November 30, 2011

Chimps throwing stuff

Chimp. (Image/Wikipedia)
There's an interesting article on physorg today. It suggests that chimps throwing feces is a sign of intelligence. That's the headline they pulled from the story, anyway. But it's way more interesting than that.

It seems throwing and language are intertwined. It's a wild thought: that throwing something at someone in your group may have been one of the first forms of communication -- a comment of sorts. Looking at today's chimps, they found that those who threw the most stuff, and threw it more accurately than their pals, also showed increased activity in the left hemisphere of the brain, where speech is processed.

I love the idea that throwing and language are related. It's so unexpected. This is another sign that we know next to nothing about our own brains. That's because we are an infant race. Too bad we have nukes, huh?

PS: This is a fun story too: Hive mind to sort out whale sounds

Stupid things religious wingnuts say

A sensible slogan.
I know, I know -- it's a broad topic. But you have to start somewhere. For me, one of the most irritating things religious loons do is when they place themselves in cosmic dramas. They're just so important, doncha know.

For example, you're watching a TV report about a rape that was stopped when a woman happened upon the perp and victim as it was going down. The rapist runs; the woman is saved. Hallelujah!

But when the hero is interviewed, she says: "Do I think I was in the right place at the right time by coincidence? Do I think it was an accident that I arrived in time to stop this? No, I was supposed to be here."

That's right, dear. All the goings-on in the cosmos are about you and your random walks through the neighborhood. Makes perfect sense. It wasn't just that your hemorrhoids hurt so much that you had to stand up and walk around, and stumbled upon these two. That can't be it. No, it's God hisself who put you there.

I swear, these twits make me ill.

What drives you crazy about the things religious nitwits say? Again, I know: it's a hugely broad topic. But if you had to pick one thing that drives you batty, what would it be?

November 29, 2011

Espresso in the afternoon

There's nothing like it: espresso, the elixir of the gods (though they don't exist, of course; just saying). Espresso is the closest thing to a real miracle that I've found on this Earth.

I mean, there you are -- it's late afternoon and you're all played out. But you put a pot of espresso on and soon you've got a mug in your hand. After a sip or two, you have tons of energy -- so much so that you find yourself lashing out at the nearest banker or priest. You're back in the game!

There is no problem so difficult that espresso cannot solve it. Get yourself some espresso and go conquer stuff.

November 28, 2011

Let's talk about time

Dali's "Persistence of Time". Indeed.
I've been remiss. I should have posted a notice about the broadcast of Brian Greene's "Fabric of the Cosmos" on PBS. But I was wary of the show.

Greene wrote two books: "Elegant Universe", which is the best science book I've ever read, and "Fabric of the Cosmos", which was a terrible, simplistic follow-up book to Elegant Universe. But the odd thing is that the five shows based on Elegant Universe were terrible and the shows based on Fabric of the Cosmos were great. Go figure.

November 27, 2011

Look, up in the sky!

Launch photo credit: AP / Terry Renna
I don't know about you but I'm greatly relieved that the Curiosity rover lifted off without a hitch. I don't think we're going to have another 2.6 billion dollars for a space mission anytime soon. We have to hope this one sticks.

This summer is going to be agonizing as we wait for the Mars landing to take place. I'll be a nervous wreck by the time August rolls around. This lowering-down-by-cables technique has never been tried before. Please, oh noodly one, look kindly upon the Curiosity mission.

If the landing goes as planned and the rover works well, we are in for some fun times. Surely the mission will find evidence of past life. But I'm not ready to give up on current life on Mars -- some basic creature must have found a way to survive. Like many people, I'll be surprised and crushed if neither past nor present life is found. But no matter how it plays out, it's going to be grand just to be there with such capable instruments. Finally, we'll have the answers to so many questions.

Congratulations to the NASA team, who are probably living through the most exciting time of their lives right now. Enjoy -- and good luck!

What is it with obituaries?

I have a major peeve about obituaries. It concerns the people who place the damn obits in the paper. They write the thing so it's a paean to them! Why, pray tell, is the largest paragraph in the obituary a list of the people who "survived" the dead guy? Why should an obituary be an opportunity to list healthy people in the person's family? They didn't die; the dead guy died. Shouldn't the obituary be about him?

Wherever we look, even in obituaries, we see self-important twits.

November 26, 2011

Popey guy tries to hide the salami

The popey guy can't get away with it anymore. Those days are over. From an article in the NYT today:
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI insisted on Saturday that all of society's institutions and not just the Catholic church must be held to "exacting" standards in their response to sex abuse of children, and defended the church's efforts to confront the problem.
But the Times didn't let it lie there and that's what's so great. The church can no longer rape children and lie about the facts with impunity. The article includes a direct response to the popey guy's attempted sleight-of-hand:
He didn't address accusations by many victims and their advocates that church leaders, including at the office in the Vatican that Benedict headed before becoming pontiff, systematically tried to cover up the scandals. Investigations, often by civil authorities, revealed that church hierarchy frequently transferred pedophile priests from one parish to another. [Emphasis mine.]
The church is now known for its actions rather than its words, and it's about time. The roman catholic church is a criminal enterprise. Short and sweet. And the popey guy honcho'd the worst of the worst behavior for the church. He is evil.

November 25, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Xmas

Today I finished editing Xmas Carol. I think this was my millionth pass through the manuscript -- it can be edited no further.

Now all I need is a cover.

From the dep't of misplaced modifiers

"Plus, there's a project under way to build a baseball field that will bear Will's name for children with disabilities." 

I just hope he didn't call them anything nasty.

November 23, 2011

Super athletes coming soon to a game near you

The original.
There have been some startling medical breakthroughs lately, though hardly anyone seems to have noticed. I assume people are busy watching the latest shiny thing on their teevee. These discoveries are going to change the shape of our lives -- and the shape of life itself.

Today we learn it's possible to suppress a natural muscle-growth inhibitor to produce muscles that are double normal strength. Think about increasing granny's strength by a factor of 2. Sounds great, right? The linked article even mentions using the discovery "as a basis for developing a treatment for genetic muscular dystrophy". Big stuff.

Let us adore the virgin Mary's sacred belt

BVM with hand-beams but no belt.
Maybe you're having a difficult day, burdened by all the things you have to do for Thanksgiving -- cooking, traveling, dealing with dreadful relatives, etc. Some of you are probably feeling overwhelmed about now. Well, take heart -- at least you aren't doing something colossally stupid and meaningless today, like these people are:
MOSCOW (AP) — Braving freezing cold temperatures and ice-covered sidewalks, tens of thousands of Russians stood in line Wednesday to see and kiss a newly arrived relic of the Virgin Mary in Russia's largest Orthodox cathedral.
It gets worse:
The Virgin Mary's Cincture, a belt that Christians believe was worn by Jesus' mother, was brought to Russia last month from Mount Athos, a monastic community in Greece.

Kissing the relic, which is encased in an ornamental box, is believed to help barren women conceive and heal other ailments.

The line of people, mostly women, waiting to enter the golden-domed Christ the Savior Cathedral stretched for 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) along the Moscow River despite temperatures that dropped to below minus 5 Celsius (23 Fahrenheit).

Police officers announced through bullhorns that it will take worshippers 24 hours to get to the relic as the line swelled to tens of thousands.
So be happy today. At least you're not an imbecile waiting in the cold for 24 hours to kiss a goddamn belt that somebody probably made a couple of years ago. Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and remember -- the thing to be most thankful for is that you're not burdened by mindless religious beliefs. Woot!

November 22, 2011

Turn it on and hope

For some reason, Amazon only shows me things I'm not interested in. I've been shopping with them for two decades and they still have no clue what I like. How is that possible? Aren't there these things called algorithms that could help them suggest items I might actually, you know, buy? Never happens.

Anyway, they keep showing me this radio lately and every time I see it, I'm filled with memories. In the days before clear transmission (of any kind!) we used to listen to radios that looked like this. (At least the later ones did. They were bigger and clunkier at first.) You'd have to bend the antenna this way and that, searching for the music. It was somewhere in that cloud of static. There! Gotcha!

Thinking of old radios brings back the beach, the park, the stoop and endless, hot summer nights. We would huddle around our little radios, listening to tinny music sparkling with static, and we would dream. The world offered endless possibilities then. Nothing was ruined; it was all still fresh -- the water, the air and our plans for the future.

I remember dreaming as I listened to the radio.

November 21, 2011

Writers need privacy

Perfect mug from
People don't understand that writers do something. There is this inane impression that since a writer is home, he's available for visits and chats. It doesn't work that way, kiddies. The books don't just materialize out of thin air.

People regularly intrude on my writing time. They just don't get it. Writers need to be alone. That's how it happens, this writing thing. You have to apply yourself and this requires a block of time when you will not be disturbed. You see, we're actually doing something when we write. And shockingly, this is true even though we're at home. Amazing concept, huh?

November 20, 2011

Needed context

I was so excited about putting the video of the silent walk up (see below) that I didn't bother to provide context for readers who might be unaware of the situation.

After the chancellor allowed the campus police to pepper-spray unresisting OWS protesters, she found herself in a building surrounded by protesters. Lest she be allowed to play this as "they've trapped me and won't let me out!", the protesters organized the classiest response in the world.

They broke to create a clear passage through which the chancellor could walk, denying her the option of playing the victim. When she came out, the protesters joined in a total, eerie silence, allowing her to take the longest walk of her life. I love it.

Full story here.

Powerful OWS video

If you haven't seen this, you need to. It is so powerful. The OWS protesters who were pepper-sprayed at UC Davis organized this picture-perfect moment.

The video shows Ms. Pepper Spray herself, chancellor Katehi, walking to her car as the students do absolutely nothing, in total silence. It's gold.

Amazing photo today

The Astronomy Pic of the Day site has a great image today. (Link leads to huge version of the photo.)

Aren't the colors great? I'm a big fan of combining red with green. But what gets me is how vivid the image is. This is one of the prettiest space photos I've seen. It was taken by the Spitzer Space Telescope. That's star forming region W5. Ain't it grand?

The universe is so beautiful. How can people say that without god, reality would have no meaning? Don't they have eyes?

November 19, 2011

Mother's sick

By Horse Feathers. I find it haunting.

The shape of what isn't there

My hippie rant image.
You know us hippies -- we like nothing more than pondering the imponderable -- preferably in the evening with candles and music. So here we go.

A long time ago, I had a good friend who was a music composer. One day I asked him about a perception I experienced while listening to music. It seemed to me that some composers wrote a sort of stealth music, where the true melody wasn't played. Instead it was described by the music that was played. I thought I heard the music dance around a hidden melody, hinting at it without revealing it. Finding it, hearing it, seemed to be up to the listener. He just looked at me like I was nuts.

Birds of a feather

PG loves him some voodoo.
So the popey guy is sending his shtick to Africa, the land of voodoo. And he wants to make nicey-nice with the voodoo folks:
Catholics need to cultivate respect both for Islam and for traditional practices, the pope said in the document. But he also told bishops they must carefully discern which traditional practices might clash with church doctrine so they can "separate the good seed from the weeds."
In with the good voodoo; out with the bad. Here's the birds-of-a-feather image:
As he signed the 87-page papal treatise, several dozen Voodoo practitioners sat in plastic chairs in the Temple of the Pythons located at the opposite end of the basilica's square, less than 100 yards from where Benedict was preaching. The high priest, who sat with his foot on a bottle of gin, a traditional Voodoo spirit offering, said they had gathered to hear the pope's message . . .
The popey guy finally found his people! It's such a great image because it shows there is little or no distinction between catholicism and voodoo. They're just different flavors of insane nonsense.

Let's all wish the popey guy luck. "Luck, popey guy! May you find several new voodoo saints for your church!"

Interesting Mars mission coming up

What's hiding on Mars?
NASA hopes to launch the Mars Science Laboratory next week. This super-rover mission is going to be highly cool.

The idea is to determine if life is, or ever was, on Mars. The rover, which is named Curiosity, is the size of a car and contains the most advanced scientific instruments we've ever sent into space. When it lands in August, we are in for some interesting times.

C'mon, admit it. You love Mars. All humans do. It's in our genes. So go read the article. The mission is going to be great fun to follow. I think of it as the highlight of the coming summer -- baseball aside, of course.

November 18, 2011

Marriage. Yawn.

It's wonderful that gay people can marry. You can't bar people from doing something everyone else can do, so it's only fair. But really, I'm so anti-marriage that it's hard to do more than yawn.

I always have a negative reaction when a friend tells me s/he's getting married. It just seems so dull, so old-world and unnecessary. Marriage is tired.

If you and another person are in love, you should stay together. When and if the love dies, you should part. I don't see how making a financial bet (marriage) changes this, except to make it more painful and labor-intensive to break up.

It's just creepy. And for gay people, marriage seems unutterably dull. Now, adding kids to the mix muddies the water. I understand: you think marriage provides security for the kids. So don't abandon them. If you have a kid, you have an obligation. The nature of that obligation has nothing to do with being married.

Finally, I can't ignore the big picture: marriage is a mutual agreement to slap on the handcuffs. That doesn't sound very grown-up to me.

Editing like mad

What can I say? I'm editing Xmas Carol yet again. I just can't help myself. I'm cutting through it at a furious pace, though, so I don't think it will take much longer.

For this reason, blogging will continue to be lite. Don't give up on the blog. I'll pick up the pace as soon as the book is completed.

A match made in heaven

Photo credit: USA Today
I find it hugely amusing that the roman catholic church has purchased the Crystal Cathedral, the ridiculous-looking mormon cathedral in Utah. Has there ever been a building that screamed "twits within" any louder? The catholics will feel right at home there.

What can I say? It's perfect.

Update: I'm told I missed the boat. Doh! See comments.

November 17, 2011

So that's it!

There's an article on physorg that explains why we get up from our chairs to do something, and then forget what it was. Turns out, the problem is walking through doorways. It's a fun explanation.

November 16, 2011

The new West Bank

The Oligarch King
Is it only me who sees the parallels? Nah, you all see it, right? Let us review: Bloomberg fenced in Zuccotti Park and installed militaristic checkpoints designed specifically to ensure that the lives of those inside are as miserable as possible.

Does this not reek of the restrictions placed on the Palestinians? I can't believe Bloomberg is this stupid but apparently he is. The man has guaranteed that his face will represent the oligarchy in the eyes of everyone in the movement -- which is a sizable portion of the country. What a fool the man is.

I told you he'd haul out the jackboots, and here they are.

Photo credit: The Oligarch Kings

Lost power again

Since the early snow in New York, power has become a sometime thing. It comes and goes, almost every day. Today it was out all damn day. Just came back on at 4 pm. Aaaargh!

If I disappear, you'll know why. Here's hoping.

November 15, 2011

Welcome to the police state

When Mikey Bloomberg sent his stormtroopers on a cowardly mission to trash Zuccotti Park under cover of darkness this morning, not one NY television station covered it live.

We're not waiting for the police state to take over our country. It already has. Welcome to the end of the United States.

November 14, 2011

Catholic bishops launch new hate site

You have to give it to these guys: they never give up. Their eruptions of hatred must come forth -- there's no way to stop them, you see. And anyway, it's their god-given right -- and don't you dare try to abridge it with none of your new-fangled "laws"!

So now the good bishops have created a marriage ain't for homos site. The link leads to my favorite page from the site. You know why you need a man and a woman for marriage? Of course you do. It's all about those plugs and sockets -- and how nicely they fit together. How innovative! Here's an excerpt from the page:
Marriage is about love, but it’s about a unique love that only a man and a woman as husband and wife can give to each other.
Because of the sockets and plugs, of course. That's all they've got. After all, they say, there is absolutely no possibility that love could emerge from a plug-to-plug or socket-to-socket romance. It's just not possible! And they know this because god told them so. So there!

They're just insane. I mean, the header for that particular page is: "Made for each other: sexual difference is essential to marriage." They're not even pretending the site has any usefulness other than as a vehicle to slam gay people. It truly is the "marriage ain't for homos" site.

The site is called "Marriage: Unique for a Reason". Get the idea? It's not about marriage at all, not about Catholics or even heterosexuals, for that matter. It's just about hating gay people. Congrats, bishops. You've done it again.

These guys are so deep.

More fun from the bishops

Today from Associated Press:
BALTIMORE (AP) — The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says the church should not be dismissed as an outmoded bureaucracy. Archbishop Timothy Dolan says the church is a spiritual family that has much to teach the world.
. . . The archbishop . . . said bishops repent daily for their missteps . . . [b]ut he says the church should not be defined by its problems.
Indeed. The church should be defined by its actions against children, gays and women -- and that is exactly what's happening. It's the reason why Catholics are leaving the church in droves. In fact, we can hope that the church will soon collapse -- and good riddance.

November 13, 2011

Great post about Republicans

Hunter eviscerated the Republican party today, in grand style. Go read it. It's funny and dead-on.

The roman catholic church is going down

Victim. Ha!
There is a marvelously reassuring and chuckle-some article in the NY Times today about the "state of siege" that US Bishops seem to think they're under. In essence, they consider any externally imposed constraints on their ability to continue discriminating against gays and women to be an infringement of their inalienable "religious rights". These guys are so tone-deaf and immoral, it's shocking.

The article has wonderful quotes like this:
Scott Appleby, a prominent religious historian at the University of Notre Dame, says many church leaders have recently adopted "a more pugnacious style, much more of a kind of culture-wars attitude." At the same time, the bishops' have been stung by their loss of public influence from the sex abuse crisis and the years of bruising revelations that many dioceses moved guilty clergy among parishes without alerting parents or police.

"The church no longer receives deference or the hands-off attitude that it once had for many years. That's gone," Appleby said. 
Duh. I wonder why. There are evil groups and there are evil groups. The roman catholic church is one of the truly evil groups. Go read the article. It's fun.

November 12, 2011

Maybe it's a dream

Our kids, long ago.
It's November 12th and I'm still not done with Xmas Carol. Probably the notion that I can get the book out by Xmas is just a dream. Still, I'm finding the deadline useful. It's making me work longer and harder each day, and will cause me to finish the book within a very short time.

Let's face it, hardly anyone's will gt a chance to read the book before this Xmas, whether I meet my self-imposed deadline or not. But even if I don't make it, once the book is complete I'll have a whole year to build momentum before the next Xmas season. Some season, some year, this book is going to be a cult hit. It might be ten years from now, but it's going to happen.

So I'm pleased. If I can get the book out very soon, I'm going to whip out my short-story book next, and sell it for 99 cents. Maybe people who don't want to fork over 2.99 for a book will try the cheaper one, like it, and buy Xmas Carol.

Hey, I can dream, right? See you later. I've got a big day of work ahead of me.

November 11, 2011

First real peek at the disaster in Fukushima

Just go read this. The report is out about what really happened at Fukushima. The bravery and dedication of those nuclear plant workers in the midst of one of the world's worst disasters is amazing.

November 10, 2011

Light posting for a bit

I'm trying to nail down the final version of Xmas Carol. If this book is to be published in time for Xmas, I've got a passel o' stuff to do and it's all gotta be done lickety-split. (I'm on a cowboy kick lately; don't worry, I'll get over it.)

There are still hurdles. The cover doesn't exist; I have no clue how to make the text inside the ebook look attractive; and I still haven't settled on a final version of the book.

So please pardon my absence as I get this work done. I'll be back soon. In the meantime, don't forget me.

November 9, 2011

You know what's really awful?

When they paint you out of the mural. That's gotta hurt. It's amazing how quickly Penn State moved to blot out this problematic aspect of their past. Poof, he's gone: no more Sandusky. It's as if the man never existed.

Advice about writing a novel

No, not my advice: John Baker's. I like what he says. Here's a link.

Let's declare every grain of salt to be a person!

The little girl is a hint.
You know how salt tastes, so you know it's actually a human being. What else could make that burst of wonderfulness in your mouth? Only a human being could be that tasty.

And yet grains of salt are constantly sprinkled on the tables of restaurants, they fall to the ground from french fries, and old people even throw granules over their shoulder to ward off Satan. These abuses must stop!

Let us band together and demand that every grain of salt be declared a human being! If we don't, the slaughter of innocent salt will continue. It's up you to, people, and our esteemed Congress. We must demand that they drop everything -- no matter what it is -- and concentrate solely on the fate of salt granules.

People, it's the right thing to do. You know it and I know it. Call your congressperson today! And don't worry about wasting their time. They're not doing anything anyway.

Transsexual v. transgender

Transgender symbol.
I noticed yesterday that several online newspapers referred to the first transgender lawmaker in Poland's parliament as a "transsexual".

I find this offensive and I imagine many transgender people do, too. The term "transgender" has been around for quite some time so why use an outdated term that has a shaky history? To me, the word transsexual reeks of early sensationalist headlines.

We don't call gay people "homosexuals" anymore. Only wingnuts do that. That's because "homosexual" is a clinical term. So is "transsexual". It is a term invented by doctors to describe a medical phenomenon they were seeing. Why go clinical? Doesn't it make sense to use the term most transgender people prefer?

(Mind you, I'm basing my judgement on comments made by the transgender people I've known. For all I know, there's a huge group who detest the term "transgender". I hope those concerned will chime in in the comments.)

This reminds me of the old days when we tried to convince the New York Times that "gay" wasn't a dirty word. They stuck with the homo terminology for so long! The change was way past its due date when they finally capitulated and went gay.

Transsexual indeed. The word is transgender. At least, I think so.

November 8, 2011

Will wonders never cease?

Unbelievably, I saw two good movies on the Sci-Fi Channel, which thinks its name is the SyFy Channel and which we actually think of as the Siffy Channel. But yeah, the movies were great.

One is "Let Me In". It's a vampire tale told from an unusual angle, from the viewpoint of two children, one of whom is a vampire. The movie includes few adults yet I didn't even notice this because the kids were so fascinating. These two 12-year-olds are wonderful actors. Each scene involves at least one of them, and they are never boring. I won't say more. If you like vampire tales and good acting, rent it.

November 7, 2011

Things are looking up

Last time for this graphic?
This is your official Xmas Carol update. It looks like Casey of casey/artandcolour is going to do the cover for the book. For a while it seemed his schedule wouldn't permit it -- but we're on again. Woot!

In the meantime I'm doing the final read-through of the book. I'm not editing it. That's done. I'm just searching for typos now. It should only take another day or two to complete. Then when the cover arrives, I'll be ready to publish.

And you know what that means -- you'll finally have a chance to buy my book and decide for yourself if I can write. There's a good possibility it will be out by Xmas. Xmas Carol out by Xmas! Could anything be finer?

Stay tuned. And I sure hope this is the last time I'll have to use that awful graphic you see above. Soon there will be an official cover to grace these posts. I can't tell you how exciting this is. It's a dream come true.

November 6, 2011

Good article on OWS surveillance in NY

Over at AlterNet, Nick Turse has a great article about the dissonance of focusing high-tech police surveillance equipment on non-violent, non-weaponized OWS protesters in New York.

It's a perceptive piece and isn't too long a read. Here's the link. Go, Nick.

If life had a fast-forward button

The 1950s were so dull.
The title of this post is half of an old remark of mine: "If life had a fast-forward button I'd be dead." I was thinking about this today and wondered what it would be like to have such a device.

What if you could fast-forward through a bad day -- or week or month or year? Imagine that you could do this and add the notion that you'd age appropriately. In other words, you'd be that much older when you let go of the button. You would remember the time you missed but would never have experienced it as a first-person event. Would you use this device?

The span is what gets wild when you think about this. For instance, if I had possessed a magic fast-forward button when I was a kid in the 1950s -- I'd have skipped the whole damned decade. Life was far too dull in those days. Which means I would have missed my childhood -- I could live with a deal that.

So that's the question. Given access to a device like this all your life, how much time would you have skipped?

November 5, 2011

A lost voice

I've been thinking about Nico lately. I don't know why. She just keeps popping into my mind. I see her in both editions: the original, gorgeous-creature version and her broken-down end state. I watched a documentary about her last days a few years ago. It was terribly sad, as sad as this song. It's not musical -- nothing she sang ever was. But it's Nico and she was always golden. Here she is singing "These Days".

More on Mayor Mikey's pot mania

The only thing that matters.
The Mayor of Money, Mike Bloomberg, don't like him no black or Latino people, especially the young ones. So he uses pot as a device to obtain their data and fingerprints. You know, so he can arrest them later on and prevent them from bothering rich white people, i.e., his pals.

And you just watch. Mikey's gonna explode very, very soon over the OWS protests. He just doesn't get it. Why would all those people hate bankers, i.e., his pals? It just doesn't make sense to poor Mikey.

Bloomberg is the exemplar of the out-of-touch rich guy who lives in a money bubble. I hope he gets in a ton of trouble over this. He won't, of course, for the simple reason that he has money. In our current version of the United States, if you have money no one can touch you. I wonder what that feels like.

November 4, 2011

Accommodating the religious

Some atheist writers try not to upset those who are religious. There seems to be this idea that religion is wrong but believers are just poor slobs who, well, believe. So we shouldn't pick on them. This is nonsense.

Mind you, if the person concerned is less than 16 years old, I say fine to this proposition. Let's leave the kiddies alone. But everyone else who believes in god is, in my book, culpable. They do wrong by believing in god. They are failed human beings.

When we were lesser beings and didn't have our current mental faculties (I'm speaking of our evolutionary ancestors here), the idea of gods must have cropped up for the first time. Sure it was fuzzy but I'll bet it was there. Pre-human primates invented god.

Once these nascent minds reached a point where they could think about the world, they undoubtedly tried to come up with explanations for the things they saw. And this line of thought brought them to the idea of gods. They made it up and then they believed it. Probably all sorts of primates were religious -- and more power to them. In their own way, they were trying to think. It's kinda cute.

PS on Avila: a new day dawns

Today's AP:
BOSTON (AP) — The author of a newspaper column suggesting the devil may be responsible for homosexuality has resigned from his job with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
A spokeswoman for the Roman Catholic bishops said Friday that Daniel Avila (AH'-vee-lah) offered to step down and his resignation was accepted Friday.
Avila's column appeared a week ago in The Pilot, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston. Avila had written that there's evidence suggesting the devil is responsible for same-sex attraction. Gay rights groups and others condemned the column.
The newspaper withdrew the article from its website Wednesday. Avila apologized for any pain the column caused. He said his views did not represent the position of the bishops' conference.
Avila had worked on policy and research for the bishops in Washington.

November 3, 2011

Apology, my ass

The Pilot, the catholic rag that posted David Avila's evil screed against gay people, wherein he said same-sex attraction is the work of Satan, has posted his "apology". It's not an apology. Here it is:

The baseball season is over

It was a very nice year. That's my take on the season. None of my favorite teams made it to the post-season but I'm okay with that. It was a good year.

Adrian Gonzalez.
Even the post-season was fun, despite my low expectations. The World Series was great except for that one lop-sided game. The other games were tremendous. Were we watching the best baseball players in America? Probably not. But they gave it their all and it turned into one of the greatest all-time baseball battles -- and never mind all those errors. I think it's fun that the Cardinals won and Tony LaRussa can go into retirement a happy man. (Okay, what I really mean is it's fun that Nolan Ryan failed big-time on live, high-definition TV and we all got a chance to see his fat face crumble. Game 6 was the uber-collapse of the century and there's tremendous fun in this.)

November 2, 2011

Lordy, would you look at this

I posted the other day about an insane column that appeared in the Archdiocese of Boston's official newspaper, The Pilot. In it, David Avila said Satan was responsible for the existence of gay people. It was an attempt to push the idea that god didn't create gays, because, you know, that'd be a mistake. So naturally, the devil did it.

It was so embarrassingly off the wall that they're gonna take it back! Here's an excerpt from the linked article:

Slider puzzles

I wanted to download a game to play during those interminable minutes spent in doctors' waiting rooms, and found one that emulates the old plastic slider-puzzles we played with as kids. Well, some of us did, anyway.

When I tried to do it I couldn't even get 3 and 4 in place! I was horrified and quit the game. But I tried again today and had no problem doing the whole thing, lickety-split. You just make a train with your numbers and then choo-choo them into place. Simple.

So I guess I'm not getting Alzheimers. Weird how it came back to me. It's like riding a bike -- something you don't forget. My brain recalled the choo-choo move and that was that. I guess the game is about spatial relationships and keeping a certain number of things in mind at the same time. Or something. Anyway, it's fun. Did you play "15" -- as it was called in the day -- when you were a kid?

By the by, the free app sucked but the 99-cent one worked great.

Tom Friedman looks like a fool -- again

If you hate Tom Friedman -- and I certainly hope you do -- you'll enjoy this post at Donkey Mountain. By the way, DM has the best subhead for his blog:
“Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.” H.L. Mencken

All hail Krugman!

I love Paul Krugman all the time but I love him even more today. He whomped the Mayor of Money big-time on his blog.

Go read Michael Bloomberg, Ignoramus. I hope Mikey's ears are burning and his face is beet red. If not, he's an even bigger jerk than I think he is.

Next up: Mikey tells the police to go full jackboot on the OWS demonstrators. You know it's coming.

Catholic bishops on gays: the devil is to blame

Logo of the Evil Ones.
Hat tip to Joe Jervis for pointing me to this story. The evil US Conference of Catholic Bishops is trying to convince the flock that Satan causes homosexuality. The USCCB wrote the most inane, unbalanced, hate-filled rant against gays -- and it was published in the official newspaper of the Boston archdiocese.

It's such a funny article. Read it if you like, and watch the writer tie himself up in knots as he tries to push an insane proposition on readers. There are gems throughout the piece. Here's one:

November 1, 2011

Only religion can teach us about morality

Kosher slaughtering.
So a zillion rabbis have descended on Poland to deal with pressing religious matters.
This year's Conference of European Rabbis will focus on a range of issues affecting European and global Jewry, including attempts in Europe to ban the Jewish method of religious slaughter of animals
Ah, yes, the religious slaughter of animals. How could we forget that? Seemingly one of the rabbis' most pressing concerns involves the fact that Poland has a law requiring that animals be stunned before they are slaughtered.

The beginning of the end of death

Immortality is coming. Check this out.