12 April 2016

Dumbasininity of the Day


[T]
he possession of a penis or, more fundamentally, the inheritance of the XY chromosome, is inalienably connected to maleness. As a statement, this seems to me biologically unexceptional.—Ian McEwan
[Letter to The Guardian, 6 April 2016]

08 April 2016

Dumbasininity of the Day


T
hose of us who realize the value of Christian history in American society are disappointed Governor Otter vetoed SB 1342. This bill validated appropriate use of the Bible as a reference in public schools. Although 81% of Idaho’s legislators supported the bill, and a resolution affirming its content passed the GOP convention with a near unanimous vote, Governor Otter chose to say ‘no’ anyway. A prosperous civilization needs a foundation. People with last names like Washington, Adams, and Madison blatantly identified the Bible as that reference point. They feared not having it would result in corruption and misuse of taxpayer funds. Are they right?— Sheryl Nuxoll
[“ACLU of Idaho commends Governor Otter on veto of SB 1342a,” Clearwater Tribune, 6 April 2016. Sheryl Nuxoll was the sponsor of the bill, which would have encouraged schools to use the bible as a textbook in such irrelevant subjects as music, geography, and (believe it or not) history.]

23 March 2016

Quotation of the Day


I
n his blithe assertions that he can solve any problem just by the sheer might and glory of his presence, Donald Trump is no aberration. He’s the logical culmination of this trend. Really, how is curing diabetes with cinnamon, or building your own solar panels in your garage, any different from building a big, beautiful border wall and making Mexico pay for it? They may differ in scale, but all these ideas trade off the fantasy that there are easy, one-size-fits-all solutions to big, complex problems.
The Republican establishment has worked hard for a generation to foster this way of thinking, teaching their voters to scorn complexity and distrust expertise. Whether it’s ending teen pregnancy and STDs by just telling kids not to have sex, or ending crime and violence by bringing back prayer in schools, or curing poverty by pushing poor people into marriage, or unleashing massive economic growth simply by cutting taxes on the super-rich—all these ideas are conventionally respectable, but they partake of the same mode of magical, unicausal thinking. In exploiting this mindset, Trump is merely walking through a door that generations of GOP leaders have left wide open.—Adam Lee
[“How the Right-Wing Scam Economy Created Donald Trump,” Daylight Atheism, 23 March 2016]

13 February 2016

Antonin Scalia (1936–2016)


A
ntonin Gregory Scalia (1936–2016) has slipped from the realm of life to take his proper place as an irrelevant historical footnote, a man whose blistering dissents will long be quoted as examples of the foolish and demented views held in bygone times. The living embodiment of the crazy old guy yelling at kids to get off his lawn—except that in Scalia’s case the kids were mostly imaginary as well—Scalia celebrated the oppression of minorities, the suppression of unpopular views, and the use of the machinery of government to enforce religious conformity. Finding himself living in a country he no longer recognized, dazed and bewildered by the current of popular opinion sweeping past him, he hissed and struck like a serpent caught in a flash flood. He ranted of sodomy and of the courts usurping the lawmaking power and of how there was just once race in America—and he understood very well which race that was. No minority citizen had any rights that a heterosexual Christian was bound to respect. He and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi would have understood one another well, past their skin-deep theological differences.
So farewell, crazy old guy. Whether as fool or object lesson you will not be forgotten by posterity. You will receive the usual tributes of the position—your words will be cited to show what idiots we all were in these benighted times, and your thoughts will be intermingled with equally inane things you never said. Your face will be the malignant face of our age, and our cultural descendants will spit on it, and us along with it. It’s too bad—but then, we should have known better than to elevate a guy like you to a position of authority. We probably have it coming.

31 December 2015

Milestone


O
n this day, 31 December 12015 (H.E.), I have now been blogging for exactly ten years. It’s an arbitrary milestone, but I personally rather like them, so noting it would seem to be in order. On the other hand, I have absolutely nothing to say about it.
So, what the hell. Here there be hippogryphs and divers beasts. Remember the Maine. Look out for the horse cars. And so it goes.

09 December 2015

Out But Not Down


S
tatus update: I’ve been having a hard time writing recently at least in part from the pressure of what’s going on around me. Yeah, okay, that’s an excuse, not a justification, but events have been exhausting. Most notably I’ve had a cold-like disease that while seemingly minor drained my energy considerably, stressful (separate) Thanksgivings with two (shall we say) branches of my family not on speaking terms with each other, and finally just two days ago a flood in the basement rooms I rent. It wasn’t much of a flood, as floods go—just an inch or so of water running through my bedroom and bathroom, but the chaos is considerable. In addition to removing the water and throwing out masses of stuff that had fallen into it and become useless, I’ve had people coming through to rip out the baseboards and install loud electric fans to dry the place out—these sent by my landlord.
As far as I can tell I haven’t lost anything of significance. Somehow in the chaos two fragile dime novels I own (related to the Modoc War) fell into the filthy flood water and turned up while I was cleaning up, but the plastic envelopes they were in appear to have done their jobs. (I won’t know for sure until they’ve dried off sufficiently for me to safely open them and remove the contents, but they appear to be safe inside.) A mass of receipts I was saving to show that I have in fact paid rent and performed other significant cultural rituals likewise ended up a sodden mass of indistinguishable garbage, but (keeping my fingers crossed) there’s a reasonable likelihood I’ll never need them. My towels are somewhat the worse for wear, but none of them are new, and they should continue to serve their original function.
Jesus F. Christ, though—waking up to the sound of water cascading through my window and across the small table I pretend is a desk (the antique desk I had for over forty years was deliberately destroyed a year and a half ago by minions sent by a lawyer with instructions to clear the house out) is something I don’t suppose I’ll ever forget. It was startling, to say the least. And it woke me out of a sound sleep. And I haven’t really slept much since then, what with one thing and another.
So, please note—I’m not complaining, not in the least—just explaining. I had entry-drafts for St. Nicholas’ Day (6 December) and Pretend to be a Time-Traveler Day (8 December), but I’ve missed them, so I guess they’ll have to wait until next year. Sorry about that. Still, I haven’t lost that old holiday spirit. I’m trying, mind you; it’s just hard to shake sometimes.

05 December 2015

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