Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Ask The Scientificus 2

We here at Consider Your Ass Kicked! are pleased and proud to offer "Ask The Scientificus" as a recurring feature. The Scientificus is an oblong puppet of indeterminate species, well-known for answering (with aplomb) a wide range of expert-level scientific questions from children of all ages.

Q. [Cyndia, age 44] Did angels evolve?

A. Cyndia, first of all, thank you for the very nice photographs. Now, on to your question - a controversial one, and one you are quite right to ask! I think we have but to glance at an angel to see that yes, these beings clearly evolved. The highly-specialized winglike dorsal appendages arrayed bilaterally; the novel bioluminescent organs within the scalp that, combined with a unique bone configuration of the skull, cast the distinctive aura around the head of an angel - these structures and organs are highly adaptive. They clearly did not spring into place full-formed, as if by miracle! Rather, they resulted from a link-by-link chain of mutation, followed by selection, followed again by mutation and so on. Properly understood, the angel stands revealed as one of the crowning glories of evolution by means of natural selection!

Q. [Jonathan, age 30] I found some condoms in my glove compartment. Are they still good?

A. They look OK from the photographs. Try a banana.

Q. [Stephanie, age 22] I've been holding in a lot of farts lately because I have a new boyfriend, and now my shit is starting to smell like farts! What can I do?

A. How long have you been seeing this young man? There are two schools of thought, my dear Stephanie. One says that the early days of a relationship are a golden and special time, and that you should preserve that for as long as you can, because once you've become so comfortable with the full range of each others' natural bodily processes that each of you no longer hesitates to let rip with a good one, right in each other's presence, any time the urge presses - then that golden time is over forevermore; the magic is lost. The other school of thought maintains that that's when the magic begins. Being The Scientificus, I must say posh-bosh to all this talk of magic, and counsel you not to sacrifice your alimentary health and comfort upon the altar of some noisome victorian prudery. Thank you for the photographs.

The Scientificus answers questions on all scientific disciplines except for alethiology. When submitting your question it is considered polite to include photographs of yourself. Not every question can be answered, but every photo will definitely be looked at. The Scientificus thanks you!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Let's Have A Little Compassion For The Turkey

What about peacocks? Has anybody ever eaten a peacock? Are they tasty? More like duck or more like goose? Or like turkey, I suppose - another possibility.

They're not endangered are they?

Seems like half the peacocks you see suck! They're not beautiful at all. They're all drab, they don't have that stunning array of colors going on. Darwinianism suggests that we should cull these drab birds from the flock to service our dining tables' exotic poultry needs. Then future generations of peacock flocks will feature a nothing-but top-notch, splendiferous all-colorful spectacular!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Tough Topics #1: Smoking

Smoking is the single most civilized act. No act is so vividly emblematic of the division we have placed between human and animal, between artifice and nature. What other animal could come up with such a thing? A monkey can smoke a lit cigarette, certainly. A monkey can be taught not to fear the fire, taught to enjoy taking the smoke into his lungs. But a monkey would never come up with such an idea - never arrange the herbs and paper, and then ignite it. The natural aversion to fire is far too strong.

Smoking is a symbol of our dominion over fire, and by extension, nature. It is a transgressive act, and a transformative act.

I don't smoke, by the way. I just admire it tremendously.

I suppose shouldn't say I don't smoke. I do chain smoke, very occasionally. I average about 3 packs every five years or so. I remember I smoked four or five cigarettes after the Superbowl (what you Canadiens call "Soccer").

My trick to never getting addicted is: I never buy my own. I tell you, it works!

People Who Appreciate Sarcasm Are Morons!

What - you say something you don't mean, you mean the opposite of it but you say it anyway, and then - "Oh, I was being sarcastic!" What, so I'm supposed to laugh? It's supposed to be funny that you basically LIED? Oh, that makes you real smart, huh! Smarter than the rest of us, to say what you DON'T mean, and a real big smart funny JOKE for the rest of us! And oh, it supposedly went over my head right? VWOOSH! Because I didn't think it was funny, I didn't "get it"?

WRONG! I "got it" alright - I got that it was STUPID.

Let me clue you in, Mr. or Mz. Sarcasm: your the idiot. Not us. That's right: YOUR THE IDIOT. YOU ARE the idiot. You are. You're idiocy is in the fact that you call it sarcasm and expect it to be funny, meanwhile it's just an excuse for you to say what you don't mean and to mean what you don't say.

In other words: a BIG FAT LIE.

That's sarcasm.

The Insidious Hegemony of Crayola

Crayola has a monopoly, don't they? Who is their major competitor? Who else is even in that business? I mean at least Heinz has Hunts as their ostensible competitor - even though everybody knows it's no contest!

I really think the government should step in. Crayola has gotten cocky and overstepped their bounds with anticompetitive practices such as getting rid of all the cool color names that I used to love and replacing them with ridiculous new dumb colors like "beaver."

The government needs to step in.

Neglected Terrorist Masterplans of Yesteryore

Hey, remember those awful days after the Al Queda attacks, with the anthrax circulating via mail and all those breathless theories being circulated as to what diabolical, unsuspected method would be exploited against us next?

My favorite one was the one with the supertanker - a gigantic oil tanker? - filled with biochemical weapons (or perhaps, chemical bioweapons) that would be snuck into the eye of a hurricane that was heading straight for the U.S. Eastern seaboard. The idea would be that once the hurricane got close enough, they would detonate the nuclear warhead and hit us right where we'd least expect it - and with what we'd least expect to get hit! - a superinfectious, radioactive hurricane.

Luckily, the internet shot that one down. Once the threat was made known, they'd be fools to go through with it!

However, I'm a little surprised we didn't get at least a Bruce Willis movie out of the whole thing.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Self-Sacrificing Thought of the Day

Way I look at it, if I can save one person from making the same mistake I ever made, then that's worth making that same mistake.

As many times as it takes. I have to set an example.


I always picture Charlie Brown, with that particular exclamation.

Probably no one ever really was in the widespread habit of saying that out loud, as a cry of anguish - not quite like that, you know? "AAUGH!!"? ...but Schultz's strip spelled it that way (with a variable number of U's and A's). Then when the animated cartoons began coming out, the voice actors delivered the line faithfully, and it kind of caught on. It became a real exclamation, suitable for people to exclaim.

More recently we've seen the same sort of thing with Nelson's "HA-hah!" and Homer's "D'oh! from the Simpsons; and "Mmm'kay" from South Park. Although of course, a few people were legitimately saying any and all of these things before any of the respective cartoons came out. But now, they've become not only expletives, interjections - they've become pop-culture references.

I love that a cry of anguish can be a pop-culture reference!

When I was a kid, my mom had kept her original Peanuts collections from her own childhood. Something like the first six or seven years of the strip. The golden years. Collectively, those strips were some of the highest art the comic strip medium has produced, and of course we kids ended up tearing those poor little books to pieces. But before that happened, I had the chance to read them all in one go!

I don't remember how old I was. I was a little guy. Old enough to be able to read, obviously, and old enough to glean the meaning of the word *sigh* from context. Charlie Brown would say *sigh* enough times to establish a good context. But I wasn't old enough to realize that it wasn't something people actually said. "Sigh!"...I didn't connect back the printed word *sigh* with that breathy exhalation of sadness, regret, resignation. So of course, I began saying "sigh!" out loud, when the context of life demanded it. In any of those sorts of *sigh*-worthy situations.

It was years before somebody clued me in. Because by then, I was way too old for that to be cute.

Logical Thought of the Day

If you claim that logic can prove something, but you can't see it yourself, and you can't state it yourself, you are not being logical. You are simply putting blind faith in the idea of logic.

An Open Letter To Nobody

Listen. I know you think I've been ignoring you. It's not like that. I've been too busy ignoring other people to really ignore you the way you deserve to be ignored.

But I will get to it, and soon. It's on my priority list.

As A Male Feminist, I Experience A Certain Amount Of Oppression From Within The Movement

But I figure, that's cool. I'm a man, I can take it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Untitled Poem by Anonymous & P.V. Mann

the sweet bitter flavor of lament and regret
is all that you get - it's all that you get
the songs of summer's sweet salty sweat
the beat you keep, the words forget

in a cove on the beach where we first met
though we didn't know then, that's where we fell
into an abyss, caught in the net
and the surf coming over our heads as well

the sound of the surf pounding over your head
is all that you get - it's all that you get
the deep wet thrum of a drum miles wide
the beat you keep, the words forget

with your hair in the sand as the seagulls spied
though we didn't know then, that's where we fell
with the clouds burnt red as the sunset died
and the surf coming over our heads as well

the sweet bitter flavor of lament and regret
lingers long as I savour it on my tongue
the songs of summer's sweet salty sweat
sound in my head like a giant bell rung

in a cove on the beach where we first met
on the rocks and the sand, skin suntanned
into an abyss, caught in the net
we willingly lept, blindly hand in hand

the sound of the surf pounding over your head
lingers long as I savour it on my tongue
the deep wet thrum of a drum miles wide
sound in my head like a giant bell rung

with your hair in the sand as the seagulls spied
on the rocks and the sand, skin suntanned
with the clouds burnt red as the sunset died
we willingly lept, blindly hand in hand

Friday, November 21, 2008

Who Do You Say I Am?

Most people think of me as a bit of a blowhard, a bit of a showoff; a brash individual with an ever-accumulating stack of chips on his shoulder and no shortage of envious rivals too meek to work up the nerve to knock them off; a stern man, but a fair one; a shining beacon of justice wherever the powerless burrow helplessly into the sand, leery of receiving their unjust punishments; a powerful argument in favor of compassion and decency; and above all, a human man, a fragile and kind man.

That's how people see me, or at least, that's the impression I get of how most people see me. Not popular, I would say, but somewhat of a feared and tolerated figure.

I think that in the past, it was enough for me. Letting others define me in their own eyes. But now though I think maybe I need to take a bit more of an active role - in defining myself.

We'll see where that takes me. Exciting times.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

CSI: Gondor

"Verily, milord - we were meant to think 'twas Orcs!"

Face To Face With Faith

I often thought my mom might secretly have wanted me to be a preacher or, as would have been more likely given the specific side of the schism we came down in, a priest. I think I would have been good at the homily part. I would be up there pounding people on the specifics. I'd throw out a lot of interesting points. I'd skewer people with truths that they never thought to contemplate prior to me coming along. And I'd be doing it all in this increasingly bizarre fake Irish accent!

But as I grow older, I begin to feel that that approach might not really play to my unique gifts. Because when it comes to my whole comfort zone, where I excel the most, I think the natural leaning of my oratory is more in the mode of a right reverend southern-fried Fire n' Gospel style haranguer! I would be 110% awesome at that. I could just keep going and going for hours as needed, freestyle, without ever having to stop and go back for a missed point. Like so:

Bretheren, today we offer up all of our selfish desires and designs of our own, which we burn on the sacred altar of our hearts to the great glory of God's name. A sacrifice of burnt offering, as was done in heathen times. All to the glory of God's name! What could be more glorious than God's name? Oh, that blessed name! We all would like to know what it is, wouldn't we? I bet it's got a couple of long-A sounding vowels in there, what do you think? In God's name, we pray that one day we too will stand righteous and justified in the sight of God and hear that beautiful name when they whisper it to us sweetly on the way into heaven. That is sure to be one knockout of a scene! The trick is, first you have to die.

Just like going to sleep, isn't it dear bretheren? Except when you wake, you wake up in the bed of the Lord! Shout hallelujah!

We need to quit our mourning - what is this mourning? With heaven in our hearts, we should throw off all our black clothes of mourning and run joyfully, naked to meet our deaths! When Paul went down to Tarsus and he shook the dust of the road off his robes, and he went in to declare himselve before the Emperor's council, he knew that he was going in to his death. He knew that he would never again emerge from that vaunted chamber. He knew it like you know your own child. Yet he set his head, flexed his arms out wide and bellowed with a mighty shout of joy before God! And this frightened the superstitious pagans so much that they let him go. Now who now would not call that the hand of God?

And in our lives and hearts too, the hand of God moves in its mysterious ways. So-called mysterious! Mysterious to some, perhaps, but not to the Lord! The Lord knows exactly what He is doing, what is hidden from men's eyes is not hidden from God's eyes. For did not God say into the empty vessel: "Go forth! And be filled again." Hearken unto the lesson in that, dear children! Let that light down into your heart. For it is just now even as it was in the parable of the two servants, which we have heard. In those days, a man had two servants. To one of them, he gave thirty sheckels. The other he had stripped to the waist and publicly whipped! For who shall question the master of the house? Therefore, go and do likewise.

You know, and so forth exactly like that.

I would have been a great preacher I bet. The problem is, I'm no good at the requisite Southern accent. I'm much better at the Irish one! I can hit that Irish accent out of the park. Yet a sermon like the one above, delivered in an Irish accent, would only come off as preposterous!

As so as you can see, that's the dilemma that's kept me out of the pulpit, all these years.

This Thanksgiving, Remember to Eat Your Own Weight

As the holiday season comes 'round, so too do the people celebrating it become round. This is the holidays! People just want to eat better - and more of it! They crave a feast. Turkey! The fixin's! Stuffing, cransauce, you name it and they will be cramming it down their bulging gullets. Teeth ripping plump juicy shreds right off the turkey bone! Fat-fingered hands sopping up gravy from the plate with hot fluffy butterflake rolls! Kids running around waving all ten fingers at you, wiggling ten fat black canned pitted olives.

So what's my point, you ask? Well I don't like the sound of your tone, buster! What do you think is this, Kiev? Precisely whom do you take America for? This great land of ours, which we took from the Indians in exchange for a series of hard lessons in American History, is EXEMPLIFIED by the hallowed traditions that keep us all stuffing our grateful faces in recognition of just exactly how important those traditions are to us, and how much they all mean. And you think you have a RIGHT to question THAT?

Well maybe you do. But I suggest you just keep chewing.

William Shatner Reappreciated

I think that William Shatner's early work - before he arguably descended into what some call self-parody - might best be viewed as a parody of method acting.

Take a look! Check out some of the faces he pulls in that Twilight Zone "Gremlin" episode. Look at some of the choice moments in the first season of Star Trek.

That's clearly what he's doing. I'm almost sure that's what he's doing!

That rogue. Way out there ahead of the curve, puncturing the pomposity of others and getting pilloried for it!

Well I'm with you, Mr. Shatner. I for one appreciate all there is of your genius.

More from the Judicial Reform Advocate

It would save a lot of time if the Supreme Court would just spell everything out for us up front, so we wouldn't have to wait for it to snail its way through the system!

Maybe they could do it as a weekly radio call-in show. Callers would call in, state the problem, say "is the Supreme Court OK with that...?!!" Then the Judgestices would banter it around a bit, to hike up the drama, before finally hitting the buzzer and yelling "UNCONSTITUTIONAL! BOO-YAH!!!"

Also I think their powers should be expanded so they can declare a person Unconstitutional. You know, like the President can issue pardons? This checks that balance.

In fact I think if they take a good look at it, they'll see that their powers don't need to be expanded, that they already have the ability to do this, enshrined in the Constitution already. It's basically in there. Stuck someplace amidst the existing penumbras and emanations.

Thought I'd Put This Here, Just In Case, Pt.2

Nahhh - it's totally a comedy piece! Forget about it.

Funny what some people consider comedy. Sick bastards.

Thought I'd Put This Here, Just In Case...

So anyway, my girlfriend broke up with me, basically because she was mad I wasn't e-mailing her enough from work. To prove my love.

Did I mention my job is HARD?

Anyway. I guess that counts as a best/worst thing. I can do better right? I can do better than ANYONE!!!

See how optimistic.


Anyone who kills himself is off my good guy list! If I kill myself, that's because of my fault not hers, right? RIGHT.

It's indisputable. Inde****ingsputable.

Luckily I have alcohol to help me through the merely emotional tremors.

Ah, the comedy of life.

So anyhow. If I'm not around, it's because of WORK. I don't kill myself for ANYONE.

This, by way of reassurance. Read my blog if you doubt it! I'm twice as resilient as the next guy.

Am I off topic? Or is this a comedy piece. I can never decide with me, that's the problem.

Anyhow. I swear: if I turn up dead, SHE DID IT! Not me. I'm simply not wired that way. But boy did the wine taste funny tonight.

We parted on amicable terms.

Monday, November 17, 2008


in ancient days
my love for you
lurched formlessly
among the wilds
in search of you - to feel about
in search of me - to feel inside
down all those days
without a form,
my love for you
grew mad and strange
'til we were born
and it found me
and I found you
and we were changed.

On Behalf Of Mad Science: A Plea For Sanity

Why is it that mad scientists are better at science than regular scientists? Just look at some of the preposterous things they are able to achieve! Things that ordinary science scoffs at. And yet - those mad scientists, they do it. They pull it off.

If normal science can't equal those kinds of spectacular results, then damn it for the good of the advancement of our species, normal science needs to bite its pride, swallow its tongue, and quit knocking down those in its midst who can! We need to put all of our mainstream scientists into some sort of sensitivity training program. We control their funding, right? Well then they need to toe our line on this one to some extent. We need the fruits of mad science, but preferably without the diabolical threat attached.

So send those tut-tutting humbug fuddy duddies to some scientific diversity appreciation classes! Teach them a little leeway and tolerance. And then the next time a mildly wild-eyed maverick stands forth grinning maniacally at the podium to announce his discovery of a new form of radiation which, if focused tightly into a beam, is capable of creating an extremely localized time-distortion field - instead of mocking the guy and booing him off the stage with catcalls and jeers (pretty unsciency behavior anyway if you ask me!), the whitecoated assemblage will listen, nod a bit, stand, politely applaud and give him a small show of gentle encouragement and glad-handing afterwards. Sure, he's probably a nut, and he can't do any of it. But maybe he's a nut and he can do all of it. Is it worth the risk?

He's already a little crazy, right? Don't push him! We can keep him on the good side of crazy. That's all these mad scientists want. Respect, acceptance, same as anybody. And if we give the poor addled genius just a token show up front, and he can actually do what he says - heck, he'll probably dedicate the resulting hot-ass tech to the good of all humankind, and donate the profits to some tangentially-related charity! These guys don't care about money.

If he pulls it off, we want him to fondly recall his moment of triumph and acceptance, as he unveiled his big find. He'll say - "I showed them all! And they recognized my worth. Now all humanity will share in its beneficial fruits."

As opposed to "They had genius before them and they SPAT UPON IT! I'll show them. I'll show the whole world!!"

I'm so sick of that sad denouement. And then they have to call me in. To thwart the sick, deluded megalomaniac. I swear, I am so sick of thwarting these poor guys.

So that's all I'm saying, Ordinary Science. Try a little tenderness, OK?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Universe Is Abundant And Open To You!

Picture your thoughts. Now - wipe that slate clean, and picture what your thoughts could be.

What if your thoughts are a beacon to the universe? Don't you want good things to flow from the universe to you? Then you must beam positivity from your mind in all directions!

The universe will respond with its customary indifference.

Again, The Music Controversialist

Hey, has anybody noticed that "Werewolves of London" and "Sweet Home Alabama" are the same song?

I mean, I don't want to go looking into which came first or anything, but either way somebody owes a dead guy some money.

Friday, November 14, 2008

And Then Came The Realization

Bullshit. Fucking bullshit. Why do I work so hard when I fucking hate it.

The pay, I suppose. One would probably guess the pay. But one would be wrong. Truth is, I'm in it for the glory.

Still waiting for the glory. I'm due some glory.

Faithful Thought Of The Day

For an agnostic, atheism is a leap of faith.

Quote Of The Day

"I am as strong as a bull moose, and you can use me to the limit."

- Theodore Roosevelt, 1912

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Headache Hurts!

Ow, it's right behind the eye.

Which makes me realize how much I really need to stop watching "House."

Who DOESN'T HATE Semantics??

I'll tell you, there's nothing people hate more than a semantic argument. There's nothing people hate more than investing precious time and effort to-and-froing back and forth for ages at a fevered pitch, getting more and more convinced that the other person can't possibly be right - only to find out suddenly that they were arguing over nothing the whole time. Or to be more precise, that they had no argument at all; each of them was arguing a line that did not at any point intersect with the other's. They were each basing their argument upon a different, legitimate sense of a disputed word or phrase.

That's worse than a tie, really. Nobody can stomach that. The wasted effort. It's like you're all sweaty and winded, halfway through a hard-fought football game when suddenly you notice the other guy's been playing soccer the whole time. Both people are like, "bullshit! Semantics!!"

Actually, usually, only one person can be like that. Because at the point where they both suddenly realize the whole thing was a waste of time - that they had no actual argument - one person has to take the responsibility of pointing it out, and then the other person has to level the accusation: "bullshit! Semantics!!" Both people technically lose the argument (because it was a total waste of time) but there can be different points awarded depending on how clever the "point-out-the-retroactively-obvious" guy can come across, versus how indignant the "self-righteous-and-not-weaseling-around" guy can come across.

But really, folks: let's get together on this. Semantics is not a trick, to get out of a lost argument unscathed. You want to tell me that you could spend even a couple minutes arguing with somebody, and then they could suddenly try to switch the meaning on you, claim that they've been arguing something else? Is that going to work? On you? Really?

If that works on you, wouldn't you have to be a MORON?

That would have to be pathetic. Anyone who can accuse someone of semantics - as if it's a trick - is just admitting that they're either stupid or they weren't paying attention. Because if it WAS a trick, and if you WERE paying attention, you could call them on it easily, using practically every point they tried to make! Anyone who tried that trick with me past the third rejoinder of the argument, I'd already have ample points of their own making upon which to skewer them - any one of which would be sufficient to pin them precisely down to the meaning they were trying to employ.

It's just a matter of paying attention. 90% of the time, when an argument goes on and on and then is finally exposed as merely a semantic disagreement, the participants simply were not paying attention. If it's an honest semantic disagreement, each participant should then be able to look down the other's whole line of reasoning and admit "oh, okay - yeah, that is consistent with what you were saying." It is going to be pretty butt-evident (in retrospect, at least). And to anyone who wants to claim that the semantic angle is a sham, if there's the slightest bit of basis to their claim, then the means for them to back it up are going to be just as evident.

Better to be alert, to listen, to sniff out the underlying semantic disagreement early. Don't just charge in blindly, scenting victory! Make sure you're both on the same field first. If you take a moment to make sure you understand the terms, half the time you find there's no argument left to argue. Much better to find that out at the start of the argument, don't you think? Rather than an hour later, with everybody feeling all hot and growly, hoodwinked and abused.

Semantics is the study of meaning, and without meaning, argument is as impossible as agreement. There can be no fruitful argument without shared, undisputed first principles. If two disputants don't agree on the fundamental meaning of a key term in their dispute, they won't agree on any point further down the line. It follows.

Take it from me: paying attention to semantics is more than worth the effort. People who pay attention to semantics save themselves all of those frustrating, idiotic, time wasting "only semantic" arguments. They save themselves by clearing up the semantic difficulty up-front.

Plus, if you find yourself on the losing end of a long, pitched argument, and you get the sense that the opponent hasn't really been paying attention to what you were saying, you can often use semantics as a sneaky trick to get out of it unscathed!

No, I'm kidding. That's not right. As I've already discussed!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sage Words From I Forget Who

Someone once told me: in an argument, every time the other person raises their voice, you lower yours - make your voice that much more even and reasonable.

Man, it sounds insane but it TOTALLY WORKS. They get SO PISSED OFF!! And everybody nearby is like, "hey psycho, why are you shouting when he's all reasonable?"

Sweetest trick I ever learned. I pass it on to you.

Be All

This actually sucks. When I was a kid, the military ads stank. Totally weak. I wasn't the slightest bit persuaded to go. To Serve. But now, the ads they have are much more of a quality. They inspire! The spirit soars, as we see these determined youths in their bulky camo garb and drab helmets, holding their grim weapons and gazing into the distance with just the right glint of determinedness and intrepidation and kill-the-enemy in their eyes, but also with a certain humanity - a certain vulnerability perhaps, as if to say, "hey - I'm not some kind of fighting MACHINE, just a brave soul who was willing to sign up to do the JOB."

And that kind of gets me! It puts a catch in my throat. It makes me wish they had ads like these running back in the day, back in my day, before I became all...old and useless to the effort.

I might have joined.

I might have SERVED.

And by God, if that had happened, we wouldn't be in this mess!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Should Clowns Be A Protected Minority?

First of all let me say this: I hate clowns. I hate them and everything they stand for, except for balloons. Furthermore, I personally guarantee you as a tolerant-minded, non-judgmental Christian man that in my opinion, ALL CLOWNS GO TO HELL.

However, I am able to separate these purely religious beliefs from what I know of American virtues and values, and I can step back, take a hard look at it dispassionately and say this: these pasty-faced freaks with their technicolor cheeks, mouths and noses deserve protection. Just like any minority, clowns face discrimination wherever they go. In bars. In the workplace (circuses perhaps excluded).

Even just out in public, people like me knock them down every chance we get. Cyclists cut them off whenever they try to use their unicycles in the bike lane. Cops pull their little cars over and write a ticket for every unbelted passenger - not only a clear case of profiling, but those tickets can run into the thousands of dollars! It is not the fault of clowns that automobile manufacturers do not provide ample seatbelts for up to two dozen passengers.

I believe that equal protection for clowns is implicit in several key clauses of the Constitution. Now some may say: these clowns chose their lifestyle. Therefore they deserve no protection. I dispute this. Recent research into genetics indicates that no one is to blame for anything they do, and that includes clowns.

I spit on clowns. I admit it. But maybe, just maybe, in a land like this of ours...I shouldn't be allowed to do it.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

That Ol' Eternal Question Again: Why We Suffer

Is that still a question? I thought they finished grinding that axe down to the nub in the sixties. But people keep bringing it up like it's an issue. Oh well.

With an evident shocking lack of compassion and based on my best understanding of theology, Why We Suffer:
1. consequences of mortality: world designed as a "forge of souls" - a place in which souls (= "selves") can come into being, learn, self-determine and choose who they are in a non-coercive free will environment - but not as our final home. This life must pass for each of us, which involves psychic pain as loved ones pass.

2. consequences of nature: pain - the ability to sense damage, instilling damage-avoidance - is an indispensible survival mechanism for non-indestructible organisms.

You can get as deep into it as you like, but I've never seen an alternative plan for the universe that would eliminate suffering without compromising one or more of the following:
1. mortality. Essential to move us on from this world where we form/choose our identities, to the next world which is infinitely more significant (or at least, drags on for an eternity longer than this one).

2. a plausibly natural environment. Essential for free will. If God's existence were provable, that would present an overwhelmingly coercive element.

3. universal physical laws - fundamental, consistent, discoverable. Essential for human achievement, scientific advancement, even just simple appreciation of this amazing universe.

4. free will. Very little point to the world if God were to wire everyone's brain so that evil was not a possible choice.

If we argue that the theistic premise is incompatible with this world, we have to at least accept the tenets of the premise for the sake of making our argument - so we can demonstrate where they fail. By definition, an omnipotent God has the ability to undo any and all damage done during this brief blip of existence, no matter whether the suffering was spiritual, emotional, or physical.

Those who say God should have created a universe without suffering ought to at least venture a description of such a universe. It isn't enough to say "God could have done it" without continuing to: "but what would the consequences have been?" Because sure, if God can do anything then God could solve the problem of suffering by voiding cause and effect. By creating an irrational universe. But this is not an improvement on what we have.

Some attempts at an "improved universe" concept involve physical laws that are not universal and comprehensible but capricious, whimsical, swerving to avoid hurting babies and old people.

Other attempts involve a hyper-interventionist "cape and boots" God who miracles away all the bad stuff just in time. But a universe whose consistent, fundamental laws are constantly being divinely undermined is little different from the universe with no consistent, fundamental laws.

Others involve just creating us indestructible in the first place. Well, sure. In fact, according to the stories, this method was tried first - with mixed results. For us, it seems God wanted to try something with a little less overbearing supernatural aspect than the indestructible-spirit-beings-created-directly-to-heaven angelic approach. Something a bit more natural - a world as a temporary place in which to come into being, to live, learn and decide. And then, those precious self-determined selves (the whole point of the exercise) can be gathered in to eternity.

Hey, we can quibble on the devils in details - on who says who goes to hell and all that crap. But I say all of that is God's problem, and that we should "judge not" like it says in the book.

The way the world is set up, suffering and all, is a surpassingly beautiful and transcendent place. This life is a gift, and this universe is a masterpiece. Everything fits, seamlessly - and we fit into it. Though we sometimes get caught in its teeth, most adults - theist or atheist - can understand that such things happen in a natural world. If the revisionist anti-sufferers had the drawing board back, we'd be living in a pale and insipid padded playpen of a universe. We would be free to do anything except get hurt, learn hard lessons for ourselves, decide what we believe and what's worth fighting for - basically, we could do everything except GROW UP.

Perhaps God wants us to grow up. Perhaps that's what we are here for. To come into being, and to grow the F up - as individuals, yes, but also as a species. Perhaps God wants us to unlock everything and learn all that there is to learn. Perhaps God chose adult virtues over childish ones.

Those who disparage God on the basis of this world (and "this world" encompasses the universe) are saying "it is not valid for God to look at it from God's viewpoint. God must look at it from ours." And I can sympathize with that, being myself too much in this world.

But I can also detach a bit, and consider how God-as-advertised might look at it. Eternal God. Omnipotent God. This is a God who can heal all hurts in the end, and one who knows that eternity is probably a long enough time for us to get over our lingering resentments over the injustice of it all.

But hey, if we can come up with a better setup for the universe, I say we give it a shot. Maybe humanity can get together grass-roots style and shame God into adopting it. That will be a big point for us as a species, I believe.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


SACRAMENTO - In a shocking setback, my lottery numbers have suffered an overwhelming defeat. Analysts were at a loss to explain the outcome. Long-time lottery observer Rico Consalves observed, "Upon further analysis, what seemed like a sure thing was shown up to be in fact quite a longshot. The assumption was that after twelve years and losses in 100+ straight draws, these numbers were 'due'. Now we're having to rethink our thinking on that."

"This latest outrage just points up the limitations of the system," claims Dalton Stens-Keck, a prominent lottery reform advocate. "What's needed is a comprehensive, top-down review and reform of the entire bloated lottery bureaucracy."

When asked whether I would continue to play the same numbers, switch to a new set of numbers, go with the "Quick Pick" option or quit playing the lottery entirely, I had no comment.

Dissociative Press (11-06-08) 6:10AM PST


On a day such as today, it is well to reflect that on the day we are born, we are not able to eat any cake whatsoever. Our immature mouths are not adapted for such rich fare. Therefore let us not pass up our opportunity to enjoy cake now, while we still have time. Soon enough, we will sit ripening in the grave - no appetite left for cake! Therefore let us have delicious cake, NOW, not later.

Paid for by the cake council.

Does God Spam? Pt.2

A little harsh in that last post, huh? Yeah, well. Let me take this opportunity to sympathize with those savaged. To argue the other side.

"Devil's Advocate" I believe is the correct term.


In this increasingly secular world in which we live, believers may feel a bit besieged by threatening specters they wot not of. Science, and reason, and the separation of church and state, and assorted such bogeymen.

Now, it's true that none of those things threaten or even conflict with belief or with the existence of God in any way! But that's no help to you if you don't have a real confident handle on the basis of your faith, and/or you're easily intimidated. Those specters can still pack spook. We feel as though we being are made to feel irrational, insecure, isolated, shunned. Marginalized.

And so, we beleaguered believers band together, trying to find ways to keep each other's spirits up in the face of the various perceived threats. An e-mail like this hits the in-box, and even though we say "MAN. That is PRETTY WEAK STUFF!" - we can't help but feel the strong urge to forward it on. Just as a show of sympathy and support. Just to huddle around even such meager heat as these feeble flames provide, to warm our spirit's chill.

Is it so wrong to want to bolster that sense of community, to want to send out a message of encouragement, even though the message is rather embarrassingly poorly written? Is it so wrong to forward it on anyway?

YES. It is. Please go back and read the previous post again. SHEESH.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Does God Spam?

So, I’m reading through this e-mail I received today, and I’m thinking to myself “Does God really want me to forward this e-mail to 8 other people, including the one who originally sent it to me? Would doing so really mean I have 'succeeded in praying for eight people today'? Would doing so really constitute ‘standing up for Jesus’?”

I feel as though I am being "guilted," here. Does God go in for the guilt-based coercion? I mean, obviously I know that the Jewish God and the Christian God are one-and-the-same, but I just don’t see God as needing to resort to that at this point.
"Be one of the 7% who will stand up for Jesus!! 93% WILL NOT FORWARD THIS E-MAIL ON!!!"

Well, Good Lord and hallelujah! 93% will not forward it on! I will have to side with the moral (or rather, morally and intellectually scrupulous) majority on that one.

It wouldn't be so bad if the e-mail itself were not so paltry. It wouldn't be so bad if it deserved to be forwarded, just based on its own merits. Just based on what it had to say about life and God. But this crock of flat platitudes, cracked anecdotes, butt-smacked cutesy acronyms and theological points ranging from plain dumb to plain wrong only reflects poorly on A) the persons who've sent it, B) the person(s) who composed it, C) believers in general, and possibly even D) God, since it was after all God who created all the above.

However, I'm going to take a bold step here. Just like I don't hold God responsible for the many, many failings of those who believe, I am not going to hold God responsible for this e-mail. For its paucity of inspiration, for its mawkishness, for its transparent attempts at clumsy spiritual blackmail, I blame only the humans complicit in its creation and dissemination. I put it down to the combination of their free will and their sad lack of discernment. I absolutely do not blame God for e-mails like this. God may be a jealous God, but God is not so needy and clingy that we must appease the Divine Insecurity Complex by filling in-boxes the world over with soft-headed mumbledy mush.

If only there were so much as a gleam of inspiration anywhere in the e-mail! If only there were anything in it worth forwarding on! Just a bare wisp of genuine uplift, just a soft hint of genuine solace, a glimmer of true short, if there were even a scrap of redeeming value. Anything. Jesus died on the cross for us, people. The apostle Paul filled all of Christendom with epistles to guide us. And…this is your best effort?

Hey, I'm not saying that any of us can meet or beat that standard. But come on. If you give it your best effort and the result is this all-ass extravaganza...then please, you needn't feel obligated to bless the rest of us with it.

If you yearn to write life-affirming, inspirational spiritual e-mails but you can't tell whether or not you suck at it, here's a test: is questioning the strength of their belief – essentially, insulting and impugning their faith – the only way you can get people to forward your e-mail? If so, then that's your answer. You have no gift. Do Not Hit Send. E-mails that actually deserve to be forwarded will not resort to coercion. Just take a deep breath, and realize that you are under no compunction to dip your quill in the e-epistle well. You cannot help the cause that way.

Strewing lukewarm bilge across the internet is part of no one’s Christian calling.

E-mails like this one I received today are, frankly, an embarrassment to Christianity itself. And not just an embarrassment! E-mails like this offer direct aid to Satan's efforts by essentially, defaming Christianity and undermining its appeal to potential converts. E-mails like this harden peoples' hearts against Jesus.

No, really. They do. Consider the impact!

E-mails like this give a false idea of what faith is and what faith entails. They advertise Christians as weak-minded, unimaginative drones who will forward on an e-mail we know to be tasteless and utterly lacking in inspiration (divine or otherwise), just because someone is laying it on thick that if we really believe, our duty as believers must be to propagate someone else’s e-crap. No matter how manifestly non-inspired it is. No matter that a moron could tell that a moron wrote it! We must forward it on, in order to show our true beliefyness. To show faithfulness, we must demonstrate mindlessness.

That is an utterly false representation of faith - borderline blasphemous if you ask me, but let's just split the difference and call it implied libel. And every time someone forwards that e-mail on again, that warped perception of what belief means – of who believers are – is confirmed as reality. Imagine the effect on a young person, maybe teetering on the brink of pursuing a spiritual path! E-mails like this actively repel non-believers.

Actually, we all know that e-mails like this actively repel most believers as well - hence the need for the strongarm guilt tactics!

Why do we do it? Why do we forward it on? Clearly such e-mails do not even attempt evangelism! In place of any effort to spread the good news, there is only a nervous, chummy insularity - the blatant assumption that the recipient is already on board, and furthermore now needs to make a show of it. Rally round the e-mail prayer chain! Let's slap each other faintly on the back for a while, and feel better about ourselves because those heathen don't care. And the message comes through clear enough: we don't care about those heathen, either.

They can rot in hell, for all we care - right? The smug presumption of the blessed 7%, who stand up for Jesus by making the mighty sacrifice of a few key-clicks.

Why do we forward that on. Why do we perpetuate such substanceless, faithless, empty gestures of rah-rah Christianity? Because we don't want to feel bad about not whiting our sepulchres to the liking of others? Because it’s easier to go along with someone else’s mediocre chain letter than it is to express our own love of God in our own unique God-given voices? Here’s an idea – when you get one of these, instead of hitting 'Forward', why not compose your own brand-new original, heartfelt, inspired message for today only - and send that on to 8 people? Including the original sender! Maybe even include a few riskier recipients, the state of whose souls you don't flatter yourself you already know?

Be sure to tell all of them not to forward it on.

Election Day: Solemn Insights, Rigorous Self-Examination

Well, I sure started this morning right. I've got a lapful of coffee and a bellyful of the democratic process!

I've got to tell you, it's a sweet deal for democracy when a dude like me gets to have his say! What with all my dramatic insights into the process, and my solid grounding in the particulars, my voice counts for more than most I would say. With the exception of the fact that on this day at least, everybody's voice gets to count the same.

Except for the people counting the votes of course! Their voice counts too, but for them it's more their fingers than their voice that counts. Naturally, some of those might be electronic fingers, in this day and age. Why count by hand when a robot will do? And why shouldn't the robot have a voice in the process as well! One voice, one vote - that's what I say! That's the democratic process, going all the way back, back to the very dawn of it all, back long ago. Back to the time of the great Galactic Republic. Before the dark days.

Before the Empire.

Anyhow. I did all my research last night, into all the various candidates and propositions - even scrutinizing the actual text of the propositions in certain cases where it was a close call - and I have to say, I like my chances in the office Election pool!

We'll see what happens. I'm feeling pretty optimistic.

Monday, November 03, 2008

But I Have To Ask #7

But I have to ask: if psychologists have to deal with the psychopaths, shouldn't the sociologists have to deal with the sociopaths?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

A Testament Of Faith

I bet I'm more religious than anbody in here. No offense, but I'm like, I was like a what do they call it - a prodigy. A religious child prodigy. Sure, I've suffered a few setbacks since then, but I still test way off the charts faith-wise, and in fact I've become convinced that it's only a matter of time 'til I perform my first miracle (ably assisted by the Man Upstairs!!!). In fact, that's the real reason I used to refuse to learn how to swim.

Now some might say, all of that is EMPTY like a WHITED SEPULCHRE! That a truer test of faith is humility in the face of the divine!

Well don't you worry, I've got that in spades as well.