Friday, June 25, 2010

Another Reason to Hate Vuvuzelas

Vuvuzelas, those tremendously loud, obnoxiously droning, 120 decibel, ear-shatteringly-loud cheap plastic horns that are driving soccer fans crazy in South Africa, are spreading.  I've seen them at KC Wizards games, I'm sure they'll make appearances at many NFL stadiums this fall, and now...

They've invaded MiddleEarth

I had already figured out that vuvuzelas were bad, but apparently, they're the demonic creation of Sauron!

I Want One!

When I was a kid, Legos were fun, cool and creative.  My kids are now into them, but the variety and shapes available today far exceed what I had to play with.  Still, it's fun to see what imaginations can inspire.

Who needs a fancy, multicolor, 1200dpi, wireless multifunction copier/printer/scanner/fax machine when you can have LEGO PEOPLE PRINTING FOR YOU!

Now, if they can just make an iPad out of Legos...

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I don't know if anyone reading this (both of you) have been watching the World Cup, but for an American fan, it's been an absolutely, nail-bitingly, infuriatingly, exhileratingly terrific first round.  The US team has been robbed of at least two goals by the officials, had dozens of near-miss shots on goal, and took the third match down to nearly zero-time before a fantastic finish by Donovan to seal the win. 

Now, after Germany beat Ghana in Group D, we're in great position to advance to at least the semifinal round, if not the quarterfinals.  That would match the best result the USA has ever managed in World Cup play -- the quarterfinals in 1930.  Yes, it's been 80 years since we finished in the top four, and it's time to go back.

Not only do we get the easier of the two Group D teams (I'm not saying Ghana is going to be an easy test, but certainly not more challenging than Germany would be), but each day another "mighty" team falls.  Yesterday, last tournament's runner up, France, failed to move on.  Today, the winner from four years ago fell (Italy).  England looks beatable, and so does Germany. 

Better yet, our side of the knockout bracket looks a whole lot easier than the other side.  If we beat Ghana, we face the winner of Ukraine-Korea.  Win that, and we're in the Final Four!  Of course, at that point we'll probably be facing either Brazil, Spain or Portugal -- all of them extremely powerful and talented.  But even then, we've got a chance.  The US squad beat Spain last year at the Confederations Cup, and in the finals of that tourney, we led Brazil 2-0 at the half. 

It's been an amazing ride so far, and I think this US team's got a long ways to go before they bow out of it. 


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The question's been asked -- Are you a troll?

So, you've taken the time to wander through a certain blog or website, and you see something that ticks you off, and they've got an open comments section.  What do you do

If you're a reasonable, sane and normal person, you might make a comment directly relevant and factual as an attempt to correct and/or address an issue.  Or, you could take the easy, obnoxious, juvenile path and blast out a non-sequitur laden, grammatically incorrect and ignorant bucket of blargh -- i.e., be a troll.

It's a good think there aren't any trolls lurking around this blog!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bears must believe in the Christian God -- They do his work for him

Apparently, the reason grizzly bears maul humans occasionally isn't because we intrude on their habitats, destroy their living spaces, drive off their prey, and push them ever closer to extinction.  Nope -- it's because the USA doesn't believe in the Bible anymore (or not enough), and the bears are God's enforcers

Just like the story of Elijah and the Two Bears, when the Christian deity gets angry, he sends cuddly teddy bears out to maul the offenders.  Or in this case, half-ton, angry, intoxicated, dazed and violated male grizzly.

Of course, the actual particulars of this case are more reasonably looked at as negligence (on the part of the scientists who left a tranquilized bear without observation) and carelessness (on the part of the man who wandered into the woods just after the bear woke up).  

The "next generation" of technology?

What would you do if you could time travel?  Would you want to meet famous people (or even your own ancestors)?  Would you try and influence major historical events, like assasinating Hitler before he came to power?  Or would you be a selfish, greedy opportunist who takes advantage of modern technology for your own personal gain?

One artist imagined what he'd do with a time travel device, and I think it's pretty ingenious. 

Imagine how popular you'd be at parties with an ALT1977 Pocket Hi-Fi:

Or how jealous all the neighborhood kids would be if your parents got you a Microcade 3000 for your birthday?  That snotty rich kid with his brand-new Atari 2600 would keel over in a dead faint if he saw it!

 This is some serious fun!  What sort of technology or ideas would you take back in time?  When would you take it to?  Would you be someone who wants to "save the world", or would you try and make some fast money?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Called Third Strike on "Touchdown Jesus"

For a while, it made a small town in Ohio famous.  It was the "Touchdown Jesus" statue rising over 60 feet above the ground outside a megachurch, overlooking the nearby I-75 highway. 

It was ridiculed by comics, parodied in song, and derided as excessive by many.  And now it's gone.

Yes, what scoffing and mockery couldn't do, good old Nature took care of.  Struck by lightning, the massive statue burned to the ground.  I wonder if the hyper-religious who see "god's hand" in natural events (hurricanes, earthquakes, oil spills, etc) will say about this?  Was it the Christian deity striking down a forbidden graven image?  Or maybe it was Zeus trying to show he's still relevant? 

Or was this just another example of the inneptitude and inaccuracy of the Biblical creationist god -- he was probably aiming at the nearby Planned Parenthood clinic, or the dozens of strip clubs just a few miles in that haven of iniquity -- Dayton, OH.  After all, if that "god" can't hit Houston with an oilslick the size of Florida, why should we expect him to nail the right town with a lightning bolt?  And who can blame him if the miss causes damage and destruction to the completely innocent?


Quick update on what might have been the actual target (which was clearly missed): There's a Hustler Hollywood store directly across the highway from "Burning Man" Jesus, where all forms of smut and pornography are legally sold.  Given the vast array of immorality and vice surrounding the Solid Rock Church (henceforth to be known as "Flaming Styrofoam Church"), it remains a mystery why only the 60' tall "Terminator" Jesus was struck down.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

World Cup Fever!

What an opening weekend for the biggest sporting event in the world!  Amazing skills on display from the best players in the world, tremendous saves and shots all over the pitch.

I don't know about anyone else, but I've set my DVR to record every single game -- and I'm planning on watching as many as I can before the harddrive overloads and starts deleting the oldest ones.  I've managed to watch at least parts of every game, and three full ones.

The USA-England match was phenomenal.  I was worried when England scored in less than 4 minutes, but the US defense clamped down and forced a draw.  Tim Howard -- what a monster in the box.  Even with a ball that provides some very "interesting" bounces and bruised ribs, he still put on a clinic for every keeper in the tourney.

Watch out, world!  The USA is going to make some noise this month.  Next up, Slovenia on Friday.  My prediction: USA 3, Slovenia 1

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Parade of Moronic False-Association Just Doesn't Stop!

There's a pastor in Macon, GA that's just aced the "deluded beyond belief" test.  His post, The Parable of the Gulf Oil Spill is an absolute gem of lunacy and nutbaggery.  This moron thinks that God works by creating natural disasters that decimate huge expanses of humanity just to send "warnings" about things the poor pastor doesn't like (homosexuality, abortion, and prosperity gospel).  The trouble is, he is too busy preaching about it to notice his sense of direction is all wrong.

Yup, the guy claims that the Gulf oil spill centered south of Louisiana and generally drifting to the east is retribution from God for the iniquities and sin in Houston, where Planned Parenthood is building a new clinic.  Add to that the fact Joel Osteen's church is headquartered in Houston, and Pastor Joe goes ballistic. How dare Houston have such disrespect for his god!  

Has anyone else noticed the absolutely terrible aim the god of these morons has?  Every time I think they can get more absurd, another one (like this guy) jumps up and shouts his idiocy to the rafters.  Pat Robertson asserted Disney World would be hit by a natural disaster because they allowed a Gay Rights group to visit -- and then his own hometown was hit by a hurricane.  Another bozo claimed that Hurricane Katrina was retribution for all of the excesses of the French Quarter in New Orleans -- but Katrina didn't do much damage to that hotbed of sin, preferring to devastate the 9th Ward and numerous churches, instead.

Look, I'm not saying people can't have a personal belief in whatever deity they choose.  Most are fine and normal and not complete nutjobs, and I get along fine with them.   But it is absolutely insane to think that (a) any god would be so inept that he couldn't hit a city the size of Houston with an oil slick the size of Florida, and (b) that an omnipotent deity that created the universe would care about idiots like Joel Osteen bilking millions by pandering to the basest survival instincts of lonely people, or that (c) such a deity would use a massively wasteful, overdone and inaccurate method like an oilspill, hurricane or earthquake.  

Clearly, these guys aren't thinking right.  They're thinking too small.  If they want to truly get "biblical" on the Osteens and Planned Parenthoods of the world, a worldwide conflagration that consumes everything (humans, plants, animals, bacteria, etc) is more God's style.  Can't do a flood -- 'cause God promised!  But all out nuclear holocaust -- you betcha!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

This is simply awe inspiring!

Check out this video that a French freediver made.  I have to admit, I've done my share of swimming and snorkeling, but to simply drop into a blue hole like that is insane! 

All I can say is, wow.  I'm impressed.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Take a walk on the Faith side

As all of my regular readers know (both of you, most likely), I was the first non-mainstream-religion writer for the KC Star's FaithWalk column back in 2007-2008.  I wrote a total of 5 articles, which were all well received.

Now, it's time again for someone else to take up the challenge.  The Star is again recruiting people to write for their column, and they're looking for just about anyone, of any religious persuasion (or none at all).  I would love to see a wider variety of perspectives from the community.  I think it would be interesting to read from a much younger viewpoint, especially for those still searching and questioning how beliefs and faith fit into their lives. 

The last couple years have seen a small increase in the diversity of views, but not enough.  Almost all of the writers have been Christian, most of the mainstream variety, and none of the overtly fundamentalist types.  There has been the obligatory atheist each year, but no real agnostic or lapsed religious types.  A single Pagan/Wiccan for that fringe.  Only one non-Abrahamic writer. 

If the point of the FaithWalk column is to provide a broader insight into the diversity and views of the greater KC area, I would hope that the Star makes the effort to recruit from the less common religious groups -- Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc, as well as the non-religious.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Urban Dictionary isn't the right tool for getting defintions of common terms

OK, so the Urban Dictionary is pretty good for us "old timers" to get a grasp on the latest lingo and slang out there.  But when it comes to more standard terms and words, it fails completely.  PZ Myers mentioned it in regards to the term "atheist" today, so I thought I'd go check it out.  He's right -- almost all of the "definitions" are idiotic insults hurled by ignorant religionists.

One thing I noticed while laughing my way through the first couple pages of "atheist" definitions was the links to other terms that were related: Christian, Muslim, Jew, etc.  So just for curiosity's sake, I clicked of "Muslim" first.  Wow -- what an even worse display of ignorance, prejudice and hatred!  Calling all Muslims terrorists, claiming that Muslims are all fantatics and intent on destroying Christianity.  Misrepresenting sections of the Koran.  Pages and pages of this stuff.  It's horridly absurd and would be laughable if this wasn't the attitude of many Christians I know.

So then I clicked over on the "Christian" definition, just to see if the same level of bigotry, hatred and vehemence was shown there.  Nope, not a chance.  Christians are all fluffy bunnies and rainbows, if you were to believe that site.  Hardly a single negative about the whole thing, and the whole lot of them whining about persecution and misunderstanding by the rest of the world!  Oh, my -- you're only 75% of the US population, how sad for you to be in such a tiny minority!  Sheesh!  The arrogant hubris was so thick, I almost choked before I could hit the "back" button.

I'm sick of hearing how downtrodden and stripped of rights those poor Christians are.  I'm so sorry that you've lost some of your unconstitutional privileges that you've enjoyed and lorded over the rest of us for decades.  I'm almost (but not really) sympathetic to the travails and hardships of the majority now that you can't beat down the minority as easily.  I know how hard it must be to swallow the fact that putting your "god" on our money and in our Pledge of Allegiance has been challenged as illegal in the courts.  It must be so difficult for you, having all that tax-exempt land overflowing with massive, overly ornate places for you to go prostrate yourself before your chosen mythos. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Should a Mosque be Built Near Ground Zero in NYC?

The NYC Community Board voted last week to approve plans for the building of a 13-story Islamic community center and mosque only a few blocks away from Ground Zero.  The USAToday article has an online poll question that asks "Do you agree with the board's decision? Yes or No".  Right now, it's running at 86% saying "no".  That's disturbing and offensive, if you asked me.

I know how tempting it would be to say "absolutely not" to that question, but think about the consequences of such an answer.  From what I understand, this mosque is being built by private financing, on privately owned land, only a couple blocks from the sight of the worst terrorist attack on American soil.  It's being vilified and attacked already by the teabaggers and bigots as "insensitive", "evil" and "disgraceful".   But what is insensitive, evil and disgraceful (as well as stupid and ignorant) is the sheer arrogance of these people to openly attack their cherished Constitution. 

While it's true that the attackers on 9/11 were Muslim, they do not represent all of Islam.  And unless someone can show that this Islamic cultural center (and mosque) are being financed by illegitimate terrorist organizations, I don't see how anyone could possibly say it should be stopped, unless they want to dismantle the essential freedoms guaranteed in our Constitution

The First Amendment states that we have the freedoms of religious expression, assembly and speech.  The calls by the bigots and teabaggers to stop this planned construction violate every single one of those freedoms.  Can't they figure that out? 

  • If you say we shouldn't allow the mosque because it's not "our" religion -- that violates the free expression clause. 
  • If you say we shouldn't allow it because it would let Muslims congregate and organize near the site of the attack, that violates the free assembly clause. 
  • If you say we shouldn't allow it because the imams might preach something you don't agree with, that violates the free speech clause.

If these ignorant savages had any sense at all, they'd realize that what they're doing is calling for a theocratic dictatorship.  If that's what they want, I suggest they all move away, because this country was founded and has remained (mostly) a secular representative republic that is founded on the principles of personal liberty and freedom, not draconian Christian Dominionism.  That sort of theocratic, authoritarian dictator-led government has been tried before, and is still functioning in many nations around the globe.  Maybe the teabaggers would feel more comfortable over there -- like Iran, Yemen or North Korea.  Personally, I wouldn't mind shipping all of them off to someplace like that.  Maybe after a few months under those governments, they'd understand the need for the freedoms and liberties that are ascertained by our Constitution.

Come on, America.  Be a bigger, more inclusive, more tolerant, and more honest nation.  If you truly cherish and respect the Constitution that our nation was founded on, don't let the bigots and idiots run the place.