One of my old high-school friends decided to give me the boot off her friends list. It’s a bittersweet moment, because I looked forward to reconnecting after all this time. The thing is, when I bumped into her again, even if it was in the virtual sense, things were a hell of a lot different than what I expected. For one thing, I found out my friend not only moved to the southern US, she fell right into the lifestyle. Yes, the pretty well-grounded friend I knew all these years grew up, became a right-winger and decided to vote Republican. And now, she decided to quit that bitch who became the typical Californian liberal, commie, pinko hippie.
Well that sucks. I’d say I’m sorry, but, I’m only sort of sorry. I wish it could have been a fond reunion after all these years. It wasn’t. Lesson learned: Life looks like this:
What to do, what to do....?
Ever wonder what happens to people over time that they end up making the batshit decisions they do? Yeah, I do to. I guess a life of prayer, worship, fear and passing off bitterness and disappointment as “God’s will” is the ideal life for some. I wonder why some of us interpret every little shitty thing in life as a wonderful, joyful test of faith and God’s love, and others, no names *cough, cough* say, “Fuck it,” and move on. I don’t know what happened between then and now. I only know that I’m a blasphemous heathen no longer worthy of that friendship. That’s the self-righteous, self-serving, good, holy Christians for you.
On a side note, it irks me that I’m supposed to accommodate everyone’s batshit beliefs in the name of tolerance and open-mindedness. I have to tiptoe and self-censor lest I offend the faithful, fragile and delicate. Mention that I really don’t hold truck with any gods and I’m targeted for prejudice, scorn and derision. Funny how tolerance only needs to work in one direction, isn’t it?
You had to see this coming. Don't panic, he's only a minor one.
That’s my good friend Ronwe. Now, I know you are all writing him off as a small-time player in the grand scheme of things, but give him a chance. This is the one guy who makes all our lives miserable. See, this guy is the demon of knowledge. Yes, there’s a demon of knowledge, and if you ever regretted knowing anything, you’ve met him. He’s looking over your shoulder the very minute you realize that you lived, learned, got that unfortunate education and now moved on. When you base your opinions on facts, don’t believe everything you hear in church and stop praying because no matter how shitty anything gets, no amount of wailing to the invisible presence in the sky is going to change it; he comes for a visit. He also leaves with your high school friend who now thinks you’re an evil bastard.
At least nobody tried to convert me to something this time. They just tucked their tail in and left like an alley cat after the food’s gone. Thank Ronwe for a small favor.
Thanks to the graces of social media I can now travel 3,000 miles from where I grew up, look back, and wonder what the hell happened there. Why do some of us become indoctrinated and others do not? I don’t know the answer, but it’s amazing how many people who claim to be such good friends later end up throwing my ass to the curb when they find out I didn’t grow up to be as gullible and superstitious as they are. The joys and pains of leaving small town, USA. Look, I took the one path. It may have not been the road less traveled, but that’s okay. I met a a lot of swell folks that didn’t get upset because I don’t live up to unrealistic standards set 20 years ago.
Okay, enough downers for one day. Because I’m such a heathen, I’m treating you to an Amanda Palmer video. It’s so catchy, I’m thinking of completely abandoning all hope of being saved in favor of a pasty featuring little felted bunnies.
I don’t have much faith in anything these days, but I know the world is going to hell in a hand basket (metaphorically at least). It’s no secret I have no love for fundamentalists, but it blows my mind clean out the back of my skull to find out that other religious authorities have no use for fundamentalism either. Funny and amazing how this is coming out of a Carmelite/Notre Dame order. Rock on, sister.
It takes a nun to speak profoundly and truthfully about the state of modern religion. Quick disclaimer: I don’t have any real faith, but I also don’t have any real fear of God either. It’s like the end of Angels In America: if God does return, after leaving us to suffer for a century, we should sue the bastard. Sue the bastard for walking out. How dare He?
Fundamentalists and TEA party idiots want to drag us backward to a time when we had a literal interpretation of the Bible and follow it as though life itself depended on it. What’s sad is that not even ancient scholars thought religious texts were the definitive authorities on society, biology or ethics. After centuries of trying to advance, people are now in hysterics because we’re falling prey to the evils of modern technology, science and historical accuracy.
This can’t be the fight of rationalists and humanists alone. There has to be others willing to help the poor and disadvantaged in the country, or at the very least put out a fire burning somebody’s house to the ground. Yes, once again it’s the Christians, Rethuglicans, Fundamentalists, and Corporate Apologists saying that it’s perfectly okay to condone human suffering just so long as the rich get richer and the powerful stay that way. The rest of us can go back to the hell created for us by assholes touting the values of a “good Christian society and ‘family values’.”
Fundamentalism is the fear God. It’s the fear of truth, the fear of humanity and the fear of not being able to live up to your own ideals. It’s the false sense of moral superiority that comes from knowing you’re always right and there’s no room for disagreement or negotiation. It’s taking delight in the suffering of others and smugly declaring the victim deserves what he or she gets. This is the good and holy world where the victims have the good fortune of answering for their “crimes” and getting the divine suffering they so richly deserve.
Fuck you, asshole. I hope the next time it’s you stuck in a burning building and we’re all too busy praying to be bothered with getting your ignorant ass out.
This one’s just a quickie because it weighs heavily on my mind right now. No thrills, frills or Lady CaCa (she’s so fabulous, though, I have to begrudgingly admit) videos. I’m thinking about friendship, even the insubstantial ones that occur on line. Here it is: I recently got dumped on Facebook by several friends. Why?
Yes, it’s just that simple. You see, there’s an ugly phenomenon in this country right now where people attack Muslims for no reasons. Mosques have been burned, groups burn copies of the Q’uran, and thousands are protesting the NOT AT ALL a mosque being built NOWHERE NEAR THE WTC SITE. Really, it’s not. I lived in NYC. You can’t see the site of the future community center from the WTC site. What you can see, however, is a “gentleman’s club” (aka titty bar), a McDonald’s, a site where they shot a reality TV show and dozens of souvenir stands. Hallowed ground my aching ass.
Back to the point. Every day during Ramadan I posted the daily Dura as my status. I did this in solidarity for my Muslim friends, the Muslim community and even total strangers who don’t deserve to have their mosque burned down by a bunch of ignorant assholes. No, I’m NOT a Muslim. I don’t believe in much besides gravity, the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the little lavender men in the sugar bowl.
Okay, I had to sneak at least one in.
People in this country spew off about how they have freedom of speech and can say whatever they want. That’s technically not true, but I’m not arguing Constitutional law today. I don’t have the energy. What is important is that the same people who go on and on about freedom of speech seem to sincerely believe that it also implies freedom from being offended or listening to somebody else’s ideas, opinions, religious views, etc. We’re all granted with freedom of speech in as much as it agrees with what they have to say. Even if what they say is a pile of steaming bullshit.
In a phrase: Everyone is entitled to MY opinion. Everyone else can face discrimination, hatred, verbal abuse or violence. After all, you have the right to defend your opinion, right? Right? Here’s another photograph. Sadly, it’s the world right before the venom spitting minority in the government decided that those bad people from the other religion were wrong, bad, dirty, foreign and too much of the “other” to be allowed to live among the “good” people.
Lest we forget.
They came first for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.
- Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller
I’ve been to Dachau. I won’t forget. I won’t back down. I won’t fail to speak. I won’t stop standing in solidarity with those of us who really do know what the Constitution says, and really do want to defend it.
I hate conditional friendships. I wish I could get full disclosure from those people. “I’m a good, holy fundamentalist who’ll be your friend as long as you toe the line and don’t disagree with my warped interpretation of a religious text.” That would be a good start, then I could steer clear in the first place.
“I’m a good, holy, God-fearing Christian that believes God loves all men just so long as they are Christians who agree with my narrow-minded literal translation of mythology.” That could work too.
“Everyone’s entitled to my opinion.” That is self-evident.
I’m a scientist who has read the Bible, the Torah, the Vedas, the Q’uran, the Eightfold Path, the writings of Stephen Hawking and even some of the I Ching. That disturbs traditional fundamentalists. I can’t tell you what the truth is, I can only say that don’t even tell me you have an open mind if you don’t. In the mean time, we only have one more issue to address, and it’s a doozy.
I’m not trying to proselytize; I’m just saying they’re in there. You don’t want to take that lid off, trust me. The little lavender men won’t be your friend if you keep taking off the lid…
I want you to look at this fucking shit. American journalists have no balls and no propensity to report the facts. Good thing the Cold War ended and the Russians have come to our rescue.
That’s from Russian TV, by the way. Rent-a-cops and BP officials chase American reporters from the affected areas and threaten to arrest them. American prisons look like resorts compared to the gulag, and the Russians responded accordingly. This is just a diversion, I’m afraid. What I’m talking about is this:
Oh yes, I’m talking about the atrocity that the GOBP and right-wingers bitched about endlessly for days: the National Day of Prayer. Americans must recognize a national day of prayer, despite that whole separation of church and state thing outlined in its constitution. We must all stop and pray. It doesn’t matter if we pray to a can of Spam, we just need to spend the day in prayer and reflection. The result of this day of prayer is an abundance of miracles and prosperity for all. Don’t believe me? Look, prayer has ended Bush’s vanity wars with Iraq and Afghanistan:
Well, maybe not. I’m sure their families are completely fine with this after a few prayers. Who cares about the loss of a few thousand people? After all, it’s not the rich peoples’ kids, so it’s perfectly okay for them to die.
Prayer stopped the BP oil spill cold. Really, it did. Dipshit Palin told us it would. See? Everything’s fine now.
Ummm, well…maybe not. That duck is grateful, actually. Jesus granted his prayer for a free bath courtesy of a rescue organization.
The BP oil spill dragged on for months and an estimated total of 5 million barrels of oil now pollute waters and shores around the Gulf of Mexico. Our space program ends with a whimper this fall. There’s no cure for cancer, and people are trying to pray away Swine Flu rather than get a vaccine proven to prevent it. We can’t teach American kids evolution, hard science or math because it offends peoples’ religious sensibilities. At the same time we wonder why every one else in the world consider Americans world-class dullards and painfully backward idiots. Maybe it’s because we are. Here’s a thought. What if, and I’m just throwing this out here, instead of having a National Day of Prayer, we have a National Day of Science?
Science is fun.
What? You don’t like science? All scientists are insane? Atheists are godless, sinful people without morals or values? I would laugh, but you’d interpret that as insane Frankenstein laughter. Instead, I’ll let you watch this:
That’s a car powered by Diet Coke and Mentos candies. Scientists test out the strangest things. Here they’re testing the true power of the Diet Coke + Mentos combination. The car won’t win a NASCAR race any time soon, but you have to admit it’s pretty cool. Unlike the “ordinary” people, scientists don’t pray for solutions. We FIND THEM. How do they know to use Diet Coke and MINT flavored Mentos specifically? Well, they use something we call the “Scientific Method.”
Sorry about the rainbow colors. I know you religious types are completely uptight and unreasonable about certain *ahem* things.
These guys found the right combination through experimentation. If the truth must be told, any soda + MINT mentos = massive CO2 expulsion. It’s just that Diet Coke works better. Why? Aspartame + nucleated candy = explosion. You just have to have the patience to work through the problem. I know you don’t believe me, as you shouldn’t. But, in absence of performing your own experiments, take these guys’ word for it:
If you want to know what’s going on from beginning to end, using the Scientific Method:
The point of all of this is that solving problems involves time, thought, creativity and insight. Everything that happens around us follows distinct laws of physics and chemistry. I wish I could leave some room for “Oogie Boogie” reasoning or myth. The sad fact is; there’s not. Sometimes life is just that simple.
Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Yahweh, Apollo, Odin, et. al., are NOT here to solve our problems for us. The BP oil spill, proliferation of AIDS, widespread hunger, spread of invasive species, wholesale rape and destruction of the environment are created by humans. It’s now up to us to solve it. We won’t do it by praying and hoping for a solution. We CAN solve it by scientists, inventors and engineers developing solutions. To this end I say we really, really, REALLY need a National Day of Science.
If we had a National Day of Science, maybe they would have stopped the oil leak sooner, or better yet, had it never happen at all. Maybe we would have 80% efficient solar power generators by now. If Americans were enthusiastic about science, we could have a cure for Cancer. If Americans liked science and math, we’d have that whole long-distance space travel problem licked. We could have a practical solution to global warming, possibly even a method for restoring damaged ecosystems. Hell, we could solve the whole problem of why there’s 12 hot dogs in a pack and only 8 buns in a pack. The world could be our mollusk.
See, living proof that something good can come from a piece of irritating shit.
I want a National Day of Science. We need a National Day of Science. Superstition hasn’t solved any of our problems or changed the system so far. The world hasn’t become a more peaceful, productive and compassionate place after all that praying. I’m not saying to give up, but I am saying we need a different approach.
Holy Christ! You mean that prayer hasn't solved all our problems?
I’m not being unpatriotic, but like most scientists, I’m always willing to change my approach to any subject. Things could be much better. Hopefully, they won’t get much worse. (Click that last sentence to see just how far the rabbit hole really goes.)
What did the good, religious leaders in Congress say recently? Oh yeah, don’t help those poor bitches, they’re lazy fuckers enjoying life on the public doll and breeding like roaches to make more lazy fuckers. I hope they fucking starve, that’ll teach ‘em.
You just keep praying and let them starve. I just hope you’re praying your God has mercy on your souls.
I have to take this special moment in time to salute those sweet, sweet tears of heaven, alcohol. Now, I know I just lost those of you who are teetotalers out there. That’s okay, you’re fucking lame at parties and I don’t want to talk to you anyway. (See Jim Jeffries for reference, although, good luck getting that clip, it seems to have disappeared from the Internet.) I want you to meet my friend, crutch and sometimes late night companion during bouts of pain and insomnia, vodka:
This makes me drool even more than red velvet cake. Now that's saying something.
I spent most of my youth raising two raging alcoholics, and I always wondered what would bring people to this point. Now that I’m older, I know. Sometimes the stack of bills and the vagaries of life become too much and you need a mental vacation. Of course, being the politically correct person I am, that doesn’t excuse this behavior. I’m just saying that I see the need for it. That doesn’t take any of the joy out of drinking, though. This takes the joy out of drinking:
Holy Shit. Don’t just stand there, somebody get a straw and suck that shit up. Waste not, want not. I want to beat that bitch down on general principle. I could use a Mad Dog 20/20 just about now. Seriously, though, I never realized how much of my life revolved around alcohol until I had about 15 minutes and a well-chilled shot of Chopin to think about it. At least I still can think about it. I haven’t had the cops stop me and have this happen.
Yeah, that’s pretty bad. I grew up in a family of alcoholics. I swear I’d never fall victim to this. That was before adulthood, a table stacked with bills and constant pain from autoimmune disease. I’m not trying to excuse aberrant behavior. I am simply stuck in a bizarre cycle of alcohol. Let’s take my job, for instance. I work at a winery. I worked so hard to get a master’s in chemistry. I currently work in a winery. Hmmm. I work in a job in which it is not unusual for my boss to approach me with a glass of something at ten in the morning and ask me what I think of it. Eye opener, anyone? Before anybody has the bright idea to accuse us of being constantly drunk on the job, I need to point out the Catch-22 of any brewery job. You are expected to be able to drink unspecified amounts of alcohol at all hours of the day and night and remain totally sober. No kidding. Try it some time, it’s no easy task. I have to sample wine and port throughout day and remain sober enough to calculate how much SO2 or flavoring or anything else I need to add to barrels on the spot. I can’t politely decline to do chemistry because I’m drunk (as you do). Trust me, when you work at a winery, you just can’t get away with bullshit like this:
Oh, Holy Christ, I wish I could get on board that train. It looks kind of fun. (Right up to the point of severe bruising of course.) That would be the ultimate day job: “Professional Drunk.” I’m sure some people qualify, but most people can’t pull that shit off on work days or week days. Therefore, you need to rest up during the week and catch up on your drinking on the weekends. You’re all professionals at this. I know, I can see you, even through this monitor. I see you or a reasonable facsimile of you. You look good, by the way, but you’d probably look better if we pour another round of Nectar of the Gods. Every weekend I work in our tasting room I see my fair share of the jovial, impaired and straight up shitfaced. If I’m lucky, the tasting room looks like a J-Kwon masterpiece.
I don’t want anybody to demonize alcohol. After all, half the human race wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the power of this beautiful, sacred, downright seductive elixir. I know you don’t believe me, so I want you to tune in for just a little bit longer and I’ll prove it to you. If you’re male, I’m going to share the secret of pro-creation with you. (Fuck you, fundamentalists. This is how babies are made. Deal with it, or let Darwin wipe the globe with your asses.)
Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce you to the Mojito?
Now, pay attention, because this is my award winning recipe and I will NOT repeat it. This is the Mojito. It is not some strange, exotic drink, and it’s simple to make. You don’t need some bullshit mix that costs $15 and you need no special skills in the kitchen. It starts with a little cookery, but I don’t want you to panic. You don’t need to be Martha to pull this shit off with style. Let’s start with the basics:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Boil one cup of water in the microwave. Use the stove if you’re technologically challenged. Add the boiling water to the cup of sugar. Stir. Place in a glass canning jar or (when cooled) Rubbermaid container of your choice in the fridge. It will keep until approximately Doomsday. (This is quite useful to make a variety of cocktails.)
Mojito Recipe (for one, scale up accordingly)
9 large mint leaves or 15 small ones (it must be fresh, don’t try to work around this)
2 shots of light Rum (Bacardi or other top shelf is preferable. Use a cheap one and you could end up with a drink that tastes like floor cleaner, or worse yet, won’t get you laid because she’s puking her guts out from a cheap liquor hangover. I know best, take my advice.)
1 T. of simple syrup
7-UP or Sprite (If you’re desperate, use tonic water, do NOT use tonic with quinine. You’re not trying to cure malaria here. Do NOT use Slice or generic, it just tastes fucking weird.)
1. Put ice in a cocktail shaker. If you don’t have one, buy one, they’re cheap. But seriously, you can use an old anti-freeze container; just make sure it’s clean. Tear up the fresh mint leaves and put them in. Yes, they must be fresh. If you live in an area where you can’t get fresh mint leaves, move. Use a muddler, meat tenderizer or small blunt object to crush the leaves on the ice. This is the crucial part: crush the leaves until the ice is green. Don’t use an assload of ice; use about 8 cubes more or less. Just make sure you crush the leaves until the ice has a green tinge to it.
2. Add 1 T. (about ½ jigger) of simple syrup to the mix.
3. Cut the ends off the lime. Cut the lime in half lengthwise. Cut one half lengthwise again. Squeeze the two lime quarters into the ice mixture. Drop the spent quarters in the cocktail shaker.
4. Mull the lime quarters, leaves and simple syrup a bit. It doesn’t have to be long, just enough to work every last precious drop of juice from that bitch ass lime and its rinds.
5. Add 2 shots of white rum.
7. Use a strainer to pour the mix into an 8 or 12 ounce glass filled ¾ of the way with ice. Bits of pulp and leaves will escape into your drink. That’s a good thing. It’s not a Mojito without leaves and pulp.
8. Top off with 7-UP (Caffeine. Never had it, never will. It does have the power to render a human unconscious after a few of these bad boys, though, so be warned.) OR Sprite. See note about tonic, tonic + quinine or generic shit. It just doesn’t work.
9. Garnish with mint leaves and a straw. You know what? You’re not the fucking Olive Garden or Chili’s here. Just put that shit in a glass, stick a straw in it if you want and give it to whomever (preferably you). If somebody wants garnish, they can just stick one of your kid’s Army guys in there. You’re not here to impress, you’re here to get your guests shitfaced and/or get yourself laid.
Oh, sweet tears of heaven. Yes, I love the Mojito. I also love top-shelf vodka chilled and served straight up. It must be top-shelf. It must be ice cold. Don’t believe me? Well, this isn’t college anymore, don’t drink like some punk bitch trying to get a degree. Drink your vodka straight and chilled, never over ice. You’ll thank me. TOP SHELF ONLY. You’ll never touch plastic bottle or Smirnoff again. Just don’t drink too much; you’ll end up like this asshole:
I am so off the subject now; I don’t even remember what I was talking about. That’s the beauty and magic of alcohol. It’s been getting people laid for centuries. I hate to say this, but without the magic of alcohol, half of us wouldn’t be here. If you’re a teetotaler or some kind of jacked up fundamentalist, getting laid is quite the challenge. I look at it this way, though. If you don’t drink, there’s more for the rest of us. If you can’t get laid, well, that’s more for the rest of us as well. Just don’t ever try to pair a teetotaler with a hard core drinker. It really doesn’t work. One is off simulating sex with most common household appliances and the other is stuck with Coca-cola and wondering if they’re really going to be all they cracked themselves up to be. Try as you might, non-drinker, you can only fool the other person for so long. Eventually they’re going sober up and realize the score.
Hopefully they won’t have a serious case of buyer’s remorse. The good thing is the drunk can write the whole incident off as a bit of inebriated high spirits. Unfortunately the teetotaler can’t. This can’t be good for the psyche. Gee, now that I think about it, no wonder therapy bills are so high in this country.
Alcoholism or any of the following exits instead. It’s up to you.
Look, I make no apologies for my appallingly lax attitude toward vice. See, it could be worse. You could have no alcohol at all. Then you’d be stuck surfing Russian Internet porn.
Christ, no wonder those people choke down enough vodka to drown a horse. Probst!
Hi…I’m…uh…well, it’s still not important. I’m a recovering fundamentalist. I grew up in the Christian faith, was an ordained minister in the Episcopal Church by the age of 16 and “baptized” again by the age of 21.
I’m sorry. I wish I knew back then what I know now. I wish I was smart enough to be a scientist and a skeptic back then. I wish I was compassionate enough to be a humanist. I wasn’t. This was my bad. Christians may claim the market on compassion and empathy, but sadly, nothing could be further from the truth.
I see all the little trinkets and bumper stickers and propaganda asking, “What would Jesus do?” Apparently, Jesus would kill people, or at the very least, want them to die.
I tried so hard to be a fundamentalist, but the more I listened to myself, the more ridiculous it began to sound. When you hear the way these people speak about others, who would want to be associated with them?
“After all the things I’ve done I hate myself for what I’ve become.” Maybe others should as well. So, I gave it up. People tell me all the time, “Let go and let God.” I didn’t start to really be concerned about the human condition and the world around me until I let go of God.
I’ve tried the religious thing: it didn’t work. I’ve tried the “always positive nothing’s ever bad” thing: it didn’t work. I tried the politically correct thing: it didn’t work. I think the best you can do is try to be the person your dog thinks you are. You know; the benevolent god that bestows blessings on those who beg for them, provides affection when the world seems bleak, and discipline those that don’t act appropriately.
In Dog We Trust
I’ve prayed and watched people intensely. There’s never been any evidence to me that there’s an interventionist god. I wish there was. I really wish there was. I could finally get some answers or resolution to these mundane, “earthly” things that dominate my life.
I can’t give myself to any one religion or belief. They all possess a version of the truth. When we scientists come up with the “Theory of Everything,” I’m sure we’ll confirm some things and disprove others. In the mean time, lighten up. You’re not all right. You’re not all wrong. You’re all somewhere in between. Seriously, lighten up. Stop being so damn bitchy towards people and things that don’t fall in exact line with what you believe in.
The All Father Odin, with the wolves who report on the doings of man. But of course you knew that already.
This is the All Father. I hope some of you recognize him. I wonder if he’s lonely right now because nobody ever asks him for favors anymore. I know, I know, that’s Paganism, blasphemy, idolatry or whatever sin you want to tack onto it this week. I’m going straight to hell just for asking the question. I want you to shed a tear for Odin, because at one time he was the big, bad reigning deity on the block. You see, there’s no such thing as the one true religion. If you’re a monotheist, all you are is an atheist who’s made an exception. It doesn’t matter if it’s Jesus, Allah, Yahweh, Buddha, Ahura Mazda, Thor, Zeus, or the Great Green Arkleseizure. You simply made one exception. I hope for all of our sakes, it’s the right one.
Otherwise, you could be on the wrong end of this:
1984 Sikh Massacre. I hope if and when the time comes, you're not from one of those bad religions.
The truth is, I’m rooting for all of you. Even if you wish harm on people because of their sexual preference, hate the president because you think he’s a Nazi, or wish we all gave the one-armed salute to the god/government/ideology of your choice. The real test of humanity and enlightenment is to accept those whose ideology differs so much from your own, and treat others as you would yourself.