On Luck

"with pink ovals, orange duckies, green toast, purple bunnies, blue bananas and rainbow half donuts!"

Do you believe in luck?

Nope. I believe humans make their own luck. If you work hard and long enough, you can attain your dream… Sorry, it was hard to keep a straight face while saying that. It’s pretty funny, you have to admit. As if the world was fair and anyone could achieve their dream in this fucked up, messy business called life. Bwa ha ha.

It is true that hard work does go a long way towards a better life. You have a better chance of succeeding if, for example, you leave your house rather than staying home in bed (unless your goal is to stay in bed forever), but a better life is far from guaranteed even if you do get out of bed in the morning. Time was, nothing was guaranteed in life except death and taxes, but nowadays only death is inevitable. Ask General Electric how much they paid in taxes in 2010. That would be a big, fat goose egg, nada, not one red cent. Paying taxes is only for the poor, silly.

Do I believe in luck, destiny, fate, magic, jinxes, lucky charms or any of the other rot that people sink their hopes and dreams into? Nope. Not one bit. If a rabbit foot was lucky, that rabbit would still be alive and hopping around on it. If there was anything we could do to change our “luck” in any way, all people would be doing it all the time.

All of us have probably tossed a coin into a wishing well at some point. We’ve made wishes as we blow out our birthday candles or said “star light, star bright, first star I see tonight, wish I may, wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight…” I realized that Jebus and stars had similar powers to grant wishes around the same time, i.e. none. Wishing on an inanimate, amorphous plasma ball in space radiating light and heat through thermonuclear fusion made about as much sense to me as wishing on a dead guy. Neither one of them had the power to do anything regarding my life down here on earth at all.

It’s scary to think that neither we nor some invisible sky king has any power over the complete nonsensicality of the universe–to think that no one is holding the reins. I get it. I was scared when I first thought about that, too. It’s much easier and more palatable for humans to convince ourselves that picking a penny up will give us good luck. It’s nice to have someone to pin the blame on besides ourselves. It gives us the illusion of control. If I put this horseshoe over my door, if I can find a four-leaf clover, if I throw this coin in a fountain, if I can just wish upon a falling star, then things will change for me.

“with pink ovals, orange duckies, green toast, purple bunnies, blue bananas and tricolor semi-circles!”

Life is full of randomness, and most of all, unfairness. Some people are sitting pretty while others are struggling to survive from day to day. If you want to call that randomness luck, for lack of a better term, go ahead. I won’t stop you, but I do not operate under the delusion that anything I do down here on earth, e.g. appealing to some magical sky power or lighting a candle for saint whomever, will have any effect on anything. If it makes you feel better about the unfairness of it all, if it makes it seems like you have some power over chaos, then go right ahead and rub that lucky mammal foot. Personally, the only lucky charms I believe in are the breakfast cereal. They’re magically delicious!™

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The Category of Parades

The 124th Tournament of Roses Parade

I was at a dinner party the other night and I was feeling especially argumentative. I’m usually contrary and cantankerous, but for some reason, that night, I was especially so. I harrumphed more than usual.

What started it all was a conversation on astrology. According to the old zodiac chart, I was a Cancer, a crab, for most of my life, but now, since they just moved it all around, I’m a Gemini. I had become used to my crablike horoscopic depiction. The crab fits me well. So, when they determined that the horoscope charts were actually off base and added a new sign, I shrugged it off because none of it means anything anyway.

Strangely, most of the people at the dinner party, come to find out, were Leos, the pre-moving-around-of-the-zodiac Leos, not the new ones. These Leos were discussing the date shift and how they don’t consider themselves Cancers now, or whatever sign they are supposed to be. One of my friends said about me, for example, there’s no way that I’m not a crab. Ha ha. I laughed, she laughed, I held my tongue, hoping the conversation about astrology would die. Sadly, it did not. Eventually, I had to express my views on the matter.

I started off gingerly by saying that I find it difficult to believe that all people who were ever born or who ever will be can be categorized into twelve buckets, or thirteen as the case may be now. And that those buckets can predict not only personality and behavior, but the future as a horoscope is supposed to do. I’m not a believer in fortune-telling buckets.

I thought it was fairly diplomatic of me and hoped that would be the end, but one of the leaders of the conversation who was especially talkative on the subject and also a Leo said, ah, but you have to take into consideration the rising sign and so on. What’s your rising sign? I have no idea, I said.

I asked, I was a month overdue as an infant, so based on that, am I a Cancer or Gemini then? If I am actually a Gemini, since I born nearly a month later than I should have been, according to the new dates, shouldn’t I be whatever sign comes before Gemini since that’s when I was due to be born? No, she said, it’s based on when you were actually born. You were born when you were supposed to be and obviously you were supposed to be a Cancer.

The “supposed to be” was a sticking point. Who decides what I’m “supposed to be” then? Who says I’m “supposed to be” anything? Do I not have free will? Am I predestined to be a Cancer, a Gemini or whatever sign comes before Gemini? If I am “supposed to be” a Cancer, then that implies that someone is in charge of this whole astrological process of assigning who I’m “supposed to be” according to one of twelve or thirteen buckets. I find that impossible to take seriously. The horoscope and astrology are man-made constructs, and just like most other imaginary man-made constructs, it falls into the category of parades.

Since I’m probably the only person who has ever used that phrase besides an obscure Finnish author, the hostess dutifully asked what the category of parades meant. I’ve written on this blog before about the category of parades so I’ll quote myself from the post Blow Things Up Day:

“The category of parades to me includes, well, parades, fireworks, halftime shows, hot air balloons and most other grandstanding events where people just sit around and look at things passively. I’ve never understood them. I also don’t understand why people would applaud in a movie theater. You do know that it’s just moving pictures, right? The actors, director and pretty much everyone involved in making the film are not actually in the room. They can’t hear you, just so you know. Anyway, like I said, the category of parades can suck it.”

I then gave credit to whom I completely, bald-faced stole the concept of the category of parades, Väinö Linna. In his Under The North Star trilogy, Linna’s character Jussi, who is especially harrumphy, crablike and typically Finnish like me, is discussing buying licorice for his grandchildren and describes it as part of the category of parades, unnecessary and frivolous. It is a phrase that has stuck with me ever since I read the book. I have stolen and morphed it for myself, and I use it constantly, but I always credit Linna so I don’t think he would mind.

Originally, it was only intended for things like parades, but apparently, I can add astrology, horoscopes and the zodiac to that now, as well, because then, I started a sentence with “Not to denigrate your beliefs, but…” Whenever I start a sentence with “Not to denigrate your beliefs, but…,” it means that I’m about to do just that. I explained that, to me, horoscopes, astrology and the zodiac fall into the same category as the Easter Bunny and Jesus: man-made diversionary constructs, or the category of parades.

I had taken out my machete, gun, cleaver, baseball bat and grenade, and slashed, shot, chopped, bludgeoned and blowed the fuck up the conversation. Everyone looked at me askance and there was an awkward silence that followed where the blood rushed to my face and I went to the bathroom. Dinner parties are not the appropriate forum for denigrating beliefs, but fortunately, my fellow cohorts were forgiving and, after I apologized to the Leo in question, conversation resumed to a normal flow and all was forgiven.

Until the next argumentative subject came up, which happened to be Hollywood movies, a far less delicate and touchy subject, but one on which I expressed my distaste anyway. It’s a wonder that I’m even invited to social events anymore. The next morning, I awakened to find a link on my Facebook wall in which I was tagged by our gracious dinner party host to an article called Cheery Optimists Die Younger. She had written “How Goldfish will outlive us all…” To which, I simply responded, “Harrumph.”

Dear American Baby Jesus,

clowncar

What’s up with your peeps? I read today that the Vagina Clown Car family (pictured) is going to pop out another kid which I’m sure they will raise to worship you. There are only 16 of them in that picture including the parents. Soon, there will be 21 like some sort of fucked up, bizarro world game of blackjack. And now their offspring has started having offspring since the oldest child is popping out babies as well. Eventually, all 19 of those kids might have 19 kids of their own. At that rate, in just 3 generations, that’s almost 7,000 clown car babies.

It really is a brilliant overpopulation strategy you’ve got going there. I can see how you’d want to flood the world with Xtians back in the days of famine and plague; back when bacon would kill you. Your religion made sense before we had microscopes and carbon dating. I can sort of see how people would believe in you and your dad before electricity when the survival of humanity was tenuous at best. If you’re going to have people breed, why not have them be Xtian so they can give their tithes to the church and buy indulgences to get their relatives out of hell? I get it. And good on ya. That was one hell of a pyramid scheme you created. Way better than L. Ron Hubbard’s.

But the fact is, American Baby Jesus, we now have electricity and science. And, I hate to tell you, science has all but trumped your fanciful book full of beatings, rape and contradictions. Yes, there are still a lot of people who believe in you and think you will come back, but I don’t think you will. Why the hell would you come back to this? I wouldn’t if I were you.

Even though these clown car people are supposedly all clean-living and debt-free, there are lots of your followers who are not. When they have 19 kids too, well, that means that I end up paying for them. Plus there’s the fact that the world is grossly overpopulated now, just in case you didn’t know. You might not have heard the news since you’ve been dead for over 2000 years and all, but there are more humans now than entirely necessary by a long shot.

There’s far too much media coverage wasted on people like this – the fact that I even know that these selfish bastards are going to have another spawn, for instance. Plus, they’ve started giving these mega-breeders their own TV shows. I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that showing that kind of excess, selfishness and greed on television isn’t improving your image any. Actually, it makes you look like a selfish asshole too. If you really want people to believe in you, you might want to up your demographic and advertise to people who aren’t drooling idiots. I know drooling idiots can be appealing since they will pretty much believe anything you tell them, but if you really want to be all-powerful, you’re going to need more intelligent people on your side. We can go over marketing ideas at a later date if you want.

That being the case, can you please tell your chosen people to stop with the baby making? Tell them that it’s alright to fuck, for fuck’s sake. They don’t need to have 19 kids; one or two is more than enough. You might want to update that book of yours and send out new copies to let them know. Or just create a miracle or something.

Thanks in advance,
Drat

This post is part of the Drat & Blast series.

Atheist Bloggers

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Image by Derek Job from the OUT Campaign

It’s probably fairly obvious to anyone who glances through this site that I’m an atheist. I feel the need to clarify the word “atheist” because it has so many negative connotations attached to it that, whenever it is said, people automatically draw conclusions and go by their own definition, rather than the dictionary’s. When I say I’m an atheist, what I really mean is that, by Webster’s definition of atheism, I hold a disbelief in the existence of a deity or deities. I’m also an antitheist, meaning that I am opposed to theism and organized religion.

Over there in the right column, there are a couple of tags, such as atheism, separation of church and state, religion and Jebus that attest to the fact that I’ve whinged and moaned about the pervasiveness of religion, and the fact that it’s all up in my government. I’m not a huge fan of religion to begin with, but I especially don’t like religion in my government. There’s this First Amendment thing that’s supposed to protect us from that.

Contrary to popular belief, this country was not founded as a Christian nation. It was founded as a place where people could escape from religious tyranny and were free to practice, or not practice, any religion sans government control and intervention. The First Amendment is supposed to protect all of our beliefs and the right to express them any way we so choose within the law, yet it’s been twisted and bent out of shape. It’s been distorted from a law that protects everyone’s rights to a law that only protects the rights of the majority, which is precisely what the founding fathers of this country were trying to avoid and what they set this country up to escape from in the first place. Our brilliant constitution full of freedom of expression is crumbling, destroying all of our rights in the process.

I digress. That generally happens when I start talking about the First Amendment. The point of this post is not to go on yet another tear about the separation of church and state,  but to introduce a couple of nifty sites I found noodling about on the intertubes called The Atheist Blogroll and The OUT Campaign. I’ve never been much of a joiner, but most atheists aren’t. While I have never hidden my atheist stance, I haven’t promoted it either, but perhaps it’s time to change that. In the spirit of openness, you will now find both of those fine organizations’ links displayed in the right hand column of this blog. Also, I’ve long been a member of American Atheists and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which do important legal work to uphold the separation of church and state, so I added their links as well.

We are, statistically, very much a minority. In this day and age, when we’re positively dripping with science that disproves most superstition and mythology, or at least sheds a hard light on its flaws, I find it difficult to believe that rationality is a minority stance, but statistics prove otherwise. Reasoning freethinkers barely break double digits in the sum total of the population. Although, I’m sure there are quite a few people who keep their skepticism to themselves and don’t go parading the fact that they don’t have faith.  Never having had any faith myself, I can’t quite understand their point of view, but I suppose if you live in a small farming community in the middle of nowhere USofA, then you might want to blend in as best you can. That might mean hiding your beliefs, or lack thereof, from your peers in much the same way that not all gay people openly admit that they are gay. Religious beliefs are supposed to be private anyway.

The point is, it’s nice to run across people who take a stance and openly discuss their views, unpopular though they may be, and that’s just what The Atheist Blogroll and the OUT Campaign are about. I’m proud to be counted among them. So, cheers to all those who aren’t afraid to become a target for the vocal minority of raving religious lunatics who can’t debate without circular reasoning, begging the question, straw men, “I know you are, but what am I?” type of thinking and the other varieties of fallacious arguments. Cheers to all those bloggers out there who aren’t afraid to stand up and be counted as a freethinking minority. I will be making my way through my fellow atheists’ blogs to see what you all have to say. Good luck and keep up the good work.

Glad That’s Over

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I hate the holidays. I hate everything from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. I already discussed it to some extent in the post The Spirit of Lazy. I’m a private, mainly antisocial person and I don’t like having obligations to be social. I never know if I’m going to want to be social until the very moment I’m to leave to go somewhere. The holidays give me no choice. I have to put on a happy face and mingle. Whenever I get an invite to an event, I almost always reply “maybe” unless a proper RSVP is required, like a wedding, and “maybe” is not an option. Maybe I will feel like being around people, maybe I’ll be in an awesome mood the day of your shindig, maybe I’ll really want to go to something and get out of the house, but I won’t know until the day actually comes. It’s nothing personal.

I hate Thanksgiving because of all the cooking I’m required to do. I don’t enjoy obligatory cooking any more than I enjoy obligatory socializing. Plus, cooking a Thanksgiving meal is really expensive. To do it right, you’re looking at over $100. However, Thanksgiving is my least hated of the holidays. The real back-stabber is Christmas.

I don’t have kids. I’m not a kid. I don’t wax nostalgic for the days of my childhood when Christmas was the best day of all. I don’t believe in god. I don’t care about Jesus. I don’t celebrate Christmas. Yet, everywhere I go, for a solid month or more, I’m assaulted by it. I can deal with the lights since they’re sort of pretty. I can deal with the attempts at including everyone – everyone being Jews and Christians – even though they totally fail. I can deal with the “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Hanukkah” signs as long as they aren’t on public land, but I won’t go into a whole debate about separation of church and state here. The real problem with Christmas is the music.

I can barely hear out of my right ear. I had meningitis as a baby and the worst side effect I received was a partial loss of hearing in one of my ears. I’m very, very lucky that that’s the worst of it. Besides, I don’t remember any other way of hearing. It’s all I’ve ever known. But, the partial hearing out of my right ear is almost worse than having none. My right ear has a magic, special, backwards power of not being able to hear what’s directly in front of me, i.e. a person with whom I’m having a conversation; instead, my right ear only picks up background noise. I am like a retarded superhero who can hear background noise from miles away, but can’t hear what’s right in front of my face. It’s a very special cross to bear (Jesus reference intended). So, if I’m sitting in a restaurant in the month of December, I can’t hear what the person across the table is saying, but I can hear Bing Crosby yapping about White Christmases for the nth time plain as day, while the person across from me can barely hear it at all.

The problem with Christmas music is that there’s nothing new there. The last Christmas song to make it into popular rotation was probably that Band Aid song from the 80’s, which is just as inane as the rest of them. For an entire month, wherever I go, I hear songs about drummer boys and one-horse open sleighs. When was the last time anyone you know took a ride in a one-horse open sleigh? If it’s a sleigh, that means it rides on snow. Where there is snow, there is cold, so why in hell would it be an open sleigh? Cover that buggy, dammit.

Then there’s New Year’s Eve – a time when everyone gets drunk and has unrealistic expectations of how awesome that night’s events just have to be. There’s more expectation on NYE than any other night of the year and I hate expectation. NYE is amateur hour just like St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a night when people who don’t normally drink to excess do and all the bars are full of sloppy drunks who want to hug you. At Drunk O’clock, the hour just after all the bars close, it’s not safe to be on the roads. You know what I did this NYE? Nothing. I stayed at home in my comfortable house with my comfortable furnishings playing video games. I didn’t even drink. I woke up without a hangover. It might have been the best New Year’s ever.

So, yeah, I’m glad that’s over and we can all get back to the normal business of conducting our lives and I can go back to hearing musak versions of Sade’s Smooth Operator in the stores.

Imaginary Friends

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sebreg.deviantart.com
sebreg.deviantart.com

I don’t believe in ghosts just like I don’t believe in horoscopes, flying saucers, palm readings, the Boogieman, psychic predictions, Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, creationism or that Elvis is still alive.

We humans have a tendency to latch onto mythology, legends and other fictional folklore to explain the unexplained. I guess we find it comforting to believe that, instead of just a storm, it’s actually a god who lives under the sea that we have somehow angered. We must sacrifice a sheep in order for calm to be restored to the ocean.

We’ve always done it. Before we had microscopes, when we still thought the Earth was flat, before we had any real concept of science, we had gods. These gods told us what to do and what not to do. They made life easier because there was someone to blame or someone to go to when things got rough.

Having someone or something to blame when things aren’t going all that well is a powerful and alluring thing. It’s scary to believe that we’re all out here on our own with no one to protect us or to mete out punishment. It’s too big of a concept for most people to think that we are all responsible for our own actions and that there really is no rhyme nor reason to the universe. It doesn’t fit with our human nature as thousands of gods from various cultures evince.

It’s even scarier for most folk to think that, when we die, that’s all there is to it, so we invented ghosts and reincarnation. I find it funny that, whenever people’s past lives are revealed, they’re usually some sort of celebrity and never just a subsistence farmer. That, to me, proves it’s all bunk. There’s just no way we could have all been Anne Boleyn or King Philip II of Spain.

But, in my own scientific way, I do believe in reincarnation in a sense. When the receptacle called a human expires, it’s only natural that it would go on to be something else. We are all made up from organic matter that at one point will be water and dirt or rock. In a sense, we do live on, but probably not as self-contained ghosts hanging out in some ether world waiting room, waiting for the next body to jump into, or hanging out down here on Earth spooking the living and pining for vengeance.

So, do I believe in ghosts? Not really. I believe in ghosts the same way I believe in the various mythology that countless civilizations have created. The great thing about science is that it’s mutable. What is fact today, might not be tomorrow. Human knowledge is ever changing and growing. Show me hard and fast, irrefutable proof and I’ll believe it, but until then, it’s just another fairy tale of imaginary friends invented by humans to make existence slightly less scary.

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Historical Versus

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If you could talk to any historical person for advice, who would it be and why?

Hmmm… advice. Advice about what exactly? If I wanted advice on public speaking, politics or just generally how to be awesome, I’d ask Abraham Lincoln. If I wanted advice about being a totalitarian asshole who commits mass murder, I’d ask Hitler, Stalin or Pol Pot. If I wanted advice on horse betting, women or poetry, I’d ask Charles Bukowski. If I needed to know how to make a film, I’d ask Kurosawa or Kubrick. If I wanted to be a samurai, I’d talk to Musashi Miyamoto. Drunken debauchery? Peter O’Toole or King Charles II. Escaping from handcuffs? Houdini. Kung fu? Bruce Lee.

There’s that age old question: if you could invite any historical figures, living or dead, to dinner, who would you invite? I’ve never really come up with a proper answer to that. I think if I could talk to any historical figure, I might not ask them for advice. I’d probably just have a conversation with them. We’d knock back some bourbon and smoke tobacco while sitting around the table in my backyard.

I’d love to invite Abraham Lincoln over and have George W. Bush show up. They could talk about how W screwed up the works. Lincoln would sit there being charming, funny and well spoken, while W did that stupid, nervous laugh of his. I would find that entertaining, but it just might break Lincoln’s heart, so maybe not.

I’d like to invite Mark Twain over, but I have a feeling that, charming as he may be, he’s the type of person that would grate on my nerves after a while. Mark Twain versus Dan Brown might be fun, but it would probably sadden Twain to see what has become of modern fiction.

I’d invite Jesus and Glenn Beck over, but I’m afraid I couldn’t sit through Beck’s twaddle. I don’t think Jesus would enjoy it either. It would be interesting to see what Jesus had to say about all the killing, hatred and bigotry perpetrated on his behalf, but I don’t really want Glenn Beck in my house.

I’d invite Mozart and the Black Eyes Peas over. I’d play each others music for them since neither has ever heard of the other. I’d like to see Mozart’s face as he listened to “My Humps” for the first time. It would probably be the same disgusted look I had on my face when I first heard it. Then I’d kick the Black Eyes Peas to the curb and invite Beethoven, Sibelius and Tchaikovsky just so that Mozart didn’t leave entirely disheartened.

I’d invite the Wright brothers and a modern air force pilot. The conversation would be way over my head, but it would be way over the Wright brothers’ heads, too. It’d be fun to see the wondrous look on the Wrights’ faces when they saw what has become of their craft.

Michelangelo and Jackson Pollack would certainly be entertaining. They could discuss various techniques. I think Michelangelo would probably have an open mind on the subject.

Leonardo DaVinci and Ben Franklin would be interesting, but I fear that Franklin, like Twain, would probably overpower the conversation and wear on my nerves after a while. Franklin would probably do most of the talking.

Thomas Paine and Richard Dawkins would be a good conversation. The three of us could work our way through a bottle of bourbon discussing the state of modern thought, but again, it might leave Thomas Paine dejected since he would probably assume that we’d be a whole lot more enlightened by now.

So, while there’s not really anyone whose advice I might like to ask, the interesting pairings of historical figures are endless and I have plenty of bourbon.

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Something Else

Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Would you describe yourself as spiritual, religious, or something else?

Something else… as in none of the above. I have no faith in god and little in man. I’m not a huge fan of defining myself with one-word terms, but society generally demands it.

These are some brushstroke summations that often define me: female, Caucasian, citizen, registered voter, organ donor, employed or unemployed, graphic designer, never been convicted of a felony, never served in the armed forces, no preexisting medical conditions, born in Detroit, mother’s maiden name… for security purposes, we’ll leave that one out. If I’m asked to provide a religion, I usually just put “none” as the answer. It’s a nice, simple, four-letter word.

These things are so often asked that I don’t even have to think about them, I just answer. I think a lot of people are that way with religion. When asked to fill in the blank, they just put whatever religion it is that their parents believed, whether they are practicing or not.

But, I have thought about it a great deal over the course of my life. I’ve written about it at length, too. I just wrote a post about Church the other day and another one about the formation of my non-belief in the post Semantics & Isms a few months back.

My lack of beliefs haven’t changed over time, but my attitude has. The older I get, the less tolerant of organized religion I become, particularly in government. That the wall separating church and state seems to be crumbling has me greatly worried. When public buildings are overflowing with religious sentiment and crèches, when the currency in my wallet still has “in god we trust” written on it (did you know that phrase was only added during the communist scare in the 50’s?), when my tax dollars are given to churches, well, that, to me, is a problem. It goes against the spirit of the constitution. It goes against the first amendment and that is something that shouldn’t happen. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” It goes both ways. No religion shall be hindered nor placed on a higher pedestal than any other.

Say, for example, the first amendment was abolished. What if it wasn’t your religion that the government chose to propagate? What if, instead of celebrating the life and death of Jesus in public buildings, it was the life and death of Buddha or Muhammad or the Flying Spaghetti Monster? The first amendment exists so that no one is left out. You can choose to practice, or not practice, any religion your heart desires and the government cannot stop you, but the reverse is true too; it cannot financially support nor endorse a religion either.

Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Flying Spaghetti Monster.

I just helped a friend sort out his mother’s affairs after she died. She left no money to bury her and she couldn’t keep up the payments on her mortgage, but we found folders containing ‘thank you for your donation’ letters from various religious organizations. Even after all those donations, my friend had to pay out of pocket for the church funeral. When a religious organization convinces you that you will go to hell, or some equivalent thereof, if you don’t donate money, and you donate money irrespective of your own financial hardship, well, that seems wrong to me. She would have been better served putting that money towards her own burial or her mortgage.

In this day and age, when we are positively dripping with science, that I am a minority in my non-religious belief leaves me dumbfounded. This isn’t the Dark Ages. We know that the Earth isn’t flat and it revolves around the sun, not the other way around. We know what germs are. We know what atoms are. We have explored space. Humanity has come a long way, but we still haven’t evolved past superstition.

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The Baby Jesus Can Kiss My Ass

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I just went to the store because I have no food in my house and I’m hungry. Well, it turns out that some dead guy was born over 2000 years ago so everybody and their brother has to buy something for everyone they know. I walked in, saw that there were teeming masses of people in the way of me and my food and walked right back out again.

I try not to denigrate other people’s beliefs no matter how stupid they are. As long as they don’t try to convince me they are right, they can believe in whatever folly they want to. It is a constitutional right after all. If people really believe that a carpenter was the son of some god, who am I to dissuade them? But when that belief deteriorates into mass marketing several times a year, what is the point? I fail to see the correlation between the birth of the supposed son of god and buying a new sweater for Uncle Harry.

Which brings me to another point. Why is it that people always wait until the last minute to do things? You know the tax deadline is April 15th. So, why wait until April 14th to do something about it? As far as I know, Christmas is not a roving holiday. It falls on the same date every year. So why must everyone be in my way when I am simply trying to buy some common household goods?

When I was a kid, Christmas was it. It was the greatest day of all. New toys, Christmas lights, snowmen and all the frosted cookies I could shove into my tiny, as of yet, unsullied mouth. My parents dragged me to church but that was just something I had to suffer through in order to get to the good stuff. I discovered my mother was indeed Santy Claus by a thorough handwriting comparison around the age of five. It didn’t matter. I still got the toys regardless of who gave them to me. It wasn’t a great leap of logic from there to figure that if Santa Claus was imaginary, then so was Jesus. In less than one dog-year, I had founded my belief system.

Now, as a completely cynical adult, I don’t really see the point of it all. If you aren’t a kid or don’t have kids, there’s really not much to get all that excited about. Except maybe the frosted cookies. And out here on the west coast, there’s not even any snow to make you feel remotely “in the Christmas spirit”. People in California take a perfectly good real tree and cover it in fake, semi-toxic snow. I got cut off three times driving home. I get no Christmas bonus. If Christmas falls on a weekend, I get no time off. And I still have no food in my house. Therefore, the Baby Jesus can kiss my lilly-white ass.

If you are at all offended by this tirade, what the hell were you doing reading something titled “The Baby Jesus Can Kiss My Ass” in the first place? I’m going to get me a pizza.

Things I Saw At Lunch Today

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I saw the largest SUV known to man with three bumper stickers on it: a sticker for some Spanish-speaking, bible-thumping radio station, a sticker that said in big, white letters “REAL MEN LOVE JESUS” and a “Mi Familia” sticker.

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For those of you who are blissfully unaware of what a Mi Familia sticker is, it’s comprised of crudely drawn stick figures meant to represent all the members of a vehicle owner’s family affixed to the rear window. Usually, they have the name of the individual they represent below each stick figure since the stick figures look nothing like the person they are meant to represent. Sometimes, they even include the family pets. Not having a family myself, I can see no conceivable purpose for these stickers. Except maybe to inform carjackers of maximum capacity or maybe as a deterrent, like a “beware of dog” sign; “Beware of little Timmy.”

Anyway, this particular Mi Familia sticker had mommy, daddy and a trail of nine smaller characters. NINE. I counted. The sticker was so big, even in comparison to this monstrosity of a vehicle, that they didn’t even have room for the names. But there was room for a nice, fat cross right next to daddy. I would have thought that representations of nine children would be enough to justify that this person was a “real man,” but apparently declaring your love of Jesus to random strangers is what really makes a man.

Ironically, I’m sure that real man looked at me with my pink hair and my knuckle tattoos and thought that I am what’s wrong with this country, but the fact that the First Amendment allows me to write this little account and allows him to boldly declare his man love and prodigious progeny on the back of his monstrous land beast is what’s right with this country.