I'm inordinately pleased by this. :)
Earlier this summer, I threw in for a fundraising contest for Camp Quest, pitting a team of us lowlier bloggers against the Dark Overlord himself. The over $30,000 we collectively raised was reward enough for me, but I just received a completely unexpected thank-you gift in the mail: a hand-crocheted Flying Spaghetti Monster, crafted by Sue Henry and Kelley Freeman of the Secular Student Alliance. Thanks, Kelley and Sue! I shall display it with pride, and whenever I see it on my desk, I'll be reminded that the FSM and His glorious noodly appendage are always watching over us.
Isn't he cute?
I decided to reenact the FSM's creation of the universe. (Desktop image by Digital Blasphemy
To see the pictures, click to continue:
We saw a lot of churches and cathedrals in Spain, but the Cathedral of Valencia could claim one mark of distinction that some of the much larger and more impressive ones couldn't. Namely, it's the final resting place of that most precious Christian relic, the Holy Grail itself. To see that and more, click to continue...
To see the pictures, click on the link to continue:
To see the pictures, click the link to continue:
Regular readers may remember that last month, I let myself get talked into growing a beard as the result of a fundraising contest for Camp Quest. Well, I'm not about to suffer through an entire scorching summer with this extra insulation - but I've let it grow freely for a month now, and I think that's more than enough time to judge the finished product. If you think you can handle the sheer masculine power, follow me below the fold...
To see the pictures, follow the link to continue:
More pictures from my Spanish trip. Click the link below to see:
As I've mentioned, my wife and I took a trip to Spain last month to celebrate our first anniversary. I'm not going to inflict all my vacation photos on you, but we did see some sights that are relevant to the kind of thing I usually write about on Daylight Atheism. If you're interested in seeing more, click through to view the rest of the post.
This past week, on a sunny spring day, I went on my lunch hour to see a new public art installation in midtown Manhattan:
This exhibit, "Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads", is noteworthy for being created by the internationally famous Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. After being chosen to design the "Bird's Nest" stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he was considered a national hero; but when he used that prominent platform to speak out against government corruption and censorship, the thuggish despots who rule China abruptly did an about-face.
At the beginning of April, Ai Weiwei was disappeared by the Chinese government, and his status and whereabouts have been unknown since then in spite of an international campaign calling for his release. Nevertheless, the exhibits he had designed and planned before his arrest continue to be unveiled all over the world, often with pointed jabs at China during the ceremonies. (At the unveiling of this one, a curator at the Guggenheim read an apt quote: "Without freedom of speech there is no modern world, just a barbaric one.")
These sculptures represent the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac, but their somewhat generic appearance hides a pointed message. I've read that they're a deliberate homage to twelve similar sculptures which were once part of a famous fountain on the grounds of the Chinese imperial family's Summer Palace, but which were stolen when the complex was looted, sacked and burned by the British and French during the Second Opium War of 1860. Only five have since been returned to China; two others have been found, but the owner has refused to repatriate them.
With this history in mind, the exhibit is a subtle statement about the harm done by imperialism. But under the present circumstances, it's possible to discern another layer of meaning in it. The absence of the original sculptures was and is a long-remembered symbol of Chinese national humiliation. In their new incarnations, they more powerfully call attention to the absence of their creator - and remind the world of the shame and ignominy the current Chinese government has brought upon itself through its outrageous arrogance in believing that it can control all human expression through brutality.