Homeland Security, Guinea Pirates, and Craig as the Savior of Mankind All Grace “Pandemic 2 – The Startling,” South Park’s Newest Episode (1211)

So, as discussed last week, this episode is a continuation of the previous week’s, despite the lack of “To Be Continued” at the end of the episode. Fortunately, we as a South Park watching community are really bright and figured it out.


Guinea pigs are attacking cities all over the U.S. and in South Park Randy Marsh is still filming with his new camera. Throughout the episode more and more guinea animals attack, like guinea bees, rats, bears, and more.

Meanwhile, the boys are sent to a remote location in the mountains of Peru, though they were supposedly going to bring down the government in Lima. Craig, sure that he’s in this situation because of Kenny, Cartman, Stan and Kyle, insists that he hates them, but they claim it’s not their fault: stuff just happens to them. I love Craig’s attitude – he added a great element to this whole episode. After the boys discover an ancient prophecy that predicts Craig as the savior of mankind from the guinea pigs, Craig just quits pursuing the adventure and starts walking the other way.

As everything turns increasingly chaotic, the Director of Homeland Security demands to be taken to Machu Pichu. There he mocks the prophecy about Craig and when the boys stumble upon him urinating on a statue, he reveals the truth: that he is a guinea pirate! Craig, despite trying to walk away, ends up stopping him by shooting lasers from his eyes.

…and the rest is history.

South Park Self-Reflection

I love episodes of South Park that internally refer to the show. Remember “Cartoon Wars” and how Cartman insisted that Family Guy was a cartoon that millions of people see while he was just a little boy and therefore what he said didn’t matter? Remember when people said they liked Family Guy because it didn’t get all preachy and up its own ass with messages? Yeah? I love that self-referential stuff and I love that this episode did that too (as did the previous one). Craig always talking about how what happens to the boys isn’t normal and that they do it themselves – great stuff.

Great Episode Lessons

1. We don’t always have control over what happens to us and are sometimes just players on the stage of life

2. Don’t loan people money

3. You shouldn’t eat peanuts when you’re scared

4. Nobody likes hanging out with someone who complains all the time


I, for one, liked this episode a lot. It had some good laughs, was amusing, ridiculous, and made fun of stupid things like Quarantine and more.

What did you think? Did you think it was better than the other episodes this season? Do you think next week’s Wednesday episode will be about Tuesday’s presidential election? They make these fast but how fast can they do it?

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Around the World Pic: A Jewish Cemetery in Tangier, Morocco

Years ago my friend Peter and I went to North Africa for a bit, and made a week-long stop in Morocco. We took an 18 hour bus (not the tourist one, the Arab one) down the coast of Spain from Barcelona all the way to a port in the south of Spain. It was the most horrible bus ride of all time and I’ve been on buses for longer (19 hours being the longest: Tallin, Estonia to Krakow, Poland).

Then we spent three hours floating across the Straights of Gibraltar until we arrive in Tangier, a port town in the north of Morocco. Peter received the following sunburn after falling asleep on the deck of the boat with his arm exposed:

We paid a cab driver to drive us around until our train out that afternoon (that’s the best way to see a lot of a Moroccan city in one day), and one stop we made was at this weird Jewish cemetery where I can be seen here inappropriately standing on top of a coffin. Tasteful, I know.

The person guarding the cemetery wasn’t Jewish and didn’t speak Hebrew. Some of the tombs were very old and many were from people whose families had left Morocco a long time ago but because they had always felt a connection to this city, they wanted to be buried here. The Jews had various successful stints in Morocco.

Have you ever been to Morocco? To Tangier? What did you think?

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Korn Stops Father Maxi From Ruining Halloween in South Episode 312, “Korn’s Groovy Pirate Mystery”

I absolutely love this episode of South Park. Not only is it about Halloween and guest-stars Korn, but it’s about the Occult and the conception of religious people about Halloween.

Father Maxi hates Halloween and doesn’t want anyone to celebrate it. He calls it the most unholy of holidays which is an inherently contradictory statement because holiday=holy day so he said it’s an unholy holy day. Dumbass. He should have said something like, “It’s an unholy celebration.”

The priest also calls Halloween an abomination of God. Give me a break and get over yourself, Father Maxi.

I love that this episode fleshes out the tension between the religious establishment and things that supposedly concern the Occult or devil-worship. No, most of us don’t ever have to deal with these issues on the day to day, but that doesn’t preclude the fact that numerous children don’t get to celebrate and enjoy Halloween and candy because their parents are religious psychopaths.

The episode has a wonderful conclusion and offers some great lessons.

What did you think?

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Philadelphia Wins the World Series – Oh, Glory Day

I went to school in Philadelphia and am so happy that this city finally won a sports championship. I spent four years with millions of unhappy people, and Philly has waited a long time for this.

Congratulations Philadelphia and Phillies fans!

Quran Read-A-Long: The Cow 104-112 Provides Us With Some Familiar Things and Reminds Us that Everyone Can Have His Reward with God


Immediately in verse 105 I’m pleased by the distinction of “those without faith among the people of the Book.” I think that it complements something that we run in circles around week after week: that not all Jews (or Christians for that matter) are enemies of God. Only the ones who don’t believe in Him/have faith/etc.

Grace in Islam or a Bad Translation?

The concept of grace in this verse also interests me. Grace, at least in Christianity, implies that someone is saved by the grace of God, if you will, which is to say that as far as humans are concerned it’s a very fanciful (I dare say, almost whimsical) thing on God’s part: almost Job-ian (and not the Job portrayed in the Quran but the Job that we see in the biblical book of Job which has different lessons). Perhaps my translation is crummy, or as Kay suggested last week I need to be looking at multiple translations, but putting aside my preconceived notions regarding the concept of grace, I think it might be important to understand how this idea manifests and works itself out in Islam.

Allah’s Prophets and the Right to Upgrade Technology

Verse 106 acknowledges that Allah is entitled to do away with prophecies of the past or replace them with better ones. How could He not have that right!?

First of all, He’s Allah. That alone should give him sufficient right (something He says). Second of all, I look at this from a technology perspective. Just because dial-up internet was the latest and greatest thing when it happened two decades ago doesn’t mean that we should stick with it because it was the harbinger of the internet age and a time of rapid and mass transformation for everything technological. When cable modems came out, you better believe I upgraded and the rest of you probably did too. Why stick with what’s old and outdated when there’s something fresh and new that carries a better message (that’s an email reference, not necessarily a religious one 😉 ).

In any case, what I’m saying is not to accept cavalierly the replacement of Judaism and Christianity and those religions’ respective (and primarily overlapping) prophets with Islam and Mohammed. What I’m suggesting is that internal to the text and Islam, we better believe that Allah has the right to give us the latest and greatest rather than to leave us with last week’s technology…or prophet. I mean, if we let Cisco tell us when to let go of the past, then we better let God.

A Warm, Fuzzy Feeling: Be Good and It’s All Good

We seem to have covered the many themes found in the middle verses of this passage before so instead of me not adding anything constructive, I’ll move onto the end, knowing that some of the participants in this project will enlighten me as to anything I may have neglected in those verses.

All I can really say about verse 112 is that I like it. It’s another one of those like 2:62 type verses that says that everyone has the ability – regardless of religious affiliation – to have his reward with God. Do two things: surrender to God with all your heart and (this I see as supremely important) do good. That’s it – give your heart to God and do good. And in English I love looking at the etymological relationship between those two words (God and good).

Summary and Welcome Newcomers

That’s it for this week. Please feel free to share any thoughts, add anything, make any corrections, etc.

I’ve noticed more Quran Read-A-Long readers as of late, and so I just want to welcome you all and let you know that this is a place where we can read the Quran together, a few verses at a time, and try to learn a little something with each other, regardless of our religions, about this amazing book and about Islam. So, don’t be shy – feel free to leave your comments and thoughts and let us know what you know.

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The Cow 104-112

104. Say not (to the Prophet), O believers: “Have regard for us (ra’ina),” but “look at us (unzurna),” and obey him in what he says. Painful is the nemesis for disbelievers. 105. Those without faith among the people of the Book, and those who worship idols, do not wish that good should come to you from your Lord. But God chooses whom He likes for His grace; and the bounty of God is infinite. 106. When We cancel a message (sent to an earlier prophet) or throw it into oblivion, We replace it with one better or one similar. Do you not know that God has power over all things? 107. Do you not know that God’s is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, and that there is none to save and protect you apart from God? 108. Do you too, O believers, wish to question your Apostle as Moses was in the past? But he who takes unbelief in exchange for belief only strays from the right path. 109. How many of the followers of the Books having once known the truth desire in their hearts, out of envy, to turn you into infidels again even after the truth has become clear to them! But you forbear and overlook till God fulfils His plan; and God has power over all things. 110. Fulfil your devotional obligations and pay the zakat. And what you send ahead of good you will find with God, for He sees all that you do. 111. And they say: “None will go to Paradise but the Jews and the Christians,” but this is only wishful thinking. Say: “Bring the proof if you are truthful.” 112. Only he who surrenders to God with all his heart and also does good, will find his reward with his Lord, and will have no fear or regret.

Does God Want Cancer Ridden Nelson to Die in South Park Episode 1014, “Stanley’s Cup”?

This is a question that the five-year-old, hockey playing, child, Nelson, asks Stan as he is trapped in the hospital with leukemia. Apparently, he stakes his entire life and future on whether or not Stan can coach his peewee hockey team to victory.

And why, you ask, is Stan coaching a peewee hockey team? Well, his bike was towed because he had a bunch of parking tickets and in order to get his bike out of impound, he had to do this.

The episode is pretty silly and until the final hockey game, which is definitely worth watching, really not my favorite. I hope you enjoyed it.

What did you think?

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Great Motivational Posters about Friends, Anime, Necks and Jessica Alba

Here ya go:

Which was your favorite?

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The Boys Uncover the Cough Syrup Conspiracy in South Park Episode 811, “Quest for Ratings”

In this episode, the boys have a South Park Elementary television show, and they’re competing with Craig’s show for ratings. If they can’t do better than he does in teh ratings their show will be canceled and they will all fail. At first, they dramatically alter what they’re giving their viewers, adding all kinds of ridiculous elements and making fun of local area news.

They decide that they need to do some real investigating in order to break a real news story, and for inspiration they drink a bunch of cough syrup and trip balls. What they end up uncovering is that everyone is doing cough syrup – how they come to this conclusion is something that you’ll need to watch the episode to find out.

I think the episode is a good commentary about a. the terrible quality of local news, b. the unnecessary emphasis on television ratings and how that can destroy a show’s integrity and actual quality and c. the crappy television that children like to watch…and why.

What did you think of this episode?

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Fun with the Bible: The Harmony of God’s Creation in Genesis 1

Common Misconceptions about the Creation Story

When you ask most people what God created on each of the six days of creation (remember, the seventh day was for chillin’ like a villain), they will generally answer incorrectly. Test this out. Don’t ask your local biblical scholar, of course, just someone who is aware of his or her religion, goes to church or synagogue occasionally and might have something to say. Day by day, his/her answer may go a little something like this:

1. The universe

2. Land and water

3. Sun and Moon

4. Plants

5. Animals

6. Adam and Eve

Now, that wouldn’t be a terrible guess, mind you. In some fashion or another those things were created, the order is not terrible, and they managed to fill six days. Of course, my made up answer might be a little biased since I know what really happened. They may skip one or two, wind up with Adam and Eve on day 4 and then have to backtrack and think about what happened in those last few days. “Uh, pot and beer, dude? Hehehe.”

The Beautiful Symmetry of Creation

In any case, I’d like to take a moment to show you what God created on which days (not that you couldn’t read it for yourself), just so that you can see the inherent harmony in the plan and in the mind of the author of Genesis 1.

1. Night and Day                          4. Sun, Moon and Stars

2. Sky and Water                          5. Birds and Fish

3. Dry land and Vegetation           6. Animals and Humankind

Now isn’t that special? Do you notice anything?

The way I laid it out should give away the beautiful symmetry of creation, how everything created in the first three days is complemented by what is designed for it specifically in the latter three days. The Sun, Moon and Stars make Night and Day a reality. The birds and fish populate the sky and water and then animals and mankind (or mammals, if you will) populate the dry land and utilize the vegetation. Beautiful!

One thing you might notice is that there’s no Adam and Eve. That’s right, in Genesis 1, the creation of humankind is the simultaneous existence of man and woman and what’s more, they look like God because they were created “in His image.” That means what it says. Notice also how humanity is the culmination of creation.

Some Differences in the Creation Story of Genesis 2

If you look at Genesis 2, which happens to be an entirely different creation story – that is, a competing story, not a complementary one – you will notice that initially some stuff is around and so is God and then God makes man and the rest of creation comes from man. All the animals and finally the woman (eventually Eve) come from man’s existence. Moreover, that story is “sloppier” in the sense that it does not provide us with the distance, majesty and order of the first creation story. In Genesis 2-3 God “forms” man and breathes life into his nostrils. Very physical and image oriented. In Genesis 1 how does God create everything? With his words: “God said.” Very different ideas of God who create different things for different reasons. Fascinating stuff.

Imagine the Cosmos

Also, what do the cosmos look like before God began creating in Genesis 1? Can you envision it? If you want to know what the cosmology of the author (or original teller of this tale) was, try to visual what’s happening in the first 10 verses.

First, there is basically nothing but water. God makes light and separates it from dark but how does he create where we end up? Starting with Genesis 1:6 imagine a snowglobe being inserted into the water – this is the “separation of the waters from the waters.” Why would ancient people think that water was above and only a dome kept us from it? Think about lying in an empty field at night: looks like a dome, huh? Plus, during the day the sky is blue and when it rains, water comes from it – like the water dome is leaking. This was the vision, and after the snowglobe separates the waters, God can make land in the bottom water for us to hang out on.


What do you think about all that I’ve just said? Is there anything else you’d like to point out for us? Does anything not make sense that you’d like to discuss further?

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South Park is Overrun by Zombies and Chef Goes Michael Jackson in “Pink Eye,” Episode 107

The first Halloween episode will always be a classic one. Kenny dies early on and is accidentally embalmed with Worcestershire Sauce, thereby turning him into a zombie. He starts biting people and turning them into zombies until South Park has an uncontrollable zombie epidemic.

The doctor insists that it’s actually pinkeye that’s going around – not zombies. Even though Stan and Kyle originally go to Chef for help, Chef is bitten and transformed into a zombie. Thus, it’s up to the boys to stop the zombies and restore South Park to its usual, normal state. >wink wink<

At the end of the episode, Stan tells Kyle that the lesson he learned is that Halloween isn’t about presents and candy but rather about loving and caring. Kyle corrects him and tells him that it is about candy and presents. This, I think, is a funny comment about the mixed messages our society sends about Christmas.

What did you think of this episode?

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