Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Today's Screw Up and More Mr. Deity



This is episode 2 of Season 1 of Mr. Deity.

I had planned to do some writing, but I was pouring fertilizer/weed killer pellets into my fertilizer spreader thingy and forgot to shut my mouth and ICK fertilizer/weed killer vapor in my mouth!
So I ran inside and gargled like I have never gargled before. Spit. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
See? After all you got some original content from me AND a Mr Deity episode.

As a FYI fertilizer/weed killer tastes a bit acidic.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Assertiveness Training for Ali


If you are a regular reader of this blog you know that I write about my son Will (7 years old) every once in a while. He does get a lot of blog space in comparison with his sister Ali (4 years old).  Fear not! This post  is all about Ali (okay, it's about me too) and illustrates one of my basic tenets of parenting, We're not in the Sh*t business.

I was driving Ali  to preschool yesterday. Ali is very energetic and... assertive. On this day, however, she was more laid back.

"How are you doing back there?" I asked.

"What if kids make fun of my band aid?" She replied.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Hutaree Nation or My Chat With Jesus


I had the pleasure to interview Jesus the other day. He's a busy guy, but we found a few moments to talk at a local deli. Jesus was already eating a sandwich when I sat down.
Me: Hi. I'm glad you made time for me today.
Jesus: Sure, you're the guy about the thing...?
Me: I came to discuss the Christian Militia Group Hutaree.
Jesus: Who? Are those the ones with the pedophile scandals?
Me: No.
Jesus: Good. Those guys suck.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Regime Change Now!

I have decided to show the interview of Christopher Hitchens on Real Time with Bill Maher to lay the ground work for my argument for regime change in Vatican City.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Crazy Sh*t I've Come Across: 3/26

It's that time of the week! Pick out the false quote.

I actually spoke to a person who insisted that the founding fathers respected the slaves because they let them have their last names.
- A Facebook friend's status update

Why this huge isolation of the Church and this huge focus on cover-up in the Church when it has been going on for centuries?
- Bishop Christopher Jones, head of the Irish episcopate's committee on family affairs talking about the Church's huge cover-up of child abuse.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

God Is Evil Santa!

What to write about, what to write about? Will got his report card yesterday. That is interesting to me, but probably not to anyone else (he's doing well). What about my cleaning Ali's vomit off me and the floor? That's nasty and maybe funny, but can I get a whole post over it? No. (She's doing fine by the way.)

I know! I'll write about a recent exchange I had on Facebook with a God person. Most of the time my conversations run the God doesn't exist route (my favorite tactic is the Majikal Green Hamster argument, but that's for another post). Let's face it, it's an easy route to take! However, there are times another permutation of my anti-theist ideas are trotted out; this one is simply  If God exists he is Evil.

I have condensed the long, long conversation into something bite-sized.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cake vs Sex: Winner Take All



This is the first short film I made a few years ago. I wrote and directed it with Laurie Holman. It was filmed in her apartment in Cambridge, MA. Melissa McCue you may recognize from another short I've done and Steve Sweeney is in Johnny Baptist 2. Paul Falcone, our local wunderkind, worked the camera and did the editing.

The lesson with Cake and Johnny Baptist 2 is that finding actors who are willing to go along with crazy sh*t is necessary. And when you find them hold on to them for dear life.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Would You Trust Your Child With This Man?

Hypothesis 1: Human stupidity often makes the best comedy.
Evidence: The Three Stooges.

Anyone wants to argue with me? So be it. We'll move on.

Hypothesis 2: Human stupidity often makes the most engaging tragedy.
Evidence: King Lear, as in dude,don't punish the only daughter telling you the truth.

Anyone wants to argue? We’ll move on.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Not Drinking The Something-Something or Another Low D Tale

I want to make an announcement.


I have to stop using the phrase, "Drinking the Kool - Aid". I feel it has been overused (myself included) and has become too mainstream. I will now shelf it along with: paradigm, proactive, and synergistic. I still mourn paradigm because I actually read, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and feel that I can explain at length the characteristics of paradigms. I am currently watching the word meme closely. I am not happy with it. Once the only people using the word were geeks. Now the hipsters have gravitated to it and alas it's only a matter of time before it goes mainstream. Meme, you are officially on notice.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Weight Loss or Feel The Burn

This is my weekly weigh in episode of Purgatory. As a review, I was 194 last week and my ultimate goal is to be 180. I got on the scale this morning and found I am at 193.

Not too shabby.

I've continued using my food diary and I've been weighing myself every morning before I eat. The system seems to be working.

However, I skipped the gym yesterday and today. I have a good reason...

this is the time to burn.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Don't Put Your Head In A Bear Trap

It was one of those moments...


Will (age 7) and I were playing Candy Land with Ali (4). I peered into him, "Will, there will be a time that you do not have to do what I say."

Will looked at me in astonishment, "Really?" This was breaking news to him.

Friday, March 19, 2010

This Week In: Crazy Stuff I've Seen And Heard 3/19

It's that time again! Pick out the 2 false statements (it's easy).

When I have kids I'm moving to Haiti. I want to bring them up in a moral environment.
- As told to this writer today by a young religious undergraduate.

Attention Walmart customers: All black people leave the store now.
- Male voice over the intercom at a Walmart Store in NJ.

I depended on Walmart for all my needs, because the store has pretty much everything you could want.
- Walmart shopper singing the praises for the 5th Horseman of the Apocalypse (War, Death, Famine, Pestilence, and Walmart).

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mr. Deity


I found this gem the other day, Mr. Deity. Mr. Deity is a web series that depicts our Heavenly Father as an absent minded, congenial, sociopath. Other characters include: Larry the right hand man, Jesse aka Jesus, and Lucy aka the Devil. There are 10 episodes per season and they are in the midst of season three.


I think it's really funny and very subversive. This is episode 1 from season 1.

Here is the site: http://www.mrdeity.com/

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Armada This!

I was driving down the highway yesterday and a Nissan Armada sped by me. Are you acquainted with my dislike of SUVs? Gas guzzling symbols of a country with no energy policy (and ergo no good foreign policy), no carbon emission policy, and a population that screwed itself by living on credit cards and home equity loans. Oh sure, those "credit is crack days" are over and yet there are the hangers on of the previous gratuitous flaunting of wealth... the SUV. Don't get me wrong, if you are in a trade (plumbing, electrician, etc) and need the space owning a SUV is reasonable.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Your Baby Is Ugly or Defect Is Not A Bad Word

Telling someone that I am an Atheist is often like telling them their girlfriend is ugly. In the case if my proclamation of non-faith is directed to a woman it's like telling her she has an ugly baby.

Yes, there are ugly girlfriends and some ugly babies. No, I do not make it my business to go around informing the parties involved. It's not my business and it's mean.

Ahhhh! There's the rub, eh? It's not "nice" to tell people that their conception of divinity is wrong. Yet it happens all the time. Whenever a Christian is talking to someone who is a practicing Jew it is understood at the get go that the Christian is deluded (Jesus was not the messiah and you people translated our book wrong) and that the Jew is going to Hell (along with Gandhi and all those couple billion or so heathens).

Monday, March 15, 2010

Strange Indeed



Here is, Strange Flesh, a short film done by Paul Falcone back in the day. He was attending RISD at the time and this was one of his projects.

It's very funny and I don't want to reveal anything before you see it! If you have a question place it under Comments and it will be answered.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Atheist Easter Fun!

Ali is four and goes to preschool. It's a half day program. Part of my daily routine when I'm playing Responsible Dad Guy is to drop her off and pick her up. I passed the school library and there was a display of kiddy Easter books. I did a double take. Did I just see what I thought I saw? Yep. Prominently displayed was a big ole book of crazy called, "He is Risen".

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Weight Loss and The Horror


This is my weekly entry into my hard slog at losing weight.

This past week I started my food diary and it has been going well. I weighed in today at 194 lbs. This is good, the last weigh in I was 195.

I was at the gym yesterday and had a particularly disturbing experience.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Stuff People Said About Stuff This Week


I decided to jot down some of the more interesting stuff I read or heard over the past week. Can you pick out the false quotes?

Yes, hearing your troubles does make me feel better.
-Jerry Seinfeld on The Daily Show

Not only did I grope him but I tickled him until he couldn’t breathe and then four guys jumped on top of me…
-Eric Massa (Democrat Congressman from NY (now retired)) responding to a question whether or not he groped a male colleague.

F#ck them.
-Pope Benedict XVI when he heard that two thirds of Danes support same sex marriage.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Documentary On The Overturning Of Same Sex Marriage In Maine


(Melissa McCue is working on a documentary on the overturn of Same Sex marriage entitled “Project Q1” . Her blog on the project can be found here: http://projectq1.blogspot.com/ and facebook group here: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=211437005830&ref=mf )

When Andy asked me a few weeks ago to guest blog on his site, I was ecstatic! For a girl that runs a few different blogs, I feel like I finally made the big time. Guest Blogger? Who, Me? I’d like to thank the Academy first, then my supportive family for all they have done….

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Gendercide


If you read this blog on a regular basis you may have noticed my referring to the Economist magazine every so often. The Economist is a weekly magazine whose headquarters are in London. It's well over 150 years old and covers... everything, kinda like the BBC. Every once in a while it's mentioned on a TV show when a writer needs to be depicted as smart, "That's James, he writes for The Economist."

So, Mondays do not totally suck for me because I get my Economist that day. Unsuspectingly I walked to my mailbox and grabbed the mail. There was The Economist and I knew I was in trouble. On the cover was a pair of pink baby shoes and above it in pink is, "GENDERCIDE" under it, "What happened to 100 million baby girls?"

Yikes.

It's as bad as you think it is... probably worse.

What follows is a synopsis of the article. I highly suggest that everyone reads the entire piece.

Let's go down the numbers.

There are naturally 105 boy babies for every 100 girl babies. Boy infants are more likely to die and men between the ages of 16-25 do crazy shit (more on that later!) that get themselves killed. So the uneven ratio at birth ensures (roughly) that there is one gal for every guy when it's time to get married.

The only time this natural ratio is changed is when people choose to.

We've now left the amusing part of this post. If you do not want to risk slitting your wrists stop reading...

Now.

It seems in Asia boys are more desirable to have than girls. In China and parts of India the ratio has been skewed to 124 boys to 100 girls (in some places 130 to 100). That is a big difference. Think about why. Say you're in China and have that one child per family policy. Or that you are part of the new middle class in India. You do not want a big family, but you want a boy badly. The question is, "Are you going have a son or a daughter?"

You may say that is not an option. You get what you get.

Oh, but it is an option.

Selective abortion based on the gender of the baby is common. With imaging technology available in urban areas, parents find out what the gender of the child is going to be fairly early. It gets worse in the villages. There are no imaging devices. Parents have to wait until the birth of the child. If it isn't a boy the girl is killed. The Economist article opens with a journalist's report of how a newborn girl was thrown into a slop pail after the father said, "Useless thing." It goes without saying that the police and local authorities are complicit in these crimes.

The situation is so bad that the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) projects that in ten years 1 in 5 men will not find a bride. That means in 2020 thirty to forty million young men in China will be without a mate. That's trouble. Civil unrest, human traffiking in women, and female suicide are expected to rise under these circumstances.

India shouldn't get a free pass. The tradition in that country is that a girl joins the husband's family when she gets married. The Hindus have a saying, "Raising a daughter is like watering your neighbors lawn." What's makes the Indian situation that much worse is that it's the world's largest democracy. No one is holding a gun to parents' heads (as with China's one child policy).

Madness.

In 1990 it was estimated that this gendercide claimed 100 million. That was twenty years ago.

I've been know to quip that madness is the rule to the Human Condition and not the exception.

Acknowledging the rule does not make anything easier.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Weight Loss In Purgatory


I've been busy.

I do stuff.

Things get lost in the day to day shuffle.

The thing that got lost is my whole posting about my weight loss regiment. My original plan was to post once a week with my current weight and any new tactics I've cooked up.

It just hasn't worked out the way I planned. I went to New York, I had my, "Yay! Obama Hasn't gotten Shot Party!" (for which I did a good amount of cooking for... and eating) and the usual blah, blah, blahs (assume some of the blahs to be drinking related).

I got on the scale this morning and I weigh 195. The same weight I started out with a few weeks ago. I know what I have to do and I don't like it. I have to keep a food diary. A food diary is a list of what you eat during the course of the day. Studies have shown just the act of writing down the food eaten lowers the total amount devoured. I also estimate the calories each item "costs". I do not recommend the calorie estimate if you don't have a ballpark idea what it may be. Start out with just writing the food down and you should see results. The problem with this method is that it's work. Work like remembering to bring the notebook wherever you go, write the stuff down (honestly), and not to lose the notebook. I have used a food diary in the past and it has been successful.

On the plus side the weather is turning warmer so I'll be engaged in servitude to my yard. Yes I admit it, I am it's willing(?) slave. Though I dislike work (you may have picked up on that) doing the multitude of menial tasks in the yard does add to total calories burned during the course of the day.

The trick (don't be fooled... there is no trick) is that when I regress and put weight on I have to reorient myself and get back into good habits. Is it frustrating that I get lazy and off track?

No (I'm lying).

I just have to keep focused on being healthy.

And my little notebook.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Out And About or I'm Not Not Going To Talk My Smack



I was out last night with the wife. For those of you who do not know, she runs the Youth and Elder Affairs Commission in the Town of Stoughton. She was running the Corned Beef Dinner at the VFW Hall and and the proceeds were going to the Commission.

Most of the time I can speak what I want and when I want. You may say anyone can do that, but I disagree. Self censorship is by far the most common method of societal control there is. We monkeys don't want to upset the other primates so the Big Three conversational topics (Sex, Politics, Religion) are off limits, particularly in a semi-work environment where I found myself last night. This is difficult for me because my mind naturally gravitates to the Big Three.

I have talked to many opinionated people (Atheists and otherwise) and it's common to run into the, "Keeping your big gob shut," problem. Luckily I grew up in Brockton, MA a hotbed of Stupid and Mean (really, it's our main export). Growing up in this petridish of dysfunction, I have learned many skills: the ability to spot trouble, the ability to flee from trouble, and protecting my face when the previous two skills have failed. I decided to stay off the drink and limit my conversation to sports. I have no base of knowledge regarding sports (unless it's MMA and most of the people there were older and not into things like putting individuals into armbars or bare naked chokes). So my choice was to be sober, boring, and bored.

One of my hidden (or not) skills is to figure a way out of societal restraints. My way out last night was to talk to my wife's friend, Jenn. Jenn is a Big Lefty and our interests in politics overlap quite a bit. By the end of the evening I had happily covered many of my current subversive topics such as: Catholic Charities in Washington DC withdrawing all spousal health benefits because they don't want to give benefits to any gay spouses, or the preschooler who was expelled from her Catholic school because she has gay parents, or... the list goes on.

Sooo... everyone is happy, I didn't get my wife blacklisted and I was able to get to the gym early this morning because my drinking was at a minimum.

Just another night in Purgatory.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

48 Hour Film Project - Silent Night



I just signed up for the 48 Hour Film Project taking place in Boston from April 30th - May 2nd. The Project is done yearly in cities around the world. Each team is given a genre, character, prop, and line of dialogue to use in a short film. They are given 48 hours to write, film, and edit it.

This is my third year heading a team and there has been a big learning curve. I think of several basic tenets of being successful (I mean producing a competitive short while having a good time).

- Work with quality people you have worked with before.

- Have a great location that you have looked at personally. Make sure you do not have crazy time constraints while using the location.

- Time is your enemy. Pace yourself. If you need the script done in 4 hours, it needs to be done in 4 hours.

- Do not try to do an epic in 6 minutes, it ain't gonna work.

- Have someone who hasn't been involved in the writing/shooting of the film come in after the rough edit has been done. Have them take a look at it and see if everything makes sense.

- The eternal problems of small budgets films are sound and light. You will see how we got around those problems with the above short!

- Do not lose your temper. There is life after the 48 hours is over, remember that.

I recommend to every would be screenwriter to direct a few shorts. Writers typically forget that film is a visual medium (I know that sounds stupid) and get bogged down in needless, boring talk and exposition.

I'll probably write a few more posts on this as the time gets closer.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

One Man's War Against The Brithday Industrial Complex


Call me old-school.

Call me cheap.

Don't call me indulgent, however.

My wife and I had a discussion about my children's upcoming birthdays (8 and 5). I want to start off with saying that my not knowing the EXACT date of one of the birthdays (I was off by a few days) has no reflection on my parenting skills... probably.

I think we should skip to the pressing topic at hand, Destination Birthdays. My son wants to go rock climbing with his crew to a local indoor rock climby place. Oh, I've been there once (yes, this is a testimony to how klutz proof rock climbing is when I can go and not hurt myself) and it's a great place. It's just you, faux rocks, gravity, and most importantly safety lines. My wife has brought the children there and Will (currently 7) saw a birthday party going on. He asked if he could do the same thing for his next birthday and my wife said yes.

There are several problems here. One, I don't want my children to become the typical stupid, entitled, materialist Americans. I have a system in place to prevent this... me saying no. The system in action goes something like this, "Dad, can I have a (insert any expensive item that a child wants but doesn't need)." I will use my standard response, "No, you have lots of (insert similar stuff) and more importantly you should be happy with what you've got. A lot of kids don't have that..." Depending on how crotchety I feel the speech goes on.

So, in the midst of this Great Recession (I know it's officially over, but the unemployment rate still hovers around 10%) I feel it's particularly important to give the message that money is NOT a renewable resource, like the sun or the wind. And if nothing else I believe in Birthday Fundamentalism, "When I was growing up, I only had a sheet cake, candles, and rusty nails and I liked it!" (Don't knock the rusty nails; they were good to suck on.) Anyways, my kids have it much better than I did because they get a pinata to smack the Hell outta. Nothing is more funny to watch than a bunch of kids beating a pinata. It's even funny when sober though I recommend it with a few beverages in you.

So what's going to happen? I'm not vetoing the rock climbing trip, though I am sending a strong message that it's back to the backyard and pinata next year.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Dutch Problem


I feel conflicted this afternoon.

Tell me if I should feel happy or sad.

I just read a YAHOO news article and it is about the recent conflict in the Netherlands (Holland). It seems (to paraphrase the article) an openly gay man was going to be part of a Dutch festival (were there clogs involved?) and the local priest decided the man couldn't take communion (No! Only the righteous may eat the flesh and drink the blood of our dead god!). Well, unlike people in America the Dutch don't take kindly to folk being picked on by the Catholic Church. There were protests and now the Church has decided to "allow" (like they allowed the Reformation) individuals to decide whether or not they are ready to take communion.

Here's the two camps where my emotions have staked out.

YAY!
People not being persecuted. The general public stands up for a minority group. The good guys win!

BOO! BOO!
The same irrational desires to be part of a religion are similiar to the irrational drives to screw people who are different from you. You doubt that? Any organized, orthodox religion needs people to mess with. Think about it: Jews had all types of folk to ethnically cleanse back in the day, Christianity had the Jews, Muslims have Christians, and Christians also have Moslems. Oh and Hindus? They've got a whole caste system worked out to screw with whole segments of the population all the time (know your place Unclean Ones!).

Soo... I'm going to my fallback postion.

It could've been worse.

Becauase this is Purgatory.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

NYC Haiku

These are haiku I've written recently. The first three were written about my trip to New York City.

The Strand Book Store

Walking through valleys,
browsing in the discount bin,
feeling, being home.

The World Trade Center

Surging with the crowd,
jackhammers in the graveyard,
snow falls through the lights.

Central Park

Snow white reservoir,
children sled on the Great Lawn,
ice cracks under me.

Melodrama

Whisper in my ear,
say the unspeakable words,
cleanse me with your tears.

Friday

Dialing your number,
knowing you will not pick up,
gone without goodbye.

More Haiku...
Cat Haiku

Monday, March 1, 2010

God, Canadian Style!


I had an online philosophical discussion the other day concerning the role of God in sports. It seems many of my fellow Americans hold the belief that God takes an active hand on the outcome of many sporting events.

A few examples:

well,seeing that the very hairs on our heads are numbered,id say the father has concerns about,yes,even the trivial super bowl..

and

... God will use what ever platform He can to spread the good news the gospel.

Hmmm... it seems God uses sports to spread the Good News (about himself).

It is clear to me now that God is: Socialist, Faithless, and worst of all... Canadian. It's true, God backs winners! And after Canada won 3-2 against the God-fearing capitalist good ole U.S. of A it's hard to argue otherwise.

If God backs winners to spread the gospel what about non-sports competitions like: life expectancy and how smart a country's citizens are?

Well, it seems that God is not only non-American (Canadian), but he is racist as well. The top five countries in terms of Math scores in 2007 are: Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and Hon Kong (thank you US Dept. of Education). It's wrong. The ACLU should file a brief demanding Canadian God to stop favoring Asia.

What about Life Expectancy? Dammit! Canadian God doesn't like us either! The top five countries in terms of living longest are: Japan, Hon Kong, Iceland, Switzerland, and Australia. I can see no method to His wise decision on this (though he does favor the Asians again).

What I can say is that no other developed country has such a culture of faith as we Americans do. We are obviously God's chosen people which is soooo cool.

Just ask the Jews. It's worked out so well for them in the past.

This is Purgatory and I'm looking for a way out.

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