Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Good Word

Underground preachers are pretty common here, as anyone who depends on the subway can tell you. As part of my route from home to work every morning, I happen to pass through the tunnel that connects Times Square with Port Authority. For as long as I've been here, a nook of this tunnel has played host to a group of Proselyteers, whose church--a couple of folding tables with placards featuring the harsher sayings of the Bible in large fonts--I've struggled to find a witty name for for years now. ("Under the Rock of Ages"? "Sub-Corpus Christi"? It'll come to me...)

Today, like most days, someone tried to hand me a pamphlet with the Good Word and, like most days, I politely declined. But it again got me mulling the ongoing discussion about why atheists don't proselytize, and for the first time I felt in my gut that our absence from such public forums was a bit sad.

Here was a religious man spending his precious time trying to get his fellow travelers to think about the afterlife. Wouldn't it be of infinitely greater value for one of us non-religious types to impress upon our fellows that they'd be better served by concentrating on the treasures of this life?

Then again, knowing how absurd the idea is of changing a stranger's entire belief system through one sloppily-printed flier handed off while said stranger is walking from the 7 train to the blue line at 9:45 in the morning...maybe by not wasting hours thus proselytizing we atheists are indeed treasuring the little time we have on this earth.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Google Reader...Win?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A (Golden) Watershed Moment

According to SiteMeter, someone in Germany found my site through this search.

Ladies and Gents, I have arrived.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11 (2)

Okay, this day also reminds me of something else that I only rarely think about. Whatever logic underlies this memory goes against how I view the world now in almost every way--and not just because it came from the Discovery Channel.

I remember distinctly being maybe ten or eleven, and watching a program on Nostradamus in the living room. One of the predictions they were discussing was that in the year 2001, a man in a turban would launch a great fire from the sky, bringing chaos (or whatever the language was they used back in 1988-ish) to the precise latitude and longitude of Manhattan.

At the time, 2001 was very far in the future, meaning it was still in grown-up land--the land of money and mobility and doing what one pleases. Since the idea of growing up and living elsewhere was still unfathomable to me, I instead worried about the nearest adult. My mother was cooking dinner at the time, so I ran into the kitchen and asked whether she had any intention of being in New York City in 2001. She looked confused and admitted that she didn't. Relieved, I went back to watching TV.

Being generally skeptical of prophets of any stripe, I share this little reminiscence without comment...


Happy 9/11, everyone!

Of all the many vivid memories I have of that day nine years ago, one in particular stands out to me today.

After the attacks, I joined a massive crowd walking across the 59th St. bridge back into Queens from Manhattan, all of us alternating between watching the road beneath our feet and looking at the epic plume of black smoke rising from the southern tip of the island. As I got to the end of the bridge and turned left into Astoria (where I lived at the time), a man I was walking beside turned to me and asked me what I thought would happen next.

Now, I had given two flips about politics in any form up until that morning. I had had the vague awareness that Bush was a total tool, but couldn't find the energy to get worked up about it. And I had had even less interest, if it were possible, in matters of international policy.

But the first thing that popped out of my mouth, almost before I'd had the chance to think it, was: "our government will go after revenge instead of justice and the whole thing will get worse."

And then Bush's (and Cheney's) real presidency started.

In a way, with the Koran burnings and the Park51 nonsense and Obama's lies about our role in Iraq, the truly onerous parts of Bush's administration are ongoing. And the very first political thought my young mind had ever formulated has proved distressingly spot-on.

BBQ, anyone?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Ultimate In Masculine Protection

The most expensive sports cup you'll ever own....

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Option C? ...Please?

Looking at the Dems' tanking numbers and the Repubs' rising star prior to the mid-term elections, I admit that I desperately wish there were a viable third party in American politics.

The voters (myself included) are rightfully dissatisfied with the tepid action the Democrats have taken regarding the economy--and job creation in particular--and want the bums out. But the only people they can replace the bums with are Republican cranks who would inarguably make the entire economic situation worse.

If votes were bullets, the electorate right now is angrily aiming at its own feet for lack of a third, better target.

Helluva sitch here, eh....

Monday, September 6, 2010

Homocentrism Tastes Funny

...At least, in a different way than the title might lead you to think.

I'm watching a murder mystery where the killer(s) find inspiration for their crimes in the works of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, as told by the Bible's crazy uncle, John.

I'm also watching my cats wrestle with each other in what appears to be a serious contest of wills.

And I think to myself, "a book written almost two thousand years ago that predicts the end of life for every species on the entire planet has only humans to talk about." Then I watch my cats fight some more, and remark that the intensity of that relationship--the reason they pay attention to each other the way they do--is because their genes are so close, and I think about how dogs do the same thing, and how barnacles on a fucking dock do the same thing, and in the face of that I'm forced to look at the movie about the Apocalypse and think...

"Yeah, the world's very existence depends on an invisible being that governs all life but is undoubtedly predisposed towards operating like a primitive human from basically the same time period as the original text was written. Totes. Fer sher. LOL"

Okay, back to the so far not terrible movie....


Update: It was terrible.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Le Sigh...

I said in a previous post that I'm most disappointed in the things Obama hasn't done: closing Gitmo; repealing by executive order (a swipe of the pen!) the silliness that is DADT; and now...ending the war in Iraq.

I voted for Obama not just because Chuckles McCain was a shambling shell of a man who'd have trouble being consistent about his own birth date, but because the talent Obama exhibited running his campaign for the Senate and then his nigh flawless run for President led me to believe that the man could get shit done, that if we made him the executive he would execute some proper MF'ing policy.

And he has, of course. Stopping a global economic meltdown counts, as does the momentous health care reform bill. And yet, several huge issues remain inexplicably fuddled. Like Iraq. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to have so many of our soldiers coming home (after how many stop-loss orders?), but 50K left standing is no small commitment--potentially for a decade, mind you--and the idea that these are entirely support units is ridiculous.

I guess I'm disappointed because the man is usually so very good at calling a situation what it is. To have him say that combat operations in Iraq are over, that the war is over, is simply absurd.

And I really wanted to leave such bald-faced absurdity back in the Bush years where it belongs...