The first Doonesbury cartoon, from October 26,...
The first Doonesbury cartoon, from October 26, 1970. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)







Gary Trudeau‘s “Doonesbury” almost always speaks clearly to some societal problem or condition. Here’s one that helps me understand how so many so-called evangelical Christians were able to vote for Trump.

The Book of Exposition

A decade or so after the famed Orientalist Richard Burton translated Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Nafzawi’s The Perfumed Garden of Sensual Delight (1886), an anonymous translator became the first to critically assess and introduce for Anglophone audiences another of the Middle East’s more controversial and enigmatic texts — Kitab al-Izah Fi’ilm al-Nikah b-it-Tamam w-al-Kamal, or The Book of Exposition — a collection of fifteenth-century erotica. Despite there being much dispute over the authorship of the work, from both Western and Middle Eastern scholars over the centuries, The Book of Exposition is nowadays credited to a fifteenth-century Egyptian polymath called Jalal ad’Din al-Suyuti (1445-1505). Although perhaps best known for his co-authorship of Tafsir al-Jalalayn (Tafsir of the Two Jalals), a classical Sunni exegesis of the Quran, al-Suyuti was also a prolific erotologist, writing at least twenty-three treatises on various aspects of the sexual arts.


SS: Ongoing debate – 13 years ago

Editorial gets a failing grade on science, religion: [Final Edition]

Lane, Bob. Nanaimo Daily News; Nanaimo, B.C. [Nanaimo, B.C]24 Dec 2005: A8.

1. Factual content: F. The judge did not rule that “ID” should not be taught. In fact, he recommended that it be taught in socials or comparative religion. He ruled that “ID” is not science and so should not be taught in a biology class. Testimony from the “ID” experts showed that under their definition of science, astrology would be considered science and should be taught.

Full Text

(Copyright The Daily News (Nanaimo) 2005)

The remora

Empire State Building
Empire State Building (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My step-father was a small farmer. He worked with his hands all of his life. He worked with mules, horses, and later tractors.

Otto was primarily a wheat farmer. He took pride in his farming. Straight rows, sowing at the right time, cultivating, knowing when to harvest. There was a German Lutheran toughness to him and a real pride in growing crops and beasts to feed the people.

It was a real shock to him when he made his first trip to the US east coast. He went up to the top of the Empire State Building and looked out over the city. He noticed barges in the Hudson River that were dumping their loads into the river. He asked what they were dumping. He was told they were dumping excess wheat and also milk. He could not believe it.

“Why would they do that?” he asked.

For the futures market he was told. Too much wheat brings the prices down now and in the future.

When he came back to the farm he was changed. Those barges had stolen his life’s purpose.

At about the same time Camus was writing his Notebooks 1951 – 1959. He writes (35) :

According to Melville, the remora, a fish of the South Seas, swims poorly. That is why their only chance to move forward consists of attaching themselves to the back of a big fish. They then plunge a kind of tube into the stomach of a shark, where they suck up their nourishment, and propagate without doing anything, living off the hunting and efforts of the beast.

The remora reminds me of the market speculators. They do not produce any wheat or corn – they merely bet on its price in the future. And they don’t manufacture anything to use for anything – they specialize in gambling.

Oh, yeah, and Otto paid his fair share of taxes.

Dreams, spirits, sex


Emanuel Swedenborg’s Journal of dreams and spiritual experiences in the year seventeen hundred and forty-four,
by Emanuel Swedenborg, translated by C.Th. Odhner; 1918; Pennsylvania.

Lesser known among the many works of the eighteenth-century Swedish scientist, philosopher, religious teacher and visionary Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) is his private Drömbok (variously translated into English as Journal of Dreams or Dream Diary). Attracting less attention than his other journals, from later years, this “octavo pocket book, (6.5 by 4 inches),
bound in parchment and containing 104 written pages” was lost for many years, only found in 1849 in the library of an apparent “enemy” of Swedenborg’s, R. Scheringson, professor and lector in the city of Westeras. Its contents cover a period from July 1743 until October 1744, a time of crisis for Swedenborg, transitioning as he was from life as a scientist and mining engineer to one as a “revelator” and seer. It begins as a simple travel diary, describing his leaving Sweden, crossing the Baltic to Stralsund and then journeying through Hamburg and Bremen to the Netherlands. After some undated fragments it resumes at the end of March 1744. A week or so later during Easter weekend, in what is probably the most significant part of the Journal, Swedenborg describes in detail a vision of Christ he had while staying in Delft. Among the heavenly visions come other scenes both mundane and fantastical: a cast of various dogs, Kings, an executioner with his heads, dragons, a talking ox, and an abstract apparition of an oblong globe. There are also many women and, somewhat controversially, several dreams that are erotic in content.

More here.