The Lower Quote, As If You Didn't Know, Is By Richard Dawkins, Son.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

"Chicks Bleed Out Their Vaginas All The Time"

Respect oppressive and asinine views. Do not ever offend anyone - unless they are women or not believers in your particular irrational fantasy world.

I guess that's the take-away message of Benny XVI's visit to Poland. If you happened to see this article about Joey Ratz/Benny 16 going to his predecessor's hometown and the surrounding area, you may have taken in some of the more amazing quotes from it:

"...Warsaw and Krakow, will be dry, with a ban on all alcohol sales while the Pope is in town..." but the pope, "...will be offered both red and white wine as he attends a series of gala dinners." Soooo, the pope can drink because he has a special hat but the regular folks who just worked a full day can't go home and have a beer? Does the Catholic church have to be hypocritical about everything? It certainly seems as if they are trying.

"...(T)elevision advertisements for alcohol have also been banned, along with those for contraceptives, lingerie and tampons." So not only are they taking away Joey Regular's ability to have a beer, they're taking away his opportunity to view a beer advertisement? If the pope drinks wine, why can't there be a beer ad on tele? And no contraception or tampon ads? I realize that the pope and his bevy of followers like to say that they don't use contraception (take an informal poll and see how many Catholics use condoms - I bet that unless you're in Africa, it's a lot), but not everyone in Germany is Catholic. How are you going to curb the rights of everyone just to avoid "offending" some guy who walks with a stick and talks to an invisible man? Why am I one of the few people who thinks this is fucked in the head?!

And what's wrong with tampons? You know, if it was men who menstruated I'm sure the pope would have a tampon embroidered on his skirt and there'd be a damn commandment saying how long and absorbant they should be. The sanctimony and oppressiveness of the church truely knows no bounds.

"There is always the risk that the faithful may feel hurt if programming devoted to the Pope's visit is interrupted by frivolous ads...", said the head of advertising of the state-owned television network. Sorry? They may "feel hurt"? If I come home from a long day's work and my back hurts and I feel like a cold one, maybe I'd like to pick up a six-pack. I'd "feel hurt" if I was unable to do that because a guy who believes that a piece of dried bread actually turns into the flesh of another man, which he then fucking EATS, is in my country. What about my feelings?

This idea that the pope (or the dalai lama or the Grand schwarma or Darth Vader) is more important and should have his fragile ego/feelings stroked more than anyone else is wrong. It's so wrong, in fact, that it is harming everyone by putting irrational beliefs on a pedestal to be worshipped when they actually should be questioned and ridiculed.

I think women from all across Poland should have protested Benny's visit by showing up with tampons in hand, wearing lingerie with condoms stretched over their hands for gloves. Make a statement, people. The only way to get past this silliness is to point out, in no uncertain terms, exactly how stupid the ideals and beliefs of the church have always been.
(*Thanks to teakel for catching and correcting my geotardedness)

Sunday, May 28, 2006

"Eternal Suffering Awaits Anyone Who Questions God's Infinite Love": Bill Hicks

"Why, Lord, did you remain silent? How could you tolerate all this?" These were the words of Pope Benny recently on his trip to Germany's former concentration/death camps. Nothing like incredulity at a non-existent entity for failing to "speak up" during the murder of over a million people. Funny how the Catholic church remained quite silent, even though they had mouths and, supposedly, the moral high ground.

That was the time of Pope Pius XII, a douchebag of the grandest order. He "saved" 3000 Jews from the camps by issuing visas to go to Brazil; the thing is, he revoked a third of them because the recipients were still practicing "improper conduct", i.e. Judaism (a condition of getting the visas was that the Jews convert to Catholicism). He was completely fine with the Nazis (even signing the Reichskonkordat which recognized the Nazis as a legitimate government) when it suited him and only when it was apparent that the Allied forces were going to win WWII did he find it "politically advantageous" to speak out in support of Jews.

The hypocrisy is so thick it makes a shoe-box full of Play-Doh look like a gossamer sail blowing gently in the wind. Let's not forget that Benny was a member of the Hitler Youth - but he was, of course, forced to join. No way at all to not join, that would have been suicide. Better to remain silent, like your Lord.

Silence seems to be a virtue. Priest molests a kid, stay silent and move him to another area. Nazis burn and murder more than a million men, women, and children, and the church stays silent. Thousands die every month in Africa because of the church's lame, backward, archaic thinking regarding condom use, but the church stays silent and continues on with its ridiculous message of abstinence.

But make the fucking DaVinci Code, get some people asking questions and there's an uproar from the Vatican. Christian groups everywhere come out from under their rocks to "defend their faith". It really does blow your mind. Usually I like to end with a joke or a pithy little "blow me" or something, but the Catholic church is just so outdated and pointless and stupid that it isn't worth the time it would take to come up with an original way to tell someone to suck on my genitals (and too many priests for my comfort would enjoy it anyway). I'm done.

*another well deserved hat-tip to Melissa for forwarding the article to me.

Dyslexic Religious Superheros Untie for Dog!

I love fighting. Love it. Mixed martial arts fighting (MMA), to be precise. Watching the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) tonight however, I was struck by how many fighters love Jebus. Four, by my count including Matt Hughes, the welterweight champion who decisively won the main event over Hall of Fame Member Royce Gracie.

Is there something in athletes' minds that doesn't allow them to take credit for working hard? Sport psychology would do well to look into that phenomenon. If you work hard enough to achieve a goal, you should take credit for it rather than doling out undue praise to some supposedly "loving" character who would (I assume) never condone such an act as attempting to punch the face off another human.

These guys are in incredible shape. They look like superheros (one of the Wayans brothers actually said that Matt Hughes looked like Juggernaut without his helmet); speaking of which, check this out. Also look at the link at the bottom about the religious affiliations of a multitude of superheros - the only notable atheist (who the fuck has ever heard of "Mr. Terrific"?) is Mystique from the X-Men. Sure, you could make a case for Batman as well, but still.

I'm just waiting for the day, and I hope it'll come soon, when at either some major sporting event or Acadamy Award presentation an honoree will take the prize and say into the microphone those words I've written before: "First of all, before we get to this, I have to thank Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin and all the other scientists who have worked and still work tirelessly to provide us with literally everything we need and take for granted."

That will be a great day.
(hat tip to Melissa for the link to the superhero story - you rock!)

Friday, May 26, 2006

"I Object!" "On What Grounds?" "I Don't Know...How About Silliness?"

Let's make a list of the absolute, no doubt about it, stupidest reasons to kill someone. There's gotta be some really stupid reasons out there. Hell, while casually surfing around today I found at least two articles rife with stupid shit.

Check out this piece from The Nation as a great example of how Xian assholes are trying to control women in much the same way the extremist Islamic dickhats do. Bridget Maher, a rider of the short bus that is religious sanctimony, said, "Giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful, because they may see it as a license to engage in premarital sex." You know, I can't count the number of times I was about to get laid and the woman looked back over her shoulder to say, "Hey, maybe we shouldn't do this - there's a good chance I'll get human papilloma virus when I'm sixty." It's such a goddamn boner-buster. Denying women the opportunity for safe abortions and birth control is...well, author Katha Pollitt says it best, "It's honor killing on the installment plan."

Who the FUCK is Bridget Maher to tell women she's never met who and when to have sex with someone?! New Flash: (drumroll, please...) Just about everyone has premarital sex. Hahahahahaha - I know that is news to you, Bridget, which is why I'm so happy to be the one to tell you. A test drive is a critical part of the decision to buy the car or not, and both women and men need it. Maybe you want your wedding night to be a fumbling, non-orgasmic festival of crying and shame, but (as odd as this may sound to you) many of us don't agree with your view of "morals".

Of course, in the category of Stupid Shit, no one takes the hummus like Muslims. Check out this article and weep for the state of humanity. Three people killed for what? Wearing shorts. Yeah, you read that correctly. And it's not like they were fat chicks with spandex stretched over their dunes of flesh, vainly trying to hold in the goat-stuffed girth that so badly needs a Delta Burkha; no, they were tennis players Nasser Ali Hatem and Wissam Adel Auda and Coach Hussein Ahmed Rashid. Olympic athletes shot dead in the street for showing their fucking legs.

Where is the outrage? It's right here, in my gut.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Paper Roses, Skanky Daughters

Oh myspace...why do you tempt them so? Children are talking about having sex on the computer. SEX! Who would have thought of that? Well, apparently not Marie Osmond, whose daughters were found to be quite frisky, shall we say? Yes, we shall.

Osmand's 18 year old adopted daughter Jessica, "claims she is a bi-sexual who craves sex 'as many times as possible,'" while her 16-year-old sister Rachael, "describes herself as a 'slut' and a 'whore' in correspondence and opened up about her dreams of having sex with David Bowie".

I'm curious as to how big Marie Osmond's house is and exactly how many people live there. I mean, if there's only four of them (I'm assuming Marie, Jessica, Rachael, and some sort of father figure), do they have one of those big mansions that rich child-stars think they need? My point is, where is the computer (are the computers?) in the house in relation to where the parents are? Rich parents fold when snotty kids say shit like, "Mom, I need a computer in my room!"

Said Marie, "...no matter how protective we think we may have been with our children in the past, we need to become more knowledgeable and even more vigilant". Well, if "more knowledgeable" means, "get off your ass and check out what the fuck your kids are up to every six months or so", I agree. Fabulous parenting.

Is it just me who thinks it's hilarious that Marie Osmond's kids are describing themselves as whores and sluts and bi-sexual nymphos? Oh, that made my Thursday!

Screw You Guys, I'm Going Home...

I know this guy. He's pretty important. He has a group of people who follow him around and occasionally they have to write about him. In order to effectively write about him, they have to talk to him, thus ensuring that they do not make false assumptions about his ideas and actions. Important Guy (IG) is responsible for a lot of people and the Question Askers (QA) represent those folks.

Sometimes IG does things that seem, well, let's use the phrase "not aligned with the best interests of the people". The QAs then have to sort out what's going on and let the people know either, "Yes, you have cause for concern", or, "No, your fears are unfounded, go on about your business." At times, the QAs can ask some pretty tough questions. At those time, IG can seem a bit on edge. IG does not like answering tough questions.

Presently, IG is doing something new. He wants the QAs to be on a list controlled by his assistant - the QAs said they would line up in an orderly fashion at a microphone to do their job. After all, all of the QAs have to write and all of them have questions. IG did not budge on his request. So the QAs did something - they walked out on IG in the middle of a news conference. It was a bold statement.

IG did not like that one bit. He said that the QAs were "biased" against him. He said he would just go "on the road" and let local QAs ask questions instead of the usual gang (What IG meant was that the "local" QAs would be sufficiently in awe of him that they would not be "impolite" and ask tough questions).

Keeping "on message" (whatever the hell that means) is apparently important in politics, and to Stephen Harper and his staff. He would do well to remember who put the "I" in front of "Guy" - we, the people (although I didn't vote for his smarmy ass). If we have questions regarding what he is doing and how he is doing it, there better be answers. With any luck, the local journalists caught wind of Harper's "they'll be nicer to me" jab and will skewer him at the nearest opportunity.

Long live the Question Askers.

35 is the New 20

Over at the real Skeptico, the reins have been handed over to Donkey to host the 35th Skeptic's Circle! Make a coffee, have a nice sit, and enjoy the written word.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Dear Mr. Design Advocate....

A guy named Jim MacDonald just outside Toronto wrote a letter to the editor of the Toronto Star today with the title, Evolution Still an Unproven Scientific Theory. Here is his letter in its complete form:

Jay Ingram seems to be arguing that because science (and scientists) have advanced the theory of evolution based on Charles Darwin's observations and the scientific method, it must therefore be true.

Apparently, Ingram hasn't seen the article on lactic acid which follows his piece. How wonderfully ironic. Even those of us not schooled in science can see that some of the observations regarding errors in understanding lactic acid could (might someday) be applied to our understanding of where life came from. Might we someday see the quote about lactic acid - "It is one of the classic mistakes in the history of science" - applied to the area of evolution?

If science can be as badly wrong about something as relatively simple as lactic acid, one has to wonder if perhaps there might be some as-yet unrevealed flaws in evolutionary theory as well.

Evolutionary theory is just that - a theory. Once a theory is proven to be true, or false, arguments cease. The reality is that there is no proof for evolution, notwithstanding the rigours and discipline of the scientific method. The same can be said for intelligent design.

The truth is that evolutionary theory is based on acceptance of observations made in the absence of sufficient data for proof.

Sounds like faith to me, just like the religious right Ingram condemns as uninformed.


Here is my reply, emailed today to the editor:

Scientists have made many mistakes. Bloodletting was once popular as a treatment, thalidomide should need no refresher paragraph, and the Piltdown Man fiasco all attest to this fact.

What makes these mistakes different from "intelligent" design? The scientific method (not to be confused with "scientists") was used to fix them all. Observation, hypothesis, experimentation, conclusions, and analysis/peer review all contribute to the advancement of our species toward a more complete understanding of who we are as well as where we live and came from.

I would love to see some actual evidence of "intelligent" design. The leading proponents (Michael Behe, Dwayne Gish, and Kent Hovind) have arguments that point out, in honest moments, legitimate questions about our past. Their pet idea, however, leads to the boiled-down conclusion that, "it is all so very very complicated - something must have done it. Something great. God."

Imagine the state of doctors during the Black Plague. Thousands of people dying all around them, people literally lying in the streets. It would have been tempting to think, "wow, this is really hard - I'm not sure if I can figure out what's behind this disease - something much more intelligent than me must be responsible". What would have happened if everyone abandoned reason and logic and just assumed "something great" was behind it all? Imagine if everyone just started praying, sacrificing goats and virgins, dropping to their knees on the rough cobblestones in subjugation to the "higher power". The modern day equivalent would be to stop work on everything difficult and just say "god did it".

It is mind-boggling that someone in this day and age can say something as completely ludricrous as, "(T)he reality is that there is no proof for evolution..." The fossil evidence is mountainous, the viral and bacterial evolutionary developments are undeniable, and the vestigal organs and anatomical structures (ever hear of the plantaris muscle? - useful in chimpanzees for flexing all the toes at once for climbing trees; but in humans it is weak, small and sometimes completely absent) are still hanging around.

If you still cannot see that evolution is a fact, you have your head buried in the sand. Someone should mention to Mr. MacDonald that gravity and the Earth's revolving around the Sun are also "theories" (in the scientific sense of the word), while the Tooth Fairy taking children's incisors and leaving a quarter (or toonie!) under their pillow is a "theory" in the common sense - as he is familiar.

Monday, May 22, 2006

It's Not a Bird! Nor a Plane!

There's this happening at Desperado Publishing and I find myself wondering how the hell I missed it.

The reviews are very positive with respect to comics, stating that the writing is awesome and the artwork, "moody and yet perfectly clear". I've never been a huge comic book fan, but I certainly appreciate the genre. I realize that The Atheist is all supernaturaly (as comic books are, what with Superman leaping tall buildings and Wonder Woman flying around in her invisible jet) and thus must be taken as it is, but I'm pretty psyched to check this out.

On the preview pages of issue one, there's a John Edward type fella doing hot readings on a crowd with the aid of the good people in the booth above with the mics and info cards, but things go awry when said "psychic" starts to actually get information from dead peeps. Crrreepy!

Give it a look - might be worth the time.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Reply to a Rabbi's Ignorance

I read this article recently and had to write a letter to the editor regarding its weak and over-used "arguments" against atheism. You can write one too if you like by going here.

Response to The Indignity of Atheism

This piece was so full of strawman arguments and fatuous reasoning that it is difficult to know where to start a critique.

"...(T)he notion that there is no higher authority than nature is precisely what enables (psychotic murderers)". This is simple hogwash. There are good people and bad people, some are religious and some are not. To say that not believing in an invisible man in the sky permits acts of horrible violence is both ignorant and inflammatory.

"...(A)theism presents no compelling objection to such behavior – nor, for that matter, any convincing defense of the very concepts of ethics and morality themselves." Ludicrous. An atheist is no more a follower of specific actions than other social groups. Because we profess no belief in a supernatural father-figure, we rely on societal benefits to guide our behavior; societies work best when we work together and that involves respecting people and their actions. No society functions properly when its members are permitted to go around killing each other.

"One who sees only random forces behind why we humans find ourselves here is ultimately bound only by his wants." Again, the author places his vision of atheism on its actual participants without, obviously, understanding the most basic tenets of how we think. We are not "bound only by our wants", but by how we can make a positive difference to our fellow humans and to society in general.

"Atheism, in the end, is a belief system in its own right..." Wrong. Atheism, as the quote goes, is no more a belief system than not collecting stamps is a hobby. Our lives are lived based on our willingness and desire to better ourselves and the world in which we live, here and now. We are not doing good deeds because we are pining for a place in some special after-hours club where only the righteous get in, or attempting to avoid being eternally punished.

"Only an acknowledgement of the Creator can impart true meaning to human life..." This is a standard reply of believers when they see us out there in the world doing good and moral deeds. The author can only see life through the glasses of his religion and that means that, to him, ONLY through a "creator" can life have meaning. Personally, I have my family and friends, my hobbies, social events and even my cat - all of these add meaning to my life.

"...(F)or all their umbrage, they cannot articulate any way there can really ever be, as one writer has put it, 'good without G-d'." Please re-read the above for my reply to this rehashed and weak argument. It is plain when reading the author's piece that he has not openly talked with any well-read or open atheists, even though he claims to have "one or two" non-believer friends.

"(They) are not liars, only inconsistent; some well-hidden part of their minds well recognizes that humans have a higher calling than hyenas." Once again, this is the tunnel-vision of religion coming through loud and clear. The author cannot envision anyone having broken free of the superstition of gods and monsters, so he has to say that no one is "godless". Just because he cannot fathom a world without G-d, Posidon, Zeus, or Ganesh does not mean that none of us can and do every day.

"Adolph Hitler was no believer in G-d. Nor was Joseph Stalin. Nor Pol Pot." To say this is to say that these men acted the way they did because of their atheism. That is patently untrue; Hitler acted the way he did because he believed that the German race was superior to all others. To quote an article I read on this subject, "why not suggest they were also motivated by all the other things they didn't believe in, like Father Christmas or faeries?"

"(I)f my choice of (being stranded on a desert) island were between two strangers about whom I know only that one believes there is no higher reason for human life and the other that there is, I know which one I’d choose." Sadly, you would both likely perish while praying for the storms to stop instead of building a safe and effective shelter.

It pains me to see ignorance of this caliber. If you are going to say half-truths and outright falsities, at least put half and hour's worth of effort into researching your target and attempt to break free of your obviously narrow mindset.

Friday, May 19, 2006

GTA: The Rapture - Steal a Smart Car and a Case of Wine

I don't want to talk about The DaVinci Code. Saying that should excuse me for bringing it up to talk about a separate issue found in a recent newspaper article in the Toronto Star.

A group calling itself Campus Crusade for Christ is taking up the torch to educate people about the fictitious nature of Dan Brown's book/movie. They seem to be quite serious and have volunteers ready to hand out flyers to moviegoers as they stand in line, flyers with biblical verses on them showing that Jesus could not have married Mary Magdalene. Don't bother taking one though because once you get into the theatre, the group has spent $63,000 to make a 10 second commercial that will run in the credits before the movie.

You read that correctly: sixty-three thousand dollars for 10 seconds. That kind of coin would buy a lot of cans of soup for Food Banks.

(As an update, Cineplex Odeon has apparently pulled the spots because they were "too controversial". I didn't think the ad was in any way controversial, but when I go to the movies, I don't want to see an ad for Toyota let alone some church group telling me to "discuss" DaVinci. You can see the 10 second spot here.)

Churches are trying to market themselves now. They've shifted in their focus and are trying, some would say in vain, to keep up with the times. In the article I read, one church has come out with its own brand of wines - a cabernet, chardonnay, and a zinfandel. I guess if you had to drink "the blood of Christ" (and how creepy is that!?) every day, you'd at least want it to not taste like...well...blood.

Not to be outdone, the psycho, fear-mongering folks behind the Left Behind movement have come out with a video game called, Left Behind: Eternal Forces, which puts the player in the Rapture (oddly announced on their page as happening in 17 days on June 6, 2006 - 06/06/06 - which seems like the number sixty thousand six hundred six rather than their beastly six hundred sixty six). Maybe I'm wrong.

They describe the gunplay and battles in the game as "'Star Wars' violence", which they think the parents will be ok with. Guys, Christian parents took their kids to see The Passion for fuck's sake. That was a guy getting his ass kicked hard for three hours - I'm sure religious parents will be cool with shooting and killing us left behind non-believers and the ominous anti-christ.

When archaic institutions like churches and cathedrals try to keep up with the times, they seem as if they're either pandering to people ("Look, it's Christ Clear! Just like the old Christ, only with 0 calories and no trans fats!") or like they're changing their minds about what's important ("We can have a violent video game! Violence is ok as long as it's not directed at us godly folks! See, we're hip!"). It's understandable that they will try to keep their ideas alive, but it is sad to watch the death throes.

May 18 - Birthday of Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell, a giant of free-thinking, had a birthday yesterday. Have a beer or pop for the man if you feel it necessary. Maybe read Why I Am Not a Christian. If you'd like to check out B.R. himself, you can do that here.

I quote:

"Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time."
Bertrand Russell

Big tip o' the hat to Stardust for the clue-in. You rock.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

BattleCry - The Scariest Fucking Thing I've Seen in Years

They describe themselves as "God's Army". If you haven't seen Battle Cry yet, you might want to take a look; you might also want to don a diaper because it's scary enough to make you piss your pants.

I read this Truthdig article and then got a little more familiar with the cul...sorry, "organization". It seems like another "get 'em when they're young" approach only with Navy SEALS and light shows and stuff to make Jesus cool. 'Cause, you know, Jesus isn't cool on his own. He's a bit of a quiff.

Check this out from Battle Cry's "Core Values":
Faith
We receive direction, provision, and motivation directly from the God and His Word to take the Gospel to the World.

Integrity
We are who we say we are; and we always do the right thing, regardless of expediency.


And from their "Teenage Bill of Rights":
We will do our best to represent and communicate our Creator to our peers, leaders, and society as a whole

We will work to see that every person has the opportunity to see and hear about the true nature of our God.

We recognize that God, our Creator, is the source of all truth.


I love how the writers of the above sneak in the bit about "making sure that every person has the opportunity to hear about Jebus". Get more missionaries! Send 'em to the fuckin' Congo! We need more Christians! There's just too much education on this continent and people aren't falling for the "died and rose to Heaven" bit anymore. When employment in shitty sweatshop companies is down, they go to the uneducated and teach them that theirs is a wonderful company with opportunities and hope.

I love the Superhero feel to this passage from their site:

When Judeo-Christian beliefs are labeled as intolerant,

When activists seek to remove God from our schools,

When truth is deemed relative and unknowable, It is necessary for us, the emerging generation of young Americans, to stand for what is right and reclaim the values that have made our nation great...


Uhhh...Judeo/Christian beliefs are intolerant. By definition, if you are excluding people based on religious belief, sexual orientation, or culture, you are intolerant. It's ok. I'm intolerant of you (ignorance really gets to me) and you're allowed to be intolerant - just don't try to bullshit a bullshitter. Point two: God is not allowed to be in your public schools. That's why everyone pays taxes. If you want God in your schools, go to a private school or home-school your kid. Point three: Truth is quite knowable, you just don't want to hear it because it will shatter your precious beliefs. So, everyone on the count of three - heads in the sand!

And of course there are links to Answers in Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research. Why wouldn't there be? Just answer me this: did your IMITS (Invisible Man In The Sky) make Adam and Eve at the same time, or did s/he/it make Adam first then bring Eve along out of his rib? By the way, go to AiG sometime and try to make sense of their "answers" - it'll hurt your head. Oh, and go to ICR's site and check out "Articles", then "Dr. John's Q&A" and read his "How Well Proven is Evolution?" piece. My favorite quote is, "...evolution is not something we can observe. If it's happening today, it's going too slow to observe. If it happened in the past, we can't return to the past to see. It may be a fact of history, but how would we know?"

Really? It's not something we can observe? So this doesn't count? Or bacteria evolving defences against medicines? Or the plantaris muscle in the calf of humans (it is atrophied, often absent, and blends into the achilles tendon - but in chimps, it is a useful muscle that flexes all the toes at once - handy if you're in a tree)? Nope, you're full of shit, Dr. John. We can see evolution just fine.

Back to Battle Cry, I'm sure you'll have a heart attack from shock to know that Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell are partners! Rub my chest and call me Vicks, I didn't see that one coming! I think my favorite bit from the teenie-evangalist site is, "I will keep my eyes on the battle, submitting to Your code even when I don’t understand."

Oh, you don't understand? That's ok - just go and tell people all about the bible and Jebus and that it's the TRUTH! Not just that, it's the ONE AND ONLY TRUTH!

"I love you, you big heathen, and I'll pray that you'll one day come to the realization that I had - that even though I have no idea what the h-e-double hockey sticks I'm reading or talking about, it's true and just. Gays are sinners and abortion is killing babies and my bathing suit area is evil, but you are in my prayers. Believe or you'll end up in hell, and boy is it hot there. Oh, and if my teacher tells me you are aligned with Satan, I'll kill you."

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Better Cover the Table Legs Too - They're Sexy

I realize that the sight of a woman in a head-scarf and covered in robes is enough to make any guy get a woody the size of the Seattle Space Needle. I mean, they're just so darn tempting, vile creatures that they are. They need to be controlled and their appearance in popular media should be restricted.

Wow! My dream country, Saudia Arabia, has gone and beaten me to it. King Abdullah has spoken to the editors of newspapers in his country (and I do mean his country) and asked them to not print pictures of women anymore. These photos of women may make men "go astray".

"One must think, do they want their daughter, their sister, or their wife to appear in this way. Of course, no one would accept this," Abbie said. "This way", means that the women were portrayed in articles relevant to them and always in the traditional Muslim headscarf. Santa voca! The shame! What's next? Women voting? Women driving (gasp!) cars!?

You'd think they had brains and could think for themselves.

If ever you want a nice, neat example of how religion oppresses, just take a long gander at Islam and the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia. Forbidding editors to print images of women even when they're appropriate makes no sense. Just go back to the 1600's when saying "chicken breast" or "chicken thigh" was too risqué for the masses so they went with "dark" and "white" meat.

It's intriguing to see that King Abbie is also trying to control the bad press his country is bound to get. When religion and, more to the point, theocracies get out of control, people start to rebel. People in positions of power will try to snuff out any dissention and the easiest way is to control the media outlets. Well intubate me but don't bring in the helium balloons 'cause I'm gonna die of not-surprise - Saudia Arabia's media are all either state-run or state-controlled. If you're telling the media what to do and say, you're going to have a positive image regardless of the shit that's actually happening on the street.

Just ask W.

Monday, May 15, 2006

I See a Dumb Priest and I Want to Paint Him Black

My oh my, but the Catholic Church is painting itself into a corner these days, isn't it? Lay down and let "DaVinci Code Mania" roll over you with all its blathering about secret societies and dark caverns and self-flagellating albino monks, or speak up and tell people not to see the movie and come across as secretive and possibly promote just the attitude that Dan Brown says the Vatican has in his book? What to do, what to do?

Well, Cardinal Paul Poupard from said Vatican has an idea. Funnily enough, "...he had no objection to people seeing the film if they understand it is fiction, but many would watch this 'nonsense' and think that it was true." Poupie, I could say the same about your little religion. I have no problem with people going to church and saying their little prayers, as long as they realize that it's not based in reality, but many people seem to think that your nonsense is factual and has real-world consequences.

The kettle's black, the pot's black, the whole fuckin' kitchen's black. Poupie also was quoted as saying, "(T)his is a shocking and worrying cultural phenomenon that reflects, on the one hand, the ignorance of millions of people and, on the other, the voluptuous pleasure the media take in promoting products that have nothing to do with the truth...". It is like he's writing for The Simpsons and is fully aware of the layers of meaning in what he's saying, only he's not.

I would say the same thing about going to church as Poupie says about DaVinci: "If it is clear this has nothing to do with truth and it amuses you to go see it, why not?"

Do these guys even get a year of university literature courses? Not one course on irony or its uses and meaning? No? Obviously not, I guess. Ah well, enjoy your skewering and I'll send you my box office receipt.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Douchepak Chumpra - Now With 100% More Douche!

Once again, Douchepak is hard at it. He has written at the Huffington Post an article that makes me wonder if he has gone off the deep end. I mean, he's not even trying to lie and make it all pretty anymore - he's just pulling information out of his ass and passing it off as factual.

Case in point: He talks about people who are living to ripe old ages and how they can achieve this while sometimes being crabby bastards. In the opening paragraph he says, "...no one who has lived to 100 ever had a child who lived that long."

Really? In the whole history of the world, not one 100 year old father or, more likely, mother ever had a son or daughter live to be a centenarian as well? We're talking about a lot of people here, Douche. Take a look at the 1999 Special Report on Centenarians in the United States, 1990 here and check out page one under "U.S. Centenarians" where it says that there were 37,306 folks over 100 in the States. Sure, it is probably an overstatement, but not by a huge amount. And that's just in the U.S. of A. We're not even including India, China, or other countries with giant populations.

So let's say that the number from 1990 is overstated by just over seven thousand, making 30,000 a nice round figure to work with for argument's sake. We'll take ten thousand less for Indonesia and 20,000 more for India and China (based on the numbers from 1995 here), bringing us to a final, very conservative estimated count of 150,000 people in the World over the age of 100 in the early 90's.

Are you still sure that not one family ever had successive parent/child centenarians? I wouldn't take that bet based on large number statistics (but then, you left real science to deal in fluff, where numbers are just things to manipulate for your benefit - right?). As an example from Wikipedia: "the odds that you will win the lottery are very low; however, the odds that someone will win the lottery are quite good, provided that a large enough number of people purchased lottery tickets."

With a sample of that size, the odds that ONE family had a kid live to be one hundred years old are pretty high, I'd say. Any mathematicians care to comment?

Why am I beating this point to death? I'll tell you. I get tired of "gurus" like Douchepak throwing numbers and "theories" around without ever being fact-checked. He gets a pass when he talks about quantum physics because gullible people buy into his "mystical healer" act, nevermind that the scientists who read him (see here and here notibly), state that he is a manipulative quack who spews mumbo-jumbo to placate the hearts of desperate people, giving false hope and steering some away from treatments that may help or, at worst, taking time away from family and friends in the last days of life.

His blathering of, "If you can wiggle your toes with a mere flicker of an intention, why can't you reset your biological clock...The reason most people can't do it is because, first, they never thought of it and secondly they think that certain things are easier to do than other things. [But] the same principles apply everywhere in the body", is so childish and silly as to be embarrassing. He might as well say that if you can wiggle your index finger, you can fly around the room like Peter Pan. Also, the implication is that it is your fault for not thinking happy thoughts or believing enough in Prana/Ayurveda/Chi/vibrating energy, if you do grow old or get sick, or die.

And if it's so easy to stop ageing, why is he getting older? Right, HE chooses to. Blow me, Douchepak.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Muslims Kill Others, Catholics Starve Themselves

In response to the upcoming release of The DaVinci Code, some Catholic groups have decided to have themselves a little bit of a protest. Yeah, I know what you're thinking: more burnt embassies and threats of beheading the blasphemers. Oddly, that's not so much what's happening. The Catholics are threatening to go on a hunger strike to kill themselves. This, apparently, is "a more Christian way of doing things rather than pulling down things and tearing them up."

How weird is religion? I mean, seriously?

The Vatican has also asked that Christians "take legal action" to protect their faith from "those who blaspheme Christ," whatever the fuck that means. Blasphemy is an outdated "crime" that is still on the books technically in a select group of countries, and in full effect in places of fabulous scientific advances such as Pakistan and Iran.

I'm told that it is unforgivable to blaspheme against the "holy spirit" in Christianity. Well, allow me the opportunity to tell his/her holiness to lick my nutcakes. Lick 'em good. I could use a nice little spirity ball-wash and I'll even dip 'em in "holy water" and roll 'em in graham wafers just to make them more appealing.

Also, in Islam it is punishable by death to blaspheme against Allah, any prophet in the Koran or any biblical prophet. Again, I'd like to invite Muhammad, Allah, and all the prophets of both books to come together with nothing but plastic and lube. Just a huge "holy man" orgy of tan skin and hair. Nothing I'd like to imagine more than a bunch of sweaty nekkid biblical characters gettin' it on. Mmmm...biblical gay sex!

Now that that is out of the way, don't you think that most people who are going to watch this movie have already read the book? Wouldn't the book be "worse" due to the fact that people can take their time and look up the references and see the silliness of church life and the "secret societies"? Don't you think that... Oh, wait, I'm sorry - I'm using logic. That's not a strong point within religion.

So, do we let the Catholic weirdos starve themselves? Yeah. I think we do. Once again, it's social Darwinism. If you think that killing yourself will make me not see a movie, you are sorely mistaken. In fact, I might go see the movie just so I can then watch you wither away to bones, wasting your last days in the vain hope that your non-existent god will lead you to Nirvana/Heaven/Valhalla/Whatever. Good luck with that - I'll be checking out Tom Hanks' long hair and Audrey Tautou's...well, let's just say she's a looker.

Blasphemy is a ridiculous "law" that is only meant to keep forced ignorance intact and populations under control. Welcome to reality.

34th Skeptic's Circle is Alive! It's Alive!

Breathing fine and smiling at you for the first time, the new Skeptic's Circle (edition #34) is up and walking around at The Second Sight.

To paraphrase Tenacious D, "If you want your asses blown out, click on the link."

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Comfort's Fear Factor Food

After the whole "banana proves that god exists" bit, I had to go to the Way of the Master website to check out what sort of shit they're slingin'. There's a lot.

Wow. I knew that Comfort was a bit of a weirdo, and on the Hellbound Alleee show where he conceded the banana argument, he came across as a pretty nice fella, albeit misguided and odd. However, he really doesn't seem to know what to do when confronted by a knowledgable atheist. He almost seems to know that the "points" he makes are weak and easily blow-apart-able.

I mean, look at this from his "tools" section under "Scientific Facts in the Bible":

"7. Science has discovered that stars emit radio waves, which are received on earth as a high pitch. God mentioned this in Job 38:7: 'When the morning stars sang together...'"

Seriously. This is supposedly a point for them. It's like they employed John Hogue to take a break from his Nostradamus "translations" and put him to work trying to fit vague, non-sensical shit into present-day astronomy.

If you want to read something that will make your brain melt, go to the section under "tools" called "100 Questions and Answers" and then find "Common Questions and Objections". The second objection is "Adam was a mythical figure who never really lived." Click on it, but beware, the "reasoning" is so flawed and circular that it may just kill you. I have 5cc's of thorazine on a drip as I write this to bring me back down to a decent level of sanity.

Possibly the funniest things on the site is the "love test". One question actually says something to the effect of, "Over 140,000 people die every day, and now that you have the cure for death, what do you think your responsibility is?" The cure for death. Yeah, that's actually what it says. Now that you know that being an incredible bore and throwing all logic and reason out the window will get you in tight with Jeebus, you can...well, you can probably die sooner because you'll depend on non-existent Big Guy to save you in the event of an emergency. Social Darwinism at its finest.

Basically Comfort's argument boils down to the old and soundly demolished Pascal's Wager. He can't get enough of the oft repeated, "Do you know what happens when you die?" line of horseshit that only convinces people who haven't thought about the basic ideas of life and death for more than fifteen seconds. Sadly, that's most everyone. It sucks that spiritual or emotional blackmail is still able to be used on gullible folks - "Believe or you'll burn in the Lake of Fire in Hell; it's an actual place, don't you know?! It's much safer to believe."

Of course he has CDs and DVDs and tapes, books, bibles, and videos for sale. A guy has to make a living, right? Selling fear to people willing to buy into it. Hell of a way to put food on the table....

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

"Autistic? Here's a gun and a shiny toy, enjoy the war."

The U.S. Army not following recruiting guidelines? No... That can't be right. Must have been a typo or something. Obviously the fine folks who bring in the new blood (man, how appropriate is that as a metaphore?) are of the highest moral standards, right? Right?

What do you want to bet that more than 90% of them say they're "religious" or "very religious"? Just an interesting thought.

It seems that an 18 year old with moderate to severe autism was recruited to be a cavalry scout, one of the most dangerous positions in the army. Sadly, it also seems that the guy who convinced the boy to join, Cpl. Ronan Ansley, ignored or misused medical information that obviously would have disqualified him from service.

Jared Guinther was diagnosed as autistic after his parents noticed that he wasn't like other kids, but not in the superhero way.

"He'd play with one toy for days. Loud noises bothered him. He was scared to death of the toilet flushing, the lawn mower". Yeah, sounds like a kid perfectly fit for the military. Scared of a flushing toilet - he'll do great when some fucker is shooting an RPG at his face. I've worked with many kids with autism and I can say with great authority that not ONE of them would I ever recommend for something as severe as military duty.

This Ansley assclown actually had the nerve to say to Jared's mother that he had, "been in special classes, too - for dyslexia." That's like saying to a guy in a wheelchair, "come on, stand up - I pulled a hammy once so you should be able to stand up with a broken back, you pussy." A family member who was concerned for Jared asked what he would do if someone shot at him. Like any teen, Jared ran to his video game console. He started it up and then killed a soldier in a game and said, "See! I can do it!"

When George Carlin talked about the first Gulf war in one of his many HBO specials, he referred to "Nintendo pilots". I really don't think he was talking about autistic kids playing HALO.

Scoring showed that Jared got 43 out of 99 on the Army's basic entrance exam. How sad is it that thirty-one is the lowest grade the Army allows for enlistment? That means that a semi-functional autistic boy scored higher than some of the soldiers serving over in Iraq now. Think about that for a couple of seconds. No fucking wonder idiots like Lyndie England are showing up with prisoners on leashes. I'd love to get a copy of that test but, sadly, I can't find one online...yet. I guess I'll have to assume:

Question 1: Spell your name in capital block letters.
Question 2: Put a checkmark (looks just like a Nike swoosh) at the end of this sentence.
Question 3: Go on to question 4.
Question 4: Good job. Draw a star for yourself.
Question 5: What sound does a gun make? a)bang (b)boom (c)rat-a-tat-tat (d)all of these

I think you get the idea.

Jared's parents called Sgt. Alejandro Velasco, Ansley's supervisor and a douchebag who said to Jared's mother, "...He doesn't need his mommy to make his decisions for him." It's funny to note that when a reporter visited the U.S. Army Recruiting Station, Velasco initially denied knowing Jared, but later said he'd spent a lot of time mentoring him because Jared was going to become a cavalry scout. Once the interview got going a bit, Velasco suddenly grabbed the recorder and tried to tear out the tape. Guilt makes you do funny things. I'd really like to see DkHed. Velasco get anally violated by Patrick Ewing's wang after dipping it in hot sauce.

DchBg. Ansley actually showed up at the Guinther's door and said that he would probably lose his job and face dishonorable discharge. I hope they showed him a photo of a person making a sad, sympathetic face - and then tore it in half in front of him. Or maybe even better, if one of the other kids had a violin, they could have slowly taken it out and started playing, never breaking eye contact. That would have been hilarious.

It would be funny if it wasn't so godamn tragic.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Baby Jebus Hates Me

I have a t-shirt that is black and across the front in small white letters it says, "god hates you." I love that shirt. It's a conversation starter and, sometimes, finisher. You can quickly tell who you will get along with in a room full of people.

There are attitudes about atheists that get expressed again and again, "arguments" that get thrust in our faces that anyone who has no religious belief must face on a regular basis. The "what do you believe in then?" discussion, the "there is a god, just look at a sunset (or something else natural)" point, and my personal favorite, the oh-so-condescending "you believe in god, you just don't know it yet" front.

To address these one by one, we'll start by saying that atheists believe a lot of different stuff. We're just like any other group of people; when we get together, there's some people you hit it off with right away and others you think are huge dicks. The only thing that unites every atheist is the lack of belief in any supernatural weirdo in the sky (or wherever) who watches us all the time like some creepy Universe-creating James Stewart in Rear Window. Makes no sense.

The most non-sensical argument I've personally faced on more than one occasion is the second. Someone asks me if I believe in god and I say "no". The person asks why I don't and I tell them that I require evidence for the things I believe in and they come back with, "Well just look at a sunset/flower/butterfly/something natural and pretty".

Usually if I'm in a good mood and up for a discussion, I'll explain that those things are natural and there's no need to bring in a never-before-seen entity to explain them. If I'm in a crappy mood, I'll just point out the Ampulex compressa. This is a wasp that injects poison into a specific area of a roach's brain to turn it into a makeshift zombie, leading it into the wasp nest where it will lay an egg on the underside the still-living roach. The larvae chews through the belly to feed on the alive flesh of the roach, then grows up and goes to make zombies out of other roaches. Yeah, nice god you have there, flake-n-bake.

Now we come to the lamest of the lame. "You believe, you're just not accepting", is such an annoying phrase. It's like saying, "you believe in purple flying unicorns, you just need more time to come to terms with them". Atheists don't even consider anything supernatural because there is just no need to make that assumption. When a friend of mine at school saw my "god hates you" shirt, she came over and said, "you don't really believe god hates me, do you"?

I replied, "no, I don't, because the ability to hate presupposes existence." That stopped her. Most people are not familiar with Occam's Razor; they think that the acronym "UFO" automatically means aliens. ("Unidentified" is just that) They don't understand that the burdon of proof is on they who make the claim, not on everyone else to disprove what they've said. If there's evidence to examine that supports the belief that a "god" created the planet/universe, great, let's see it. Until then, the natural explanations so far plus the occasional "I don't know" is good enough for me.

It's late and I need to go to bed. Hopefully no big zombie-making wasp will inject my friggin' head while I sleep to lay their parasitic egg on my stomach. That would suck balls.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Run!

Today I ran my first 10km race. It was the LifeStyles 10K down Yonge Street in Toronto and I did it in one hour and 28 seconds. I was happy with that time and have to say that the bagpipe band at Bloor St. helped with my...dare I say..."energy"? I'm an East Coast boy at heart and the pipes just get to me.

I enjoyed the Gatorade along the way.

I'll post again tomorrow as I have a baseball game tonight and then I'll need to soak in a bath and stretch for three hours so my legs will work tomorrow. Enjoy your Sunday.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

555 - the Movie Area Code of the Beast

Because June is coming up and there are obviously women out there with what we like to call a "bun" in "the oven", I would like to report that some of them are getting nervous.

The next question would be, "why"? and I'm glad you asked (or in urban-speak, "aksed").

It seems that the date June 6, 2006 holds special significance due to its appearance of 6/6/06, being close to the mythical "number of the beast" from Revelation. It also seems that no one cared that anyone born in June of 1966 had a birth month and year of 6/66, which is closer to the actual number due to the lack of the zero. But what do I know?

Can we get over this silly number fixation? They don't mean anything. Really. Imagine the chaos in 1666. Every baby would have had an equal chance of being the AntiChrist, whatever the hell that means.

I'd like to be the antichrist if it meant I could shoot lasers or fire from my eyes. That would be fantastic. Sometimes I hate that I'm a December baby...

"I was working on a flat tax proposal, and I accidentally proved there’s no god."

I went to my regular sites this morning to catch up on the stories and reading of the last day or so. When my surfing took me to one of my favorites, God is for Suckers, I looked at the second story down and was taken to a video link of Kent Hovind giving a lecture about dinosaurs and the age of the Earth.

It was like watching a car accident or a man on fire; there was nothing I could do to stop it, I could only watch in horror. The spectacle held my gaze for almost an hour before I snapped back to reality and shut it off. I defy you to watch it and not have your head open up, your brain jump out of your head, and run to the closest library to read about anything that makes a modicum of sense. Maybe the latest Kevin Federline lyrics.

Mr. Hovind, or "Dr. Dino", as he likes to be called, talks about how evolutionists believe that we came from rocks. In the video he says something to the effect of, "...it rained and rained and rained on the rocks, the rocks turned to soup, and we came from the soup." I half expected a joke like, "if we came from soup, why do we still have soup?" I mean, if you're going to rehash the, "my grandpappy wasn't no monkey" argument, why not go all the way? Hovind does what most creationists do which is, focus on the details of why what they say is correct while glancing over the big picture. See, the tactic they use is to get you arguing about the minutiae of their "theory", thus you spend all your time talking about the number of hairs on a Wookie's nutsack, rather than the fact that there have never been Wookies at all.

A favorite part of the almost half of the video I suffered through, was the bit about the floating water. He actually says that there was some sort of dividing layer of water in the sky, "possibly supported by the Earth's magnetic field". I'll let you go check the material available on the strength of planetary magnetic fields and judge for yourself if it's possible to hold up an ocean. Frankly, it's beneath me to justify.

Hovind goes on and on about the numbers of pictures on cave walls of "dinosaurs" and "dragons". He asks pure-heartedly, "...why would these people draw pictures of dinosaurs on the walls? Probably because they saw them." Perhaps the people who drew those things may have just made a mistake. It's not like we're infallible or always get what we saw precisely accurate. There are tales of Mothmen and Alien Abductions to attest to folks filling in blank areas to make sense of what they "saw".

Also, last I checked, people had great imaginations, and sometimes even make shit up. Like the legend of Prometheus for example - chained to a rock for stealing fire from the Gods and giving it to mankind, he suffered by having a big ol' bird come and eat his liver every damn day (you know, because he was a god he couldn't be killed and his liver would grow back at night). Sounds pretty fantastic. We can get creative when we make shit up.

Not to mention the Predator, the Alien, and tribbles.

Hovind goes on at length about the variety of flood legends that come from all around the globe and takes these legends as evidence for the biblical flood of Noah. Well, I'd like to forward the theory that perhaps regional floods happened on occasion and people would tell stories about them for generations, sometimes (gasp) embellishing on the seriousness. Or, in the case of China's Yellow River - which in 1931 had a flood that killed between one million and 3.7 million folks - not so much. People lie about the size of fish they catch, for fuck's sake, why not inflate a story of disaster to make it dramatic and scary to those being told?

I really cannot go into Hovind's belief in "fire-breathing dragons". It is embarrassing and beneath me. All I will say is that he only cites the damn bible for his proof (as far as I remember). Seriously. A fire-breathing dragon. This certainly shows us the sort of "intellect" we're dealing with. Quick question: What sort of biological mechanism could be proposed to ignite something inside a creature's mouth? I bet ol' Kent believes in spontaneous human combustion.

I have to end this with Hovind's little "gotcha" on the college professor story. He talks about nailing (intellectually) a prof with the regression line of argument: that is, she said "I believe we came from a complex molecule".

Kent said, "where'd the molecule come from?"
Prof says, "...from the organic soup", and blah blah back to the "it rained on rocks and so, we came from rocks." He does this to her but never applies it to his own "theory". So we came from god? Well, where did god come from? Science is ok with getting to a point where we just don't know. Science is comfortable with the unknown. Religion must have an answer, although they are fantastic at reversing this situation. They say that science "takes away the mystery and beauty of the world". Quite the opposite; science exposes the beauty and connectedness of everything. All we know is, by definition, tentative. Religion is rigid and stand-offish, secretive and exclusive. For me, it has been quite a comfortable ride to being happy in my uncertainty and I am always leery of people with an answer to everything.

At best, science explains what we see around us and makes predictions about what we will find or what we will be able to do in the future. "God made it/did it/doesn't like it", is nothing but a statement based on a silly book written by men. It certainly isn't based on what "god wrote on a rock with his finger". Kent Hovind is a dangerous man and his silly, manipulative drivel must be addressed and shown to be the load of religious, suppressive, oppressive, horse-shit that it is.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Grumpy, Sleepy, Dopey, Armand, Luis, and Angel

I was reading the Toronto Star today and came across the funniest story I've read in weeks. It seems a judge in the Philippines is asking if he could have his job back after being fired.

Why was he fired, BHM?

Great question. Glad you asked. He was fired because he claimed he could see into the future and that he, and this is the best part, admitted to "consulting imaginary mystic dwarfs - named Armand, Luis and Angel..." They apparently, "helped him carry out healing sessions during breaks in his chambers."

I have to say that I'm actually having trouble typing due to my fits of giggling. An imaginary mystic dwarf named Armand - I mean, come on...that's some top shelf insanity. And the guy was a fuckin' judge! Who CAN'T be a judge in the Philippines?

Just as a topper, the guy was fired after a three-year investigation found that he was incompetent. That's right, it took three years to figure out that this lunatic consulted with mystic invisible dwarves.

I realize that there's other news that I should, by rights, be commenting on (Pope Fella has excommunicated a couple bishops in China, David Blaine is doing another inane stunt, and some retarded woman was guilted into giving $80,000 to a church). Sorry, but I just can't get past the dwarves today.

I'll get back to my regularly scheduled bitching and moaning tomorrow. Enjoy your night.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Fuck Off....We're the People's Front of Judea

What has to happen for a group of people to help another? I would like to think that if I and my best friend were walking down a street and saw two men beating and raping a mother and her 8 year old daughter, that we'd do our best to stop them. Yes, there is a chance we would get hurt or even killed, but at that point, not helping would have made going on living with the guilt impossible.

Now what would our state of minds be if we, almost 12 years ago, watched something horrible happen that we could have stopped. We let those two guys beat and rape the mother and daughter and we just watched and ate our sandwiches and said, "man, that's horrible, eh?" Afterwards, we felt bad for our inaction and vowed to "never again" let something like that go on in front of our eyes without taking action.

Well, check it out; here we are and it's happening again and we're sitting back and eating those sandwiches and talking on smaller, sexier cellphones about how horrible it is that another mother and daughter are being beaten and raped. What will it take for us to step into the problem and stop it from getting any worse than it already has?

The "two guys" from the above, the government-backed Arab Janjaweed armies, have beaten, raped, and made homeless more than two million people, and killed nearing 200,000 people in Sudan. What are we doing? We're holding "take-note" meetings. How sad is it when your government is more like the People's Front of Judea than an effective humanitarian force? How bad does it have to get before people stop having meetings and actually do something? Obviously more than 800,000 people have to die in three months, if Rwanda was any indication.

Realizing that there is nothing of value to our government in Sudan is to recognize the lack of motivation that was so mind-numbingly apparent during the Rwandan genocide and the pathetic lack of aid from any country with the resources to prevent the slaughter. Politicians need to see the Return On Investment (ROI) of action. The "what will we get out of it" angle. Sadly, when a bunch of black folk are getting killed in a desert, there is not too much they can offer in return, so they are left to their fate safe in the knowledge that sometime much later, a 20 million-dollar movie will be made and a charity song will be sung so people will send money to buy more bags of rice to give them.

I have become a cynic with respect to the motivations of governments and expect nothing but more dead bodies on the evening news, "celebrities" giving heart-felt accounts of tragedies witnessed, and an apology a decade later (maybe) from the then-leaders to the survivors. It is not enough and the people in "power" should be ashamed of themselves.

Go-Blo Me

I thought I had a handle on just about every "faith" out there but, apparently, I was quite wrong. There is a lovely little melange that I have outright missed and I feel badly because it's so silly sounding that, had it crossed my ears, it would have stuck forever. I'm sure some of you have heard of the JuBu.

That's a Jew who is also a practicing Buddhist. You might be saying to yourself, "But Mike, how can a person be a Jew who doesn't worship idols and yet sit in front of a Buddha statue and meditate every day?" Good question, Sherman. In moderate religious belief, you can do anything you want because no one is Superman. There are no absolutes in relative religion. If the Bible says to kill a dude who works on the Sabbath, a moderate would say that you shouldn't actually kill the dude, just inform him that that's not how we do things around these here parts. Sort of like Brian Dennehey in First Blood "welcoming" John Rambo to town.

The "JuBu" is, according to the article, a rather American trend. Seems that folks elsewhere enjoy their religion usually from one plate more or less. I can say from personal experience in Japan that people are quite comfortable with having a Xian cross, a Buddhist statue, and a Shinto shrine right in their house. No sweat. If you added a potato that looked like Ganesh, you'd have just about enough ingredients for a nice cold salad.

Because of the levels of defection from mainstream Judaism, one rabbi wondered, "Maybe we haven't done a good enough job of making Jewish mysticism accessible to the masses." Sure, but on the other hand, maybe people are just realizing that no religions have any basis in reality and so, because they can't accept a world without "god-imposed rules", are slipping over to the non-religion of Buddhism.

Buddhism is so silly that it doesn't really even warrant mentioning though. "Be nice, suffering is good, and you'll come back as something better in the next life", is the essence. On Barbara Walters' Heaven special, the Dalai Lama said that in Heaven, there's happiness and love and blah blah blah, and you can eat anything you want and not get fat. How fucking silly can a person get?

It really seems, even though the trend has been around for a while now, that becoming a "JuBu" is just the hip thing to do. It has a catchy ring to it: "What are you?"

"I'm a JuBu."

"Shut the fuck up. That sounds like retard shortspeak for a dog breed at Westminster. Grow up and just be a person, assclown."

(I can dream about how a hypothetical conversation would go, can't I?)

Monday, May 01, 2006

New Hotness in the Koran

Breaking news out of Syria: Muslims have today discovered a way to oppress women that has gone un-noticed for centuries.

It seems that Surah 24:31 talks about women covering up their bodies, except of course, to husbands or fathers or husbands' fathers, or their sons or their husbands' sons, or their brothers or their brothers' sons or sisters' sons, or their women, or their slaves, or male attendants who lack vigour, or children who know naught of women's nakedness. So, basically anyone. Oh, and they can't stamp their feet so their boobies shake and the people not allowed to see them might get an idea as to what's under their baggy gangsta clothing.

The new interpretation comes from the previous Koran line where it says, "...draw their veils over their bosoms", where the word "draw" is being equated to drawing a gun, and as such, the women will now be put on the front lines of war and suicide missions. The women shall be named similar to South Park's, Operation Get Behind the Darkies, known in Islamic circles as Operation Get Behind the Boobies.

The interpretation comes from Sheik Alan Muhammad Jeffries who seems to be a relative unknown in the Islamic world, primarily because he lives just outside Boise, Idaho and is the owner of a local mini-mart dollar store. He blogs occasionally out of his mother's basement and has no religious qualifications whatsoever, as reported by Reuters.