Monday, June 29, 2009

This is nearly obscene.

Get your genuine Holy Land Olive Wood 56 inch Cross delivered from Israel in 2-4 weeks. Only $6,498.00

Iran--Break the Blackout and Stop the Violence.

Avaaz continues to do really amazing work. This morning I had an email from them. They're trying to raise $100,000 to help provide secure, anonymous email and internet access for the the protestors in Iran. They say

Proxy services provide people with a single link at which they can freely access the internet. The link is changed every time the regime blocks access to it. With 10,000 donors, we can scale up the proxy services massively -- providing more servers, bandwidth and advanced technical support.

The next two weeks are crucial. As Iran’s secret policemen cast their net far and wide, secure channels of communication are also critical to avoiding the crackdown. Scores have been killed and hundreds of human rights advocates, journalists, bloggers and peaceful protesters imprisoned. Although many more remain free, without safe ways to communicate they will face terrible risks.

Here's a link to sign their petition asking Islamic Nations and Non-Aligned countries to condemn the violence in Iraq. And here's the link to their fundraising campaign to provide internet access to the protesters inside Iran.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


My friend Craig over at is looking to find someone who he can interview for a follow up to the video below. He's looking to make another video that highlights someone who did choose to end a friendship over this issue, but where the other person didn't feel attacked. If you have such a story, or know someone who does, feel free to contact Craig.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


What is the opposite or antonym of "pinko"?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"Yotta huge"

I coined this term, I'm pretty sure. I should trakemark it, so I can sell the rights to American fast food companies. Google currently returns zero results. Let's see how long it takes them, and if Bing *ever* picks it up (I highly doubt it, actually) (note that they still haven't picked up this one, which Google got in a few hours. I even started a live spaces blog with that as the title, to be totally fair, and they haven't even picked up that.)

Yesterday I cam to understand why Brad said microsoft should have called it "Diddle" instead of "Bing". I was somewhat intoxicated, and someone said "But when you Bing yourself, it works really well." Someone else said something along the lines of "TMI". (By the way, Bing actually sucks, even here, because when I Bing myself, this blog comes up third. which is of course way better than livesearch ever managed, but still doesn't quite manage Google's figuring out that this blog should come up *first* when I Google myself.)

Yotta is currently the largest prefix in the International System of Units (SI). It stands for 10^24, and it comes from the Greek "octo" or "eight", because it's equal to 1000^8. This is the system that starts with "deca", "hecto", "kilo", "mega", "giga", "tera", "peta", etc. (no, that's not "people for the ethical treatment of animals. And SI had it before they did.)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Adjectives as adverbs

"You did real good". =)

My wife and I have this ongoing very friendly, hilarious argument. I say usage defines correctness. She was raised by a French and English teacher. My own mother would agree with her. But then of course my mother also perfected the art of writing her beautiful near calligraphic cursive *backwardsly*, so you could read it easy if you held it up in front of a mirror. The hilarious thing is, she perfected this art during sermons on Sunday mornings. She admits this in a journal entry. Apparently the sermons were so boring, she practiced and practiced, there on the third row back, right side of left section, until she could write backwardsly. Then she took notes on the sermons backwardsly. Page after page of beautiful written backwardsly cursive sermon notes. I'm not making this up.

In my lifetime, my gracious mother and my super intelligent, gorgeous, amazingly forgiving wife have regular corrected my occasional "misuse" of adjectives as adverbs. I'd probable be making more income by now if I'd listened to them good. Ah well.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Questions about your God.

I realize that open ended questions are "better" than closed ended ones. So please assume that all the questions end with a request: "Please comment."

1. Did your God foreknowingly create a system where billions of people end up suffering forever?
2. Is your God gorgeous?
3. Does your God ever have orgasms?
4. Does your God like you?
5. Is your God into having people eat him/her?
6. Does your God have a problem with masturbation?
7. Does your God think you are gorgeous?
8. Did your God create mosquitos on purpose?
9. Does your God approve of genocide? Ever?
10. Does your God ever say or do really stupid things?
11. Do you have a secret, personal, or pet name for your God?
11. Feel free to write and answer your own question about your God ___________________________________________________.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Three iterations of Genesis 1

(By the way, per Leonard Sweet, I've removed the (manufactured) verse numbers.

I rather like all three of these. =)

From lolcat Bible translation project

Oh hai. In teh beginnin Ceiling Cat maded teh skiez An da Urfs, but he did not eated dem. Da Urfs no had shapez An haded dark face, An Ceiling Cat rode invisible bike over teh waterz. At start, no has lyte. An Ceiling Cat sayz, i can haz lite? An lite wuz. An Ceiling Cat sawed teh lite, to seez stuffs, An splitted teh lite from dark but taht wuz ok cuz kittehs can see in teh dark An not tripz over nethin. An Ceiling Cat sayed light Day An dark no Day. It were FURST!!!1

An Ceiling Cat sayed, im in ur waterz makin a ceiling. But he no yet make a ur. An he maded a hole in teh Ceiling. An Ceiling Cat doed teh skiez with waterz down An waterz up. It happen. An Ceiling Cat sayed, i can has teh firmmint wich iz funny bibel naim ceiling, so wuz teh twoth day.

An Ceiling Cat gotted all teh waterz in ur base, An Ceiling Cat hadz dry placez cuz kittehs DO NOT WANT get wet. An Ceiling Cat called no waterz urth and waters oshun. Iz good. An Ceiling Cat sayed, DO WANT grass! so tehr wuz seedz An stufs, An fruitzors An vegbatels. An a Corm. It happen. An Ceiling Cat sawed that weedz ish good, so, letz there be weedz. An so teh threeth day jazzhands.

An Ceiling Cat sayed, i can has lightz in the skiez for splittin day An no day. It happen, lights everwear, like christmass, srsly.16 An Ceiling Cat doeth two grate lightz, teh most big for day, teh other for no day. An Ceiling Cat screw tehm on skiez, with big nails An stuff, to lite teh Urfs. An tehy rulez day An night. Ceiling Cat sawed. Iz good. An so teh furth day w00t.

An Ceiling Cat sayed, waterz bring me phishes, An burds, so kittehs can eat dem. But Ceiling Cat no eated dem. An Ceiling Cat maed big fishies An see monstrs, which wuz like big cows, except they no mood, An other stuffs dat mooves, An Ceiling Cat sawed iz good. An Ceiling Cat sed O hai, make bebehs kthx. An dont worry i wont watch u secksy, i not that kynd uf kitteh. An so teh...fith day.

Ceiling Cat taek a wile 2 cawnt. An Ceiling Cat sayed, i can has MOAR living stuff, mooes, An creepie tings, An otehr aminals. It happen so tehre. An Ceiling Cat doed moar living stuff, mooes, An creepies, An otehr animuls, An did not eated tehm.
An Ceiling Cat sayed, letz us do peeps like uz, becuz we ish teh qte, An let min p0wnz0r becuz tehy has can openers. So Ceiling Cat createded teh peeps taht waz like him, can has can openers he maed tehm, min An womin wuz maeded, but he did not eated tehm. An Ceiling Cat sed them O hai maek bebehs kthx, An p0wn teh waterz, no waterz An teh firmmint, An evry stufs. An Ceiling Cat sayed, Beholdt, the Urfs, I has it, An I has not eated it. For evry createded stufs tehre are the fuudz, to the burdies, teh creepiez, An teh mooes, so tehre. It happen. Iz good. An Ceiling Cat sayed, Beholdt, teh good enouf for releaze as version 0.8a. kthxbai.

From Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, which you can buy here, or (illegally) download for free here. Also see

Che Holy Noodle

Che First Day: Light

THEN THE FSM SAID, "Let there be light," and there was light. And the FSM adjusted his willowy eyestalks and saw that the light was good; and the FSM divided the light
from the darkness. He called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night or "Prime Time." So the evening and the morning were the first day.

Che Second Day: Che Firmament

The FSM was tired of flying and He couldn't tread water for very long, so he said, "Let there be firmament in the midst of the waters, and let the firmament form coves to one day provide safe harbor for Pirates—no, wait, firmament is a stupid word; let it be called land, since 'firmament-ho!' sounds even stupider than just plain firmament—and let this land divide the waters from the waters. And let there be a volcano to spew forth beer, which seems like a benevolent idea." And the volcano spewed forth beer and He tasted it and declared it to be quite good. So the evening and the morning were the second day.

Che Chird Day: Land and Vegetation

When the FSM awoke, his thoughts were muddled and He didn't know where He was. Slightly hungover, and somewhere out in the Indian Ocean, the FSM found himself a little confused about what He'd created the day before; and so, self-conscious about the previous night's misbehavior, He started barking Godlike orders in an attempt to
reestablish His powerfulness, and then the FSM decided to organize. He said, "Let the water under the heavens be gathered together in one place, and let the dry land appear" (having forgotten about Day Two's firmament command), and He called the dry land Earth (having only yesterday come up with the term Land), and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And the FSM dried His Noodly Appendages under the hot Light, and He saw that it was good but that there was a little problem. For now He had an earth full of Land and Firmament, which wouldn't do. So he lifted Day Two's firmament up to the heavens and renamed it Heaven. The land from Day Three He left where it was. Heaven seemed like the sweeter pad, and the FSM decided He'd live
there and commute to the earth. Then the FSM said, "Let the earth bring forth grass, semolina, rice, and whatever else can be turned into food that resembles my Noodly Appendages," and He saw that this was an original idea, which was certainly good. That night He drank a little less from the Beer Volcano, which was relocated to Heaven along with the rest of the firmament. So the evening and the morning were the
third day.

Che Fourth Doy: the Sun, the Moon, the Stars

At this point, the FSM was a little sore from overexertion. It was difficult for Him to find a comfortable resting position during the night, which was darker than squid-ink pasta would eventually be. So He said, "Let there be lights in the heavens, and let there be two lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser to rule the night." And since He had big plans for the next day, He turned in early. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

Che Fifth Day: Che Big Bang

The fifth day was going to be huge, so the FSM rose early. Then He said, "Let the waters abound, let the skies fill with birds, let the earth bring forth creatures, each according to its kind. Then let them canoodle and be fruitful." And He saw that it was good, and He was feeling pretty proud of Himself, so He hit the Beer Volcano hard that afternoon. Later that evening He rolled out of bed and landed hard on the firmament, and this, fair reader, was the true Big Bang. He had a funny feeling and realized in His drunken stupor that He had not only built a factory in Heaven that turned out scantily clad women in transparent high heels, but He'd also created a midget on earth, whom He called Man. And He said, "Wow. Even I might have overreached my Noodly Appendage on this one," and not even sure what day it was anymore, He decided to take an extended break from the whole creation gig, and He gave a quick blessing and declared, "From here on out, every Friday is a holiday."

From Eugene Peterson's brilliant (and the only) translation of the Hebrew and Christian Bibles into modern American English. You can buy it here, or view it online here.

First this: God created the Heavens and Earth—all you see, all you don't see. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. God's Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss.

God spoke: "Light!"
And light appeared.
God saw that light was good
and separated light from dark.
God named the light Day,
he named the dark Night.
It was evening, it was morning—
Day One.

God spoke: "Sky! In the middle of the waters;
separate water from water!"
God made sky.
He separated the water under sky
from the water above sky.
And there it was:
he named sky the Heavens;
It was evening, it was morning—
Day Two.

God spoke: "Separate!
Water-beneath-Heaven, gather into one place;
Land, appear!"
And there it was.
God named the land Earth.
He named the pooled water Ocean.
God saw that it was good.

God spoke: "Earth, green up! Grow all varieties
of seed-bearing plants,
Every sort of fruit-bearing tree."
And there it was.
Earth produced green seed-bearing plants,
all varieties,
And fruit-bearing trees of all sorts.
God saw that it was good.
It was evening, it was morning—
Day Three.

God spoke: "Lights! Come out!
Shine in Heaven's sky!
Separate Day from Night.
Mark seasons and days and years,
Lights in Heaven's sky to give light to Earth."
And there it was.

God made two big lights, the larger
to take charge of Day,
The smaller to be in charge of Night;
and he made the stars.
God placed them in the heavenly sky
to light up Earth
And oversee Day and Night,
to separate light and dark.
God saw that it was good.
It was evening, it was morning—
Day Four.

God spoke: "Swarm, Ocean, with fish and all sea life!
Birds, fly through the sky over Earth!"
God created the huge whales,
all the swarm of life in the waters,
And every kind and species of flying birds.
God saw that it was good.
God blessed them: "Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Ocean!
Birds, reproduce on Earth!"
It was evening, it was morning—
Day Five.

God spoke: "Earth, generate life! Every sort and kind:
cattle and reptiles and wild animals—all kinds."
And there it was:
wild animals of every kind,
Cattle of all kinds, every sort of reptile and bug.
God saw that it was good.

God spoke: "Let us make human beings in our image, make them
reflecting our nature
So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea,
the birds in the air, the cattle,
And, yes, Earth itself,
and every animal that moves on the face of Earth."
God created human beings;
he created them godlike,
Reflecting God's nature.
He created them male and female.
God blessed them:
"Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!
Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air,
for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth."

Then God said, "I've given you
every sort of seed-bearing plant on Earth
And every kind of fruit-bearing tree,
given them to you for food.
To all animals and all birds,
everything that moves and breathes,
I give whatever grows out of the ground for food."
And there it was.

God looked over everything he had made;
it was so good, so very good!
It was evening, it was morning—
Day Six.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Slipping past my cynicsim--Obama at Cairo

This guy speaks right through my cynicism. How does he do this? Must be working for other people too--400,000 views of the 54 minute speech in the last 5 days.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

How not to listen to people. By: a former expert.

Recently this: (please note how we seem to be talking at each other, rather than listening to each other. I'm a lot older than this friend, so this is more my fault. This represents a type of conversation which I used to have more of than I do now. I don't want to have this type of conversation anymore. Instead, I want to practice genuine curiosity and listening. Alas. I'm still learning. I shall do better. I shall I shall I shall)

A friend:

If you believe the bible to be true then you believe that God designed Marriage for one man and one woman, no loopholes he clearly states it. if you do not believe the bible to be true, then you have no moral obligation whatsoever and then [name of other friend] arguing morals with him will be completely pointless.

You say "you" a lot when, I imagine, you actually mean "I".

As in "I believe the Bible to be true, and I believe that God designed marriage etc.".

Am I getting that right?

Are you really convinced that people who don't believe the Bible have absolutely no basis for morality in their lives? That's a pretty huge leap. There are at least some 5 billion people on the planet who don't believe the Bible in the sense that you are talking about. Some largish majority of them have various (more or less) workable systems of morality which they use--many of them arguably at least as, if not clearly more, workable than the Christian sense of morality.

A friend:
I believe God to be absolute morality so then any other system is wasting their time, if they don't choose God then screw over morals why not spend your life having fun.I know I would.

the Bible condemns homosexuality as an immoral and unnatural sin. Leviticus 18:22 identifies homosexual sex as an abomination, a detestable sin. Romans 1:26-27 declares homosexual desires and actions to be shameful, unnatural, lustful, and indecent. First Corinthians 6:9 states that homosexuals are unrighteous and will not inherit the kingdom of God. Since both homosexual desires and actions are condemned in the Bible, it is clear that homosexuals “marrying” is not God’s will, and would be, in fact, sinful.

Leviticus, or so I'm told, also condemns eating shell fish as an abomination. Does this mean that the list of what is or isn't abomination can change over time? =)

the same passage in Corinthians says the same thing about the greedy. So how does any American get to inherit the kingdom of god, taking into consideration the rate at which we consume while 1 billion people go without potable water and 25,000 starve to death every day?

Does this mean that greedy people shouldn't be allowed to be married either? What other groups of sinners will you prevent from getting married? Shellfish eaters?

A friend:
You missed the point.the point was that God despises homosexuality.
Just like God despises shellfish. I thought I had gotten it. How did I miss it?

I don't want to argue with you. I feel like I've done a terrible job of listening, and I want to do better, and I'm hoping to change the tenor of this conversation.

To that end--an attempt at a genuinely curious question: It sounds like maybe this is fairly important to you. Am I getting that right, or am i way off? Either way, why is it important, or not important, to you? Do you find homosexuality personally offputting or frightening? Has a homosexual person been unkind toward you? Or is it more a thing where you genuinely believe that homosexuality is a big threat to you and/or your family/community's way-of-being? I know, for instance, that some people have, after having been married for years, left their spouse having discovered that they were gay. That must be astoundingly painful for the spouse and children of that person. Do you know someone like that?

Photos switcharoo

Interesting article here on why Obama switched on releasing the additional prisoner abuse photos. Apparently Prime Minister al-Maliki went "pale" when he learned of the imminent release of the photos, and predicted some sort of massive redetioration of the security situation in Iraq.

I think al-Maliki, Obama, and lots of other people are insanely optimistic about the security situation in Iraq. How closely tied is al-Maliki to the Bush administration, to whom the final blame belongs in the prisoner abuse scandal?

I was saddened to see Obama parroting the Bush Administrations lines about how the abuses were carried out by a "small number of individuals." I don't understand why, if that was the case, these individuals weren't allowed to be tried by the Iraqis. This is not the Obama that I voted for. He's standing against so many human rights organizations who very clearly have way less liability in terms of suspicion of ulterior motive than he does: Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, etc. I was hoping that an America under Obama would be one of which I could once again be proud--at least to some extent, or at least in terms of direction, if not position.

Do any of the open-eyed thinkers and writers on the whole situation believe that the current government of Iraq is actually going to hold up after U.S. troops are out of the country? I'm not asking this rhetorically--I really want to know.

What government set up in a foreign nation by the United States, where we've tortured and killed civilians, has held up for ten years after the departure of the U.S.? Again, I really want to know--do these things work once we've left? My knowledge of history is altogether lacking. Help me out.

Because my gut says that no matter what anybody does, the security situation in Iraq is going to go straight to hell when the U.S. departs. We removed the very strong oppressive system that was in place (Hussein and co.) and replace it with another very strong oppressive system (U.S. troops and co.). What will replace us? Surely not the relatively weak current Iraqi government? I mean it might, perhaps, be nice, but I just can't see it.

Right now I'm really having to agree with the ACLU. And I'm hoping that I still live in a country where the executive must bow to the courts on the release of these photos--that is, where the twisting of the balance of powers accomplished by Bush and friends is not permanent. But my hope is ... not very powerful.