April 30, 2012

Place to be

Someone -- I'm not sure who -- did a nice job with this Nick Drake video. There's not much to work with since there are few pictures of Drake but the photos in this video are evocative and presented in a pleasing way. This is my favorite of his songs (though Pink Moon is up there too). I've posted the song before but the new video gives me an excuse to re-post. Here it is.

April 29, 2012

Hippie NYC

I happened upon this video while searching for an image of an old coffee shop in Greenwich Village. I loved going there for cappuccino in the 60s. Never found the name of the place but I did bump into this. I'm posting it because this is really how we looked back then. It's not the stylized, overdone hippie of media -- it's us, just like we were. Sure brought back those great days for me.

Fun op-ed

I love Maureen Dowd's final line in her Times column this morning:
The pope needs what the rest of us got from nuns: a good rap across the knuckles.

Baseball weekend

Phew! I had a career-high 10 outfield assists last night! I'm exhausted. No...wait a minute! It was some guy on TV who did that. Jeez. With the HD and the large screen and all, sometimes it's hard to tell who's doing what. But now I remember. Yup, it was definitely the guy on TV. I'm still tired, though.

Baseball's been weird and fun lately. I couldn't believe Ozzie Guillen put four pitchers into a game, each of whom walked his batter. It had never happened in baseball before. Four different pitchers in a row! And then two nights later his pitcher walks four batters in a row. The man is cursed by dog since he saluted Castro. It's an obvious dog-directed thing he's going through. Ozzie as Job: clear as day.

I also enjoyed watching (who the hell was it) who'd pitched 12 losing games in a row. Something like that pulls me into a game, you know? I hear it and I'm hooked. But he did well, the lad. One drama ended. The poor kid can sleep now.

And I don't care what that couple said on TV, they were cruel to that little boy. So there, Rangers couple! You will forever live in infamy. When little kids cry in this country, we give them the ball. It's how we roll. Understand?

Little dramas, spread throughout the leagues. I love it all. And in case this needs saying: I'm never ever going out again now that I've got an HD big-screen thing going on. Lord! (There are no lords, of course. Always remember that.)

April 28, 2012

Religion is a Ponzi scheme

Religion is the most successful kind of Ponzi scheme because it hides the moment of payoff behind the impenetrable barrier of death. There's never any accounting because, ahem, no one survives death.

You have to give them credit for coming up with this one. Not one person has ever come back to say, "You fiends! You liars! How dare you promise me an afterlife?! I'm rotting in my goddamn grave! Damn you!!"

And so it goes. Gullible people will always be drawn to gods, witchcraft and lotteries. And they'll get absolutely nothing for their meaningless efforts and wasted lives.

Way to go, churches! And no one can even prosecute you for your Ponzi scheme! You guys are perfect, untouchable criminals. You must be so proud!

April 27, 2012

Umpire's touchy hands

During a game the other night, one of the announcers finally spoke about something that always bothered me: the way some umpires put a hand on a catcher's back during a pitch. You've got to be kidding.

They were talking about a catcher whose name I missed. Apparently, he said an umpire pushed him as he was trying to make a catch. There didn't seem to be an end to the story but I was glad to finally hear it mentioned. Duh, of course it sucks to have another person's hand on your back as you're trying to make an athletic move.

Are the umpires so old and feeble that they can't stand on their own? I mean, what the hell is this about? They should definitely keep their hands off the players.


April 26, 2012

The planes must go!

Plane hounds innocent flock.
There have been so many stories lately of planes hurting birds. It's insanity! We can't let this go on a minute longer.

Here's what we must do -- we have to stamp planes out at their earliest stage, when they're just "babies". This means closing the factories that build the planes. We must! If we allow them to build more planes, who knows how many innocent geese may die? Surely it's clear that we have to act now.

I urge you to call your congress-critter and tell him or her to lash out at the airplane companies! Kill their incentives. Stamp out their financial streams. And insist that the world bank freeze their assets so they can't start making baby planes elsewhere!

Keep the skies free for birds!

PS: The geese had eight babies last night. They're so cute! I'll take photos soon.

April 25, 2012

Remember when the US Supreme Court used to inspire respect?

AP -- Bucking the Obama administration, Supreme Court justices seemed to find little trouble Wednesday with major parts of Arizona's tough immigration law that require police to check the legal status of people they stop for other reasons.

Writers, race and fiction

In the early days of this blog I covered the basics of writing a novel. No one taught me how to do this so I built the process myself from the ground up, and wanted to share what I'd learned. I approached it cleanly -- there would be no givens, no sacred cows. I wasn't going to try to write like others did. I'd make it up from whole cloth. This post is about where I landed on one of the issues I encountered as a writer.

One of my characters is African-American. (There are several in my books but I'm talking about one here, for sake of argument.) When it came time to write the first scene where he played a role, I wondered if I should reveal his race. I mean, if the character was white I probably wouldn't, right? So why did I have to do it for an African-American character? It seemed offensive to feel a need to state that this character is African-American. Why was that necessary? The character is a person.

So I didn't mention it. Later on in the book I alluded to the character's race in another way. But he appeared in earlier scenes that contain no racial reference. I think I like this way of doing it. If the reader is surprised later on in the book, perhaps they'll wonder why they're surprised. I like that, too.

I may not do this in every book and with every racial group, but as a writer it was an interesting issue to think my way through. As I say, I think I like where I landed.

April 24, 2012

Evil sky god speaks through popey guy

Shady popey guy.
An AP story reveals that the popey guy isn't mean. He's just enacting the sky god's plan. Here's how the story begins:
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI began his eighth year as pope on Tuesday after spending the waning days of his seventh driving home his view of the Catholic Church, with a divisive crackdown on dissenters and an equally divisive opening to a fringe group of traditionalists. 
He's a fun guy. The article is an attempt to understand "Benedict's recent moves to quell liberal dissent and promote a more conservative brand of Catholicism" Is it all coming from the evil popey guy's mind? Is he the worst thing that ever happened to Roman Catholicism? Nah, they say.
The pope promised [in 2005] not to impose his own will on the church but to rather listen "to the word and the will of the Lord, to be guided by him, so that he himself will lead the church at this hour of our history." 
See? It's the sky god who wants to punish liberal catholics, nuns, women in general, and gays. The poor popey guy's got nothing to do with it. The words fall out of his mouth, sure -- but it's not his fault! He's sweet -- cuddly, even. It's just that the sky god is making him say these awful things.
The Vatican last week put those words into action, cracking down on the largest umbrella group of nuns in the United States, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious . . . and accused the group of taking positions that undermine church teaching on the priesthood and homosexuality, while promoting "certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith." 
Indeed. Let's all attack the nuns for having a heart. That'll help the church's image. But it's not just the nuns.
[O]n the very day it announced the crackdown on the U.S. nuns, the Holy See said it was nearing agreement to bring an ultra-traditionalist conservative group of Catholics back into communion with Rome after two decades of schism.  

To critics, the coincidence was remarkable: the Vatican was in a way rejecting the U.S. nuns who had embraced Vatican II and its call to go out into the world to serve the poor, while embracing the Society of St. Pius X which had rejected Vatican II.
But as he says, it's not him; it's the sky god who whispers in his ear. What can the poor guy do?

Is this guy the best thing that ever happened to the Roman Catholic Church, or what? He's given us pedophilia scandals that he himself facilitated. And he's begun a literal pogrom against gays throughout the world. (And let us note that the popey guy is a big queen. Closet cases always lash out at openly gay men. It's what they do.) He clearly is the most evil pope in ages. If he keeps this up, the church won't last another ten years. Go, popey guy!

April 23, 2012

How Norway is handling its terrorism issue

I think this is a story everyone should read. It's an AP report about the way Norway is treating Anders Behring Breivik's trial. He's the rightwing loon who killed all those kids. It's such a departure from the way things are done in our own wildly Christian country, where anger and hatred are the norm.

Note that Norway, by some estimates, is 70% atheist. This is how rational people handle things. It's reassuring to know that some people, somewhere, are reasonable. Judging by our ignorant-git US of A standards, you'd never know this sort of behavior was possible.

AP, by the way, totally missed the boat on this story. They say this:
The subdued atmosphere during the trial of a right-wing fanatic who confessed to slaughtering 77 people on July 22 reflects Norway's almost self-punishing efforts to avoid feelings of vengeance against the unrepentant gunman.
Indeed. Different from your way of doing things, so therefore "self-punishing", eh? They're doing exactly the right thing.

April 22, 2012

Shroud-obsessed religious wingnuts

Me (A/K/A Evil Atheist Blogger)
Right after I wrote that no one commented on my post about the Shroud of Turin being an obvious fake, someone did comment! It was weird, though. I got the comment emailed to me, as all comments are, but it never appeared on either of my Shroud posts. I have no idea why. I figured the guy got cold feet and clicked the "remove my comment" button.

Anyway, I was checking my blog traffic stats today when I noticed that I'm getting hits from a loony Shroud site. Hallelujah! So I clicked on over and found this. I commented back, but they moderate their comments. Can't have atheist remarks on their site, now, can they? Mind you, he's complaining that I blocked his comment. Nonsense. I welcome wingnuts. Come on down!

So go check that out, if this sort of thing interests you. His comment is not logical but he has no clue about this. They never do. If and when I have a moment, I'll rip it up for you guys. Fun! But for now, I have real work to do in the actual, you know, real world.

Welcome wingnuts!

PS: In case you don't want to get cooties by visiting a Shroud web site, I've included the guy's "lost" comment in the comments on this post.

If I had a robot

If I had a robot, I'd name him "Your Eminence". And I'd tell him that it's his job to ensure that my ponytail stays in back when I bend over to wash my face or brush my teeth.

If you had a robot, what would you name him? And what vital task would you let the robot handle for you?

April 21, 2012

There is no god. Repeat. Repeat again.

Whenever anyone, no matter who, mentions god I say, "There is no god." I don't bring it up on my own and I let "God bless you" announcements fly by without notice (since they're just a tic and bear no relationship to god) but if anyone says "I'll pray for her" or something similar, I jump in.

This is helpful and good. So many people live in a Christian bubble in this country. They have no idea there are people who don't believe in god. To them, this is an inconceivable notion.

I think it's possible to open minds to new possibilities simply by saying that god is a nonsensical idea. So don't keep quiet. Tell people where you stand. Say, "There is no god!" and say it loud and often. Say it to priests, cops, judges, doctors, cashiers and housewives. Say it to anyone who tells you that they believe in god.

It doesn't have to be confrontational (though that's fun, too). Just say it. You may end up helping the person more than you know. Once their closet door opens a crack, the light begins to pour in. And that crack may widen, especially if the person has a curious mind.

So say it loud and say it often: there is no god.

PS: I actually made that shirt and wear it proudly.

April 20, 2012

Squirrels in the attic

No, it's not another post about religious wingnuts. I'm talkin' real squirrels and attics here.

At least one squirrel has moved into my attic after weeks of eating his way through the walls of the house. I tried to dissuade him on many occasions by throwing uncooked soy beans at him but it didn't work. I won't hurt him, of course. It's Slappy, my friend and most favorite squirrel in the world. Hurt Slappy?! Never.

Which is why getting rid of him is going to be a pain. I'm trying to enlist two friends to enact a plan. I think I know where he gets in, and if two of us watch the house from outside while another goes into the attic to freak Slappy out, I figure he'll leave and we can patch the hole.

Mind you, he'll just eat his way back in. Poor Slappy. He's just making a safe nest to have babies. It's Spring and it's what you have to do if you're a squirrel. It's the rules. So I can't blame him. In his shoes, I'd be doing the same thing.

Anyway, you oughta hear my attic right now. It's a party up there. Now, where are those damn friends?

More odd copy that an editor should have caught

Today, NY1's web site had a story with this lead-in:
Sources tell NY1 a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art accidentally shot themselves in the leg this afternoon.
Maybe the guard is a multiple personality and the wording is an attempt to be inclusive. Who can say?

Jackboots will be the norm

This out today:
NEW YORK (AP) — President Barack Obama's top counterterrorism adviser is praising the New York Police Department's work. He says the department has struck a balance between keeping people safe and protecting their rights. 
Indeed. NYC, which has become the SWAT/jackboots/community-spying/minority-frisking capital of America under Mikey Bloomberg, is now the model to be emulated, according to our Nobel Peace Prize-winning president.

You hear that fat lady singing? It's all over kids. Welcome to the new America. You're not gonna like it much -- unless you're rich.

April 19, 2012

Seriously, what is wrong with these people?

Don't you love it when Christians scream about how they're oppressed? I mean, it's just the funniest thing. Like a Christian has ever been oppressed in the Christian-mad United States. Yet they wail endlessly. Here's one from today:
PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — The Anti-Defamation League wants an Illinois bishop to apologize for a homily that compared President Barack Obama's health care policies to actions by Adolf Hitler, but a diocese spokeswoman says the comments were intended as historical context.

Peoria Roman Catholic Bishop Daniel Jenky said Sunday that Obama is following previous governments that "tried to force Christians to huddle and hide only within the confines of their churches." He pointed to Hitler in Germany and Josef Stalin in the Soviet Union.

ADL Regional Director Lonnie Nasatir said Thursday that Jenky needs a history lesson on the "religious intolerance and anti-Semitism fostered in society" by Hitler and Stalin.
Diocesan Chancellor Patricia Gibson, however, says Jenky offered the comparisons to "prevent a repetition of historical attacks upon the Catholic Church and other religions." 
Indeed. What planet do these people inhabit? They are trying to install a Christian theocracy in this country and they're oppressed? But hey, reality has nothing to do with it. These folks haven't even met reality. 

Dog forbid these people ever get their hands on real power because they'll bring about the end of modern civilization. They're that mad.

What gets hits

It's always weird to look at your blog stats. Lots of people are visiting my site but I don't think they're very happy when they get here.

I say this because my derisive post about the Shroud of Turin is getting the most hits by far. It seems people google "Shroud of Turin" and somehow end up here. Something tells me these folks might not like what I said about the infamous fake shroud.

Which brings me to the other odd thing: they never comment. Never. Just this week, 260 people visited that post. Were they incensed to learn that the shroud is a fake? Did they huffily retreat and click on over to the Vatican's site? Are they praying for me now?

I have no idea because no one ever posts a comment. I think I sort of understand. There was a time in the past when I hesitated to comment on blogs, but I got over it. These people should, too. It would be fun to get some wingnut comments.

PS: The second most popular post is the one I wrote about Brian Wilson's sexuality. I wish the popey guy posts were the most popular. Maybe someday, huh?

April 18, 2012

Popey guy hates him some snarky nuns

The popey guy.
You know what nuns need, don't you? A man to straighten them out, of course. The popey guy comes to the rescue.
AP: The Vatican's orthodoxy watchdog announced Wednesday a full-scale overhaul of a group representing most U.S. nuns and named an American archbishop to oversee the reform. 


Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain will manage the five-year reform, which will include rewriting the group's statutes, reviewing all its plans and programs — including approving speakers — and ensuring the group properly follows Catholic prayer and ritual. 
Are you laughing yet? Talk about a tone-deaf Vatican. These guys are going to bring down the church within a decade, I swear. Everyone over here in the US knows the nuns are the only sane ones in the entire Roman Catholic menagerie. And that's why the popey guy has to stomp them out. He wants him a man in there. Because you can only count on guys. Women are just nonsensical creatures, fluff -- stuff you can just toss aside. Who needs women when you've got men, right?

Our rightwing world strikes again. There's a war on women from everywhere now, including the goddamn Vatican. (Mind you, the Vatican has always been at war with women but it seems they're coming out of their closet now, with guns loaded. Damn those nuns!)

Go sign this petition

Remember Joseph Amodeo, the guy who quit the NYC church group over Cardinal Timmy Dolan's "arrogant and dismissive letter to Carl Siciliano"? Well, now he's launched a petition to ask Dolan to meet with some of NYC's homeless LGBT youth. Remember: this sinful cardinal may one day become the popey guy, which will give him a much larger platform from which to attack LGBT people. We've got to stop him now.

Add your name to the petition and let's see how this incredibly insincere, hateful man responds. Dolan should be hung out to dry over this and you can help.

Remember, 40% of the homeless kids living on the street in New York are LGBT. That's not right and it's even worse when a church that paints itself as a social service provider for those in need purposely avoids helping this group of vulnerable kids. It's sickening and un-Christian. Tell Timmy Dolan how you feel.

Thanks to Joe.My.God for alerting me to this petition. (Image stolen from Joe's site.)

April 17, 2012


I keep hearing that there's a national scandal. But when I turn to the internet, all I find are stories about prostitution -- nothing about a scandal.

Did Obama catch the GOP worshiping Satan? Did Timmy Dolan send an altar boy in chains to the Pope for a special Oil Rubdown?

I can't stand it anymore. What happened?

April 16, 2012

Not too bloggy today

It's been one of those days, over at my house. First-off, it's 90 degrees on April 16th. What's wrong with this picture? 90 degrees in the northeast at this time of year? What's August going to be like?

Plus a guy came to the house to switch my DVR to an HD system and it took six hours! He kept calling for help from the cable company but no one in India had the answers to his questions. I swear I heard this guy tell 20 different people the story, from start to finish, each time giving all the numbers and codes. How he didn't explode at their incompetence, I don't know.

But the good thing is that he succeeded -- and was one of the nicest guys ever. During the installation we discussed every aspect of our lives. He was an English major and he's basically doing this job to earn money in a bad economy. So I revved him up and by the time he left, he was determined to write a novel and work his way out of his dead-end job.

He was so grateful for the push to write that he gave me his home number, told me his days off and said he'd be happy to help if I ever had any TV problems. And no, it wasn't a gay thing. He's straight and married and believe me when I say I'm positive he's straight. It's just that we really, really talked.

When life gives you lemons...and hey, I finally got HD TV out here in the woods! I'll bet baseball's gonna look a little better, huh?

April 15, 2012

Titanic possibilities

Did you see this image today at NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day site? It's a photograph of a Fata Morgana, an illusion that is sometimes seen on the sea. (That wall of water in the background is the illusion.)

According to NASA, a Fata Morgana can: 
"make strange shapes or a false wall of water appear above a watery horizon . . . [S]uch a Fata Morgana mirage might have obscured real icebergs from the clear view of crew onboard the Titanic."
This notion is supported by a report from a nearby vessel, the S.S. Californian, that said they saw just such a mirage. Even a hundred years later, the story of the Titanic's ill-fated voyage remains haunting. I will always be fascinated by the Titanic. It stands alone (if we can keep that damn Cameron fellow away from it).

Heaven on Earth

My idea of heaven would go something like this:
I'd live in the same house I live in now, with the same people around me. And I'd write all day and watch baseball games all evening. And then I'd wake up the next day and do the same thing.
Oh, wait! That's my life.

Never mind.

Xmas Carol update

I know you've all given up on me because I'm editing Xmas Carol for (let's face it) much too long a time. But I'm reading the book now and I'm not changing one word. It sounds great. I'm on chapter five in my read-through. If it keeps up like this through the next seven chapters, I'm done.  

And you know what that means: get ready for some reading fun. Woot! 

April 14, 2012

Giddy fun

I must be going manic. I say this because I'm giddy. That's always the first sign. Well, that and ordering tons of things online.

Anyway, I find the following very funny. This is an actual sentence from a NYT travel article -- except I changed one letter.
As I pulled my suitcase down the cobbled, car-free lanes of Ciutadella, the island’s ancient capital, an ocher glow bloomed across the feces of residents who sat on the terraces of back-street bars, their voices echoing within a canyon of Gothic and Baroque buildings. 
What can I say? I find it funny. Did I mention that I'm giddy? It's just that the sentence was so overdone. It begged me to do this to it. Really it did. No, really.

I fully expect all the comments on this post to take the form of:
"It's about time you included Brit bathroom humor on your site! Well done!"

Kinda makes you shudder

Former Vice President Dick Cheney walked without assistance and spoke for an hour and 15 minutes without seeming to tire in his first engagement since getting a new heart three weeks ago.

Nudity? In a text-only book?

In a list of the top banned books of 2011, put out by the American Library Association, "nudity" is stated to be one of the reasons why books were banned.

In a non-graphic, text-only book, nudity is a concern?! So if a character takes a shower, it's all over and no sensitive soul can read the book? This seems like craziness writ large.

I only hope one of my books is banned some day. What a joy that would be!

The training of a young baseball player

There are three strenuous early training programs that every young baseball player must make his way through. This is where the lads learn the skills of the trade and become (drum roll) Major League Baseball players.

In order of importance, these programs are:

1. Spitting School
2. Eating Sunflower Seeds School
3. Blowing Your Nose Without a Handkerchief School

If a rookie fails to be certified in any one of these areas he is dismissed forever from Major League Baseball.

No one reports on this stuff, so I have to.

April 13, 2012

The problem in a nutshell

Grampa Homo Habilis.
In the comments on Greg Laden's blog, I found the following:
There was a sad statement in the one blog that read "I respect that you have a faith in a savior, that you even believe that you need a savior. But why is your faith so fragile that you are not willing to discover the actual facts of the long history of the human animal?"
I must say that this is one confused atheist/secular depressive. Humans are NOT animals. Humans are set apart from the animals. We are higher. We have a soul, animals do not., We are and will be accountable to our Creator on judgement day, animals will not. We are made lower than the angels but higher than the animal kingdon, made in God's own image.
Sadly, some people just do not get Gensis and it utmost importance. It is the ultimate history text in the universe. 
This is a snapshot of what's wrong with America today. Someone politely asks a religious lunatic the most important question -- why is it that you ignore the facts? -- and gets the bible thrown back at him. They don't even hear the question. Reality has nothing to do with a religious person's life. The only thing that's real to these people is the fairytale in their head. And that's why our country will make no progress in the coming years. These people are legion in America and they will destroy science and education and democracy itself if we don't stop them. Their reign of ignorance will only end when religion is seen as a nitwit hobby, along the lines of astrology.

You can't reach religious people, which is why I never try. I only make fun of them. People who can believe the sheer nonsense that we call "religion" haven't taken their brains out for a test drive. (Meanwhile, the baboons in the post below probably have. Just saying.)

We're animals. We evolved from primitive creatures. And as for humans being special, the truth is that life is life. It's all valuable, wonderful and perfect -- no matter the species. We are not god's creatures. We are the hairless monkeys of Earth. Get over it.

(And note that none of these people can spell. Not one. This is a hint about their mental processes. Messy, messy, messy.)
Image: Wikipedia 

April 12, 2012

Baboons identify real words in sea of gibberish

It seems bizarre but it's true. A story at physorg presents the results of a French study of baboon intelligence. The creatures were shown fake words (ITCS, for instance) and real words (such as KITE). The idea was that they had to pick real words from the offerings on the computer screen. Some words were real while others were gibberish. They learned by trial and error. They made their choices and, based on whether or not they got a treat, came to understand that some words are good while others are bad. Within a short time they could tell the real from the fake words -- even when they were shown a word they'd never seen!

The baboons don't know what the words mean, of course. What's happened is that they learned to identify the pattern of English -- what letters go with other letters. (SH and TH work, ZL and XP don't.) Armed with this knowledge and their own innate and formidable pattern-recognition skills, they were able to train themselves to identify real words. Isn't that amazing?

I say it all the time: the differences between us and other creatures are a matter of degree, nothing more. They're our cousins (and so are the trees).

I love Jeff Francoeur

Jeff as a Met.
Jeff Francoeur is one of those guys who make baseball fun. He was on the Mets for a while and I fell in love with him. Not like a gay thing, like a baseball thing. He's just a happy, positive guy who really wants to help the team out. And he's talented. What more could you ask? (Okay, consistency.)

This little story is right in line with his personality. What can I say? I love the guy.

April 11, 2012

I've been looking for this for a year

I can't tell you how many times I tried to find this song. I didn't know the name of the song or the artist, and googling "schmaltzy gay piano love song" got me nowhere.

It's beautiful, and yeah it's schmaltzy. But how many lovely gay love songs are there? I rest my case.

Thanks to Joe Jervis for posting a link to this today.

The all-pastry diet

Wheat pie.
Someone gave my family six boxes of Italian pastries. Sometimes life is like this: you get manna from heaven. I've been given a huge amount of this booty, and I feel it's my duty to eat it all before it goes stale. (Sure, I could invite people over to help me eat it. But that would be wrong.)

Therefore I am on the all-pastry diet. Someone has to do it, and I've stepped forward. And while we're on the subject, one of the items is not like the others. It's wheat pie -- pastiera di grano, to Italians. Ever heard of it? It's an Italian Xmas "delicacy" and no one likes it -- or maybe they do, and it's just me that doesn't.

I put it in the same class as Xmas fruitcake, that thing we all kick around the kitchen floor, the rock-hard "cake" that even the dog won't eat. Curious about this odd food item, I googled it. There are 37 steps you have to perform to make this thing! And at the end, all you have is a damn wheat pie! Talk about wasting your time.

I'd write more but I have a lot of pastry to eat. The cannoli with the chocolate drizzled over it is wonderful. See you in a few pounds.

Image: epicurious.com

April 10, 2012

Let's hope Vin Scully is all right

Vin Scully Dodgers broadcaster.
Vin Scully, one of the best sportscasters in baseball history, will miss the next game due to a bad cold. He's 84 and in his 63 years of broadcasting has only missed one other game.

Honestly, this guy is so sharp at 84 he's a natural miracle. He out-thinks all the other broadcasters and knows more about the game than anyone.

I'm worried for him. Too bad prayer is useless, huh? But maybe if we all clap our hands...

Where does Nick Kristof hang out?

There was an op-ed at the NY Times this weekend by Nicholas Kristof. It's called Learning to Respect Religion, so right-off, you know it's bad. Whenever I read one of Kristof's columns, I think that he is a good-hearted man who doesn't think clearly. He never seems to understand the issue he's writing about.

The article is another instance of the "darn those nasty atheists" meme. They always want us to make nice. In the eyes of religious apologists, atheists are supposed to be extra sweet and polite during every exchange we have with them. The problem, of course, is that we talk about real things in our arguments while they point to sky and say, "oh, oh, oh . . . jeebus!" It's hard not to come down heavily on people who don't make sense. Here's Nick K:
[Speaking of the recent past] Atheists were firing thunderbolts suggesting that “religion poisons everything,” as Christopher Hitchens put it in the subtitle of his book, “God Is Not Great.” Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins also wrote best sellers that were scathing about God, whom Dawkins denounced as “arguably the most unpleasant character in fiction.”

Yet lately I’ve noticed a very different intellectual tide: grudging admiration for religion as an ethical and cohesive force. 
Where exactly do you hang out, Nick? In Christian fan clubs? Because what I see is more and more people coming to understand that religion is nonsense, and speaking out about it -- and not nicely. We're tired of religion. It saps the energy of the world, energy that could and should be directed at real things, like resolving the problems that face humanity.

After that crummy start to the column, Kristof goes on to praise Alain de Botton's nonsensical idea of making atheism more like religion. de Botton wants us to create temples for atheism, fer god's sake, and perform secret rituals. The man has been branded a fool by every atheist worth his salt. Cozying up to a nitwit does not make your arguments more cogent, Nick. It just shows that you naturally gravitate toward fluff and nonsense (like religion).

April 9, 2012

Hmmmmmm . . .

When it was reported that Sgt. Bales killed 17 Afghans, including many children, I immediately thought: "Speed. The guy was on speed."

Today, this seems a likely scenario. An article in today's LA Times says our soldiers are going into battle super-high on prescription drugs, including speed.

They've been doing this with American air pilots for decades. Now, speed is also on the ground. This is not a good idea.

April 8, 2012

Baseball headline and other funny stuff

"Buccholz tries to get Red Sox off the schneid at Comerica Park", screams the Chicago Tribune headline. (Meaning of schneid.)

Dog, I love the fact that baseball is back. The timing couldn't be better for me. I'm ready to lose myself in the baseball season. And hey, the Mets are 2-0 and the Yanks are 0-2. Woot!

A few funny things I've heard sportscasters say this season:

Gary Cohen about an old-time player: "Well, he was on the backside of his career then."

Hawk Harrelson: "In my time zone . . ." What he means by that is, "Back when I played . . ." I like that. It's creative. I wonder if he made it up.

And I always find it funny when they refer to a player as "a leader in the clubhouse". I picture a guy wearing only a towel around his neck, saying "C'mon guys! Let's go take a steam."

Baseball's back and I couldn't be happier.

Media notices Timmy Dolan is anti-gay

The smiling face of evil.
An article in today's New York Daily News reveals the ugly, blackened heart that sits in the chest of NY's recently minted cardinal, Timmy Dolan. Here's an excerpt:
The conflict was set in motion after Carl Siciliano, founder of the nonprofit Ali Forney Center, sent a letter to Dolan, saying his “loud and strident voice against the acceptance of LGBT people” creates “a climate where parents turn on their own children.”

Dolan fired back: “For you to make the allegations and insinuations you do in your letter based on my adherence to the clear teachings of the Church is not only unfair and unjust, but inflammatory,” he wrote. “Neither I nor anyone in the Church would ever tolerate hatred of or prejudice towards any of the Lord's children.”
He won't "tolerate" hatred or prejudice. What a joke. Dolan is the Vatican's point-man for bigotry against GLBT people. He is the primary voice of American religious hatred against gays. It's not like this is a secret. The man travels far and wide to spread his special kind of poison. And the end result is a worsened situation for GLBT people throughout the United States (and the world). This causes increased discrimination, rejection, depression and death for this population of "the Lord's children". And it's particularly harmful to young GLBT people, who are generally without resources and sometimes resort to suicide.

This is who Timmy Dolan is. He is a creature filled with hatred for GLBT folks -- and this is true despite there being no rational reason for the hatred. GLBT folks never did a thing against the church. It's all from the church's side: hate, hate, hate. It's sickening and I'm glad to finally see the general media covering this issue. I hope they stay with it.

With this sort of thing going on, day after day and year after year, I don't know how anyone remains a Catholic. I say to these people: look toward your church, see the hatred it spews against an innocent group, and then leave the church forever. It's obvious that the Roman Catholic Church has no connection to a "loving god". You've been duped.

April 7, 2012

Irony alert

The Evil One.
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI, carrying a tall, lit candle, ushered in Christianity's most joyous celebration with an Easter vigil service Saturday night, but voiced fears that mankind is groping in darkness, unable to distinguish good from evil.

We can't tell good from evil, huh? This from the man who invented the policy whereby the Roman Catholic church protected and enabled pedophile priests while casting aside child victims. And we can't "distinguish good from evil".

On the contrary, we recognize evil quite well. It's what you see in your mirror, popey guy. We're lookin' at you.

April 6, 2012

Pink Moon

The TV weatherman tells me that tonight is the Pink Moon. I didn't know there was such a thing. Apparently it's a Native American name referring to the pink flowers that bloom at this time of year.

Of course, Nick Drake's song of the same name is familiar to me. I always assumed he made the title up. Guess not, huh? Anyway, tonight's official Pink Moon gives me license to post the song again, and that's a good thing. If you haven't heard it, and even if you have, give a listen.

Havin' a good Friday

They say you're supposed to have a good Friday today. I think that's a splendid idea. I don't know about you but mine's going great! 

So how's your Friday going? And isn't this the coolest American idea ever -- setting aside a day of the week and insisting that it be "good"? Very nice. I'll bet atheists thought of it. They're so smart.

Let's push for more of this. How about Sexy Wednesday? And Reader Tuesday? Got any suggestions?

PZ does it again

I assume you've read today's story about the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church wearing a $30,000 watch -- and then lying about it. Well, PZ Myers did a fabulous job on the story. Go read it. How these religious twits can carry on after being eviscerated by PZ, I'll never know.

Iron and Wine

Lyrics below.

No Moon

Black dog bit through the keeper's chain
Small and angry when the Devil came
Sold my soul like a pocket knife
There was no moon, there'll be no milk as sweet

Tomcat curled on a rabbit cage
Brittle fingers in the potter's clay
Sold my soul and I laid her down
There was no moon, there'll be no milk as sweet

Blue bird laughs on a fallen tree
Sunset burns on a quiet sea
Sold my soul and they ran me down
There was no moon, there'll be no milk as sweet

Steve King (R): Deep Thinker

King is wrong about everything. Here is he on sexual orientation.
If colleagues never know an employee’s sexuality, there’s no opportunity to discriminate, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) told Think Progress this week.

“If you don’t know anybody’s sexuality you can’t discriminate against them,” King said in a discussion about sexual orientation in the workplace. Private businesses need the freedom to operate, King said. “I would think that, unless somebody makes their sexuality public it’s nobody’s business. Neither is it our business to tell an employer who to hire,” he added.
So I guess this means all the straight folks will stop wearing their wedding bands to work, right, Steve? And they'll never mention dating, marriage plans, babies, spouses or family life while in the office. And no more office bridal showers. Nuh-uh.

If we admit we're gay, we're flaunting it. Yet straights douse themselves in straight memorabilia and wear it everywhere they go. So you're promising an end to all that, Steve? Way to go!

April 5, 2012

The Shroud of Turin -- and nitwits

There's an article at MSN today about the Shroud of Turin, the cloth that believers think shows the face of jeebus. It's so strange that people believe this nonsense when it's been debunked by science. The shroud was made in medieval times. End of story.

But evidence is never enough for these folks. So I was amused to see an article about a new book's theory regarding the shroud. The book is called "The Sign" and it's by Thomas de Wesselow. Much to the church's horror, he says the shroud is real -- it's really from jeebus' tomb -- but the resurrection never happened. The stories about people seeing jeebus after he died are, according to the author, merely mentions of people seeing the shroud. He says people used to think that images contained the essence of a person. Here's an outtake from the article:
"I've studied images, what they mean and how they affect people," de Wesselow said. "In the old days, people saw images as potentially alive. They had potentially a consciousness. ... That type of thinking was absolutely standard before the modern age. It has nothing to do with an optical illusion, and it has nothing to do with people being stupid."
Duh. Made in medieval times. Repeat after me: "Made in medieval times." The shroud is nonsense. But I'm happy this guy has come up with an idea the church will hate. The popey guy's head must be exploding.
Meanwhile, in a column about the shroud, the Catholic Herald's Francis Phillips basically brushed off de Wesselow's views, saying they were "too eccentric to reproduce here."
C'mon kids, say it with me: "Made in medieval times." These people are major dimwits. If it was made in the 14th century (or around that time) how can it be real?! Oy.

April 4, 2012

Sleeping with the enemy

I'm watching the first baseball game of the season: Cardinals/Marlins. The new Marlins uniforms are very cool. The lettering is green and tangerine. I like it. (Mind you, on this page where the new team colors were announced, there is no jersey like the one I see them wearing tonight. I don't like the colors shown in that link at all. Yeesh. The new logo's nice, though.)

Beltran sees plane.
As I watch tonight's game, I'm in pain. It's sad to see two former Mets stars -- Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran -- playing for the Marlins. The Marlins are the Mets' longtime enemy team! It just ain't right. I understand the players play musical chairs, traveling from team to team in search of the biggest salary anyone has ever been paid -- but don't go over to the goddamn enemy.

I want Jose back.
This is why I don't understand unflinching team loyalty. The players aren't loyal so why should you be? Watch a bunch of games, pick the most interesting team and root for them. Doesn't that make sense?

Go, Tigers!

I'm being very brave, you know. Jason Varitek retired this spring. It's been difficult to carry on since I heard the news. Mr. Baseball is no longer in the game. He damn well better get a coaching job real soon so I can see him in the dugout again. Seriously, it's a tragedy. I can't even watch a Red Sox game. It just ain't the same.

Anyone else out there watch baseball? Yoo hoo.

Another appalling Christian notion

Re: the killing of seven students and the wounding of three others at a Christian college in California:
"Only God knows the meaning of the suffering we endure," Dr. Woo Nam Soo, the university's vice president, said in Korean during the church service. "In this unbearable tragedy and suffering, only God can create something good out of it." 
Indeed. I'm sure god is weaving something faaaabulous out of these killings right now. I wonder what he's going to make. It's kind of exciting, isn't it? I bet it'll be a knockout. He's an interesting fellow, this god of the Christians. It's no wonder everyone drops to their knees and worships him.

April 3, 2012

Forecast: Slightly Bloggy

I'm hard at work, finishing up Xmas Carol (for the umpteenth time). "Ah," you say, "I have my doubts, fella." But this time it's for real. I won't say when it'll be done (since I'm almost Harold Camping in terms of the accuracy of my predictions) but that day is not far off.

Meanwhile, real life is intruding. I think that's so rude! Alas, I must tend to Things Out There in the World. Drat! Give me virtual things anyday.

So: slightly bloggy for the next day or so. Have no fear. I shall return.

April 2, 2012

Editing workflow: hardware edition

Yes, of course I'm still editing Xmas Carol. I will until the day I publish the book. But this post is about hardware.

Much to my surprise, I find that using my iPod Touch and Macbook Air, I'm able to edit very efficiently. What I do is send the book to the iPod Touch, where I read it in iBooks. The shocking thing is that I can grasp the text much better on the Touch screen, compared to seeing it in Scrivener, my writing program. It's just easier to grok. I'm not sure why.

In any case, I read the book on the Touch and when I find something I want to change, I do it on the Air in Scrivener. Now and then, I turn the Scrivener file into a fresh file for iBooks and check the changes to see if they read well. As a result of this seemingly simple process, I'm doing the best editing I've ever done. The book sounds much, much better.

Any other writers out there? What tricks do you use when editing?

April 1, 2012

In case you're not a HuffPo fan

Kurt Vonnegut
I'm not a HuffPo reader but when I get bored I confess I sometimes visit the site. Today I'm glad I did. They had an article that posted part of a story and then linked to another site for the ending. Below, I send you directly to the link rather than to HuffPo.

It's a letter Kurt Vonnegut wrote to a high school whose officials burned his book in a very public way, stating that their precious little kiddies would never read his filthy words. The letter is a sheer delight.

I hope I get the opportunity to write to a twit high school after they ban Xmas Carol. So sweet! And hey, maybe the popey guy will excommunicate Catholics just for reading it. A boy can hope, right?

Quickie baseball post

So far, my favorite sportscaster remark occurred during a Red Sox/Phillies spring training game.

The sportscaster was talking about the Red Sox' "historic collapse" at the end of last season and the need to prove themselves with a good start this year. He said:
"They have to show they've got wind under their belts."