Observations and inanities by a second-shift assistant supervisor in the Puppy-Grinding division of the Evil Atheist Conspiracy® (our motto: "Sure it's cruel, but think of the jobs!"), your host, Brent Rasmussen.
Back in 2000 my good friend Anathea threw a new term at me - "Blogging". I had no idea what she was talking about, but I looked it up on the internet and discovered a new way to build a web site and communicate. So, in January of 2001, "Unscrewing The Inscrutable" was born on the Pyra Labs-owned site "blogger".
I positioned myself as an atheist from the very beginning, using my same catchphrase:
Observations and inanities by a second-shift assistant supervisor in the Puppy-Grinding division of the Evil Atheist Conspiracy® (our motto: "Sure it's cruel, but think of the jobs!")
Back then there were only a few "atheist blogs". There was The Raving Atheist, Stupid Evil Bastard, World Wide Rant, and a few others. There were a lot of atheist web sites around, but blogging was just too new.
Over the years I changed UTI's blogging software a half-dozen times, my web host more than a half-dozen times, and I watched the atheist blogging world explode. I saw Pharyngula appear on the scene in 2002. I created the Carnival Of The Godless in 2005, and watched the Atheist Blogroll being born shortly thereafter. I watched as The Friendly Atheist sold his soul on eBay, and became a fixture in our "atheosphere". It's been a great decade!
When I found that I wasn't writing as much as I used to, I started bringing on co-bloggers to help out. Steven Darksyde was an early co-blogger who went on to write for the DailyKos, as well as science articles for some major magazines. Alon Levy, Hank Fox, Jim Downey, Paul Fidalgo, Rick Ulrey all wrote for UTI at some point. Jim especially deserves praise for keeping UTI afloat for the last couple of years. I would have shut it down earlier if it weren't for him.
Now it's time to say goodbye to UTI after 9 years. I'll be shutting down the commenting and removing co-blogger access later this week. I'll keep the site online for a few months for archival purposes, then eventually point the domain name to my Facebook page.
I'd like to thank all my readers over the years for a great run, but like I told Jim today when we talked about this, it is mainly nostalgia and momentum that have kept UTI from shutting down before now. It's time to move on.
It has been an honor folks.
"Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending." -R.A.H.
So, there's good news, and there's bad news.
Depending on your perspective, you can decide which is which.
On the one hand, I recently heard that it's likely that my SF novel will be published this year. I still have some minor work to do on it before everything is finalized, but the publisher and editor are both very excited about the book. For me, anyway, that's very good news. And with luck, it will be the entry into the publication of several books I am working on (at one stage or another).
On the other hand, the time has come to say goodnight here at UTI.
All things have a natural cycle, a story arc which makes sense. When I first found UTI seven or eight years ago, I was thrilled to discover like-minded rationalists and skeptics who saw the world with something of the same twist that I do. When the opportunity came to join the regular writers here, I was flattered and honored that Brent considered me. I have tried to maintain the same high level of writing and snarky observations on the human condition, sometimes successfully and sometimes less so.
But it is time to move on.
Best. Humpday. Song. Ever.
(Tip of the ballcap to William Hodge.)
OK, bad news first (though I'm sure some out there will see it otherwise): I'm not going to be posting as much here or on my own blog for the next couple of months.
The good news? Well, a publisher is interested in my novel, and I need to do some revisions. Not a lot, actually - they really like it - but it is work that needs a fair amount of attention.
And things were going to be a bit tight anyway, because I am pushing to get another book done in the same time frame.
And I have a ton of conservation work that needs doing (this is a very good thing, actually).
So, I need to back off on how much time I spend here and elsewhere online. I won't be disappearing altogether, but I will be around a lot less.
Keep fighting the good fight.
Well, it's been fun, everyone. But after carefully considering the content of this vid, I have decided that I can no longer continue to write blasphemy nor to deny what my heart tells me: that I am missing a Jesus-shaped piece of myself.
So, adios. I am returning to the faith of my childhood, and even considering becoming a lay-preacher for the true church.
I will pray for all of you.
You know, there's a reason why my email contact information listed here is "email@example.com". Not because I don't want to hear from the many wonderful people who visit UTI, but because I want the kooks who also send me email to have to look at that address in their mailbox and think twice about what they're going to send me. It seems to me that sane people will get a small chuckle out of using that address - they get the joke - whereas the nutters will just be whipped into a greater frenzy.
Take for example one recent email I got, along with about two dozen other people. It started this way:
Subject: Nostradamus predicts the inevitable collapse of the capitalist system and the world-wide socialist revolution which follows
did you ever hear of the 1st amendment? or will you censor me like
everyone you disagree with...
the vote of the deluded, deceived, and brainwashed masses is not
valid.... it is a SHAM DEMOCRACY!
FINAL DRAFT FOR WORLD-WIDE CIRCULATION:
You may or may not have noticed that I've been an absentee blogee recently. I've been extremely busy since we got back from our trip. In between work, the holidays, other family obligations and working on getting our house renovated I haven't had a lot of time to blog. I am hoping to jump back in, starting with this post.
In the meantime, if you're interested, most of our trip photos are available online at the picasa website.
You can find the 2 albums here:
So, tomorrow I go on my first vacation in almost three years. Sorry folks, but I'll be off-line from about 9:00 AM until sometime on the 28th.
It's a weird trip - to Patagonia with the North American Welsh Choir (my wife is a member of the choir, and one of the organizers for this tour). In one of those odd little twists of history, there was a large Welsh settlement in southern Argentina in the 19th century - and they have managed to maintain enough of their Welsh heritage that they have Welsh speakers and an annual festival that is their version of the Eisteddfod. The NAWC will be performing several times - I'm just going along for the ride. Never been to Patagonia, thought "what the hell."
Take a picture of yourself right now. Don't change your clothes, don't fix your hair, just take a picture. Post that picture with NO editing. Post these instructions with your picture.
I knew it!
[link] Q. Dad, will you explain the theory of relativity to me? I don't understand why time goes slower at great speed.
A. It's because you keep changing time zones. See, if you fly to California, you gain three hours on a five-hour flight, right? So if you go at the speed of light, you gain more time, because it doesn't take as long to get there. Of course, the theory of relativity only works if you're going west.
Hello, my name is Jim. I've got a writing problem.
Self-medication may be the reason the blogosphere has taken off. Scientists (and writers) have long known about the therapeutic benefits of writing about personal experiences, thoughts and feelings. But besides serving as a stress-coping mechanism, expressive writing produces many physiological benefits. Research shows that it improves memory and sleep, boosts immune cell activity and reduces viral load in AIDS patients, and even speeds healing after surgery. A study in the February issue of the Oncologist reports that cancer patients who engaged in expressive writing just before treatment felt markedly better, mentally and physically, as compared with patients who did not.
That pest Hank Fox (of www.HankFox.com) has tagged you with another idiot blog meme:
Tell the story of a (non-surgical) scar you have somewhere on your body. Answer and tag three other bloggers.
Hmnn. No surgical scars, and I am remarkably lucky in that I have no big accidental scars either.
The only one I can find that's still visible is a Verizon logo-"V"-shaped scar on my right, middle finger. Years ago my ex-wife and I owned an old hand-me-down microwave oven.
More below the fold...
My very first blog post, from that other, dead blog.
Let's start with who I am. Good question. If I knew that, why would I need a blog?
Of course, I don't actually need one, do I ? I mean, this is my first entry. So presumably I do actually know the answer. It stands to reason.
I suppose I'll have to just let anyone who happens to read this decide who I am over time. Don't say I didn't warn you, because I didn't, and so I know that, Captain Obvious.
I'm a degreed person, which means I have successfully completed university studies. Unlike many people, I mean that--completed. I have no wish to return. Many people I know continually talk about returning to further their education. It makes me wonder what they've been doing. Life is certainly an education if you're paying attention at all.
They also frequently express a belief that I, too, should further my education. Go back to school, get another degree, get a PhD, become a lawyer or a doctor--do something with yourself.
Once upon a time, I had a Xanga blog. Why, I'm not sure. Today I went back and decided to delete it, but I wanted to keep a few of the posts, even though they are long out of date. So I'm posting some here. Likely, since the site was just about inaccessible, nobody has ever read them. Although the same is likely true here, of course. I will store the movie reviews somewhere, since they're from 2005 or so, and drop some of the more general observations here. Like this one:
Pretty much everybody thinks life sucks, at least in that internal non-objective part of themselves that keeps looking at the best imagined possibility. Everyone. Hugh Hefner may be the lone exception, but he probably has his bitter moments, too.
MY NAME IS JULIET IN SEARCH OF A MAN WHO UNDERSTANDS THE MEANING OF LOVE AS TRUST AND FAITH IN EACH OTHER RATHER THAN ONE WHO SEES LOVE AS THE ONLY WAY OF FUN BUT A MATURED MAN WITH NICE VISSION OF WHAT THE WORLD IS ALL ABOUT SO AFTER SEING YOUR ID IN A SITE I TOOK INTREST PLEASE REPLY ME WITH THIS BOX IF YOU ARE INTRESTED IN ME. (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Quick, someone drop Juliet a note!
OK, got a question for people. And I'm serious about it.
Why so few comments here anymore?
In the last few months, it seems things have really dropped off. Of all the posts currently on the front page, only one got more than 20 comments. Most have less than half that number.
I try mixing up what I post about. Short pieces. Long philosophical ones. Topical items. YouTube clips. Rants. Nothing seems to provoke much discussion. Likewise with the things posted by Brent, Rick, Dirk, and anyone else. Yet anytime I drop in, there's always 20 or 30 people online.
Rather than stating this in the comments of the post, I think a response to Brent's opening paragraphs in his latest review of Vox Day's book warrant a full post.
Brent, unsurprisingly, I agree with you.
Here's what I agree with you about:
I have my own opinions, political views, and values. I have my own, personal, rational for being a person in whom god-belief is absent (an atheist). I recognize no "atheist leaders" or spokesmen, and I endorse no one who claims to speak for me, or insinuates that they speak for me in any way.
Here's where our opinions may part:
I have lately (within the last few years) come to believe that the entire social and political "atheist movement", as it nominally exists, is a big, fat exercise in futility. Atheists are not, in any way, shape, or form, a "group" in the same sense that Methodists, Shriners, or Republicans are a group. The atheists who organize activist marches, set agendas and identify themselves as part of this "atheist movement" group seem to be lying to themselves. There is no cohesive atheist political movement.
more below the fold
Possummomma needs our help! Her Lupus-related light sensitivity has gotten worse, and she needs to light-proof her home. Even a couple of bucks, from each of us baby-eating evil atheist scum-sucking lowlifes will help.
Hang in there P-Momma!
I always liked Andrew. I liked his writing, I liked the design of his blog, and although I didn't always agree with him, I was seriously impressed by the calm and rational way that he considered the issues and his own opinions about them. As much as you can consider someone, having not met them except on the blogs, I considered Andrew my friend - or at least friendly, like rarely-met acquaintances can be. I saw the potential of friendship, even way back when. Unfortunately, it never blossomed into anything like that. I regret that.
Andrew prepared a final post to be put up at his blog, posted by his friend and co-blogger hilzoy from Obsidian Wings (where Andrew also posted occasionally).
[link] What I don't want this to be is a chance for me, or anyone else, to be maudlin. I'm dead. That sucks, at least for me and my family and friends. But all the tears in the world aren't going to bring me back, so I would prefer that people remember the good things about me rather than mourning my loss. (If it turns out a specific number of tears will, in fact, bring me back to life, then by all means, break out the onions.)
I agree with Andy at World Wide Rant - grab a beer and hoist one to Andrew tonight.