Archive for March, 2008

Truth in Advertising

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

At long last!

Update: Well, it seems like Florida’s WFTV has pulled the article from their website.

The original article dealt with someone in Orange County putting up a billboard that said “All Religions Are Fairy Tales,” complete with pretty princess fairy floating alongside. Naturally, this did not sit well with those who actually spend their lives believing in fairy tales.

I wonder if they badgered the station into dropping the article and photo from their site… seems a likely explanation. Truth hurts and all, you know.

Update 2: And – as if by the magical hand of God! – the article has returned to the site (thanks for letting me know, commenter!).

Unto Us This Day a Child is Born

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

And she looks just like her dad or her mom or maybe some combination of the two.

Hard to say really, what with there not being any photos yet.

C’mon, dude dad, get with the program!

And welcome, Lily Frances!

The White Man is Holding Jeremiah Wright Down!

Friday, March 28th, 2008

And, very soon, he will be imprisoned in a 10,000+ square foot, four-bedroom prison that looks remarkably like a posh house.

Oh, man, the horror!

Unsurprisingly, the UN Gets it Exactly Wrong

Friday, March 28th, 2008

Perhaps Ban Ki-Moon is just scared “someone” will level another UN compound.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today strongly condemned the Internet broadcast of a video made by the Dutch politician Geert Wilders, describing it as “offensively anti-Islamic,” while he also called on those upset by the film to remain calm.

Hello, Mr. Secretary-General, these are people who get upset about cartoons. They are as likely to remain calm as they are to be rational.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson after last night’s airing of the film, entitled Fitna, Mr. Ban said “there is no justification for hate speech or incitement to violence. The right of free expression is not at stake here.”

This is only an incitement to violence among a set of people who are already irrational and violent. I can’t comment on the “hate speech” aspect of it, as I have yet to view the video (but I will try this weekend).

I’ll take this speech seriously when Ban Ki-Moon takes the world stage to protest Ben Stein’s cinematic idiocy, in which atheists / evolutionists are regularly juxtaposed with Nazi imagery. I’ll still think the UN should find better things to do though. As ill-informed and dishonest as the hacks behind “Expelled” happen to be, I have no desire to blow them up, cut off their heads, or ask for a fatwa.

Freedom of speech is exactly what is at stake here. No one is frightened of the words and images that Mr. Wilders is putting forth; they are frightened that a crazy, killin’ subset of Islam will go ape-shit about it and take out some civilians to show Allah how much they love him.

Is the Secretary General dishonest or stupid?

“I acknowledge the efforts of the Dutch Government to stop the broadcast of this film and appeal for calm to those understandably offended by it. Freedom must always be accompanied by social responsibility.”

I agree completely.

When someone says something with which you disagree, something that even offends your sensibilities, you have a social responsibility to not kill them for it.

Man, that’s hard to get your head around, isn’t it?

Also, this is not the same as yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. Hurrying to escape from a burning building is a rational action, so it is understandable that people might get injured. Blowing yourself or others up because they drew a picture of or talked smack about your Prophet is, to put it mildly, absolutely insane.

It’s bad enough that so many people in the world embrace religious myths; it’s worse that they will happily kill because of them.

Silly, Harmless Beliefs – A Continuing Series, Part 1793

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Why couldn’t he just skip town instead?

Autopsies show that five members of an Iowa City family found dead in their home were beaten to death…

Police believe former bank executive Steven Sueppel killed his wife and children sometime Sunday night or Monday. He had been charged with embezzlement, and his body was found in the wreckage of a car crash Monday morning…

Sueppel left a long note in the family’s kitchen addressed to no one in particular. He also left voice mail messages at the family’s home, at the bank where he once worked and at the law office of his father and brother.

One of the messages indicated Sueppel believed his family was in heaven, Steffen said.

See, he was doing them a favor, sending them to a better place, rather than having to live in shame because of his crimes. He took the burden of his sins fully upon himself, sacrificing his soul for all eternity in the hope that his loved ones would be in Heaven as a result.

What’s so wrong with that, oh ye of little faith?

How Do You Reward Financial Irresponsibility?

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

With more money, of course!

Momentum for federal assistance to struggling homeowners, a non-starter with the Republican administration and many members of Congress only a few months ago, has picked up steam in Washington.

Wow, I wish I had signed up for an adjustable rate, interest-only jumbo loan with a balloon payment, with lots of fine print I didn’t bother to read, so that I could get the government to help pay for it! Suh-weet!

Instead, dumb me, getting that 30-year fixed mortgage that requires me to write a $1400 check every month, with no help from Uncle Sam.

Personal responsibility is so overrated.

Silly, Harmless Beliefs – A Continuing Series, Part 1792

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

I’m positively shocked about the outcome of this:

WESTON, Wis. (AP) — Police are investigating an 11-year-old girl’s death from an undiagnosed, treatable form of diabetes after her parents chose to pray for her rather than take her to a doctor.

An autopsy showed Madeline Neumann died Sunday from diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition that left too little insulin in her body, Everest Metro Police Chief Dan Vergin said.

She had probably been ill for about a month, suffering symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, excessive thirst, loss of appetite and weakness, the chief said Wednesday, noting that he expects to complete the investigation by Friday and forward the results to the district attorney.

The girl’s mother, Leilani Neumann, said the family believes in the Bible and that healing comes from God, but she said they do not belong to an organized religion or faith, are not fanatics and have nothing against doctors.

Dear Mrs. Neumann, when you put the Bible and faith healing ahead of modern medicine, I have news for you: you’re a fanatic. Not to mention really, really stupid. And dumb.

Really dumb.

So dumb it actually hurts (or, in this case, kills).

Evidence that medicine and doctors work? Volumes upon volumes written on the subject. Medical records documenting people getting better. Properly designed experiments, peer-reviewed and published.

Evidence that prayer works? One dusty old tome written two-thousand years ago that can’t even keep straight a simple story like nailing a guy to a cross, combined with a lot of anecdotal stories lacking proof and crooked televangelists lacking morals.

But, wait! It gets worse!

“We are remaining strong for our children,” Leilani Neumann said. “Only our faith in God is giving us strength at this time.”

Yes, because that whole “faith” angle sure turned out great last time, didn’t it?

Have I mentioned how absolutely, unbelievably, and painfully dumb you are?

Leilani Neumann said she and her husband are not worried about the investigation because “our lives are in God’s hands. We know we did not do anything criminal. We know we did the best for our daughter we knew how to do.”

May you have many decades of prayer behind bars for completely failing your children, failing as a parent, and failing as a human being.

If their daughter was drowning, would they have stood at the water’s edge praying she learned how to do a little Jesus act?

I’m not sure I want to know the answer, although I doubt my opinion of these nitwits could go any lower. They should have their other children removed from the home immediately, and then they should stand trial for negligent homicide.

Sometimes I think it’s a shame that being stupid isn’t a crime.

Update: The image in this post just about sums up the purpose of prayer.

Jericho Canceled: Final Episode to Air Last Tuesday!

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

…and I missed it!

But that’s ok because it’s on the DVR, happily waiting for me to plop down on the couch and watch it (the show, not the couch, although the couch likes to feel sexy and eyed-up too sometimes, as couches are wont to do, especially the ones with an ugly 70s pattern, but mine is just green).

It sucks that CBS couldn’t even give them a few more weeks to tie up the story and at least bring it to a sensible ending. Although, you have to admit, killing it off in mid-stride is better than what they did to Quantum Leap. Of course, you could give them months to wrap things up and end up with the final episode of Seinfeld.

OK, tough call, I guess.

So, I simply must know, did the people of Jericho get off the island or not?

Once Upon a Long Ago…

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

…this site was, in some circles, known as one of the more or less prominent atheist blogs. Ah, those were the (short-lived) days.

Now there are hundreds upon hundreds of us (which is nice to know, truth be told, strength in numbers and surely I can outrun at least 25-30% of those folks when the Vatican Death Squads come for us).

So, I’ve recently added an atheist blogroll over in the right sidebar.

Enjoy the godlessness, won’t you?

American Idol, Live Recap, March 25, 2008

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

Without further delay….let us begin:

Ramiele Malubay sings Heart’s “Alone.” She’s cute, for an android that refuses to move. That’s right, I just broke the story that Ramiele is a robot cloaked in the human skin of cadavers (and she eats scrap metal to power her vocal cords, and drinks human blood to look more alive). That’s right, I just broke the story that Ramiele is a robot vampire. Yes, that’s it.

Jason Castro, the illegitimate love child of John Travolta and a man with feces in his hair, after fawning over how cute he was as a kid, takes on Sting’s “Fragile.” Not a bad performance, and the girls will eat up the guitar (hey, that’s why I first learned to play). It wasn’t overly exciting, but then “Russians” wasn’t exactly a get-up-and-boogie tune either. But then that’s not what this show is about (nor is it about poop in your hair).

Come on, admit it: when he was answering Ryan’s question about why Simon thinks he isn’t taking it seriously, you could just hear Vinnie Barbarino saying “Huh. What.” Couldn’t you?

Syesha Mercado sings “If I Was Your Woman,” which is the more popular, yet less grammatically correct, version of “If I Were Your Woman.” Curse you, verbs in the subjunctive mood! I don’t know the song, but the singing was pretty good, although I really doubt I will remember it beyond midnight (Paula’s suggestions to the contrary notwithstanding).

Chikezie “Chickaboom-boom-boom” ….uh, dude doesn’t have a last name? Well, there goes that little joke. He’ll be singing “If Only For One Night,” yet another song I don’t know in the least. (Quick Googling reveals it’s Luther Vandross, so at least it’s – probably – not going to be one of those “aww, yeah, sweet sugar baby, let me bend you over my Mercedes and tap that thing ’til the sun come up, oooooh ooohhh yeah” R&B songs).

So, how was the performance? I actually didn’t pay any attention because I was writing the above. That’s what I thought of it.

Brooke White is a Gemini (which signifies absolutely nothing except that she puts her trust into the ever-accurate and equally vague prognostications of newspaper astrologers). She’s doing some Sting too, “Every Breath You Take.” Starts off with a mis-step, and then proceeds to turn the thoughts of a jealous control freak into a sweet piano number. Vocally fine though.

And she’s pretty, which – like those old NBC Saturday morning edu-commercials about “knowing” – is half the battle. At least if the spoils of war include getting into my pants.

Allow me to raise the white flag.

Michael Johns is next. His Dad looks kind of like Walter Cronkite.

“We Will Rock You / We are the Champions.” Note to future contestants – rock anthems require more than a cheesy house band; that first bit paled in comparison to the bleacher stomping you get at a high school pep rally. After that, it was a pretty solid performance, and – I’m going to go out on a limb here and proclaim that – as of right now – Michael Johns can have any 14 year old girl he wants. Kudos.

Carly Smithson. She’s read a lot of books. She was married to James Taylor in a past life. She needs a pop filter while singing “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” She didn’t impress me too much with the ending.

She does however have a throaty kind of voice that makes me think of chrome bumpers (or bumpers that were formally of the chrome variety). Hot.

David Archuletta was born in 1990, which means he’s been driving legally for maybe two years. Good lord. Shoot me now.

“You’re the Voice.” Never heard of it. And I thought they were supposed to sing songs from the year they were born? This was (per Google) first unleashed on an unsuspecting public in 1986. Why must he turn it loose upon us again? For shame, boy!

Kristy Lee Cook, sings “God Bless the USA.”

Awesome. Our nation’s complex history… our ideals, the pursuit of which we continually seek to perfect… the sacrifice of thousands upon thousands of our countrymen… reduced to a maudlin piece of musical poop. Yes, yes, I know – not liking that song is akin to moving to the former Soviet Union and renouncing one’s citizenship and kicking puppies for fun. You’ll get over it.

Fine job of singing, though, and she’s conquered the last half of the army waging war on my pants.

David Cook, alias Baby Professor X, is performing Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” The first 3/4 of the arrangement was dull, but the last quarter really saved the performance. Paula can’t sit down, and it has nothing to do with a moist spot on her chair, honest. Simon might need a diaper change too.

I think young Master Cook has taken the evening.

And Paula’s heart.

I’ve got a little tear in my eye, I do.

We’ll… *sniff*… see you next time.

Update: My compatriot in video sadness, Zombyboy, also blogged the evening of American Idol. He might get comments, but I get traffic, because I know how to use SEO. He may feel the love of his commenters, but I shall rub myself all over with the thirty-eight cents I might make from this post!

And I will do it thirty-eight times.