded the bus the next day, and – true to his word – the driver told her to get off.

His reason? He said the perfume interfered with his ability to focus and operate the bus.

The woman said she felt she was being unfairly singled out, just for trying to smell nice.

A city spokeman said the incident was being investigated, but it appeared the driver may have overstepped his bounds.

I’m not sure exactly what to make of this. But I guess my first question would be: exactly how much of the stuff was she wearing?

I’m not normally a perfume-wearer and nowadays for me, it’s a conscious decision not to, because so many people either have or have developed allergies to perfume.

Unless it’s maybe the most special of circumstances, I’d put a little on, and even then, it’d be only ever so slight.

But there are people out there who seem to bathe in the stuff – to the point where the scent might remain in the room minutes after the person wearing it has left.

I remember, working my first part-time job in high school, having to deal with a customer who made my eyes water because she was wearing so much perfume. At the time, I thought maybe something burning in the area was causing my eyes to water. I didn’t clue in until she’d left and my eyes stopped tearing.

I remember a co-worker telling me a few months back about a colleague of ours who’d been wearing enough perfume to cause another co-worker to cough and feel unwell because of it. And when she was told, instead of understanding the situation, she actually took offense, going so far as to say it was part of her identity, and why should she have to change?

Um, isn’t one’s identity comprised of things like, oh, personality? Intellect? Beliefs? Individual style? Smelly water can be a part of one’s identity? Not at the risk of someone’s health-related reaction, I don’t think.

Wanting NOT to smell like B.O. is not a crime in the least. Sure, who doesn’t want to smell so-fresh-and-so-clean?

But if people are having physical reactions to your fragrance and they have to tell you to dial it down a couple notches, they’re not doing it to be mean. It’s ’cause you’re wearing so much, you don’t even realize it! Or maybe you’re not wearing the right one suited to your physical chemistry.

I think wearing perfume is an exercise in subtlety. One should wear enough so that the slightest whiff causes a head or two to turn and wonder where that heavenly scent is coming from.

Your scent shouldn’t be causing people to pinch their noses and cover their faces.

What do you think?

Desculpe!

Hey folks,

Sorry I haven’t been as good with the posting as I usually am. Life’s been nuts the last few weeks, hence the sporadic writing.

I’ve been bookmarking drafts of things to write as I remember to, so right now, I think I may be up to date with my posts at the moment .. feel free to scroll down to catch up on a few of my thoughts and ramblings.

But be forewarned – as always, they’re a little long-winded (but it could be because the writing space is so skinny anyway!).

So make sure you’re on lunch break or at home chillin’ if you care to read on …

Charisma: Dangerous?

cha·ris·ma (kuh-RIZ-muh). Noun.

1.Theology. a divinely conferred gift or power.

2. a spiritual power or personal quality that gives an individual influence or authority over large numbers of people.
3. the special virtue of an office, function, position, etc., that confers or is thought to confer on the person holding it an unusual ability for leadership, worthiness of veneration, or the like.

(Source: Dictionary.com)

I was completely exhausted when I hit the hairdresser’s chair on Saturday, as you might recall.

It was crazy. I was practically asleep the whole time while she did my hair.

But for some strange reason, I remember hearing her co-worker and friend – working on another head a few feet away – gabbing to someone on the phone. And when she got off, she was talking about this friend of hers, who I guess was a charmer. I don’t remember all the words being used to describe this fellow. But for some reason when I came out of my haze ever so briefly, the word “charisma” was tossed in the air.

And all I remember saying was, “Charisma can be a dangerous thing”, before slipping back into my nap-like state.

The others all had a good laugh about it.

Perhaps it was one of those nanosecond, subconscious declarations my intellect had, without me really thinking about what I was saying when I said it.

But now that I’m awake, it kind of has me thinking: charisma’s that one quality a lot of people are drawn to in a person, or other people. Except for perhaps the hardest of the heads, the most cynical of cynics, most people can’t completely resist a charmer.

If it’s used for good- no harm, no foul. That person is just a nice person who has the gift of attracting lots of people and captivating their attention.

But think about it: how many times have you read stories – in books, newspaper articles or magazines – about leaders of organizations or religious sects. Aren’t they sometimes referred to as “charismatic” leaders? The word sounds alluring, but the connotation in that context never really sounds positive.

I just did a search on the term. According to Wikipedia, the German political economist and sociologist Max Weber had a special term, called charismatic authority, which he defined as “resting on devotion to the exceptional sanctity, heroism or exemplary character of an individual person, and of the normative patterns or order revealed or ordained by him.” And he applied the term “charisma” to:

“a certain quality of an individual personality, by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities. These are such as are not accessible to the ordinary person, but are regarded as of divine origin or as exemplary, and on the basis of them the individual concerned is treated as a leader […] How the quality in question would be ultimately judged from an ethical, aesthetic, or other such point of view is naturally indifferent for the purpose of definition.”

I’ve not an expert or widely read on Max Weber, so I’m not going to pretend I am, or get into an even longer post about it. But, according to the list I found on Wikipedia, if his criteria were applied to leaders in history, examples of charismatic leaders would include people like Churchill, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesus, Bill Clinton, or Lech Walesa.

So also on that list are people like Jim Jones, Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein or Sukarno.

I’m sure the way I grouped these leaders, it’s up for debate how people feel about them. And that’s the other thing about charisma. Whether they’re still here, or maybe after they’ve departed, they probably still elicit strong feelings.

But make no mistake – charisma is definitely a quality that can be used as a powerful tool, or as a weapon, if placed in the wrong hands.