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

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Skeptic's Circle #72

Oh yeah, you're gonna want to get there fast to check it out. Don't be tardy. Click here right now before the second bell rings!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Liddell vs Silva Confirmed...Great.

Yesterday, Dana White (the foul-mouthed, highly visible president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship) announced that the undercard top fight for the December event that features Matt vs. Matt for the welterweight belt will be the highly anticipated Chuck Liddell against Wanderlei Silva.

Am I the only one who doesn't really care about this fight?

It would have been great had Chuck still been the LH champ and still had that invincibility cloak around him. If Silva hadn't been KTFO by Dan Henderson recently. If Chuck hadn't been beaten convincingly twice in a row now. It sort of seems like the UFC is trying to pump up a fight that will likely end quickly one way or the other and no one will remember two week afterwards.

Maybe it's me?

Find Me

Over at PZ's blog, he did a meme that I thought was interesting. It was to find the five phrases/words that, when searched on google.com brought up your blog as the first result. I took it upon myself to do this for my blog and came up with the following:

1. Mike's Weekly

2. ahexabuffavertovenesian aerialist

3. here's the secret, blame the victim

4. Douchepak Chumpra
and
5. Sleuthing Skeptics

Try this for yourselves - it's a fun think to do if you have seventeen minutes to kill.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Eats Shoots and Leaves




You Scored an A



You got 10/10 questions correct.



It's pretty obvious that you don't make basic grammatical errors.

If anything, you're annoyed when people make simple mistakes on their blogs.

As far as people with bad grammar go, you know they're only human.

And it's humanity and its current condition that truly disturb you sometimes.




(hat tip to Prof. Moran over at Sandwalk)

Silva Stomps Franklin Again at UFC 77

It looks like Rich Franklin just doesn't have the combination to beat Anderson Silva. Not that that's a slight against the former champ, I don't think anyone in the middleweight division has what it takes to beat Silva at the moment - although I'd like to see Swick get a shot.

I wasn't able to see the event, but in reading numerous summaries it seems like it was pretty similar to their first fight with Silva dominating every aspect. Franklin did slightly better than his first time out, at least making it to the second round - barely. I think Anderson is phenomenal, however, so good on him for being a crazy effective and classy fighter.

I like Rich Franklin. He's a good fighter and another of the UFC's best ambassadors. It would be difficult to stay in the game after taking two very one-sided beatings though. I don't know how you recover from that but I hope he hangs in there.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

In Which I Formally Step Away

I was raised Catholic. I went to church every Sunday, catechism one night through the week, and was a youth leader at a spiritual retreat. I believed. Certainly not in a fervent, hand-wringing sort of way, but I knew that there was something called God "up there" because otherwise why were all these adults revering the Pope, looking to the sky in times of trouble, and praying with all their might for sick Aunt Pauline?

Gradually I fell away in my late teen years. It wasn't a rebuking of religion, I just got tired of the repetition of mass (as one comic put it, "I get it - Jesus good, Satan bad") and, quite frankly, I had more important stuff to do, like sleep in and think about girls.

As I got older I started to actually think about what it was I believed and why. The Catholic doctrines were not something I could buy into anymore, not that I ever did because I didn't understand them. At the time, I was living in Japan so I started reading about Buddhism and asking my collegues about Shintoism.

Buddhism was interesting to me with its ideas of anyone becoming a bodhisattva, but ultimately the concept of eternal life fell flat with me. I thought that devalued existence because whatever you do, you've got all of infinity to make amends for it. Actions, on a long enough timeline, lost all meaning.

Shintoism was sort of the opposite of monotheism with its "god in every grain of rice" idea. There are so many gods that it renders the concept meaningless - sort of like the Catholic saints. Plus I felt like a complete fraud standing in front of a Shinto temple, clapping and pulling the rope to get the god's attention - whatever that meant.

So neither of these fit with me. It was shortly after that when I had the thought, "well, why do any religions have to be right?" The conclusion was obvious but I had never stated it to myself - none of the religions have to be correct and, not only that, they were professing a knowledge of absolute truth where there could be none.

Around two years later after having been introduced to Carl Sagan, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and others, I was a committed atheist. Yes, yes, technically I was (and remain) an agnostic, but on the sliding scale from fundamentalist religious nutbag, to theist, to deist, to agnostic, and finally to atheist, I am as close to the line between the last two as possible. There is no proof of any supernatural creation of the cosmos, hence I act as such.

I became interested in the idea of excommunication from Catholicism. The thought of having a signed letter on my wall with John Paul II's signature on the bottom, all scrolly and formal in his papal hand, condemning me and my children and grandchildren to eternal banishment from the Kingdom of Heaven, was quite appealing. After looking around for a while, I found out that it took quite a lot to get excommunicated. You could always physically attack the Pope, of course, but that was gauche and unpleasant. Also, accessability was an issue. I could join another religion, but that defeats the purpose; why become a Jew so as to not be Catholic?

Then there was the option of writing letter upon letter upon letter to my baptismal church to convince them of my apostasy, only to have them inform me after a year that I was effectively in the wrong queue. I should write to those people and tell them of my activities and then we'll consider your case.

Finally, after much reading and pondering, I realized that excommunication is for the church, not me. They have no "Master List" of all the good Catholics scrolled up under some Santa Claus Bishop's wizard-like sleeve, him keeping track of the naughty and nice all year long. Once you're baptized (as an infant and with no consent), you're one of the flock. I take comfort that at least there was no physical marking of me (read into that what you will).

In that vein, with the Catholic God (or, presumably, some angelic secretary) holding the only microfiche list of names, I hereby remove myself formally from it. I have not taken part in any Catholic ritual for more than a decade and have no desire to resume. I am an apostate, I am religionless, and I am a believer in a natural world. I believe that humans are but one of many millions of species on this planet and we need to work together to advance our standing and eliminate suffering. I believe we do not know, nor will we ever know, everything about our planet, let alone the entire cosmos, and that this is a good thing as it is a source of wonder, education, and investigation. I believe that people are fallable but that we can overcome this weakness with our intelligence to tremendous achievement.

After a decade of clear thinking, rationality, and a philosophy of naturalism and skepticism, basing my opinions on the evidence available and always being open to changing my mind, I release myself from Catholicism and all that it entails; I excommunicate myself.

The happiness, morality, friendship and altruism of a natural worldview are hard to beat. We all live natural lives on a natural planet in a natural universe - let's give up the fairy tales and recognize that the Pale Blue Dot is all we have with which to work. Whaddaya say?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

D'Souza...Again

How many times? How many times will Dinesh D'Souza be annoyingly wrong and vacuous? It's getting almost as tiring as refuting Deepak Chopra. D'Souza once again spits out arguments against atheism that he seems to smugly smile at as proof that a religious mindset is better than a secular one. He, on this occasion, uses Immanuel Kant as a battering ram against naturalistic thought to, he seems to think, great effect.

Well, I have a few things to say about that.

D'Souza says:
Consider a tape recorder. It captures only one mode of reality, namely sound. Thus all aspects of reality that cannot be captured in sound are beyond its reach. The same, Kant would argue, is true of human beings. The only way we apprehend empirical reality is through our five senses. But why should we believe, Kant asked, that this five-mode instrument is sufficient? What makes us think that there is no reality that lies beyond sensory perception?
This is just silly in the face of technological advances. I mean, the light spectrum, for example. We never knew - certainly Kant didn't - about radio waves for a long long time. We never knew about quasars, pulsars or binary stars or how to find them. Then along came radio telescopes that can find these waves we had no way to see before. We couldn't touch, smell, taste, or hear them either. Gee, that's all five senses. So I guess we found out that there's a reality that lies beyond our sensory perception. Sorry Dinesh.

Next point:
...comparing our experience of reality to reality itself is impossible. We have representations only, never the originals. So we have no basis for presuming that the two are even comparable. When we equate experience and reality, we are making an unjustified leap.
I'd disagree with that. We can, perhaps, not have the originals, but we can have a group consensus among humans experiencing the same event or situation who all agree on the architecture of the parts involved. That's as close as we can get and that, as far as we high-primates are concerned, is reality in its original form. Show me it's not and I'll argue then.

Here's a great bit:
It is entirely rational for us to use science and reason to discover the operating principles of the world of experience. This world, however, is not the only one there is.
I'd love for D'Souza to show his work for that statement. What is, or where are, these other worlds?

D'Souza's crux:
Kant (is) positing two kinds of reality: the material reality that we experience and reality itself. To many, the implication of Kant's argument is that reality as a whole is, in principle, inaccessible to human perception and human reason.
Well then, let's just give up on trying. A poster in a comment bank on another website (forgive me for not having a link) mentioned the similarity to the "intelligent" design idea here: reality is "inaccessible to human perception and human reason", so let's just say that god did it and call it a day.

And then, of course, the "spiritual world":
Kant's philosophical vision is largely congruent with the teachings of many faiths that the empirical world is not the only world...The spiritual reality constitutes the only permanent reality there is. Christianity teaches that while reason can point to the existence of this higher domain, it cannot on its own fully comprehend that domain.
I'm going to need a definition of "spiritual reality"; and why is it a "higher domain"? Does reason really point to it? I think not. I half expected D'Souza to mention quantum mechanics in this paragraph as we all know Chopra would have.

D'Souza follows with:
We learn from Kant that within the domain of experience, human reason is sovereign, but it is in no way unreasonable to believe things on faith that simply cannot be adjudicated by reason.
Why not? If something cannot be judged real by reason, why should I believe in its existence? I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again - there's no reasonable means of finding out if there are flying green six-legged buffalo on Venus, so why should I believe in them on faith? Belief in gods is the same problem and D'Souza seems to have no answer as to why he believes in a sky-daddy but not my six-legged flying green buffalo. We can call this the Flying Spaghetti Monster Problem, if you like.

Finally:
Atheism foolishly presumes that reason is in principle capable of figuring out all that there is, while theism at least knows that there is a reality greater than, and beyond, that which our senses and our minds can ever apprehend.
Well it would be a cocky scientist indeed who says that one day, we shall know all there is to know about our world and universe. This is the boast of religions flipped around and stuck the the back of the scientific method like a schoolboy slapping a "kick me" sign on his buddy...and it's getting old.

This seems to me to be the old "science doesn't like mystery", "science is unweaving the rainbow" argument. It is religion and faith-mindedness that hates mystery and must have an explanation for everything. What do the faithful leaders say when they see a beautiful sunset? "God makes the world beautiful." What do they say when they look at a human eye/bacterial flagellum? "God must have been involved because this is too complex - irreducibly so! - to have come about by chance." What do they say when they contemplate the origin of the Universe? "God set it in motion after creating it in his wisdom and glory." And here, D'Souza says with certainty that theism knows that there is a reality beyond our comprehension. How, exactly does he know this? How does his religion know this?

Scientists who use the scientific method know one thing that theists like D'Souza seem to have a HUGE problem with, and that is saying the most important three little words we have: I don't know.

Hey Mr/Ms Scientist, where did the Universe come from? Well, we don't know for sure, but here's what we think based on the available evidence.

Mr Scientist, is there an afterlife? Well, no one has gone and come back to tell us, so I don't know for sure, but all the evidence says no - but we're still looking into it.

Ms Scientist, is there a reality greater than, and beyond, that which our senses and our minds can ever apprehend? Well, I don't know, but our research is ongoing and we'll keep adapting our views to stay abreast of the available evidence.

See how it works, Dinesh? Doubt and skepticism advance our species through openness and change while theism stagnates and regresses our minds through static dogmatism to the Dark Ages where people in robes decree that we KNOW this for sure and anyone who is so arrogant as to think that THEY have the answers is going against the very will of God.

I tire of you, sir, and I'm going to bed.

Sammy's Outta There

Sam Brownback, whom I have taken to task before, is ready to throw in the towel in the '08 presidential race. He doesn't seem to be able to raise money effectively having only generated 4 million or thereabouts.

For a guy who "doesn't believe in evolution", you'd think he be able to scrape up a few more million with all the bible-thumping cretionists out there (no, that's not a typo), but I guess there's others who more effectively represent the war-mongering, misogynistic, homophobic viewpoint. Yeah, I know...scary.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Great Debate

Check out the debate between Christopher Hitchens and Alister McGrath at the Richard Dawkins site. It's an hour and forty minutes, so bring a snack, but it's well worth it because Hitchens just beats the snot out of McGrath. It really isn't even funny.

Well, yeah, it's funny in parts, especially the part where Hitchens says that a person he was debating accused him of trying to assassinate his character, whereupon Hitch replied, "No, sir, your character committed suicide years ago."

(hat-tip to Pharyngula)

Wednesday Grammar Lesson

to: preposition; begins prepositional phrase or an infinitive as in, "I'm going to the store", or "He helped to write the term paper."

too: adverb; in addition, also as in, "I'm going to the store too."; in excess as in, "Your music is too loud."

two: the spelled version of the number 2; the third number in a sequence with zero beginning and one coming next.

If I see one more person write, "I have to much to do today", I'm going to freak out. It's not hard people - most of us only write one language, let's try to at least have passable competency in it.

Thank you and we now return you to your regular programming.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Left Brain, Right Brain - R.I.P.

I learned from Orac today that the autism blog and hub for fighting the crazy anti-vaccination crowd that has been going for five years or so, Left Brain Right Brain, has shut down.

Why, Mike? Well, not because of time or money or any rational reason. It's because some dolt named John Best, who posts under the pseudonym "Fore Sam", was posting on his site as Kevin's seven year-old daughter as well as attacking her personally. Nice, eh? He whines that he's only retaliating and that his pathetic attempts at debate are sound, but if that's so, why take down your posts?

On this blog I certainly throw a lot of name-calling at people I believe to be deserving, but I like to think that my arguments are solid. If not, I like it when my readers (yes, all six of you) point it out to me. I would not, however, attack or name-call someone unable to defend themselves, particularly not a child. Obviously there have been impolite words on both sides of this argument between the science-based normal people and the crazy anti-vaccination crowd - headed by this bozo, but if you go read Best's site, you can see for yourself that he only has name calling, no substance.

There have been many people I've talked to in my job and life about vaccinations, some of whom have had to be guided back to reality after buying into the garbage that anti-vac people spew. It's sad that a great site and resource is (temporarily, I hope) shut down.

Oh, and John Best is a douchebag. Ahhh...that felt nice.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Row, Row, Rowan is Wrong

I patted Archbishop Rowan Williams on the back for his stance against ID or creationism is schools a while back, but in that piece I said I'd probably fight with him about other things. Well, here we have one of those things in full techno-colour.

He has recently come out with a bit of an attack on atheists and, in particular, Richard Dawkins. It's quite dunderheaded with him saying things like:
Don't distract us from the real arguments by assuming that religion is an eccentric survival strategy or irrational form of explanation...When believers pick up Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens, we may feel as we turn the pages: 'This is not it. Whatever the religion being attacked here, it's not actually what I believe in'
Pardon? Please explain to me how appealing to an invisible sky-man is not irrational. I'd love to hear that clearly expressed. Secondly, of course people don't recognize their religion in what's being demolished by Hitchens and Dawkins (not to mention Harris, Dennett, Stenger, and a ton of bloggers). When you're in the middle of it, you can't see it - it's like being in a shitty relationship where all your friends are saying, "Holy crap, you need to kick this psycho to the curb and move on", but you think your partner is just the bestest and everything's peachy.

Doesn't the Kool-Aid taste great?

I'd love to hear what Christians actually believe in so it can be properly (in their odd worldview, anyway) criticized. It gets tiring to hear that atheists and skeptics (do I repeat myself?) are focused on the incorrect things, blasting away into the continent while the real religious folks are off in their quiet, wonderful world. Howzabout all you Christians get together and have a big ol' meetin' where you hash out what it is you all stand for, then present it in a nice neat paper or something - maybe even jointly through the Vatican and the Archbishop of Canterbury himself - for us to look at.

Just a thought.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

What The Fuck Do We Know?

Right off the bat, I want to say that I don't like to mince words. Those of you who read my blog regularly will be quite familiar with that fact. In that vein, I decided to just put the title of this "movie" in the grown up language we all know in place of the babyish title of What the Bleep Do We Know. Let's get a life, shall we?

Ok, I know, I know, Skeptico took this apart already in an extremely prejudicial manner (if I may borrow and adapt a phrase from Apocalypse Now. I just watched the film the other day, however, and thought I had to write something because it was two hours of my life that I'll never ever get back and that deserves some sort of output.

Obviously the main points are covered in Skeptico's post along with this great review (where one of the highlight reel lines is:"... many of the movie’s themes, including the old 'what is reality?' question, go handled far better in the 'Matrix' movies - and when Keanu’s doing a better job explaining the nature of sensory input than you are, you’re in big trouble, my friend.") and this fantastic review and article by Salon. I don't have too much to add.

I did want to just throw in that I really enjoy DVD extras. In watching the Question & Answer sessions with the filmmakers, one of the male directors said (admits?) about twenty minutes in that the word "quantum" basically means "sudden transformational change". Yep, they just borrowed the word from science and gave it a new meaning so they could sound sciency without actually being sciency. Reminded me of Richard Dawkins' chat with Deepak Chopra where the latter admits that his definition of "quantum" is not the scientific one either, hence his bullshit. The problem is that neither Chumpra or the What the Fuck people bother to illuminate this fact to their followers. It's all science to them.

The female director was answering a question and said that she knows that if you put something here (tapped her forehead with her index finger) and hold it, it will happen. She then mentioned something about just getting people to ponder the effects or problems in this "movie" will effect the "quantum foam". Yes, quantum foam.

You can check out the science definition and explanation if you like, but somehow, I think this chick thinks the universe answers prayers and wishes because some wonderful creator is holding the galactic bottle of Reddi-Whip full of other parallel universes all set to pop into reality if/when you just accept the wisdom of the 35,000 year old Atlantean warrior, Ramtha.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some brain-teasers to do so I don't start to develop a clot in my...what's that word? Brain. Right. Dammit.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Does Anyone Even Listen To The Pope Anymore?

Crazy ol' Pope Benny said in a recent article that the Catholic Church is against embryonic stem cell research because it violates, "the dignity of human life". No shit, that's what the old man in the funny hat said. I don't think he has a clue what he's talking about and in the following four paragraphs, I shall attempt to prove it.

The Poop said that fertilized eggs are, "humans from the moment of conception" and, more importantly:
The destruction of human embryos, whether to acquire stem cells or for any other purpose, contradicts the purported intent of researchers, legislators and public health officials to promote human welfare....
So what about when the frozen blastocysts are thrown away after five years? Is that bad too? Here's the actual quote: "(S)urplus 5-day-old embryos...Such embryos are produced in the 'test-tube' for infertile couples, but often more are produced than needed...normally thrown away after 5 years". See, I wouldn't lie to you. Wait, is freezing them in the first place bad? Is every extra fertilized egg supposed to be reared into adulthood by caring and God-fearing Catholics? Man, I hope not. We can't feed all the people that are on the Earth right now, let alone if all the extra sperminated eggs start being hatched in incubators; hospitals will start looking like that scene in The Matrix where all the egg-pod people are being grown for batteries.

Did you all catch that important bit up there? Thrown away after five years. Like, in a biohazard box to probably be incinerated. Just in case you haven't seen a "person" when they're five days old (I imagine Benny certainly hasn't), here is a polaroid of your mom:
Too Bad You Can't See The Blastocyst!
That's from a nifty website that takes really bitchin' pictures. So do you think that looks like your mom? How about your brother? Not so much?

Well just to ease your fears, here's a picture of a 7.5 day old horse embryo from a site that does veterinary equine embryonic transfer.No Embryo For You!
See, looks pretty similar. So is that a horse, according to the Vatican? I can't ride that to check the fences!

Let's have a little bit of common sense here, shall we? These are a collection of cells barely visible to the naked eye. We've all stepped on ants and cockroaches and we can damn sure see them with our unaided eyes, but if you squashed a few hundred 5-day blastocysts, you wouldn't even know it. Using extra cells that will be thrown out anyway is not "wasting lives", it's using what's available to save people that are here and have families and friends and address books with other actual grown adults' names in them. And as we all know, the late, great Bill Hicks said - "You're not a human 'til you're in my phone book."

Amen to that.

Randy Couture Leaves the UFC

Wow, that was unexpected. While in South Africa filming the next Scorpion King movie, Randy "The Natural" Couture (aka Captain America) has announced via a letter to Dana White that he is leaving the UFC. So sayeth the Fight Network, so it is.

Couture leaves two fights unfulfilled on his contract and he walks away from his commentary position. If he's doing major motion pictures, however, I'm sure he won't be missing the money. Plus, getting paid mucho dinaros for not getting punched in the face must be a nice change of pace.

There is a lot of hand-wringing on the 'net now about how this is the "beginning of the end for the UFC". I don't see it. Certainly Couture was the faceplate of the company and the best known name in MMA, but his leaving opens up a fairly competitive division. It would be good to see Brandon Vera get in there and start taking over. With Sylvia (who I'm not a fan of), Arlovski, not-so-much Cro-Cop anymore, Cheick Kongo and a couple more, it could be a good pound-out to see who comes out on top. Plus, the heavyweights aren't even the best division by far with respect to depth - let's talk welterweights. That's a great bunch of fellas. Or even lightweight, for crying out loud.

Granted, it's cool to have a dominant big man at the top of the pile to point to as the PPV draw. I mean, when boxing was huge, who could tell you the name of the welterweight champ? Not too many people. But just about any casual sports fan would know Tyson, Holyfield, or Lennox Lewis.

In the end, Couture had a fabulous run in the Ultimate Fighting Championship and hopefully he can have another career in the film world. I doubt he'll be the photographer in the sequel to The Bridges of Madison County anytime soon, but he can be next in the string of action heros for a year or two and pump out fifteen movies. Strike while the iron is hot, Randy. Good luck to you and we'll miss your g'n'p.

Skeptic's Circle 71 - Your Logic is Impeccable

The 71st Skeptic's Circle is up overat Infophilia and you'd do well to go check out the links, words, evaluations, and witty banter.

Actually, I'm just assuming that all that stuff is there. It might be much better (and it's not likely worse).

Come Together, Right Now, Over My Silly Stories

A group of Muslim scholars wrote a letter to the Pope, among others, saying that the faiths should really really try to understand each other better. Somehow I don't think this will work. You have groups of people who just believe stupid things trying to grasp which ridiculous story has merit and agreeing that both are just dandy. The Muslims, who think a guy rode up to Heaven on a horse with wings, think that the Catholics, who believe a guy walked on water, got killed, came back from the dead - all after performing Copperfield-like miracles - need to get together on the issues.

This reminds me of that episode of The Simpsons where Skinner and Krabappel are holed up in the school and wont' come out until their love is celebrated. Supernintendo Chalmers asks with scorn dripping, "Oh yeah, that'll do a lot...who do you want to talk to first? The guy in the bee suit or the guy with the bone in his hair?"

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

And Here I Thought Chocolate Sauce Was Kinky....

Ummm...anyone else see this? Anyone else weirded out? Rev. Gary Aldridge seems to have been hiding something. Maybe he's been watching a little too much Showcase on Friday nights (do they get that in Alabama? Maybe on Dish TV). Poor fella spent his 51 years devoted to the wrong stuff. Instead of being the minister of the Montgomery's Thorington Road Baptist Church, he might have been a well-known sex advice therapist or maybe a gay/tranny icon. If he wasn't a religious man, he might have had a confident sex partner there to help him out of the wet-suits (yes, that's plural), masks, ligatures, and maybe take the dildo out of his behind so he didn't die. There's something to be said for safety in numbers.

I just think this is sad. I mean, yeah, it's funny because of who he was (Liberty "University" grad, friend of Jerry Falwell), but at this point the irony is getting old. All these right-wing, anti-gay fuckheads doing meth and blowing guys, tapping feet in airport bathrooms and shoving dildos up their asses while tied up and wearing rubber suits - how repressed can one person (or political party) get?

Plus, this is just interesting from a logistical standpoint: How does one either tie oneself up and then stick a dildo up one's ass or how does one shove a dildo up one's ass and then tie oneself up? It's a question that only Gary Aldridge and Big Gay God can answer now

Thanks to PZ for the initial link.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Family Coalition Party - Misogynists and Bigots

Why is it that whenever I see the word "Family" in a political party's name, it means that a group of crazy religious bigoted asshats got together and think they know best? Take, for example, a party that I've seen signs for in our provincial election here in Ontario, the Family Coalition Party.

Here's how they describe themselves:
The Family Coalition Party is Ontario's only pro-Life, pro-family political party, and the only provincial party that endorses the principles of the Preamble to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the Canadian Constitution:
"Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law..."
That's right, the only party that's "pro-family". All those other parties just think family sucks and is a quaint outdated concept. Especially us godless heathen-type folks - we're anti-family.

With respect to the no-abortion-keep-them-feminists-down-misogynist vibe, I tend to agree with the late, great Bill Hicks who said, "You're so pro-life...you're so pro-life...well, what does that make me? If you're so pro-life...don't block med clinics, ok? Lock arms and block cemeteries. Let's see how fuckin' committed you are to this premise."

Of course they're anti-gay. Of course they are. If you're pro-family, you have to be anti-gay because as we all know, no gay person has ever been in a loving family or committed relationship. There are for sure no gay people in the Republican party...as Jon Stewart said, "just dudes who like to fuck other dudes." Naturally, if you have to own just one book, make it the Bible, because there's nothing gay in the Bible, at all. AT ALL. Admittedly, most of the time gayness is mentioned in the Bible, it's to say that them queers should be put to death.

Obviously they're against the HPV vaccine for girls. As we all know, using any form of contraception makes young people crazy with the pimp juice and after that it's just teen pregnancy and prostitution. A sordid array of drugs and nudity that devolve our society into some sort of Mad Max world is sure to follow. Don't you non-religious people see? We have to use the fear of getting cancer to keep our young girls' legs together. That and maybe a promise ring to her dad...because that's not creepy at all. AT ALL.

I'll be voting tomorrow, and you can be sure that it won't be for the FCP candidate. I have my own values, and they have nothing to do with bronze-age thinking, misogyny, or pseudo-intimidation. What a bunch of doofuses.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Psychic Relationship Advice - Dial 1-900-Hiding In Closet

This is too good. A "psychic" from Toronto who conned a woman from Seattle out of $220,000 was caught in Calgary hiding under some blankets in a closet.

Ok, when I'm confronted with claims I feel are bogus, I don't just call bullshit and head for the beer shelf. I usually (especially if I'm trying to explain methodology to a newish skeptic person) say to myself: "Ok, let's assume that this is true - what else would logically have to be true as well?" So there's this "psychic" who reads palms, gives advice, sees the future; she is on the run from police. The cops are hot on her trail. Does she:

a) use her psychic powers to see where the cops are and how they'll approach?

b) influence the "universe" by putting her desires out there to be realized?

c) go downstairs and sit at the kitchen table with a delicious Hot Pocket and a pistol to await her bullet-ridden showdown with Johnny Lawdog? or

d) realize that her "powers" are non-existant and hide in the closet under some blankets?

Now, if she actually had psychic powers, I'd roll with either a or b, but since nothing of the sort has ever been shown to be real, we can safely say c or d (and as we all now know, d is the correct answer that wins the fabulous parting gifts).

I hope the chick from Seattle gets $200,000 back. The $20,000 they should keep as a stupidity fee donated to a local school district's science department. Anyone who pays someone that amount of cash with no guarantee of any type of result whatsoever needs some sort of punishment. The fraudulent douchenozzle who stole the money should be in jail for a long time - I mean, isn't that the same thing as taking that amount from a bank? If bank robbers stole almost a quarter of a million dollars, they'd be in jail for sure, right?

Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about. It happens a lot.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Shakespeare's Penis-y Banning in Arizona

High school students, beware of the Bard. I realize that this is a bit of an old story, but I still thought it was funny that a production of a compilation of Shakespeare's plays and sonnets was "inappropriate" for seventeen year-olds. At least in the opinion of Tara Kissane, a director of something or other that I don't care enough to click to the other web page I have open to check. She said that, "there was inappropriate language and the content was very suggestive...I just thought it was over some of our kids' heads and it wasn't appropriate for our kids...."

Ok, so what she's saying is that the content was both "over the kids' heads", and "inappropriate". How does that happen? It's like that song in Aladdin where they go on the "magic carpet ride" so he can show her a "whole new world" and she should "hold her breath, it gets better", with "unbelievable sights" and "indescribable feelings". Remember that? Yeah, over the kids' heads and inappropriate.

But seriously, how many kids saw Aladdin? A lot. And the fact that the production Kissane objected to used the non-slang word for the male genitals (twice) should not make people rush the stage to halt the show. I mean, these are high school students, for chrissake. How many slang terms for male genitals do you think any random one of them could come up with?

I think it would have been good to stop a more blatant showing of Shakespeare's plays, like, for instance, Romeo in Juliet. That's a bit over the top for that age group. As would be The Merchant of Penis because it has some objectionable homosexual prostitute content. Perhaps A Midcummer Night's Dream would also make the ixnay list, mostly because of Peter North's starring role. I would imagine that the classic Julius Squeezed-Her would not make the classroom cut either, but it's their loss.

If we're not going to allow any type of edgy humour in schools, then just admit that no one in the future will be able to take a damn joke and call off next week for lack of interest. I'll be at home watching The Hunchback of Notre Dame...with sexy results.