Tag Archives: Allah

selections from The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

“It’s only possible to betray where loyalty is due,” said Sandy. Continue reading

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Show Me (the Hindu Art of) Love

photo(1)typically, thanks to the fact that i never board the metro near downtown, i get a seat. and, more often than note, i get a seat by a window, because nobody else wants to be locked in. i, with my 45m commute to and from work, do not give a fuck. so i usually crawl into my window seat, maybe prop my legs up, and bury myself in whatever book i want, even if that book be an illustrated copy of the Ananga-Ranga, an Indian sex manual written in the 15th or 16th century to save “foolish and unintelligent” from their “animal point of view” of women.

it’s interesting stuff, even for an unmarried 21st century man like myself, but not necessarily what you want to be caught reading in an aisle seat surrounded by restless commuters in the middle of rush hour. oh well…

It is true that no joy in the world of mortals can compare with that derived from the knowledge of the Creator. Second, however, and subordinate only to this, are the satisfaction and pleasure arising from the possession of a beautiful woman. (xv)

do i buy it? i’m fascinated by religion and often even consider myself a pretty spiritual person, but i’m not sure i’m quite yet on the level of putting something like “knowledge” above “pleasure.” why can’t we have it all and just admit that “knowledge of the Creator” is the same thing as “possession of a beautiful woman”? in all seriousness, i’ve found myself suggesting this very notion especially when discussing music. for sex is a kind of rhythm, despite Chris arguing it not being a very good song, and therefore maybe it’s the rhythm of the Creator. oh dang. also, yes, we’re all uncomfortable with the word “possession” when applied to “woman,” no matter how “beautiful.” moving along.

And thus all you who read this book shall know how delicious an instrument is woman, when artfully played upon; how capable she is of producing the most exquisite harmony; of executing the most complicated variations and of giving the divinest pleasures. (xvi)


delicious indeed. no matter how true this selection might be, one can’t help but imagine it coming from the twisted mouth of a sleazy old monster hiding in some horrible saloon caught halfway between Middle Earth and the Tenderloin.

i thought it’d be helpful to see the illustrations i saw while reading this text. also, picture the guy sitting next to me on the metro thinking to myself, “oh jesus i’m sitting next to a fucking creep.”

Before proceeding to the various acts of congress, the symptoms of the orgasm in women must be laid down. As soon as she commences to enjoy pleasure, the eyes are half closed and watery; the body waxes cold; the breath after being hard and jerky, is expired in sobs or sighs; the lower limbs are limply stretched out after a period of rigidity; a rising and outflow of love and affection appear, with kisses and sportive gestures; and, finally, she seems as if about to swoon. At such time, a distaste for further embraces and blandishments becomes manifest: then the wise know that, the paroxysm having taken place, the woman has enjoyed plenary satisfaction; consequently, they refrain from further congress. (19)

the first thing that comes to mind for me while reading this is… how scientific! it all sounds about right, but i can’t in good faith verify any of it. if i compare this to what i see in porn, i’d be a laughing stock for believing porn to any degree. and if i go off of personal experience, well, let’s just say i’m not exactly in a studious mood while engaging with a women undergoing “paroxysm.”

photo(6)The following are the signs by which the wise know that woman is amorous:–She rubs and repeatedly smoothes her hair (so that it may look well). She scratches her head (that notice may be drawn to it). She strokes her own cheeks (so as to entice her husband). She draws her dress over her bosom, apparently to readjust it, but leaves her breasts partly exposed. She bites her lower lip, chewing it, as it were. At times she looks ashamed without a cause (the result of her own warm fancies), and she sits quietly in the corner (engrossed by concupiscence). She embraces her female friends, laughing loudly and speaking sweet words, with jokes and jests, to which she desires a return in kind. She kisses and hugs young children, especially boys. She smiles with one cheek, loiters in her gait, and unnecessarily stretches herself under some pretence or other. At times she looks at her shoulders and under her arms. She stammers, and does not speak clearly and distinctly. She sighs and sobs without reason, and she yawns whenever she wants tobacco, food, or sleep. She even throws herself in her husband’s way and will not readily get out of his path. (29)

if you think that sounded straightforward, then prepare yourself:

The following are the eight signs of indifference to be noted in womankind:–When worldly passion begins to subside, the wife does not look straight between her husband’s eyes. If anything be asked of her, she shows unwillingness to reply. If the man draw near her, and looks happy, she feels pained. If he departs from her she shows symptoms of satisfaction. When seated upon the bedstead, she avoids amatory blandishments and lies down quietly to sleep. When kissed or toyed with she jerks away her face or her form. She cherishes malicious feelings towards her husband’s friends; and finally, she has no respect nor reverence for his family. When these signs are seen, let it be known that the wife is already weaned from conjugal desires. (29)

photo(5)“i swear to god she was making no clear signs whatsoever. all she ever did was JERK HER FACE AWAY anytime i tried to toy with her… how the hell was i supposed to know she didn’t want sex?” part of me wants to give the author a break because this was written in the 15th century, but then other times he proves that he’s actually somewhat ahead of his time:

And, moreover, let it be noted that the desires of the woman being colder, and slower to rouse than those of the man, she is not easily satisfied by a single act of congress; her lower powers of excitement demand prolonged embraces, and if these be denied her, she feels aggrieved. At the second act, however, her passions being thoroughly aroused, she finds the orgasm more violent, and then she is thoroughly contented. This state of things is clean reversed in the case of the man, who approaches the first act burning with love-heat, which cools during the second, and which leaves him languid and disinclined for a third. But the wise do not argue therefrom, that the desires of the woman, as long as she is young and strong, are not the full as real and urgent as those of the man. The custom of society and the shame of the sex may compel her to conceal them and even to boast that they do not exist; yet the man who has studied the Art of Love is never deceived by this cunning. (32)

basically, only an idiot believes a woman who plays along with society, pretending to be less interested sex than men. even the first part feels pretty spot on. guys just want to put it in, jackhammer, come across the world, and sleep. women need time to get worked up. and how do you take your time? well there are SEVEN different places you can kiss her!

And understand at once that there are seven places highly proper for osculation, in fact, where all the world kisses. These are–First, the lower lip. Second, both the eyes. Third, both the cheeks. Fourth, the head. Fifth, the mouth. Sixth, both breasts; and seventh, the shoulders. (100)

photo(3)and those are only the “highly proper” places ;)

really, i could be copying so many more massive chunks of the text to this blog, so i’d better stop there. but before i go, let me leave you with the footnote on the term “Purushayitabandha,” which “is the reverse of what men usually practice. In this case, the man lies upon his back, draws his wife upon him and enjoys her.” (125) the footnote reads:

This position is held in great horror by Muslims who commonly say, “Cursed be he who makes himself earth and woman heaven!”

so she can be on her back, on her side, standing up, sitting on you (if you’re sitting), and on her belly (or all fours), but Allah forbid! she catch you on your back? please, you should try being earth every once in awhile. it’s quite humbling. Continue reading

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Olympia / Delphi [archive]

i have never tripped so hard in march.

~~~~~ Day One ~~~~~

early thursday morning, after picking up a chocolate croissant (for sam) and a cheese pie and orange juice (for myself), the long bus trip began. we reached our first destination, the dimitsana open air water power museum, after a couple hours of traveling. yes, it has its own wiki. no, it doesn’t deserve it. the welcoming placard:

Welcome to the open-air Water Power Museum ! Forget the city for a while, turn your back on the TV and the rat race. Surrender to the serenity of nature, to the joy of discovery! Turn back a page in the history book! Above all, take your time!
The museum consists of three separate exhibitions and displays a wide range of the ways in which water provided power and was used in production. The tour will take quite a while.

sheesh. it sure didn’t take me quite a while to see that there was nothing at this museum. still, it really got me away from the rat race, even though they had tvs with demos in every goddamn withered shed. in my favorite little shed, a tv sensually spoke to the dusty air about how to tan. seriously, it was the sexiest Greek voice i’ve ever heard, describing how to rub an animal’s hide just right. James and gregor demonstrating:

leaving the tannery and the gunpowder workshop, James and i went on a quest downhill, following the flowing water, to find more sweet exhibits. instead, we found a sweet car:

following classic cya field trip lunch (chips, sandwich, pizza, chocolate, apple), we were offered the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take the 5-minute walk through the village of dimitsana. once safely on the other side, we decided that a spliff was in order. Elaina and i, but mostly Elaina, took care of that quick. i don’t remember if this was pre or post spliff:

sleepy stoned bus ride quickly passed and we found ourselves in sleepy Olympia, a town with double the population of Dimitsana (600) and half the excitement. seriously you could probably carry a conversation with somebody on the other side of the town. with half the day already done (meaning the site and museum already closed), we had the night to ourselves.

Elaina and i lazed around quite a bit, pretending to nap, before enough interruptions from nervous nick and awkward sam compelled us to give up on sleep and to instead give whiskey a shot. and a few shots we gave it. half a fifth and some indie rock later, we rolled in spongy bliss, not really caring about going anywhere or doing anything, except for the cries of our stomachs. so we went down to the lobby, walked the fifteen feet across the street, and walked into the taverna to sit with our friends who had been waiting. i love Greek food.

after dinner, the gang walked through downtown Olympia in about a minute, we walked back to the hotel with big delicious plant plans. Elaina wrapped up the plant in ten seconds flat and the whole room was flying in not much longer. so excellent. everyone left for their own hotels pretty quickly and Elaina and i went up to her room, where Olivia smoked a cigarette with us. laughing and high….

more holy than a monk, you
holy water monster, incense sex stain,
kill my brain
for what it’s worth, break down
my ideology with your brilliant emotion,
my smiley ideology, a cream puff underneath
the hammer of your frown, don’t cry
teeth tongue truck driving, dirt dumping dirt
thing risen on the 0th day from a swamp
to tell the world nothing/everything
to touch what our hands have touched
to fuck the pyramids i’ve struck, as if
my blue amulet
cursed your dress to glitteriness, as if
glitter waned.

stars wane.

~~~~~ Day Two ~~~~~

breakfast fucking SUCKED. the water tasted like cardboard, the juice tasted like piss, i heard the coffee blew, you can’t fuck up cereal but the milk seemed a year old, and by the time i got to my egg, i was just expecting shit. i basically just stuffed a roll with meat and cheese on it down my throat so that i wouldn’t pass out on ruins.

Olympia is epic.

okay, not really. it’s not visually stunning or immediately magically arresting like Delphi, but still. so much history here, so much tradition started here. i mean, the olympics! you have to be a little thinky to enjoy it, though. nothing there really caught the eye. for example, here’s the stadium, originally constructed in the 6th century bc:

after seeing the excessively epic Olympic stadiums of Athina and Roma, i felt pretty underwhelmed by this dusty oval. the same Greeks who built the sublime theatre at Epidaurus thought this was fit for a stadium? but the more i thought about it, the more i liked it. i decided that two of my favorite characteristics are “epic” and “simple,” which i swear aren’t contradictory. clearly one can see the simplicity in this track. you start at one end with whoever you’re competing, and race them to the end. that’s it. how is it epic? because somehow, just because two men were racing from point a to point b, “armies were forbidden from entering Olympia, wars were suspended, and legal disputes and the use of the death penalty were forbidden” (wiki).

oh my god, you want epic? read about pankration. easily my favorite sport event ever. basically it’s one-on-one, completely naked (nakedness was pretty standard for ancient olympic events) fighting, that ends when one side gives up. everything but eye gouging and biting is allowed. unless you’re in Sparta. Spartan pankration has no exceptions. apparently (and not unexpectedly) lots of people died in this event. if i had my own olympics, it would have two events: the foot race and the pankration.

the collapsed ruins of the temple of Zeus won me over pretty easily. even a monolith in utter ruin retains its monolithic nature. just look at the universe. as i learned while Elaina took the picture above, the dimensions of each column matched my height perfectly. interesting. possible conspiracy theories abound. on the opposite side of me, next to the temple, the ruined columns lined up perfectly with where they originally stood.

epic. i gave myself a hard time trying to climb over them and jumping from stone to stone while Elaina walked on the temple, waiting patiently for me to have my fun. winding to the temple to hera, we saw the same little puppy sleeping who had all day been visiting all the site’s visitors. i guess he got tired of switching between English and Italian. Elaina and i tried to figure out which god he was (hera? Zeus?), but she claims he responded to Dionysos. trickster god.

we slowly worked our way out of the site and with the hour or two break we had, looked for lunch. luckily, her and i out of everybody in our group stuck out around the ruins long enough to lose the crowd, so we only had ourselves to deal with while looking for a place to eat. we passed just two blocks outside of the periphery of the site and quickly found a completely empty taverna, where we ordered fanta lemonades and gyros. while we sat with our fantas and bread, in the middle of quiet Olympia, i sort of realized that i felt very high. neither of us had smoked that day, but she felt the same thing. we just laughed and smiled a lot and everything was good. our food came and we devoured it. then we just sat content and high. fucking everything. we walked back to the class meeting spot in front of the Olympia museum a little early, so Elaina took a seat on a bench and i laid down with my head next to her and took a picture of the beautiful everything laid before me that visually embodied how i felt that afternoon:

the museum stores many, many treasures. it’s as if Meryl was the only person bringing offerings to the sanctuary:

those winged guys would rest on opposite sides of these cauldrons…

….with those wild creatures all along the sides. how creepy. i didn’t pay attention, i guess, because i don’t remember their purpose. i’ll make a wild guess: offerings to the gods. this museum pretty much consisted of offerings that the travelers of the Mediterranean brought to the Olympic games. so if you were a warrior, you might bring a helmet:

what’s the site of the Olympic games without an image of Nike?

even in her nearly completely deconstructed state, she hovers off her pedestal, invisibly winged and free, eternal Victory. the walls painted blue might have helped the illusion. from Nike’s room we walked into a massive room with reconstructions of the two pediments of the temple of Zeus on opposite sides of the room. the east pediment (on the front of the temple), depicted the myth of the chariot race between Pelops and Oenomaus, with Zeus in the center, clearly demonstrating a favorite attribute of the Greeks: Order.

the opposite side of the room, with a reconstruction of the west pediment, depicted a myth involving a wild bunch of centaurs crashing a wedding party, with divine Apollo at the center trying to set things strange. here’s a detail:

before getting kicked out of the museum, we set our eyes on the gorgeously sculpted Hermes and the infant Dionysos:

look at that ass. it’s perfect. you see Hermes’ arm going up? supposedly he once dangled a vine of grapes in front of little Dionysos. precious, right? i love Greek religion (and that’s what part two of this trip was all about….. but that will come in a second).

Professor set us free after the museum, so we scrambled for the hotel and i napped. for almost four hours. i woke up with an urge. my iphone started playing Homework as loud as it could stand and i danced to it all alone in my room. so therapeutic. nothing can follow sleep and dancing. except food! Elaina and i met up, we met up with others, and we all made for the best taverna in the world (the one right across the street). delicious, delicious Greek food, i’ll never get sick of you. rounds of wine, i will never get sick of you. we paid and made our way two blocks down the street where you turned left and found yourself at the two only clubs in Olympia: kalypso and face. we chose face.

literally only five or so other people were already there. and they were cya. ridiculous and hilarious. knowing the dj didn’t have many people to account for, i immediately went over and yelled “daft punk!” and he nodded happily. about twenty minutes later, he played One More Time and everybody got up to dance. it ruled. i gave him a thank you!! gesture, but still couldn’t resist walking over, and saying “thank you!! if you have more, play it!!” about ten minutes later, he played Music Sounds Better With You. daft punk in Olympia. what bliss. another five minutes later, ’round midnight, club kalypso closed, so a massive party of high school Italians, mostly girls, invaded our private club, pretty much killing the night, though perhaps increasing its hilarity.

we capped the night pretty much exactly like the night before, a little more dangerously, a little more warmly.

~~~~~ Day Three ~~~~~

i tried to be a little more creative with my breakfast, but it still completely blew. right after we went to the other museum in Olympia, to see a few things real quick before driving towards Delphi.

i know it’s just a copy, but still: look at that fucking motion. beautiful.

back on the bus, Elaina, James, Molly, and i played pusoy, a card game based on poker hands but pretty different from any actual variations of poker. James pretty much owned for the 1+ hour we played, while Elaina and i pretty much blew. i still enjoyed it completely. Elaina, not so much. we eventually stopped in some city for lunch. went to a not-so-taverna on the shoreline, ordered a special omelette, and got a special burger. fucking pissed. couldn’t wait to keep going to get away from shitty-omelettes-equal-burgers-city. i slept too much. i mostly missed the utterly gorgeous views passing by, but the few times i did open my eyes i saw the highway 1 in all its foggy windy mountainous seafoam glory blanketing out before me. i was thrilled. and so we came to Delphi.

our hotel room smelled like shit. or man. gave it his all but missed the last touchdown and pissed about it man. goddamn. sitting in there long enough with the balcony doors swung open, cold means nothing when your room smells like shit, sam and i watched good old American tv (cnn on one channel and Godzilla on the other). it made me delirious. thankfully, after just a little over an hour, we went on a little walk through town, towards this:

that was literally a five minute walk from our hotel. in the words of Richard Caceres, “jesus christ.” i prefer “Athena Parthenos” and “Zeus Almighty” but you might like “om” and “shanti shanti shanti” or “Allah mine,” but whatever stupid sounds you string out of your little mouth, they are only divine whispers in the face of the sublime abyss that is this most beautiful site they call Delphi.

if you read up on it, you’ll get lost in the myths of how this place came to be dedicated to Apollo, god of light, truth, music, poetry, art, and, of course, prophecy. but none of that really is too important. i would travel half the globe, even if i were ignorant of the myths, just to see the chasm here. who could possibly still be blind to truth, to the future, to everything, in the presence of the infinite nothing spinning wildly across the mountains here?

we listened patiently to a couple lectures on the sublimity surrounding us. later, Elaina and i dug patiently into the sublimity of Johnnie Walker and Frank Zappa. even though we brilliantly decided to save money by stuffing our faces with delicious gyros instead of the quaint taverna experience, our persistent green friend tricked me into spending the money i saved on dessert. in the lobby of the hotel, i ordered an amazing chocolate gelato before sharing a chocolate cake with sam. i love decadence.

Elaina and i both wanted to get the hell away from everybody, as usual, so i proposed and she accepted a whimsical wander through the tourist town. i call it that, but it sure beat the hell out of Olympia. it actually seemed like something more than a giant postcard shop. when we wandered to the edge that gave us the epic view before, we saw nothing but darkness stretched out before us. i could hardly stand. my eyes slowly adjusted, meaning deep black mountains took shape against the blackish blue of the night sky. in the distance, little towns blinked like space stations on the edge of nothingness. we literally stood on the abyss. i could never imagine this place 2500 years ago.

~~~~~ Day Four ~~~~~

i just realized that exactly half the pictures i uploaded to facebook are from Olympia and the other half are Delphi. that’s cool. anyway, after a slightly improved breakfast, we made another morning museum trip.

offerings, offerings, offerings. the offerings here dwarfed the offerings at Olympia, because the people who came here we’re serious. giant silver bulls, gold jewelry, statues, images, anything to appease the gods, especially Apollo, and the chance of a fair prophecy from the pythia.

“i got your oracle right here….” said as you draw an invisible joint to your mouth, squinted eyes. that was my joke with myself for the day. after the museum, granted a twenty minute break, Elaina, James, and i took the perfect opportunity to induce the prophetic visions naturally. we walked a little down the highway, where we could see the epic view and smoke all by ourselves. i’m ready for Delphi!

walking up, up, a treasury (literally a building for holding all the treasures brought by pilgrims):

the temple to Apollo:

probably the most epic theatre in the whole fucking world:

views from the theatre:

hopefully all that gives you some idea of what the site looked like. you’d start at the bottom and zig-zag all the way up. up, sharp turn, up, treasury, sharp turn, up, up, up, temple, sharp turn, up, theatre, up, up, up. now what the hell was this place? read that wiki on Delphi and on the Pythia for something in-depth, but this is what i remember. nowhere in the world did you have a human being so connected to a deity. the Pythia, a girl selected from the nearby village, was literally the mouthpiece of Apollo. she would only prophesy once a month, nine months out of the year. the other three months Apollo went on vacation to northern Europe, during which Dionysos would watch over things. but when Apollo was home, he would make those nine days of prophecy spread throughout the year a big deal. early in the morning, the Pythia would wake and take a bath in the sacred castalian spring based at the bottom of the site (our professor joked that if he had to get in the water there, in the morning, with the weather that cliff gets, that he would be put in a prophetic state as well). she would then make the long march up the cliff to the temple of Apollo, chewing on laurels (supposedly would give you bad diarrhea for a week) all the way. once in the temple, she would sit in her tripod (like in the picture i posted above) and spend the day dealing out oracular statements. i received just one and it was very simple: a great religion will fall. thank you, Pythia.

we left the archaeological site, driving to a cliffside town just ten minutes away. it had been snowing very, very lightly when we landed, but by the time i took this picture (after a delicious lunch with Elaina), everything was photo-perfect. nothing was left but the long bus ride back and the last one at that. <3 cya.

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