Friday, July 31, 2009

Reverend Ike

One day years ago, I was tickled to pass by a Loew's cinema on Broadway at 176th Street which had been converted into a church, the Palace Cathedral of the United Christian Evangelistic Association, led by someone called 'Reverend Ike'.

Charmingly, the big sign above the gaudy, gold-leafed entrance stated:

I never did make it back for a service. Nor did I give much thought over the years to who Rev. Ike was, though I passed the same spot often (was I smiling? Of course).

And so, it has come to pass, that at the age of 74, Reverend Ike has passed. Who was Reverend Ike?

The Rev. Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II (left) was an early practitioner of the televangelistic arts, preaching what is now known as a prosperity Gospel*. He believed there was nothing wrong with earthly riches, and that to strive for material well-being was to fulfill God's will for true Christians, and that to be rich was proof of God's blessing: got it, flaunt it.

And he certainly flaunted it, with gold-trimmed Rolls Royces ("my garages runneth over"), outrageously expensive suits and jewelry, and all sorts of everybling. As he put it, quoting from a sermon in the 1970s:
Close your eyes and see green... money up to your armpits, a roomful of money, and there you are, just tossing around in it like a swimming pool.
And so Reverend Ike has gone to swim for all Eternity in that great big ocean of Benjamins in the sky. Though he had his critics, he reached a peak audience on television of 2.5 million in the 1970s.

The test of someones theory or belief, it is commonly said, is "to put your money where your mouth is." And it's comforting to think that Reverend Ike won't have had trouble seeking admission at the Pearly Gates:

"If it's that difficult for a rich man to get into heaven," he would often say, citing Matthew's Gospel, "think how terrible it must be for a poor man to get in. He doesn't even have a bribe for the gatekeeper."

Some of his most dedicated followers included some truly hardened souls, those people from the IRS.

* Note: though it sounds crass, there is more to Prosperity Theology than at first glance. Serious theological study and biblical exegesis underpins it -- if you believe that sort of thing.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wild Mornings

Cape Spear, Newfoundland (above), is the easternmost point in North America.

Grafitti, East 106th Street and Park Avenue, NYC.

A Horse's Boyfriend Has Went Missing

In an age of promiscuity and failed marriages... the authorities are tearing this poor man away from his stable relationship...

New York Daily News: A South Carolina man was busted for having sex with a horse, while on probation for having sex with the same horse.

Rodell Vereen, 50, was arrested Monday night in the throes of bestiality by the filly's shotgun-toting owner, who also has video surveillance of the perverse act.

"When they arrested him before I thought that was the end of it," said Barbara Kenley, who caught Vereen in the middle of his romp in the hay with her 21-year-old horse, Sugar.

Vereen was on probation for a buggery conviction stemming from a November 2007 assault on Sugar, a crime that prompted Kenley to wire her stables with surveillance cameras.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ex-American Idolator Says Show Is Rigged

"It's a fixed thing if I ever saw one," said Ju'Not Joyner (a season 8 American Idol semi-finalist) during an online chat, much to the shock of many naive chatters, who responded with capslocked interjections and frowny-faced emoticons.

Quote: After the above frivolous razzle-dazzle Capitalist American tinsel news for the stupidest, I think it's time for some serious reporting. This just in:
Pyongyang, July 21 (KCNA) -- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea, a maritime country, has set July and August as months for water sports activities. In these months maritime physical culture and sports activities are being conducted in an intensive way.
Watersports months! Cackle!

But here in America, crazy nonsense roams the land. Why do Americans get it into their heads that universal health care means only one thing: that sinister and anonymous "doktors" in white coats with black jackboots and beeping droids, will march into everyone's houses and at gunpoint force everyone to be injected with a mysterious green liquid from a tanker marked "Obamacaine"?

The current system allows rampant GREED to dictate everything about your health and sickness. Screwing money out of the fact that people fall ill seems repugnant and immoral to me.

And so for the latest "rumor" -- Media Matters for America reports:
A Washington Post article about President Obama's AARP forum on health care promoted the falsehood that a provision in the House Democrats' health care reform bill makes end-of-life counseling for seniors mandatory -- it does not.

Store, West 72nd Street, NYC

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Abercrombie and Stitched-up?

Hey pardner! Git down to that Interweb and git yersels one o' these here mighty fine 'yard and rally' signs (above), they sure are waterproof, logic- and evidence-to-the-contrary-proof, and they certainly collectible... Years from now, you can gather your children or grandchildren around your white picket Model T Ford Oilslicker, and say: "Way back in the old days, people claimed that President Barack Obama was not born in Ameriky... just like their grandchildern are still saying today!"

The sign above, not that many people could afford $20 these days, is put out by the "birthers." These are right wing nuts who say that Obama was not born in the United States of America, or on U.S. territory. If true, he could not become President according to the U.S. Constitution (article 2, clause 5) (could he remain President, if any of this were true? Not sure).

Obama has shown his birth certificate many months ago, possibly as far back as when he was still in contention with Hillary Clinton for the nomination as candidate for President. His people and his party have disseminated proof of his citizenship by birthright, as has the State of Hawaii. But the 'birthers' just won't stop. Even that dumpster of lardy gravitas, Lou Dobbs* on CNN, has joined in. Or he did all of last week...

Then on Monday, Congress spoke: a congressional resolution was introduced by Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of island statehood. The resolution includes a clause noting President Barack Obama's Hawaiian birthplace:

"...the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961."

So will that put and end to it? Probably not, as Obama's legitimacy will always be questioned by racists who simply cannot abide his occupying the White House, "and not mowing the lawn," as a Cuban-American artist put it. One thing to remember and relish, as a reporter put it, if this is what is animating grass-roots conservatives then: "the real story in all of this is that Republican Party has a HUGE problem with its base right now."

*Bullshit spewed by Dobbs includes the unfounded report in 2005 that immigrants were responsible for a sudden increase in cases of leprosy in the U.S. Yes, leprosy! The spike did not happen, Dobbs' information was false, but this fat windbag has never let the truth get in the way of an anti-immigrant rant that drives up his ratings. Dobbs is a rich, powerful, selfish, self-loving liar.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Very Twentieth Century Sort of Death

His passing was important enough to rank first on the N. Y./Region section of the New York Times web site, for a number of hours on Sunday, with the headline, Terrible End for an Enfant Terrible.

It seems he died -- inevitably? tragically? East Village-y? -- of a heroin overdose, on July 13th. Who was he? The Times:

Dash Snow, a promising and adventurous young New York artist who worked with found-image art in various mediums, died at 27. The grandson of art collector and philanthropist Christophe de Menil, he rebelled against his privileged family background..

There's an irony in someone taking the time to tell you why they don't care about someone or something, but here I go: why should we need to know about this? This poor man has unfortunately missed by at least two decades, the era when dying of a heroin overdose somehow 'impressed' the living with one's serious street cred. Nor does his lateness count as retro chic.

Reading further in to the story, one finds that he also snorted a great deal of cocaine...
"And, behold, verily: he shall be known as: a promising and adventurous young New York artist."

I can't be bothered constructing an argument here, so I am going to let all my prejudices and judgment flap in the breeze. This man was privileged far above many; he rebelled against his family! Is that even a valid narrative trope these days?

He chose to live in the East Village and do heroin!!! He was born in 1982, which means if you factor in skool, he would not have moved there until 2000, at the earliest! And we all know that the East Village had not been the East Village for at least ten years. It hasn't even been the East Village in the 1990s — I should know, as Quentin Crisp told me himself.

And heroin and cocaine! Aside from being so very messy and un-creative, these substances aren't even retro, they're just ick. And for straight people.

And he worked with "found-image" art: if ever there is a warning sign that indicated "lazy, untalented fraud," that's it. I myself have found many things. And I have worked with them. I have also thrown them over my shoulder, taken them on the subway then forgotten to take them with me upon exiting, picked my nose with them, and given them to a friend who has responded "ewww, take that messy thing you found and throw it outside."

Am I an artist?

In an era when the economic unthinkable is everyday news, I wonder, did anyone at the Times think when Mr. Snow's story came up, "relevance?" As usual, the vast, teeming and various life in the outer boroughs gets little mention in the Times of the past seven days -- particularly the Bronx.