There’s a rather vile meme being passed around by Trump’s minions about how great Trump is and that Trump is “the storm”. Funny how Trump always gets out of the way of storms and is nothing but a coward and liar.
My take on this meme.
(note to my readers: if you followed this blog for food and travel, you may want to skip this post. It is my unvarnished views on politics and religion)
I believe in contesting the lies of bullies and cowards at every turn. Susan Stamper Brown is a conservative Christian opinion writer. In that, we can expect her to be as deceitful as possible in her writings and her attempts to have her very own “facts”. In her recent opinion piece “Global Warning Alarmist Need to Lose the Arrogance”, she has tried to claim that one shouldn’t assign blame to humanity for natural disasters and complains when comedians point out that the theists, who have repeatedly threatened anyone who didn’t do as they wanted, suffer from these disasters too. She whines about how dare they make natural disasters “leftwing attack dogs”. (she also is a coward on Facebook, inventing her own echo chamber, but she can be reached at email@example.com as per the link above)
Now, how many times have we heard threats about natural disasters from TrueChristians™?
Many Christians have made these threats often, with a local example of how Pat Robertson claiming that Dover, PA would have “problems” after removing creationism from its schools: “God is tolerant and loving, but we can’t keep sticking our finger in his eye forever. If they have future problems in Dover, I recommend they call on Charles Darwin. Maybe he can help them.”
Pat also claimed that the Haiti earthquake in 2010 was a result of this god of his getting rather late revenge on Haitians since they rebelled against slavery. Jerry Falwell is famous for claiming that the 9/11 attacks were the fault of people not obeying his god, and once called on it apologized for his false claims. Since he said similar things after this, his apology was not something to take seriously. Franklin Graham, son of the evangelist Billy Graham, claimed that Hurricane Katrina was punishment. The American Family Association claimed that Hurricane Isaac was punishment.
Of course, the best in irony is that Tony Perkins, leader of the Family Research Council, an anti-LGBT group, had his house flooded in a hurricane after claiming that natural disasters were punishment for non-Christians. He claimed that natural disasters were “God is trying to send us a message.” When he was agreeing with Jonathan Cahn who claimed that Hurricane Joaquin would hit Washington DC. Let’s see what exactly was said (transcript from http://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/jonathan-cahn-hurricane-joaquin-may-hit-dc-as-punishment-for-gay-marriage/) Continue reading
Across the first weekend in September, we went to Longwood Gardens, one of the estates that used to be owned by the DuPont family (the chemical people). This is one of the more famous gardens in the US and is quite beautiful. They just spent $90 million to refurbish the main fountain gardens and were having a series of fountain shows to celebrate. These shows were at night and included colored lights on the fountains, orchestral music and so many fireworks the smoke made the nearly full moon orange. That last salvo made me think of how the Battle of London must have been like.
We chose the night that was going to have the orchestral music we like, Night on Bald Mountain and other dramatic and slightly spooky pieces. I was going to write “No more shows like this for the summer” but they extended the shows! but I do hope they have similar ones next year. The gardens are supposedly fabulous at Christmas time with trees, poinsettias, and fountain shows, though I do suspect it depends on how cold it is to allow those to happen.
The gardens encompass 400 acres (lots of photos below), and some of it is just a grown over field and natural ponds, which amused both of us since we grew up on farms. We had plenty of those to walk through when we were young but they are probably pretty neat to someone who grew up in the city or suburbs. There were some bit that we couldn’t see because they had the fireworks set up in those areas and considering how the show was, it was a *LOT* of explosives.
They are definitely worth seeing if you are within a few hours of south-east/central PA, or come from father away and stay longer and see the cute town of Kennett Square, center of where a lot of mushrooms are grown in PA. We stayed in a very nice bed and breakfast, Inn at Whitewing Farm, a beautiful piece of property off the beaten path but only about 10 minutes from the gardens. We stayed in one of the rooms beside the pond. It did rain like hell for the Saturday we were there, thanks to the remnants of Hurricane Harvey, and they had to reschedule the fountain show. The Inn was able to accommodate us for an extra night and we thank them mightily for doing so! When we got up early to leave Monday morning, we scared the heck out of some deer helping themselves to the birdfeeders. Just up the road from the inn is Galer Estate Winery, which had some very nice wines, drier than the usual PA sweet ones. There was also this tiny French bakery right at the intersection of E. Doe Run Road and Folly Hill Road; alas they were sold out before we got to them.
Now, before I post the photos, the quick recipe. I discovered that the chimichurri sauce we make for steak is a wonderful base for a curry of all things; that’s handy since we always have some left over. The chimichurri has cilantro, parsley, lime, garlic and hot pepper in it, it just took a little more to make it a curry. I took a half-cup of the sauce, just added a couple of shakes of powdered cinnamon and ginger (I do love Penzey’s for my spices since they do good things), a cup of milk mixed with a ¼ cup of coconut milk powder (I get mine here: importfood.com), threw in a few of frozen raw chicken legs and cooked it until the chicken was falling off the bones. Damn but it was good, and reminded me of a good saag paneer curry but with cilantro taking the place of the spinach…. and chicken taking place of the paneer.
It’s our chimicurry!
Photos of Longwood Gardens
What a fun time here in the US. So, we have the liar and wannabee despot Trump pardoning a liar and a bigot, Arapaio, who used the power of his office to harass people who weren’t white. Why anyone thought or currently thinks this ignorant orange ass wasn’t a white supremacist and bigot, I have no idea. When the GOP might do anything about is anyone’s guess and certainly makes them *all* seem to be supporters of the white supremacists. These actions of Trump support the idea that a good part of his supporters are indeed deplorable.
We also have the devastation by Hurricane Harvey. I am of the opinion that anyone who asks for help from the federal government and FEMA be investigated for any time they may have been for secession or have spread lies about FEMA having “concentration camps” and then summarily be denied any assistance, or be required to repay the assistance after the fact, which may be the more humane thing to do. If they said they didn’t want aid from other before, then they don’t get it on our backs.
Lastly, we have the opinion piece in the Washington Post by a rather unpleasant anti-choice activist Jeanne Mancini in response to the news stories that Iceland has few people with Down’s Syndrome being born thanks to pre-natal testing and having the choice to carry the fetus to term or not. Ms. Mancini repeats the lies that all people with Down’s Syndrome are happy individuals, who are no problem to their parents and on and on. She plays on the societal pressure to never admit that having a disable child is a very hard thing to do. It is the terrible lie that some god will never give you more than you can handle, when the fact is many people have more than they can handle and suffer greatly because of it.
This unpleasant woman intentionally deceives people by not mentioning that people with Down’s Syndrome have many medical issues and that the syndrome covers a range of expression, from those who are high functioning to those who must be restricted to homes and tended 24/7. She also ignores the fact that many parents of such afflicted children are desperate with worry on what happens to their children if they happen to outlive the parents who have spent so much time and love on caring for them. They don’t want to worry about those children be placed in homes which have a mixed track record for care.
She also evidently has no children of her own and has never adopted any of these children that she wants to force others to have. This is per her biography on the March for Life website, a mention of her husband but no family: “Jeanne resides in northern Virginia with her husband, David.” . Her compensation is around $118,000 in salary and other compensation.
She also supports politicians that do their best to reduce the help that people with such children can get. She is the worst kind of Christian, the hypocrite who piously claims that her god will help others and does little herself.
As my new bumper sticker says, my species disappoints me. Happily, there are indeed responsible and honest people out there. Support them all you can. My preferred help organizations are Foundation Beyond Belief, where non-theists can donate and not have their donations claimed by theist groups, and Oxfam which I just like.
I haven’t had a food and drink post for awhile. A handful of weeks ago we decided to see if we could grill whole Cornish hens on our small barreled shaped grill. We didn’t want to butterfly them which would be simpler, but to have a little whole chicken for each of us.
Many years ago, I was a member of a medieval recreation group called the Society of Creative Anachronism. I was friends with some folks who were part of a somewhat parallel group called the Tuchux, a group that recreated fantasy barbarians, and got their name from the rather atrocious Gor books by John Norman (very bad fantasy of a fellow who ends up on a alien planet where his fantasies of submissive women come true). They are quite a bit more egalitarian than the Gor nonsense and were some coolest people I ever met in my sojourn in the SCA (it’s been about a decade since I’ve had any contact with the SCA). At one of their Yule Feasts that I was kindly invited to, we each got a small loaf of fresh bread and a roasted Cornish hen and it was the best feast I think ever had. I wanted to recreate that.
We managed to do so by putting a pile of charcoal on both side of the grill aka indirect grilling and putting the chooks between them for about 45 minutes and then moving them over the dying coals to crisp up the skin for about 15 minutes at the end. I do recommend getting the biggest charcoal chimney as you can get because then you never have to worry about having lighter fluid or having that nasty taste on their food. We use brown craft paper to light ours since some inks smoke like crazy.
As for a recipe, all it was consisted of thawed chooks, with butter stuffed under the skin and smeared over the skin. Continue reading
(note to my readers: if you followed this blog because of your interest in my recipes, brewing or drink reviews, you may want to back out now. Anything that is titled “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation” is my unvarnished views of politics and/or religion. You’ve been warned 🙂 ).
Here are a few random things about religion. The first is about an opinion piece published in the New York Times by someone who really is afraid of anyone not like him. The second is a brief bit about what a pastor thinks about justice and the bible, and the third is just a few bits of crank mail from my FFRF newspaper and a link to a good blog post about the new bible “club” in the White House. The newspaper also has some very nice essays written by young atheists of color for a scholarship contest.
The NYT ran an opinion piece by Rob Dreher, a conservative Christian, “Trump Can’t Save American Christianity”. Of course, Mr. Dreher is certain that his version of Christianity is the only true one. He’s also one of the fellows who thinks that Christians really need to segregate themselves from anyone who disagrees with them. Of course, that’s rather inconvenient and even he doesn’t follow his own recommendations. Writing for the NYT isn’t exactly conducive to doing what he says.
He’s also jumped from Methodism, to Roman Catholicism, and now is with the Eastern Orthodox church. Funny how the magical and divine “truth” can change, isn’t it?
In the article, Dreher wonders if Trump can do anything to alienate conservative Christians. At this point, it certainly doesn’t seem to be anything, considering the circus that has been going on for more than 6 months. Ah, but Dreher is sure that Trump isnt’ the problem, it’s is an “increasingly faithless people” aka those who don’t agree with Mr. Dreher. He claims that the lack of people who agree with him will lead to a “calamity for civil society in ways secular Americans do not appreciate”. Of course, all we have is this chicken little nonsense about how bad it will be, nothing to show what this would be or anything to support the claim.
One of the claims that Mr. Dreher makes is that Americans are not following “authentic Christianity” and are following something a Notre Dame researcher calls “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism”, something that Mr. Dreher insists is a “pseudoreligion” and it isn’t his version of Christianity. The problem here is what is “authentic Christianity”? We see that Mr. Dreher has gone from one sect to another, which would seem to indicate that Mr. Dreher has no idea what it is either. If he gets disappointed with one, he decides another might have the right answers, and that certainly isn’t an unusual thing for Christians.
Now, Mr. Dreher is sure that all of the nonsense that conservative Christians have done with the Republican Party aren’t enough, and that the GOP isn’t doing what he wants. The slide into the secular abyss is because his religion failed somehow. Ah, but how you may ask? He’s sure that Trump is a symptom of this problem, which at least he may seem to realize that Trump is no kind of Christian, literalist or liberal, a thing that many Christians can’t quite seem to grasp. What he returns to is that Christians (again only those who agree with him) need to separate themselves from the world. They cannot listen to anyone who has a different opinion, they cannot consider that they are wrong.
Conservative Christianity has been its own enemy when it comes to losing believers. The constant adherence to outright lies is rather stupid in this age where information is easily available. People have realized that the myths of the religion are nonsense and that morality does not come from one sect of one religion. As always, this particular form of Christianity depends on fear and ignorance to exist, and Mr. Dreher certainly uses those tactics in his article. “You must run away! You must not listen to anyone else except me!” Everyone else must be cast as an enemy to fear.
As much as Dreher may see Trump as a symptom, Dreher is using the same pathetic attempts at controlling people. He seems to need external validation and keeps poking his head out of his imaginary fortress to get it. Continue reading
Well, this week, the Christian Scientists here in Harrisburg mailed out fliers about how they were going to have a healing talk down at their church, by Josh Niles (a supposed veteran which make me wonder why the local VA hospital isn’t empty). There are few things I find more disgusting than theists making baseless claims on how they can heal people when hospitals are full, especially veterans’ hospitals and children’s hospitals. The deceit that is involved is amazing for a religion that supposedly cares about the truth.
I shot them an email and asked for evidence of this healing, and why they can’t heal anyone who actually has been hurt. They unsurprisingly directed me to the party line, and offered no reason why they haven’t healed amputees, people with documented cancers, etc. The claim was “Christ Jesus had a remarkable healing record and Christian Science has an excellent record too.” Directly me at this “excellent record.” I pointed out that they had no evidence, and I received this in reply “You may recall that there was a multitude of sick people at the Pool of Bethesda and only one was healed by Jesus. That man was receptive to what Jesus said to him and was obedient and was healed. The rest were “waiting for the moving of the waters”, a material approach of hope for healing and then only for some that made it to the pool.” The problem with this is that JC only talked to one fellow at the pool, who was just like the others. Why not speak to the others and heal them? And why doesn’t JC say “hey man, illness is an illusion, and only prayer in this certain way will heal you”, like the CS leader Mary Baker Eddy?
Well, how about we look at that “excellent record”? As a background, Christian Science, aka the Church of Christ, Scientist and The First Church of Christ, Scientist, is a sect of Christianity invented by various people and Mary Baker Eddy is the most famous of them. She claimed that sickness is an “illusion”, is the result of thinking “wrongly” (aka blame the victim) and can be cured by prayer alone. They also think that only their claimed spiritual world is real and that reality, this place that we inhabit is illusion. I do have a lovely ladle of molten steel they might take a dip in if they are sure of this. We also have the claim that CS is getting back to the “real” Christianity, a claim that many many sects make.
Incidentally, a word to advice to Christians (and other theists) who are reading this, ready to insist that CS isn’t “really” Christianity: think about how your sect compares with this one and how all of you have no evidence for your claims. However, I will admit that Christian Science is only slightly less silly and bizarre than Scientology in my estimation ( just read about malicious animal magnetism, which is hard to distinguish from spiritual warfare, imprecatory prayer and thetans).
What is amusing about this is that the religion doesn’t say you can’t use modern medicine, but they claim that their prayers are better than it. So, it isnt’ surprising that these are the stereotypical Christians who praise their god when it was the hard work of medical professionals who actually helped them. Of course, they’ve managed to also murder children and kill themselves with this ignorance. One might counter my claim of murder with claims that these people don’t know what they are doing, however, if their religion allows going to medical professionals, then they know that they have an alternative and one that works. Either that, or they are truly delusional (delusion: a belief that is: certainty (held with absolute conviction), incorrigibility (not changeable by compelling counterargument or proof to the contrary),impossibility or falsity of content (implausible, bizarre, or patently untrue) and should be considered as mentally ill as the next person who has delusions. You’ll note that the common definition of a delusion has religion or culture as an out for such beliefs, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, other than to protect the sensibilities of those particular beliefs.
So, we have a religion that claims that they can heal, much like how evangelical Christian preachers who claim they can heal, practioners of other religion and practioners of various types of spiritual or energy healing. We also have record of MBE making claim that she was not healed in order to attempt to seek damages from the city. Continue reading