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the pacifist-post-industrial simplex
Dry-humping my sweet potato.

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Raging Pencils is a tasty conceit of:

Mike Stanfill, Private Hand
Mike "Lefty" Stanfill, Private Hand
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Travelin' Man.

rick steves in IranT
hose of you who visit this web site regularly can't help but notice that I take virtually every opportunity to take a pot-shot at Industrial Christianity.

My main complaint is that most people use the Bible as a book of obscure laws in order to restrict the freedoms of others, to force the "unbeliever" to adhere to their particularly peculiar social construct.

In my view, the Bible is best used as a set of guidelines meant to help us be more at peace with ourselves and our neighbors, to live and let live, to love others as ourselves. That's the sort of sacred society I could honestly get behind.

Fat chance of that, though. American Conservative's have so altered the face of Christianity in this country that the question actually becomes "What would Jesus do if no one was looking?"

So it may surprise you to know that there exists a true man of God, one whom I would willingly support, in both time and money, should he ever choose to run for public office (and there are rumors that he just might, though not in my vicinity).

It's Rick Steves, noted travel author, radio host, and creator of a much-beloved travel series for Public Broadcasting.

I've followed the career of this charming Lutheran for years and it's clear that his faith is the engine which drives his approach to traveling the world. It's not all about the fanciest hotels in the most exotic locales, it's about places you never heard of and how the common man can best afford to get there.

He is the Jesus of travel program hosts.

But he's more than just about travel.

He was in town last week for a pledge drive at my local public radio station and he spent a great deal of his time talking about the problems in Haiti. He offered many commonsensical ideas that would help the Haitian people escape the yoke of the banana Republic economy they've been doomed to for the past hundred years.

He also shared stories about traveling recently in, of all places, Iran. My favorite anecdote was when he talked about the taxi driver cursing traffic in his city. "Death to traffic!", he said. You see, in Iran saying "death to" anything is common and never meant literally. Western media rarely points that sort of thing out, and I'll take Rick's word on it .

He's even written a book called "Travel As a Political Act", the central point of which is that people who travel have a better understanding of the world than those who just sit at home, callously regarding anyone beyond their borders as an inscrutable enemy.

Bulls-eye, Rick.

(This philosophy makes you realize how events such as 9-11 are so useful to a government that sees xenophobia as a tool and not a problem, especially when it comes to finding new enemies to invade. The lesson: Keep traveling.)

If you've never had the opportunity to enjoy Mr. Steves' work you can find his travel books and videos at your local library, or you can rent his DVD's from Netflix. He has hundreds to choose from and they're all terrific.

You go, Steves.


end rant

Raging Pencils salutes the Mystery Readers of
Kärdla, Estonia
Whoever you are, thanks for reading my chewy little 'toon.

end rant

A blast from the reeking past. The RP from 4-25-08.

mad cow will do that

end rant

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Today's Google Chow.

A man and a woman are having dinner.

Man" "Honey, there's something wrong with this corn."

Woman: "Yes, dear, I know. It's genetically modifed. But even though studies have shown that it causes organ failure in rats Monsanto assures us that it's safe for humans to eat."

Man: "That still doesn't explain why it's dry-humping my sweet potato."