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Religions tend to set rules and many a guru would happily pull you toward them. Today we’re looking at heavenly practitioners while also casting our jaundiced eye on how businesses adjust to the religious world. After that, we offer some nourishment for the soul from shows that didn’t exactly prove eternal ... rounded out with the best ways to have sex and avoid meeting your maker early while doing it. In short, this newsletter is all part of a divine plan.
After millions were left without power for days, heat returned to many Texas homes — but more than 13 million residents still must boil water coming from powerless purification systems. Many Texans are also fuming over Sen. Ted Cruz escaping his unheated home for a family vacation in 80-degree Mexico. #CancunCruz returned Thursday before admitting he’d erred, saying he’d just wanted “to be a good dad.” (Sources: WaPo, NPR)
2. Vaccines for All?
Ahead of the virtual G-7 summit today, French President Emmanuel Macron called on Europe and the U.S. to send up to 5 percent of their coronavirus vaccines to poorer nations. Not sharing would worsen global disparities — and allow vaccine-exporting China and Russia to gain influence. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden’s administration introduced plans to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal and reestablish alliances with Europe. (Sources: BBC, NYT)
3. Full Treatment
After originally calling his 2004 death an overdose, Italy’s high court this week ruled that urologist Attilio Manca, who treated mob boss Bernardo Provenzano for prostate cancer, was killed by the Mafia to keep him from revealing the location of Provenzano’s French hideout. One giveaway? Heroin needles were found in his left wrist and elbow — an awkward fit for self-injection, given Manca was left-handed. (Sources: Daily Beast, The Telegraph)
4. Enter Mr. Kitty
Wall Street’s bizarre GameStop saga got its day in Congress yesterday, with House testimony from hedge fund CEOs and Keith Gill, aka “Roaring Kitty,” whose Reddit devotees turbocharged GameStop. He told legislators that day-trading platform Robinhood manipulated the process, and its CEO also got grilled on whether halting trading violated securities rules. (Sources: USA Today, Yahoo Finance)
Pain or Pleasure
The sexy comeback of the corset prompted the BBC to ponder whether it is a torture device or a weapon of empowerment. It’s the squarish sort of question that would be asked by somebody who doesn’t already know the obvious answer: Yes.
Today On ‘The Carlos Watson Show’
Looking for your weekend binge? Check out this week's episodes of The Carlos Watson Show! In addition to RHOA's Kenya Moore and CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers, the viral, improvising musician Marc Rebillet joins Carlos for some music-making and a conversation about collaborations with T-Pain and Snoop Dogg. And long-time Republican presidential consultant Alex Castellanos predicts 2024 GOP nominees. You won't want to miss these episodes!
Rising Religious Leaders
They are making the abstract real and handling it when the real gets abstract.
If you believe in nominative determinism (the notion that your name helps determine your line of work), then it’s clear that Engy Abdelkader was destined for brainy greatness. With a double law degree, the Rutgers University Public Religion Research Institute fellow is publishing her ass off on religion, gender and politics. She chooses topics such as fighting Islamophobia, defending women’s rights and calling out China’s persecution of Uyghur Muslims, and that’s all being done when she’s not helping out at the United Nations, the U.S. Department of State or the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
2. Stanton LaVey
Being the only grandson of Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan, comes with a lot of baggage. The infighting with his relatives after the elder LaVey’s death, over ownership of the church and intellectual property rights, has been a devil to deal with. Especially while being the father of twin sons himself. But then LaVey had an idea to exorcise his demons by starting his own satanic church. With friends like rocker Glenn Danzig, it was an easy two-step.
Charles Manson thought he was Jesus. And now? Former Russian traffic cop Sergei Torop, aka “Vissarion,” makes it clear to anyone who’ll listen that he believes himself to be the famed son of God. Have we heard crazier things? Yes. But the fact that his right-hand man used to be the drummer for a fairly famous Russian boy band? Now that gets very close to the pinnacle. And right on cue, he is arrested while Russian authorities investigate his religious movement, the Church of the Last Testament. For? Wait for it … fraud.
4. Dr. Matthew Kukah
The Roman Catholic bishop in the Nigerian city of Sokoto was just appointed by Pope Francis in December to the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. Days later, the Harvard-educated Kukah put the Nigerian government on notice in a Christmas speech entitled “A Nation in Search of Vindication” over President Muhammadu Buhari’s alleged favoritism of fellow northern Muslims for high-level appointments. Doing this from Rome? Daring. Doing it from Sokoto? Nothing short of macho.
5. Miriam Camerini
Speaking of Italy … there’s something new brewing in the land of pasta. Camerini is studying to become the country’s first female Orthodox Jewish rabbi. In doing so, she’s setting the stage for future generations of women — befitting her background as a linguistics and theater major — to enter the male-centric rabbinical world.
How to Handle High Holy Eats
Are businesses adjusting for the season of Lent, which began Wednesday, and bending to religious demand? Or ...
1. What Devotion Tastes Like
If it’s a Friday during Lent and you’re Catholic, you’ll find yourself not eating meat — assuming you aren’t already vegetarian or vegan, in which case companies are already bending their backs to cater for you. And the fast food industry is eager to meet you where you’re at, regardless of your delicious beliefs, while loading up on their fish offerings this time of year.
2. Accidental or Accidentally on Purpose?
A real statement of intent in the fast food industry would be marketing campaigns because those are money where mouths are. And indeed, when you find 75 meat-free meals across the industry this month, know that the marketing around Lent is not at all accidental. Whether it’s developing an advert strategy around Ramadan or the fact that vegan or vegetarian restaurants dovetail with non-meat-eating religions in business journals means the big brains are working hard to monetize manna.
3. Night Hours
Of course, Catholics don’t have a monopoly on seasonal dietary holidays. Or even on fasting ones, for that matter. During Ramadan, Muslims cannot eat, drink, smoke or even chew gum during the day. Appetites and tempers will run high this year from mid-April to mid-May. Which is why tough decisions or meetings, particularly by state governments or big businesses, are pushed off. Most Muslim countries, though not all, allow restaurants to stay open in sunlight — usually while posting a sign saying they will only serve non-believers. Bangladesh has even halted its fish exports to ensure domestic bellies are fed.
Getting hungry? Pop into the microwave these shows, television and otherwise, that failed so fabulously they succeeded.
If you ever saw Hogan’s Heroes, a sitcom about a Nazi POW camp fashioned after the film The Great Escape and perhaps Mel Brooks’ The Producers, you could see how someone, somewhere, thought maybe it was the right time for a sitcom about Hitler and Eva Braun and their Jewish next-door neighbors. You could also see that this particular laff riot, Heil Honey I’m Home!, was only around for exactly … one episode.
2. When the Moose Dies
Broadway has seen it all … even the radical fringes pushed by off-Broadway stuff. There have been fantastic successes and wondrous failures but nothing quite as significantly disastrous and short-lived as Moose Murders. It had its grand opening on Feb. 22, 1983. It had its grand closing Feb. 22, 1983. Incest, crotch-kicking (plus, disappointingly, no moose), it was a “mystery farce.” Oh, man, was it.
3. And Then the Star Got Arrested
Being in one of the worst films of all time leaves a mark. Especially when it was the “brainchild” of now-imprisoned Bill Cosby. Leonard Part 6 was not just bad, it was hallucinatorily bad. Ostriches and Cosby as a super spy whose wife hates him? Yes, all that bad. And I’m just glad I was there to witness it all firsthand.
It’s Time for Sexy Time!
They say that we think about sex every three seconds. Who is “they”? OK, just ME then.
You got the wine, the roses, some Barry White on the iPhone and what else? Oh yeah, a hot tub right? All of the cheesy sexiness that you can muster can’t obscure the fact that hot tubs can kill more than erections. They kill people too. Specifically people having sex in them. Sometimes from drugs and alcohol and sometimes just bad luck. So be careful out there while wetting your whistle.
2. Best Ways to Put It While Putting It Out
Leave it to women’s mag Bustle to have the balls to put out the best 21 sex positions for 2021. If you wanted to play a parlor game or were bored enough to play a parlor game instead of having actual sex, you could go through this listing and recreate them in the most spirit-destroying stunt ever. Me? I’ll stick to my ol’ standby: the monkey in the pipe! Thank you very much.
3. My Position on Other Sex Columnists
You know that cat in Catch 22 who does things he doesn’t like because if time flies when you’re having fun, time must drag when you’re bored and he believes by doing so he can actually lengthen his life? That’s precisely how I feel when I listen to who they are calling the new Dr. Ruth. I’m sorry for the shade, Emily Morse, but I … well I need a little more … something. Like leaning in on the premise that sex might actually be fun?
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