What the hell is wrong with some people

Huckabee says Dred Scott is still the law of the land in the US.  It’s like the 14th amendment didn’t happen.  W T F?

Jim Wright, in response to a completely different discussion said, and I quote:

 

Wrong. Utterly and completely wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. You’re wrong. You couldn’t be more wrong. You’re the creamy filling of wrongness in the middle of the wrong donut with brightly colored sprinkles of wrongness on top. You’re wrong.

 

There is a two sentence discussion regarding free will in the second book in the trilogy I’m working on.  The human knows there’s no free will, and the alien provides a semantic argument in support of it, which is me being an ass, since it’s a recapitulation of an argument I had with my mother, for whom I’m writing the novels.

My mOm is science-y in that she buys the deterministic model. I’m hand-wave-y but I know I’m wrong.  I’m filled with resentment about being wrong and I know I’ll be a better person when I take my spoonful of “there’s no free will” meds every morning until I’m cured. I’m going to get the giant economy size, this may take a while.

Here’s a nice long talk about free will, and how there ain’t none.  There are many thought provoking implications for theology and jurisprudence.

And here’s an article which is pretty much where I am with self-help nowadays.

Round up

Now that is a very nice use of the gif format.

I haven’t seen Alexander yet.  Katie called yesterday and she’ll call me when she’s ready to receive visitors at home.

This infographic on prayer made me alternately very uncomfortable and amused.  As an atheist, I can’t separate prayer from ‘wishing so hard that you’re practically grunting so that an imaginary being of its infinite kindness rearranges causality and the laws of physics for your personal benefit’.  As a church lady, I have to say I understand the benefit of GROUP prayer, which is a form of prosocial entrainment.  Personal prayer, the petitioning kind unencumbered by meditation or humility, is just plain gross.

Somebody on Reddit said that Gilbert Gottfried and Fran Drescher “should have children. The marines could use them to clear public areas.”

Stop motion parkour fight. I laughed out loud watching this.

The pet relationship is very important to humans and now of course we have the science to prove it.

Dealing with bullies changes with the technology. Professors deal with bad reviews.

Am I jealous because the last time I was catcalled I was 36?  No, it’s one of the best damned things about getting older.

Gosh, if only dealing with conspiracy nuts was this easy. Cause it really isn’t.

Not another project, cheezy Pete

Yes, I am now working on a number of different projects.  I’m trying to concentrate on stuff I enjoy.  Anyway, the most recent one is called Tarot for Atheists, and it’s a radical revisioning of the Tarot in light of contemporary life.  For entertainment purposes only.  It’s loads of fun. I have already invented a pi layout and a Fibonacci layout and an x bar layout and a delta layout and will find other mathematical and scientific layouts I’m sure.

George and Kima also continue to chew thoughtfully on my brain.  Kima just ran down Denman street like a Catherine wheel in octopot form.  George is chasing after her apologizing to the pedestrians.  The next day signs appear all up and down the street Beware of Runaway Squid.

Margot is suffering dreadfully from allergies, her eyes are getting gunked up every day.  Eddie pulled a Margot last night and did something he’s never done the entire time I’ve known him … he got under my feet when I took my eyes off him.  I’m lucky I didn’t boot him across the room.

Used the cpap loaner for the first time last night.  YUCK.  It’s supposed to get easier, but it smells like ass and I can only sleep in one position or the mask shifts.  This will hurt my back.  Shoulder quite sore today, but I will press on through the exercises.

Today I go deal with business winding down things, hopefully.  We shall see.

I have now read a substantial portion of the Benedictine Rule to support my learnings in watching the Cadfael mysteries.  St. Benedict was an interesting dude.

 

I know I have never

fallen asleep like this.

It’s a dog with its paw in its mouth.

Chalice circle was a very big disappointment.  Like uncomfortable making disappointment.  It got better, but I still felt very withdrawn and disconnected at the end.

1.  I did some but not all of the homework.  I was supposed to print out the homework and bring it with me, and also a show and tell item, but I didn’t do that.

2. Lot of no-shows.  This is hard to bear; a lot of organizing went into this and I feel for both host and facilitator.

3.  The ritual was in my view goofy, poorly worded and ever so sincere (we’re doing this out of a book called Soul to Soul and while I admire the effort put into it it’s all a bit ‘canned’) with that reverent spoken word Unitarian sincerity which long timers will completely get and the rest of you will go hunh?  And it got my atheist back up.  I don’t give a shit about facing north and thanking mother earth for her wisdom or toenail clippings or whatever.  I was sneakily pleased that I wasn’t the only person in the room with the ish.  NOTE: If it had been a real Cree or Salish greeting of the directions, I could have stood that.  That has emotional resonance; not some made up pseudo Wiccan horse maneuvers.  However the ritual was brief, I’ll give ’em that.

4.  I was appalled, and I mean it, when I brought 10$ worth of cheese and got told to take it home with me as these chalice circles were not to involve food. I could feel the ghosts of a hundred Mennonite relatives cluster round me with staring eyes and pointing fingers, Matthew 25:35 “I was hungry and you fed me!”  How can the soul be nourished without the body!?

5.  The long pauses in between sharing were good.  That was stabilizing.

6.  There was housekeeping afterwards and my comment about food got taken seriously.  We will have tea or something bracing and then have the sharing.

7. The goofy ritual is supposed to be tried 4 times until we get used to it and THEN if we don’t like it we’re supposed to ditch it.  Hard to believe this never caught on with the Catholic Church.

8.  And there’s @@@@@@ homework.  We covenant to do the *$YO homework.  Srsly.  The point is to increase sacrifice and therefore commitment and it counts as religious education, which the minister is getting marked on, and it means that everybody is going to go through the curriculum at the same time in much the same way (varying by facilitator of course).  If it was my puppy, I’d be doing it SO DIFFERENTLY AND  there would still be more time for sharing.  I totally get why this is happening this way, and the increased emphasis on shared experiences to somehow account for how we don’t really have a liturgical year or specific faith wide rituals has to do with gluing newcomers into the church and broadening and deepening fellowship.  I get all that.  But without food?  Jesus wept.

I believe it could be done better, but since I’m working on other stuff for Unitarianism (my current in process homily is called “Threat Level”) and there’s this LITTLE NOTION THAT I CAN’T FIND A FUCKING COMPETENT BOOKKEEPER TO SAVE MY LIFE and I’m desperate and miserable and anxious and horrified and frightened about it really is not helping.  I thought I had a back up plan but I can’t get anybody.  It’s so painful and awkward it’s warping my frame.

On the plus side I’m getting a lot of money back on my taxes, or so the accountant tells me.

 

This is a year when my faith will be tested and toyed with, and it was ever so.

 

 

 

 

The good and the bad

Three homilies in the making

The manifold path – the various things people have done to experience the numinous.  I had extensive notes at one point and lost them, so reconstructing it is a bear.

I had a comrade – coping with loss of friends

This Chalice – the symbol of our faith.

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful homily by Sandy Burpee yesterday at church.  Sandy has been active in social justice issues since forever, and he is a force to be reckoned with; his accomplishments include getting Beacon involved with the food bank in Coquitlam and getting more social housing into the Tri-Cities.  The homily was in the form of a description of what a day is like at the food bank and I was moved to tears.  We are SO fortunate to have people like the Burpees (Cathy is awesome too!) at our church.

Wore my bardic hat to church.  I love the reference in The Wire to ‘the Sunday crown’ so that’s how I referred to it.  Lovely long chat with Rob W after church.  He likes me because he can be politically incorrect around me.  C’mon, he’s ex-military – gotta cut the man slack somewheres.  I told him about me new project, which is A COMPLETE LIST OF GENDERED SLURS, more on that in another post.

Saw Keith briefly yesterday, we had a nice long chat.

FINALLY heard back from the rellie regarding the piece of furniture I have to go pick up.  He said he might bring it down but he wasn’t enthusiastic, and a drive to Pemberton is no prob.  Thinking of hiring Katie’s dood to assist, and he’s got rellies up there himself so it might all work out.  More on that when we finally get it.

It’s Pledge drive time at church!  If you want to support children so that they may go to a Sunday school where (age appropriate) they can learn about sexuality, critical thinking skills and why being civil is better than being a jerk without getting pounded in the ear about God, please send a cheque in any amount to Beacon Unitarian Church, #414 – 552A Clarke Road,  Coquitlam, BC V3J 0A3. Thank you, no salesthingy will call.  I got Keith to pledge, which pleased me NO END.

I have a LOT OF STUFF to do and of course am swithering about doing it.

Eddie is calling and running up and down the stairs.  Sometimes 10 pounds of cat can sound like heffalumps.

Made stirfried chicken and veg/rice, plus bonus rice pudding, for dinner last night.

Woke up about two hours ago missing John, which started this all off again.  It would have been his birthday this past week, which is probably why I have been thinking about him so very much.

aaaand Robert’s back in my inbox

He is now accusing me of setting his inbox ablaze with Christian spam.  Oh . Your . God, as Bender might remark; I would rather hack my feet off and eat them than trigger a spam blitz on somebody, even somebody as relentlessly and obstreperously obtuse as our dear Robert.

I wouldn’t do it.  Nope, not if I was offered payment.  Fortunately he’s on Gmail so he can adjust his spam filter and never deal with that crap again.

Robert is a man who doesn’t get it.

So he responded to that last email with:

On Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 7:25 AM, robert white <passionatepiper@gmail.com> wrote:
There is no message when the delivery is so repugnant.

 

And here’s my response.

Precisely.  When you talk about the tone of an atheist’s comments using sexualized and demeaning language, you have no message.

I’m glad we can agree on that point.

Your delivery was repugnant; it lacked any demonstration on your part to show “responsibility to be as dignified, intelligent, rational, measured and believable as possible”.  Those are your stated standards, by the way, not mine.  If you are really committed to being dignified, intelligent, rational, measured and believable in your protestations of atheism to a deistic world, why be undignified, immoderate and hidebound towards a fellow atheist?  The deists are clever buggers on occasion, and they’ll catch you being inconsistent and give you a hard time.

By your own standards, you have given everyone who reads that note to Skepchick permission to dismiss it because it’s repugnant and even if it wasn’t, there’s no argument / debate / dialogue / call for clarification.  Arguments against tone aren’t arguments.  They are, and always will be, an acknowledgement of rhetorical failure.  Throwing sexual insults into the mix while clinging to words like dignified makes you look … how?  How do you wish to be perceived?  On one hand you’re claiming the moral high ground, and then you throw it all away by the atheist equivalent of sectarian violence.  (Which of course leaves no one dead, making it intrinsically superior).

As for you being a militant atheist while alternately ignoring and railing against how your public speech and attitudes are not in step with the more forward thinking aspects of contemporary atheism, good luck with that. You remind me of the Catholic priests who continued to celebrate Mass in Latin after Vatican II.   Most Catholics were happy to ditch the Latin, but there will always be traditionalists.  Your version of atheism isn’t mine; mine is messy, fluid, raucous, fun loving, and inclusive of strange and queer and diverse and under-represented voices, even yours, if only as a cautionary sample of how the unscientific and undignified ways of misogyny penetrate even our lofty halls of intellectual superiority.

There was precious little reasoning or dignity in what you said to Skepchick, and you completely dodged any questions I asked.  I did not seek to censor, merely to understand, and if you can’t see how being a misogynist in public doesn’t serve atheism, I can’t see how talking to you any further would help either of us.

Good day to you, sir.

Allegra

 

I am wondering if Robert really is an atheist at all.  Some of what he says just don’t ring true.  However, trolls come in all shapes and sizes, I’ve been a troll meself, so I know.

Robert is a man who promptly responds to email

On Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 6:46 AM, robert white <passionatepiper@gmail.com> wrote:
As a militant atheist I place great importance on the quality of the
messages put forward to the world community on behalf of reason,
rationality, evidence based thinking and all things leading away from
superstition.

I wanted to make my comments as bitter and scathing as possible
because this woman is the antithesis of those desires of mine.

We have a responsibility to be as dignified, intelligent, rational,
measured and believable when presenting a reason based world view.
When this woman gets on stage and giggles like a valley girl, chuckles
at words like “dick”, interjects her drinking stories along with her
profane fan club letters, she does nothing but set back the cause. All
that’s missing on her are some profane tattoos and a nose ring.

You could profess to the world that the earth is round but if you do
so like some hopped up trashy teenager with a tourette like huffing
laugh between every other phrase and four letter word…no one would
listen.

Get it?

MY RESPONSE

Oh, I do, but the message you are sending is not the one you want me to receive.

So…. you were serious, and you refer to your sexist and misogynistic comments as ‘bitter and scathing’.  You specifically said that you didn’t find her sexually attractive.  Why should any atheists care that you feel that way (except to be amused or repulsed, depending on their attitude towards women)?  In what manner are you advancing the global progress of atheism by targetting a noted atheist woman for your ire?

If half the people in the world are female, and you are wishing to recruit more atheists (isn’t that what militant atheist means?), how is making disturbing and venomous sexually charged comments towards a person who evidently ‘gets’ popular culture (more- sic) readily than you do, moving civilization toward the light?  I think you’re being hurtful for the lulz, not to advance atheism.  You claim to be a militant atheist, as if that is somehow an excuse to trash other atheists whose TONE you disagree with.  At no point do you talk about the substance.  Just appearance and tone…. as flimsy as a theist in your ability to reason, alas.

It appears to me that you are angry because you aren’t setting the terms for the discourse.  You can’t.  Atheism is not a grumpy men’s club, nor is it a single stream, and even if it was it doesn’t help that you’re peeing in it.

Allegra

What kind of man are you, Robert?

Here’s the offending document, from Skepchick.

Here’s my response.

 

Dear Robert,

I was interested to read your email to skepchick.  I have a number of questions.  I am sure that your email box is full, so I’ll give you a couple of weeks to shovel your way out from under the uptick in mail volume to respond.  There is always the possibility you were pranked, so I am keeping my questions civil. Here they are.

Are you implying that your reaction to a woman’s appearance is more important than what she has to say on the subject of atheism?

Are you implying that because you do not like a woman’s appearance you have an obligation to ask her to stop commenting on atheism?

Are you implying that your personal preferences regarding a woman’s appearance should factor into whether she continues to make comments about atheism on youtube?

I ask to confirm that you were indeed serious.  If so, kindly direct me to your youtube account so I may critique your videos regarding atheism in the light of your personal appearance.  If you have none such, allow me to express disappointment, as the world of atheism would undoubtedly be better off with your contribution to it more readily accessible.  If you weren’t serious, please advise how I was supposed to know you were joking from the context of the email.

In the spiriit of tolerance and inquiry,

Allegra Sloman

ER

I may have mentioned Jeff and I are working our way through the entirety of ER (when we need a palate cleanser, 2nd season SG1).  We’ve had 8 seasons of getting to know, love and hate various people.

I took a book out of the library about Must See TV, the part of the nineties when NBC had groundbreaking shows like Third Rock from the Sun and ER and Seinfeld and Cheers and Frasier and Will and Grace and Mad About You and Friends, shows that were ALL ABOUT THE WRITING.  In the last chapter of the book, it was made abundantly clear that NBC no longer gives a tinker’s cuss about writing – sales and marketing runs the show and they run the least offensive shows that cost the least amount of money to make.  In defence of the current iteration of talent management and development at NBC, ER had a 44 market share and a top ten hit show in 2012 has a 13 (Julianna Margulies was comparing ER and The Good Wife, her current show), and it’s because there’s a lot more TV happening especially competition from HBO and AMC and Showtime, so it’s harder to have a hit.  But honestly, folks, without the writing and the courage to try something new, good tv DOES NOT HAPPEN.  It’s happening on cable  – that’s where the action is.

Well, in my little universe of time-shifted tv, main character Mark Greene just died of brain cancer, and I wept non stop for an imaginary character for 20 minutes.  Under the circumstances, mocking the ability of other people to believe in God seems a tad uncharitable…. must resolve to quit every doing it.  My imaginary friends…. sigh.

And Anthony Edwards, the actor playing Mark Greene, is back on TV, and the show description is so lame I don’t want to watch it.

Wrote 850 words of backstory on Midnite Moving Co last night.  Oh lady of the deep waves, how I love you.  Trying to write a human alien character who doesn’t speak is freaking hard….  But I now have the story of how she met George, from his perspective.  Writing it from hers will be very hard.

Off to church now.