Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Treatise on the True Story of December 25th

Over the years, traditions and holidays evolve. Even religious ones that are organized by people dead set against evolution and everything it stands for – they evolve too. When people are asked what “the true meaning of Christmas” is these days, respondents often focus too hard on trying to remember the details, like whether Scrooge owned the inn that turned Mary away, or the one that let her stay in the stable. Many worry themselves trying to remember which gift each wise man brought, and forget the real message, which is that giving expensive presents to a newborn is guaranteed to spoil him.

Some people lose sight of the bigger picture while watching straight-to-DVD movies, and forget all about treatises.

However, there is an altogether different message associated with December 25th, which predates the Christmas story, and even the film A Christmas Story. Arguably the event is all the more important as it actually happened on December 25th, unlike subsequent events which are wrongly and inexplicably commemorated on that day.

To Frodologists, December 25th is Fellowship Day. It commemorates that day when Frodo and his eight companions set off from Rivendell to destroy the Ring and deliver Middle Earth from evil. There are, I think, four lessons which can be drawn from the bold step taken on December 25th.

First, the mission to Mordor is symbolic of casting off the yoke of our material possessions. The ring which Frodo takes is a piece of jewelry highly evocative of Western materialism, and he swears on all that’s holy (himself) that he will cast it into the fires of the predictably named Mount Doom. As Robert Frost belatedly observed several millennia later, “nothing gold can stay”. Unless it wasn’t infused with preternatural evil at the time it was cast from hellfire and the ethereal souls of unbaptized children. Then it can stay.

The second message that Frodologists take from Fellowship Day is that on any arduous quest or journey, at the halfway point a tall elvish woman will give you queer gifts you likely have no use for. This is a device which literature calls deus ex machina, and it demonstrates the extreme and incredible good fortune which one should always expect and count on.

Third, Fellowship Day teaches us important lessons about cooperation in the face of faceless evil. Namely, it teaches us to judge others based on rumors and hearsay, and to accuse entire cultures of being paragons of evil, particularly if they lay far to the east. It teaches us to ignore the root causes of strife, and to expend countless lives sorting out a disagreement when a little dialogue may have been just as effective.

Finally, Fellowship Day teaches us about friendship. In particular we learn the lesson that, despite brave assurances of support from friends and strangers alike, no one will actually offer to do the hardest part for us, no matter how much more suited they are for the task. Ultimately, putting a miniature flag on your dashboard or uploading a series of JPEGs to the sidebar of your blog is much easier.

With so much to teach the rest of the world, however, we Frodologists must remember never to detract from other messages symbolized by the 25th of December. In particular, if you are heavily pregnant and desperately implore people for a room all the while maintaining your chastity and virginity, no one is going to let you in.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Holiday (in)activity

Esteemed Frodologists,

Frodo's Prophet is going on holiday for a couple of weeks on Saturday and will hopefully be spending as little time as possible on the computer, as he hears that there is sunshine, nature and a qwertyless world out there somewhere which need to be experienced.

Nevertheless, two posts have been scheduled for Frodo's loyal followers should they find themselves unable to go cold turkey. Hah.

Until the good grace of Frodo hauls our planet into a new year, enjoy your holidays , and please - don't be tempted to pray to Thinky!

Yours faithfully,


In the know: should we just stop using our brains?

Perched atop of our bodies like a crown as it is, the brain has long fascinated man. That is until he lays down, at which point it’s no higher than anything else on his body and he can become fascinated with his sex organ. But for the most part, the brain is the pinnacle of our corporeal selves, and for this reason it is thought to be greatly deserving of study.

The brain was first discovered by cavemen in 12,116 BC in a game of “rock-head”, a primitive recreational activity which required participants to fling rocks of various sizes at each other’s heads. In actual fact, however, cavemen were previously unable to distinguish between rocks and heads, and so the game’s name is better translated as “rock-rock”, or “head-head”. Scientists believe it is this same basic misunderstanding of anatomy that causes rams to lock horns and butt heads.

It was however not until the middle of the 18th Century that a use was finally discovered for the brain. For several weeks in the summer 1731 it became wildly popular among European monarchs to use gray matter compote as a primitive weather sealant. Though seasonal rains proved it expensive and ineffective, it was not until Thompson’s Water Seal became commercially available in the early 20th Century that this use of brains was finally discontinued.

By the early 19th Century, the actual use of the brain had been discovered. Early scientists were perplexed by its similarity to the walnut, leading many to think that trees were much smarter than us. When man returned to the surface from his burrow two generations later, civilization more or less returned to normal.

Only very recently has the more sinister purpose of the brain been discovered. Frodologist scientists have reason to believe that the brain is actually the principle medium by which atheists pray to their brain-god, Thinky. That this took so long to discover is somewhat embarrassing to scientists; in retrospect, atheists' appeals to “reason” and “logic” are transparent proselytizing on behalf of their deity. But most importantly, theologians wonder, are we angering Frodo every time we use our brains by appearing to worship Thinky?

Scientists are now scrambling around for an answer. After all, we can’t just remove our brains.

Can we?

No, it would seem we cannot. Frankenstein’s monster is misleading on that front and only goes to demonstrate the dangers of believing in fiction! So, if we can’t remove them, how can we turn them off?

Preliminary research suggests that it is possible and recommends the power of the mass synchronized chant: F… R… O-D-O, F… R… O-D-O … When it’s over, it’ll be hours later and chanters will remember nothing.

Frodologist scientists expect that through this program participants will soon become avid consumers of mass market t-shirts and bumper stickers.

Salvation rides a Wagoneer

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Alarming “might as well” cult growing among nation’s youth

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Reindeer serial killer on the rampage

Cries of anguish could be heard around the world today at the news that Christmas might have to be delayed. Police in the Northwest Territories reported their discovery of yet another dead reindeer from Santa Claus’ stables, bringing the total to four in just a single week.

While cynical parents bathed in the tears of their disappointed children, many better parents were perplexed as to how they were going to explain to their children that the imaginary Christmas characters that filled their hearts with delight actually existed, but were now mostly dead. A Mormon counselor has advised parents to be forthright and just keep their heads down. “It’s a necessary evil, like teaching your kids about the birds and the bees. You’ll feel dirty afterwards, but it’s a sign of good parenting.”

Perhaps the most horrifying aspect of the killings is the twisted way in which each reindeer has been dispatched in a manner prescribed by his name. The most recent victim, Cupid, was discovered with an arrow through his heart. Mounties initially believed it to be felled by a hunter, but then remembered that Canadians usually prefer to hunt with empty beer cans.

The slaying of the previous three was no less deranged. Vixen died from an advanced syphilitic infection, while Dasher was pierced by a giant hyphen. Santa Claus reportedly regrets not having named the reindeer Colon instead, but it is unlikely the creature's death would have been any less grisly. The first reindeer to die was Comet, after he was crushed by a rock falling from the upper atmosphere. Police suspect his death may be unrelated, however, as technically it would have been a meteorite.

Internet forums are already alight with speculation as to what, if anything, will befall Christmas’ most cherished reindeer, Rudolph. Will he be hanged like the Nazi commandant of Auschwitz, Rudolf Hess, or merely die in prison like the other Nazi, Rudolph Hess? The North Pole is meanwhile keeping the remaining reindeer under a close watch, but Dancer is nevertheless insisting people just call him “Bill”.

The Catholic Church is apparently unconcerned about the delay. As a spokesman for the Pope explained, “December 25th was an arbitrary choice anyway. We’ll just shift Jesus’ birthday back a few weeks, remind everyone that the Pope is infallible, and advise them not to think about it too much.”

Answering criticism that the Church is unfairly insensitive to the crushed dreams of millions of children, the spokesman responded that “it would definitely be wrong to say that we enjoy ruining lives. I guess you could say we’re just indifferent.”

Before Christmas can go ahead, however, Santa will first have to discover a new method of powering his sleigh. It is thought he will look to Japan or possibly Korea for propulsion, as the United Elf Workers claim they are only being paid to make the same old toys over and over again. Despite the potential loss of their jobs and livelihoods should Christmas not occur, they are unwilling to invent or innovate, having spent their careers getting paid handsomely for decades’ worth of unoriginal ideas.

Santa's elves unveil the latest hybrid

Meanwhile, readers are encouraged to remain vigilant and write in with any reindeer deaths they witness.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Prophecy wrongly predicts own fallibility

Frodologist scholars were flabbergasted yesterday, when, during a routine reexamination of a religious text for clues as to Frodo’s opinion on winter shorts, they happened upon a hidden prophetic warning. It appears that the Frodological prophecy foresees its own fallibility:

“And it shall come to pass that none of it shall come to pass.”

The discovery is alarming in that all of the text’s other predictions have so far panned out. For example, it predicted that when the sins of hobbits angered Frodo, a terrible storm should fall upon the land. And it did last summer, when seasonal rains flooded a few fields and delayed the corn harvest by several days. While no one is sure which sin in particular attracted the wrath of Frodo, whatever it was must have been bad, because the storm came. That kind of thing doesn’t just happen.

Prophecy also proclaims that the River Anduin shall dry up when Frodo’s return is imminent. And the great river did exactly that when a group of local hobbits dammed the Upper Anduin in order to fulfill the prophecy.

That's dam fine prophecy fulfillment, boys!

Yet another example is the widely recognized claim that Frodo will not return until His Hobbit Hole is rebuilt for the third time. It hasn’t, and he hasn’t.

I could give more examples, but I won’t, because prophecy predicts that I won’t. The problem provided by the erroneous passage is of course obvious, but in case it isn’t I’ll explain it for the sake of padding out this article.

Prophecy has so far been infallible, meaning that the prediction of its fallibility is wrong and renders it fallible. But when prophecy is wrong, the prophecy that it will be wrong will be vindicated and it will be proof that the Second Coming of Frodo is imminent. But how will scholars know when the prophecy is wrong, thereby proving that prophecy was right in predicting that it would be wrong? Most predictions are so widely worded that we could attribute anything to them, and the others we just ignore.

If prophecy is to be proved correct by it being wrong, Frodologist scholars will have to be more cautious in proclaiming fulfillment. Theologians are expected to start consulting religious skeptics to judge more accurately whether any given prophecy has been fulfilled, since after so many years of sycophantic agreement with scripture, they have apparently lost the ability to think critically.

Will atheists be the ones to save the Faith? That seems like an attention-seekingly implausible conclusion…

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Is our galaxy really a giant waffle?

It is no secret that Frodo was fond of food. Hobbits were known to eat several meals a day, including two breakfasts. They were champions of cooking, when the men of the world were content simply to gnaw on dirty root vegetables. Some Frodologists even suggested that Frodo was named after a dish which was a particular favorite of hobbits, just as Jesus was named after a type of sand found on the shores of Galilee.

As such, much of a Frodologist’s worldview is shaped by foods. In biology, we shirk kingdoms animal and plant, and embrace the kingdom edible. In art, we focus on those dishes most aesthetically appealing. In mathematics, we forego calculations in favor of a meal. Indeed, the single reason we don’t brand followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster as heretics is because they worship a pasta dish. Why bicker about scripture when you can identify with a similarly enlightened soul?

However, recently our innocuous opinions have come under fire. In particular, the Frodologist belief that our galaxy is actually a giant waffle has attracted a trifle of criticism. Mindful of conciliating with places of learning, we agreed that our position was a little untenable, and were willing to change it such that we accepted it could also be an enormous waffle. Oddly, this didn’t placate the Royal Academy. Neither did gargantuan, colossal, or really really big.

It later became clear that the nature of the grievance against our belief is not the chosen adjective, but the waffle. Many scientists argue that it’s preposterous to believe that our galaxy is a waffle. If you were to believe that, they argue, you might as well believe in sasquatch, la chupacabra, and OJ Simpson, when everyone knows they’re just fairy tales made up to scare children.

Yes, you could believe all that, and we wouldn’t judge you for it in the slightest. Take note, atheists, appealing to a Frodologist’s sense of reality is like barking up the wrong horse.

Some exasperated scientists have taken a lazier tack and requested that we instead provide evidence that our galaxy is a giant waffle. Well, they asked for it. Frodo told us. He revealed it, in a document that has yet to be published, but that shouldn’t detract from its veracity as most certainly not written by people in positions of waffled interest.

In any case, who do scientists think they are to tell us that the galaxy isn’t a giant waffle? After all, situated in the very galaxy we’re trying to get a look at, it’s not like we can photograph ourselves. That would require some sort of huge mirror, just floating there in space besides our galaxy. What total nonsense!

Having catastrophically failed to disprove the Waffle Theory, secular busybodies are now imploring the state that its teaching in schools should not be allowed. That’s fair. It’s not really like belief in a giant waffle is going to help these kids get jobs. It’d probably just be a waste of time.

Finally, the reader may count himself surprised at having reached the end of the article and not having read a single pun about waffling. Frodo moves in mysterious, Jesus-like ways.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Atheist disappointed by own lack of belief

Still recovering from the trauma of recently getting stuck inside his own thought bubble, an outspoken local atheist spoke up for the first time today about his own disappointment in himself. As an atheist, Mr. Jennings is no stranger to criticism. From the disappearance of babies at the local orphanage to the disappearance of babies from local wombs, Mr. Jennings’ complete lack of belief is frequently derided as an agent of Satan’s will.

“Atheism is the worst thing since bread stopped coming pre-sliced from those fancy bakeries,” opined a smug local pun-maker.

However, Mr. Jennings now has another person to add to his list of people whom he feels he must daily put in their place: himself. It seems that his near-death experience has caused him to grow somewhat introspective, and, dare we say it, spiritual.

“I realized that if was a believer, particularly a Mormon or a Frodologist, I probably wouldn’t have been stuck in that thought bubble. I’d still be alive today,” explained Mr. Jennings. He went on to explain it better, but that portion of the interview has been excluded for comic effect.

Mr. Jennings is consequently disappointed by his own atheism, and believes that atheism will probably be stamped out by natural selection, due to the inherent danger posed by empty thought bubbles.

Until that happens, however, he simply wishes he had been born a believer. “I can’t really choose to believe in God. It’s hardly my fault He didn’t provide more evidence for His own existence,” moaned Mr. Jennings. What's more, Mr. Jennings is convinced he'd be an excellent believer if it wasn't for his lack of belief. "I don't eat babies or anything."

Mr. Jennings realizes he is just part of God’s plan to test the faithful. “I’m fully aware that I’m here to test believers and woo them into Satan’s arms,” he admits, but he doesn’t appreciate the constant criticism that comes with the job. “I’ve been called a tool of Satan, Satan’s tool, and even Satan’s stool once, but I’m pretty sure that was just a typo.”

It wasn't. Mr. Jennings was called a pile of devilish feces by a Hindu, who assured him he would be reincarnated as a hoary marmot as punishment for his lack of belief in Vishnu. "It's a hard blow, especially since I don't believe in any of it."

Thanks to conservation posters, the hoary marmot is now off the endangered species list

Asked whether he resents God’s use of him as a mere pawn in a greater game, Mr. Jennings declined to blaspheme. “It’s not really my prerogative to criticize the job He’s doing, since He has a greater purpose for me as a forsaken heathen, even though I don’t believe in Him either.”

Prompted to explain the apparent contradiction in his statement, Mr. Jennings simply shrugged and explained “I guess God just made me this way, even though He didn’t. But really He did.”

Truly a complex individual.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Frodo’s Story, Part II: Miracles 101

In case you missed it, here is Frodo’s Story, Part I

We last left off in Frodo’s story at his return from Mordor and elevation to demigod in the eyes of Middle Earth. Not all was roses, however, as we saw that from the early days of his omnipotence he was competing with his close friend Samwise for the adulation of worshipers, and struggled under the expectations of his followers. We now continue with Frodo’s story.

Almost as soon as Frodo became an object of divinity, he was under constant pressure to keep safe and take no risks. “I liked playing with swords,” remembers Frodo. “But they soon put a stop to that. At first they let me use a wooden one, then a flimsy reed, and finally I just had to make believe. People say leaders have great vision and imagination, but I’ve always thought followers were better at pretending.”

From the beginning, Frodo was pressured into performing miracles. Lepers and the crippled frequently lined up at his door, interspersed with the infertile and the inadvertently pregnant. “It was terrible,” remembers Frodo. “When one of the lepers’ legs fell off, a cripple accused him of taunting the legless and having ‘limbs to spare’. Then the sterile women became jealous of the pregnant, and vice versa. It was a bloodbath.” Indeed it was; one hemophiliacs would sooner forget.

Frodo wasn’t even aware he had performed his second miracle until the news filtered back to him. “’Frodo cures blind man!’ I remember them shouting, and I had no idea what they were talking about. Only later did I remember giving a passing beggar a carrot from my vegetable patch. They said I’d cured his blindness.” Frodo doubted the man had actually been blind, but even if he had been, Frodo still downplays his role in the alleged miracle. “Vitamin A. I’m pretty sure that’s what it is. Carrots are full of it, and it's good for vision. Vitamin A, beta carotene, call it what you like, but other than the actual act of handing him the carrot, I can’t say I cured his blindness.”

Frodo would have one more brush with miracles before it all came apart. “Gandalf wanted to stage a resurrection at one point, but I hadn’t finished reading that chapter in the textbook, so he just killed someone and said I’d come back to life!” But when Frodo tried to leak the scandal to the news, no one would believe it. Conservative pundits called it an “incredible conspiracy theory” and a “dishonest attempt to discredit a genuine miracle.”

Facing a world growing ever more entrenched in their belief in him, Frodo found himself spiraling downwards into a seedy world of drugs, sex, and traditional panpipe ballads. “I was definitely living the cliché,” he remembers. “It was like the point in those movies where you see the protagonist stick a needle in their arm for the first time, and you think ‘ah, so that’s how they got AIDS’. There was no needle, but the descent into ruin was all a little predictable.”

At first his drug use was recreational, mostly Southfarthing weed, and it improved his panpipe playing if anything. “But one day, one of the North Downs hobbits brought round his lute and a wahwah pedal, and told us we needed to take some pills to really ‘get it’. It was like a journey, man, so intense. I definitely ‘got it’. I got other things too though. An addiction, and diseases mostly.”

Frodo would of course climb the long ladder of privilege out of his despondent drug dependency, and other things equally terrible all beginning with ‘d’. But that story will have to wait for next time.

The stuff dreams are made of?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Santa, sussed

Few holidays can claim an entire genre of music all their own, and it’s probably for the best, because tunes about turkeys would wear thin before the start of the first verse. However, Christmas more than makes up for this dearth by treating bemused listeners to a panoply of forced auditory festivity. 7-11s have a certain terminal cheer threshold, which, just as objects can never attain the speed of light, simply cannot be met by tinny holiday ditties.

Due to this principle, ears for whom Christmas is a holiday worldwide associate many such songs with memories of the depressingly uplifting. “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” is the crumbling veneer on an overstretched budget. “Jingle Bells” suggests the solution for pent up shopping frustration might be homicide, and “Frosty the Snowman” double homicide.

For these reasons it’s rare that listeners take the time to listen to the lyrics of the lo-fi songs they hear. And who can blame them? Many Christmas songs are deplorably inane. For example:

Here comes Santa Claus
Here comes Santa Claus
Right down Santa Claus Lane

Every one knows Santa flies. There is no Santa Claus Lane. And:

Feliz Navidad
Feliz Navidad
Feliz Navidad
Feliz Navidad
Prospero Ano y Felicidad.

Complete gibberish.

But one song in particular is alarmingly revealing as to its sinister underlying purpose. It beguiles listeners with saccharine lyrics and bewitching stanzas. It is the musical equivalent to a paedophiliac old man taking candy from a baby.

But “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” fails the hand that wrote it. Its clever rhymes cannot but belie its intentions.

He's making a list,
He's checking it twice,
He's gonna find out
who's naughty or nice.

Santa’s brown nosing into the deeds and misdeeds of children is worrisome by itself, and his obsessive compulsive list-making does nothing to allay fears. The casual listener might ponder what could be the purpose of such devoted organization. The same listener may be placated by the assurance that Santa simply wants to deliver toys to the good children.

But hark! What’s this?

He sees you when you're sleeping,
He knows when you're awake.

The listener should at once be alarmed at the overtones of espionage, which carry not the slightest hint of embarrassment. Are these just the harmless advances of a lonely stranger beckoning children thither through the school gates? The next line however only exacerbates the listener’s unease:

He knows when you've been bad or good

Who does that sound like? The obsession of Old Saint Nick with the morality of children too young to understand the word absolutely reeks of God’s constant interventions. Jehovah, the original condescending paternalist, co-opts what appears to be an honest folk myth by reaching his desiccated hand down Santa’s shirt to wield him as a puppet. Christians must have realized that Yahweh betrayed Himself in the Old Testament with His appalling displays of brutal malice. What child would trust and befriend Thanatos incarnate? Santa then is His stooge, His agent of deceit. Santa's disarming, cheery appearance is wholesome enough for Coca Cola, but the red of his suit should be the flag of distress to all children who meet him.

So be good for goodness sake!

It is this last line that dispels all doubt, if any remained. The lyrics implore the juvenile listener with an asenine alliteration, but bludgeon him with a hammer of circular reasoning. It should by now be obvious that the Mayor of the North Pole is none other than a mythical Dr. Mengele, torturing dreams on the rack of cynical dogma.

The tried and tested tool of Christianity has always been the hammer, not the carrot. While wordsmiths may have created a façade of jovial bonhomie with portly Father Christmas, inducing children to behave with promises of presents, it is the explicit threat of denied joy for misbehaviour that again resonates most strongly. Having failed before to win people over, Christianity falls short again when it betrays Santa as the wretched wrecker of childish innocence.

Would you work for Santa?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Vatican heist sees millions of years’ worth of indulgences stolen

The latest round of the Catholic blame game kicked off earlier this week with the Holy See’s announcement that it had been robbed. Believers listened in horror as the Pope’s spokesmen reported how thieves had broken in during the night, and made off with several tons worth of paper indulgences. The rest of the world barely batted a collective eyelid when it later developed that nothing of actual value had been stolen.

Quite how the burglars entered the Pope’s vault is unclear, though Vatican authorities are reportedly meeting with their contractor, Honor System Security Ltd., to assess the breach. In the mean time, any obvious flaws will be addressed with candlelight vigilance.

Though neither Italian police nor the Carabinieri have released a list of suspects, the theft bears all the hallmarks of frequent sinners such as gays, and some of the hallmarks of casual sinners, such as Hallmark. The Vatican also suspects religious skeptics who aren’t quite skeptical enough to be sure there’s no God, but is skeptical that said skeptics are organized enough to pull of such a heist.

In simpler times, the stolen property itself would have pointed to the likely culprits. Mothers of unbaptized children were once the most prolific thieves of indulgences, but in recent years organized crime rings, some of them full of good Catholics, have been responsible for the biggest robberies.

Taken together, the indulgences amount to millions of years off time to be spent in purgatory, and as such represent about 5% of the global indulgence black market. Vatican authorities are confident that the majority of the stolen indulgences will wind up in the United States, particularly California and Arizona. Since the introduction of crimesin, illegal Mexican immigrants have all become sinners in the eyes of God. It is a setback they certainly could have done without.

Paco has to sell a lot of tacos to pay for his ill-gotten indulgence

Asked about their plans to retrieve the stolen indulgences, the Vatican said that its chief worry as always was that sinners would be cheating the system and not spending enough time being punished for their transgressions. Still, a spokesman reassured reporters that they “can always print more,” though he cautioned that recent cutbacks will mean future indulgences will be printed on A5 paper, rather than the standard A4.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Residents of Heaven sick of perpetual daylight

Christianity suffered another setback today when residents of Heaven filed a formal complaint against God for the perpetual daylight in which they have to live. Disenfranchised denizen Dale Keats told a reporter that he was “initially enchanted by Revelations 22:5, where it says that God is light and all. I didn’t realize that God really is light!

Many citizens of Heaven have since come forward and admitted to being similarly tired of eternal light. While newcomers are often thrilled at the prospect of endless soccer games and picnics at all hours, it seems that after a few months, most just want to catch a bit of sleep. “It’s not that I need it,” declared former manicurist Betty Jenkins, “but it is Heaven, and honey, I loves to sleep!”

Perpetual light is also quickly becoming a health concern, as residents of Heaven have been subjected to constant UV light ever since they arrived. Gabriel, Heaven’s surgeon general, admitted that while melanoma is on the rise, by far the biggest problem is that no one knows what happens to people who die in Heaven. “Perhaps there’s some sort of super heaven we don’t know about yet.”

Nor are the angels unaffected, as it is well known that winged creatures quickly succumb to dizziness and disorientation after prolonged exposure to unnatural light. Suffering from acute insomnia, St. Peter has not been properly checking credentials at the pearly gates, and has recently let in a panoply of sinners and Cuban immigrants. Worse, the archangel Michael inadvertently flew into the glass-sided HSBC building in Heaven’s financial district, severely breaking his neck.

As the light shows no sign of diminishing, the situation in Heaven is getting dire. Angels are desperately trying to track down and stamp out the makers of t-shirts reading "I came to Heaven and all I got was this lousy migraine", and "Kept in the dark about being in the light". Already, Christianity is feeling the effects of members fleeing for other faiths, and many argue that fitting manacles to churches across the country is not the answer. Until however Heaven can offer its sunkissed souls some shade, the flock would flee but for lock and key.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Crime and sin soon to be same thing

Mainstream religion was vindicated in the United States today when an increasingly desecularized government announced that crime and sin would soon become one and the same thing. In a public initiative known as ‘crimesin’, all crimes will be viewed as morally heinous in the eyes of God, and all sins as offenses against the State.

Answering criticism that crimesin will simply overload the justice system and overcrowd prisons, the Attorney General argued that precisely the opposite will happen. In the plan he outlined, misdemeanors will be dealt with by saying a few Hail Marys, while only the most important crimesins, such as blasphemy, will require the involvement of the courts.

Another element to the crimesin regime is the streamlining of penance and sentences in pentances. Pentances can be issued by priests following a confession, in which case there is no need to seek the courts’ involvement. It is thought that this will be the source of justice favored by murderers, and legal draftsmen expect it to kick start a homicide self-policing system, whereby killers will seek out priests for justice and save precious police resources.

Some of the less religiously inclined members of the public have spoken out against crimesin, arguing that it violates the separation of church and state. The Attorney General agreed, saying “that’s exactly what we were going for, since under the new regime, secularism itself will become a crimesin”.

Due to the principle of religious equality established by the First Amendment to the US Constitution, equal weight will be afforded to activities viewed as sinful by each genuine religion. Questioning the historicity of Frodo and portraying Him in a disrespectful manner will thus both be crimesins.

Religious satire looks set to become a crimesin as well, which poses grave questions about the continuing existence of Mormonism and Scientology. Leaders of both religions are facing an uphill struggle to convince government officials of the genuineness of their faiths, as authorities are understandably skeptical of any mention of aliens or secret mystical tablets.

By far the biggest winner from the establishment of crimesins will be Christianity, whose hold on the public’s imagination has been steadily eroding since the public realized it could think for itself. Coupled with growing awareness of the risk of thinking too much, however, Christianity looks set to benefit from the harsh pentances that will be doled out to heretics and unbelievers.

One potential hurdle has however given some commentators pause for thought, and that is how Christianity will tackle the doctrine of Original Crimesin. Since Christians are born guilty, it will be interesting to see whether this particular crimesin commands a custodial pentance, or just community service.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Beforelife

The soul market is a competitive one, and it’s no secret that the various faiths proffer tantalizing benefits to count you among their members. Mormons supply you with quaint underwear, and Scientologists offer the unique experience to die in circumstances of appalling medical negligence. Many, however, save a few bucks with the winning idea of the afterlife. Christians are promised eternal bliss, while Islamic martyrs also receive 72 virgins, bounty apparently not already encompassed in the definition of “eternal bliss”.

That souls are eternal is a conclusion we can all happily draw without expending time or money to research the question. Frodologist theologians have however identified an enormous period in the soulspan in which its salvation is not being catered for: the period before birth, or as we call it, the beforelife.

Mark Twain wrote that “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.” Perhaps he wasn’t inconvenienced, but that’s not aiming very high is it? What if you could prepare for your entire life ahead of time, so that you could forget it all at infancy, and spend the rest of your life remembering it until dementia took over so you could forget it again.

Of course, if you’re reading this, you’ve already missed the opportunity to enjoy the beforelife. But since appeals to their unborn children are generally effective on religious types, think about how much your child could benefit from his or her beforelife. All you have to do is join Frodology, and profess your belief in Frodo. If you’re already a Frodologist, don’t worry, your unborn child is from this very moment, enjoying his beforelife. Just ensure your membership dues are up to date, and you can officially consider yourself a good parent.

Still not sold on the idea? Can’t see what benefit a beforelife offers? Maybe you’re wondering, “what if my child’s actual life is a huge disappointment compared to his beforelife?” Well maybe you should bone up on your parenting. Or you could think of your beforelife like a trailer. At the cinema, don’t trailers make you think “gee, I can’t wait to see that!”? Perhaps you wouldn’t say “gee”. That’s understandable. It’s kind of gay.

And if that doesn’t make you want your children to experience salvation through a beforelife, I give up. Choose Christianity, or some damn thing.

The beforelife: having one is as simple as choosing to have one.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Oliver Stone sued over “Q.” copyright infringement

Legendary playwright Arthur F. Haywood briefly rose from the dead today to file a lawsuit against filmmaker Oliver Stone, alleging copyright infringement over Stone’s new film, W. The recently undead dramatist claims authorship of the play Q., an 1830 satirical lampooning of former President John Quincy Adams.

While the courts were initially skeptical of the undead author’s claims, and it was universally agreed that not only would Haywood’s copyright have long expired, but also that the play predated copyright law itself, judges allowed the lawsuit to proceed on the basis that doing so would outrage many and make a good story.

With a voice box more or less totally decomposed, the undead playwright used exaggerated charades and hand gestures to communicate the nature of the infringement. Haywood treated audiences to a silent comparative scene-by-scene analysis of the two pieces, occasionally banging a loose femur on the podium for emphasis.

It slowly became clear that the plot of Q., in which the spoilt son of a soon-to-be President is coddled through life by his family’s connections, until he too becomes President, is uncomfortably similar to Stone’s story about the life of President George W. Bush. Further similarities include the dubious circumstances under which both Presidents finagled election victory, and highly criticized and abortive domestic policies. Adams left behind a career in law to be President and had many children. Bush broke the law to be President and left behind many children. Adams was a staunch abolitionist. Bush had a black cabinet member.

Even W.’s tagline echoes that of Q.’s, which reads “Aught boie of exceeding fatuity shall yet aspire to be President.” Or something.

Oliver Stone is reportedly furious at actor Richard Dreyfuss, alleging that since Dreyfuss is the only surviving cast member from Q., “he should have known better.” Dreyfuss played Adams’ Vice-President John C. Calhoun in Q., and while he generally received positive reviews, critics noted at the time that he was “some what olde for the role.”

What is certain is that Stone could have done without the controversy. Though he maintains his innocence, the jury is likely to be leery of the debacle surrounding his film JFK, which drew controversy for its overt similarity to 19th Century play AL. Undeterred, however, Stone plans to base his next Presidential movie on Reagan and his aborted plans for a ballistic missile defense system. “I’ve already got a great idea for the name,” he admitted with a sly grin.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Atheist gets trapped inside own thought bubble

An emergency call was placed today by the distressed wife of a prominent atheist. The woman described her husband as “stuck in a bubble”, but it was only on the fourth call back that the emergency operator realized she was not speaking metaphorically. Indeed, when an ambulance arrived, the man was found literally stuck inside a cartoony thought bubble.

“My husband thinks a lot,” Mrs. Jennings told reporters. “But before this happened, I wouldn’t have said he thought too much.” Precisely how it happened is still being investigated, but it would seem that Mr. Jennings became stuck sometime before midnight. An avid blog reader, Mr. Jennings spends several hours of his day trolling religious blogs and responding to their posts with implacable stamina. As such, Mr. Jennings is no stranger to inane arguments and baseless leaps of faith.

It would seem however that one particular post totally floored poor Mr. Jennings, such that he was at a complete loss for words. “The thought bubble must have opened shortly after reading the first idiotic sentence,” mused investigating sergeant, Bill Harris. “When he couldn’t find words to fill it, the vacuum in the bubble probably just sucked him right in.”

Fig. 1, Cartoon thought bubbles are rarely a cause for laughter

Mr. Jennings was luckily rescued from the bubble by a simple popping motion. “I grabbed a fork, and just sort of went like this,” recalls paramedic Dave Bailey, as he demonstrated the simple popping motion. “Not too hard, but not too soft either. Like you’re jabbing a potato.” Though he didn’t asphyxiate, paramedics had to resort to CPR, and Mr. Jennings will be spending the night in hospital to ensure his full recovery. He heaped praise upon the paramedics and their ingenious simple popping motion.

Sgt. Harris has issued advice to those worried about a similar fate. “Any one who thinks too much is obviously at risk of being trapped in thought bubbles, but to be frank, anyone who thinks at all is actually at risk,” cautioned the sergeant. The local police station will be issuing an easily understood scale demonstrating who is most at risk.

Fig. 2, Frodologists have little to fear... as long as they behave

Practical advice accompanies the scale, suggesting that casual thinkers such as Catholics and Frodologists are the least at risk from their own thought bubbles. The police station will also be handing out pamphlets demonstrating the simple popping motion.

Fig. 3, The simple popping motion

Mrs. Jennings is considering buying her husband a Nintendo Wii to diminish the likelihood of it happening again. As the company chiefly responsible for obstructing the creative thoughts of an entire generation, Nintendo is reportedly “thrilled” that Mrs. Jennings thought of them first.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Frodo behind 78% of world’s good

Frodology has conclusively surpassed Christianity in its claim to be the supreme moral arbiter of civilizations past and present. Christianity’s argument is based on its notion that without God, people are basically immoral fiends who bathe in the blood of unbaptized children and don’t reuse their plastic bags. Prominent atheists reject this claim, confoundingly purporting that people can be good of their own volition. Wait, didn’t we just read about people bathing in blood?

Fig. 1, Everything bad you've ever thought about an atheist is true

The problem with Christianity, however, is that it has never been able to quantify what proportion of the world’s benevolence is attributable to their God. While certain apologists will tell us that all of the goodness in the world is the direct result of Yahweh being a beneficent deity, this rings a little hollow. It is for one thing woefully unscientific. For instance, the Christian God makes no mention of dolphins, so preoccupied is He with the morality of man. On the contrary, dolphins are one of the few truly altruistic species on the planet. Why only last week they single handedly disabled and sank Paris Hilton’s private yacht, to the vast amusement of all.

Frodologist scientists, however, have conclusively proven that Frodo is behind at least 78% of the world’s good. Though the remaining 22% remains unaccounted for, Frodo’s lead is unassailable. Already, lesser deities are conceding to His greater moral authority and considering selling their minority stakes. Zeus is reportedly regretful that he expended so much energy on vengeance. “People look for different qualities in their overlords these days, but on the plus side, now I can focus on my music without having to worry about my worthless subjects.”

Christians are wondering where their God went wrong. After all, Yahweh was for so long a savvy deity, reinventing himself as the zeitgeist required. Like David Bowie, he jumped from being a jealous, embittered Jehovah in the Old Testament, to being a loving, forgiving daddy in the New. Somewhere in the subsequent 2,000 years, however, God clearly dropped the ball. The Archbishop of Canterbury admits that the writing was on the wall as far back as Jesus. “We should’ve recognized something was amiss when God could only show his face to the world through a totally different person. He probably couldn’t handle being genuinely nice. It was all smoke and mirrors.”

Fig. 2, Parenting comes easy to no one

Tired clichés aside, Christians are at odds as to when precisely God lost His dominance in the moral market. Some argue it was the First Crusade, in 1099. Others the Second Crusade. Still others believe it was the Third. A minority believe that God still had some moral authority in the early years of the 13th Century, and it was the slightly less early years of the same century that saw his undoing with the Fourth Crusade. Crusades Fifth through Ninth are not considered to have killed enough innocents to be seriously turpitudinous.

Lest this start to look like a guided tour of Christianity’s foibles through the annals, readers should remember that Frodology has a score to settle. So please, humor us while we examine a few more:

  • The Spanish Inquisition (1478-1834, approx. 150,000 killed)
  • Salem witch trials (1692-3, nineteen innocent witches hanged)
  • Black Death (1340s, approx. 75 million killed because Christians weren’t praying hard enough)

Not all of Jesus’ flock are as quick to abandon their religion as the Archbishop however. In an interesting example of double standards, at least six Christians are demanding to see evidence of Frodology’s claim before ditching their faith, evidence being the one thing they did not require in order to start believing in the first place. When this contradiction was pointed out to the hypocritical half dozen, four withdrew their request, leaving a pair of Christians still unconvinced of Frodo’s moral superiority.

Luckily, Frodologist authorities have an ace up their sleeves. “Ordinarily considered a logical fallacy, the ‘appeal to popularity’ technique was frequently employed by majority Christians to get others to adopt their beliefs. It’s sort of like peer pressure. Now that Frodology is morally on top, we see no reason why they shouldn’t accept our fallacious reasoning.”

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Frodology wins bidding war for Hell

Share prices in Frodology and its subsidiaries surged today as the morning broke with the news that the Faith was the victor in a tight bidding war to rent out Hell. At a time when the world’s economy is slowing down, and people are turning to religion for lack of a job, Hell has been running low on souls to stoke its fires.

With alternative energy sources beyond Hell’s budget, the government of Hell began to look around for other options. Discovering that its own R&D was at least ten years behind the Soviet Union, and subsequently discovering that the Soviet Union had been non-existent for the past seventeen years, ministers resolved to do something. Having successfully updated their records and history textbooks, they then resolved to do something else, hopefully more useful this time.

It was then that the shadow Minister for Energy suggested outsourcing. With its ovens underutilized, Hell began looking for a religious partner with high forsaking rates amongst its followers. Thus began a fierce bidding war between Frodology and Christianity. Despite the damning of significant subsections of society, such as homosexuals, Democrats, and unbaptized children, the offer of all these souls was not enough for Hell to seal the deal with Christianity.

A minion of Hell later explained to disappointed Christians that “Hell really isn’t a very nice place. Gays, liberals, and unbaptized babies really deserve better.”

Instead it was Frodology that won the contract, breaking a multi-millennial-long affiliation between Hell and Christianity. Asked if the break would not make potential business partners wary of betrayal, Lucifer explained that it is the nature of business, and a necessary part of staying ahead. “We were wary of Christianity’s increasingly stale image, and wanted a fresh, young, energetic partner to help market our brand.” The Devil also noted that frankly, Hell’s services are unique, and the history of mankind suggests that “people will always be coming here.”

Frodologist authorities are reportedly delighted with the deal. With more and more activities being proscribed by the Faith every month, sinners and potential lost souls were really beginning to pile up. “We couldn’t be sure that those Frodo had damned were actually writhing in torment, and not just, you know, rotting in the ground as inanimate corpses.”

Fig. 1, Sinful Frodologists now have more to look forward to after death

The outcome is generally not good news for Christianity, with God now having to find room for His own forsaken. With the End of Days quickly approaching, God admitted that the loss of the contract “couldn’t have come at a worse time.” Sinners are temporarily being sent to Heaven, which is more or less empty, but the influx of the evil means it is quickly becoming an undesirable destination.

Fig. 2, Sinners are ruining it for everyone

Worried Christians are already considering new faiths that won’t make them go there when they die. “Frodologists go to Hell, and Christians go to Heaven, which is quickly becoming Hell. Maybe I don’t need an afterlife after all,” pondered Joey Smith, 16.

The one good bit of news for Catholics is that they no longer have to tithe to the Church, as Hell’s service charge has been assumed by Frodology as part of the deal. Upon hearing this, a bemused Pope Benedict mused “so that’s what it was for!”

Top Fro'Moes declined to comment on the price paid for the contract, but residents of Hell have reported hearing cooing cries of "my precious" of late.

Fig. 3, The Ring may now be in possession of either the Devil, or Mr. Tumnus

Sunday, November 16, 2008

“Blessed are the meek” - a closer look

The Gospel of Matthew would have us believe that the meek are blessed because they will “inherit the Earth”. For nearly two thousand years, most mainstream theologians have been happy to go along with this unassuming promise, as it certainly seems harmless enough. Bible researchers have described it as “kind of nice”, and reminiscent of the inside of a Hallmark card.

Recently, however, this chapter of Matthew’s Gospel has come under scrutiny for the questionable logic it bears witness to. It appears that after years of research, the meek have so far accomplished very little. None of the world’s famous monarchs were meek. If they were, they found themselves pushed out of windows, or easily led into damp dungeons with the promise of tasty candy. If the world’s greatest navigators had been meek, the United States would instead celebrate Thank God Columbus Stayed at Home Day. Well actually they wouldn’t, as the continent would still be home to tribes of meek natives, shyly keeping out of each other’s way. There would be no need for peace treaties, peace pipes, or Pocahonti to placate their conquerors.

Fig. 1, Disney didn't believe this version would sell

Games of historical determinism aside, it appears that the meek still refuse to contribute anything of value to the world. A recruiter at one of London’s top management consultant firms assured our reporters that meekness was not a quality that was required of potential employees. “We prefer, you know, people who do stuff”.

Indeed, it appears that “not doing stuff” is the one thing that sets the meek apart from people of worth. Only last month, the world failed to commemorate the passing of meek author Arthur B. Gillingham, who wrote no books of note. Furthermore, the National Meek Badminton League is the only major sporting association in the United States without its own devoted ESPN channel. It is doubtful that a meek person could have genetically engineered dinosaurs from prehistoric DNA recovered from the fossilized remains of mosquitoes.

The likelihood of meekness succeeding on its own is therefore small. Commentators have thus queried whether an outside player will step in at some point and give the meek a helping hand. “They certainly couldn’t do it on their own,” was the overwhelming opinion of all polled wealthy, successful, diligent, attractive, award-winning City lawyers. Still, the inerrancy of Biblical scripture has some worried. After all, it now seems that all that investment bankers will inherit are worthless stock options and suffocating mortgage payments.

“It’s right there in Matthew”, argued the only meek person who didn’t scurry away from our reporters. “It has to be true,” he reasoned, while swatting away a pair of seagulls. “At least I hope it is, because I gave that hobo the keys to my house.” The conclusion urged by these Biblical scholars is to stop trying to accomplish things, because God will give the earth to lazy freeloaders anyway.

We here at Frodology are however deeply alarmed. Frodologists of all stripes are inspired by the journey of Frodo, in which he risked peril upon peril to destroy the One Ring. Sure, he dragged his feet at times. Yes, he had to be bodily dragged out the door by Gandalf. And it’s very possible he sustained that potentially fatal troll wound to avoid having to go to Mordor. But the fact is, Frodo did it. Frodo accomplished something beyond the mere conjuring so beloved of Jesus.

Let us be inspired by this apt passage of Frodo, from The Two Towers, p 258:

“I’m tired, and I don’t think I can scramble among stones much longer tonight…”

Well that’s not the right quote. How about this one, from The Fellowship of the Ring, p 87:

“I do really wish to destroy it! … Or, well, to have it destroyed. I am not made for perilous quests. I wish I had never seen the Ring! Why did it come to me? Why was I chosen?”

Ah, crap. Goddamn Ballantine Books. Ok, well this one is pretty good:

“… The history of evolution is that life escapes all barriers. Life breaks free. Life expands to new territories. Painfully, perhaps even dangerously. But life finds a way.”

Ok, that one’s actually from Jurassic Park. It's still good though.

Friday, November 14, 2008

How to spot a false idol

The End of Days is likely to be a confusing time, with fire raining down from the sky, streets running with blood because the sewers are backed up with people who have defaulted on their mortgages and just need somewhere to stay, and local disruptions to cell networks as people send their grainy, out of focus camera phone snaps into CNN. So you need to be ready to follow your real God, and learn how to ignore the temptations of the many false idols dotted along the way. You might call this a guide to following Frodo and ignoring faux’dos.

Your God doesn’t… wear glasses

While author JK Rowling may have ingratiated herself into the homes of millions with promises of magic and incredible things happening to children far too young to cope with the emotional baggage they involve, her lukewarm literary talents cannot disguise heresy. There is only one Messiah in the canon of unlikely hero characters from literature or film, and that one is Frodo. Plus, Harry Potter’s hair makes him look like a boy version of Hugh Grant, and no one worships him.

Your God doesn’t… wear sunglasses

Since at least the 1940s, people have worshiped wearers of sunglasses. At first, it was the aviator. In the 50s, the rebel rock ‘n’ roller. In the sixties, people realized they could see better on stage without sunglasses. By the seventies, they had the hollow, sunken eyes of constant cocaine abuse to hide. In the 80s, oddly, it was back to aviators, and the nineties briefly flirted with donning a messiah-like hero in a pair of Ray Bans before handing the embarrassing sequels over to the new decade. The transience of these idols alone should suffice to warn the reader off sunglasses as a source of idolatry.

Fig. 1, A matrix of false idols... also, Bono sucks

Your God doesn’t… carry a lightsaber

When George Lucas opened Episode IV with “a long time ago…” he gave the game away. Clearly, the Star Wars saga is set in the future, not the past. And if that is the case, it couldn’t have happened yet, which makes Luke Skywalker and Yoda curious choices for worship. It would be like praying to Jesus to thank him for the second coming. It hasn’t happened yet. And if you have done that, it was a poor tactical choice. In terms of fulfilling his part of the bargain, Jesus now holds all the cards. He may not even come at all. Probably time to call a lawyer.

Your God wasn’t… born of a virgin

And neither was Jesus.

Your God doesn’t… work for CTU

Unfortunately, Jack Bauer is not a deity. Despite his godlike ability to dispatch terrorists while in the midst of a heart attack, and his herculean imperviousness to all Arabs on Fox TV shows being heedful martyrs, he is not a God. That he hasn’t learned to avoid situations that spectacularly absorb precisely 24 hours of his time is appalling. That he continues to trust colleagues who are either alternately least likely or most likely to be moles is staggeringly negligent. He’s not fit to run a Starbucks, let alone be a god.

Your God doesn’t… govern Alaska

On the scale of persons deserving of worship, politicians should generally rank lower than other walks of life. On the scale of politicians deserving of worship, former politicians are better suited to receive praise since their misdeeds are comfortably long enough ago to be forgotten. On the scale of current politicians, heads of state are least likely to deserve worship due to all the backs they trampled on to get there. On the scale of heads of states worthy of worship, those who were actually elected are more deserving than those who weren’t even running for the position. Of those who weren’t running for the position, those who could still feasibly do the job of head of state are, again, better candidates for divinity. Of those less capable of being President, governors of states home to more than one million people are still, again, better choices. Of those whose states house less than a million people, the governors of Montana, Delaware, North and South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming would all be better choices than Sarah Palin.

Why did I go to such lengths to mock Sarah Palin? I’m just illustrating my ability to write a paragraph, technology still absent in states lesser contiguously abled.

Fig. 2, This government building is not Alaska-accessible

Your God… doesn’t worship himself more than you worship him

Here is a short list of people this excludes:

  • Madonna
  • Mischa Barton
  • Mel Gibson
  • Miley Cyrus
  • Matthew McConaughey
  • Pretty much every actor or actress whose name begins with ‘M’… no really, its’ true. Let’s keep going:
  • Mike Myers
  • Michael Jackson
  • Most of the Screen Actors Guild

Your God… isn’t Keira Knightley’s chin

Impressing followers with enormous idols was a trick of the Bronze Age. You’re not fooling anyone these days, Keira!

Fig. 3, It’s just enormous

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Life begins at conception (and ends when you die)

It may not have escaped our readers’ attention that Frodology is sometimes at odds with some of Christianity’s main tenets. Indeed, some have suggested that by failing to mimic it more completely Frodology would fail should it ever become just a satirical mockery of the real thing. Readers would tire of the inconsistent impersonation and yearn for some more accessible jokes. “Just make it funny, dammit!” they might say. Luckily Frodology is a real faith so we won’t face that problem. As it is we just have to skirt the criticism we receive for irrelevant digressions when we should really be introducing the topic at hand.

So it may come as a pleasant surprise to learn that Frodology is on board with Christianity when it comes to abortion. It really is summed up best by truncating what is an emotionally, morally, and legally complex issue into that tritely misleading simplification “pro-life.” Abortionists, on the other hand, are “pro-choice,” and kill babies on a whim, as the moment takes them. We use the term “babies” of course to refer to fetuses, shirking the use of that more accurate word for one more emotive, ambiguous and politically useful. Also, the motive in killing a baby is irrelevant, because it is the deed, not the thoughts behind it, that constitutes the crime. Despite what the law says, circumstances just don't matter.

To combat the turpitude of abortionists we have launched the “Abortion is for Quitters” campaign. With some selective research and a handful of advantageous findings, we have started the campaign as we believe that most women considering abortion simply need a boost in confidence. “With a ‘you can do it!’ attitude, the campaign aims to get women pumped up about their unwanted pregnancies,” said spokesman Jeff Phillips. “We do this by encouraging them to think of their unborn children as presents, and by assuring them that birth will be like unwrapping a fun toy. Everyone likes toys.” The Amish don’t like toys, but I don’t see how that’s relevant.

Fig. 1, The Amish: rarely relevant to anything

Of course when dialogue and peaceful programs aren’t successful, the campaign can always turn to violence. It is truly a cheering aspect of democracy that the majority can always be convinced of their errors by shouting louder and blowing things up. Critics have argued that avoiding legal process is a form of coercion. But we can change their minds. Oh yes.

This seems like a fortuitous opportunity to introduce the corollary element of our life begins at conception position. This is that life also ends when we kill you. While this might seem like an obvious tautology, the careless reader should be made aware of the implicit threat contained therein. Frodologists are ardent in their beliefs and are ready to kill those who disagree with them, in order to protect the lives of unborn, unnamed, and unloved fetuses.

It’s ironic really. Before the advent of biology and microscopes, everyone thought that conception was a heavenly miracle, ordained by the ravenous desire of wanton patriarchs. A charming image maybe, but we have of course since learned of the role of sex cells and funny little things called zygotes. We were thus able to extend our righteous religious law as science made its own advances. In other words, without science, we never would have even known of abortion to be able to condemn it as a sin. Science and religion can be awkward bedfellows, but not this time!

Fig. 2, I think somebody likes you...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Let's all pray for the economy

Barack Obama’s recent victory in the US presidential elections is arguably all the proof we need that the power of prayer is weak at best. Or it would be if we didn’t think the whole concept of evidence was an atheist sleight of hand, or possibly witchcraft. Accordingly we invite Frodologists to dust off their prayer boots, bow their heads, and pray like holy hell. The recipient of our temporarily flaccid well wishing? The economy.

Fig. 1, It happens with age

It’s no secret that we’re living in troubled times, and as Frodologists, we should be outraged that moor people aren’t asking their respective Almighties for a shot in the fiscal arm. Oh dear, did I say ‘moor’ people? I meant ‘more’ people. How clumsy and misleadingly racist that looks.

Indeed, Christians especially should be more vehemently praying for the economy. God, after all, has to pay child support too. Unfortunately, the courts tend to side with the mother in cases of illegitimate children, even when their mothers spout loony stories about being immaculate virgins. God has since become an outspoken proponent of protected sex, becoming Trojan’s most prolific spokesperson in recent years. In a recent press conference, God deplored the Holy See’s lax attitude to latex. “I can’t understand why the Vatican keeps pushing the abstinence only thing. It’s like they’re not even listening to me!”

Fig. 2, More than a feeling

That the economy needs praying for is not questioned. A major television network has recently toned down the pomposity of one of its most popular game shows, adopting a format more useful to its contestants.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is reportedly thrilled that Frodologists will be praying for the economy. He admitted that while the nation was looking to his steady hand to guide them through the worst of the upcoming recession, his interest rate cuts have been more akin to randomly fumbling with dials and levers than sound economic policy. “People forget that it’s Jews who are good with money, not Scots,” he confessed.

While Frodology’s habit of praying for things has been criticized by those more actively inclined, it is in fact perfectly in line with general religious policy. The passive involvement of prayer allows us to claim credit when something goes right, while loudly lambasting people who actually make tangible contributions when they fail or don’t promote a conservative agenda. The recent success of Proposition 8 in California is thus vindication of our prayers, and nothing to do with the fact that west coast bigotry occasionally outweighs voter apathy.

To guarantee the success of our efforts, we are handing out pamphlets actively encouraging the unemployed to pray rather than find new jobs. Not only does it prevent them cluttering up the streets with their unkempt ugliness, it also offer an ethereal waif of hope. Would the masses really wax hopeful if prayer didn’t work?

So put away your Oxford Encyclopedia of Dashed Hopes and Shattered Dreams, and come pray with us today!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Frodologist teen goes missing on Nission

The parents of a seventeen year-old Frodologist boy were distraught today as the dawn of a new week brought no news of their son’s apparent disappearance. Hah, good pun. Slightly tasteless though. Benjamin Baggins was entering the second month of his six month-long Nission when his parents reported to Faith authorities that they had not heard from him in over two weeks.

Frodologists will be able to discern from Benjamin’s chosen hobbit surname that he is a devoted member of the Faith. As such, he enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to embark on his Nission when it was handed down to him on his seventeenth birthday. His whole family was brimming with anticipation as he pulled the details from the envelope back in April. “Our two elder sons were sent to Easter Island and Western Sahara. We were hoping Ben would get sent somewhere as important,” said Ben’s mother.

Trouble in Paradise

As it turns out, Ben was to spread Frodo’s Word among the coca growers of Columbia. “We were so excited,” his mother recalled. “Colombia is on the mainland, and it has a population too. Our other sons were so jealous.” But now it seems like proselytizing in a dangerous drug-peddling backwater isn’t the paradise they all thought.

Benjamin has been out of contact for more than two weeks now. Entering the second month, he was due to begin evangelizing on the use of the semi-colon. Faith authorities aren’t sure what it is about the semi-colon that offended local inhabitants. Benjamin’s mother surmised that it might the ambiguity of the punctuation mark. “It’s sort of goofy looking, stuck between a colon and a period as it is.” But Frodo’s Minions on Earth are keen to raise the profile of the semi-colon in what is increasingly being known as the Era of the Hyphen.

Your Nission, should you accept it...

Some readers may be unaware of the importance of the Nission in the life of a Frodologist. After ‘Mission’ was trademarked by the Church of Latter Day Intellectual Property Thieves Saints, Frodology turned to the next best thing. Since however ‘Islam’ translates to ‘Next Best Thing’ in English, authorities decided to avoid ambiguity and coin ‘Nission’ as the name for the Frodologist coming of age evangelical adventure.

From the early days of the Nission, however, it was apparent that the boys’ experiences would be a far cry from Indiana Jones, as more and more of the teens’ Nissions served as scripts for M. Night Shayamalan films. Several boys have gone Nissing, such that critics in the liberal press are now calling the rite Nission Impossible.

Now Frodologist authorities are having to rethink their plans for correct punctuation. Benjamin’s disappearance suggests that Colombian farmers have rejected Frodo’s message and are not ready to accept the sanctity of the semi-colon. In accordance with suggested best practice, Mr. and Mrs. Baggins have refrained from alerting the police, believing that prayer stands a much better chance of finding Benjamin. Should he not turn up, prayer will also be a useful tool for parceling up their memories so that they can be repressed and painfully remembered two decades later.

Meanwhile Mrs. Baggins remains distraught, but her voice carries an optimistic timbre. “We factored in the risk of our kids going nissing when we decided to get pregnant,” she reasoned. “Why do you think we have so many kids?”

“Probably because you never had sex education,” opined the interviewing reporter.

“That was a rhetorical question,” answered Mrs. Baggins.

“I know, I chose to ignore it and give you my opinion. Didn’t you read the word ‘opined’?”

“How could I read it? The article hasn’t even been published yet. And I didn’t realize this was an interview.”

“Oh it’s not. The author’s just practicing writing realistic dialogue. He probably should have stopped several lines ago though.”

“Yeah no kidding, it’s just getting sad at this point.”

“Yet here we are…”

“Do you want to come in for a cup of tea?”

“Sure, that’d be nice. Not like this is going anywhere.”

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Pray for the Republicans

On this eve of the presidential elections in the United States, the Council of Fro’Moes invites and encourages Frodologists worldwide to pray for a Republican victory. We are confident that Frodo will be listening to your prayers, despite the fact there is no particular reason why He should give a crap about the US since He hails from Middle Earth. Nor is it an abuse of the power of prayer to ask for every little thing you want when poverty and other ugly words are rife throughout the world.

It is imperative that Mr. McCain is elected to the highest office, since otherwise we will all be ruled by a Muslim, or a terrorist, or a homosexual. Or a black guy. I can’t be sure which, there’s an awful lot being said in the news. In any case, life under the Democrats would be no life at all. I can’t remember the reasons why, but I remember they were good ones.

We want a President with experience, damn it. We want the guy who’s a war hero, and who was locked up in a bamboo cage for the majority of that war, and consequently knows how to sit tight and be patient. We are prepared to meekly accept the repressed emotional baggage and frail heart condition that come with said bamboo cage.

Fig. 1, John McCain could have escaped from the open top bamboo cage. If he was as dishonest as Barack Obama.

We want change. Not too much, but some, which is why we don’t want the guy who will actually change things. Let us preserve the status quo, but still vote for the guys who calls themselves mavericks so that we can feel good about ourselves, like the rush you get from a Six Flags rollercoaster. Not the ones that go upside down, but the one that has no line because everyone else is waiting to get on the ones that do go upside down. Yeah, we want some of that.

Why are we hoping to elect a couple of Christians? Because Christianity serves as a good base from which Frodology can make its bid for power. Just as Christianity was a step up from Judaism, and Islam was a step up from camel husbandry, or whatever it is people do in the desert, Frodology is the natural progression from them.

How can we be so certain of success? Surveys reveal that the value people get from religion is not spiritual enlightenment, comfort, or even the limitless supply of choir boys, but rather the need to obey a stern overlord. Once citizens begin to identify Frodo as a source of ultimate authority, the transition should be easy.

And now, a short poem.

Once upon a night so clear
Christians crouched and squirmed in fear
Of the libs who gnashed and fought
To make our values all for naught

Gays and Jews and democrats
Buzzing like a cloud of gnats
Will tear this country limb from limb
And prostitute us on a whim

Getting drunk on Frodo’s tears
And fornicating with the queers
Tonight we vote to stem the tide
And strip the homos of their pride

We seem to have a gay complex
And a general fear of sex
You may think the GOP repressed
But in fact we have been blessed

John McCain is the solution
No more teaching evolution
Else our children we’ll be failing
Bow down now and worship Palin

Fig. 2, A vision of life under the Democrats

Sunday, November 2, 2008

If a court of law was a court of Frodo…

Judge: How does the defendant respond to the allegations of rape?

Defendant: Your Honor, the so-called victim hasn’t even presented any evidence. She just claimed I raped her and everyone seemed to accept it.

Judge: The victim believes you raped her, as will the jury, unless you can disprove the rape.

Defendant: I submit that the burden of proof should not be reversed like that.

Judge: I submit blah blah blah. According to the Frodo’s Doctrine of Faith, any allegation stands until it can be disproved. So, what have you got to say for yourself?

Defendant: Well Judge, for one thing, I haven’t even got a penis.

Judge: How’s that?

Defendant: Well I’m an M&M.

Judge: You don’t say.

Defendant: Don’t you recognize me from the commercials? Melt in your mouth not in your hand? Me and Round are just corporate mascots. We can’t rape people!

Judge: The guilt of your co-defendant is not currently being questioned. Do you have any further submissions?

Defendant: Well I’m not even real – I’m a completely fictional computer generated model!

Judge: Unfortunately we all believe you exist, and the claimant believes you raped her. I find none of your evidence compelling. This court finds the defendant guilty.

Fig. 1, Smooth chocolate justice with a hard candy shell

Judge: Now for sentencing. For the crime of rape, the defendant must say ten Hail Frodos, apologize to the victim, and give us a whole bunch of money. This will ensure that your soul has been saved by the time you’re executed.

Defendant: Wait, what?! Executed?! Hold on, why am I even being tried by this court? I should be in a real court of law. I don’t even believe in Frodo!

Judge: Wait a minute. You don’t believe in Frodo? Well that’s much worse! The rape was forgivable, but unbelief is a crime of the worst order. Immediate execution with no chance of redemption!

Defendant: So let me get this straight. You want to kill me with a guilty soul so that I’ll be sent to be judged by a deity I don’t even believe in, and be condemned to eternal damnation for the crime of not believing in him, even though you’re not going to give me the chance to repent and allow me to believe in him?

Judge: Precisely. I sentence you to immediate death by squishing.

Defendant: No!!!

Fig. 2, Sic semper emandemis

If a court of Frodo was a Sharia court…

Judge: How does the defendant respond to the allegations of rape?

Defendant: It wasn’t me.

Judge: Well that’s probably true. You're free to go.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Bible: a book review

Literary critics make a living out of cutting arrogant writers down to size. It seems only fitting that a tome whose author had the audacity to call it ‘the Book’ should eventually come under the microscope. How it escaped for two millennia without eliciting much in the way of derision is nigh on inconceivable. Perhaps minority religions go out of their way to avoid offending Christians in the hope that they will be spared the universal reach of God’s gnarled pointy finger. Does Frodology have such compunctions? No, it does not.

Lacking in character

Contrary to the misleading subheading, one of the biggest problems with the Bible is its overabundance of characters. In contrast to The Lord of the Rings, which has a tightly knit cast of a dozen or so main protagonists, the Bible is filled to the gunnels with Semites, Messiahs and whores. It has more characters than War & Peace, which has so many names to keep track of, I’ve never even read it.

And seven tribes of Israel is far too many. A quick scan of the literary canon reveals that great stories thrive on dialectics. Montagues v Capulets, Greeks v Persians, Confederacy v Union, Americans v Indians, Columbus v the convention of naming civilizations according to where they actually come from. Things aren’t much clearer in the New Testament either, with Romans, Jews, Gentiles, and Jedis all vying for control of the galaxy.

Fig. 1, Episode VII: Return of the Jesus

Suspending disbelief and sheer boredom at the same time

Since the fantasy genre only came into being centuries after the Bible was written, much of it reeks of implausibility. One character reaches the ripe old age of 950, which stretches the imagination a little. Unless it was set on Mercury, which has quite short years. Perhaps it was set on Mercury.

It wasn’t set on Mercury. And worse still is the all too frequent literal reliance on deus ex machina to get the story going again. When the hero of the New Testament meets his end too soon, the author makes the novice decision to resurrect him, putting the book on par with day time soap operas. And when Moses is leading his people out of Egypt, the author was stymied by his own poor geography, cornering the Jews against the Red Sea. “What now?” the author must have thought. “I can’t just have Moses part the Red Sea. Oh wait, no, I can just have him part the Red Sea!” Faced with such cheap tricks, I would have been happier with an aborted exodus.

Fig. 2, The Red Sea defies gravity while God defies talent

The New Testament also employs a narrative device whereby it retells the same story from four different perspectives, subtly changing details at times and outright contradicting itself at others. Its cleverness has perhaps been diminished by the recent box office mediocrity of the movie Vantage Point, which employed a similar device ad nauseam. Readers will therefore probably tire of the trick, as it has been executed more ably by authors such as, off the top of my head, J.R.R. Tolkien. The Dead Sea Scrolls suggest that the author already disposed of the worst of the offenders, but the tedium is such that editors of subsequent revisions would be advised to cut these ‘Gospels’ down to just two, or perhaps even one. Zero is also a good number.

Plotting and scheming

The plot itself is predictable, but this is as much to do with the protagonist’s tribulations being revealed as ‘prophecies’ much earlier in the book as it is to do with it just being a crappy story. One of the critical elements of the story feels so contrived one suspects the author of reverse engineering it. In the protagonist’s eyes, copulation is such a heinous sin that he later has to become a martyr in order to exculpate everyone for their own existence, begging the obvious question as to when and why progeny inherit the guilt of their own parents for sins which they weren’t alive to prevent. It would have been far more realistic for all concerned to celebrate rather than mourn his death. After all, nobody asked him to die for them. And this brings me to another point: whence the immorality of sex? The protagonist’s demonic obsession with the dirty deed is such that one smells a severe case of sexual repression. The character was clearly a closet homosexual. Why didn’t the author make more of this avenue?

Fig. 3, 32/M, loves cooking, Sex & the City, and spin class

All's well that shouldn't have been written in the first place

All in all, this novel is poorly written and stretches the imagination too far at times. It also comes across as too preachy. By contrast, Frodo’s message can be so subtle that many ignorami have been unaware until recently that Frodo is a prophet and a God, and worthy of worship as our Messiah. While the movie adaptation may be more accessible to modern audiences, its overt anti-Semitism is still a little off color. The crash of the Hindenburg is more surprising than Mel Gibson’s dislike of Jews. By way of advice to the Bible’s author as regards a sequel, I will say only this. Don’t presume you’re above editing, respect rather than resent your audience, and for Frodosake, get your head out of the clouds!