May 31, 2012

More religious dimwittery

There's an AP story today about the guy who died while handling snakes for jeebus. I linked to Jerry Coyne's dry summary of the event in the post below. In the AP story, there's this gem from a witness:
"I don't think anyone necessarily expected it," she told the newspaper, "but they've dealt with it before so it's not such a huge shock, maybe." 
It's just a normal day at the office for these folks. Dimwits, one and all. Here's a quote from the guy who died:
"I know it's real; it is the power of God," Wolford told The Washington Post Magazine last year. If he hadn't started handling snakes after returning to his church, he said, "it'd be the same as denying the power and saying it was not real." 
Indeed. And now you're dead. That's what's real.

Hey folks, I've been told mobile readers can't comment on this blog of late. If you experience this problem, would you let me know through the contact address at the bottom left of this page? Thanks (not that I know what to do about it if this is happening).

May 30, 2012

Religious fool dies

Mr. Baseball - 2012

Bryce Harper.
So far it's been a mega-year for baseball fans. You might not see it this way if you're a Cubs fan, but a ton of other teams have been playing really, really well.

It's the pitching. It's so damn good lately. I've never watched so many good pitcher-duels. My guy, Gio Gonzalez is doing splendidly, as is R.A. Dickie, my favorite pitcher. It's come down to the Nats and the Mets for me. They're my teams this year. The Mets were always my team but the Nats finally got good enough to be exciting.

And it's not just the pitchers who make the Nats great. If you're not a baseball fan, you probably don't even know who Bryce Harper is. He's a kid who just came up for the Nats and instantly became a baseball star. This kid is baseball personified. It's always fun to watch him play.

The best game so far was the one between the Nats and the Phillies where asshole Cole Hamels, trying to look like a guy, purposely hit Bryce Harper in the back with a pitch. He admitted it later: he tried to hit this 19-year-old kid who'd just come up and had never done anything to him in his life. What a cowardly move. Cole Hamels, you will always suck, in my eyes. Always.

But Bryce got on base because Cole hit him, and then he stole not one but two bases, including home. He got back at Hamels, big-time. You gotta love a kid like that. And this is the way he plays every night. Baseball got a lot better the day Bryce Harper joined the game.

Sorry if you're not a baseball fan and are bored by these posts. I read a few bloggers regularly who like other sports, and I'm totally uninterested in their posts (because they're about football, for instance). What can I say? If you're not into baseball, skip these posts.

Anyone else out there enthused by the current baseball season? It's a great year.

May 29, 2012

Okay, it's ripe now

I wanted to wait until the latest scandal at the Vatican ripened before I dug in. Okay, it's ripe. The following are the unbelievably tone-deaf words of the Vatican's undersecretary of state, Archbishop Angelo Becciu. 
"I consider the publication of stolen letters to be an unprecedentedly grave immoral act," Becciu told the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano. "It's not just that the pope's papers were stolen, but that people who turned to him as the vicar of Christ have had their consciences violated." 
Can you believe this? He considers the leaking of Vatican letters to be "an unprecedentedly grave immoral act." Wow.

They pay little or no attention to the horrid things priests have done to innocent children all over the world, but they think this "scandal" is heaven-shaking. Here's more from AP:
The Vatican on Tuesday sought to put the widening scandal over leaked documents into a very different light, saying the stolen papers didn't just concern matters of internal church governance but represented the thoughts of people who in writing to the pope believed they were essentially speaking before God. 
Oh, well, now you're talking about truly important stuff: confidences divulged before the sky god. To the church, that's what's important, not raped kids. Never forget this.

The Roman Catholic church constantly reveals that it has no understanding of any moral issue. Absolutely none. Craven -- that's what they are, every one of them.

May 28, 2012

Not to steal anyone's thunder

I tried hard not to post this video after Chris in Paris posted it on Americablog this morning. That's kinda like stealing. But it's too nice. I couldn't help myself. Hat tips all the way. Here's Willy and his son, Lukas. Pretty song.


How to recognize a "real" virgin Mary apparition

That's the title of a post by Ed Brayton this morning. It lists the church's rules for evaluating potential miracles. My favorite is this:

The subject (i.e., the person closest to the "miracle") must show "habitual docility towards Ecclesiastical Authority". That is so funny. This church is run by mad power queens.

May 27, 2012

Speaking of which . . .

Hat tip to Ed Brayton for supplying a written version of something I'd only seen in video:
Members of Providence Road Baptist Church are standing behind Pastor Charles Worley and the sermon he delivered earlier this month calling for the elimination of the gay population.

Geneva Sims said she’s been listening to Worley preach the Gospel since the 1970s. She wasn’t surprised by the 71-year-old pastor’s now infamous sermon. In fact, she supports him and his message.

“He had every right to say what he said about putting them in a pen and giving them food,” said Sims. “The Bible says they are worthy of death. He is preaching God’s word.

Providence Road Baptist Church member Stacey Pritchard agreed.

“Sometimes you’ve got to be scared straight,” she explained. “He is trying to save those people from Hell.”

Pritchard said Worley’s message isn’t one of hate. Instead, she interpreted it as tough love guided by Good Book.
Christians are just brimming with love, aren't they? I'll say it again: gay people are the world's Roma.

Gays are the Roma of the world

Gay activists tried to stage two demonstrations in Moscow on Sunday to demand the right to hold a gay pride parade in the Russian capital, but they were blocked first by Orthodox Christian opponents and then by police, who detained a total of about 40 people from both sides.
Gays (and women) are the least secure people in this world. In most countries, they can be attacked and killed with impunity. And it's the year 2012. When will things change?

May 26, 2012

"Sophisticated" theology

Click for bigger.
I always crack up when someone refers to "sophisticated" theology. This is supposedly different from your typical corner-church theology. Religious apologists tell atheists that if we haven't studied the "serious" theologians, the "sophisticated" religious thinkers, then we know nothing about god.

This reminds me of people who try to improve the quality of a photograph by increasing its dpi in PhotoShop. They figure if they change a 72 dpi image to 300 dpi, they'll see more. But all it does is make a larger blur with more dots.

This is similar to the arguments of theologians. Adding "sophistication" (i.e., increasing the dpi) adds nothing. Why? Because there's nothing there in the center of the argument. No matter how much attention you focus on the god concept, no matter how "deep" your thinking, you're still focusing on nothing.

There is no god. (See how clear that statement is? And I didn't have to use any big words.)

May 25, 2012

Popey guy says absolutely nothing

The evil one.
Here's what the popey guy said to his capos (bishops) recently about gay marriage:
"Particular mention must be made of the powerful political and cultural currents seeking to alter the legal definition of marriage... Sexual differences cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to the definition of marriage. Defending the institution of marriage as a social reality is ultimately a question of justice, since it entails safeguarding the good of the entire human community and the rights of parents and children alike."
That doesn't even mean anything. It's just a bunch of words. It's ultimately a "question of justice"? Well, yes it is: justice for gay people who want to marry and should be able to. But what is the popey guy talking about? "[S]afeguarding the good of the entire human community and the rights of parents and children alike"? How? 

The church has been viciously attacking gay people for many, many years yet they have never been able to state one rational reason for their actions. Why do they attack gays? It's a question sorely in need of an answer.

But of course, the answer is a reason "that cannot speak its name". They do this because they're a bunch of closet cases. Because they're gay, and they've stupidly chosen to live within a church that condemns them for what they are, they lash out ever more furiously at...themselves. That's what closet cases do. They're the original one-trick ponies.

If I'm wrong about the church's motives, then pray tell, what is the real reason for this virulence? The popey guy's words are empty. They tell us nothing. It's an amazing travesty and I can't believe that anyone who's Catholic -- and awake -- will remain with this church much longer. And that, in case you're not keeping track, is a good thing.  

May 24, 2012

Good rejoinder

GOP wingnut Rep. James Lankford recently said that there should be no legal protections for gay people who suffer discrimination. He thinks it's fine to fire an employee for being gay. Why? Because he subscribes to the typical fundamentalist notion that we are straight people who decided to stay up late one night and went gay.

His argument goes like this. Since being gay is a choice rather than something immutable like race, where you're born one color and stay that way for life, it's nonsensical to provide legal protections for gays.

Ed Brayton had the perfect response:
Great, so you’re fine with removing religion as a prohibited basis for discrimination, right? People change their religion all the time, so it’s clearly a choice. They’re obviously demanding “special protections” that should only be accorded based on immutable traits, right? Right? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
These people are amazingly dimwitted. Were they dropped on their heads repeatedly as infants? Was there no protein in their diets before the age of 12? How does this happen to someone?

May 23, 2012

Maureen's on a roll

Maureen Dowd again has a must-read column about Catholicism, the bishops and the odious Vatican. Just go read it.

Xmas Carol update

Lately I've been quiet about Xmas Carol, my horror novel. This does not mean it's been shunted off to the sidelines. Quite the opposite -- I've been working every single day on the manuscript. It's a much better book than it was six months ago. Of this, I'm sure. The edits have gone very, very well.

In fact, I think I've got the final version in my hands right now. But I won't know until I read it again...and I'm hesitant to do this. It's such a monumental moment in the history of this book. I could be thrilled...or not.

I've read Xmas Carol so many times -- at least 30. Gotta read it once more and then maybe it's time to send it into the world so you can read it, too. No matter what the verdict, it'll be released soon, guys. Xmas Carol is about to become a part of the literary landscape.

And it's going to shake some people up. Truly.

May 22, 2012

But they're mad at Obama over birth control

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Robert Van Handel was a 15-year-old seminarian at St. Anthony's, a prestigious Franciscan boarding school, when, he said, a priest slipped into the infirmary where he was recovering from a fever and began to molest him. The priest told him it would help draw the fever out. 
That's what the church needs -- something to draw the fever out.

I deleted the Ravi post

Yesterday I put up a post meant to be satirical. Didn't work. Today I noticed that it just sounded mean so I took it down. I was playing with the idea that Ravi didn't intend Tyler to jump off the bridge when he made that recording, just as the judge didn't intend that Ravi be raped while in prison, when he handed down that sentence. But in life, there are unintended consequences. As I say, didn't work. In Blogovia, we admit our mistakes. Consider this one admitted.

Why isn't life enough for some people?

Heaven (shudder).
I don't understand religious people's obsession with "the afterlife". Why isn't living enough? And more pointedly, why do they consider human life meaningless unless eternal life is waiting in the wings? I don't get it. These people need to get out more often.

Look at the universe we find ourselves in. It's a hostile place out there yet here we are, cozy and comfy on this warm blue marble of a world. There's water all over the place and tons of stuff to eat. Life is good.

Beyond this, we can't help but compare ourselves to the other life forms on this planet. They have it great, too; don't get me wrong. But we're the lucky ones, the creatures who can understand our world and manipulate it to improve our situation. Better yet, by studying the world around us we've discovered awesome things: general relativity, quantum mechanics, evolution, dark energy, dark matter and black holes! Woot!

As a species, we're sitting pretty (while ruining the planet, but that's another post). A human can have a very rewarding life on this planet. Yet somehow, all this is meaningless if there's no heaven? What is wrong with religious people?

John Lennon's lyric -- Imagine there's no heaven -- is ultimately silly. You don't need to imagine anything. Just open your eyes and what you see is a world without a heaven. You're in it, kid. Congratulations!

May 21, 2012

Dick as philosopher

Dick by R. Crumb.
The AP headline says, "Olympic torch goes out briefly, quickly rekindled". Let's hope civilization can be restarted as easily when it disappears in the coming decades.

Speaking of which, if you're of a philosophic bent and also of a certain age, you may enjoy this Times article about Philip K. Dick, the prominent 1960s sci-fi writer. I, too, have experienced anamnesis, though only for a few moments. I found the article fascinating and hey, part II is on the way.

May 20, 2012

Cheap perfume

Image: Perfume Shrine
All perfume smells cheap, no matter what you pay for it. However, my axe to grind today is of another sort.

I bought many, many boxes of tissues at the supermarket the other day. To me, a table is undressed if there's no box of tissues on it. They must be everywhere. This morning, I opened one and there's some dreadful, cheap, floozy perfume on the tissues! Ugh.

If you're going to put cheap perfume in an item, tell me on the box! I want to avoid this item like the plague. Do you understand? Apparently these days they do it backwards, only stating when cheap, floozy perfume isn't included in the item. So now I have to search for perfume-free tissues? When did they get the bright idea to dip tissues into a bottle of Joy perfume, anyway? What idiot came up with this idea? Grrrrrrrrrrr!

Before closing the topic out, what's with these women who dump a bottle of perfume over their head before leaving the house? They're a menace -- a walking cloud of noxious odor. I swear, when one of these women comes anywhere near me, I cringe. Get a grip, ladies. And maybe go have your nose looked at. You can't smell stuff.

Sunday reading

Nice column by Maureen Dowd this morning. Check it out.

May 19, 2012

A very good thing

MIAMI (AP) — The NAACP has passed a resolution endorsing same-sex marriage as a civil right and opposing any efforts "to codify discrimination or hatred into the law." 
More of this, please. It's great to see the NAACP use this wording -- to be specific, that you cannot "codify discrimination or hatred into the law". I first heard Dr. Stephen C. Joseph, NYC's Public Health Commissioner in the early days of AIDS, say this at a press conference. He was trying to address attempts to bar PWAs from the workplace by legal means. I believe his wording was that you cannot "legislate discrimination".

Writing discrimination into law is an oxymoron. It collapses on its face. You can't legally do an illegal thing. See how that works? But try telling this to the states that have outlawed gay marriage.

Good for the NAACP. It's a huge statement for them to make. Let's see if this changes some minds.

Bill Donohue's hail to the penis

Bill Donohue. Ugh.
You know that blowhard, Bill Donohue, of the Catholic League? He's the dimwit who says bigoted, stupid things on behalf of Roman Catholicism. He serves the role of unofficial far-right spokesman for the church. This guy is a twit extraordinaire. He's also big on making Catholics look like victims, no matter the truth of the situation. There's nothing so low that Billy won't reach for it. Personally, I figure the reason he's so vicious is that he's a closet case. Anyway, you know the guy, I'm sure.

So Christine Quinn, the Speaker of NY's City Council, is getting married to her longtime partner this weekend. And because she's marrying a woman, the dimwitted Donohue couldn't keep his trap shut:
Bill Donohue, the president of the Catholic League, wished Quinn and her partner the best, but said he will never recognize their marriage.
"The people who go know they are not witnessing a wedding," he said. "I will be at a bar [on Saturday] watching the Preakness. The horses are a lot more fun - and it's real." 
So this marriage isn't "real" enough for Billy. And no one who attends will be "witnessing a wedding". I think I know why Billy chose these words for his remarks. This is a big shout-out to the penis. After all, if there's no penis involved, how could a marriage be "real"? I've heard him make slights about two men marrying, but his words didn't have this particular, dismissive tinge. Methinks Billy is upset by the very existence of lesbians. (He's probably equally horrified by the existence of women. Just saying.)

Donohue is the mental equivalent of an emotionally damaged 10-year-old boy rampaging in a schoolyard. Poor little, dimwitted Billy. He never grew up. What a sad lump he is. But at least he makes the church look awful. There's always that.

Look at this monstrosity

Oy. Look at this thing.
This is a photo of the new home-run sculpture at the Marlins' brand spanking new stadium. It was created by Red Grooms. Have you ever seen anything uglier? I mean, I know they were aiming for trashy and colorful so it would match the rest of this tatty park -- but really. It's a monstrosity.

Speaking of which, I foolishly lauded the Marlins' new uniforms in a recent post. But a week or so later, I got HD TV and saw what the uniforms actually look like. Ugh. What a garish collection of colors they chose.

Who designed this?
Plus, look at the shirt to the right. They put the first two letters on the left and then jammed not only four letters but a fish on the right. It looks so lopsided.

There is nothing nice about the Marlins new stadium, uniforms, home run sculpture or, yes, manager. (Hi, Ozzie!) The Marlins relaunch is a total bust.

Couldn't happen to a nicer team. I hate these guys (because they've always been my Mets' nemesis). Boo to it all. And sssssssss.

May 18, 2012

Tales from the yard

I still haven't taken photos of this year's chicks so you'll have to settle for this photo from last season. And now, two tales from the yard.

I put out bird seed the other day, which I hadn't done for a while. Soon, a group of adult geese came over to eat the seed. It was a pleasant sight and I watched them for a bit and then returned to work. Moments later, there was a huge ruckus in the yard so I went to see what was up. Milo, the leader of the flock, had returned and was apparently enraged at the sight of the adults eating the seed. He fought them all back and then allowed the chicks to come forward. They ate while the others watched quietly. You gotta have your priorities straight, and Milo is clear about his. He was teaching them a lesson. (NB: This should also serve as a lesson for humans who would take funds from education and after-school programs while making sure their own paychecks are lushly padded. Just saying.)

The other incident I relate secondhand. It was reported to me by my sister. She said she saw all the chicks together on the lawn one morning and -- as the adults around them calmly watched -- a coyote slowly walked over to the chicks, took one by the neck and walked away with it. No one even squawked. Nature's compromise, understood and acknowledged? It does seem odd, at least to us. But the geese seemed to understand and accept the situation.

Spring is here, with all its bells and whistles and babies. I'll bet you've seen some interesting things in your own area. Do tell.

May 17, 2012

Bizarre religious thinking

Pope Benedict XVI's ability to reform the troubled Legion of Christ has again been thrown into doubt following revelations that a half-dozen priests are under Vatican investigation for allegedly molesting children and that the order's leadership knew its most prominent priest had fathered a child yet did nothing to prevent him from teaching and preaching about morality.
But they let the popey guy talk about morality all the time -- and he's the man most responsible for hiding the priest pedophilia scandal. Isn't this a huge contradiction, kids?

Give up god now and get on the right team!

May 16, 2012

The wisdom of Hawk Harrelson

Hawk Harrelson
The other night I watched a White Sox game, mostly to hear Hawk Harrelson. I love this guy. He's an echo of a different time in baseball's history.

At one point during the game, he praised the starter, Gavin Floyd, in these words:
"He's just pitching his big, old behind off!"
Hawk, I love ya. And I hope you live forever.

One stupid thing that believers say

Believers have a hope, an expectation, a promise of eternal life in heaven, while atheists have, well, nothing. I believe that the Bible is telling us that there is more awaiting Believers after their lives on earth have ended. Ultimately if it turns out there is no God and no heaven, Believers would have lost nothing while atheists have lost everything.

-- Anonymous commenter quoted by Ed Brayton on his blog.
That is so funny. You'll have lost nothing by believing in god if it turns out it's all hogwash? You've lost your life, you idiot! You didn't see anything around you because your view was muffled by layers and layers of lies. You missed the meaning of life --  totally. It amazes me when I hear people talking about how atheists have "nothing". Duh. It sure doesn't feel that way to us. We've got everything but god -- which pretty much describes all of reality.

May 15, 2012

The tragic fall of a church

I was amused to read this today:
Documents from a clergy-abuse trial show Catholic church officials ignored complaints a Philadelphia priest had molested two boys until they heard he was also running a travel business — and competing with a big donor.
Craven. All of them. Absolutely craven.

Story about psychopathic children

A sweet, sweet child.
Shades of "The Bad Seed". I enjoyed this story at the NY Times. But then, I've always been keenly interested in psychopaths. Their emptiness is intriguing.

Very little is known about child psychopaths. All we see is the devastation they cause as adults. The linked article chronicles one of the first attempts to get a handle on the issue of child psychopathy, and includes several anecdotes about rather chilling children. (I'll tell you one thing: I don't envy the mothers. That's a hard row to hoe.) It's a long article but if you've got a cup of coffee and some time on your hands, it's a fascinating read.

And yes, I love the movie. Did you ever notice that the guy who plays Leroy, the dumb handyman, also does the voice in the radio broadcast about the death at the school? Caught that the last time I saw it. There are many wonderful things to be said about this movie. It's one of my favorites -- in a decidedly campy way.

May 14, 2012

Bloomberg's remarks on gay marriage bittersweet

Isn't it marvelous? Mikey Bloomberg trotted off to North Carolina to give a commencement speech in which he chastised NC for outlawing gay marriage. He looks like such a good guy in his festive gown, doesn't he? Goshes. Here's an excerpt from his remarks:
"Each and every generation has removed some barrier to full participation in the American dream. That work is not over. Far from it," Bloomberg said. "And I would argue last week’s referendum banning same-sex marriage shows just how much more work needs to be done to ensure freedom and equality for all people."
Watta guy, huh? But here in NYC we know the real Mayor Mikey Bloomberg. And there is no doubt that he is the enemy of every citizen of color who doesn't have a million dollars in his bank account. Read today's NYT editorial -- The Injustices of Stop and Frisk -- for the other side of the story.

Champion of human rights? I don't think so. Mikey cleaves closely to the Nazi side of the aisle. He is utterly contemptible.

Photo credit: Takaaki Iwabu/The News & Observer via AP

May 13, 2012

Contacting the sky god: lessons from baseball

The sky god.
For those of you who don't know how to contact the sky god, baseball points the way. Ever since the sport became a bastion of Christianity, players have been demonstrating the correct technique. Here are two effective variations:

1. Forehead, chest, left shoulder, right shoulder, one-potato. You have contacted the sky god!

(And by "one-potato" I mean the move you make when doing "one potato, two potato, three potato, four." You know how when you say "one potato" you bring your fist to your mouth and sort of kiss the hole made by your thumb and index finger? That's the one-potato move. So, from the top: Up, down, left shoulder, right shoulder, one potato. You've got it now! You are connected with the sky god!)

2. Make the sign of the cross without the one-potato move, and then close your eyes and look constipated as you send your prayer upward. Then comes the tricky part: you must make the sign of the cross again at the end, to close your session. So it's: sign of the cross; send prayer upward with constipated look on face; end with sign of the cross again. You have contacted the sky god!

Sunday morning music

I can't help but love this song. It's perfect. I'm going to post it once a year.

May 12, 2012

I liked this story

It's a little ditsy, but sweet. Check it out.

What's your greatest online pet peeve?

The thing that drives me nuts is when a site constantly updates itself while I'm trying to read the goddamn page. I'm lookin' at you, HuffPo, because you're the worst offender. Why on Earth do you update your page six times a minute?! It's not like there's anything there worth reading or, pardon my mirth, like there might be breaking news to publish. On HuffPo? Get real.

(Explanation for slumming: I've been going to HuffPo lately to look at their incredibly idiotic religion section. There are such ill things there; I can't resist. The whole thing is low-hanging fruit.)

Internet sites should provide a "Paralyze the Page" button for readers. Otherwise, in extreme cases like HuffPo, it's like you're trying to read the page on the back of a guy who's jogging.

What drives you crazy online?

May 11, 2012

Mr. Baseball

Gio Gonzalez (Wikipedia)
Mr. Baseball, the baseball god, inhabits only one player at a time, imbuing him with supernatural baseball powers. He was in Josh Hamilton this week when he hit those four homers. You can't deny this. It's obvious.

Usually it's difficult to predict where Mr. Baseball will pop up, though he stayed inside Jose Reyes for over a month last year. The baseball priests had never seen such a lengthy visitation. They had to amend the Baseball Bible. But typically, Mr. Baseball's visits last only as long as a game.

Until now, that is. There's a pitcher named Gio Gonzalez who has a direct line to Mr. Baseball. Each and every time he's on the mound, Mr. Baseball magically transforms his game. If you want to see pitching like nothing you've ever seen before, check this kid out. He starts for the Nats tonight at 7 pm ET.

Amen. (And Gio, after this plug you'd better have a good game. Just saying.)

Popey guy sways to musical strain

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI has expressed his gratitude after a concert of sacred music by Vivaldi and Verdi conducted by maestro Riccardo Muti at the Vatican.
...Muti kissed the pope's hand before Benedict handed him a red box with a pontifical medal.
...Napolitano gave the pope an 18th-century violin.
It must be wonderful to be the Queen.

So that's why the church attacked US nuns

Found this at (blush) HuffPo:
Now it turns out that conservative American churchmen living in Rome -- including disgraced former Boston Cardinal Bernard Law -- were key players in pushing the hostile takeover of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, or LCWR, which they have long viewed with suspicion for emphasizing social justice work over loyalty to the hierarchy and issues like abortion and gay marriage.

Vatican observers in Rome and church sources in the U.S. say Law was "the person in Rome most forcefully supporting" the LCWR investigation, as Rome correspondent Robert Mickens wrote in The Tablet, a London-based Catholic weekly. Law was the "prime instigator," in the words of one American churchman, of the investigation that began in 2009 and ended in 2011. The actual crackdown was only launched in April.
Law is the Cardinal who allegedly hid the sexual transgressions of pedophile priests in Boston, transferring them to other areas where they could prey upon more children. In the midst of this scandal, the popey guy promoted him to a cushy job in Rome. And he's the one who pushed the Vatican to attack US nuns?

This church is way beyond irony.

May 10, 2012

What more do voters need to hear?

The GOP-controlled House has passed legislation to replace a looming 10 percent cut to the military budget with cuts to domestic programs like food stamps and health care.
That's it in a nutshell, kids. What else do you need to know?

Fun times ahead

There's not much more to this article than the excerpts I include below. I hope this turns into a big, juicy, the-bishops-are-clearly-idiots type of thing. Phew. They must stay up late at night trying to come up with the next big mistake they can make. It's an amazing, hateful crew, this U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Last week, the nuns; this week, the Girl Scouts -- and always, the gays.
The Girl Scouts of the USA have long been a lightning rod for conservative criticism. Now they're facing their highest-level challenge: An official inquiry by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 
I wish they said more. There's this tidbit:
At issue are concerns about program materials that some Catholics find offensive, as well as assertions that the Scouts associate with groups whose stances conflict with church teaching.
Excuse me, but I had no idea the Girl Scouts were an official arm of the Roman Catholic Church. Are they the Roman Catholic Girls Scouts of the USA? Their Wikipedia entry makes no mention of a direct link to His Popeyness.

The Girl Scouts of the USA can't associate freely with others? Can't create their own program materials? What on Earth are these prissy old men regurgitating now? I can't wait to find out! Good times!

May 9, 2012

Okay, I'm officially surprised

It seems Obama has expressed clear support for gay marriage -- and did so in a very nice way. I like the kids reference in his reasoning. Go read it if you haven't. I'm sure it'll be all over the news all day, every day for a while.

And yes, color me very surprised.

May 8, 2012

Never underestimate the allure of the peanut

I do believe the last squirrel is out of the attic. Hoorah! Since I mentioned my squirrel problem here the other day, I thought I'd report back.

Setting three bug bombs off in the attic was a waste of time (and somewhat evil, seen in retrospect). We thought we scared them out so we closed up all the holes. Dum-te-dum-tum. No go. The squirrels stayed up there throughout the whole thing. I find this shocking but that's what happened.

So then I had dog knows how many squirrels penned up in my attic, breathing horrible gas fumes. In other words, the situation was even worse. Luckily, a friend of my sister's lent me a squirrel trap. I put some peanuts, still in their shells, into the trap and left it on top of a duct (that looked fun to walk on, if you were a squirrel).

Worked like a charm. Within a matter of hours, I trapped four squirrels (one at a time) and let them loose outside. There were three babies and one adult and all seemed fine despite the bug bombs. Phew. I'm glad for that.

In all, it was so easy that I'm not worried about any future squirrel-tenants. I'll just lure them into the pain-free trap with the food of the gods: peanuts. Never underestimate the power of a peanut.

Missing phrase

Talking about ourselves -- whether in a personal conversation or through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter -- triggers the same sensation of pleasure in the brain as food or money, researchers reported.
Missing phrase: "if you're an idiot".

May 7, 2012


PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Roman Catholic parishioners were told their priest had to leave his church in 1992 because he had Lyme disease, even though his removal actually came after an altar boy's fondling complaint, a witness testified Monday.
And some people still call themselves Catholic. Go figure.

A baseball player's progression

The trajectory of a very successful baseball player's career:
  1. Minor league nobody
  2. Rookie
  3. Player with a contract
  4. Vetchren player
  5. Product spokesperson
  6. Hall of Famer
  7. TV announcer
  8. Fine gentleman
You just have to hope you go the distance.

May 6, 2012

What's your favorite surround sound effect?

So far, the best surround sound effect -- and by this I mean the one that made me laugh the most -- was when it rained at a baseball game and I heard the drops hitting all around me. That was wonderful.

What's your favorite?

How could I not post this?

Kanye West takes one of my favorite Bon Iver songs and messes with it. It'll wake up your Sunday.

May 5, 2012

Funny remark by the popey guy

Pope Benedict XVI warned that without an explicit reference to God, aid work risked "falling prey to harmful ideologies."
I think that's so funny. It's literally impossible to do good without god. Sorry, but it doesn't work that way. He should read this recent study:
Highly religious people are less motivated by compassion than atheists, agnostics and less religious people, according to a new study.
Okay, so he was talking about Catholic aid agencies. But the comparison still applies. The only reason he said this to his aid agencies, by the way, was to ensure that they say vicious things about gays and abortion. According to the popey guy, you must include these hate activities in order to be a Vatican-approved Christian aid agency. (This is also why he's so mad at the nuns: no hate.)

What does this say about his religion and his vicious god? Whew. This popey guy has ruined Christianity in a few short years, not that there was much good about it before his reign. Still, I don't remember Roman Catholicism being anywhere near this hateful before the popey guy popped up. 

May 4, 2012

Cenk's advice to CNN

Cenk Uygur wrote a great letter of advice to CNN. Just go read it.

The squirrel plan

Okay, so Slappy the squirrel and his pals are ripping my attic to pieces. I can't believe the noises I hear. It's like a construction crew is up there redesigning the place.

So here's the plan. This afternoon we're going to set off two bug bombs in the attic. We'll give them a chance to scurry and then patch up any holes we find in the house. Will this work? I don't know. But it's a way to do it without hurting Slappy and his new family, so I hope so.

Wish me luck!

May 3, 2012

Fuzzy costumes drive me crazy

I cannot abide these people who dress up in "cute" fuzzy mascot costumes at baseball games. But I mean I really can't stand them.

You know how Sam the bartender on Cheers felt about mimes? That's exactly how I feel about people in fuzzy costumes. I want to scrunch these mascots underfoot. I want them to disappear.

I hate them with a passion and will even change the channel if I can't fast-forward past the images. Grrrrrrrr.

I don't suppose there's anyone out there who feels similarly. Anyone? Sam? Ted? Anyone?

Gee, I wonder why

Traces of blood and fragments of muscle, tendon, skin and hair found on 2,000-year-old stone knives have given researchers the first conclusive evidence that the obsidian blades were used for human sacrifice long ago in Mexico.
"These finds confirm that the knives were used for sacrifices," Mainou said.
Sky gods, anyone? And of course, today we see Catholics imbibing the "body and blood" of jeebus -- every day, if they want to. Religion is sickening on so many levels.

We got babies!

Unfortunately, this isn't the best shot. When the babies are very young, the adults keep them a safe distance away from humans. This was the best I could do with a telephoto lens. You can see a slightly larger version if you click on the image.

They are cute, aren't they? I like babies of all sorts, even humans.

I say to the world: keep your damn planes away from my babies (and adults, for that matter).

May 2, 2012

Good gay/church story

It's at HuffPo, I'm afraid, but it's a good story. If you like the gay guys to win (in a moral sense) and the bishops to lose (in every sense), you'll enjoy reading this.

Catholic bishops attack gay people at every opportunity and their actions are taking a toll on the church. Can we all admit that they looked like evil morons when they attacked American nuns last week? And let's not forget their recent foray into politics, where they trotted out a meaningless campaign about contraception and government, just to please the GOP.

They're not doing these things in the dark. Catholics see these actions and they are not pleased. Truly, the pope and the bishops are the greatest threats facing Roman Catholicism today. By their actions, the bishops show the church's true, evil face to the people. This does not go unnoticed.

May 1, 2012

Interesting times

Stinging Gas Sends May Day Protesters Fleeing
AP: Thousands of protesters in New York demanded an end to income inequality and housing foreclosures. Police fired tear gas to disperse marchers in Oakland, Calif. And black-clad demonstrators smashed windows in Seattle.
Black-clad police: hurrah! Black-clad populace: scary! The times may indeed be changing and it's about damn time. Way past, actually. Let's hope real people can make a dent in the corporate monstrosity that is sucking the life out of our country. To all the protesters: I salute you.

Supporting the nuns

Yesterday's Star Tribune comic.
Nick Kristof, the NY Times op-ed guy I chastised recently, has a great column up today about the popey guy and the nuns. Here's an outtake or two:
If you look at who has more closely emulated Jesus’s life, Pope Benedict or your average nun, it’s the nun hands down . . .

“How dare they go after 57,000 dedicated women whose median age is well over 70 and who work tirelessly for a more just world?” [Mary E.] Hunt [a Catholic theologian] wrote. “How dare the very men who preside over a church in utter disgrace due to sexual misconduct and cover-ups by bishops try to distract from their own problems by creating new ones for women religious?”
This is one of the worst things the popey guy has done and it's going to blow up in his face, big-time. Even I like the nuns. Sure, they're dopey for jeebus but they're good people who try to help those in need. You can't knock that. The popey guy is doomed.