Archive for the 'Other good stuff' Category

The four categories

September.20. 2020

In my research into televangelists, I’ve found that they fall roughly into four main categories.

The first category are those who are sincerely trying to help you understand how to live a better life and achieve your full potential.

These are the Joel Osteens, the Andy Stanleys. Listening to them, you feel uplifted and filled with a new purpose. Some people (jealous rivals?) have labeled them ‘prosperity preachers’ but that’s misunderstanding their intentions. Prosperity after all, is a part of living well and achieving your full potential.

The second category are those who are interested only in talking about their obsessions.

They’re not interested in your well-being but they love to talk about how they love Jesus, their ‘Redeemer,’ and how they’ve been ‘saved.’ Their knowledge of the Bible is astounding; they can quote ad nauseam from it. Christianity is a drug to them; they get high talking about it.

The third category are those who have only one thing in mind and that is to promote the political agenda and interests of a particular country.

They love to talk about the end times, the days of tribulations, the thousand year reign. Why? Because all these events are supposed to occur in that one country, which of course, means that you should support the political ambitions of that country. Whether that support translates into human misery is not their concern and the concept of ‘love your neighbor’ as taught by the God they claim to worship is the furthest thing from their mind.

The fourth category are those whose only interest is money and how to get more of it from you.

It’s so blatant it’s laughable. Watch out for words like ‘plant your seed’ and ‘gift’ and ‘pick up your phone right now.’ Their programs are either filled with images of starving children to tug at your heart, or their latest books which, of course, you can get for a gift of some ridiculous monetary amount.

Why did I say it’s blatant? Because that’s all they talk about—money.

This is just a general survey.

There are some who fall into the cracks and some who paradoxically fall into conflicting categories.

One such is Mike Murdock. He’s a hard one to categorize.

On the one hand, his wisdom is rarely matched by any other preacher, wisdom that he has been able to distill into simple aphorisms. While on the other hand, his insatiable appetite for money resulting in endless appeals for you to ‘plant your seed’ makes you wonder where all that wisdom has gone to.

When it’s Sunday

September.13. 2020

When it’s Sunday, it’s time for Andy Stanley.

Today was a rerun, a discourse on when religion meets politics, part 3, first aired in January, 2020.

This is a great series and Pastor Stanley started by stating two things that, apparently, he thinks divides us in politics.

“The Democrats are corrupt, the Republicans are heartless.”


I have never heard this one before.

Well, in normal times perhaps, and when it comes to certain politicians, although I tend to think that there are politicians in both parties who deserve these designations and those that defy these descriptions.

But these are not normal times.

In fact, one party now has the honor of owning both designations.

Yes, you guessed right.

The party that wanted to drain the swamp have turned it into a cesspool, a cesspool that is most appropriately called the Siberian swamp.

In the face of all this, I am amazed that there are still people out there who would vote for the cesspool.

But my admiration and respect for Pastor Stanley remain undiminished.

He is a rare breed, a veritable saint among the thieves and frauds that populate the current Christian landscape in America.

That’s rich

August.6. 2020

As in, ‘in irony.’

I read the news the other day, that a certain country is offering to sell some antidote to a disease to some poor countries, and being the generous nation they are, they offered to loan the impoverished countries billions to purchase their antidote.

As they say, that’s really rich.

When you gift the world a 100-year pandemic, and you come up with some antidote, the least you can do is give it away free.

Instead of trying to make a quick buck off the very calamity you had caused in the first place,

Imagine if, instead of trying to cash in on the worldwide pandemic they had caused, they had said to the world:

“Sorry about the pandemic. Here’s the antidote. We’ll give it to you for free.”

It’s what the people in that country might say, “That’s what being a human being is all about.”

Saturday musings

July.11. 2020

In third world countries, there’s only one type of politicians—corrupt politicians. And that’s why they are third world countries, because their politicians loot the national treasury.

But there are good and there are bad corrupt politicians.

The good corrupt politicians actually get stuff done. They move the country forward with much development and progress, of course always with that required 10% or even 50% kickback, or as some might call it, “incentives.”

The worst politicians are the corrupt and incompetent politicians.

At least, if you get stuff done and you move the country forward and you want your “cut,” people wouldn’t mind so much.

But if you enter politics only to enrich yourself and your family, and you do nothing for the country except bring it to ever more calamities, that’s unforgivable.

Well, there’s one such politician who is both corrupt and incompetent on the world stage now.

And we’re not talking about a third world country.

As I said earlier, if you’re corrupt but you get stuff done, people might be able to overlook the corruption, but to be both corrupt and inept is a toxic combination.

That’s why I predict a rout in November.

I may be wrong, as I was about Mr Mueller (who turned out to be a dud), but I have a strong hunch my prediction will bear itself out this time.

Raumati South

May.30. 2020

Raumati South is about a 40 minute train ride from Wellington, NZ and my teacher, Karl, had a small beach cottage there, right by the ocean. I spent quite a bit of time there, when I was studying with him, so I decided to connect this little tune to those times.

This version is an updated version of an earlier recording. My thanks to Paul Bissell who helped with the bass part as well as the percussion.


Insult to injury

March.30. 2020

Suppose someone were to accidentally set your house on fire, and then have the nerve to blame you and claim that you’re the one that started the fire!

How would you feel?

That’s the scenario playing out right now.

Whatsapp is a great tool, but the disinformation I’ve been getting lately is ridiculous to say the least.

They say, it’s only in times of crisis that a person’s true character will emerge.

I say it’s in times of crisis that a person’s true mental capacity will also emerge.

For a grown person to believe everything they read on the internet without subjecting it to intellectual rigor, what does that say about the level of their intellect (or lack thereof)?

Children believe everything they’re told, adults have to do better.

Well, it’s in times of crisis that you will also lose a few friends. Because that’s when they show their true colors.

The City/2

March.28. 2020

So what was it about this poem that captivated me?

At first it, was just the feel of the poem. I’m drawn to a certain writing style, a certain ambience. Some poems would make no sense whatsoever to me, and yet I would find myself irresistibly drawn to it.

It’s like listening to a song in a foreign language. I don’t need to understand the lyrics to appreciate its beauty.

But then later, I began to understand its deeper message, which brought my appreciation to another level.

And the message is—no matter where you go, you can’t escape yourself.

If you destroy your life in one place, you’re likely going to destroy it again in another place. The problem is not the place, the problem is you.

The City

March.21. 2020

About the same time I discovered Leonard Cohen, I also discovered Constantine Cavafy.

One thing about my old hometown—Sibu, it had a great public library. That’s where I spent most of my youthful afternoons and evenings. And that’s where I found the collection of Cavafy’s poems translated by Edmund Keeley.

It’s probably my heritage, but I find I’ve always gravitated to narrative type poems, poems like those of Tu Fu or Li Bai, and Cavafy’s poems struck the perfect chord in me.

Here’s one of my favorite Cavafy poems:

The City

You said: “I’ll go to another country, go to another shore,
find another city better than this one.
Whatever I try to do is fated to turn out wrong
and my heart—like something dead—lies buried.
How long can I let my mind moulder in this place?
Wherever I turn, wherever I look,
I see the black ruins of my life, here,
where I’ve spent so many years, wasted them, destroyed them totally.”

You won’t find a new country, won’t find another shore.
This city will always pursue you.
You’ll walk the same streets, grow old
in the same neighborhoods, turn grey in these same houses.
You’ll always end up in this city. Don’t hope for things elsewhere:
there’s no ship for you, there’s no road.
Now that you’ve wasted your life here, in this small corner,
you’ve destroyed it everywhere in the world.

Sinners of a millennium

January.26. 2020

I read the following today on CNN:

“… the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission posted on social media that, “Anyone who puts the face of politicians before the interests of the people will be the sinner of a millennium to the people.”

Interesting how politicians all over the world tend to put their self interests ahead of the people and country.

Exhibit A of course is the self-proclaimed Stable Genius, but the Senate is not far behind.

With all that’s going on in Washington these days, perhaps we also need a Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission in this great country of ours to remind us to put country before self.

This so-called Land of the Free and Home of the (not so) Brave senators.


November.17. 2019

I have mentioned Andy Stanley before as an unusually enlightened preacher. (And he is, when he’s not preaching about money.)

Today, however, he disappointed me with his pronouncements on what greed is.

Greed, he says is holding on to what you have, and he goes on about hoarding and personal consumption.

I beg to differ, Andy, but greed is self-proclaimed messengers of God (aka pastors) looking at the hard-earned money of regular hard-working folks and saying, “Hey, God says you got to give me 10% of that!”