Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – beating back the theocrats again, Pennsylvania

control-of-the-Republican-party-and-theyre-sure-trying-to-do-so-its-going-to-be-a-terrible-damn-problem_-Frankly-these-people-frighten-me_-Barry-GoldwaterHere, in my lovely home state of Pennsylvania, the PA House of Representatives has been sued by some residents for not allowing a secular e.g. non-theist based invocation before the body. The suit, brought by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, American Atheists, and members of various local groups here in PA, is brought because the PA HR has refused to allow a secular invocation.

The US Supreme Court decided in 1983 that bodies like the PA HR can start their business with an invocation, so this is not to stop invocations. It is to stand up for equal representation, requiring such bodies to acknowledge that not only their pet religion be allowed to stand up in front of them and be counted. The PA Senate allowed a secular invocation, but the House is notoriously conservative and goes out of its way to advocate for Christian, and Christian only, legislation like requiring In God We Trust be in public schools, that the Bible be the official book, and other theocratic nonsense. That is not to say every House member is a wannabe theocrat but a large number of them are.

Now, the invocations that are proposed are to follow. My question to my theist readers is why this should not be allowed? Why would a house member (unsurprisingly a Republican and the Speaker) hide behind this?

“Nowhere [in the Supreme Court decision of Greece v. Galloway] did we see any language which would require legislative bodies to allow nonbelievers to address the opening of legislative bodies in lieu of an opening prayer by a regular chaplain. It is our opinion, that while the Court encouraged a diversity of prayer givers, we do not believe that government bodies are required to allowed non-adherents or nonbelievers the opportunity to serve as chaplains.”

And why do the leaders of the HR try to use security to force obedience to their religion: Continue reading

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – AU blog post “Texas Theocrat Says Voting For Trump Is OK Because God Has ‘A Different Standard’”

Amazing the excuses that some Christians will use.

“David Barton, the Religious Right’s favorite phony historian, is trying to sell his base on voting for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. But where most of Barton’s allies have resorted to pumping up Trump by dumping on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Barton acknowledges Trump’s flaws – but says they don’t matter because Trump has been chosen by God to lead the United States.

Furthermore, Barton says, if you don’t vote for Trump, God might hold you accountable.” – http://au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/desperate-plea-texas-theocrat-says-voting-for-trump-is-ok-because-god-has-a

Barton is a notorious liar in history, politics and religion.  He does serve as a great example of a TrueChristian and I have to thank him for demonstrating just how idiotic the Christian god is by listing all of the bad choices for leaders this god made.

 

Addendum:  and now another Christian pastor is sure that Trump is here to prepare the way for JC and the “end times”.  http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/trump-christian-liaison-god-raised-trump-help-pave-way-second-coming

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – American “values” and Trump’s usual idiocy

trump nz“We should only admit in this country those who share our values and respect our people.  Trump added, “The time is overdue to develop a new screening test.” (all quotes from this site).

And he has no idea what this screening test would be.   How does one tell if someone is simply lying?   I’m guessing this twit is sure that he can see into someone’s soul, like Duhbya claimed of Putin and how great a guy he was.

What are these “values”?    And if we keep people out of the country for not sharing these values, what happens to those people who are deemed not sharing those values who are citizens of the US?  Do they lose their rights if not agreeing with the dithering of Trump?

Especially those people who don’t follow what Trump says here “At the same time, Trump said his administration “will speak out against the oppression of women, gays and people of different beliefs”

His base are those people who are all for oppressing women, oppressing homosexuals, oppressing anyone who doesn’t follow the religion that they do.  From what he says, he has no intention of representing their desires.

Of course, he doesn’t even stand by this, with his own attacks on Clinton,  and using all of the dog whistles that say that she’s not fit to be president because she a woman or as he said “He also added that Clinton “lacks the mental and physical stamina to take on ISIS and many of the adversaries we face.”   How hilariously Victorian.  Alas, reality shows that he’s wrong and lying again.

As usual, this man shows he is has no idea what he is saying and his followers evidently don’t care or are too stupid to notice.   Lies and ignorance are what drive his campaign and it’s sad that so many accept what he says without a single thought.

 

 

What the Boss Likes – Gen Con 2016 and our adventures in cosplay, part 3

I do wonder how my resident wannabee troll will explain this :)

I do wonder how my resident wannabee troll will explain this🙂

Here I am back with my costume.

This painting was much more of a challenge. The most peculiar part is the pauldrons on the outside of the coat. There are a couple of ways one can interpret the painting. 1. There is a coat and there are indeed pauldrons on the outside of it (the way I went)., then there is a breastplate under the coat and a gold gambeson under that. 2. It could also be interpreted that that the “coat” is really a long vest, and the paracountess is wearing a red gambeson under her breastplate/pauldrons, and a gold shirt under that. On afterthought, I think the second version would have been a bit easier.

The photo shows the costume well enough. I do need to remember to have my tall husband sit when he takes pictures of me so I’m not looking any more short and squat than needed by the angle🙂

The pauldrons are also small in the image and for them to stay in place they need to be bigger or have some type of odd harness to get them to be where they are. I had straps under the arms and two across the back.pauldrons-1

I bought a jumbo sheet of Worbla for this experiment. I got it at cosplaysupplies.com, it comes with free shipping. This was 100 cm x 150 cm.   I had this and a little left of the small sheet that I had initially ordered. At the moment, I probably have about 2 square feet of it left. Out of this I made bracers, a breast plate, pauldrons/spaulders, and a cutlass, plus the staff for Ezren. It cuts with a large pair of scissors (think regular sewing shears), and it is moldable like clay (rather hot clay, since it has to be heated before you can form it).

There is no secret for how any of these were made: it was trial and error. I used thin cardboard (beer boxes) to make patterns. I did reference various armor tutorials online and I’ve seen my share having once been a member of the SCA. Cardboard doesn’t quite move like heated Worbla but it does the trick.

Once I cut out the worbla after finessing the cardboard patterns, I needed to decide how thick it had to be. A tutorial on the worbla website had how to avoid using a complete sandwich of worbla/craft foam/worbla and I was able to cut down on how much I needed. You can see the technique here. You can also see how I rigged the strapping. I used plastic clips to hold the straps where I didn’t use elastic bands.

To heat the Worbla, I used a regular heat gun that you can get at any hardware/home improvement store. I also used the sun, since we had a few 90+ degee (F) days and I just let the Worbla sit in the sun. Small pieces can get too warm, and I literally had to lift some of them up with a spatula. The larger ones just got soft enough for me to only need a few seconds with the heat gun to finish the forming. One tip I have to offer is to use baking parchment (paper infused with silicone) to use under your worbla parts. Then they won’t stick if they get too hot. The paper can also show you when you are getting too enthusiastic with the heat gun since it turns brown at around 400 degrees (F). It *will* burn. Continue reading

What the Boss Likes – Gen Con 2016 and our adventures in cosplay – part 2

to see the detail

to see the detail

At most science fiction and fantasy based conventions, there is cosplay popping up. This is at its simplest, recreating a costume of a favored character and wearing it around. It can get as complicated as acting like the character when interacting with other cosplayers or with the audience. The idea is as old as SF/F conventions but has become much more prevalent recently. I’m going to guess that this is because it isn’t as odd as it used to be, there is the internet and technology has improved so much that one isn’t limited to a copy of a Starfleet uniform. There are also tv shows like Face Off (make up and effects) and Heroes of Cosplay to make it more familiar.

Gen Con isn’t by far the most popular convention for cosplay. You can look to the various Comicons and Dragon Con for that. However, more and more folks are partaking. I decided last year that I wanted to try my hand at it and gave myself a year to do two costumes. I refused to be sewing the costumes my hotel room. I really hated that Heroes of Cosplay show for being idiotic in amping up the drama and stress for no reason (well, there was a reason, some humans like to see misery).

These are the two characters I chose: Ezren by Wayne Reyolds and Paracountess Talminari by Yama Orce They both do great work. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Reynolds at the con and he gave me and my husband very nice compliments about the costume.

My personal opinion is that cosplay is best done if you physically resemble the character that you choose to play. I know that many people disagree with this, and I do understand why. However, there are characters I’d love to cosplay and it would simply be ridiculous (think Storm from X-men in her punk phase being played by me). I figured I could make a decent middle aged villainess and my husband is a great Ezren even without the costume.

This isn’t a “how-to” blog post. It isn’t step by step. If the reader has any questions that aren’t answered, please feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to explain what I did and why.   I’m a seamstress of middling ability (lots of work in doing historical re-enactment garb) and I have a good mind when it comes to tearing apart images and figuring out how they would work in three dimensions. I also have a fairly high tolerance for failure, and most importantly funds that I can play with. Continue reading

What the Boss Likes – vacation in Indianapolis for Gen Con 2016, part 1

A couple of years ago, we went to Gen Con 2014 (posts here and here).  We went back again this year and just got home.  Here are some photos I took at the zoo, and one weird photo that I got coming home.

 

And the weird photos of what we saw in the sky just east of Indy at around dawn on 08/08/2016

 

The large photo and the detail:

 

Perhaps it’s chemtrails?  :)   To poison angels in heaven to be sure (yes, it’s a parody website).

Once I get some more photos worked on, I’ll show the cosplay we did at the con.  Oy, am I tired.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – and now for more questionable Christian nonsense

and this is the fellow that some atheists claim is a nice guy

and this is the fellow that some atheists claim is a nice guy

During the run up to the Reason Rally, Ray Comfort was touting his new movie The Atheist Delusion. This was going to be *the* answer to non-Christians, and it was going to be such a surprise. He was also going to give out $25,000 in Subway gift cards to anyone who would take his book.

Well, the reviews are out and thanks to his fellow Christians, we know that yet again Ray has nothing new and charges $19.95 for the pleasure of discovering this. (it’ll be free in a couple weeks on youtube)  The supposed surprise in TAD is the same argument he’s used before, that DNA needs a creator and that creator has to be his version of the Christian god. No evidence for this claim, and a lot of edited interviews that purport to have atheists agreeing with him.

Christians, you have a choice: give Ray more money for a repeat performance in order for him to make more retreads, or perhaps give $20 to an organization that actually does something for someone. Your local food pantry can use that $20, your local animal shelter or human shelter, Oxfam, Doctors without Borders, Smile Train, etc.

Now, what is more beneficial: giving money in an a desperate attempt to shore up ones faith, a faith that supposedly doesn’t need evidence, or giving money to help people who need it?   There are piles of evidence that DNA is less than perfect, which makes the Christian god look a little odd for making something not completely efficient and that won’t cause horrible maladies in the creatures that bear it.  We also have evidence that DNA and therefore genes have evolved, something that many Christians claim isn’t true.  The most recent bit of evidence is the genetic portrait being researched for the last common universal ancestor aka LUCA.  What causes problems for theist claims is that they want to benefit from the same science that shows that their myths are wrong.   The same science that supports the LUCA is the same science that allows them to have modern foodstuffs, modern medicine, GPS, computers, etc.

Update: now two months and still no sign of the charitable donation of the $25K in Subway gift cards that Comfort said he was going to make since he chose not to give them out at the Reason Rally.