Folding, spindeling, and mutilating lauguage for fun since Aug, 2004
Thursday, July 31, 2008

Taike Rae suggested that people quit riding Greyhound after a single, horrifying, inhumanly ghastly incident.

I kind of wanted to suggest that she might want to avoid church or homeschooling or preachers after reading about this incident...but I refrained.

 

I already put my foot in it over there by dareing to suggest that palliative chemo is a more appropriate treatment; more likely to extend the life and increase the quality of life of terminal patients.  And further, that the radical (curative - shooting for a five-year survival rate)treatments that they were demanding for a terminal patient might cause more harm than good...It was suggested that I was in favor of murdering  sick people.

I'm not a doctor, but it seems like using a treatment designed to give maximum benefit to a particular condition is the way to go.

blegh.

Sometimes, there is no point.  Did you know she actually said that she didnt care if private charities withheld treatment that could actually save people's lives?  However, for some weird reason, government programs should be required to spend extra money to give inappropriate treatment to terminal patients that probably won't extend their lives, but will almost certainly cost a fortune more...while rejecting palliative care which would likely help them live a little longer and increas their quality of life.

The mind boggles.

I'd just like to point out, and I realize that noticing this singles me out as a disturbed person, - that the name of the Preacher in the second link is "Anthony Hopkins"

What are the odds?

 

[UPDATE:  PZ Myers pointed out something that I completely missed.  It just glazed over my brain without question.  He comments on it, though.  People often claim that our "culture" is hostile to Christianity, that the church does not occupy a privilaged place in our society.  Funny thing, when the police showed up to arrest the alleged child-molesting, mudrering, wife-butchering incestuous criminal, what did they do?  They allowed him to finish his sermon. Most of the time, when police show up to arrest someone like that, they dont let him finish getting dressed, or finish a sentence.  They let him finish his sermon.  Good grief.  Seriously, talk to me about persecution in this country, and expect me not to laugh.]

[UPDATE II:  Someone points out that the police might have waited because the didnt know how the parishoners might react.  Good point, especially in a day and age where many of them might be armed, and some parishes are primed for the day when the "government" comes to arrest their preachers and take their Bibles.  You just don't know for sure what you are dealing with.]

Thursday, July 31, 2008 9:15:53 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [12] |  |  | #

Sue:

 Panda Girl has been watching Stargate & I keep seeing Daniel wear that goofy hat on missions. Not quite as nerdy as me & my moosenoculars- but close... (Sue is into moose.  I once gave her a pair of binoculars fitted into a plush "moosehead" as a joke...she actually really uses them...like for real and stuff.)

 

Me:

It’s a “Boonie hat”.  It is also known as a “Seattle Sombrero”Sheds water, shields the eyes from the sun, prevents sunburn, and establishes unassailable nerd cred.

The perfect gift for the paleo-linguist/archeologist/philologist/ethnologist/morsel of intergalactic man-candy  who has everything.J

Sue:

yah. I describe it more as, "hot man looks like dork."

Me:

Exactly.  If he didn’t look like a dork, would you believe he had three PhDs and spoke twenty-six languages?

 Same reason Sam has to have a long string of ugly-yet-sensible haircuts.  How else could we believe that she’s a theoretical astrophysicist who can kick the ass of a Mongol war-lord in single combat?

Sue:

Good point. And yet, MacGyver remains...MacGyver. (referring to Jack, played by Richard Dean Anderson)

Me:

Uh…No!

THAT McGyver, had a mullet.  THIS McGyver has a buzz cut.

 Plus, THAT McGyver’s boss, played by Don S. Davies had an SPECIAL FORCES UNIFORM…and THIS McGyver’s boss played by Don S. Davies has an AIR FORCE uniform.

 Totally different McGyver.

Duh!

(actually, Don S. Davies was the stunt double for the actor that played McGyvers boss on McGyver.  But this makes a better story, and it’s ALMOST true)

Thursday, July 31, 2008 4:07:42 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Wednesday, July 30, 2008

After the UU shooting, at least one more crazy has found a target for his confusion and hate.

One of my friend's mothers is a contact person for their local UU.

She recently got a threatening letter that says something about giving them 70 weeks to rid themselves of "abominations" or face the consequences.

Sigh.  Hopefully, this person is just a coward and a liar, and won't carry through on his promises.

If not, he should be prepared for resistance, as Orcinus points out:  People should not confuse pacifism with doormatism.

And maybe one or two people will realize that the real purpose of eliminationist rhetoric is NOT humor.

And Ann Coulter is not funny.

 

Also, I just realized that if Dr. Who were religious, he'd be a Unitarian:

 "Sweet...maybe. Passionate...I suppose, but don't ever mistake that for nice"

                                                   --Dr. Who

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 8:52:26 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [5] | #

Yep, I'm the winner of the second ever F.A.T. over at John's blog.

F.A.T. stands for "Funny Acronym Tuesday".

I won for turning W.H.A.M.M.Y  into "Wookie Hippies Ate My Mangos Yesterday"

I tell ya...I can't lose when I bring wookies into an equation.

Go over to John's blog and check out the other winners.  for that matter, read the comment threads on the various F.A.T. challenges.  There are a LOT of good ones in there.

And tune in next Tuesday to play.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 7:39:32 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [8] | #
Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Speaking of Hate Speech:

 

 

 

Above is a video of the Rev. Scott Lively speaking overseas.  He's telling this story in his own way:

http://www.jewsonfirst.org/07c/sacto_murder_update.html

A quote from the above link (from the DA's summary):

Satender Singh was part of a group Fijian East Indian men and women who spent the day at Lake Natoma Park. Vusik and Shevchenko were part of a separate group that also spent the day at the park, near the Fijian East Indian group. The group with Vusik and Shevchenko believed they saw Singh behaving in a homosexual manner towards other male members of the Fijian East Indian group. During the course of the day, Vusik and Shevchenko made racial and ethnic slurs directed at the Fijian group, and homosexual slurs directed at Singh.

Around 8:00 p.m., Singh’s group prepared to leave the park. Vusik and Schevchenko approached Singh’s group, which was sitting at a picnic table. They demanded an apology from Singh, which Singh refused to give. Vusik then threw a cup of beer into the face of a member of Singh’s group, and threw one punch at Singh, hitting him in the face. Singh fell over backwards, hitting his head on a concrete walkway. Vusik and Shevchenko ran from the scene. Singh suffered a brain injury and was pronounced dead on July 5.

 

 

Here is a link to a home video taken by Singh's group that day.  While they were loud, and boistrous, and I could see how someone might consider them to be distracting or annoying, their behavior does not even begin to approach "offensive" or "indecent", and is certainly not something that you have to kill someone for; to "protect the children".

http://www.outsacramento.com/Satendar_group_home_video_at_lake_natoma.flv

 

Here is the memorial service, where a bunch of people got together and processed the events of the story:

 

 

 

 

One of these things is not like the other.  Rev. Lively's speech has people cheering and clapping at the death of an innocent man, and the escape of his alleged killer.  Furthermore, it casts the audience and Christians as the "true victims" and the murdered man as the villian/perpetrator.  Sick sick sick.

On the other hand, you have the "heretical" (by fundie standards) liberal theologins from several faiths affirming the sanctity of life and the importance of forgiveness and love.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, when Rev. Lively says that he has been "working" with the Russian community in Sacremento....This is what he means by that.  Oh and lets not forget, that Rev. Lively is one of the authors of a book that claims that the Nazis were a homosexual movement.

Yeah...if Scott Lively is one of the sheep, I'll just stand over here...with the goats, thanks.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008 7:31:03 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] | #
Monday, July 28, 2008

Can I be Sam and Vala when I grow up?

 

 

 

 

Monday, July 28, 2008 11:06:37 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #

I'd like to introduce you to Kane.

He belongs to John.  You may have noticed John's comments around here lately.

Kane has a mysterious affliction that has him in tremendous pain.

It might also be killing him.

For sure, its killing John's pocketbook, and he doesn't even have a diagnosis yet.

If any of you have any information about a charity or organization that could possibly help, please post it here in the comments, and Or in the comments section of John's blog.

Also, John would gratefully accept personal donations.

 

Monday, July 28, 2008 10:30:19 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [5] | #

Of COURSE Jim Adkisson acted alone!

That’s the whole point of the tactic of “leaderless resistance”.

OK, so you’ve got a Conservative Wacko whose mad at the “liberals” for taking away his food stamps.

And he supposedly hates Christians, so he goes and shoots up a UNITARIAN church?

WTF?

This sort of contradiction can only come of listening to the conservative echo chamber, mixed with a larger-than-usual lump of insanity.

I can't wait to see what picture emerges from this when the facts settle.  Right now it's just too weird.

Everytime you've got a lone nut, you hear "he was an atheist, he was an atheist".

Then you find out that he was some guy who went insane and got his religious upbringing all confused along with the rest of the ideas that manage to wander into his brain.

I'd also like to point out that this guy came into the church, armed to the teeth, surprised the community, and killed two people.  Why was the body count not a LOT higher?  Because the unarmed congregants took action and subdued him very quickly.  Something the NRA assures us is impossible unless everyone has a gun.

I'm really glad that the congregants were fast-thinking and brave.  Im glad no children got hurt, and I'm really sorry that a mad-man crazed with hatred for "the liberal movement" took two innocent lives.

Now, I want to know the facts, and I am impatient for them to emerge.

[UPDATE:  John posted this link in the comments section]

Monday, July 28, 2008 10:00:28 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [12] | #
Saturday, July 26, 2008

I know.  I told you that Crackergate was over.  And I thought it was.

The University of Minnesota Morris supports Prof. Myers free speech.

But it turns out that the Catholic campus group has set its sights on Benjamin Collard.  They have filed charges against him and caused a hold to be placed on his records - preventing him for signing up for classes.  They are disrupting his education and he faces the possibility of being Expelled.  Huh..."expelled"...where have I heard that word before?

So what is Ben's crime?  I guess he "disrupted" the service by being in the presance of someone who didnt turn the body of Jesus into poop.

“I tried to look at my class schedule,” Collard said. “There was a hold placed on my account that I couldn’t sign up for classes.  I went to the office of Student conduct to see what was going on and they told me Catholic Campus Ministries filed charges against me.”

Quote from the link above:

Collard learned that he has been charged with misconduct, disruptive conduct and giving false identification, the exact same charges as Webster.

Collard has been silent since the episode but when he learned of the charges, he decided he’d be silent no longer.

He said during the incident he sat silently while everything else around him was happening.

“I didn’t talk to anybody, didn’t say anything,” he said. “While the situation, disruption happened, I was sitting in my seat looking forward, I did nothing.”

“I never spoke to a university official, I never lied about who I was,” Collard added. “I never engaged in any disruptive conduct.  I just think this is absolutely disgusting that they’re going after me.”

Sigh.

Saturday, July 26, 2008 7:04:46 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Friday, July 25, 2008

I saw this "Last Lecture" a while ago. The world lost one of it's bright lights today. I'm so sorry for his family, especially his small children.
Friday, July 25, 2008 1:59:01 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #

PZ Myers has a link to this article about Harry Potter and an accompanying rise in the popularity of "Witchcraft".

 

I read it, but its kind of long.  There's a lot of hyperventilating about the popularity of fantasy in the current culture, some self-righteous pontificating....but the really significant quotes are as follows:

 

"In these standby novels, girls fret over friends, popularity, sports, parents, boyfriends, jobs and homework—or a neighborhood "mystery." But in this new darker world, girls don’t simply ask a friend’s advice, hang out at the soda shop or give the team their best effort. That would be too boring and too passive. Today’s girl takes charge, even in the heavenlies—these young priestesses cast spells. The paperbacks are laced with actual spells and rituals suited to many teen occasions. They are also packed with sexual innuendo and activity;"

 

uh huh...'cause hanging out at the soda shop had nothing to do with sexual innuendo and activity...and "boring and passive" girls never get into trouble.  Seriously?  You want your little girls to be boring, passive door-mats who know nothing about sex and hang out at the soda shop? (I think they actually hang out at coffee shops nowdays)  Jesus people, you might as well tattoo targets on their vaginas.

 

"It’s a seductive method of manipulating human envy by ensnaring naïve youth: if you’re a misfit, it’s not because you are lacking something; it’s because you are "above" the rest in a unique way."

 

Yeah...the other kids didn't pick you up and stuff you in the trunk of your car because you're an asthmatic shrimp with a 135 IQ, and they're a bunch of muscle-head jocks whose daddies told them they had to live it up 'cause these are the best years of their lives when they get to rule the school and have no consequences for their actions, and they know they'll have to spend the rest of their lives answering to people who are smarter and more educated than them.  They did it because YOU are lacking something.

 

But my favorite is this one:

"As adolescents peak in self–absorption, our panacea is to hand our offspring the sorcerer’s wand to wave away all troubles. They can use it to raise that already inflated self–esteem."

 

Obviously, this lady hasn't read the books she's condemning.  At no point does Harry simply "wave his magic wand" and have his troubles disappear.  Harry is initially protected by the loving efforts of his parents to shield him from danger, and prepare for his future.  Later, he learns to draw on the wisdom and advice of his teachers, and ask for help when he gets in over his head.  His loyalty to his friends and their resulting loyalty to him helps him through situations he could never have survived on his own.

In the end, he has to put his life on the line and risk everything...and it has nothing to do with his powerful magic.  It has to do with giving back to all of the people who stood by him what was given to him.  Giving love freely, and being willing to risk everything for the good.

Magic has nothing to do with Harry's final triumph.  It is achieved through love, trust, and courage.  The whole point of the ending is that he doesn't even raise his wand in order to win.

Geeze lady.

 

And, of course, no hyperventilating, hysterical scrawling are complete without the faint-hearted whining about D&D:

"Too numerous to mention are sites specific to role–playing games like Dungeons and Dragons and toys, CDs, DVDs and video games with occult themes."

OH NOES!  CHILDRENS CAN HAZ IMAGINASHUNS!  IM IN UR COMPUTER BRINGIN TEH DEBIL!

 

But how oh how do we stop it?

"Today we are urging parents and educators to prayerfully consider a general boycott of Scholastic materials in homes and schools country–wide." Kathi, a former witch who is now a Christian, has strong opinions about the Potter books. "Anyone who allows their children to read these books and participate in related activities is allowing their children access to the occult."

 

Of course!  Boycott the Scholastic-sponsored school bookfairs which is usually a primary vehicle for funding literacy programs in the school district! What we need is more illiteracy and less funding for the schools!  Naturally.  Genius.

 

Ill skip over the part where she bends herself into pretzel shape to involve Planned Parenthood, the feminists and homosexuals, and the ACLU in the plot to make your kids witches.  It's entertaining, but too self-satirizing to need my attention.

 

"And if your teen isn’t an activist or practitioner in middle school or high school, college is a fertile field for the growth of witch sympathies. Your daughter or son who takes a religion or women’s studies class at a non–Christian college can expect to be exposed to the benefits of alternative religions, mostly occultic, in overcoming the "oppression" of the entrenched Christian mainstream. "

 

For reals?  The University of Minnesota must be a Christian college then!  Except for my comparative religions class (which spent more than half the time on Christianity, 'cause there’s so many flavors).  Whatever.  Has this woman even BEEN on a college campus except maybe as a crazy mall preacher?

 

"If you are "as gods," you can make your own rules. Forget parents! Forget teachers! We’ll just live for the moment, the latest sensation and party on down. So witchcraft is a perfect fit for a paganized, pleasure–centered, shallow America.

 

I swear, everytime I hear a Christian's description of what their life would be like without Christianity, I thank God that they have Christianity.  People who have such a vivid imagination for depravity should certainly have a religion that makes them able to repress it,and keep it decently confined to airport men's rooms.

 

And I just have to say..."party on down?"  For real?  Linda, You. Are.  ADORABLE!

 

Friday, July 25, 2008 7:18:24 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [10] |  |  | #
Thursday, July 24, 2008

Finally, we have an end to "crackergate".  PZ puts up an complete post explaining his method and the purpose of the cracker desecration.

For the record, a copy of the Q'oran and a copy of the alleged Atheist Holy Book The God Delusion.  Were also included.

I'm still kind of torn about this.  PZ is not a hero due to this, but he made his point.

Message recieved loud and clear.

[UPDATE: Donohue demands that Prof. Myers be censured by the University if Minnesota, and has the audacity to compare the desecration of the Host to anti-sematism despite Prof. Myers pointing out that accusations of Host desecration were falsely used to kill hundreds of Jews in Europe over the centuries, and that during this whole incident, Myers was repeatedly accused of being a Jew by angry Catholics...because they assumed that a person would have to be a Jew to do such a thing. Donohue quoted extensivly from  the blog entry, but left out all of the parts where Prof. Myers explained the symbolism of his actions.  My guess is, it would have taken the starch out of the press release]

 

Thursday, July 24, 2008 1:13:59 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] | #

I've never before put images of my kids or any other kids below the age of 18 on my blog.  But looking at all that is out there, and considering Tim is now 15 and the size of a tall adult...and a trained martial artist...I suppose I should stop being so over protective.

Besides, these pictures are so great.

My oldest son, Tim (AKA Adventure Boy) is currently in China for a two-week cultural exchange field trip with his school.  Last summer, we hosted two boys from Loudi at our house, and this year, Tim went to stay with the family of one of those boys.  That boy's name is XiaoSui

XiaoSui wrote an e-mail to me and informed me that his family had taken 1300 photos during Tim's five-day visit to Loudi.

Here are some of them:

First, there was a warm greeting at the airport as the group flew in from Bejing:

 

Here you see Xiaosui's mom, Xiaosui in the blue shirt, and another visitor from last summer, Lei.  He did not stay with us, but he spent a lot of time at our house and sends me regular e-mails.

 

 

Here's Tim getting a Kung Fu lesson.  The boy on the far right is the other boy who stayed with us: Zhexin.  Last I heard, he was the #1 ranked student in the school.  Whatever his current ranking...he's one smart kid, and also very nice.

 

Tim teaches the Chinese about "Moose Ears":

 

The Eden Prairie Delegation was exposed to a great deal of traditional Chinese culture:

 

 

 

 

 

 

And apparently the Chinese kids and the Eden Prairie kids were mixed into teams and sent through an obstical course:

Tim going over the wall:

 

Tim crossing a rope bridge:

Apparently they gave him some beautiful shiney clothes.  Gifts are an important tradition in China:

 

I just like this picture of Tim and Xiaosui:

 

Tim and host family:

 

The family also gave Tim a Chinese name:  Xiaoping, Which means "safe".  It is traditional for brothers to have the same first character in their names, so as Xiaosui's "international brother", Tim's name would naturally begin with "xiao".

Thursday, July 24, 2008 12:12:33 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] | #

Over at Pharngula, Crackergate promises to draw to a close very soon.  PZ has announced the ignomineous demise of the cracker.

 

I have to admit, I found his decision to go through with it distateful and unecessary.  After all, why should he feel pushed by the out-cry to go through with something that was so obviously just illustrative hyperbole to begin with?  Acquireing a host merely to desecrate it (apparently, it is desecration to merely aquire the Host for any other purpose than mashing it with your teeth, mixing it with you saliva, swallowing it, and turning it into poop) seemed unessesarily provocative to me.

 

But I learned something when I got to this comment:

 

I feel very sad and hurt to read this. Many of you obviously don't understand that to Catholics what you have done is worse than spitting on us, abusing us or violating us. We would rather you did that to us than see a host desecrated. It is not a symbol or a religious object it is the one we love more than our own mothers and fathers, more than our children.
To do this is worse for us in one sense than if you had raped and tortured our loved ones. We are called to forgive so we will but that doesn't take away from the sheer revulsion, hurt and pain that you have caused to every Catholic who has heard of this very sad act of hatred and bigotry.

Posted by: Aron | July 24, 2008 7:52 AM

 

And this leads us back to PZ's original point:  It is a piece of starchy material.  It is not a person, and it is not the moral equivilant of a person, and it sure as heck isn't the moral superior of a person.

 

I realize that this guy doesn't speak for all Catholics.  I know many sane Catholics.  I'm related to some of them, but it is clear that someone like Aron would view them as not REAL Catholics.

 

And if he holds reverance for a peice of bread over the lives and well-being of people he loves, or even his own life...then that could one day end up being a real problem...like it has in the past.

 

How many Catholics do you know who don't believe in the doctrine of transubstantiation?  I know a few who go to mass every Sunday who have confessed doubt even about the divinity of Jesus.  What about the use of birth control?  More than one or two Catholics I know use it.

 

Those people are not the people who worry me.  The people who worry me are the people like Aron, who would rather see their children raped than see the Host desecrated.  Is that a real position of the Catholic church?  I don't think so.  I certainly hope not.

 

I would like to think that is hyperbole, but it was less than a year ago that I sat in my diningroom and listened to a lady complain about how people were "going after" and "hurting" the Catholic church because of pedophile cases.

 

I've heard a lot on the internet where people say the Inquisitions were not that bad...I hope we never end up having a modern demonstration. 

 

 

Thursday, July 24, 2008 7:17:57 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] | #

Shorter Michele Bachmann:

1)  I married the guy I did 'cause God told me to.  Tell you truth, he's not so hot, but my roomie and I shared a hallucination, so what'chagonnado?

2)God made me go to law school, I didnt want to.

3) God told me to run for political office, and I didn't want to, so I spent three days starving myself to weaken my resistance and talked myself into it.

4)  I may be crazy, but its OK, cause I'm Jesus Crazy.

hmmm...now it all makes sense.

I know tons and tons of people who are religious and DON'T drive themselves insane...

...but I can't help but wonder if more insane people would get help if Religion didn't give them so much cover?

It's just sad to me that either this woman has zero power in decision making, or she feels that she has to FAKE having absolutely no power over her own decisions.

I'd feel more sorry for her, but she's working really hard to screw up my country.

Thursday, July 24, 2008 5:48:23 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] | #
Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I thought this was interesting...

So.  Is this why people who work a 60 hour week for one employer and make $100,000+ believe that they are so much more hard-working that someone who works 3 twenty hour per week jobs for no health benefits and lives at the poverty line?

Is this why people think that they are being persecuted when their holy relec is "held hostage" in a clean zip-lock bag, but can cheer when someone else's holy relec is used for target practice?

Is this why "Sound Doctrine" (TM) only eliminates the parts of Leviticus that affect the people doing the interpreting but leaves the rest of it intact?

Frickin' Duh.   :-)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008 5:14:15 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] | #
Tuesday, July 22, 2008

While Donohue has been defending Christendom against theoretical cracker defilers, and trying to incite Islam against theoretical Koran defilers...

This guy:

Radovan Karadžić

Radovan Karadzic

Has been captured and will actually stand trial for desecrating humanity and countless murders...his reign of terror and ethnic cleansing ended forver, and himself made an example of before the world of what humanity will and will not stand for.

People who try to meld religious nationalism, or ethnic nationalism into a political machine and mobilize it against their fellow citizens would do well to take a lesson from it. 

Aparently, he had been hiding out, practicing "alternative medicine".

Radovan Karadžić, bearded and with his hair in a pony tail at a medical conference shortly before his arrest on 21 July 2008

One wonders how many deaths he was responsible for in THAT profession?

Also, what crimes did he commit while impersonating a dime-store Santa?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 12:31:00 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] | #

I read about Bill Donahue claiming he's going to sic the Muslims on PZ Myers, and I couldn't help it.  I think Bill Donahue thinks of himself as the Wicked Witch of the West, and the Muslims as his hord of flying monkeys.

Would that make PZ Dorothy, Skatja Toto,  Eugiene Scott the Scarecrow, Richard Dawkins the Tin Man, and Chris Hitchens the Cowardly Lion?

(Hat Tip: Pharyngula)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 9:14:06 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] | #

It's not that often that you happen accross a refutation of a creationist idea that also scewers an AGW denialist cannard...but there you go.

Bad Astronomer has one up now.

A while back, Mark and I were going 'round and 'round about AGW again.  I didn't actually have a lot of time right then, so I was just cutting and pasteing standard replies to the cannards he threw out from Gristmill...a place where they gather all the cannards together and give cursory and rudimentary answers to them to save people time.

Well, one of them was "The earth has been warmer!  There were palm trees in Antarctica!"

Implicit in this assertion is the idea that the earth was once warm enough for palm trees to grow at the south pole. 

But as BA points out...Antarctica was not always at the south pole.  In fact, parts of it were quite a ways north from there at one point, and it took significantly longer than 6,000 years for it to travel to it's current location.

 (Also implicit that since the earth has been warmer than it is now, the current unprecedented RATE of warming is unimportant, as is the accelleration of the rate.  Kind of like if you had water running into the bathtub at a greater rate than it can go out the drain, and someone worried about the tub over flowing and asked you to turn down the flow - it would be silly to point at the bathtub ring and declare that the tub would not overflow because it had been more full in the past.)

Anyway, here's some more denialist fun.  Let's not leave out the anti-vaxers!

cartoon from this site go look at it!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 6:00:17 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Monday, July 21, 2008

Can someone tell me what this person is trying to say?

That Photovoltaic energy kills babies?

Wind turbines destroy families?

Carbon credits burn Bibles?

Solar cells demand people get manditory abortions?

that Hitler was right, a healthcare system that provides easy access to birth control means the death of a civilization?

 

I don't get it.  There must be a point buried in there somewhere.

And what makes someone a "lefty-eco-freak"? an insistance on linear development of ideas in written language?

(Hat Tip:  Pharyngula)

Monday, July 21, 2008 7:33:20 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] |  | #
Sunday, July 20, 2008

Some of you might remember that terrible abuse of the Christian religion that was the Life of Brian.

 

And some of you might be aware that the Life of Brian was banned by a God-fearing community...among other places...

 

Quote from Wikipedia entry:  "It was also banned for eight years in the Republic of Ireland and for a year in Norway (it was marketed in Sweden as '"The film so funny that it was banned in Norway")"

 

And some of you might know some trivia about a certain actress that was in said movie and is now the mayor of said town.

 

Now, she apparently wants to abuse her power in a clear conflict of interest to persecute Christians by unbanning the terrible movie that blythely urged a generation to "always look on the bright side of life".

 

No doubt inspiring other un-Godly sources of a glib and light-hearted approach to the world that lead us down the primrose path.

Will the horror never end?

(Hat Tip: Pharyngula)

Sunday, July 20, 2008 9:46:48 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] |  |  | #
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Apparently, The desire to ridicule the idea of revereing a piece of unlevened bread is a "threat" to the Republican National convention.

My favorite quotes from the article above:

“I just felt security at the Republican National Convention ought to look at him and his followers,” Foley told CNA in a phone interview on Wednesday morning. He reported that he had not received an update about his request.

Voicing his concerns about Myers, Foley said: “What I think he has done, he’s loaded a cyberpistol and he’s cocked it and he’s left it on the table. He may have set something in motion that no one can stop. It was irresponsible, a hell of a thing to do.”

Oh my goodness!  Myers has a cyberpistol??!!  Whoa.  I want one too!  "Dear Budda, please bring me a cyberpistol, ooooh!  and a jet pack! (apologies to Joss Wheden)

And this one is good too.

Foley said he believes Myers was telling his readers to acquire a consecrated Host at Mass, which Foley thought would result in disruptions.

“What’s he telling them to do? Consecrated Hosts are not just lying around,” he said to CNA, noting that the only other possible way to secure a Host would be to accost a priest, nun, or layman taking the Sacrament to the sick. Even E-bay, Foley emphasized, has prevented the sale of consecrated Hosts.

Whoa.  Again.  Catholics sound badass!  Lutherans just hand them out to anyone who shows up at the alter.  The pastor just plops it down in your hand.  I had no idea that in the Catholic church you had to fight for it!  Whoa.

I have this weird vision now of Prof. Myers standing atop a hill in a dark hellscape a la "The One"...cyberpistol in one hand,  the other hand repeatedly backfisting and striking down an onrushing hord of Republicans intent on denying him the Host.

I better go and watch Rush on Colbert before my imagination adds tenticles to the scene. <shudder>

(hat tip: Pharyngula)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008 9:53:31 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] | #

I gotta feel for the guy.   First, a surrogate says something controversial .  Then, McCain gets ambushed about it and hadn't had time to figured out which way was up yet...and it got caught on camera and put on you-tube, and the Daily Show picked it up.

Now, remember, he didn't just have to figure out what he thought about the subject, he had to figure out how to say it such that it could not be misconstrued...both by people of good will (difficult enough) or people who want to make him look bad no matter what he says (almost impossible without prep-time and a team of handlers).

I'm sure this has happened to every presidential candidate since high-speed communication...but now we have You Tube.

It sux to be MaCain right now.  He looks like a total idiot on that video...but then again, so would most people I know....under the circumstances.

Here's the video for referance:

 

 

Just remember...he's not trying to figure out what he thinks.  He's trying to figure out how to say what he thinks without either losing the women vote or the votes of the people who want to make birth control illegal/unavailable, etc.  Hes on thin ice with those folks as it is, and they're the ones who put in crazy hours making sure Republican candidates win.  Also, you definately want to reassure the Corporatist vote that you're not going to make the corporations do anything communist, like require Health Insurance Companies to cover preventive medicine.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008 12:45:23 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] | #
Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The first blog entry is up.  You can see a picture of the group in front of the  main gate of the forbidden city.  If you click on the picture, you can enlarge it, and see the kids better.

Adventure Boy is the one in the back row on the left end with the Boonie hat, sunglasses, and white tee-shirt.

I guess it is about 115 degrees (F) there, so I'm impressed by how happy they all look.

 

 

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 12:18:00 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] | #
Sunday, July 13, 2008

OK, so this whole story starts out with a guy who is apparently a practicing Catholic trying to bring a bit of communion wafer back to the pew to show a curious non-Catholic friend.

 

Sounds innocent enough.  Then, he claims, on of the parishoners man-handled and assaulted him over the communion wafer.  At which time he put it in a Zip-lock bag and held it hostage.  He says he will exchange it for an apology.

 

But he's also quoted as saying that student fees should not be used to promote religion on campus.  If it really was just a misunderstanding between a praciticing Catholic and his church, he should avoid saying such things, because it just gives the other side the opportunity to muddle the message.  No, instead of being able to cleanly claim that it was just a misunderstanding, he's given them ammunition to claim it is some sort of anti-catholic activism.

 

... he's claiming he was assaulted and wronged, but even by his own account, it sound like something a civil-minded person could get over and move on from.  Maybe he feels he shouldn't have to...but he COULD.  We're not talking permenant damage here.

 

...the church is calling him walking off with the eucharist a "hate crime", and a "kidnapping".  Which frankly, whatever your sincerely held beliefs are - you shouldn't expect people outside of your religion to view a cracker as the moral equivalent of a person.

 

PZ Myers pointed out that if the guy wanted to "desecrate" the Eucharist, he could have done a much better job than putting it in a plastic bag in his refridgerator.  In what I thought was clearly a fit of hyperbole, Dr. Myers made a statement that if someone got him a communion wafer he would show the church what REAL desecration looked like.

 

Now, people are sending him death threats and trying to get him fired from his job.  Apparently, the young man in the original story is also receiving death threats.  PZ's put a couple of the better ones up on his blog.  Additionally, he gets several e-mails demanding that he insult Islam to show that he's not just going after the nice peaceful Christians because he is a coward.  (He has actually insulted Islam many times.  They just don't know what they are talking about.  PZ talks about Zebra fish evolution and insults all the worlds religions.  That's what he does.)

 

It is clear to me:  Religion has great power to make people crazy.  Not only the religious themselves, but otherwise rational people around them.

 

The things about this story that make me crazy are:

 

1) As a practicing Catholic, Webster Cook should have known that you can't walk away with the Eucharist.  If he didn't know, he needs to go back to Catachism.  If he did know, then what the hell was he thinking?  Howw do you gorw up in a religion and not know that walking away with the host is punishable by eternal damnation, and that the faith community is resposnible for physically and forcefully stopping you to protect the host?

2) If you want to be known as peaceful, don't assault people in the middle of mass for a breach of ettiquette, and then don't threaten to bash people's brains in for calling your "frackin' cracker" a "frackin' cracker."  If your religion demands that you use violence to enforce respect in non-believers, then dont claim to be peacful, and dont get mad when people call you out about it.

3)  You don't get to claim the moral highground if you threaten a religion's sacred ideas, not matter how rediculous they may be.  If you say that you will descerate a holy item, you should EXPECT that people who revere said item will threaten to kill you.  That's what religions do.  They elevate an idea or an object above human life and human worth.  If you threaten to bring it down to the human level, you there is a good chance you will be killed.  If you tell someone that you are going to desecrate something that they consider to be more valuable than themselves...that is an attack, and you should expect to be attacked back.  I'm not saying you shouldn't do it, I'm just saying, you started it.  Now, if they had come into PZ's office and demanded that he kiss the host to show his devotion, or they would get him fired, I'd be all over him doing whatever he had in mind (if anything).  But so far, they only demand public demonstrations of piety from politicians.

4) You don't get to claim the diety-inspired moral highground of being peaceful and uniquely moral if you threaten to bash someone's brains in and call them a cunt.

Sunday, July 13, 2008 6:48:11 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [6] | #
Saturday, July 12, 2008

Adventure Boy leaves tomorrow on his trip to China.   It's hard to believe that it's that time already.

 

Those of you who are interested can follow his class on their blog.

I'm sure it will be a great adventure.

He's going to learn so much, and it will be so wonderful for him to see the two boys who stayed with us again.

Saturday, July 12, 2008 8:23:37 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] | #
Thursday, July 10, 2008

I totally agree with this guy.

Lenski should definitely send Schlafly the bacteria samples that Schlafly requested, provided Schlafly complies with all laws regarding the shipping, storing, use, and disposal of biological samples - AND pays the costs associated with the request.

Nobody in the world would say that Lenski is obligated to spend one thin dime complying with Schlafly's request.

This would cost Schlafly money, benefit him nothing.  He's not a biologist.  He can SAY that the bacteria didn't evolve, but nobody is going to take his "findings" seriously.  But more importantly, it would short-circuit the meme Schlafly is likely trying to start about this being proof that biologists are a bunch of rarified snobs and eliteists who don't want to share their data.

Conversely, Lenski could refuse to send the bacteria and spend good money to defend himself against a frivolous lawsuit.  That would be both expensive (wasting tax-payer money, probably) and allow Schlafly to play the wounded martyr.

Thursday, July 10, 2008 9:12:57 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] | #
Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Here is the information for that Ethiopean place i told you about:

 

Fasika

501 N Snelling Ave St. Paul, MN 55104

(651) 646-4747

www.fasika.com

We just went there and had the "Ultimate Platter"  the "yum" was brought. 

Might I also add: $36 for dinner and beverages for a family of four not-so-small people?  And we were positivly stuffed.  They're kind of skimpy on the Injara, so we had to ask for more.  They were cheerful about bringing more.  I think they just don't want to end up throwing it away, and who can blame them, given the reasons they had to move here?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008 8:28:42 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [6] | #

Any of you remember Gilligan's Island?  Remember the depictions of simple native "Polynesian-ish" people brought to a roiling frenzy over the violation of some randomly rediculous "sacred object"?

Remember how silly and funny you thought it was when you were little?  Remember how (if you're a liberal) you later felt a little squeemish over someone representing an entire ethnic group as being so stupid and backwards? 

'cause nobody would really assault someone over a simple representational object.  I mean, there's no "primitive", cannabalistic cult on the earth that actually thinks that representational fetisches are their physical God, right?

Wrong.  Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

That said, I don't have a lot of sympathy for Webster Cook either.  Come on, every good country kid knows, you walk past a hornet's nest, you just keep on walking.  You don't put a stick in it and smash it around.  If they fly into your house or come and sting you, you smash them.  Or if they try to build in your barn, you break out the wasp spray...but you don't go into the woods where they have a perfect right to be, seek them out and stir them up.  That's just dumb.

I know that some are saying its a protest against having public money going to hold a Catholic mass on campus.  But that's not good enough.  I mean, I haven't heard anyone say that Catholics are the ONLY ones allowed to have mass on campus, and I hadn't heard that the group was trying to influence the administration or functioning of the college in any way, nor that students were required by the university to attend the mass.

Also, as one poster pointed out on line, if he wanted to show the Eucharist to his friend and explain it's importance, he should have just ordered a box of wafers online.  Then, he could crumble them up into his bathtub and roll around in them if he wanted to, and nobody would know.

(Hat Tip:  Pharyngula)

 

Wednesday, July 09, 2008 5:51:51 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] |  |  | #
Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I just got this in my e-mail from my friend Kristi, who got it from a friend of hers.  Let me know (in the comments) if you are interested, and I will get the contact information for you.  Just remember to enter your correct e-mail.  It will not be published, but it will come to me so I can send you the info, including pictures of the kittens.

 

 

 

Hi!

 

A week ago I found four abandoned kittens.  They had been left by a shed on the outer part of Maple Grove.  There were some empty cans of cat food and they seemed to be very, very hungry, so I'm not sure how long they had been there. 

 

One of the kittens was adopted right away by one of the people that helped wrangle them.  The other three have been living on our front porch since then.  At first, they were terrified of any human contact.  However, they became very tame and sweet within a few days.  We would love to keep them, but we already have two older cats who haven't been all that thrilled to have their front porch occupied by these "visitors".

 

These kittens are so cute and look like they will grow up to be very beautiful.  They are from two different litters - the smallest ones are approximately 7-8 weeks old (they are such tiny squeakers!) and the "bigger" one is probably 3-4 months old.  All of them are completely black, with varying degrees of fur length.  I am pretty sure that the older one is a female and the younger two are a male & a female (I could be wrong - it is difficult to tell with the tiny ones).  They are all litter box trained and can eat dry food, although we've been feeding them both canned & dry.

 

Because the two little ones are so closely bonded, we would like to see them go together if at all possible.  All three get along great and will make wonderful pets.  We aren't charging anything for them - we would just like to see them go to a good, loving home. 

 

I've attached some pictures to give you somewhat of an idea of what they look like.  If you are interested in adopting one or more of these sweet things, please contact me as soon as possible.  We can't keep them here for much longer. 

 

Feel free to pass this information on to anyone you think might be interested.

 

Thanks so much!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008 9:14:23 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] | #
Monday, July 07, 2008

Last night/this morning I attended an event that made CONvergence into a FIVE DAY convention.

CONvergence is usually a three day fan convention with role-playing games, art, community service, music, board games, miniatures, crafts, discussion panels, exotic dancing, martial arts, movies, anime and liquor all brought together to celebrate Science fact, and Speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, and related genres)

But all that changed when Michael Sheard came to the convention TWICE as a guest of honor.  He had so much fun, that he got attendees up in arms and the chant "FIVE DAYS" could be heard every year since, encouraging the board and the con committee to extend the convention.

Michael Sheard was beloved by many at the convention, including me.  He was just special, and touched many people (literally and figuratively) in the short amount of time we had him with us.

Which is what he has in common with another man.  Someone I never met, but saw walking around all the time.  Someone most of my friends knew, and someone who inspired fierce friendship and love.  A man called "Roadkill".

People like Michael and Roadkill kind of demand your attention...but unlike people who are just demanding your attention so that they can feel special, they were more the kind of people who walk next to you and say "Hey!  Look at that!" and then you realize you were walking along looking at your feet.  And then, just as you get too absorbed in the wonder and magic of what they were pointing at, they make some comment that makes you feel a little dumb for almost missing it, a little goofy for getting too sentimental about it, and hey it's OK 'cause you're there sharing it with them and it's all good, fogedddaboutit - "Hey! look at that!"

Roadkill developed a brain tumor and passed away this year and we lost Michael Sheard long before that.

While Roadkill was in hospice, Tim Wick went to visit him several times, and told Roadkill that he wanted to do a memorial, and asked Roadkill what he would like done in remembrance.

Roadkill responded:  "I would like you to smash a chocolate fish".

So, at a special event, held at 12:01 AM this morning (which made our special 10th anniversary four-day convention officially a FIVE DAY convention), Tim Wick presided over the first ever chocolate fish smashing ceremony I have ever witnessed.

A bit of smashed chocolate fish, followed by a shot of Tattoo spiced rum with some of Roadkill's friends was the strangest eucharist I have ever experienced (the similarity wasn't intentional, and I think I'm the only one who observed it)  I shared a toast with a small knot of Roadkill’s friends, because even though I didn’t know the guy, I knew the guy.  I wanted to honor the place he'd had in their lives, because it reflected something I understand and honor very deeply.

The gathering ended with "five days" sung over and over again to the tune of Amazing Grace, with people laughing their butts off.

And for about an hour we remembered Roadkill and Michael, and a whole bunch of other people who kept us from looking at our shoes, missing things we shouldn't miss, taking things too seriously, dismissing things too lightly, wrapping ourselves up too tightly, and generally forgetting that we are sharing the road.

[Update:  I found this lovely video posted on Pharyngula in a strange bit of synergy]  - NSFW - bad language 

 

Monday, July 07, 2008 8:11:47 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] | #
Saturday, July 05, 2008

CONvergence is here, and now half over.  I drank Captain Kirk's Two-Fisted-Punch.  I drank a couple of something called a "flaming cowboy"...

...Which is like if you insluted a Jolly Rancher's mother, so it turned into liquid and kicked your ass.

My brain is quite annoyed with me right now, and my stomach doesn't want to talk to me, but can't help iteslf.

Before the drinking, there was Kung Fu.  I saw a demonstration by a Tai Chi Master and his students.  That was really cool.

Today I will hopefully recover enough to play some Tai Chi learning games. 

I ran into one of my students at the Con, which is fun.

I attended a panel entitled 'the Secret Origins of CONvergence, as well as a performance of Soylent Theater: Made out of People entitled "Soylent Blue".

It was.  They gave us multiple warnings about how un-PC they were going to be, and asked that anyone with a weak constitution leave.  I didn't...'cause Im not the kind of person who gets offended over a little off-color humer.

They DID manage to offend me...several times.  I was very surprised, but hey - they warned me.

Also, I met up with some of my friends who do the Missing Children Minnesota Mystery Dinner Improve fund raiser.  Our writer (Damien Sheridan) was giving a reading of some of his stories.  He did very well.

My fellow actor, Ted, told me a great story about how he was assaulted by a little old lady over his "buddy Christ" costume (from the movie "Dogma").

No kidding, some little old lady at the Con shrieked about how he was insulting her religion and began beating him with a purse.  Naturally, he refrained from defending himself until he could leave the situation without risking harm to the little old lady.

I did a little volunteer "badging" (ensuring that everyone who is entering areas with convention programming is a paid attendee by checking their "badges") as it is a chance to sit in one place and watch everyone who goes past...which means that you meet up with all of your old friends that you only see once-a-year at con anymore...and do some catching up.

Its been fun, and this year we have FOUR (five) days!  I will explain that later when I don't have other pressing concerns like a family to feed and a pounding head to care for.

In the mean-time, please enjoy the product of one important difference between liberals and conservatives:  We can laugh at ourselves, and its OK.

 

 

 

 

 

 

      

Saturday, July 05, 2008 8:41:24 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [5] | #
Friday, July 04, 2008

1)  Hug/Thank a veteran (or some useful equivilent)

2) Send an active-duty person a letter and/or gift.

3) Speak your concience.  (Yes, even if you disagree with me)  (^_^)

4) Inform yourself.

5) Vote, act and contribute according to your concience.

 

Everyone have a good forth of July.  And remember:  Freedom isn't free...but bullets and blood are not the only legal tender.

Friday, July 04, 2008 7:26:40 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Thursday, July 03, 2008

I'm adding Alan's blog to my blog roll:

SciFi fan, Christian, sciency-type, non-fundie, non-wacky...

...and more than a little bit gay.

His current post is an informational post about fireworks informed by time he has spent working with them.

Thursday, July 03, 2008 10:36:31 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [6] | #
Wednesday, July 02, 2008

I'd like you all to meet Fred.

Grasshpper and I were spending our semi-weekly mom/son day together.

Every other week, my fiddle lesson falls on the same day as his Cello lesson, so we combine the trips as well as my trip to the Allergist to get my allergy shots.

We also take the time to stop at one of our favorite coffee shops for sandwiches, and talk about whatever.

Today, we saw a poster about Fred.  He's a six-year-old with inoperable brain cancer and 18 months to live if he doesn't get treatment.

Any treatment he gets is strictly pallitive, and will not cure him...but it will buy him both quantity and quality of time.

Grasshopper has pledged to donate three weeks worth of allowance, and I told him I would match his donation.

If you've got an extra few bucks hanging around in your pocket...consider donating it to Fred's fund:

 

Friends of Fred: c/o TCF Bank 3118 Lake Street East  Minneapolis, MN 55406

I know I bring a lot of these sorts of things to your attention, and we can't all donate to everything, but I'm pretty sure Fred would like to receive encouraging notes and having a cheering section on his Caring Bridge page, too.  So if you don't donate, think about clicking the link above, and it will take you to his home page.  There is a link there to his Careing Bridge Page.

You too can be a Friend of Fred.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008 3:00:19 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Tuesday, July 01, 2008

An open letter to Ms. Schlafly and family:

Dear Family Schlafly,

Yes, it’s true that we live in a universe of infinite mystery, wonder, terror, possibility and what should probably be terminal silliness.

Deal with it.

Unfortunately, attacking the people who describe said universe will not change the nature of the universe itself.

Controlling the study of art and literature that describes the variety of the human condition within that universe will not change the fact that sometimes people break, and can’t be fixed.

Blaming the victim only works in a situation where most of the society is made up of perpetrators.

You can create your own authoritative references.  You can try to force God into a 6,000-year-creation schedule.  You can even edit your own controversies.

But it won’t make you one iota safer, give you one minute bit more control over God or the universe…won’t even  shed a single lumen of truth on the nature of existence.  Nor, in the fullness of time will it even grant you more than a place as a useless name in the bone-pile of history.

Just thought you should know, so you can quit wasting your time and ours, and get on about the business of living constructively in the world as it is.

Sincerely,

Teresa

Tuesday, July 01, 2008 2:45:10 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #

Not all that glitters is gold...

Not all who wander are lost...

And not all that is "gay" is homosexual.

 

(Hat Tip:  Pharyngula)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008 11:57:43 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] | #
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