October 31, 2012

The mortal sins of fiction

I purposely committed several sins while writing Xmas Carol. If someone tells me something is a sin, I must commit it. It's my nature.

My idea is to admit these sins here and now. This way, I've done it before the crowd (ha!) arrives here after reading the book. (Right after "The End", I provide a link to this blog. I want to get people's feedback on the book and a blog seemed like a great place to do this.) By the time readers get here, this post will be lost in the archives. They'll never see it. So I can speak freely about my sins at this time.

1. I didn't play the First Sentence Game. Truly, I wanted to begin the book with "It was a dark and stormy night," but it didn't fit in with my opening scene. It had to be a nice day. As a fallback position, I spit in the faces of the First Sentence Police by beginning the book with this sentence: "Maria Kennedy felt lucky." I'm not going to play the FSG.

2. I mentioned this before but I'll list it here as a sin. I didn't say one of the characters was African-American until after we'd met him in other scenes. My idea was that it seems offensive to have to say something about a character's race. He's a person. Only after his personality was well established did I added the info that he's African-American. We'll see how this flies.

3. The biggest sin of all, and one that people may harp on, is that I never described the main female character. I say nothing about Maria Kennedy's appearance. She could have short or long hair, blonde or black. It's up to the reader to decide. The reason I did this is that I'm often irritated by descriptions of characters. I thought they looked a certain way -- and then the author tells me otherwise. I don't like that; they looked better my way. Plus, since I'm gay it was easy for me to make the male characters sexy. But I just don't feel that way about women. So rather than paint this character, I figured I'd let the readers choose their own fantasy. And here's the thing: before publication, I let over ten people read the book and no one noticed. Fun!

For the record, those are my sins and I'm happy to have committed each of them. It will be interesting to see who notices.

Happy Halloween!

It's the national gay holiday of Halloween! Hooray! Unfortunately, Hurricane Sandy put the kibosh on one of the finest American Halloween traditions -- the West Village Halloween Parade. Yesterday, the word was that it was canceled. However, a ray of hope appeared today. Here's Mikey Bloomberg at NY1:
"Unfortunately, we just cannot spare the manpower from the NYPD and other city agencies to host the annual Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, so we are postponing it to a later date sometime next week," the mayor said. "We'll work tomorrow and figure out what date makes sense given the resources the city has."
I'm reassured. Some people spend the entire year making their costumes. That's why there are such brilliant costumes, year after year. So the idea of canceling the parade is unthinkable.

When the parade is rescheduled, it will give New Yorkers something to cheer about. Dare I say it will bring a sense of normalcy back to the city? Yes, I dare. Anyway, it's great to hear that it will be rescheduled. And hey, the NYC Marathon is still scheduled for Sunday. We're comin' back, people. Nothing can stop New Yorkers.

October 30, 2012

Great video from MoveOn (NSFW)

You have to watch this, but turn the sound low if you're at work.

Is that great, or what? (Hat tip: Digby)

Internet tops TV

Hours of watching storm coverage on TV told me very little. They couldn't see the forest for the trees. All I wanted to hear about was the Big Thing: how are the subway tunnels and how is downtown Manhattan? Nada. All they showed me was flooded parking lots.

However, one minute after calling up the Huffington Post (whose site is hobbled by the storm, by the way) I learned:
As of last night, seven subway tunnels under the East River flooded. Metro-North Railroad lost power from 59th Street to Croton-Harmon on the Hudson Line and to New Haven on the New Haven Line. The Long Island Rail Road evacuated its West Side Yards and suffered flooding in one East River tunnel. The Hugh L. Carey Tunnel is flooded from end to end and the Queens Midtown Tunnel also took on water and was closed. Six bus garages were disabled by high water.
That is huge. The city will be hobbled for a long time. Thanks, internet! (The "Hugh L. Carey Tunnel", by the way, is the Holland Tunnel. I hope everyone continues to call it by its former name. Hugh L. Carey, indeed. Bah, humbug!)

The calm after the storm

The power was in and out yesterday. Even when it was on, the lights dimmed now and then. Figuring this would kill my electronics, I unplugged everything except the modem.

In the end, I spent the night watching the storm on my Macbook Air. The news stations were live-streaming, which made this possible. All the while, branches were hitting the roof and sides of my house. It was so windy that I was sure a tree would fall on the house. Never happened.

Checking the news this morning, I see that other people weren't as lucky. The subways flooded, fires took out whole neighborhoods, and people, including kids, were killed by falling trees. The hurricane was devastating for so many. And of course, it's only been light for a few hours as I write this. Who knows what they'll discover later today. I feel terrible about the losses people suffered. I cannot imagine what losing your child or your home is like.

But I'm also relieved to have dodged a bullet. And I'm shocked that my house has power this morning. In this area, the power goes out if someone sneezes loudly. Everything okay in your neck of the woods? Chime in.

October 29, 2012

If I disappear...

If this blog goes silent in the next day or so, I've lost power because of the hurricane. Nothing else could keep my hands off the keyboard. Good luck to all of us, especially those in lower Manhattan.

October 28, 2012

Vatican trashed in certain Mohawk circles

Portrait by Father
There's an interesting AP article at the NYT. It's about Kateri Tekakwitha, the Mohawk woman the Pope recently declared a saint. Apparently this is viewed skeptically by some Mohawks. Not all, but some, see this as an attempt to sideline their traditional beliefs. Plus, it seems KT was a very strange woman:
A Catholic convert at 20, she settled in Kahnawake, a Mohawk settlement south of Montreal where Jesuits had a mission and where she and other women performed mortification rituals such as self-flogging as part of their faith.
Sorry, but that's never a healthy sign. George-Kanentiio is quoted in the article as saying:
"It should never obscure the best elements of our aboriginal spirituality, nor should Kateri's personal behaviors, given their extremities, be endorsed as a model for women anywhere," he said, referring to her self-mutilation with whips, thorns and hot coals.

"Women in particular need not kneel in supplication to any man or any god but to rise to dance and sing in true joy," he said. "We can never accept any institution which actively suppresses women or qualifies their potential." 
Really interesting article; really weird church. Much more at the above link.

The damn robe

Last weekend I watched "Carnival of Sinners" -- not to be confused with "Carnival of Souls". It's a French horror movie made in 1943 and there were subtitles -- which I don't mind as long as I can see them. Anyway, it's one of those pact with the devil movies. I enjoyed it.

Watching this old movie reminded me of something that always irks me. In movies from the 40s, there are often scenes where a woman goes to bed. Of course it's a canopied bed in a palatial room. And just before she tucks herself in, she lays a perfectly folded, diaphanous, multi-layered robe across the bottom of the bed.

And then she slips into bed as easily as if she was a record slipping into its jacket. (Old time reference; seems suitable. Look up "records", kids.) There is no friction. She lays still immediately and goes to sleep.

Later, she's awakened by a sound. She's still lying in exactly the same position. She slips out of bed and reaches for the robe -- which is lying in exactly the same place and position on the bed. This really bothers me.

I'm lucky if the mattress is still on the bed when I wake up in the morning. A robe laid carefully across the foot of my bed? Hah. It'd be on the floor, and somehow would have pulled itself half-under the bed.

But everything was perfect in those old days, and the most perfect thing of all was the women. Women never move when they sleep. They don't perspire. And they wake up with perfect make-up and hair. Super women, that's what they were.

October 27, 2012


Moscow police on Saturday briefly detained several opposition leaders as well as a dozen other activists while they were protesting against the intensifying crackdown on Russian opposition.
The world is so strange lately. Authoritarians are rearing up their ugly heads, worldwide. It's like a plague.

I wish the opposition well. I also wish Appleby well.

They got it wrong

Racial prejudice in America is more widespread now than when President Barack Obama became the country's first black president in a historic 2008 vote, a new survey has shown.
So says an article in the Guardian. But this isn't true. America is exactly as prejudiced as it always was. What has changed is that people are now stupid enough to openly and proudly state that they're racists. You can blame Fox News, the Republicans and plaque in the brain for this. But nothing has changed.

A man without a mirror

Former Premier Silvio Berlusconi, who announced this week he wouldn't run in spring elections, says he now feels compelled to stay in politics to reform Italy's justice system after being convicted of tax fraud.

Best atheist one-liner

What's your favorite one-liner by an atheist? I'm torn between two.

Richard Dawkins reportedly said that if you believe the Earth is only 6,000 years old, then you believe that the Earth was created after the domestication of the dog. I love that remark but can't find a link to Dawkins saying such a thing. However, Wikipedia extends the idea:
To put this in perspective, those with the YEC worldview believe the world was created after the first domestication of the dog (and possibly the goat), after the first stones were laid at Stonehenge, after people settled in Scotland and more.
But as far as an actual one-liner, I guess I'd have to vote for George Carlin. He said this during a performance:
"If there is a god, may he strike this audience dead!" (More here.)
What's your favorite atheist one-liner/putdown/retort?

This is just perfect

The Catholic Church of England said Saturday it has contacted the Holy See to ask if the papal knighthood awarded to late television star Jimmy Savile could be posthumously removed following sexual abuse allegations.
That was the initial story. The add-on is even better:
LONDON (AP) — The Vatican says it cannot rescind the papal knighthood awarded to television star Jimmy Savile, who emerged as an alleged child sex predator after his death. 
Couldn't happen to a nicer church. Irony lives in the Vatican. It's an essential part of its nature.

October 26, 2012

How can anyone NOT believe in evolution?

From a science news story today:
Neurotransmitters linked to mating behavior are shared by mammals and worms.
And from another story released today:
A Swedish–Norwegian research team shows in a new study that the intestines of the peculiar Penis worm develop in the same way as those in humans, fish and starfish.
If we didn't all come from the same source, why do we share many elements and traits with the "lower" animals? There is no doubt that evolution is real. People who don't accept the truth about our origins are either blinkered by religion or too lazy to think it through. Unfortunately, this describes most Americans.

I'm not ready for this

NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — Hurricane Sandy raged through the Bahamas early Friday after leaving 21 people dead across the Caribbean, following a path that could see it blend with a winter storm and reach the U.S. East Coast as a super-storm next week.  
With storm conditions projected to hit New Jersey with tropical storm-force winds Tuesday, there was a 90 percent chance that most of the U.S. East Coast would get steady gale-force winds, flooding, heavy rain and maybe snow starting Sunday and stretching past Wednesday, U.S. forecaster Jim Cisco said. 
Oy again. The center of the latest storm track goes directly over my house.

Last year an October snow storm knocked out power in my area for days. This sounds like it might be even worse. This two-year trend shows tremendous disrespect for the national gay holiday of Halloween. I shall be filing a complaint shortly.

October 25, 2012

When the pastor yelled at me

I don't attend AA meetings anymore. But there was a time when I was very active in "the program", as it's universally referred to by members. And since AA is wedded to church basements, I met a bunch of priests and pastors. In fact, I was usually the liaison between the church and the AA group.

For the most part, this was fine. In fact, there were a few ministers and pastors that I liked. (I can't say I cottoned to any of the Catholic priests.) There was one pastor in particular that I enjoyed talking to. He was the head of his Baptist church and whenever we met to talk about church/group relations, we'd sit in his office -- and end up laughing a lot. I lent him books to read, and we talked about god and atheism. It was quite enjoyable. He was a fine man.

Then one rainy evening, as our group was meeting in the church, the ceiling opened up and water poured onto the altar. To be more precise, the majority of the water fell directly onto a large, open bible in the center of the altar. Of course, we rushed to the altar and moved everything away, right down to the tablecloth.

That evening, I called my friend the pastor to tell him what had happened. In the process, I said "So we grabbed the bible and all the other things..."

He burst in. "You didn't touch the bible?!" he said, horror in his voice. Apparently it was a magic bible, or something. Heathen hands weren't allowed near it. I responded that he should be very thankful that we did touch the bible, as it would have been ruined if we left it where it was. He calmed down but it was a tad unnerving.

You never know with these religious people. Dog forbid you step on one of their nonsensical traditions. It's kinda creepy. You want to like them but they believe in fairytales. Anyway, I still like the guy. What can you do? They all believe in nonsense. You try to ignore it but despite your best efforts, that jack-in-the-box head rears up now and then. It comes with the territory.

October 24, 2012

Google news: the bot's in charge

(I always want to say "Googles" for some reason. Inside joke for Xmas Carol readers.)

I visit a Google news page several times a day. It's got a slightly different flavor than AP and it's got sports, so I enjoy it. Tonight I was trolling around the site, trying to waste time until the World Series game comes on, when I stumbled upon an explanation of how Google "chooses" which news stories to publish. Here are a couple of excerpts:
Our News headlines are selected entirely by computer algorithms, based on factors like how often and where a story appears online. Google News has no human editors selecting stories or deciding which ones deserve top placement. 
Like I said: the bot's in charge. More:
We then use various clustering algorithms to identify stories we think are closely related. These stories displayed on Google News present news articles, videos, images and other information.
No people involved. Nice, clean robot news. By the way, that last sentence sounds like it was written by a bot. Or maybe it's a translation from another language. Nah, a bot wrote it.

The page provided lots of information but I don't feel like I met anyone. You know, as you do when you read something that a, you know, person wrote. Brrrrr. On the other hand, congrats to Google because their news sections are kind of fun.

Note: If you're reading this in another language, "bot" is American slang for "robot".

Nats fans join in

One of the wonderful things about the Nats this season was the fan participation when Michael Morse came up to bat. His song is Aha's "Take On Me". If you can see Morse on the field, note that when the song stops as he's about to take his first swing, the fans keep singing the high notes. It was just one fun thing in a great season.

PB & P?

Funny article about peanut butter and pickle sandwiches. I'm going to try it.

The hijab: not just for Muslims?

This morning, I read an article in the NYT about Amra Babic, the hijab-wearing mayor of central Bosnian town of Visoko. This led me to read about the hijab in Wikipedia:
The Arabic word literally means curtain or cover (noun). Most Islamic legal systems define this type of modest dressing as covering everything except the face and hands in public. Some interpretations say that a veil is not compulsory in front of blind, asexual or gay men.
I found that last bit amusing. But it also made me think of Christian priests because the concept of hijab applies to men as well as women. The article states that "For men, hijab includes the wearing of modest clothing (not very attractive)." Combine this with the prescription to hide all but the face and hands in public, and you end up with a priest's cassock. Priests in hijab. This idea will stick with me.

October 23, 2012

I created a blog for Xmas Carol

Now I have three blogs -- this one, another one that is identical except it doesn't have graphics (for the dial-up folks), and a separate blog for Xmas Carol.

The reason I did this was to tart up my author's page at Amazon. You can include a blog feed on the page, and at first I linked to my main blog (the one you're reading now). But the anti-god posts didn't seem to be a good fit with a sci-fi/horror author's page. I didn't want to scare folks away before they learned what a sweet guy I am.

So I created the Xmas Carol blog. You can see it on the right on my author's page at Amazon (link above) and there's also a link to the blog on my Smashwords author's page.

Not only will this provide a dynamic lift to my author's page, it will give me a place to discuss writing. I used to do that here but this blog morphed into a fierce anti-god site. I applaud this purpose but posts about writing no longer seem to fit in. If any readers were fans of my writing posts (just search on the tag writing process below to see these posts) you'll find new ones at the Xmas Carol blog. (At least, you will when I write them. I'm just getting started there. I have one introductory post up, at present.)

Just FYI.

Great rainy day

It's been pouring for a while here in NY. But that doesn't matter because I can watch the Apple Mini-iPad event live here. Come join me.

Update: It's great that there's an iPad Mini now but...Apple punked out on the specs. It doesn't have a retina display and it uses the old A5 chip. That's just not good enough. Think it through. Say you get the 32 gig mini. For only another $170, you could get the latest full-size iPad with twice the resolution and a way better processor.

When Apple makes a mini iPad with a retina display and a better processor, I'm all in. Till then, I'll stick with my last-gen iPod Touch.

The whale that talks like a human

Did you see the story about this yesterday? A white whale named NOC has a voice that sounds human. Listening to a recording of his vocalization, I'm reminded of the sounds humans make to amuse children. It's cartoon-like.

Go to this page and click on the audio file to hear him "talk".

Storm to slam East Coast?

Forecasters are cautiously making the public aware of the possibility of a major East Coast storm around October 29. Given the considerable uncertainties involved in long-range forecasting, especially concerning tropical storms that are still in the formative stages, it will take a few more days before meteorologists can be more confident in their predictions.

According to Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist for the Wall Street Journal, if the East Coast storm were to occur, it could be one for the record books.

"What could happen is quite complicated, and may have precedence only a handful of times across the more than 200 years of detailed historical local weather recordkeeping."
I sure hope this doesn't happen. Last year we had a huge snowstorm in October and lost power for days. This sounds like it might even be worse.

October 22, 2012

More nonsense from Italy

An Italian court "convicted seven scientists and experts of manslaughter on Monday for failing to adequately warn citizens before an earthquake struck central Italy in 2009, killing more than 300 people."

These court officers must live in a cave. You can't predict earthquakes. And if the scientists had tried valiantly to warn people, they would have been laughed at. No one believes you when you say an earthquake is imminent.
The defendants were accused in the indictment of giving "inexact, incomplete and contradictory information" about whether small tremors felt by L'Aquila residents in the weeks and months before the April 6, 2009, quake should have constituted grounds for a quake warning.
Uh-huh. And if they weren't sure, which of course they weren't? Still a crime? Apparently.
Prosecutors had sought conviction and four-year sentences during the non-jury trial, which was led by a judge. A defense lawyer, Filippo Dinacci, told reporters that the sentence would have "big repercussions" on public administration since officials would be afraid to "do anything." 
Indeed. You have to wonder if the judge graduated from elementary school. Here's some good advice. If you're a seismologist, don't work in Italy. In fact, if you're a scientist of any sort, get out of the country now.

The human-making apparatus

It's always intriguing to hear how we humans are formed. There's an article today at physorg about how faces are formed. Apparently, the process is guided by what we used to think was "junk DNA". "Enhancers" from this area direct the construction. If science appeals to you, you may enjoy the article. Here's a snip:
Wysocka focused on the first critical fold in the process of making an embryo, when the whole of the embryo is a flat sheet of cells that creases and closes over on itself to make a tube. Much of the tube eventually becomes the foundation of the brain and the spinal column, but one end sets the stage for the formation of the head and face. This process is driven by a small population of remarkable cells called neural crest cells.
It's weird that we were "tubes" at an early point in our construction. Life is such a strange thing. It arises naturally from matter and goes on to do impossibly complicated things. This is a pretty cool universe we live in.

Science teaches us new things. Religion teaches us nothing. Never forget this.

October 21, 2012

The fog lifts for a moment

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Some 80,000 pilgrims in flowered lei, feathered headdresses and other traditional garb flooded St. Peter's Square on Sunday as Pope Benedict XVI added seven more saints onto the roster of Catholic role models in a bid to reinvigorate the faith in parts of the world where it's lagging.
Hmmm. So the pope didn't do this because these folks are saints. Perish the thought. He did it to drum up business in areas where faith "is lagging". That's quite a church they've got there. The article goes on to say:
The canonization coincided with a Vatican meeting of the world's bishops on trying to revive Christianity in places where it's fallen by the wayside.
Coincidence? Surely. Otherwise the canonizations would be a mere marketing tool. And that can't be true. Jeebus wouldn't do stuff like that -- and the pope is his right-hand guy. Nothing to see here but saints. Move along.

Rightwing world swings rightward

It's hard to believe the stories I read these days. It's like everyone is running full-speed toward an authoritarian wingnut world.
MADRID (AP) — Spain is considering a ban on photographing, filming or reproducing images of police and state security forces who are on duty.

Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said the government is considering prohibiting the capture, playback and processing of images, sounds or data of security forces while "in the exercise of their functions."

Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said after months of television and Internet scenes of sometimes violent clashes between police and demonstrators, a balance had to be struck "between citizens' right to protest" and the need "to uphold the integrity of state security forces." 
What a wingnut comparison! Uphold citizens' rights and you lose the "integrity of state security forces." What he's saying is "show the abuse by police and no one will respect them anymore." And we have to protect the police, right? So to hell with all these civilians with cameras. Toss them overboard and let the police do whatever they want.

We've seen the same authoritarian impulses in police in the US. Thankfully, the courts seem to be siding with citizens' rights on this issue, at least of late. But every society is only a hairsbreadth away from swinging to the right. These bans won't work, mind you. You can't stop people from recording government attacks. Just look at Syria. Images will always surface. The internet is the end of tyranny. It is the ultimate equalizer. All hail the net!

October 20, 2012

What a blow!

PARIS (AP) — French rescue services and police are evacuating hundreds of pilgrims from hotels threatened by floodwaters from a rain-swollen river in the Roman Catholic shrine town of Lourdes. 
Oh, the humanity! Just think of all the people who won't be healed this weekend. I can't believe jeebus let this happen.

A good head shot

Have you noticed this trend? A person is killed in some awful way and the media take the poor soul's Facebook head-shot and use it for their murder/suicide/wood chipper story. It's dreadful. Here's this ridiculous photo where the person is trying to project a fairytale image of him- or herself, and it ends up as the punchy graphic for their epitaph. May I say, "ugh" for all of us?

Norway's infamous mass murderer reportedly said, (I'm paraphrasing) "be sure you have a great head shot" before doing something like murdering 60 kids. Grand advice for a mindless public. I'm surprised the "look at me" American public doesn't go around with a camera dangling from its collective forehead, lest a single image of their life go unnoticed.

And I'm greatly surprised that no one has installed a camera in their coffin, so it can send a daily updated image to their Facebook page, accompanied by a year or two of posts which the deceased handily wrote beforehand. "Hi, it's me! Don't I look fabulous?" It's only a matter of time before this occurs.

Dog save us all.

October 19, 2012

Prometheus really sucked

Prometheus' giant "human". Oy.
When the movie came out, I didn't read reviews of "Prometheus", the prequel to "Alien". But I couldn't help but see headlines about viewers' disdain for the movie. As I understood it through headline telegramese, Ridley Scott, the director, implied that jeebus made us and the aliens.

Didn't turn out that way but dang, this movie was a confused mess. There's god-talk everywhere -- and really, who the hell wants this sort of nonsense in the prequel to Alien? The idea for the movie, if there was one, was expressed so incoherently that I'm not even sure what Prometheus was about.

Some huge human-looking creature lives on the world where Ripley found the aliens. But this is way before that time. Somehow, in a way that's never explained, these giant aliens spread their DNA on Earth, and this resulted in mini-versions of themselves. Uh-huh. And now they're going back to Earth to kill us all with the aliens seen in "Alien" (or rather, their precursors). Why would the giant alien do this? No clue. The worst thing is that Scott's premise throws evolution out the window. The aliens "made us". Uh-huh. Why? They never say. The movie literally made no sense.

This is very sad because a ton of money went into the production. With an entirely different script, it might have been good. What I did like (and it's in direct opposition to the no-evolution premise of the movie) is that we saw precursors of the aliens we came to know and love in "Alien". They were obviously less evolved versions of themselves. I liked that. But they blew even this by suggesting that the "evolved" alien seen in the original movie is a hybrid of human/alien origin.

Oy. The giant alien turns out to be a hateful loon and when the humans wake him up (from death, apparently), he attacks them. Duh. What's that about? Seriously, this movie is a mess. I guess Ridley Scott is getting Alzheimer's and he convinced a confused bunch of jeebus fans that his movie was going to push a Christian idea. (And I don't know where the jeebus remarks come from; I didn't see any jeebus in the movie.)

The other fun thing, by the way, was the android. I liked his creepy nature and the things he said. But even here, they blew it. It's as if the movie makers had no imagination at all. They actually used the same gambit as in "Alien": the android's head is ripped off and a human converses with his severed head. I mean, really. They couldn't come up with a fresh idea?

This movie is dead, and watching it is a waste of time. Don't bother.

Shades of the Vatican

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Local Boy Scout leaders, police officials, prosecutors and mayors helped hush up numerous child sex abuse allegations against scoutmasters and other volunteers, according to details in a trove of nearly 15,000 pages of so-called "perversion files" compiled by the Scouts from 1959 to the mid-1980s. 
It's just like the Vatican.
At the news conference, Clark blasted the Boy Scouts for their continuing legal battles to try to keep the full trove of files secret.

"You do not keep secrets hidden about dangers to children," said Clark, who in 2010 won a landmark lawsuit against the Boy Scouts on behalf of a plaintiff who was molested by an assistant scoutmaster in the 1980s. 
The same words (bolded above) were spoken to the Vatican: how can you keep secrets when children are being harmed? It's a sensible question. So why do these men who run Christian institutions have such a terrible record of allowing children to be abused, and then hiding it? I think it has to do with men and sexuality. 

Many straight men can't deal with their own occasional gay thoughts so they go hog-wild when presented with any instance of gayness. But you'd think that since this isn't just gay behavior but sexual predation of children, they would speak up to protect the kids. Nope. 

Children were objects of prey within the Catholic church and the Boy Scouts. And the sad fact is that there isn't much self-examination going on in either organization -- because they're doing jeebus' work, which means they can't be wrong. They've created their own Catch-22 situation and they're sticking with it. It will be the end of both organizations.

October 18, 2012

Feds bamboozle teenager, ruin his life

Ah, those Homeland Security fellas! We are so safe, with them protecting us. Why, just yesterday they fooled another dimwitted young man into acting against the US, kinda sorta.
A bloodthirsty Al Qaeda wanna-be was busted Wednesday after setting out to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank in lower Manhattan with a bogus 1,000-pound bomb he built with the help of undercover FBI agents, officials said.
This 17-year-old child sounds vicious, doesn't he? Why, it probably only took several months for the intrepid FBI and NYPD undercover agents to fool this boy. Encourage his jihad fantasies, help him get the materials for the "bomb", build it with him, maybe rent him a van so he can deliver the fake bomb somewhere, and then arrest him with a hundred journalists watching. Success!

I imagine the agents who helped to bamboozle this boy are very proud of their actions. He'll probably never get out of jail, and his family's life is ruined. But wow, are they keeping us safe, or what? Great work, fellas. You know what you are, guys? You're a bunch of goddamn pigs with no respect for human life or the truth. This is why we refer to you as elite forces. Take a bow, fellas. You ruined another innocent person's life. Hooray!!!

Shady Vatican ejects nun supporter

All stories about the Vatican make me laugh and this one was no exception.
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday transferred to the United States a high-ranking Holy See official who had ruffled feathers at the Vatican by openly seeking to mend its frayed ties with U.S. nuns. 
Apparently, Archbishop Joseph Tobin didn't know that you must be ugly to American nuns at all times. His kindness and understanding didn't fit in at the pope's palace, so they posted him to Indiana -- the greatest insult possible.

I mean, seriously. He wasn't mean enough to the nuns. That's the church that exists today. There's also a bonus story in the article:
It's not the first time the Vatican has removed a high-ranking official who annoyed the Vatican bureaucracy.
The No. 2 official in the Vatican administration was named to the arguably important position of U.S. ambassador last year after he stepped on too many toes in exposing corruption and inefficiencies in the Vatican's day-to-day administration.
So let's see. The implied Vatican rules are:

1. Be mean to nuns (and women in general).
2. Don't point a finger at the Vatican, no matter how seedy or unethical its actions may be.

This is how you become a good Catholic. All it takes is blindness and viciousness. That's quite a church they've got there.

October 17, 2012

Latest religious insanity: Apple can't use logo

Via Ed Brayton:
A group of Christians in Russia says the ubiquitous bitten apple is too symbolic of the idea of original sin and should be replaced with the symbol of Jesus Christ. And they may have the law on their side.

Technology website xbitlabs.com says Apple “may run into problems” if Russian parliament passes a set of laws designed to protect citizens’ religious and spiritual values from “blasphemy and insult.”
Blasphemy laws are a huge problem. They always signal the end of democracy and freedom. Haven't these people ever heard of the Inquisition?

The end of the baseball season

A week or two back, I started to get nervous about the coming end to the baseball season. This happens every year. I shriek, "But what will I do in the evenings?!" It seems hopeless.

And then I remembered that last year, after recovering beautifully when the season ended, I wrote myself a note. So I looked for the note and found it in Stickies:
Baseball: Getting over it

Dear Keith,
Each year you wonder how you'll face the end of the baseball season. Here's how you do it, Keith. 
Remember, the World Series has McCarver and Buck, which ruins everything. This disgusts you so much that it helps you let go of your longing for baseball. I know you think this can't happen, but it does. When baseball finally ends, you're just happy not to have to hear McCarver's voice anymore.

As for the evenings, watching movies, thinking, jotting down notes, and writing take up the slack and eliminate the problem. You are never bored, Keith. Trust me on this. 

Don't worry.  Be happy.

I read that note and my trepidation fled. It's okay. I'll survive. In fact, the self-obsessed duo -- McCarver and Buck -- are hosting the Giants/Cardinals game tonight and I won't even watch.

Hand-raising a baby elephant

I'll never post photos of cats but I do like some cute things. This story in the Daily News, about raising a baby elephant, is sweet. I want one!

October 16, 2012

Paul Ryan's soup kitchen photo-op

You've all seen the staged photo of Paul Ryan allegedly washing a pot at a soup kitchen. At Think Progress this morning, there's a post that reveals the soup kitchen's side of things. Here's a quote from the president of the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society, Brian J. Antal:
"They showed up there and they did not have permission. They got one of the volunteers to open up the doors… The photo-op they did wasn’t even accurate. He did nothing. He just came in here to get his picture taken at the dining hall.”
That's Paul Ryan, a made-up guy. Rumor has it the pots were already clean. It was strictly a photo-op. It's amazing that they didn't realize they should, you know, work at the soup kitchen for a few hours. But no. Image is all to these people.

What the heck is this?

In a newspaper obituary for a wildly religious person, it noted that he "confessed Christ in 1998". Confessed Christ? I hadn't heard the term before.

Some web page says Jeebus said:
"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 10:32-33).
Well, then, I'm glad that's all cleared up. I love that this is the sort of thing that's mentioned by date in one's obituary. It's right up there with being born again, which people also seem to refer to by date. "Three years ago I was born again in Jeebus Christ." Whatever. It's just another example of Christians wasting their time on stuff that isn't real.

Remember: Religion is a magic fence around nothing. Hmmm. Maybe I should put that in my obituary. It could say, "On a Tuesday afternoon in September of 2005, while drinking a lovely cup of espresso, Keith noticed that religion is a magic fence around nothing."

Up all night

Couldn't sleep so I'm trolling the news. Did you read about the law students who killed a bird at a wildlife habitat in Vegas?
The men were seen throwing a dead 14-year-old helmeted guinea fowl, talking about how it was killed and "laughing about it"...Video surveillance captured the men "chasing the bird into the trees" at the hotel's wildlife habitat, police said. "A witness then observed the suspects emerge from the trees, carrying the body and severed head of the bird," police said.

Teixeira [one of the law students] is in his third and final year at UC Berkeley School of Law and served as a law clerk last year with the U.S. Department of Justice's Environment and Natural Resources Division, according to online profiles.
Future Republican all-stars. No doubt about it.

October 15, 2012

Freed Pussy Riot member speaks

There's an interesting interview with Yekaterina Samutsevich, the member of Pussy Riot who was let out of Russian prison recently. The interview is in Der Spiegel and she is so well-spoken. I was surprised and pleased. These band members are no simple, caterwauling yahoos. They know what they're talking about. I found her remarks uplifting. You may, too. Go read it now. (It's short.)

Stuff just gets up and walks. Part 19b.

The universe is a combination of matter and energy, which are essentially the same thing. Matter can become energy, and energy can coalesce into matter. It's just like electricity and magnetism: same thing, different mood.

What this says to me is that everything is essentially matter (which is the same as saying "everything is essentially energy"). We, too, are made of matter. We're stuff. A wonderful mixture of stuff, to be sure, but still stuff. And yet we're alive. In essence, stuff just gets up and walks. It takes a very long time but as (I think) Sean Carroll once said, "Life is an inherent property of matter." I believe this because everything seems to point in this direction. The seeds of life were inherent in the Big Bang. Everything needed for life was already there in the first instant. Given time and the right environment, life will always blossom. I'm sure this is true everywhere in the universe, wherever conditions are right.

I was pleased to see a re-statement of the same idea on Bob Ballard's "Alien Deep", a show on NGC. (And yes, I know he's kind of brain-dead about certain issues.) He was talking about how rock rises from the ocean as a result of volcanoes, and eventually this rock hosts living creatures. He visited a large patch of land that he'd witnessed emerging from the water decades ago. At that time, it was as barren as a moonscape. But on his return many years later, the cameras recorded the life that now exists on that rock. (Mind you, a lot of it floated in on the air currents or was accidentally carried there by birds. But let's ignore that for a moment.)

The comment Ballard made at the end of the show was, "Rock is our ultimate ancestor." I hadn't thought of it that way, but he's right (sort of). "Matter" is a better word to use, since rock is just rock, while matter is all sorts of things. We need that magic mix of matter (and energy) to create life, but it obviously happens. We're here, aren't we?

I say it all the time: stuff just gets up and walks. Yes, our ancestors were furry creatures and lizards and fish and worms and even single-celled life. But if you look far enough into the past, there is only one possible origin for life. Matter is our ultimate ancestor.

October 14, 2012

Dear, sweet Michelle

Bachmann Family Values is a touching column by Frank Bruni in today's NY Times. It's about the experience of a lesbian who is a longtime friend of Michelle Bachmann. In her own words, she reveals the pain of hearing Bachmann say publicly that she doesn't have the right to marry the woman she loves. She and Michelle lived in the same house; they were close. And yet Bachmann tossed her aside like so much garbage. The article is impressive in an understated way. Give it a read if such things interest you.

Der Spiegel is refreshing

I'm continually surprised by the stories in Spiegel Online, the web version of Der Spiegel. They think nudity is fine, for one thing. And they present a wide range of stories without being judgemental.

Today, they didn't let me down. There's a nice Sunday story called Student Apprentices in Mom's Berlin Sex Shop. The great thing is that there's nothing negative in the article. It's presented as good, clean fun.

Like that would ever happen in America. Sigh. Anyway, it's great Sunday reading.

Update: For contrast, consider three headlines at Huffpo today:

"Kim Kardashian's See-Through Halloween Costume"
"Katy Perry Turns Heads in Plunging Dress"
"Miley Cyrus Wears Bra as Top"

Maybe someday we'll be as sophisticated as Germany, but I doubt it.

October 13, 2012

Is reality real?

I love when scientists wonder whether the universe is a simulation. Do we exist within an elaborate computer game? Right now there is a serious scientific effort to investigate this possibility.

The idea is that if reality is a simulation, there must be a lattice, an invisible structure on which the simulation is built. They're looking for it right now. Mind you, I don't want them to find it because we already have enough problems accepting reality. If it all turns out to be a life-long game, who knows how people would react? For one thing, there'd be no god...unless he's the game master. Hmmm. 

Anyway, I love this stuff. You yank the rug out from under me and I say "Wheeeee!"

This would never happen to a man

A Dallas woman who beat her 2-year-old daughter and glued the toddler's hands to a wall because she was struggling with potty training was sentenced Friday to 99 years in prison.
Look, what the mother did was awful and I'm glad the child is still alive. But she got this sentence because she's a woman -- and let's remember she's only 23. Oh, and there's this:
Prosecutors portrayed Escalona as an unfit mother with a history of violence. They played recordings in which Escalona as a teenager threatened to kill her mother. They said she had been a gang member and that she started smoking marijuana at age 11.
Well, there you go. Smoking marijuana?! Give her 99 years! This is, in effect, the same sentence that Jerry Sandusky and Bernie Madoff got: death in jail -- and they're old guys. It's way out of proportion to what happened. Give the woman 15 years if you feel vindictive, but not 99 years. I see an echo of people's irrational notion of hell in this sentence. If she was a man, she never would have gotten such a long sentence. It's all about American society's insane notions of "womanhood" and "motherhood". People are twits when it comes to women.

October 12, 2012

Xmas Carol is available at the iBookstore

Hooray! Your choices have expanded. You can buy Xmas Carol at Amazon, at the Smashwords bookstore -- and now at the iBookStore on your iPhone or iPad. (It's also available at the internet iBookStore on the web.)

If you've never used iBooks, just open iBooks on your iPhone. You want to be on the page that has the bookshelves. Click on Store (if you don't see it, click stuff until you do) and type in "Xmas Carol". Then click on buy.

Understand that you must buy the book. This is not optional. You won't have a decent Christmas unless you read this book. It's that crucial to your existence. And I care about you; I really do.

So here's what you should do. Drop everything in your life immediately -- kids, jobs, gardening, whatever -- just drop it. Then buy the book and sit down and read it. Don't worry about anything. I've got it covered. You won't have to attend to any life duties for the next week! I've given you a special dispensation, just like the pope gives out. All you have to do is read Xmas Carol. 

And when you're done reading, go to the site where you bought the book (a mere $2.99; just saying) and write a review. Empty out your soul, child! Tell the world what you experienced as you read Xmas Carol. People everywhere are waiting to hear your words.

Reading and reviewing the book is now the sole purpose of your existence. All other goals and urges have been canceled for the duration. You have your orders. Special bonus: sanctifying grace for every reader! (The pope told me it's okay if I say that.)

The Emperor's New Signs

I just don't believe it. I don't.

Allegedly, baseball managers and coaches use signs to get a message to players on the field. They touch their nose or their elbow, and then pat one hand and touch their chins twice. Puh-leeze. This is nonsense. They're just touching random body parts. You can't fool me -- I'm a New Yorker.

I think it's like that old story, "The Emperor's New Clothes". Everyone on the team is afraid to say, "But those signs don't mean a thing!" And until some player is brave enough to voice this opinion, the sham will continue.

Signs indeed. Bah, humbug. (And yes, I'm kidding.) Hey, my Nats won last night! Woo-hoo! Final game tonight. And the Yankees lost to Baltimore. Everything is right with the world!

October 11, 2012

Tiny things we can't see

On Jerry Coyne's blog today, I found this:
In the early 1670s, pioneer microscopist Antoni Leeuwenhoek peered into the tiny glass ball of his single-lens microscope and looked at a capillary tube that contained water and crushed pepper-corns. Leeuwenhoek was trying to discover why pepper was hot, and although he never found the answer to that question, he made a momentous discovery: microbes. To his amazement, the water was full of bazillions of tiny organisms, and there seemed to be no end to them...
I have an older brother who's a doctor. I remember the day he came home from medical school after looking at water for the first time under an electron microscope. He said, "I am never going to drink water again!"

Booman's story about Willard

If you didn't read this yesterday at Booman Tribune, I want to give you another chance. Trot on over and read his story about the Mittster. You'll be glad you did; it's funny. What an amazing creep Mitt is. There's never been anyone like him. And Americans are probably stupid enough to elect him. Amazing yet again!

October 10, 2012

Taliban "fighters" shoot defenseless girl

I'm sure you've all read about it by now. Taliban shoots 14-year-old Pakistani girl who spoke out in favor of educating girls. It's just about the most disgusting thing these people have done.

I think we should always refer to these characters as the "cowardly Taliban". Everyone, everywhere should use this terminology at all times. You shouldn't be able google "Taliban" without seeing the tag "cowardly".

Because that's what they are. Not only was it incredibly cowardly to go after a child on a school bus and shoot her twice, it's cowardly to be a member of the Taliban. These are men who live in mortal fear of women. They want women to hide their bodies because they fear them. They want no education for females (or males) because they fear education. They are cowardly creatures, more lowly than any other creature living on the Earth. They're such cowards, they kill themselves rather than face up to the things they fear.

The Taliban are cowards. Say it all the time. We should never again see a headline that refers to them without the descriptive adjective "cowardly".

Why New Caledonian crows are so smart

Crows are intelligent. Pretty much everyone knows this by now. And their abilities have been showcased in many science experiments, proving this is not an anomaly of human perception. They really are smart.

But one species of crows stands apart from all the others. New Caledonian crows are excellent tool-makers. They construct tools from twigs, leaves, wires -- anything close at hand -- and use them to dig their prey out of holes. They can also figure out all sorts of problems in science experiments. These guys think. But why are they so much better at these tasks than their crow relatives?

A story at physorg provides the answer.
The bird's eyes are more forward-positioned, rather than sideways-positioned, which gives it exceptional "binocular overlap," they found. This is the area that is viewed by both eyeballs, and is important because it helps the brain judge the distance of nearby objects. In New Caledonian crows, the binocular overlap is 61.5 degrees, which is at least 23.9 degrees greater than in non-tool-using species of crow that the researchers also examined.
They can see what they're doing. Mystery solved. Of course, they also have fine brains, but this is what separates them from their close relatives. Very cool study. I'm going to examine my favorite crows the next time I see them, and check out the position of their eyes.

Science is great. So, how many mysteries has religion figured out with it's "other ways of knowing"? None, and counting.

October 9, 2012

The guilty language of psychopaths

"In my heart, I know I did not do these alleged disgusting acts," Sandusky said in a jailhouse recording.
This language is revealing. I can't count the times I've heard someone accused of an antisocial act say, "I know I didn't do it." This is not the language of an innocent person. If you didn't do it, you say, "I didn't do it." Not I know that I didn't do it. The language doesn't make sense, if you're innocent. It's like Sandusky is referring to an argument with himself about his culpability. You might say, "I know you didn't do it." That would make sense. But "I know I did not do it" is merely an attempt to influence others.

There's a whole class of psychopath talk that I've noticed over the years. For instance, they never say "When I destroyed that woman's face (or whatever) ..." No. They say, "When that incident happened," as if it was something outside themselves, as if the act occurred under its own power, without a human perpetrator.

"When that went down, it just shouldn't have happened. Uh-uh. That shouldn't have happened, no way." That's what a woman said after walking through a liquor store and purposely pushing all the bottles off the shelf to the floor, where they broke. As I recall, she caused several thousand dollars worth of damage. But when she talked about it, the word "I" never came up.

They have their own language, these psychopaths. Listen for it.

October 8, 2012

Publicizing "Xmas Carol"

I have done little to publicize my book, mostly because I have no idea what to do. I've mentioned it here, which resulted in approximately zero purchases. Casey and others did Facebook posts about the book, which resulted in approximately zero purchases. What's a boy to do?

I came up with two plans and I've acted on the first. Last week I put up a blog post at Atheist Nexus about the book. I offered their huge atheist community a free copy of the book if they promised to review it at Amazon or Smashwords. Here's a link to that post.

So far, two people have accepted one of the five free books I offered. My impression is that neither is a regular sci-fi or horror reader (though I could be wrong about this) but both expressed tremendous interest in a book that portrays atheists as normal people. Xmas Carol does that in spades so I'm hoping they'll like the book. I also hope a few more AN members will accept my offer.

As for my other plan, it will have to remain a secret for now. I'll tell you all about it after it plays out.

October 7, 2012

A sensible pastor

Remember a post I did some time back, called Priest says something sensible? (The link goes to my non-graphics version of this blog). Well, the subject of the post, Pastor Alvin Carpenter, has commented more than once on the post. He just added this comment today:
I have done a little research on who you are and who you are makes my point. You contribute to the health of humanity. You make people better without the use of religion. I try to do the same. Religion should make people better and when it does not it has failed miserably. Wherever I speak I tell people if we make people worse then what is the point? The nuttiness I have to endure among my fellow religionists is unbelievable at times. I am a theist but the only people I can find honesty is among the atheists. Go figure. Keep writing! 
Is this a sweet pastor, or what? I keep urging him to read Xmas Carol, but I don't think he's biting. I still have hope, though, and I thanked him in the comments. I wonder what kind of "research" he did on me. There's the blog, of course. And I've done a few things in the world at large. Hmmmm. Keep on keepin' on, pastor. You've got my vote.

Nice article on helping your kid to come out

Found this article in today's New York Times. Got a gay kid who's in the closet? You might enjoy reading this. I thought it was pretty good, but you need decent parents for the situation to arise in the way they describe. Not every gay kid has that. In fact, most don't.

October 6, 2012

The pope is going to be kind. Uh-huh.

I love how all the stories about the pope's butler insist the pope will grant him clemency. Perhaps they're thinking of a past pope. This one is downright mean.

Let's consider how they treated Paolo Gabriele after his Vatican "arrest". That sounds extremely kind, doesn't it? And now that he's on "house arrest" Gabriele is living "in his 'grace and favour' apartment situated inside the walls of Vatican City." I'd hate to see what they're going to feed him. And of course, there's this:
The Vatican prosecutor is also considering further possible, and more serious, charges against both Paolo Gabriele and Claudio Sciarpelletti - including violation of state secrets and attacking state security. These would involve heavier punishments than for aggravated theft. 
Sounds exactly like kindness and clemency. Poor Gabriele. On the other hand, if a certain handsome prelate were to whisper the idea of clemency in the pope's ears -- who knows? He might grant it.

Poor Chipper

(I know, I know; I'm the only gay guy who adores baseball. What can I say?)

Chipper Jones.
Did you watch the Braves/Cardinals game last night? It was a one-game playoff, sudden death personified, so it was a really tense group of players out there. But apparently the tension affected the fans more than the players.

There was a blown call at one point and it went against the Braves. The fans went wild. They tossed beer bottles and cans and other debris onto the field. I'm not talking one or two bottles here: they littered the field to the point that the game had to be halted for 20 minutes so the grounds crew could clean it up. I've never seen such trashy behavior by fans at an MLB game.

And it was Chipper Jones' final game. How could the fans do that to him? It was so disrespectful. He's been the best player imaginable for that team -- and the fans acted like pigs in his send-off game. It still makes me ill to think about it.

The Braves lost, and after what the fans did, I'm glad. They didn't deserve a win. But Chipper deserved far better. And just for the record, he had the best name in baseball. Chipper Jones. You can't do better than that. I wish him well (even though he killed my Mets for decades). And as for the Braves fans, they'd better think long and hard about their behavior during this off season. They stained their team's reputation. I don't think that's what fans are supposed to do.

October 5, 2012

Another inept AP headline

I know they're pressed for space when they write these things, but this just won't do:

Thank goodness the guy was already dead when the bullet hit him. Phew! Close call.

The always classy Sal Cordileone

"SF Archbishop Jokes About Recent DUI Arrest" is the headline of an AP story up at the New York Times today.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Amid heavy security and the splendor of his faith's most sacred rites, the new Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco assumed office Thursday without referring to the distress his appointment has aroused in this gay-friendly city, but offering self-deprecating jokes about his recent drunken driving arrest
He comes into town to trash gay people -- at the behest of the pope -- gets a DUI almost immediately, and jokes about it from the pulpit.

Sal Cordileone is displaying perfect Christian values right out of the box. There is no morality in such a person's world. Destroying gay families for Jesus? Check. Getting DUI? Check. Joking about DUI: check again.

I wonder if the pope's infallibility came into play when he appointed this gem of a fellow.

October 4, 2012

More on the anti-gay archbishop of San Francisco

The church's (unexplained) hostility toward gay people took a giant stride forward when Pope Ratzi appointed the evil and despicable Salvatore Cordileone as the archbishop of San Francisco. Even the church hierarchy saw this as a brazen move.
"The most salient thing I can tell you is that the American bishops and archbishops I spoke with in the wake of the appointment, not seen widely as a progressive group, were stunned," Palmo said. "It was seen as a provocative gesture by Rome" to name a "combative" traditionalist like Cordileone to oversee the nation's gay capital.

Opposition to same sex marriage has emerged as a principal theme of Pope Benedict XVI's papacy. In March, he urged visiting U.S .bishops to beef up their teaching about the evils of premarital sex and cohabitation, and denounced what he called the "powerful" gay marriage lobby in America.
Yup, the pope hates gays. Because he is one, of course, but that's never spoken of. Closet cases are the primary enemies of gay people in this world, and Ratzi's one of the worst.

But I think it's kind of fun to have such an out-front evil guy appointed as archbishop. It filthies the church, which is always a good thing. And Sal's gonna be fun. He's sticking to his guns:
[Cordileone re-upped his hatred, calling] "efforts to extend marriage beyond one man and one woman 'the ultimate attack of the Evil One' and declaring that Catholics who support same-sex marriage should refrain from taking communion."
Indeed. If I was in SF, I'd consider this party time. What could be better than having an evil christian piñata to bat around? Good times! And let's not forget this:
Cordileone was arrested in San Diego in late August on a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence. He has said he was drinking wine with friends and apologized for the lapse in judgment. He is scheduled to appear in court on the charge on Tuesday. 
Fun times in SF! Boo-ya!!

Did Bobby Valentine throw the Yanks a win?

I was surprised when I saw the probable pitchers for last night's Red Sox/Yankees game. I mean, this was a very important game for the Yanks. If they lost and the Orioles won, the division title would still be in play today.

So what did the evil Red Sox skipper dear, sweet, ethical Bobby Valentine do? He put Daisuke Matsuzaka on the mound. Dice-K is, by far, the worst pitcher on the Red Sox team. So why would the evil Red Sox skipper dear, sweet, ethical Bobby Valentine do this? I think he threw a win to the Yankees, partly as a way to stab his own team (every member of which hates both Valentine and the Yankees) and maybe as part of a deal to secure a future favor from the Yanks. I wouldn't put it past him.

In any case, the Yanks won their division. Who cares? My Nats have the best record in MLB baseball. Take that, Giardi.

October 3, 2012

Christians the same as Muslims

Meanwhile, hundreds of riot policemen were deployed on Wednesday in front of an art exhibition in Belgrade organized by gay activists which the extremists had threatened to disrupt. The reason? They claim the paintings desecrate the image of Jesus Christ
What's the difference between this and Muslims raging over pictures of Muhammad? There is none. 

October 2, 2012

The evils of the Vatican

In a story in the NYT about the trial of the pope's butler, I found this:
During the testimony, the lawyer Arru complained about the conditions under which Gabriele spent his first 20 days in detention, saying the cell was so small he couldn't stretch out his arms and that lights were kept on 24 hours a day
Such sweet, good souls over there at the Vatican. They decided torture was the best option for Paolo Gabriele, the butler who believed that the Holy Ghost was directing his actions. I wonder if god the father, in his infinite mercy, helped the pope make the decision to torture Paolo. But wait, there's more.
The trial is being conducted according to the Vatican's criminal code, which is adapted from the 19th-century Italian code.
The court reporter doesn't take down verbatim quotes, but rather records reconstructed summaries dictated to her by the court president, Dalla Torre.
On several occasions, Dalla Torre truncated the responses or, with the help of the notary and the prosecutor, reconstrued them, occasionally attributing to Gabriele and other witnesses words they didn't necessarily utter, or leaving out parts of their testimony altogether. For example, the recorded summary of Gabriele's plea didn't include that he loved the pope as a son would.
Sounds like a fair trial, huh?

The pope is not attending the festivities, as I understand it. He's probably sitting in his rooms, missing the ministrations of his former butler. I imagine he sighs as he recalls how Paolo used to help him slip into his camisole. Oh, for the good old days!

October 1, 2012

My money is more important than my team

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — New York Jets owner Woody Johnson says, if asked to choose, that Mitt Romney winning the presidential election in November is a bigger priority than his NFL team having a winning season. 
In other words, he wants Mitt to win so he can protect his and his rich friends' money, and this is more important to him than seeing the Jets win. I'm sure the fans are pleased to hear this. On the same day, he also said this...
Johnson also says Jets fans deserved a better performance than what his team showed in a 34-0 loss to San Francisco on Sunday, calling it "absolutely unacceptable." 
A reminder: this is the same bozo who hired Tim Tebow as a quarterback. Makes sense that he'd choose Romney -- his decision is probably based on greed and stupidity, in equal parts.

It's de-stitching day

I'm off to the surgeon to have the stitches removed from my totally fabulous scar. If he suggests plastic surgery to cover it up, I'll just laugh. Cover up a great scar like this?! Madness.

One last thought before I leave. I just showered and it was such an unpleasant experience. Anyone else out there have hard water? It's a major pain. You must have the water treated or it'll gum up your pipes. I'm told "treatment" means putting "salts" into the water. Whatever.

As a result of the treatment, the water seems slimy for months. This is especially aggravating when you're in the shower. It never feels like you've gotten the soap is off. You continue to feel slimy no matter how intensely you rinse. And as I say, you have to live with this for months. The water tastes fine, it washes dishes and hands fine, but try and take a shower and you're in Grease City. Ugh.

Okay, just venting. See you later.