Bizarre Motivational Posters about Ending the Universe, Motivational Posters and Politics

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Jimmy Takes Steroids While Cartman Becomes Retarded in “Up the Down Steroid,” South Park Episode 803

I love this episode. It’s one of those socially profound episodes that is simultaneously so hilarious that you just have to love it.

Jimmy, intent on competing successfully (i.e. winning) in the Special Olympics, begins taking steroids. This ruins his relationship with his friend Timmy, who can’t believe he would cheat in such a vile manner. Jimmy, hopped up on steroids, turns violent and at one point beats the shit out of his girlfriend with his crutches and then even hits his mother. Hitting women is not funny or right yet something about this is so disturbing that you laugh out of discomfort.

In the meantime, Cartman has decided that to win the grand prize at the Special Olympics he just has to pretend to be retarded, compete with, as he thinks of them, a bunch of cripples and retards, and then take the money. He convinces his mom to sign him up and spends the entire episode learning how to behave like a handicapped individual. Again, terrible and hilarious.

When Kyle morally objects to Cartman’s behavior, genuinely concerned that his actions will send him to Hell, Cartman explains that it is actually Kyle, as a Jew, who is in danger of an eternity of damnation.

At the Special Olympics, Cartman comes in last place because he is out of shape and being handicapped doesn’t stop the other kids from being successful athletes. Jimmy wins, but when he realizes that he only won by cheating, he confesses his actions and gives a lengthy lecture – while we stare at Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, and Jason Giambi – about how people who use steroids are worthless pussies who should confess that they are big cheaters and insist that their names be stricken from the record books.

Awesome. What did you think of this episode? How do you feel about steroid use in professional sports?

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Zen Talk: Focusing on the Amazing Journey

“When you get there, there isn’t any there there.”
Gertrude Stein

This quote seems akin to the whole, the journey is better than the destination idea. We struggle so hard to get where we’re going that we neglect the amazing process that it took to get there. Once you’re there, it just is, and the fleeting nature of that there, just as happiness, can’t be sustained through a maintenance of the status-quo. Thus, just as illusive as Stein makes it seem, there is ultimately no there at all.

Is this a shame? It seems like people work awfully hard to get where they’re going only to be sorely disappointed by the arrival, but I suppose this keeps us constantly striving for more. In some people, this turns into insatiable greed, but in others, it results in a never-ending drive for self-improvement and accomplishment. I hope that over the course of my life I always fall into the latter group…

I suppose this very notion (of no there there) is why movies that are about getting some place never focus on that place but only on the journey. Think, Lord of the Rings. The entire trilogy is about a journey, and not about the final there. In fact, once the mission has been accomplished and they’re there (they being everyone) the movie degrades into a totally boring 30 minutes of epilogues that are worthless to watch. Poor Tolkein – don’t know that he had that in mind.

What are your thoughts on this quote and matter?

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Randy and Stan Make Alien Contact in South Park Episode 1306, “Pinewood Derby”

For the Pinewood Derby, father-son teams build cars with official Pinewood Derby kits and then race them against each other. Randy, unable to bear Stan’s potential loss, steals an experimental magnetic semi-conductor and cheats by including it in the car to make it heavier on the front end. During the race, Stan’s car bends space and time and travels at warp speed all the way to space. When an alien ship makes contact and says that it wants to meet the people that designed the warp drive, the whole world watches.

Unfortunately it’s a gangster alien that takes the world hostage and forces Randy to build him another warp drive to escape from the alien cops that are chasing him for stealing a bunch of space cash. Oh my!

When the alien cops follow this alien gangster to earth the alien gangster takes Stan hostage and makes Randy lie about him being there. However, when Randy finishes the car and shows the alien, he has Stan shank the alien, killing him and allowing all the countries of earth to take and divide up the stolen space cash. The cops return, but the earthlings deny knowing about the cash so that the cops leave.

After the rest of earth nukes the Fins for threatening to tell on them all, the alien cops return again and the whole world continues denying any knowledge of the money. Stan, however, comes forward, and returns his Pinewood Derby trophy, confessing that he cheated and emphasizing that the longer he lies the more he has to maintain and perpetuate the lie. That doesn’t get the rest of the people to admit how they’re lying to the alien cops, though.

It’s at this point that we learn that these aliens were just testing earth – something they do to every planet after its inhabitants discover warp speed in order to decide if that planet should be admitted to the Intergalactic Federation of Planets. Because the people of earth lied and cheated they are forever banned from this Intergalactic Federation.

That sucks.

What’d you think of this episode? Did you like the message about lying or was it a little bit basic for South Park.

I think it was an interestingly constructed lesson and there were some good chuckles in the episode, but I also think it was the weakest episode of season 13 so far.

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Quran Read-A-Long: An Attempt to Grapple with the Notion of Faith in Islam

I like this quick tale about Abraham in verse 258. I can’t say I have anything in particular to add to its understanding, but I like it. I think it’s funny that the demonstrative tale in verse 259 would be placed between Abraham’s assertion of God’s greatness and his seeming lack of faith in verse 260.

It seems especially odd to me that someone speaking to God would then question matters that God says are so, like resurrection. It seems somewhat illogical since faith is believing without proof and Abraham already has proof of God since they’re chatting casually. Why would Abraham tell God that he has faith but that he just needs a little proof to lay his mind at ease. Needing proof is the essence of not having faith. As Jesus said, it is a wicked generation that needs signs. Not to go all Jesus quoting on anybody – I think it can be very annoying when people do that to make a point – but I do it to emphasize the notion of faith, which is Jesus’ point. You have to believe in things without being shown that they are so. Otherwise you don’t have faith.

I know it seems silly but it makes me think of the Keanu Reeves movie, Constantine. Reeves’ character, thought that he deserved to go to heaven because he believed in God and hell and damnation and all the stuff, as a Catholic, he was supposed to. The angel Gabriel (in the movie) tells him that he doesn’t believe in these things. He knows them to be true because he died briefly, saw these things, and was then resuscitated (or came back to life, if you prefer the symbolic language).

In any case, the point is that once you know, it’s no longer faith. It’s knowledge. That isn’t to say that faith is without knowledge, but just to say that Abraham’s request in this story, considering the mention of faith, is at odds with what my understanding of faith is (and I’ve worked very hard to understand faith). Perhaps faith in Islam is meant in another way (or the translation is tripping me up and Arabic has an in between word) and I’m failing to understand that (and when I say faith, I’m not using the word as a substitute for the word religion). If you can shed light on this issue, I’d be most appreciative.

Finally, my apologies for the two week hiatus from Quran Read-A-Long. Life became overwhelmingly busy and disappointingly, this and my other blogging “responsiblities” got pushed by the wayside. I felt an absence, not from the rest of it, but from this, and am glad to be doing it again. I hope that in the future I don’t have to skip any weeks. Thanks for your patience.

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The Cow 258-260

258. ART THOU NOT aware of that [king] who argued with Abraham about his Sustainer, [simply] because God had granted him kingship? Lo! Abraham said: “My Sus’tainer is He who grants life and deals death.” [The king] replied: “I [too] grant life and deal death!” Said Abraham: “Verily, God causes the sun to rise in the east; cause it, then, to rise in the west!” Thereupon he who was bent on denying the truth remained dumbfounded: for God does not guide people who [deliberately] do wrong. 259. Or [art thou, O man, of the same mind] as he who passed by a town deserted by its people, with its roofs caved in, [and] said, “How could God bring all this back to life after its death?” Thereupon God caused him to be dead for a hundred years; whereafter He brought him back to life [and] said: “How long hast thou remained thus?” He answered: “I have remained thus a day, or part of a day.” Said [God]: “Nay, but thou hast remained thus for a hundred years! But look at thy food and thy drink, untouched is it by the passing of years – and look at thine ass! And We did all this so that We might make thee a symbol unto men. And look at the bones [of animals and men] – how We put them together and then clothe them with flesh!” And when [all this] became clear to him, he said: “I know [now] that God has the power to will anything!” 260. And, lo, Abraham said: “O my Sustainer! Show me how Thou givest life unto the dead!” Said He: “Hast thou, then, no faith?”(Abraham) answered: “Yea, but [let me see it] so that my heart may be set fully at rest.” Said He: “Take, then, four birds and teach them to obey thee; then place them separately on every hill [around thee]; then summon them: they will come flying to thee. And know that God is almighty, wise.”

Funny Motivational Posters about Centaurs, Fatherhood, and Natural Selection

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Stan is Challenged to a Race and the Parents Fend off Time Shares in “Asspen,” South Park Episode 603

An episode all about timeshares and parodying the classic 80s John Kussack movie, Better Off Dead. Who could ask for anything more? Well, me, but this episode is still amusing in a variety of ways. After all, I love Better Off Dead and seeing movies that made John Kussack into the semi-big celebrity that he is today. Plus, they really make that movie seem ridiculous…which it sort of is.

The parents decide to take the children with them to Aspen so that they can learn to ski. After all, it’s free so long as they sit through a brief timeshare presentation. The relentless timeshare presenters, however, won’t let them go without more information and it seems that everyone, right up to the town’s policemen, are in on the gig.

Unfortunately for Stan this trip to Aspen is also less than enjoyable as he somehow gets roped into skiing on a dangerous slope against a top skier – and he doesn’t even know how to ski. He can barely pizza and french fry.

A funnier part of this episode is when Cartman gives Butters The Hitler, a nighttime mustache wiped on his upper lip with a piece of poo. This foreshadows, I believe, the episode in which Cartman does a series of terrible things to Butters in his sleep, ending with a penis in the mouth.

What did you think about this episode?

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