Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Calling something “evil”

I decide basement cat needed an appearance.

Sometimes you don’t know whether to laugh or cry at what people do.  This Christmas I’m getting my nieces and nephews books.  So, I ask sister in law in an email  “what would the kids like to read about”.  And she says the Hunger Games for the eldest (she also seriously suggested Bill O’Reilly’s exercises in historical fiction which I just laughed at.)  The suggestions for the others were *much* more reasonable.  

So, I replied that that was fine, though I found the book odd in how it’s written (first person immediate), but I would have probably loved it when I was his age, having a predilection for post-apocalyptic books and “young person on their own” books.  I suggested that he might also like the Harry Potter books being that they are the exact same plot, young person with skills ends up fighting evil and saving the world and they are popular so he can talk to his friends about them.  I knew that my brother and she had said that they didn’t’ like them when they first came out.  Hoping against hope, I thought I’d mention them again to see how bad things really were. And how did SIL respond?

“we have stayed away from the Harry Potter because of all the witchcraft theme with a good evil vs bad evil…..he has asked about the Hunger Games……never asked for Harry Potter………hmmmm” 

This is a person who went to college, almost got a masters but didn’t bother finishing it, and has a parent, a pastor, that was so sure that the “tribulation” was coming in 2001 (you remember, the Y2K bug nonsense?) that they put fish in their swimming pool(they are still there). Yes, that last part explains everything unfortunately.  One would have thought she could think for herself, but evidently not. She also seems to think that since the boy hasn’t asked about Harry Potter, she must be right about how evil it is.  It couldn’t be that she’s her own self-fulfilling prophecy, that Mom saying it’s evil repeatedly couldn’t possibly make the child afraid of saying that they want to read it. ;D

I am going to call her on such nonsense.  Maybe in a shorter format than here so she has no excuses about it being “too long”, but I’m going to call her on it just the same. Here, I can stretch my legs. 

Dear SIL,

It’s interesting on how you’ve decided, with no support at all, to claim that fellow Christians and millions of people around the world, including me, are evil and that we do evil things.  Not even every Christian thinks that a book about magic is true or has a hissy when someone talks about magic.  Nope, we have Christians just as “good” as you who have no problems with Harry Potter and his fight against evil beings like Voldemort and using spells to do so. JK Rowling is a Christian though not your sectof Christianity. I admit, the HP stories aren’t that good, but they certainly aren’t evil.  I’ll get your son The Hunger Games, but I wonder about the choice if you have such problems with Harry Potter. It’s always better to read about kids killing each other rather than helping each other?  (I suppose I should be glad it’s not badly written sparkly vampires and whiny girls.)

I’ve heard this “ooh “x” is eeevvviiilllll”  for years.  Let’s see, what has been declared the end of civilization as we know it by a certain variety of Christian?  Rock and roll, heavy metal, and we certainly can’t forget “backmasking”, various books that they try to get banned like Huckleberry Finn because it has “cursing” oh and that boy befriending a black man, tsk, can’t have that and “Hey God, it’s me Margaret” that dares to talk about girls as they are; Dungeons & Dragons, Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, video games, Democrats, a president who has ancestry from within 20 degrees of the equator, equal rights for women, for people darker than a tan, for homosexuals, etc. I’ll address a few that are near and dear to me. Continue reading

The Superstitious Nake Ape is an exellent blog, and even more so for exposing the lunacy of religion and politics while referencing the giant rabbit “Harvey”.

We all know the story of President George. W. Bush implementing measures in 2001 which essentially ended U.S. Stem Cell research and put American medical science a decade behind the rest of the world for no other reason than his religion got in the way of the public good. Alone this is a standout example of why this thing called New Atheism (a vocal, rational rebuttal to unjustified religious interference in secular societies) exists, but there is a better, much lesser known Bush story which paints an even clearer picture, and to get there we must first go through this unlikely chap:

Meet Elwood P. Dowd; a softly spoken, gently mannered, entirely likeable man who had – he said – an invisible six-foot, three-and-one-half-inch tall rabbit friend named, Harvey. Granted, it’s an odd admission for a grown man but in forty-seven year old Elwood’s defence Harvey was in fact a Púca…

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Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Pat Robertson’s excuses on why he got it wrong

no idea the origin of this. thank you creator of this image.

Unsuprisingly, Pat Robertson is now creating excuses for why he lied about his god telling him who was going to win the presidential election.  Poor Pat, I knew this would happen.  

“So many of us miss God. I won’t get into great detail about elections but I sure did miss it. I thought I heard from God; I thought I had heard clearly from God. What happened? “You ask God, ‘How did I miss it?’ Well, we all do and I’ve had a lot of practice.”

Lots of practice getting things wrong?  I think Pat just had a Freudian slip there, how nice.  He has no idea of when he’s right or wrong about his religion. Of course, this admission does beg the question, why is this god, assuming its real, so inept?  Based on the claims of Pat, it can’t  or won’t get its message through to someone like him who claims to know what this god is wanting all of the time?  So, now we have several possibilities:

  1. Pat’s god is not anything like advertised, not omnipotent, not omniscient and not benevolent at all.  The bible and the claims about it are wrong. There’s no way to know what, if any, parts of it have any truth behind them.
  2. Pat Robertson willingly lies and cannot be trusted to get any thing right from his god.  All Pat says is what Pat wants, not what some god wants.   This also means any god that disagrees with Pat evidently can’t do anything about such vermin.
  3. This god doesn’t exist at all.  Continue reading

What the Boss Likes – Third Rock Radio

NASA has started Third Rock Radio, new music with plenty of science for nerds like me.  I highly recommend that you check it out.

http://www.rfcmedia.com/thirdrockradio/

Yes, they do call it American’s Space Station  🙂

It does start playing as soon as you land on the page and a little loudly.  Be warned you folks at work!

Their Facebook page has more nerdly goodness: http://www.facebook.com/thirdrockradionasa

More info on the station: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/nasalife/features/3rdrock.html

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Secession! and a smidgen of geology

Isn’t “pout-rage” such a great word?  It fits just about anyone who takes a fit when something doesn’t go their way, from three-year olds, to theocrats who can’t watch women’s vaginas when they want to.  

One of the best examples of this pout-rage is the calls for secession from the United States of America.  Poor things, they didn’t get their way so they want to take their balls and go home!  

I’m all for Texas to leave the USA (alas Austin, you seem trapped).  Indeed, I’d be happy if the states of the old “confederacy” would all up and leave.  I’d feel sorry for those trapped in such a country.    

I love alternative histories so what indeed would happen to an “independent” Texas or a new confederacy?  Hmmm, well, health care would become based on prayer and that’s all.  Can’t have anyone thwarting “God’s Will” with any science, you know.  No vaccines, no chemotherapy, no antibiotics, no surgery. And women’s health care, pshaw, they don’t need more than their husbands can give them. The tragedy of Savita Hallapanavar would repeat it self again and again. Nothing could be allowed that dared to be based on that horrible awful no good very bad “evolutionary theory” or the scientific method, so no modern grains, no specially bred cattle, etc. 

Everything would stop dead in advancement, with children being taught that one god created the universe less than 10,000 years ago.  Soon they’d run out of their own fossil fuels (can’t have that dreaded efficiency and good gas mileage!) and foreign oil?  Perish the thought!  But that clean energy stuff, or energy efficiency, well, nothing could be spent on researching that.  They would probably have some nice guns though it would be hard to have such things if they really were honest and went back to first century technology as they seem to want to.   Continue reading

From the Kitchen – Thanksgiving – Starch for all! My ramblings, tips and recipes for Turkey Day.

oh, what I find in Microsoft clip art. Because everyone needs a pink turkey, right?

Having grown up in western PA, Thanksgiving means eating a lot and a lot of that being starch.  Stuffing aka dressing, mashed potatoes, homemade noodles (of course on top of the mashed potatoes with plenty of gravy), rolls, and of course various desserts.  Pie for me, thank you!  Or maybe a piece of that pumpkin roll.  Rugelach? You shouldn’t have…. 

My husband and I enjoy chicken a bit more than turkey so we often have roast chicken dinners all through out the year and we will have one for Thanksgiving ourselves a day or two late.  Visiting the relatives does not make for easy snacking at home (it also makes for a splitting headache for me since relatives are largely conservative Christians who are sure that Obama will “git their guns”).  One of our chicken dinners makes a pile of leftovers since there is only the two of us and it’s relatively cheap. At this point, I probably could make a roast chicken dinner with all of the fixins in my sleep.  However, if you think you cannot cook, get yourself a copy of The Joy of Cooking (TJOC) and it will teach you all you need to know. I prefer the older copies that still have the turtle soup recipe in them.  You can often find them at your local thrift store. 

On a typical day I will start with the chicken, one fat roaster (I usually go for around 7 pounds) whatever you can get from the supermarket. As I’ve said before, I don’t care if it’s organic, free-range, kosher, fed marigolds to make it yellow, etc. As long as it’s dead, plucked and gutted, I’m good.  I pull out the giblets and throw them in a pot for broth.  I also pull out any lumps of fat in the cavity and into the pot with them too.  Finally, I inspect the cavity and remove any extraneous innards. You’ll often find what I think are kidneys still hanging around, they won’t hurt but they don’t need to be in there.  Give it a rinse and stick it in your roasting pan. (note: what I do might not be completely draconian “food safety” approved. I have the cert; I know what it says. And you have been warned.) 

I’ve used everything from a 9” square metal pan, a 9” x 13” glass pan and a classic “your grandma has one” black speckled roaster with lid.  I like the roaster the best.  First, I slice onions in fat rings (1” plus) and make a bed for the bird.  I then plop it on top, and stuff at least a couple of tablespoons of squishy but not melted butter under the skin over each breast. I do not put anything in the cavity except, well, more butter, a couple of tablespoons worth. Diet? What is this word d-i-e-t? 

Here’s Vel’s tip: Don’t truss that bird!  Let it splay out in all its glory.  This started long ago when I made my first turkey in our first apartment.  I didn’t think to tie its legs when I roasted it and when it came out my husband decreed it the “slut turkey”.  One thing we noted, and appreciated, was that all of the skin (except the back of course), not just the top of the breast, was golden brown and delicious. Both of us like poultry skin when roasted, and we’ll strip a bird clean if given the chance.  No, a non-trussed bird will not look like something out of Norman Rockwell or the Food Channel.  You are to be eating this, not framing it.  Continue reading

Not Polite Dinner Conversation –Some fun with 1 Corinthians!

best about this image? It’s from Orlando Grace Church website/blog with them calling Huckabee a “huckster”.

(yes, the entire blogosphere seems to be doing a post about Huckabee on The Daily show.  It gives me a reason to address specific parts of the bible, so I’m getting my own licks in)  

Jon Stewart of The Daily Show did an excellent job at showing how Mike Huckabee is quite a liar or simply not too cognizant about his very own holy book (Friendly Atheist has the transcript here).  Huckabee wants to be seen as the good natured grandpa, just wanting the “best”, aka his way, for everyone but under his sheep’s clothing, he’s quite the hateful and lying wolf that does indeed believe people will go to some eternal torture that he gets his jollies from.  All we see from Huckabee are the usual appeals to fear and greed.   

Like all theists, Mike Huckabee is sure his god reflects his opinions.  All pastors do.  He hasn’t yet willfully murdered anyone directly like the Catholics here  but his actions are happily controlled by the secular laws of the US.  The theocrats are sure that women are worthless as anything but incubators, and that they can deny a woman health care if it dares go against their baseless claims.  Being “right” is more important than anything else to them.   

Huckabee tried to claim that “life begins with conception” and that it’s a “biological fact”.  To run to “biology” aka “science” when it’s convenient is quite the mark of pure hypocrisy.  Science and the scientific method are great but when many theists want to ignore evolutionary theory, well that same science is willfully ignored. Jon may have not wanted to call Huckabee a liar but I have no problem in doing so. No, Mike, it’s not a fact.  A fact is something that doesn’t depend on opinion.  Why not call a sperm alive then? Hate to tell you biology does consider them alive.  Those little suckers are out there moving right along.  But ah, that would make men responsible for supposedly killing “children” (thousands at once!) too and we can’t have that, can we?  

Huckabee tries to claim that if you for something, that doesn’t mean you are against its opposite.  That’s just lovely.  So, if I’m *for* stopping genocide, that doesn’t mean I’m *against* genocide in Huckabee’s world.   Sorry, Mike, but when you say that homosexuality will damn you, that supporting a woman’s choice of her own health care will damn you, you are indeed saying you are against such things.  You have tried to legislate your opinions into law and thus that shows you are against those things.  Your views are primitive and ignorant, based on your personal version of one religion, but at least have the courage to actually stand by them when you are put on the spot.  Alas for Huckabee, there are Christians who disagree with him and what he claims his god “wants”.  They are just as sure that this Christian god is fine with homosexuality and a woman being considered equal.  Mike, I do request that you and they join me with two altars so we can sort out whose god is the “real” one right away.

Jon showed the ad that Huckabee had supported, taking the position that it showed that that fire was in the offing for anyone who disagreed with Huckabee, the Catholic Church, etc.  The biblical nonsense behind it is 1 Corinthians 3. Huckabee seems to be confused when he repeatedly mentions chapter 10 when he says that’s where the ad came from.  It didn’t. I guess it can rattle you when you try hard to defend the liars at Faux Noise.

Of course, many Christians run when someone dares equate fire with hell and brings up that little nasty notion of eternal torture by their god. Hell is one of the many things Christians disagree on, and it’s a rather important thing. It’s also a bit distressing to your average Christian to be reminded that their god hasn’t returned yet.  Paul invokes “the Day”, which certainly seems to be the day of judgement.  I do agree with Huckabee to a point, that chapt. 3 as being more about refining a belief, and the fire isn’t directly to hell.  However, the fire will will indeed destroy you if you can’t pass through it, aka hell. Paul repeatedly says that those who don’t agree with him will be damned, that his god will “catch the wise in their craftiness” etc.  The ad that Huckabee did, in the actual context for the bible and the individual book 1 Corinthians rather than just a convenient chapter cherry picked by Mike, show that if you don’t vote for those who Huckabee approves of, you will be damned.  That chapter of 1 Cor that Huckabee keeps mentioning in error, that’s where Paul repeats that you ignore him, you will be killed, by snakes, by God, etc. Quite the sequence of threats there, just like when that ad says “Your vote will affect the future And be recorded in eternity. Will you vote the values That stand the test of fire?”   It’s always fun when Christians, who so often claim “but everything has to be in context with the “entire” bible” get hoist by their own petard. 

Further along in 1 Corinthians, Continue reading