What the Boss Likes – a follow-up to a prior post

atheist plus
the version I prefer from Es Tequila Es Verdad. black is my color 🙂

Some of you might remember when I blogged about the controversy over “atheist plus”.  Someone disssed a hero of mine, Neil Armstrong, so I finally stopped ignoring the fence.  One of my recent commenters here was kind enough to comment on another post and I went out to see his website.  That got the whole thing started again.  I wanted to give this a little more air than just replying in comments here. All of this just goes to show that atheism means nothing more than having no belief in gods and that atheists are as varied as theists. We’re all so-very human. And that’s what the Boss likes.

The comment (from the link above)I am replying to from “myatheistlife“:

I used ‘my atheism’ in reference to atheism plus because they insist that to be a good atheist you must agree with their platform of social justice… which of course really isn’t social justice. It’s more feminism than social justice. They do not promote equality for all unless they’ve undergone radical doctrinal changes quite recently. Their use of censorship in several forms and insistence that even those who originally supported the idea be censored because they actually believed in equality for all is the reason that I have no kind words to say about atheism plus-ers.

When you assert that for me to be a good atheist I must agree to your social justice ideals it is ‘my atheism’ that we’re talking about. My understanding of this group is not easily said in a sound-bite so where you read those words may have been less than illuminating. For the record, atheism plus is a bad choice of names in the views of many. When you read it, it does not say social justice, it says atheism plus something else. Atheism is not a world view. They might as well have said ‘godless people doing stuff’ but the idea as I understood it was that atheist doesn’t carry enough of a world view for them so they wanted something more but used the same name. It didn’t help them nor atheists in general.

Consider the Westboro baptist church. When you mention that name and someone is unsure of who you mean as in the case of calling them the WBC, the easy way to clarify is to say those ‘god hates fags’ protest people.
When you say atheism plus and are asked to clarify, what comes to mind? The feminazi atheist club. They’ll have to work pretty hard to get over that one.”

I find your excuse to be weak, MAL.  You could have written the sentence without the word “my” but you didn’t. Your post demonstrates repeatedly that you think you have some right to the term “atheist” and the concept of atheism, declaring anyone who doesn’t agree with you a “cult” (how reminiscent of how religions treat new sects) and using “my” only underlines that fact.  You cannot cope with people coming up with a phrase that dares use the term “atheist” in a way that you do not approve of.  If you did not think you owned that term, there is little reason you would be upset.  For example, if I saw someone say “ailurophile plus” I wouldn’t have a fit over someone else claiming to like cats *and* something else. In this post above, you want to claim that “atheist plus” people claim that a “good atheist” are those who agree with them.  I identify as atheist plus and I find that a “good” atheist is one that can defend their atheism, not some moral view.  And you, MLA, have decided that you can call atheist plus people “bad”.  How curious that you find it acceptable to do yourself, declaring that anyone who disagrees with you is good or bad. It seems hypocritical. Continue reading “What the Boss Likes – a follow-up to a prior post”

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – The war on Christmas complete with friendly fire

ten_commandmentsThe Daily Show already used the friendly fire analogy when Bill O’Reilly decided that Christianity wasn’t a religion. Here are more self-inflicted wounds.

The last few days of Doonesbury have done a great job ridiculing the “war on Christmas” nonsense spread by some Christians.  But I do have to say, there might actually be a war on Christmas and what I once was taught were Christian values.  The bemusing reality is that Christians are some of the best warriors against their holiday and religion. When you get idiots like Bill O’Reilly, the blonde Fox ‘bots and David Duke agreeing on something like the “war on Christmas” and claiming that they are being “persecuted” in the US  when people don’t obediantly agree with them(and denigrating any real persecution while they’re at it) why you know the idea is full of horse poop!

There have been plenty of posts about how Christmas is nothing more than Christianity stealing all of the good parts from pagan religions, and ignoring their own holy book to shoehorn their nonsense into the winter season. That’s the low-hanging fruit, fun but not much of a challenge. This time, it’s more satisfactory to point out how some Christians do their best do show that they don’t even believe in the best parts of their religion.

As non-Christians push back against the attempts by some Christians to portray themselves as the sole owners of December and as the state religion of the USA, we find that Christians often aren’t what they claim to be.  When convenient, Christianity is claimed to be a tolerant religion, and the quotes from the bible come thick and fast:  “Do unto others”, “Take care of the least of these”.  Christians take pains to try to claim that their religion created many of the secular laws that make civilization work better, pointing to the laws in the Old Testament.  They’re wrong of course, but the religion does have these laws repeated in it and Christians use those to insist that they are law-abiding. But when they don’t get their way, we often see that those claims are not true and are simply a veneer of self-righteousness.  The hypocrisy and theocracy come out.

Take for example how some Christians think that they have a right to destroy the property of others during the Christmas season. In several states, the Freedom from Religion Foundation has put up banners in public venues where religious icons have been displayed, to give another point of view.  In some places, the Christians are so afraid of an equal playing field, that they removed everything from the public venue. Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – The war on Christmas complete with friendly fire”

From the Bar and From the kitchen – Box wine and snacks

love the quips from the folks at yourecards
love the quips from the folks at yourecards

I love box wine.  I love it for the taste and for the convenience, and it’s pretty “green” so I can feel good about that too.  I’ve had lots of bottled wines.  Some that were supposedly “good”, including some Chateau Neuf de Pape and Beaujolais nouveau, were pretty “meh”.   The one of the earliest wines I remember drinking, getting in a small tavern in La Mancha (as in “Man of ….”), was far better, even if strong and assertive in flavor,  especially with the bread and cheese offered. I suppose it was Manchego cheese, but this was in the mid 80s and I was a high-school student for the first time out of North America, just a pre-foodie back then.  I did try to make puff pastry from scratch at this age though, and failed miserably. But more on that in a bit.  (a good article on boxed and blended wines.  Yes, I’m sure I could have found an article prostrate in horror about boxed wines too.)

We generally get Franzia or Almaden or Vella.  It just tickles the gadget-fiend in me to have a box with a tap on it that I can get wine from any time I want.  The only thing that would be better would be a pretty fountain where I could fill a goblet full of a nice red.

(Incidentally, we had a good torrontes from Argentina, Alta Max 2011, this weekend. Very good, pear and vanilla notes with a nose of woodsy incense and little of the strong acid that mars so many whites to my taste. Tasty with pork chops and garlicky mashed potatoes)

This long weekend, having been stymied in my holiday travel by storms, I’ve made a few things.  One was a request by my husband for more cinnamon rolls and one was a treat for myself.  I loves salty snacks much more than sweet ones, have a addiction to Cheezits and decided to make a cheese based snack.  The blogging folks on the King Arthur baking blog helpfully reposted  their recipe for flaky cheese twists  (scroll and scroll some more, you’ll get to it). Continue reading “From the Bar and From the kitchen – Box wine and snacks”

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Mom, he’s touching me!

reality-check[1]As the days go by, I see more excuses from Christians on why their god do is hands-off  when awful things happen.  It’s easy for me as an atheist; there is no evidence for a god so I am not surprised when no gods show up in response to a violent event or in response to prayers of any kind.  But without this acceptance of reality, for the theist, it’s a problem. They must come up with excuses so they may preserve their belief in such a being.  They’ve invested a lot of time and self-worth in religion. I did the same when I was a Christian.  If they’re wrong about this, what else might they be wrong about?  If you have never considered yourself wrong, it’s a very scary thing to contemplate. Especially if that “wrongness” has supposedly eternal implications that involve eternal torture.  

(To the Christians that follow my blog, if you follow it looking for a way out of your religion by seeing what an atheist has as arguments against that religion, pay attention to the following. I encourage you to ask me questions too.  Challenge me if you don’t think i’m right. If you are following my blog to see if you can pray the Christian back into an atheist, well, at this point hundreds of Christians have claimed to be praying for me for decades now and they’ve failed.)

It seems that in the wake of the Newtown murders, the favorite excuse is that God is somehow teaching someone a lesson by not interfering.  I see lovely little quotes like “When you ask questions of god, remember the teacher is quiet during a test”.  This was a supposedly anonymous quote and I can see why with its ignorant vapidity, a perfect excuse for a non-existent god.  We have vermin like William Lane Craig deciding that he’s so special his god found it acceptable to allow children to be killed just to remind WLC about Christmas.  I guess nativity scenes at every church and many secular buildings aren’t enough. Fischer from the poorly named American Family Association is sure that his god is a “gentleman” and that’s why it doesn’t do anything. Alas, for Fischer, he portrays his god as less gentleman and more whiny jealous brat.

Let’s see what the bible has about this god and its interactions with humanity. We see that claiming this god is “hands off” is rather silly. Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Mom, he’s touching me!”

What the Boss Likes – Random things that have recently made me happy

palm-treeFor a very much needed vacation from the idiocy of the world, here are a few things that have made me happy

Nadia G’s bacon chocolate –  Didn’t use maple cured bacon, or a mold (just scoops on a parchment paper) and only had coarse kosher salt to sprinkle on them.  But they turned out fabulous. We tried the Vosges bar but it wasn’t nearly as full of bacony goodness as this. While I’m on the topic of chocolate, the Organic Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt and Crushed Coffee is also a very tasty bar as are the bars and mixes from Dagoba (Yoda not included).    

NASA Johnson Style – yet another Gangam parody, but hey, it’s NASA!

Beautiful photos – just a compilation of photos that allow me to remember things can be lovely in this world.

Catfish grabbing pigeons – because the world is weird.  Adaptation at it’s finest.

Villains and Heroes – my youtube playlist with a loose theme of the title. Why yes, I did grow up in the late 70s – 80s. 🙂 

Leinenkugel’s Snowdrift Vanilla Porter – a good porter with vanilla, not too sweet.  I like most of Leinenkugel’s beers.  This is great for a cold winter night.

Kraken Rum – a dark spiced rum that has a very steampunk label.  I once released the Kraken far too enthusiastically  one evening and oh did I regret it and regret it and regret it.   Drink with caution.  My favorite way?  Add to hot cider, mix in a tablespoon or two of hot buttered rum “batter” – which is nothing more than soft butter mixed with brown sugar, and your choice of sweet spices, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, etc.  The salt in the butter is what makes this extra tasty.  Other good dark rums: Whaler’s Original Dark and Cruzan Blackstrap.

Please feel free to share your happy things.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – My Sister In Law doesn’t hate me.

Well, my SIL says she doesn’t hate me (or my husband) and excuses her calling Harry Potter evil by saying she’s looking out for the kids and “you only have one chance”.  She also says that I shouldn’t lump all Christians in with the “haters”. She finds the nonsense about backmasking silly too and is “interested” in my point of view.

Unfortunately, this applies to anything a theist might want to believe in, including that Harry Potter is evil.
Unfortunately, this applies to anything a theist might want to believe in, including that Harry Potter is evil.

If you are an atheist and have theist friends or family members, this line of “reasoning” might seem familiar.I then asked her how I could know the difference between the “haters” and the True Christians and why was backmasking so silly but her claim about Harry Potter wasn’t.  It’s been about two weeks now with no answer yet.  Perhaps after the holidays, right?  🙂

Dear SIL,

I’ve heard such things from just about every other Christian and theist I’ve encountered.  I don’t put much stock in such things. Perhaps if we discuss it more I can get exactly what you mean, and not just some easy excuse. 

First, I’m glad that you don’t hate me. Makes family gatherings much easier.  But I’ve heard this “I don’t hate *you*.”  from Christians before.

This strikes me as a lot like how a lot of people (poor WASPs) where we grew up treated people of different ethnicities.  They had no problem with the person they knew, no matter the differences. But oh those “others” were certainly all bad.  That attitude is very tribal.   

I’m guessing you don’t hate me because you’ve never thought about it.  I am the tribe to you.  I went to school in the same district you did.  We lived in the same county.  You never thought I was that different than you.  It was always those “others” that didn’t agree with you and challenged your view of the world.  Now I’m the other.  So, you are faced with a conundrum – do you acknowledge that you are wrong or do you continue to believe in the lies your fellow Christians tell you, making excuses for them?   Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – My Sister In Law doesn’t hate me.”

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – TrueChristian antics about the tragedy in Newtown

What happened in Newtown was a tragedy and horrific.  It was sudden, violent and unlike what Americans like to think is “normal”.  Similar things happen every day in the world, sometimes slower but still horrific. 

Unsuprisingly, we have TrueChristians, Bryan Fischer and Mike Huckabee (we already know he’s a horrible person and not the friendly grandpa he pretends to be), among plenty of others, who are sure that if we only had a theocracy and forced people to worship Bryan and Huck’s version of their god, such things would never *ever* happen.  A magical being would keep all people safe and answer all prayers if we just worshipped it in the “right” way.

Unfortunately for this delusion of the usual vocal hate-filled subset of Christianity, their claims of cause and effect never prove true no matter how religion is enforced, what religion is enforced or what prayers are said.  Their claims that their god refuses to help people because it isn’t forced on others and praised non-stop in every public school and public square makes that god such an impotent petty little thing.  Their claims require that prayers are only selectively answered and those who are not saved are, in the TrueChristians’ piggy little eyes, not worthy of this god’s actions.  The TrueChristians require such a god because without one, they couldn’t have their fantasies about how all people who dare disagree them.  They require a god that is so petty, jealous and mean that it would allow people to be killed and to have their hearts figuratively ripped out by grief and loss just to show that these TrueChristians are “right”.

Bryan Fischer, Mike Huckabee and so many many other Christians who are sitting smugly in their judgment are exactly as petty, impotent, and greedy for power as the god they create in their own image.  They prey on others to spread their nonsense.  It makes me very very glad that I am no longer associated with such beliefs.  If I have to make up a god, I sure can make up a better one than this one.

Postscript –  I wish it was possible to do something to help the folks in Newtown.  In that no wishes for peace will help no matter how we might hope, only slow healing and time, I think the best way to help is to do what we can to prevent such things in the future.  Contact your representatives and senators to get assault weapons banned (state and US House of Reps and Senate).  Even I, who likes to shoot guns, do not need something that is only meant to murder humans quickly.

I’m not sure what they can do with money exactly, but the United Way of Western Connecticut  has safe-looking way to donate.

PPS – To my Christian readers, please don’t think that you can nod sagely and tsk at those TrueChristians I mention.  None of you have any laurels to stand on when it comes to your beliefs.  Yours may be nicer in this 21st century context; they aren’t any more true.

and a PPPS – P.Z. Myers did the favor of gathering together a buch of TrueChristians who are all sure their god is petty, impotent and greedy, just like them AND/OR who thinking arming everyone is a good idea (hmmmm, don’t I recall something about “turn the other cheek”?) : http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/12/18/it-was-a-good-week-to-go-offline/

PPPPS (how many Ps can I use?).  There’s an awful piece of glurge on the internet declaring how great it is that kids were murdered as long as Jesus wants it that way and also advocating for a theocracy because having god in school will stop such things (funny how this god can’t keep kids from being abused in his own houses of worship, so why think it could do any better at school?).  The author of Rock Beyond Belief does a good take down of such crap: http://freethoughtblogs.com/rockbeyondbelief/2012/12/17/fixed-idiotic-it-was-11-days-before-christmas-at-938/

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – The End of the world….or not

cracked-earthA lot of humans seem to be longing for the “end of the world”.  Many religions have it built into them, that some god will come and take all of the believers away to a magical place after killing/damning everyone who dared not to believe in the god.  The contents of said magical place vary, from an idyllic land where there is no suffering and where there is endless food and nice weather, to having all of one’s relatives around you always, to where believers endlessly praise the deity in question.  There are cities of gold and jewels, tacky enough to make a “housewife of wherever” happy and don’t forget the lakes of fire. 

The latest version of this desire to not die and get your figurative $200 after passing “God” is the December 21, 2012 nonsense (the 12/12/12 silliness yesterday was just a small glimmer for a few people).  Earlier this year we had the usual requisite Christian insisting that the end of the world would be in May and then he changed it to, hmmm, September I think it was.  We even had a billboard here in central PA that declared that this was going to happen. The list of failed prophecies of how the world will end “real soon now” is long.

Despite this perfect track record of failure, some Christians (and theists in general) get terribly upset when one points out that their religious beliefs are just as silly as the beliefs of those who insist that the Maya predicted the end of the world. They whine that how dare anyone disrespect them by comparing them with such people and call those who point out their silliness “bigots”. Poor things, then this means that every time that they claim another religion is wrong, they are bigots too. How nice!  No, Christians, pointing out that your claims have failed and are wrong by every piece of evidence there is not bigotry. It’s dealing with facts.  Show me evidence that your nonsense is real and then we’ll talk.  Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – The End of the world….or not”

From the bar and kitchen – Kijafa and chocolate coconut balls

kijafaWith it having a rather retro looking label, one might be a little cautious about trying this fortified wine.  But with my predeliction for retro things, I thought nothing of it.  It strikes me a bit victorian and from what little I’ve found out about this stuff, they probably haven’t changed the label since they started making it around 1841 (appropriate for you steampunk folks out there).  I have found some other reviews of it but considering how they describe this alcohol, I can only come to the assumption that the reviewers never even brought it to their nose.  Oh well, different people, different opinions.

Kijafa is a cherry wine fortified by sugar beet alcohol.  Sugar beet alcohol is how lots of ethanol is made.  It does not look like beet juice or taste like beets. It is essentially vodka.  It is from Denmark.  And yes it’s relatively cheap (Kijafa at the Pennsylvania state stores) and often on the lower shelves.  So what, if it tastes good? 

Now, I am guessing that this alcohol can go bad just like Chambord (so don’t “save” it, rotten Chambord is such a sin 🙂 ) since it is a fruit based product.  That may account for the strange claims of this tasting like beets, etc.  However, the bottle my husband and I have tastes exactly like dark bing cherries with a alcohol kick.  It is sweet, make no mistake about that, but no  sweeter than a port or cream sherry. It has enough of the fruit acid to cut through some of the sweetness.  I really figured it would taste like “cherry” cough syrup, but it does not.

We’ve made a habit of picking up cherry alcohol whenever we can.  I’ve had kirsch, the non-sweet cherry brandy (It was American but can’t recall the name), various cherry wines (Nissley has an excellent pair of sweet and sour (semi-dry) cherry wines, listing toward bottom of their page) and some of the more gawdawful schnapps. We like to pair them with chocolate, be it cake or candy.  Below is a recipe of my mother-in-law’s.  It’s essentially a poor man’s truffle, built on things a farm wife would have.  The cream for the ganache in a truffle would have been left alone to keep up the milkfat content in the milk the farm was selling.  The name “goop” came from it being left in my husband’s locker in high school.  It does get soft at room temperature.    Continue reading “From the bar and kitchen – Kijafa and chocolate coconut balls”

What the Boss Likes – Bear with me, I need to vent

In the last few months, I’ve been playing event manager at work.  It was a last minute decision the powers that be and I’ve been running around like a lunatic trying to make it work.  What’s worse, the powers that be have gone above and beyond the call of duty to make every… single… step of this 5 times harder than it needed to be by being unable to make decisions in a timely manner or at all. Continue reading “What the Boss Likes – Bear with me, I need to vent”