Sunday, August 31, 2008

Florida, How Proud You Must Be

LAKELAND, Fla. — Todd Bentley has a long night ahead of him, resurrecting the dead, healing the blind, and exploding cancerous tumors. Since April 3, the 32-year-old, heavily tattooed, body-pierced, shaved-head Canadian preacher has been leading a continuous “supernatural healing revival” in central Florida. To contain the 10,000-plus crowds flocking from around the globe, Bentley has rented baseball stadiums, arenas and airport hangars at a cost of up to $15,000 a day. Many in attendance are church pastors themselves who believe Bentley to be a prophet and don’t bat an eye when he tells them he’s seen King David and spoken with the Apostle Paul in heaven. “He was looking very Jewish,” Bentley notes.
Just where exactly is the rock these people crawl out from under? Click Here to Read More..

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Well ... there it is ...

I love the statement by the responder:

I know you find the Bible to be archaic and boring, but it is the Word of God. It does not matter whether you believe it is or not - that does not change the fact that it is.

Don't try to argue with a pig. It wastes your time and annoys the pig. Click Here to Read More..

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Another quickie

The fear that learning the theory of evolution is going to somehow destroy the faith of a believer is like saying that learning Santa Claus isn't real will destroy my ability to give or receive a gift.

...Hasn't happened yet!

Faith: You either have it, or you don't.

...and it's probably better if you don't anyway, but that's just our opinion... Click Here to Read More..

Monday, August 25, 2008

A question to counter one of many dumb arguments

I don't do much atheist ranting here, simply because other bloggers do it so much better than I. With the attention span of a flea, I rarely get past the surface of an argument. This will most likely be the case today as well.

However -- To that well-worn statement from believers who reject evolution because "No way I'm descended from no apes," I have a question.

Believers I've met often seem fond of "the struggle." Doing things the hard way. Suffering now in exchange for a greater reward later. Starting small, coming out way ahead of everybody else.

What greater example of this can we find than the evolutionary process?

I could see believers complaining if there were some other species lording it over us (to coin a phrase), reminding us that we are lowly and insignificant. But no, one of the tenets of western theology in particular is that we are "the crown of creation." We are just "a little lower than the angels."

Funny, isn't it, how believers place humankind only below two entities (God and the angels) that have not been proved even to exist?

Evolution, on the other hand, starts us out as particles of an indeterminate nature and progresses us over billions of years to one-celled organisms to creatures with gills to amphibians to primitive mammals, all the way up to our advanced culture (exemplified by Hannah Montana and the Chia Pet).

Believers, on the other hand, will tell you that we got here by some sort of Harry Potteresque magical process in which Dumblegod (also known as Voldegod when you piss him off) waved a wand over some dirt and transfigured us into 7th-year Gryffindors with a ready-made Order of Merlin First Class.

I personally am proud of my billion-year journey and think it looks a lot better on my resume than "I got here 'cos I knew the right people."

Gotta hit the shower. Have a good day... Click Here to Read More..

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Lingering Effects of Domestic Violence

Okay, now that I've introduced the topic, I might as well expand on it.

So, how did two loud, chronically unhappy and incessantly bickering alcoholic parents affect my life later on?

Did I grow up to marry a physical abuser? No in both cases, though I contend there was emotional abuse the first time around -- more on that later.

Did I become a physical abuser? No.

Am I an alcoholic? No.

So what was the aftermath?

Well, having recently taken the ACOH checklist quiz, I scored 70%, having answered yes to 14 out of 20 questions. Angry people frighten me (though I have been angry enough to scare certain people, such as my ex-husband Doug, mwhahaha...). I often view myself as the oddball surrounded by "normal" people. I tend to avoid asking for help. I have a strong streak of stoicism, in which I feel I must always "be strong and carry on." I have trouble letting go of a course of action even when it isn't working out. I take too long to hold other people responsible when they screw up.

But, realistically, and having had the opportunity to check out the living situations of many other people over the years, I have to insist that it could have been much worse and I came through it relatively unscathed -- though it still took quite a number of years to work through it all.

My marriage to Doug was clearly a reaction to my first 20 years. There was no obvious alcoholism in his family -- though his mom proved to be quite the tippler, especially after she became a widow. His parents always had a very well-stocked bar, but the atmosphere in their home was always that of genteel, middle-class drinking. None of the raucous beer-swilling that went on in my family. Things in Doug's home always seemed pleasant, serene, controlled.

But there was a hidden side to all of this. My background made it impossible to see that unhappiness could still exist even where people always smiled readily and used their best manners. That people could still wound with silence and sarcasm, even if they never cursed or shouted. It was an entirely different variety of family dysfunction. I was so grateful to be in a "normal" environment, it took years, even after the divorce, to see the truth of it.

What I came to understand was, though my parents often threatened to tear the roof off the house with their wild verbalizations, there was never, ever a doubt that they cared.

With Doug's family, you couldn't be sure. And I think that's why Doug adopted his Scarlett O'Hara-like approach to life, that "money is the only thing you can count on."

So during the 15 years I was with Doug, I continually stuffed the realization that we were not happy.

In my case, then, the domestic violence and chaos were too much of a distraction from the warning signals coming from the quieter corners. There was too much of a tendency to say "Oh, quit complaining. At least nobody's kicking doors or throwing furniture through the window!" Click Here to Read More..

It's Not Your Dad's Domestic Violence

Now and then I find myself participating in conversations about domestic violence. Most recently was at a church class that dealt with the role of women in theology. Even at middle age, with both my parents gone nearly 20 years, I find myself getting tense when it's my turn to relate my personal experiences in this area. That old admonishment not to tell "family's personal business" still rears its ugly head.

Earlier this week a semi-public figure in my town was first dismissed from his job, and then arrested on charges of domestic violence. Here's an excerpt from the news article:

Police said there was no actual physical assault against his wife and a gun was not used against her, but he made verbal threats.

Police on Friday afternoon said he was being detained, but was not yet booked. Bond was set at $25,000.

Now, honestly, I don't know whether this was taken so seriously because of his public status or not -- whether anyone in the same situation would be detained and held at such a high bond for having merely made verbal threats. But regardless, I think back on the atmosphere in which I was raised, and think that if such criteria had been applied then, both my parents would have ended up in a Supermax prison.

My mother threatened to poison my father; he retaliated by refusing to eat anything she fixed for him. Getting her to taste it first did no good since my mom was anorexic and could not stand to eat in front of anyone -- she never finished a meal, but generally jumped up from the table after a few bites and ran into the bathroom because we made her "nervous."

My father not only physically assaulted my mother on a regular basis, to the point of my having to call the cops as early as age eight, but he also threatened to "shove a red-hot poker up" her various nether orifices if she followed through on her plan to have our cat neutered.

The threat of violence was something that hung over our household from one weekend to the next, anytime there was a case of beer to be had.

Yes, the police came, but no one ever got taken away. No warrants were ever served, and no one ever went to court. In fact, Dad went to court for a couple of speeding tickets and one DUI, but nothing that ever occurred inside our home.

I'm sure reports were filed, but they were little more than routine paperwork.

But here, just the verbal threats got this guy put behind bars.

The response of law enforcement to such calls seems to have changed quite a bit. But on the other hand, I suspect the average citizen's response to the police presence hasn't changed much. There's still that ambivalence -- Yes, I'm glad the officers are here to calm things down, but I don't necessarily want my partner/spouse/parent arrested because then s/he will lose time from work and will have a record.

A case like this one still sounds like an exception to the rule. Click Here to Read More..

Saturday, August 23, 2008


My bloglist grows steadily ... my normal way of finding new ones is perusing those already on the list and seeing who's on theirs. But occasionally I browse through, using the "next blog" function, just to see what comes up.

This evening I set aside about 15 minutes to explore and came up with one winner. The rest?

If it's not in English ... next. I quit at 30.

If it's mostly photos ... next. Eight of those.

If the intro contains a Bible verse or "this blog is a chronicle of my walk with the Lord" ... next. I got lucky tonight -- just one!

If it's intended for a limited audience such as family and friends ... next. More than 10 tonight.

If it's dedicated to a topic that doesn't interest me in the least (such as gaming) ... next. One of those this time around.

What I look for in a blog is word-density, with frequent updates. The topics can be public (politics, religion) or private (one individual's outlook and experiences) as long as they meet the aforementioned criteria. Humor is always a plus -- I find that people with a sense of humor are far more likely to be rational and readable.

This is not to say that I hold any illusions whatsoever that my blog is making anyone's heart go pitter-pat. I often despair at the dearth of topics that occur to me.

If it's personal angst, I'll usually post somewhere else (another blog or personal journal on the hard drive) unless I think it might be something that others can relate to...

My philosophical/political acumen is pretty weak. I have opinions, of course, but doubt that they break any new ground in discourse.

And then comes the fundamental laziness that prevents me from exploring a topic in depth or creating a series.

A large function of this blog has been venting - just laying it all out there. I have known a lot of people who could have benefited greatly from this exercise. It clearly keeps me from rehashing the same old tired themes ... but then the ideas start to dwindle.

Frustrating for me & everyone... Click Here to Read More..

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

NPR did not hire me to say this.

This morning I woke up to a quiet, articulate voice providing factual information that meant something to me.

My clock-radio got a little out of whack yesterday, so on impulse, I tuned it from the usual local fluff station I'd been using the last several months back to NPR. For whatever reason, radio reception in that room is unreliable. Some stations I like don't come in at all, or fade in & out. NPR, unfortunately, is one of them. which is why I had given up trying to listen to it some time ago. For now, however, it comes in, so I'll keep it.

I've been a regular listener for about 10 years. My favorite morning person was Bob Edwards; I'm glad he has his own Saturday interview show and didn't just vanish when they did the staff shuffle a few years back.

People who don't listen to NPR probably don't realize how much of the world they're missing. I found out the hard way about 3 years ago. Back then, the Tom Delay/Jack Abramoff scandal was being updated nearly every day on NPR. At work, there was a conference room that the manager considered sacred -- no food allowed in there at any time, to maintain a clean, professional ambience for meetings. Well, one day there was a social event and the only room available was that one. When we began setting up, I turned to one of the organizers and joked, "Did someone have to bribe Jack Abramoff to get this room?" I got that polite little smile that clearly says "I have no idea what you're talking about, so let's just find another topic, OK?" It puzzled me for a second, and then I realized, it was simply one of many news stories not covered anywhere else except perhaps the Washington Post, the NY Times, or the Wall Street Journal. I was in the midst of a strictly local/celeb news crowd.

Another reason I enjoy my church so much is, most of the people there are NPR listeners too. Our minister finds it a useful source for many sermons. Click Here to Read More..

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Skeeter Sufferers, Unite!

I can't be the only one.

Since earliest childhood, I have had an exceptionally hard time with mosquito bites.

They really, really, REALLY cause me extreme itching. The itch seems to go way down, below all layers of skin or fat cells and just lodge there, out of reach. Only some dedicated scratching eases the itch. But by the time the itch goes away, I have mangled my skin to the point where I either get an infection (this has happened twice that I can recall), or just create unsightly marks that take forever to fade. I can find mosquito bite scars going back to my teens. The stupid things did more damage to me than a bout with the chicken pox 12 years ago. They itched more, too.

Nobody seems to understand!

Them: "Don't scratch. Just leave it alone."
Me: "Fine. How often do you promise to visit me in the asylum?"

Them: "Put lotion on it."
Me: "Before or after I scrape all the skin off my arm?"

Them: "That is SUCH bad manners!"
Me: "That's what I keep telling the mosquitoes, but they don't listen!"

Meanwhile, I get disfigured every spring and summer. They started in on me very early this year, because I went to a church retreat out in the boonies in mid-April. The first one I got this year was on the outside of my right wrist. The mark is still quite visible. My left hand, wrist and forearm took a beating too this year. The marks are really ugly -- I'm aware of them because people at work come over to ask me questions and if I reach out with my left hand to get a piece of paper or something, I feel like they draw the eye. I'm sure people are wondering what the marks are. Today I went so far as to buy a jar of lightening cream, hoping it will diminish the spots.

I always seem to get caught by surprise by the damn things. "You're so sweet, they can't resist you," at least one person says to me per year, thinking it's original. It isn't, and it doesn't make me feel any better. I really do attract them. I have only to step outside for 30 seconds, day or night, and if there's a mosquito within a hundred yards, it will end up boring little holes into me, sucking out my blood. So Cutter and Off are only occasionally useful.

As for the itching, there is a remedy. You take powdered meat tenderizer (Adolph's or an equivalent store brand), mix about a teaspoon with 8 oz. of water and just slather it on where the bites are. It stops the itching right in its tracks. The only problem with this, of course, is that if you have to wait any length of time between getting bitten and having a chance to mix up a batch of "Itch-Kill," you're gonna scratch regardless. The itching will stop, but the memory will linger. Click Here to Read More..

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Oh, well, that explains it!

Kay clued me in to this quiz:

Ringmaster Ned
Ringmaster Ned
Take Your Secret Self 1 Step Beyond today!

Going 1 step beyond I would be standing in the middle of a lot of people who are interesting and just sort of pointing shit out for you. Lookit that. Lookit this. I have other things going on right now but if I can just get by announcing stuff that would be OK with me. I could DJ on the radio so long as I don't have to go beyond traffic weather and music. Or I could be the person at the info booth at the mall over Christmas. Whatever. I act like I'm keeping my life private but really there's just nothing going on. Ooooo lookit the clowns!

...Snicker... In a way, this is quite true. I guess it reflects a certain detachment. If I know what other people are interested in, I can point them toward it while staying out of the fray myself.

But then, I haven't had any coffee yet, so what do I know??
Click Here to Read More..

Monday, August 11, 2008

Stop That, Y'all!

About 2 hours ago, Carl and I were sitting down to dinner and became aware of some sounds.

The first sound, the one that never completely stops, is the dog next door (to the north). I think he's half beagle, half Jack Russell, which means he's hyper and excitable and barks all day and most of the night. But it doesn't take much analysis to differentiate between the "I'm bored, somebody pay attention to me" bark and the "Holy Shit! Somebody come take a look at THIS!" bark. We were hearing the latter. Mixed in with the barking were a deep bellowing male voice, a screechy female voice, and little-kid voices.

The house next door (to the south) practically has "Please tear me down and put me out of my misery" painted on it. It was (and probably still is) owned by this old guy named George. George lived in it for awhile, and then it got seriously burglarized, so he was left with few possessions. He moved in with his daughter, coming back periodically to try to fix it up. I'm not sure about the inside, but he did the best he could to keep the yard in order. I think his grandson was preparing to buy the house from George, but then George changed his mind. At least, that's the gossip.

For a year and a half now, various people have come and gone, appearing to be moving in, but then disappearing until the next wave arrives. I've lost count of how many "Rent-a-Center" trucks have pulled up at the curb.

For awhile there was an effort to fix the place up; they were banging on our door at (no exaggeration) four o'clock in the morning, asking to use the phone, for food, for clothes because they were freezing in mid-February, etc. The people come and go, but one thing remains constant: The growing collection of junk vehicles. Oh, yeah, this is a real picturesque neighborhood we live in. Pickup trucks with crap in the back; big stretch limos, a motorboat... I know this is George's grandson, trying to buy & resell cars. And naturally, he just has to do this here on our loosely zoned street.

There's a lady in a bright hot-pink pickup truck who's been here quite a bit. She has three or four really tiny kids, at least two of whom are girls. I have no idea how she's related to George's grandson, but today, the two of them, a younger girl, and all the kids were out front, and it was a brawl. The guy was right up in the women's faces, yelling at full volume. The older woman was screaming back at him, and the younger girl was just hysterical, finally falling on the ground, weeping. The little ones just ran up & down in front of the house. It just kills me to see tiny little kids being exposed to that kind of mayhem. I went through enough of that with my parents -- it's just a terrible thing to do to children.

It got worse - at one point the younger woman was in the air, her feet being pulled by the guy and her arms, head and neck being pulled by the woman. That was when I dialed 911. As I was calling the cops, the neighbors began coming down the street, strolling, just casual, but definitely interested in what was going on. I saw old Archie from down the block, which just goes to show how far those loud voices were carrying.

In this part of town it's almost a cliche that people don't call the cops. It's one of the biggest problems, crime-wise. Our county commissioner comes to our neighborhood meetings on a regular basis. He gives out his number and says "If you don't want to call the police, call me -- I'll call them for you and no one will ever know it was you." So, I will call the police when I see people fighting physically outside my house. They stayed out there for a long time but after the police arrived (and stayed for all of five minutes), things calmed down.

No, I don't want to move.

I want THEM to move. Click Here to Read More..

Friday, August 08, 2008

Couldn't Have Said It Better

Here's someone who articulates perfectly why I don't care about the Beijing Olympics and will be quite glad when they're over.

Actually, I don't like them in general, especially having lived in Atlanta and seen how the enterprise turned it into a callous Yuppie haven. Click Here to Read More..

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Wally's Back

My DS called this evening, in a much more conciliatory mood than he's been in since late May. While he's not exactly Mr. Warmth, at least he didn't swear at me or slam the phone in my ear.

Carl, of course, doesn't consider this good news because he once again has competition for my care and attention ... but a Quarter Pounder With Cheese seems to have soothed his mood for now. Click Here to Read More..

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Interesting Quote

From Stephen King, in his 1981 non-fiction book Danse Macabre, wherein he assures us that the horror writer is a

"human being, mortal man or woman, just another passenger in the boat, another pilgrim on the way to whatever there is. And we hope that if he sees another pilgrim fall down that he will write about it - but not before he or she has helped the fallen one off (sic) his or her feet, brushed off his or her clothes, and seen if he or she is all right, and able to go on. If such behavior is to be, it cannot be as a result of an intellectual moral stance; it is because there is such a thing as love, merely a practical fact, a practical force in human affairs.

"Morality, is, after all, a codification of those things which the heart understands to be true and those things which the heart understands to be the demands of a life lived among others ... civilization, in a word.

"...If we say that morality proceeds simply from a good heart -- which has little to do with ridiculous posturings and happily-ever-afterings -- and immorality proceeds from a lack of care, from shoddy observation, and from the prostitution of drama or melodrama for some sort of gain, monetary or otherwise, then we may realize that we have arrived at a critical stance which is both workable and humane."

He has a lot more to say in the book, which is his examination of the pop-culture genres of horror, fantasy and sci-fi from 1950 to 1980. Not sure if it's still in print, but used copies can be found in second-hand shops and Ebay.

And I emphasized that little bit in the last paragraph because I could not resist thinking about the actions of certain individuals residing at top levels of our government for the last 7 or 8 years...

Hmm, hmm, hmm. Click Here to Read More..

Friday, August 01, 2008

Okay, it's Friday and as usual I'm really tired, so...

...I'll make this simple.

What do you think of

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Chocolate Skittles? Click Here to Read More..