Elvis vs Artists, Studios and his management

As one of the people lucky enough to have pre-ordered Elvis 77: The Final Curtain, I have come to rely on bootleggers for Elvis.

Bootleggers are far more in tune with the core Elvis fans and they’ve been delivering better product as far back as when RCA was pumping out hits collections in the 80’s.

To my mind, Elvis accomplished his career goals despite his manager, his label and the Hollywood Studios.

Elvis changed everything so much that even today, we have not yet understood his impact – largely because Elvis has never been given his due.

The movie and music establishment considered Elvis a cash machine to underwrite their real artists and artistic efforts.

Elvis himself portrayed himself as a young man trying to take care of his family – while other artists of the day and later talked about themselves as artists.

Elvis seemed to view the music and movies more as a means to an end – supporting family and friends, charitable works, and whatever else the artistic work would support.

Parker who focused on maximizing dollars so convinced Elvis to never share his views so as to not offend anyone. But every now and then, a message song did come along and Elvis embraced it heart and soul – If I Can Dream and In The Ghetto.

Perhaps if he’d taken more stands and released more song like these, he would have been considered an artist years ago.

Perhaps that is the essence of the problem – the word artist includes the concept artist statement.

Artists often use their works to make a point, influence thinking and push the boundaries.

Elvis pushed the boundaries and since that actually was his point, he used his artistic work to underwrite his life, friends and family.

Elvis made his statement by example, not blatant mission statements.

EPE sadly, in their role as the managers of Elvis’ legacy, have continued Col Tom Parker’s legacy of treating Elvis like a cash cow and the Elvis fans as dimwits who will sell out cash for whatever crumbs they care to release.



The Bible is best proof that it’s fiction

If you think hard about any religion, it’s are going to appear silly in the broad strokes, never mind in the drilled down details.

If the bible is the word of god, why is there an old and a new testament?  Shouldn’t an infallible god have gotten it right the first draft?

Shouldn’t the language the texts are in, automatically update to whatever current language is used, rather than allow that “word” to be altered through mis-translation, interpretation and several documented rounds of editing by counsels and kings over the ages?

Pretty sloppy work for a being who’s supposed to know everything.

If this god fellow really cared about human compliance with his wishes, then you’d expect that he’da made sure the instructions were clear and not subject to interpretation. Or interference from power and prestige mad men.

Heck, I would expect that either humans would be born knowing the requirements without visual aids like bible texts or needing a religious hierarchy to mind the store, so to speak – you know, especially since even today not everyone can read and certainly few people could read in the past.

That’s relying rather heavily on people who could read to not misuse their authority and substitute whatever they wanted others to believe. I’m sure that despite the various sex, embezzlement and other church and church leader scandals that they wouldn’t lie about what the bible says…..

Actually, if god was real, had a plan and a preference for how we behaved, then we really wouldn’t be able to act in any other way that wasn’t compliant with that god’s wishes.

Aha – this is where the free will argument enters into it – and it falls down on the face of it.

Free will is not possible in a god based universe. Either we are doing what that god wants, or that god knows that we will not comply and allowing us to not comply means one of two things:

  1. That god is okay with distension – which is not supported by the bible or the idea of hell.
  2. God is intentionally planning to condemn people to hell, perhaps as a cautionary tale or threat to others – in which case, he’s not a loving or forgiving god – and shouldn’t be worshiped as such.

Also, apparently, once god created the universe, he got lazy.

If god wanted to reboot the human race, why not just zap the people he didn’t want continuing to exist  down to hell and leave Noah’s family to start over.

It was a slightly larger gene pool than Adam and Eve with their two sons, being Noah, his wife, their sons and their wives.

But no, instead a flashy flood of magic water that apparently left no global geological flood indications and that somehow drained off the planet, since there’s not enough water to cover the whole earth;  an ark too small to contain that many animals – and certainly not the animals from all time and all over the world.

Why, if god wanted to eliminate a wicked city, did he wait for rudeness to strangers be the tipping point? Why is rudeness so offensive, when crowds raping virgin daughters is an acceptable compromise to gang raping angel travellers?

Why are insignificant things, like looking back at the city being demolished, punishable by death but getting your father drunk to have a three way with him and your sister be okay?

But mostly, why do so many people believe so fervently in what they think the bible says without seeming to know what is actually in the bible?

The C-Word

Obviously not the Anglo-Saxon C word; but Christmas.

(Okay, maybe not soooo obvious)

I am done with being attacked for attacking Christmas.

Christmas is not under attack by atheists or believers in other religions.

Christmas is under attack by moderate and apologist Christians – this is the latest incarnation of the White Guilt of the 60s/70s over slavery that occurred before the Mea Culpas were born.

Christians who are trying to prove that they are inclusive by shoving their own identity aside and feeling guilty for being descended from White European Christian stock who arrived in the New World and decimated the populations already living there, made it hard for non-white immigrants to come to these shores once the bureaucracy was in place and people couldn’t just sail over and homestead.

Or perhaps it’s just a bit more sinister – as long as Christians try to eliminate use of the C-word and then defend it vigorously; then maybe, just maybe all the non-Christians will get fed up and say, keep using your stupid C-word just include the other holiday names.

So that no one notices that all the statutory holidays that aren’t civic are Christian.

It’s not the use of this or that name that demonstrates inclusiveness, but rather according equal status.

So, unless Canada and the US are going to either only have civic statutory holidays or add other stat holidays from other religions and cultures; it doesn’t matter what names we use or don’t.

Because the appearance of inclusion under any other name is still just the appearance of, and not actual inclusive multiculturalism.

The season is the reason

Christmas stopped being a religious holiday and became a secular consumer one back in the 1950’s; heck, even Life magazine covered the story in 1958 and the early 1960’s Peanut Christmas specials complained without any awareness of irony about the commercialism of Christmas even while the TV special promoted Peanuts products.

It’s not that there’s an active or coordinated attack on the dwindling religious aspect, it’s just the believers who  prefer to view the dwindling as an attack instead of accepting the reality that the religious aspects – and well, religion itself – as  not relevant to the rest of us.

Sad commentary that they try to make themselves into an oppressed minority of martyrs as they rally people to vote against actual civil rights advances (and I mean pick a cause, slavery, women’s voting and rights, interracial marriage, civil rights for minorities and gays/lesbians). Sadder still that godbots prefer to characterize the social climate as attacking them rather than realizing that they are less relevant.

I guess in a weird way, feeling like people are attacking you means that you somehow still matter?

Most stores that specialize in ornaments for the season have only a small inventory of religious themed decorations. Most of the decorations make christmasy versions of sports, hobbies, Pink Flamingos have become a perennial along with many other animals like polar bears and penguins.

A few years ago, people in British Columbia went crazy over a 1960’s holiday novelty song because of a Telephone company’s christmas commercials.

Why not holiday hippos?

Everyone but Christians seem to know enough history to understand that most of the Christian Christmas decor and symbols are lifted from pagan and other religions. It made the conquering of people easier when you incorporated aspects of their culture into your own.

It’s why the Romans kept their god pantheon less defined than the Greek one – hey, we both have gods of wine, god of thunder, goddess of the hunt, same god, different name. Not unlike the folks trying to push the idea that the Islam and Christian god are the same under a different name.

But, wouldn’t a god by any other name, still expect to be worshiped in the same way?

What is actually occurring is other groups asserting their claim on the public spaces that they tax dollars also support. What’s wrong with a city hall setting aside an amount of space for holiday decor for any holiday that the citizens celebrate?

Not just Christmas, but Ramadan, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Light Day, whatever. Where’s the harm in celebrating all that we celebrate?

Every culture has developed holidays around the changes of seasons – we celebrate in spring that food and animals are plentiful, celebrate summer harvest, celebrate mid winter to lift the spirits and just be happy we got through another set of seasons.

That these celebrations were largely rituals to please the gods so that seasons will is neither here nor there now that we know seasons are a result of the earth’s orbit.

We can still celebrate, we still made it through the year. It’s okay to shift to celebrate the mundane world, it’s where we live. The variations in foods and trappings just make life interesting.

Merry Thanksgivoween and Happy New Kwanzadonukka Day, Oct 31 to Dec 31, the season’s the reason.

Biblical Archeology

The idea behind Biblical archeology is to use an apparent scientific process to validate Bible stories.

I say apparent scientific process, because while bible archeology and actual archeology both involve digging; that seems to be where the similarities end.

Image is linked to acknowledge source, not to endorse

Setting out with a trowel in one hand and a Bible in the other – and funded by foundations with strong ties to and a keen interest in proving the bible is a history text, isn’t following the evidence to a conclusion – it’s starting with a conclusion and looking for evidence to support it.

It’s backassward, at best and science, not at all.

There are several problems with “The Bible” as a historical text and it’s use as an archeological guide.

The 200 some odd texts were independent documents that were later reviewed with very few being deemed “divinely inspired” and then edited into a single larger work – the current day perception of the Bible as a whole document is erroneous. The texts are take from earlier Hebrew writings and  oral tales that certainly changed over time.

The texts hardly meet modern day historical writing standards and are largely propaganda pieces written decades if not centuries after the alleged events occurred.

There are a minority of characters in the Bible who’s existence is confirmed by non-Bible sources; while the key Bible characters do not appear in any secular texts of the time period they were alleged to have lived in.

Given that the Bible characters allegedly had a massive effect on their time period, their absence from secular historical documents and lack of archeological evidence; brings to mind the Tom Hanks movie, Forest Gump.

Aside: Forest Gump is a fictional character who impacts the wider world through random contacts with a variety of real life entertainers, politicians and social drivers. What made the movie a bit concerning was the use of actual news footage with “Forest” edited in.

Looks pretty real so it must be?

Makes for a fun movie, but shows how easy it is to create a realistic but untrue history. Much like the infamous looping of a few film frames that made Hitler appear to be dancing a jig, when he was just walking.

The lack of secular text references and other evidence for the Bible characters of Jesus, Moses and David is particularly troubling for Bible enthusiasts. The whole story hinges on these characters, after all.

Given the apparent impact of these characters on the world we are to believe that they inhabited, is a bit like if Elvis Presley had blazed into the cultural scene, but no one wrote about him until at least 70 years after he died. Which means, we still wouldn’t have any writings about Elvis now, as he’s only been dead 33 years.

Is it credible to anyone that no one would have written about Moses or Jesus or David? That the locations where their stories were set either haven’t been able to be located and if they have, that there’s no evidence for the characters to have inhabited them?

It’s the locations that Biblical scholars focus on – as if finding a particular site that could have been this or that city is enough to prove the story and characters were real.

That there was a Nazareth doesn’t prove Jesus was from there anymore than that New York City exists proves that Carrie Bradshaw and her Sex in the City cohorts are real people and not fictional characters set in a real location. After all, what better way to make fictional characters seem real than to put them in real life locations?

In fact, it also appears that Nazareth didn’t exist until well after the alleged death of Jesus and it was a Roman village.

4th Century Pilgrim Route – and NO NAZARETH!

Another way to tell a Biblical archeologist from an actual archeologist is the rush to publish. Well, not publish-publish. Publish in the sense of  a press release and media tours; not so much to have your find analyzed by independent labs and your paper peer reviewed for publishing in a scientific journal. But hey, news media is careful about confirmation too, right?

Remember the rush to proclaim the James burial ossuary? Only after the media announcement  was the inscription “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus” really examined and deemed a later forgery than the stone box.

An important part of how to make determinations of age of archeology items is the items in the context of the soil layer with other artifacts and building foundations or walls.

Archeology is not a person privately buying apparent antiquities off market from undocumented sources. Especially with the centuries old tradition of  tomb robbing and black market sales into private collector hands. Then, years later, remembering it’s in the storage unit and dragging it out to announce a major find with cultural significance.

If religion is about faith, then no evidence, archeological or otherwise should be needed. In fact, as Douglas Adams pointed out in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Proof denies Faith.


Proving the non-existence of god

So why the rush to prove the Bible stories?

Land claims.

The middle eastern region that the Bible stories are set in is highly disputed territory today.

There’s a bizarre to me belief that where groups of people who called themselves by a certain name 500, 1000 or even more years ago; somehow give a current claim to land by another group of people claiming the same name and by extension, ownership of the land.

Where groups of people camped out in their migratory wanderings, where other groups made semi-permanent settlements or even actually permanent ones that were later abandoned, or had the original population driven out of by a new group – should not be the determination of what land areas that current groups of people should legally be allowed to lay claim to.

China is the longest continuous civilization with stable borders. Everyone else held a territory for a time and either abandoned it owing to catastrophe or depopulation  or had it taken away from them by military conquest or natural migration changing the demographics.

Who got there first may allow for a legal claim if the land is unoccupied, but when you have a territory that has been the site of multiple occupations by different cultural groups over centuries or longer, the territory pretty much belongs to the current occupant. Ownership, as they say, is nine tenths of the law.

Sadly it seems that knowing history in the context of land claims, seems to doom us to repeat the same battles over and over.

The middle east is like the Extreme Hatfields and McCoys – fractions fighting for so long that the basis for the fight is no longer relevant, just that the fight continues.

We should know history to not repeat the mistakes, not to use history to justify continuing to make the same mistakes.

The needs of those currently living and those who will be living have to outweigh the territorial disputes of people long dead. Who lived in a place in the past does not have to determine who gets to live where now and into the future.

No matter the outward appearance, we are all homo sapiens. There are no sub-species of humans. There is less than 1% genetic difference between any two people on the planet.

Aside:  There’s really only one percent separation between you and Kevin Bacon.

After all, if who our ancestors were determines what we are entitled to and how we  are legally allowed to operate because of the ancestor beliefs; then, my neighbours may as well just turn over their property deeds to me.


Dragon headed ships, blood red sails & Vikings wielding battle axes