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Sunday, July 31, 2011

It's Rama Dama Ding Dong Month!

Tomorrow is the beginning of Ramadan, and I can't help but think of the Edsel's song Rama Lama Ding Dong.




As many of you already know, Ramadan (or Rama Dama Ding Dong)  celebrates when the Koran's first verses were revealed to Muhammad. Observant Muslims fast from sunup to sundown during the holy month. In case you're not  exactly sure when you're supposed to start/stop eating checkout the special prayer/fasting times at Islamicity.com . Remember, Allah is watching! HE expects the precise timing of prayers... or else.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Top Ten List Of What I'm Doing For The Eventual US Default


Those wars cost me how much?
10. Print my own money. I have very good credit and no one needs to be concerned about the innate value of my currency. I will name the currency the inutile.

9. I'm digging an anti-zombie ditch around my house. You may be saying "Andy, what do zombies have to do with the US defaulting on its debt?" Well, everyone knows that the apocalypse will have zombies. I'm just a wee bit ahead of the curve.

8.  Buying seeds. Call me Farmer Andy. Call everyone else in deep trouble. Laugh if you will, but I'm going to have all kinds of pickled vegetables during the famine in the winter of 2013.

7.  Hording all the Hostess items I can. Twinkies, Sno-Balls,  Ho Hos you name 'em I'm going to have 'em. I'm thinking that the street value of these things will be insanely high once sugar addicts can't get their high fructose corn syrup induced high. Call me the Candy Man.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Trip To Arlington Cemetery

I don't feel white guilt that often, but today was not an ordinary day.

I'm vacationing in DC. Well, I'm vacationing in DC after being stuck in at Logan International Airport for 8 hours due to inclement weather. What's worse than being stuck in an airport for 8 hours? Having lower gastrointestinal tract problems the next day (that means I was crapping water for most of this morning).

Joy.

However, I did get to Arlington Cemetery and got to the mandatory sights like JFK's resting place and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Walking through Arlington one can not help but notice one of America's great strength -- our diversity. There is a grim equality among the dead. Men and women laid to rest with names like Brown and Wagner are next to grave markers which have names inscribed like Gonzalez and Klein. At the Old Amphitheater E pluribus unum (Out of many, one) was inscribed in the stone, and I that got a wee bit of pep in my step. Diversity is our strength, regardless of what the hate mongers say.

All that went away at Arlington House. Arlington House was the residence of Robert E Lee before the Civil War. Of course, long before Lee owned the residence the estate was home to that particular Southern Institution -- slavery. It's funny how slavery is referred to on the pamphlet one is given about Arlington House
Despite increasingly severe rheumatoid arthritis, Mrs Lee managed the household and its slaves after her mother died in 1853. She shared her mother's religious piety and looked after the welfare of the enslaved workers. [I believe the author had the idea that enslaved workers was a more friendlier term than slaves.]
That Mrs Lee was a gem. She taught them all about the Christianity that supported owning human beings.

After my foray through the residence I visited the book shop next door (not to be confused with the gift shop by the visitors center). It's a small building with no air conditioning. A small fan from 1933 was the only relief from the heat. The shelves had some lovely items about the traitor/slaver Robert E Lee -- a commemorative coin dedicated to the great man and a series of statuettes in his regal image. And there, behind the counter was a black woman.

Yep, I don't feel guilty about being white that often.

But this was no ordinary day.

This is Purgatory.


**PS: I hate the Confederacy very, very much.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Twitter And Blogging


 Turing finds the idea of God
to be laughable.
This post is about blogging and Twitter. As you may have noticed my Twitter updates (located in the lower right) kick some serious butt. Yes, it's sad that one of the prime accomplishments at my age are Twitter updates. Regardless of how sad my life is, I wanted to pass along some information that may help fellow bloggers manage their Twitter accounts. I was on Connected Comedy, a site for comedians, and read about FriendOrFollow. One of the useful free services that FriendOrFollow does is show you how many people you are following but are not following back. In case you want to prune your following list this is a fast and easy way to do it.

Good stuff.

What? You're not following me on Twitter? This is the ideal time to follow me. What makes this time any more ideal than any other time? Nothing. Zip. Nada. There's no free bacon chocolate bar (I had one the other day - freakin' awesome) if you follow me - just the benefit of basking in the radiance of said Twitter updates from yours truly.

LiP

Friday, July 22, 2011

Haboob - How The Arabs Are Stealing Our Language

Beware! The Islamists want our weather!
I've had it with the Arabs.

First, the Arabs steal all of the oil that God has given the United States. Sure, the yummy petroleum is under their sandy turf, but any Christian who has never read the bible knows that YAHWEH gave us the mineral rights to the world. (The verse goes  For God so loved the world that He gave all the mineral rights to the U S of A, that whoever lives in god's country will have air conditioning AND monster trucks for eternity. (Frank 3:16))

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

God Hates Happy Hour

The basic tenets of religion are constant: absurdity, tyranny, and idiocy.
I don't think God likes
little umbrellas in
drinks.

Which brings us to the New York Times story Utah Liquor Laws, as Mixed Up as Some Drinks. It turns out if a restaurant can't get a license for its bar, the wackiness starts.

...drinks can be served but not seen — at least until the customers get them.       
So the wine cellar, upon closer inspection, is stacked with empty bottles.       
Stools still line the shiny bar in the lounge, but they look straight at a wall of clouded white glass that rises from the middle of the counter, obscuring the bottles and bartenders on the other side.       
“Without that license, the patrons cannot see the alcohol and they cannot see the bartenders,” explained James Ables, the restaurant’s manager. “Hence the ‘Zion Curtain.’         
You read that correctly, Utah doesn't allow adults to watch their drinks being made if the establishment doesn't have a license. The booze and bartenders are sequestered  away so that, well, I don't know why. Perhaps their God, who lives on the planet Kolob (Didn't know the Mormon God lives on another planet?  Now you do.) knows that the mere sight of alcohol in a non licensed eatery will cause mass insanity.

Prepare for more absurdity.
Bar owners and restaurateurs complain that the laws, which seem to change every few years, discourage business. 
This article is an example that proves the rule that the Religious Right hates capitalism. They want their supporters to believe that their way is the American way, but when the power hungry Religious Right has power (as they do in Utah) what do they do? Stifle businesses with rules inspired by their Sky Fairy faith.

But wait, there is more...
Stiff drinks and doubles are illegal in Utah. Bars and restaurants must use meters on their liquor bottles to make sure they do not pour more than 1.5 ounces at a time. Other liquors can be added to cocktails in lesser amounts, not to exceed 2.5 ounces of liquor in a drink, as long as they are poured from bottles clearly marked “flavoring.”
Are we children? This is what happens when religion and state mix - alcohol poured from bottles marked as "flavoring".
Faith based laws are designed to hurt people who don't ascribe to the religion's ideals. The LDS is against the sin of drinking alcohol so who cares if the divine law of bureaucratic temperance hurts a nonbeliever?
Steven Maxwell spent $1 million building a dining club in Salt Lake City, Maxwell’s East Coast Eatery, putting in exposed brick walls, black leather booths and a 100-foot-long oval bar made of reclaimed hickory.
Then Mr. Maxwell, who has other clubs in the state, could not get a dining club license. So the strongest thing he sells with his food is beer that is 3.2 percent alcohol by weight.
“Now I don’t know if I can recoup that money,” Mr. Maxwell said. “Why would I continue to invest in Utah if they’re not helping you, if they’re hurting you?”        
People may say that this type of despotic behavior only occurs in the wackier faiths. That mainstream religion doesn't feel the need to subject the rest of the populace to their specific brand of superstition.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

That's what religion does. It knows the "truth" and enforcing that truth is compulsory for its adherents. Whether it's faith based bus routes in Israel, or the Catholic Church trying to prevent legalizing divorce in Malta, religion's base instinct is to control the state while making life miserable for all.

When religion doesn't act tyrannically it's because the faith has been forced to play nice.

This is Purgatory.



Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Yes, I'm Raising Atheists

Quite happy that her
atheist parents told
her the truth.
Yes, I'm raising atheists, and I'm doing it unapologetically.
Many of you reading this are regular visitors to Purgatory (though in a broader sense I feel compelled to say we're all inhabitants), so please excuse me if you have heard this diatribe on why my children are being raised in such a manner. But some principles warrant being restated over and over again, like Check both ways before you cross the street, or Don't forget to wear appropriate body armor during the Zombie Apocalypse.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pray The Gay Away And Michele Bachmann

I found this video on Left Hemispheres. If you aren't aware of Michel Bachmann and her endorsement of the "Pray the Gay Away" therapy, then this is a good vid to watch.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Top Ten List Of What You'll Find In Hell

Godzilla is King of all Monsters
 and
King of all Gods
10. We'll start off with the obvious groups of people you'll find: Muslims, Jains, Jews, Shintoists, Hindus, Pagans of all varieties, Taoists, New Agers, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, Agnostics, Atheists, ETs, Smurfs, Lucky, the Lucky Charms Leprechaun,  Catholics (in case you're in certain denominations of Protestants), Protestants (in case you're an old school Catholic),  Godzilla (blasphemy against God), Tom but not Jerry, and of course Roger Clemens (lying under oath is a sin - mistrial or not).

9. Re-education Camps - These classes are run by the local for profit university (yes, you have to pay for them, after all this is hell) where you will learn about God's everlasting love for you. There are daily tests, and there will be punishment if you don't do well. However, none of these tests will count to your final grade because you have already FAILED.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sam Harris On Interpreting Scripture

I found this on the Advice Goddess Blog this morning and it's Sam Harris talking about the so called good books. It's worth watching and only 6:45 long.

Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

God Loves A Good Genocide - Further Readings In 1 Samuel

My dad is a genocidal maniac,
but you need to worship him.
God loves a good genocide.

As many of you know, I'm currently reading through 1 Samuel. As a reminder, Samuel is God's prophet and the story revolves around the founding of Israel's monarchy. For those of you who didn't read the previous post, God basically said "Sure, have a king, but don't come complaining to me when things go wrong."

Ah, that's leadership.

Saul becomes king of the Chosen People. One day, Samuel gets a message from God.

Is it a message of love?

Is it a message of peace?

Is it a message of forgiveness?

No. Nope. And negative.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Poll - If you were religious, did you convert anyone to your old faith?


It's true, at one time I preached
the good news of Zeus.
This may be a sensitive topic. Many atheists were at one time religious and converting the masses to the "truth" is often mandatory (the God meme/virus is always looking for new hosts) to be in the Sky Fairy club.

So, didja?

I did.

And I'm still not happy about it.

LiP

Monday, July 11, 2011

Poll Results For To Be A Skeptic Means Voting For...

How does one vote skeptically?


At the get go, let's define what skepticism is. Skepticism is a verb, a process. Michael Shermer, founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, defines the term as:
One who questions the validity of particular claims of knowledge by employing or calling for statements of fact to prove or disprove claims, as a tool for understanding causality.
Skepticism looks for verifiable evidence to base decisions on. Of course, this places skepticism opposite of faith based reasoning (I apologize to Reason for any slight)  where one relies on unsubstantiated information such as: revealed knowledge, hearsay, and all types of biased data.

Basic stuff.

Many political topics are "gimmes" - a vast majority of skeptics would vote for them because the evidence is clear. In this category I'd place:
  • Not teaching Intelligent Design as science in schools.
  • Not using schools as petri dishes to breed religiousity.
  • Climate change - not per se what to do about it, rather that it is going on and is primarily man made.
  • Insurance companies should not cover quack medicine like homeopathy.
There are many issues that, due to their complexity, are difficult to discern the correct policy.  For example, what is the best path to US energy independence? Is that even a worthy goal? What if the US becomes totally energy independent (a fantasy for the foreseeable future), but one of our main allies, like Japan, is totally cut off from its Persian Gulf oil supply? Simply stated we have another Gulf conflict on our hands. If you disagree with that assessment I offer the current Libyan conflict/civil war  as an example of the US getting pulled into a mess by its allies (Britain and France). Even a person highly skilled in skepticism in a particular field like biology (PZ Meyers) or journalism/world events (Christopher Hitchens) may not have the knowledge base to make the proper political choice. Both men are skeptics but they differ immensely in terms of their politics . Hitchens supported Bush the Younger's foray into Iraq, while Dr. Meyers only believes in using violence in self defense.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Elevatorgate Part Deux

I guess when you're a carpenter with a hammer, everything's a nail. Dawkins WASN'T trying to make a joke, like, at all. He was trying to make a point. He didn't say anything even near deserving of an apology. - Derp

I thought the above comment from Elevatorgate And Comedy Writing Suggestions For Dr. Dawkins warranted a post, because it really helped to clarify and refine my thoughts a bit.

But, first I want to thank Derp for commenting, though I respectfully have some issues with his(?) thinking on this.

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, I'm calling it a duck.

When a person writes

Stop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you had your genitals mutilated with a razor blade, and . . . yawn . . . don’t tell me yet again
that strikes me as the writer using a satirical voice to make his/her point. And satire, if nothing else, is in the realm of dark comedy.

Respect. Respect. Respect.

I don't care if you are 10 years old and on the playground or 45 in corporate America if someone
 doesn't show you respect, then there is a problem. The comment that Dawkins wrote not only had a satirical tone, but it was of a parent talking down to a child.

For goodness sake grow up, or at least grow a thicker skin.
I have led small groups on nonviolent interventions for those who work with violent people. This is part of my message:  It isn't as much what you say, it is how you say it. I have a few theist friends, and though I may strongly disagree with them on the God issues, I try my best to show respect (feelings may get hurt, but one can only make a good faith effort to prevent that). This way I am far more likely to be listened to. In this manner they hear my argument much more clearly.

I think Dr. Dawkins' reasoning is a bit off.

Please humor me with a small thought experiment. Say we have two bad situations A and B. However, B is much, much worse than A. Should we ignore A, or belittle those who work to eradicate it? Let's imagine that Jim Crow laws still exists in the South (A), but full blown slavery is in force in some other country (B).  Should we not still strive to fight against A?

Now, a person would be in their right to craft an argument that A (the elevator incident) isn't something to get worked up about.  But they shouldn't build their polemic by saying "Look here, there are more serious things in the world to worry about. Oh, by the way, grow up"


LiP

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Anniversary Of The 7/7/05 Bombings

I'm going to apologize that I didn't talk about the 7/7/05 London bombings earlier today. My only excuse is that I'm an American. Here in the States many of us think one can drive to England (don't laugh, my wife reported that someone once asked her how long it takes to motor there).

Atheist Nation, our group of like minded people who are scattered around the globe and are heirs to the Enlightenment, are always in conflict with religion - that dangerous institution that drives good people to do evil things (thank you, Christopher Hitchens). Sometimes the conflict simmers under the surface of everyday life. Other times the followers of God's plan choose a more lethal way in their hope to enslave us all. 7/7/05 reminds us of these sobering facts.

In the shadow of those bombings I have this to say:

I am an atheist;

My life will not be held hostage by the weapons of faith: Fear, Bigotry, and Ignorance;

My thoughts are with those who have been butchered by God's love;

This is Purgatory.

We Are All Children Of Africa.

I found this on Heaving Dead Cats. It's pretty cool. Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Elevatorgate And Comedy Writing Suggestions For Dr. Dawkins

It's not funny and
morally reprehensible!
I've decided not to write about Elevatorgate. Kinda.

I am going to write about comedy/satire, and they have something to do with Elevatorgate. This post is more about the Dark Side of humor.

I don't normally write about the mechanics of comedy, because, hell, you're not really here to read about how Andy's internal joke machine works. You are here for a few laughs, perhaps some atheisty current events, as well as the occasional tutorial on how not to raise children (do not do what I do!). But some of the current mishaps within Team Atheist points to what happens when a highly respected person in the community unsuccessfully tries to make a funny with satire.

Fail. Epic Fail.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Christian Privilege.







LiP

* Yes, this is a true story. It occurred a week before school got out. I've been repressing it.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Top Ten Reasons Why Jesus Would Be A One Term President.

Jesus never believed in
quality control.
I was trying to come up with a topic to write about tonight. I was making some bread (yes, I make my own bread) when it hit me: Jesus would suck as a president. Here are the reasons.

10. Jesus surrounds himself with punks. Have you read the New Testament?  The apostles can barely get out of their own way. Who hired Judas? Peter doesn't seem to be a team player either.

While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by.  When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him.
“You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” she said.
 But he denied it. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entryway.
  When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.”  Again he denied it.
After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.”
  He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about." - Mark 14:66-71

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Talk About Yourself.

I guessing that the readers of Purgatory are a fairly interesting lot. In that spirit take this opportunity to talk about your blog, site, or creative/intellectual endeavor that you're doing. Feel free to leave a link.

Me? When I'm not writing Purgatory I'm working on a few short (really short 1500 word) stories. One is about a delusional vampire who thinks he is a superhero while the other is about a vampire who has a vendetta against priests (you can see a trend). I'm just cranking them out when I have the time. I'm also taking a lot of time off work in July so I'm going to polish some old scripts and send them out.

LiP

Friday, July 1, 2011

Excuse Me, Mr. Bachmann, But You Are The Barbarian.



Which way to the Intelligent Design
Symposium?

Michele Bachman's husband has quite a lot to say about barbarians. Let's see what his educated opinion is.


For those of you who didn't hear it.
BACHMANN: We have to understand: barbarians need to be educated. They need to be disciplined. Just because someone feels it or thinks it doesn’t mean that we are supposed to go down that road. That’s what is called the sinful nature. We have a responsibility as parents and as authority figures not to encourage such thoughts and feelings from moving into the action steps…


And let’s face it: what is our culture, what is our public education system doing today? They are giving full, wide-open doors to children, not only giving encouragement to think it but to encourage action steps. That’s why when we understand what truly is the percentage of homosexuals in this country, it is small. But by these open doors, I can see and we are experiencing, that it is starting to increase.
The barbarians in question, of course, are homosexuals. Dr. Bachmann (yes, he has a Ph.D and he runs a mental health clinic) was responding to a hypothetical question on what he would do if one of his kids turned out to be gay.

What struck me was the word barbarian.

I don't think he knows the meaning of that word.

Perhaps I am the one who doesn't  understand what a barbarian is? Maybe I am a barbarian, or a supporter of barbarism and don't even know it. I looked it up. The American Heritage Dictionary defines barbarian as:
1. A member of a people considered by those of another nation or group to have a primitive civilization.
2. A fierce, brutal, or cruel person.

3. An insensitive, uncultured person; a boor. See synonyms at boor
Speaking personally, I think understanding most of Christopher Hitchens' references as well as enjoying Shakespeare (this year's free play on Boston Common is All's Well That Ends Well) at the very least takes me out of the barbarian category as defined by #1 and #3. As for #2, to be honest we all have tendencies to be brutal and cruel.  From what I've seen I do at least a good a job as the next person keeping those primal instincts in check.

Hmmm... at least I'm not a barbarian.

But what about the Bachmanns? I'm assuming that Michele and the good doctor are pretty much peas in a pod when it comes to how they understand the world. If they are confused about the definition of  barbarian maybe they are the barbarians. Lets look at the evidence.

1. The Bachmanns are creationists, Intelligent Design advocates, promoters of God did it-ism. It doesn't matter what you call it. It still doesn't make any sense, but Michele wants it taught in schools.
I have no problem with teaching the various theories ... of origins of life. ..." She said. "But, I think theres one ... philosophy ... that says only one could be taught and that one would be evolution. And because the scientific community has found that there are flaws in abiding by that dogma, I think its important to teach that controversy
Dear Ms. Bachmann, the International Scientific Shaman and Witch Doctor Association has found the germ theory of illness flawed. The current thinking of that august organization is that illness is the result of the four humors being out of balance. Please see to it that you push hard for this controversy to be taught in American schools.

2. The Bachmanns engage in bronze age thinking when using terms like sinful nature
Sinful nature? Where did we get this sinful nature? From a mythological character getting fooled into eating an evil magic apple by a talking snake? And you read (?) this story in some ancient, self contradictory book. That makes sense.

3. Michele Bachmann told cancer stricken Melissa Ethbridge it's time to get right with God.
This may be an opportunity for her now to be open to some spiritual things, now that she is suffering with that physical disease. She is a lesbian.
Engaging in bronze age thinking and believing that Intelligent Design be taught in schools fulfill the primitive aspect of barbarism. While telling a sick woman that her sexuality is wrong easily falls into the cruel and insensitive definition of the term.

I think the Bachmanns are good Christians because they are excellent barbarians.
 
This is Purgatory.
 

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