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.
Other People's Blogs
I don't follow professional sports. I sure as hell don't follow golf. I could really not care less about Tiger Woods, who he sleeps with, or whether his wife beat him up when she found out who he sleeps with.
I don't follow FOX News, or any of the talking-head shows on TV. What idiotic thing one of them says usually goes right past me without me paying the slightest notice - I expect *everything* that they say to be idiotic.
I really, really don't give a shit what particular flavor of religion any of these people follow - I figure most of them only choose one that they figure will help best with their careers, and flog that publicly in order to manipulate the rubes. That goes for sports figures who credit Jesus for that touchdown, news anchors who credit prayer with their cancer going into remission, all of it. It's just an act, unless they are actually even more stupid than I think.
But sometimes, one of these numbskulls will do or say something that even gets my attention. Here's a good one:
the makers of Depends:
In the wake of the terrorism attempt Friday on a Northwest Airlines flight, federal officials on Saturday imposed new restrictions on travelers that could lengthen lines at airports and limit the ability of international passengers to move about an airplane.
The government was vague about the steps it was taking, saying that it wanted the security experience to be “unpredictable” and that passengers would not find the same measures at every airport — a prospect that may upset airlines and travelers alike.
But several airlines released detailed information about the restrictions, saying that passengers on international flights coming to the United States will apparently have to remain in their seats for the last hour of a flight without any personal items on their laps. It was not clear how often the rule would affect domestic flights.
Gods, this is funny:
Q: Is the ButtCandle really a candle?
A: Yes, but not necessarily what you might picture as your dining room table variety of candle. In length and diameter, it's similiar to common candles. However, a hollow channel is cut from bottom to top which causes air to be drawn from the base to the top. In practice, this creates a vacuum at the base which, when inserted in the rectum, gently dislodges intestinal and rectal blockage.
That's from the ButtCandle FAQ.
Yup. ButtCandle. Which is just like it sounds. A candle that you stick in your butt, then light "with the 10" wooden match that is provided." You know, like those silly "Ear Candles" that you can find in woo-shops? Which is how I stumbled across it, over on Phil Plait's site.
Don't use it after having chili, though.
Man, you gotta love the audacity combined with the stupidity:
A Christian civil liberties organization on Thursday asked centrist Virginia Rep. Tom Perriello (D) to move his home district office to a location more favorable to protesters.
The Rutherford Institute, which was founded by conservative constitutional lawyer John W. Whitehead, penned a letter to the freshman Perriello citing the concerns of a local tea party group and the University of Virginia College Republicans that the location of his Charlottesville office interferes with their right to protest there.
"Unfortunately, it is your choice of office location that has hindered the ability of citizens to effectively communicate concerning issues of the utmost importance to you, Congress and the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia," wrote Whitehead.
Man, times are hard:
MOSCOW - Russian police have arrested three homeless people suspected of eating a 25-year-old man they had butchered and selling other bits of the corpse to a local kebab house.
While surfing the shallow end of the internet gene pool today I decided to pay a visit to that long-lost lover of all things insane: Alan Keyes! Yeah, you can check out his wonderful website (motto: "WHERE FAITH GIVES REASON FOR CITIZEN ACTION"), where this is the latest posting:
Why Obama's Ft. Hood reaction seems so strange
There are times when even Obama's critics seem to have difficulty putting into words their reaction to his strange behavior. I think that's because they refuse to consider the simple premise that makes sense of it all: He feels no love for the USA. He seems in fact to feel himself to be no part of this country.
I've heard of Frank Schaeffer, even heard him interviewed and read some short pieces by him. But this afternoon a friend sent me a link to an excerpt from his latest book, and now I'd like to pass it on to you.
Schaeffer talks about how the whole "Left Behind" industry is really nothing more than the latest version of the crazy right-wing religious crap his father helped to start in this country. Here's a bit:
Not really my usual fare for UTI, but I thought I would share this from my blog.
On July 12, 2008, I noted this:
Huh. It finally happened, a week after I turned 50. Over 10,000 downloads of Communion of Dreams.
That was after having the .pdf of the novel available for approximately 19 months. Well, in the subsequent 17 months, there have been *another* 10,000 downloads of the novel. Yup, we just broke 20,000 total downloads. And all of that basically due to word of mouth.
Oh, give me a break:
SHOULD owning a great dane make you as much of an eco-outcast as an SUV driver? Yes it should, say Robert and Brenda Vale, two architects who specialise in sustainable living at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. In their new book, Time to Eat the Dog: The real guide to sustainable living, they compare the ecological footprints of a menagerie of popular pets with those of various other lifestyle choices - and the critters do not fare well.
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To measure the ecological paw, claw and fin-prints of the family pet, the Vales analysed the ingredients of common brands of pet food. They calculated, for example, that a medium-sized dog would consume 90 grams of meat and 156 grams of cereals daily in its recommended 300-gram portion of dried dog food. At its pre-dried weight, that equates to 450 grams of fresh meat and 260 grams of cereal. That means that over the course of a year, Fido wolfs down about 164 kilograms of meat and 95 kilograms of cereals.
OK, I never really had a 'moment of enlightenment', when it came to religion. I grew up in the Catholic church, but somewhere around the time of puberty I started thinking about what they told me to believe and it just didn't really make any sense. That grew into a questioning of all kinds of religious nonsense over time, rejecting all of it and trying to be rational and realistic about the world. For me, it was just a process, not an event.
So I must admit to being somewhat interested to see what it is that causes some people to just break away from their religion - what is the "final straw", so to speak. Like this one:
Over the past few days, a remarkable letter was published in four parts at the blog of Marty Rathbun, a former high-level Scientology official who has left the church and now criticizes Scientology's leader, David Miscavige.
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. . . when I am *really* glad I am not in the demographic for most of what is marketed these days. Like now:
Tired of a night out clubbing only to come home with a limp ego? Then try AMP UP BEFORE YOU SCORE, an actual iPhone app that helps you change your game and increase your chances to score with any type of woman, whether she's a "rebound girl," "aspiring actress," or a member of the ever-growing herd of "cougars."
Once a woman is defined by type, the rest is a snap. Check the app for her profile, and review the cheat-sheet providing details as to what she's into, and more importantly what sure-fire pick-up lines will cinch the deal.
No, it's not a joke. Well, it is, but it isn't *really* an intentional one. Except in the hey-I-meant-it-ironically way that seems to be the escape clause for everything these days.
Ah, brave new world, that has such technology in it. Who could have imagined such a thing?
Liberal bias has become the single biggest distortion in modern Bible translations. There are three sources of errors in conveying biblical meaning:
* lack of precision in the original language, such as terms underdeveloped to convey new concepts of Christianity
* lack of precision in modern language
* translation bias in converting the original language to the modern one.
Of these three sources of errors, the last introduces the largest error, and the biggest component of that error is liberal bias. Large reductions in this error can be attained simply by retranslating the KJV into modern English.
As of 2009, there is no fully conservative translation of the Bible which satisfies the following ten guidelines:
What an amazing project. Because the bible isn't already enough of a fairy tale, these guys feel the need to rephrase it in a manner more suited to their politics. Howso? Well, it's right there on the site, but let me point to just one of the "ten guidelines":
OK, I'd seen references to this elsewhere, but not the actual video. Just in case you too happened to miss it, here it is:
Good lord. I'd heard about this, as an "attempted assassination", but I hadn't heard the details:
On the evening of Aug. 28, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, the Saudi Deputy Interior Minister — and the man in charge of the kingdom’s counterterrorism efforts — was receiving members of the public in connection with the celebration of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting. As part of the Ramadan celebration, it is customary for members of the Saudi royal family to hold public gatherings where citizens can seek to settle disputes or offer Ramadan greetings.
One of the highlights of the Friday gathering was supposed to be the prince’s meeting with Abdullah Hassan Taleh al-Asiri, a Saudi man who was a wanted militant from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Al-Asiri had allegedly renounced terrorism and had requested to meet the prince in order to repent and then be accepted into the kingdom’s amnesty program.
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I haven't written much about him, but I have always admired Abraham Lincoln. And not just for the usual sixth-grade Civics reasons. In early adulthood I explored the man's personal history - his personal story - and ever since I have tried to keep up with at least some of the current scholarship about him.
Why? Well, because he was smart in how he handled himself. And furthermore, because he learned how to be even smarter as he went through life, even when he knew that he was faced with impossible situations. Here's one example of this, which I had forgotten until a recent comment on a MeFi thread jogged my memory. Lincoln had been involved in a public argument with another Illinois politician, and had pushed the man too far - to the point where he was challenged to a duel. Here's the full story, but I want to concentrate on this passage:
Due to the fact that Lincoln was the one who had been challenged to the duel, tradition gave him the privilege of choosing the time and location of the duel, as well as the weapons that were to be used. Being a man of humor and wit, and having no desire to kill Shields, or allow himself to be killed; Lincoln put together the most ridiculous set of circumstances that he could think of regarding the logistics of the upcoming duel.
"It's OK if you are a Christian."
What is? Well, this:
LOUISVILLE — A mother is angry about a trip led by the head football coach at Breckinridge County High School. The coach took about 20 players on a school bus late last month to his church, where nearly half of them — including her son — were baptized.
Michelle Ammons said her 16-year-old son was baptized without her knowledge and consent, and she is upset that a public school bus was used to take players to a church service — and that the school district's superintendent was there and did not object.
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But Superintendent Janet Meeks, who is a member of the church and witnessed the baptisms, said she thinks the trip was proper because attendance was not required, and another coach paid for the gas.
Meeks said parents weren't given permission slips to sign but knew the event would include a church service, if not specifically a baptism. She said eight or nine players came forward and were baptized.
Buddy of mine sent me a link to an excellent article that I'd missed. It's an opinion piece from the UK paper The Independent, and is trying to explain to the average Brit the hows and whys of the health care debate happening in this country. It's usually insightful to see how others see you, and this piece in particular is quite good. An excerpt:
Johann Hari: Republicans, religion and the triumph of unreason
How do they train themselves to be so impervious to reality?
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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.