Tuesday, November 29, 2005

27 Marheshwan 5766/29 November 2005: Square Dance Day


Barry and I have been batting around an idea for an exercise in group micro-fan-fiction recently, and we believe we have it to a stage where we can unleash it on the World. Therefore, allow me to present

The Weird Thing of the Day Dune Fantastic Religion Contest

In the universe of the Dune novels, there are a large number of fantastic (in the sense of fantasy) religions, many of which joined together in creating the mother of all syncretisms, the Orange Catholic Bible. From the information given in the Wikipedia article on the Orange Catholic Bible, one has to wonder what sort of religions did not make the cut. Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to invent such religions.

  1. Every entry must consist of a fantastic religion that does not exist in the Dune universe but which ought to be in there. Fantastic religions may be 1) syncretisms of pre-existing religions, 2) derivatives of pre-existing religions which are taken in interesting directions, or 3) something more or less original.

    Examples of Dune syncretisms: The Buddislamic Christian Church of Sikun, The Hasidic Lutheran Dynasty, Tenri Kyo Science in the Galaxy.

    Examples of Dune derivative religions: The Calvinistic Genetical Determinant Elect Body, Incorporated; The Jesuitical Evolutionist Church of Chardin; Tenth-Day Adventist Church of Rapide.

    Examples of Dune original religions: Belt Hypostatical Program, The Ray Space Worshippers, The Universal Pantheist Religion.

  2. There is no limit on the number or type of religions or ideologies that may be packed together into a syncretism.

    Examples of extreme syncretism: The Mormon Sikh Rastafarian Masonic Temple, The Raëlian Urantislamic Order, Zenshinto Satanic Church of Subgenius.

    Examples of syncretism with non-religious ideologies: The First Church of Lenin, Philosopher; The Anabaptist Humanist Church; The Church of the Twelve Steps.

  3. The source religions may be as general or specific as one likes.

    Example for extreme generality for a potential source religion: Theism.

    Example for extreme specificity for a potential source religion: Scientific-Rationalist, Vilna Ga’on rite, Orthodox Pharisaic Judaism with inclinations towards transcendent monotheism, resumption of animal sacrifice sooner rather than later, and rejection of practices with possible origin in demon-worship.

  4. Any and all real religions and other ideologies, whether currently practiced, extinct, or parodies (e.g., The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster), are not eligible, so please do not submit Sikhism on the basis that it is essentially Hindo-Islam. However, you may syncretize or create derivatives of canonical Dune religions if you wish (e.g., Reform Zensunnism, which permits worship of earthworms).

  5. Uncreative variations, such as The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of Alpha Centauri, and downright derogatory entries, such as The Society for the Worship of Aaron’s Moronic Blog, have no chance of winning. The point of this contest is creative fun, not mindless repetition or senseless cruelty.

  6. Optionally, you may include a brief summary of your fantastic religion.

    Example summary:
    Elvislamic Jihad
    Declaration of faith: “There is no god but Allah, and the King is His prophet.”
    Rites: Elvis impersonation.
    Liturgy: The music of Elvis Presley, especially his religious songs.
    Practices: Pilgrimage to Graceland, making holy war by use of music.
    Ultimate goal: To obliterate all “un-Elvislamic” forms of music and bring the entire music industry under the control of the Dar al-Elvislam and its leader, the Sheikh al-Elvislam.
    Scriptural quote: King of Kings 9:22-23: There may come unto you those who do not see the wisdom of the King. And thou shalt say verily unto them, “You ain’t nothing but a hound-dog”.

    Summaries are recommended when the source religions/ideologies are obscure and for totally original religions.

  7. Fantastic parody religions are permitted.

  8. All entries must be received via E-mail before the first day of Hanukkah (sundown, 25 December 2005). Entries received as comments on the blog will not be accepted. In the event of too many entries to handle, the judges may end acceptance of entries earlier.

  9. There will be no limit on the number of entries anyone may make, though it should be noted that a few good entries will be appreciated a lot more than zillions of bad ones.

  10. Aaron and anyone he decides and convinces to join his Judging Committee will announce a winner on the last day of Hanukkah (2 January 2006). Judges, of course, are not eligible to enter this contest.

  11. The winner shall get to choose (within reason) the weird thing of the day for a week.
Judging criteria:
  1. Humor: Humorous entries will be appreciated more than non-humorous ones. Extra points if one or more judges end up rolling on the floor laughing.

  2. Paradox: Paradoxical entries, especially deeply paradoxical ones, will be appreciated more than non-paradoxical ones.

  3. Insight: Entries which display insight into what the religions/ideologies being syncretized have in common will be appreciated more than non-insightful ones.

  4. Originality: Entries which are blatantly obvious based on Frank Herbert’s originals will not be appreciated (e.g., Baptismal Cosmotheists of Vulcan). Syncretisms with interesting combinations of traits will be greatly appreciated.

  5. If the judges like it, it’s good. If they don’t like it, it’s bad.
Tell your friends about the contest! Spread the news!

Disclaimer: This contest is not associated in any way, shape, or form with Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. We don’t have any money, so there is no point in suing us.

Moving right along, today’s weird thing is something from Emily’s collection, included below. Enjoy.


Work VS. Prison!

IN PRISON you spend the majority of your time in an 8X10 cell.
AT WORK you spend most of your time in a 6X8 cubicle.

IN PRISON you get three meals a day (free).
AT WORK you only get a break for one meal and you have to pay for it yourself.

IN PRISON you get time off for good behavior.
AT WORK you get rewarded for good behavior with more WORK.

IN PRISON a guard locks and unlocks the doors for you.
AT WORK you must carry around a security card and unlock all the doors yourself.

IN PRISON you can watch TV and play games.
AT WORK you get fired for watching TV and playing games.

IN PRISON you get your own toilet.
AT WORK you have to share.

IN PRISON they allow your family and friends to visit.
AT WORK you can not even speak to your family and friends.

IN PRISON all expenses are paid by taxpayers with no work at all.
AT WORK you get to pay all the expenses to go to work and then they deduct taxes from your salary to pay for the prisoners.

IN PRISON you spend most of your life looking through the bars from the inside wanting to get out.
AT WORK you spend most of your time wanting to get out and go inside bars.
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