Thursday, June 14, 2007

Barking Up the Wrong Tree

Almost 18 months ago, I vented here.

Yes, O frequent readers, you are correct: I do that all the time. But I’m referring to a specific post I did way back in those crazy days of January 2006. I know, we were all so young then….

It will only take two minutes to check it out and return to this post. Really. It will pop up in a new window and then you can close it and come back here.

Go there. Now.

Welcome back.

As you know now, I expressed concern about those who see face of Jesus or the Virgin Mary in assorted patterns of paint, tree bark, or nacho warming trays. And like most of us who blog, I felt that my words surely would have a tremendous impact on society, that my brilliant exposition on this topic—viewed by at least 23 of the world’s opinion leaders—would avert any recurrences of such idiocy.

I was wrong.

Lo and behold, some folks in suburban Chicago are catching sight of their late mayor’s visage in the bark of a sycamore tree. If you want to see his actual face and supposed likeness, check out the story, via AP, here.

Let’s play a quick game of Q &A with D.A.:

Does this bark pattern look like the deceased mayor?


Is it even close?


Are the people who see his face coming out of the tree fully in control of their mental faculties?


I think that covers the basics.

Yet it gets worse. One local woman—you guessed it—sees Jesus in the sycamore bark. In her words, anyone who sees the former mayor’s countenance has succumbed to the “power of suggestion.” True story.

There must be a greater power at work here than the power of suggestion. I call it the power of fantasy.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I enjoy a good science fiction or fantasy story. Where I differ from some folks is that I keep a clear line between such fiction and reality. It’s hard sometimes when I can’t explain some of the things The Phoenix writes about, but I manage.

You see, I’m a sensible person. I’ve been bit by reason, and I want to keep it that way.

In this case, the bark is certainly worse than the bite.


At June 14, 2007 8:52 AM, Blogger Mike replied to my musings ...

I'm sorry, but anyone that see's Jesus on tree bark, on a piece of toast, in a cloud formation, or ANYWHERE but in a church hanging on a cross, has mental issues. If He wanted rto make his presence known, I doubt it would be as a wet spot on a stained sheet!

At June 14, 2007 11:09 AM, Blogger goldennib replied to my musings ...

David, I often see the face of Jesus in the picture in your sites heading. Really, I do.

At June 14, 2007 11:19 AM, Blogger The Phoenix replied to my musings ...

The brain is constantly looking for those patterns all around.

I remember that post. It's interesting to me how many people actually believe God plays with us like little chess pieces. If someone survives a tornado, they say it was becauce of "God's Grace."

OK, what about that little innocent child that was shot in the head in Rawanda?

But then again, that same bible-thumper is likely to say the child wasn't a Christian.

At June 14, 2007 11:45 AM, Blogger Linda replied to my musings ...

While I do think it is possible for people to see God's image on things, I don't think it happens as often as we hear about it. I think sometimes people want to see something so badly that fiction can become a reality in their eyes.
That being said, I do not think the image on the bark resembles anything!!!

Phoenix, it is a shame that some religious people think that God's grace is only available to those of their own religion. It is this sort of thinking that causes issues between different religious groups.

David, I think that God has a hand in all things, good or bad. While it can be hard to see God in the bad, I like to think that there is a reason why something bad has happened. Maybe I am to learn from it.

I don't normally talk religion because it can cause so much heated debate and I like to hang back and watch. I am not an overly religious person, but am a practicing Catholic. However, I have a tendency to think of God as more universal. My neighbors up the street are Buddhists and are wonderful people. How could any God that I believe in, say that they are wrong because they don't practice my religion.

Sorry, I got comepletely off subject.

At June 14, 2007 2:17 PM, Blogger Layla (aka Barbara) replied to my musings ...

ok, my boss caught me in hysterics over this post so if I get fired I'm blaming it on you, the former Mayor of Chicago and Jesus!

At June 15, 2007 12:50 AM, Blogger Gyrobo replied to my musings ...

Maybe the tree is trying to tell people that Donald Stephens is buried under it, and that his coffin was empty!

At June 15, 2007 7:29 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Mike: Well said.

GN: Now that's a scary thought. Could this blog be a vehicle for divine intervention in human affairs?!?

The Phoenix: Peple have always tried to explain the unknown with supernatural "logic." As our scientific abilities expand and we understand more and more about why things are the way they are, things once reserved for religious explanation are now "known." Tree bark, apparently, still falls outside that category.

Linda: Tolerance is a noble virtue. "My way is the only way" is a very dangerous idea.

Layla: If your boss doesn't appreciate laughter in the office, he is a bad, bad person.

Gyrobo: Is it wrong that I have no idea who Donald Stephens is?

-- david

At June 15, 2007 10:43 AM, Blogger ~d replied to my musings ...

Does anyone else think the dead mayor resembles Lennie Briscoe?

At June 15, 2007 12:19 PM, Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen replied to my musings ...

Eh, those folks must've been eating those "special" brownies, right? ;)

At June 15, 2007 1:05 PM, Blogger Tai replied to my musings ...

Hey, does that bark look like sycamore to anyone else? No? Just a dead mayor?
Must just be me then.

At June 15, 2007 2:03 PM, Blogger cube replied to my musings ...

Human brains actively seek out patterns, especially those that belong to humans on Prozac.

At June 15, 2007 3:51 PM, Blogger Grafs replied to my musings ...

I once saw what looked like a rat hair in my frozen mac 'n' cheese...

At June 15, 2007 4:19 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

~D: Perhaps Lennie can play the late Rosemont, Illinois mayor when this story hits TV!

PQ: That would explain it. So would alien intervention, but I'll leave that to The Phoenix.

Tai: Sycamore? Don't be crazy ... that's way too easy. It must be something else!

Cube: Brownies, Prozac ... there seems to be no shortage of ingestible explanations.

Grafs: Did the rat hair look like Jesus?

-- david

At June 15, 2007 4:41 PM, Blogger BeckEye replied to my musings ...

I can pick out images in patterns all the time. They're always creepy faces...or people having sex. Not sure what that means.

At June 16, 2007 9:39 AM, Blogger Godwhacker replied to my musings ...

Beautiful David, spicy and acerbic with a good dose of common sense. But Check out this video on my blog. Peering into the quantum is so... metaphysical.

At June 17, 2007 7:31 AM, Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. replied to my musings ...

cleverly written...I think it's possible to see the vestige of Jesus or Mary in a quiet place to yourself in an intense moment, but overall, I think most people laying claim in the public are bullshit artists...I certainly wouldn't want to share something that'd get me kicked into the looney bin, and I think most people who would have such "visitations" woule keep it to themselves as well

At June 17, 2007 10:55 AM, Blogger Janet replied to my musings ...

I believe people see what they want to see, whether it be in the clouds, their alphabet soup or in the face of the "fearless" leader they elected.:)

At June 17, 2007 11:15 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Beckeye: Do you ever see creepy faces having sex??

GW: I will check that out, thanks for the tip. Quantum is such a great word; it would be a good pet's name.

Ray: It's hard to disagree with you there. (About the BS artists, not about shipping you to the looney bin.)

Janet: I see dead people.

-- david

At June 18, 2007 8:08 AM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

Donald Stephens and Jesus... I get their visages confused with one another ALL THE TIME!

Don't you? ;-)

At June 18, 2007 9:30 AM, Anonymous LisaBinDaCity replied to my musings ...

And the punning zone is alive and well - boo, hiss!

Very funny post.

At June 18, 2007 4:19 PM, Blogger BV replied to my musings ...

It's Satan. There really is no other explanation.

At June 18, 2007 8:56 PM, Blogger Lee Ann replied to my musings ...

It is good to be bitten by reason every so often! ;)
Have a great week!

At June 19, 2007 1:52 PM, Blogger Jeff replied to my musings ...

Very funny post, well put. I love the line "viewed by at least 23 of the world's opinion leaders."

At June 19, 2007 7:30 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Perplexio: Thanks for the support. I'm confused.

Lisa: To write is human; to pun is divine.

BV: Satan and I go way back, and he says he's not guilty. But he's kind of known for deception ...

Lee Ann: I'm a fan of bites, so I appreciate your agreement.

Jeff: I give a shout out to my readers whenever I can!

-- david


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