Sunday, 20 August 2017
Dealing with God is a bit like dealing with a very needy and belligerent toddler. Or Donald Trump. He does like to get his own way and if he doesn't there is hell to pay. He'll kill you or give you leprosy if he's feeling charitable. And he can turn on you at any moment. As Moses and Aaron were about to find out.
So the tribe of Israel were wandering around in the desert at the behest of God who had decided that their constant complaining meant that they would have to wander until the whiny generation had died out. A certain amount of time has passed at this point. It's not really clear how much. Oh and Miriam died. We're told this in passing.
Once again the tetchy Israelites who were remarkably slow on the uptake with regard to their belligerent God complained to Moses. Why had they been led from Egypt they asked to this life of misery and hunger. There wasn't even any water to drink they complained, which is the not unlikely consequence of being in a desert you would think.
So Moses and Aaron went to the Tabernacle to talk to God. And God came down to see them again. He told them to take the rod that he had recently given to Aaron to denote him as the chief priest and to go to a rock. There he was to speak to the rock and tell it to produce water.
So Moses went to a rock, gathered the whole tribe around him and he tapped the rock twice with the rod and water sprang forth.
Now for some reason God was angry. There are some who argue that this is because Moses didn't follow his instructions. He told him to speak to the rock but instead he tapped it with the rod. Surely not even God could be that pedantic? Actually he probably could.
Anyway, whatever the cause, God was annoyed with both Moses and Aaron. They had not believed in him and so he would punish them. They would also not live to see the promised land, which seems a bit harsh on Moses in particular.
Then for no reason we get a short digression while Moses has a brief altercation with another tribe whose land they had to pass through. The King Edom said they couldn't pass through his land and that he would attack them if they did. Moses tried to plead with him but the king was having none of it. So they went around the kingdom of Edom and to the Mount of Hor.
Once at this mountain God spoke to Moses again. He told him to take Aaron up this mountain (God has a thing for doing things on mountains) and they were to take Aaron's son with them. There Aaron was to strip out of his priestly garbs and give them to Eleazar his son. Then Aaron was going to die. All for doubting God. Or doing something wrong with his rod. Or something. It's difficult to tell with God.
So Moses stripped his brother and the tribe gathered around. And Aaron died. And they all mourned for 30 days. In the desert. God and his mysterious ways eh?
Saturday, 19 August 2017
Just to point out that this blog in no way advocates this review. Most films are of course simply a matter of opinion and as such are reproduced here without comment. I may not agree, but hey we can't all like the same things. But in the case of the tendentious drivel put out by Al Gore I have to make the counter point and that is that he has little or no evidence to support the assertions he makes in this film and did not bother to consult acknowledged experts in places like Florida as featured in the film to see what they thought. He makes a film that is thus dishonest and is not at all scientific, however much he likes to suggest otherwise. As such this sequel is much like the original.
Friday, 18 August 2017
Thursday, 17 August 2017
Wednesday, 16 August 2017
Tuesday, 15 August 2017
Monday, 14 August 2017
Sunday, 13 August 2017
The Bible: A Very Grim Fairytale: Numbers: Chapter 19 - A Ritual for Purification After Contact With Death
God has a weird aversion to dead bodies. Now none of us like dead bodies particularly of course, but God said that making contact with dead bodies made you unclean. This of course is just a silly superstition from an ignorant people. But they had a purification ritual to make everything okay again. Still, if God was so averse to dead bodies, why did he keep killing so many people?
So death is kind of a fact of life isn't it really. Nevertheless God was kind of freaked out by it. People dying? Yeuk!
So God gave some instructions on a magic new way to cleanse people in the event that they had somehow come into contact with a dead body, which was probably unavoidable in a tribe whose god kept smiting people every time they doubted him.
God told Moses and Aaron to have Eleazar to get a red heifer, one of those many animals that the tribe of Israel seemed to have about them despite having complained of being hungry only a chapter or two ago. This heifer was to be grazed and given a happy and contented life. No. Only joking. It was of course to be slaughtered and then burnt as a sacrifice. Of course.
Ordinarily if you touched a dead body you were unclean for 7 days. But now God had some voodoo to get around that. All they had to do was take some of the ashes of the heifer, mix them up with water and then sprinkle them on the unclean person on the 3rd and 7th day of their uncleanness. And that was it. They were magically transformed from being unclean to clean. They're like magicians those priests aren't they.
Of course if you failed to follow God's instructions you had to be kicked out.
Saturday, 12 August 2017
Friday, 11 August 2017
Thursday, 10 August 2017
Wednesday, 9 August 2017
I'm not generally a fan of country music, but the very best of that genre transcends it. Glen Campbell took already great songs and turned them into classics thanks to the sublime quality of his voice. He died yesterday at the age of 81, another victim of Alzheimers.
Campbell at his peak outsold even the Beatles in 1968. Over the course of his career, though he didn't often reach those sort of heights, he nevertheless sold 45 million records with his music that managed to crossover from country to pop music. Rhinestone Cowboy and Wichita Linesman were probably his most celebrated songs, quintessentially American pop songs about the American dream and its working class heroes.
Hello, Goodbye (Official Video) by The Beatles on VEVO.
The youth of today doesn't seem to know about the Beatles. Someone on Quora the other day asked why 'old people' cannot accept that Michael Jackson is greater than them. He, said the youth, had never heard of the Beatles and had only heard of Paul McCartney when he made that record with Ri Ri.
Well, foolish youth, the Beatles are held in great esteem by 'old people' and by the way I was just a kid when they were together , a baby actually, because they changed the face of popular music. They started off as a kind of early boy band, but with great music. They became massively popular the world over. Then they transcended their beginnings by becoming superb songwriters and musicians. The Beatles did this because they learnt their craft by playing. A lot. They were a superb live band, although this was never appreciated because of the poor quality of the equipment in those days. And all of the screaming of girls.
But they also wrote simply superb songs that stand the test of time. Then they invented using the studio as a kind of musical instrument in its own right. Their albums were works of art, masterpieces. Albums like Sergeant Pepper, Rubber Soul, Revolver, the White Album and Abbey Road revolutionised music and paved the way for later bands and indeed their peers at the time like the Beach Boys and the Rolling Stones to experiment too.
And this is all reflected in album sales. Michael Jackson was a great artist and made some excellent pop records, but his influence was nothing like as great as the Beatles. And they sold twice as many records as Jackson. They remain huge sellers even now. They even invented the pop video as shown above. It looks crude by modern standards, but remember it had never been done before.
Finally did you know that Michael Jackson bought the publishing rights to all of the Beatles songs to the fury of Paul McCartney who gave him the idea by doing the same to Buddy Holly's songs. Jackson then outbid him for the Beatles songs.
The Beatles were the greatest because they outsold everyone and revolutionised music. They were as influential in rock and roll terms as Mozart or Beethoven in classical music. I assume you've heard of them even though they haven't recorded with Rihanna.
Tuesday, 8 August 2017
Monday, 7 August 2017
Sunday, 6 August 2017
The Bible: A Very Grim Fairytale: Numbers: Chapter 18 - The Power and Wealth of the Priests and Levites
So in chapter 16 there was a small rebellion as some of the Israelites demanded to know who had made Moses and Aaron the bosses. God killed them all including their families just to show them. That's what all of this book is about. The story concerns the tribe being doubtful and disobedient and thus being punished. And guess what? They just so happen to have the power of the priests confirmed. How convenient.
After all of the slaughter of recent chapters then in which God showed who was boss and then delegated it down to Aaron and his priests and his priestly helpers the Levites, we now get a reiteration of what all of this means. It means that Aaron and those allegedly descended from him have sole rights to go into the Tabernacle.
God told Aaron that he and his sons and the Levites were in charge of the Tabernacle. The Levites were the chief servants of the Tabernacle but they were forbidden from making contact or even looking at its most sacred and holy objects. This must have made life tricky. But breaking this rule meant death.
But then God told them what they got in return for all of this: lots of free food and money. Much better. Yes all of those sacrifices were to be given to the priests to eat. So, not actually for God then. There were to be lots and lots of animal sacrifices as we have detailed in Leviticus. But essentially this was just free food for the priests. Funnily enough people who now claim that the Bible is the literal truth tend to ignore the need for animal sacrifices don't they. It's all very very pagan.
And the Levites got a wage too. The Israelites had to give the Levites 5 Shekels for every first born male and every first born animal. A nice little earner then. The only downside was that the priests and Levites were not allowed to own land. God would provide for them, which is to say that the whole tribe would provide for them with taxes on everything.
And on top of those 5 Shekels for all of the first borns there was a tithe or tax of 10% of everything produced by the people. This was to go to the Levites. They then had to hand over 10% of this income to the priests. Why priests needed an income like this is not revealed. Still, thanks to God they were going to be very very rich priests indeed. I bet you didn't see that coming.