Thursday, September 27, 2007

Actual Atheists in Actual Foxholes

Ok for those who follow the world of online atheism this is old hat despite being an important and ongoing situation. I'm just slow to report it. The quick of it is that a soldier decided to have an atheist/ freethinkers meeting at his military base in Iraq. This was approved in the same manner any other meeting would be. Unfortunately when it actually came time for the event a commanding officer came in and ruined a good time. The soldier is now suing for discrimination, and has been receiving death threats for his fellow soldiers, to the point he now has a body guard to protect him from those on his side, while fighting the enemy.
This is an important issue and maybe in the future I'll give it more of the time it really deserves.
Good Luck Soldier.

Giuliani Summed Up

The best explanation of Rudy Giuliani's campaign.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Book Review: Communion of Dreams

I literally just finished reading a book from Jim Downey over at UTI. I'm not really sure where to begin, first off I have to highly recommend this book if for no other reason than it free. Yeah you read that right, just go download the PDF at Communion of Dreams and read the whole thing, how can I not love that? I'm freaking broke. The only downside being that I'm already finished reading it because I couldn't put it down. I'll also say that I've never considered myself a fan of Sci-Fi, and yet my favorite authors are Kurt Vonnegut and Douglas Adams and while I can't put Jim up on that level I will say there was a certain similarity at least in the way they all feel more grounded in reality then some of the more stereotypical Sci-Fi. I also realize that a big part of this is that I'm ok with sci-fi, I'm not down with fantasy, I don't like gnomes and elfs. If it doesn't seem possible then I get bored, notice it doesn't have to be probable just possible, or close to it. To be perfectly honest the whole sci-fi genre always seemed like something I wouldn't like so I haven't read much beyond what I've just mentioned, maybe I should give it a try... anyway onto the review now that the reviewers biases have been established.

Ok well I think I've made it clear that I enjoyed the book so I don't feel bad starting off with some of the problems I I had with the story. The biggest problem for me was simply the time line. Its supposed to take place about 50 years in the future. Now 50 years ago they thought we would be living on the moon in 2000, but we don't, and thats kind of how I feel about this. There is a huge amount of computer/communications technology which I'm fine with, that stuff is still changing at a dramatic pace. My problem is that in the book we have set up colonies on mars and the moon, we have a mining facility on Titan, a moon of Saturn which is actually the main setting for the book, the Titan and the station. I just don't see that happening. especially as another major part of the book is that a flu kills the majority of the population, and civilization nearly collapses. I just can't imagine how most of the worlds governments could fail, throwing the world into chaos as billions die, and still finding time to create several new generations of space craft. I mean hell we've been using the space shuttle for 30 years. Although there is a brief mention of Stephen Hawkins final theory which turns physics on its ear and makes most of this possible, so where I'm ok with it or not, at least Jim did realize this. Plus there's illegal cloning, which is viable, but there is also illegal genetic engineering that seems past what will be done given the other circumstances, especially as its illegal in the story and mush be done in secret. I'm sorry Jim but I would have pushed the time frame back to maybe 100 years. Really it wouldn't change much of the story, other than their wouldn't be anyone left from our time, which means you might have to lose the great reference to the 2000 election and George and the terror war. Or just make that character even older, eh no, that wouldn't work Or say he was remembering stories his parents told. Beyond that, um there were a few typos and a few times when I had to stop, say WTF? Then reread things although I'm not sure if that was due to writing or more likely due to the fact that I was still reading at 1am last night when I ran out of pages because I apparently hadn't printed the entire thing. For me though the very minor typos and what not made it more fun, like its not quite finished and its just asking for someone to help with the final wax job to really make it shine. I'm not claiming that person will be me. Although I'd be willing to try.

So thats pretty much all the negatives I can think of. Beyond that it was a throughly engaging book and if you read this site or UTI then you'll probably be amused by the fact that the greatest human danger is from a fanatical religious sect called the Edenists. This is where I stumble, I want to tell you more but I'm not sure what I can say without giving things away. Normally I'd be willing to mention more, comfortable in the knowledge that it will probably be a little while before you can pick up the book and will have forgotten the details and just know it sounded good. But with this book you can go right now and own the book for free in a matter of seconds. Ok one other thing I liked was that while it dealt with aliens, there weren't actually any aliens in it. I'm not sure why but I really liked that fact. I loved the early part where a team was trying to figure out what the thing could be prior to even seeing it and thinking about it from very varied view points. Honestly I think that's all I need to say on the subject, it was a great book and I highly recommend you go download it, unless you don't like to read in which case why are you here? go to youtube or find some porn this is a blog, its mostly words.
Why are you still reading my drivel? go click the damn link. geez.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Giulliani, and Pharyngula

These don't deserve separate posts because I'm adding almost nothing.

Basically the Rude Pundit makes a complete ass of Rudy, which honestly is pretty easy, but the Rude One takes it to another level as usual. Like this closer,

By the way, the best reason Giuliani can offer that he can "fight" terrorism is that he watched people jump out of a burning building that had been attacked before in the city that he led, as the Post article says, and now for him it's "personal." No wonder the Bush administration loves this jerk-off: he believes his own miserable failure makes him the best qualified person on the campaign trail.

Plus I go onto the big ass list over at Pharyngula, I shouldn't be too proud of that considering it was open registration day, but it still mean one of my favorite bloggers might have stopped by for a moment. Of course he probably would have seen the A and said good enough.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Just my luck

Lets see first it turns out that Hot Intern has a boyfriend, which I should have expected. So that sucks. I don't think I ever mentioned Hot Intern on here because, well I didn't even know if she was single.
Plus on Saturday during the awesome by elmira standards Irish Festival I did something stupid. I talked to this seemingly very nice and quite attractive lady on Myspace and told her to come to the fest. She said she had a blast last year and was planning on going so we would try to meet up. I was hoping that Hot Intern would show up and was keeping more than an eye peeled for her. This was prior to knowing the BF situation. So then Myspace girl yells hellos to me, I only knew that a female voice had yelled hello fairly excitedly so I spun around and threw my arms up to give who ever it was a hug. Oh I should interject right here. I'm not the overly hugging type, but I probably hug more than some, the thing is this is the Irish Fest and so I had been hugging lots of family members and some friends. So there I am, I spun around to give a hug only to realize that this was the first time I was meeting this person and I just didn't know if a hug was appropriate. So I awkwardly switched it too a handshake. That was not the mistake, but it was kinda funny. Nope the mistake was that immediately after meeting her a few of my friends showed up that I had to speak with about band issues. I wasn't sure if I should introduce her or not, if I did what would I have said, I'd like to introduce a girl to you all to a person that I've know for 12 seconds longer than you have. So I figured it would be easier just to sort things out with the friends then go talk to the lady. Unfortunately when I turned around she had vanished which is quite easy to do in a crowd. I then literally wandered for a couple hours stopping only to talk to family and grab more beers. At which point I remembered that she had said from the start she couldn't stay long at all because she had to work that evening. So I blew it at that juncture as well. so it goes


Ok well best comment on this site.
This was left on the post below about the kid being tasered by the cops for being rowdy at a Kerry event.
GranolaGuy said...

Arthur: Be quiet. I ORDER you to be quiet.
Peasant: Help! Help! I'm being oppressed.
Arthur: BE QUIET
Peasant: Come see the violence inherent in the system!

Awesome. Maybe I'm just a sucker for a monty python reference, the maybe was unnecessary.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Difficult Question + Florida Police = Taser

A college student had a few questions for John Kerry during a Q&A session. The first was a serious question about why Kerry conceded the day of the '04 election when there were still questions about disenfranchisement, then came a question about Impeachment of Bush, he probably should have stopped there because his final question was about Skull and Bones. So he might have put himself into the conspiracy theory realm but there is nothing illegal about that. Apparently the police thought otherwise as the proceed to apprehend the student. He failed to cooperate quickly enough with being arrested for asking a question so the police decided that for the safety of the others it was necessary to Taser this student after he was already held on the ground. He has been charged with resisting arrest, and disturbing the peace. Um he asked a question at a Q&A, how the fuck is that disturbing the peace? As far as resisting an officer, if someone tries to grab me for no apparent reason then expect them to resist. If the police had immediately said they were arresting him then they would have a legitimate point about resisting, but without the resisting they don't have a legitimate reason for arresting him. To Kerry's credit he is heard to say he's willing to answer the questions. I think if I were in his shoes I would have yelled at the cops, 1970's Kerry would have yelled at the cops, people mellow. He may have been able to do something to prevent this, but to be fair its one of those things that is so completely unexpected that I'm sure he was just stunned and unsure of what to do. I don't think they teach you this in etiquette class. So its a crazy ass incident, and the only concession I will make to the police is that the young man was uncooperative, then again anyone could see that what was needed was to defuse the situation not get physical. Fuck the police. Anyway heres the video including his questions.

And heres another one that just seems fitting.

About Time

I like Obama, mainly because he's spent the least time in Washington of any of the front runners. Washington is a corrupt place so the longer someone is there the more corupt they will likely become. Obviously this is a generalization not to be taken as fact in every case, its more like a stereotype. So Obama isn't perfect he has plenty to learn but the truth is no single person has the knowledge to be president anymore, thats why we have the cabinet, and other advisers. Besides the lack of experience that I see as a plus Obama's biggest selling point is that he's as close to inspirational as I've ever seen in a presidential campaign (admittedly I'm young the first time I voted was 2000, for Nader) and thats important. We can't expect anyone to really unite this country, but if we can get someone who will really do some good then maybe we will start moving in the same direction as a country. And this brings us to the important part. Is Obama willing to show his cards, will he be the strong leader or the calculating politician that only follows trends ala Hillary? I realize that he's the new guy in town and while he's the media darling he doesn't have that much clout in town. All the more reason to lay it on the line. You don't speak for the party, so just speak for Barak, and say it loud. It looks like he's finally doing that. In his words, “No timetable, no funding. It is time to bring this to an end.” Thats all we've been asking for. Plus its actually good politics if you have the least bit of control over your own image. The critical thing is to push forth legitimate timetables with consequences. If the president veto's it then you get every Dem on the air saying that you did your part you passed a bill to fund the troops, the president has now vetoed that funding. Then I would start drawing up and even stricter set of timetables, then you've got the presidents nuts in a vise. There just two problems with this whole thing, for one the republicans are still much better at controlling the media debate, so they need to be ready as soon as the bill passes saying that its now up to the president if the troops get paid. The second major hurtle is simply known as Joe Lieberman. And I'm in too good of a mood to discus that problem, which you probably already know all about.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Easy Like Sunday Morning

So I woke up really late on Sunday, I didn't do shit all weekend. Seriously the only thing I accomplished was I beat the video game, Destroy All Humans, which was fun. Sunday I got up around noon, my neighbor stopped by and we were sitting around bullshitting and laughing when I get a call from a number I don't recognize. They immediately ask if I went to church that morning. I laugh fairly loudly and say no, I assume at this point its a friend making a little joke. The voice asks if I'll be attending mass later to make up for it and I laughed again. Now I was in a laughing mood prior to this little joke so I could hardly contain myself I was laughing so hard at this point because my friend was pulling this off completely dead-pan. I mean they sounded legit, I mean they almost sounded like... oh crap, my boss. I had told my boss that I would help him move some stuff being as I'm a guy with a truck and I need the money. He wasn't sure what time would work so I told him to call, then forgot about it. So now I was in an awkward spot as I realized I had just laughed quite vigorously at my boss for suggesting I go to church. But I wasn't sure how he would react. Well I got over there a few hours later and he made some similar jokes, asking if I needed to be saved, to which his lady friend lightened the air by saying she didn't want to be saved either. This was another moment when I felt like I should probably just get it over with and say I'm an atheist. My boss is an amazing guy, really easy going but I know that within the older generations that word holds some very negative connotations. So I didn't I buckled again. Admittedly I never once claimed to be religious in any way, just never stated the truth. Oh and this isn't like my supervisor, this is the director of the agency, who holds a Ph.D. The good news was I made decent money for about an hours worth of work, unfortunately in that hour I missed a phone call/ text telling me that the Dropkick Murphys and Horror Pops were playing an hour from my house that night. Motherfucker. they were right here and I missed them. fuck fuck fuckidy fuck fuck fuck. Thats life.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Pale Blue 9/11

I had no intention of bringing up 9/11 this week but this just seems like an appropriate piece. From an Unquiet Mind.


holy shit thats a big spider web. like seriously big. nature is so much crazier than we like to give it credit for.

The Teapot is Back!

Yeah! I've really enjoyed the comics over at Russell's Teapot, unfortunately one day it just went dead. There were no new comics, then the site stopped working altogether. Then the site worked but with no new comics, but have no fear the site is back with a self-mocking new comic. All is right with the world again.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

His Own Little World

I'd like to thank my local newspaper, The Star- Gazette for one of the saddest yet most amusing headline juxtapositions I've ever seen. These were all found on the same page under War in Iraq. Unfortunately someone threw out the paper and these aren't in the online edition, so these are paraphrases of the headlines.

GOP Skeptical of Patraeus Testimony

Abizaid says it could be several years before Iraq is stable

US Garrison Attacked

U.S. Rep. Kuhl encouraged by progress (only avaiable for one week, sorry)

We call this democracy.
I'd have more to say but I'm outta time, our internet was down all day today and half of yesterday.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Logical / Not Creative

This quiz is doing the rounds, its easy, I've seen it a few times but I'll give credit to...
20 Gram Soul and PA.

You Are Incredibly Logical

Move over Spock - you're the new master of logic
You think rationally, clearly, and quickly.
A seasoned problem solver, your mind is like a computer!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Kanye West

I've had mixed feelings about this guys music. Overall he's quite good but some of it is just too pop for my tastes. Oddly enough I like his song Jesus Walks. (folks on planet atheism my be surprised by this) I can respect his view because of this line here.

I ain't here to argue about his facial features
Or here to convert atheists into believers
I'm just trying to say the way school need teachers
The way Kathie Lee needed Regis that's the way I need Jesus

He's not trying to change anyone, he's saying he needs it, and thats fine by me. Anyway his newest song I really like, probably because the Daft Punk song its based on was a techno song I actually liked at one point. So for friday, here's a video

A couple things

First off today is one of my favorite days of the year. It's the first day of the Vintage Cup in Watkins Glen. Its an awesome event with a couple hundred vintage race cars lined up in downtown Watkins which is a cool little town thats able to stay a cool little town because of the money from the track. The best part is when the race cars fire up and do a couple parade laps around the original track. If your ever in Watkins have someone show you how to drive the old track because you will have a whole new appreciation for how insane drivers were back in the day. The highlight of this is when the cars come thundering back into town. It's not everyday you see GT40's and Jags ripping down the main street of a small town. Unfortunately after an incident last year where a passenger didn't think it was nessicary to hold on when riding in a race car with no seat belts or doors they will probably keep things pretty calm. In the past it was always a parade lap but they let the cars open up a little, they screwed around, not bad not dangerous but fun was had. I mean if you jump on it a little in a big block Vette to the crowds delight it doesn't take long at all before your going a bit faster than might be prudent, its great. Oh and the best part is its right in town so its free, kinda has to be.

The other thing is just random. Moray Eels have two jaws, think H.R. Geiger/ Aliens and your on the right path.a second jaw in their throat to help drag food into their mouths. Gnarly.

More from APEC, not OPEC mr. President

I was so busy laughing at the comedy stunt that I missed the comedy inside. Sounds like Bush brought down the house, of course its a lot easier to laugh at him when he doesn't govern your country. Lucky Australians. I'm just going to send you over to The Rude One, its a good one, even has a story about a lady in a short skirt.

Friday morning laugh

An Australian comedy team has been arrested and I want to see the video. From what I've gathered, the show is The Chaser, and it sounds like Punk'd only funny, I don't know if its normally funny but this part is. They try to embarrass famous people. So they decided to embarrass APEC, or Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum, AKA a whole bunch of world leaders, a group that could desperately use a laugh and some egg on their face.

The group took 3 suv's and two motorcycles and stuck little canadian flags on them and drove right past $165 million worth of security waving badges that said, "joke", "insecurity" and "It's pretty obvious this isn't a real pass". They drove right up to the hotel where the conference was taking place at which point they realized they were right behind the American SS (secret service) and being wary of those trigger happy yanks they decided to turn around, which in and of itself would have raised suspicions but suspicion was already raised because one guy had already jumped out dressed as Osama Bin Laden and yelled, "Where is my friend Bush? It has all been a misunderstanding!!!" At which point all 11 involved were arrested. Oh and of minor note, this was the largest security operation in Australian history. The comedy team is just glad the snipers weren't too quick on the draw.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

This is just sick

People are pretty damn twisted when it comes to our choices of entertainment. I often think that we're (by we I mean all people) pretty disgusting nowadays because of our wars against innocents, WMD's and pro-wrestling, then after screwing around on Wiki earlier I was reminded that even the twisted among us, say Michael Vick, pale in comparison to what was once considered entertainment. My example is not the usual Roman Gladiators, no my example is Fox Tossing. yup, tossing foxes and other live animals as high as you can, then watching them splat back to the ground, the highest toss wins. Suddenly I'm reminded that as bad as things might seem, we are heading in the right direction, we are slowly becoming more civilized even if we take steps backwards from time to time, like right now.

I shoulda been working

As a staunchly anti-union liberal (sounds like a contradiction, its not) I wish I could have come into work yesterday. Labor day actually turned out to be my only day off the whole weekend. Admittedly I don't work very hard, especially in the physical sense, during the week so a little manual labor on the weekend is alright. Unfortunately it turned into a lot of manual labor for barely above minimum wage. Thats the kind of thing where I don't get angry, I'm not going to scream about it, but next time they ask for help I'll say no. I'm not "above" doing manual labor, actually it feels great to do it from time to time, but I am "above" spending my time off, using my vehicle to transport for minimum wage, its just not worth it.

I should do a nice little rant against unions in honor of labor day, but I've done it before and I just don't feel like doing it right now. So heres my old rant, from my old blog, which was a bit less angry than this one so it may not really invoke the disdain I feel towards unions, just remember I was holding back when I wrote this.