Snapshot Thoughts: Archives

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November 5, 2008

Human Jigsaw Puzzle genre: Front and Center & Snapshot Thoughts

Building facade in Paris - 2004
How Many Pieces Are In The Human Jigsaw Puzzle?

Daniel DiRito | November 5, 2008 | 8:12 AM | link | Comments (0)
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September 3, 2008

Clutter genre: Front and Center & Snapshot Thoughts

Bus in London - 2004
Can The Message Be Read Through The Clutter?

Daniel DiRito | September 3, 2008 | 5:14 PM | link | Comments (0)
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May 28, 2008

Give Way genre: Front and Center & Snapshot Thoughts

Traffic sign in London - 2004
Shouldn't You Tell Me Where You Want To Go Before I Give You The Way?

Daniel DiRito | May 28, 2008 | 9:26 AM | link | Comments (1)
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May 27, 2008

Science vs. Faith - Going With The Flow genre: Hip-Gnosis & Snapshot Thoughts

In many ways, people of faith begin with a conclusion they derive from their interpretation of the Bible and then their subsequent observations are tailored to support their established beliefs. Science, on the other hand, attempts to look at the evidence as it is revealed in order to determine if it can be utilized to support a plausible hypothesis.

All too often, people of faith reject evidence that contradicts their beliefs while scientists hope the evidence will refine the prevailing theory in order to more closely approximate a fact based finding. The former seeks to support a singular truth while the latter accepts the probability of a progression towards more truth.

One can offer lengthy explanations to describe the differences in the practice of science and faith...or one can rely upon a very basic flow chart. Since I'm having a tough time getting wound up today, I decided to keep it simple. This is one of those times when I'm happy to allow a visual to effectively communicate an important distinction.


Tagged as: Creationism, Evolution, Faith, God, Religion, Science, Scientific Method

Daniel DiRito | May 27, 2008 | 12:28 PM | link | Comments (1)
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May 3, 2008

Why Yes, God Put That Banana In My Pocket genre: Hip-Gnosis & Snapshot Thoughts & Video-Philes

We've all heard about the images of Jesus, Mary, or some other godly persons face being found in the strangest of places...whether it be on a pancake, a potato chip, a section of tree bark, or the reflection on a window. Each new finding is touted as evidence that God exists and the faithful flock to witness each new miraculous image...some seeking cures for illness...others simply looking to be in the presence of a divine apparition.

Well according to the following God Tube video, the same can be achieved at the dinner table in every home. Yes, if you simply take a closer look at the vegetables you eat, you will find all the evidence you need that we exist as the result of the great works of an intelligent creator...and we are not the outcome of a lengthy evolutionary process.

I like to call all of this the science of random recognitions and coincidental comparisons. Essentially, if one were to look at every rock or every potato chip, there would be numerous examples of recognizable images. It's simply inevitable...just as it's likely that someone somewhere in the world looks remarkably similar to each of us.

In my sarcastic moments, I like to think these replications are evidence that God is prone to laziness. Yes, it seems that God is often a temperamental artist. Apparently he has days when creating is just too damn boring or he's simply out of ideas and he pulls out some of the older molds and sprinkles the world with batches of duplicates he hopes no one will recognize as identical 'carbon copies'.

Once I watched the video, it all started to make sense. No wonder so many people don't like vegetables. I imagine that somewhere in the outer reaches of our psyches, we have this strange suspicion that eating an avocado is just too closely connected to cannibalism. Fruit, on the other hand is a different story. I now realize why men can't resist grapefruit and women love bananas.

Tagged as: Bible, Creationism, Darwin, Evolution, Faith, God, God Tube, Humor, Intelligent Design, Miracles, Religion, Science

Daniel DiRito | May 3, 2008 | 9:38 AM | link | Comments (1)
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April 28, 2008

You & You genre: Front and Center & Snapshot Thoughts

Store window in Amsterdam - 2004
If You Know Yourself, Are You Two People?

Daniel DiRito | April 28, 2008 | 10:20 AM | link | Comments (0)
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March 23, 2008

A Contemplation On Easter Sunday: From Baptism To Waterboarding genre: Hip-Gnosis & Snapshot Thoughts & Tongue-In-Cheek

Since I don't like holidays, it seemed appropriate to use Easter Sunday as an opportunity to offer a contrarian's well as a sarcastic graphic. I often write about the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church and the Bush administration's efforts to skirt the issues of torture and civil liberties, so linking the two seemed to be a marriage made in heaven...between a man and a woman of course.

Two items in the news provided added inspiration. The first was the Pope's baptism of Muslim journalist, Magdi Allam. I don't begrudge Allam's conversion...but I don't see the wisdom of making it a focal point of the Pope's Easter Vigil. In these times of tension between people of faith, this high profile baptism seems to be the equivalent of throwing salt on a wound...or perhaps vinegar would be more appropriate given the imagery of Easter.

From The Times Online:

Pope Benedict XVI has risked a renewed rift with the Muslim world by baptising a converted Muslim born journalist who describes Islam as intrinsically violent and characterised by "hate and intolerance" rather than "love and respect for others".

In a surprise move at the Easter vigil at St Peter's on Saturday night, the Pope baptised Magdi Allam, 55, an outspoken Egyptian-born critic of Islamic extremism and supporter of Israel, who has been under police protection for five years following death threats against him over his criticism of suicide bombings.

Mr Allam's conversion was kept secret until less than an hour before the service. He took the middle name "Christian" for his baptism. The Vatican said: "For the Catholic Church, each person who asks to receive baptism after a deep personal search, a fully free choice and adequate preparation, has a right to receive it."

In a combative article for Corriere della Sera, the Italian paper of which he is a deputy editor, Mr Allam - who has lived in Italy most of his adult life and has a Catholic wife - said his soul had been "liberated from the obscurantism of an ideology which legitimises lies and dissimulation, violent death, which induces both murder and suicide, and blind submission to tyranny".

Instead he had "seen the light" and joined "the authentic religion of Truth, Life and Liberty". He added: "Beyond the phenomenon of extremists and Islamist terrorism at the global level, the root of evil is inherent in a physiologically violent and historically conflictual Islam."

It's difficult to separate the Pope from the confrontational words written by Allam and I suspect most Muslims will view this very public baptism as an affront to their faith. I'm always amazed at the need people of faith have to assert that only those of their denomination have a kinship with the true God. History is filled with wars designed to hammer home that point. Nothing like an old fashioned crusade...or a jihad...or an intifada to demonstrate one's kinship with God. I don't know the Pope's true motivations in this matter, but it's hard to imagine this as an act of conciliation.

The second item involves the President's Easter message. Take a look at the following excerpts.

From Fox News:

America is blessed with the world's greatest military, made up of men and women who fulfill their responsibilities with dignity, humility and honor. Their dedication is an inspiration to our country and a cause for gratitude this Easter season.

On Easter, we remember especially those who have given their lives for the cause of freedom. These brave individuals have lived out the words of the Gospel: "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." And our nation's fallen heroes live on in the memory of the nation they helped defend.

Look, I have no objection to honoring the sacrifice of our soldiers on Easter...or any other day for that matter. However, why must that acknowledgment be couched in terms that suggest their efforts have the authority of the Gospel...and therefore God? In my opinion, it simply sends a message to Islam that they can utilize as evidence that the West seeks to destroy Islam and install Christianity as the prevailing faith. If Iraq were part and parcel of the war on terror, why would we impart language that can be used to incite more terrorism?

No, the President's words don't directly state what I've discerned...but he clearly infers that the actions we have undertaken in Iraq have the blessing of God. Such a statement leaps over the numerous facts that suggest we may not be able to assert that our actions in Iraq were simply initiated to defend this country. Further, once we realized Saddam Hussein didn't have WMD's and wasn't involved with 9/11, I don't see the means to conclusively characterize our invasion of Iraq as an act of defense.

The fact that the President found it necessary to shift his rationale for the war on several occasions suggests he understands this criticism. If so, why was it necessary to refer to the efforts of our soldiers in the religious context he chose? Toss in the events at Abu Ghraib, the ongoing operations at Guantanamo Bay, the revelations we did use torture on "enemy combatants", and the refusal to clearly denounce and define such actions as torture and the notion that our President and his supporters view this as a holy war isn't all that much of a stretch.

Hence, after reading and ruminating on the well as recollecting upon my Catholic conflation of religion, sin, Easter, and baptism with waterboarding and war began to emerge. The ultimate irony evidenced on this Easter Sunday centers on this subtle vitiation of the actual meaning of Easter.

As I understand it, Easter centers upon the belief that this day culminates God's efforts to send his son Jesus to live amongst us as a teacher and to endure death for our sins...only to rise again as evidence of the promise of eternal life for those who follow in his footsteps. I think the focus was upon a way of life; not upon religious institutions.

Frankly, it seems to me that on this Easter Sunday we are closer to the crucifixion of our fellow man than we are to the redemption that was promised in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Perhaps that's the cross we bear. Let's just hope we have the good sense to resist nailing each other to it. Happy Easter?!


Tagged as: Baptism, Catholic Church, Crucifixion, Easter, God, Humor, Jesus, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion, Resurrection, Sin, Torture, Waterboarding

Daniel DiRito | March 23, 2008 | 1:06 PM | link | Comments (3)
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March 21, 2008

Does Every March End In April? genre: Front and Center & Snapshot Thoughts

Labor March In Barcelona - 2004
Does Every March End In April?

Daniel DiRito | March 21, 2008 | 8:10 PM | link | Comments (0)
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February 28, 2008

Push & Pull genre: Front and Center & Snapshot Thoughts

Store signage in Rome - 2004
Sometimes Pushing & Pulling Wears You Out But Gets You Nowhere

Daniel DiRito | February 28, 2008 | 8:08 PM | link | Comments (0)
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February 4, 2008

Exact Change genre: Front and Center & Snapshot Thoughts

Storesignage in Barcelona - 2004

If Change Is So Exact, Why Is It So Difficult To Make?

| February 4, 2008 | 11:19 AM | link | Comments (0)
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January 10, 2008

Lift Them Up genre: Front and Center & Snapshot Thoughts

London sculpture - 2004
Can You Lift Someone Up If You Just Put Them Down?

Daniel DiRito | January 10, 2008 | 7:26 PM | link | Comments (0)
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January 3, 2008

Presidential Politics: Picture Prognostications genre: Polispeak & Snapshot Thoughts & Tongue-In-Cheek

Given my own level of ambivalence at this particular juncture in the Presidential campaign (aside from supporting the eventual Democratic nominee), I decided to offer my own commentary on the Iowa primary in pictures.

Feel free to offer your own observations.

The Prince Of Prayer Nails One

Mike Huckabee Nails One

The Diva Comes Out On Top

Barack Obama Diva Power

Hair Today - Gone Tomorrow

John Edwards & Mitt Romney: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Not The Last Leg For Hillary

Not Enough Support For Hillary

Iowa Dishes Rudy, Rudy...Far Too Fruity

Rudy Giuliani: Far Too Fruity

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Gone With The Wind, Hair, Hillary Clinton, IHOP, Iowa Primary, John Edwards, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Oprah Winfrey, Piano Legs, Prince, Rudy Giuliani, Super Bowl

Daniel DiRito | January 3, 2008 | 5:01 PM | link | Comments (0)
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December 20, 2007

Global Chillage genre: Front and Center & Snapshot Thoughts

Window Signage - Amsterdam, 2004
If We Refrigerate The World, Will It Last Longer?

Daniel DiRito | December 20, 2007 | 10:09 AM | link | Comments (0)
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December 1, 2007

Don't Be A Dick...Call Me Muhammadonna genre: Hip-Gnosis & Snapshot Thoughts & Tongue-In-Cheek

The case of British educator, Gillian Gibbons...the teddy bear teacher...has drawn attention to the extremity of Sharia Law...and well it should. While I lack first hand knowledge of the issues surrounding the case, it appears that Gibbons is guilty of little more than being committed to teaching her students.

Apparently, her students were asked to name a teddy bear as part of an assignment...and they chose the name "Muhammad". Attaching this name to an object is forbidden under Sharia Law as a form of idolatry...and an insult to the prophet Muhammad and the Islamic faith.

Gibbons actions subjected her to the possibility of forty lashes and six months in jail. In what some are calling an attempt at compromise, she was convicted of the offense and sentenced to fifteen days in prison and deportation. Since her conviction, a vocal segment of the Sudanese population has taken to the streets calling for Gibbons to be executed.

From The New York Times:

Hundreds of demonstrators in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, poured into the streets on Friday demanding the execution of a British teacher who was convicted of insulting Islam because her class of 7-year-olds named a teddy bear Muhammad.

Despite the display of outrage, witnesses said that many of the protesters were government employees ordered to demonstrate, and that aside from a large gathering outside the presidential palace, most of Khartoum was quiet. Imams across the city brought up the case in sermons after Friday Prayer, but few of them urged violence.

It seems that Ms. Gibbons and the teddy bear became enmeshed in the larger struggle between the Sudanese government, which routinely accuses its Western critics of being anti-Islamic, and European and American officials pressing for an end to the crisis in Darfur.

In early November, Sudanese officials said that peacekeepers from Scandinavia could not serve in Darfur, the troubled region of western Sudan, because of a dispute two years ago, when several Scandinavian newspapers published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

United Nations officials have said that the Sudanese government was simply looking for ways to block or delay the deployment of an expanded peacekeeping force. This week, United Nations officials said that unless the Sudanese government started cooperating, the expanded mission might not be possible.


Now I have no objection to people practicing the faith of their choice...and while I'm troubled by the fact that many people of faith do not practice reciprocity in that regard, this event points to the extreme methods by which some faiths seek to indoctrinate and control the lives of their followers. By erecting strict prohibitions, they establish what I would view to be a modern day, self-enforced, thought which requires full conformity and exacts severe punishment upon those who deviate from the doctrine in the slightest.

Further, given the virtual genocide taking place in Darfur, one must wonder if religion is once again being utilized to further the prejudices of those who cloak themselves in their faith in order to obtain power and wealth. Sadly, history seems to reinforce the conclusion that nothing serves such purposes better than the instillation of an extreme belief system which can be manipulated to pit one set of values against all others in what is effectively characterized as a battle of good versus evil. This fomentation of conflict isn't limited to religious beliefs, though it could be argued that the practice is predicated upon a predictable formula that emulates religious fervor.

In the end, whatever the reasons, those who invoke this type of behavior, are all guilty of manipulation. Knowing as much, it is essential for others to speak out and defy that which is portrayed as convention. Doing so can be dangerous...but it is also necessary if one seeks to break the often deadly cycle and shed some much needed light upon the calculations and motivations of the perpetrators in order to unseat them from their hold on power.

Despite the furor created by the Muhammad cartoons, I'm of the belief that humor is an effective place to begin combating the extreme mind sets which so often accompany these fanatical faith based fabrications. Deification is a slippery slope...and one which ought to be challenged in the same manner one might confront a scientific hypothesis. Most importantly, those on opposite sides of the argument must be willing to accept and allow the other to reasonably and thoughtfully explore the subject at hand. Nothing less than freedom is at stake.

As I thought about this recent event in Sudan, I couldn't help but think of Madonna and the controversy surrounding so many of her songs, her music videos, and her concerts. The following graphic, provocative though it may be, is offered with that in mind.

Call Me Muhammadonna

Tagged as: Blasphemy, Darfur, Faith, Gillian Gibbons, Idolatry, Madonna, Muhammad, Religion, Religious Intolerance, Sharia Law, Sudan, Teddy Bear

Daniel DiRito | December 1, 2007 | 10:12 AM | link | Comments (0)
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November 21, 2007

Elite genre: Front and Center & Snapshot Thoughts

Store signage - London, England, 2004
If I Know You Are An Elitist, What Am I?

Daniel DiRito | November 21, 2007 | 9:05 PM | link | Comments (0)
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