That Didn’t Take Long, Did It?
Okay, I’ll get this out of the way.
The seat cushions of the 114th Congress – which is 80% white, 80% male and 92% declared Christian and yet gets called “one of the most diverse (Congresses) in American history” – are barely warm, and guess what the religious right is up do?
Rep. Walter Jones (R, N. Car.) introduced a bill, H.R. 153, which aims to “restore the Free Speech and First Amendment rights of churches and exempt organizations by repealing the 1954 Johnson Amendment.”
The Johnson Amendment, a change in the tax code, prohibits churches (or other nonprofits with 501C tax exemptions) from endorsing or opposing political candidates. Hiding behind the free speech flag waving is the bill’s real agenda – religious electioneering and the effort to erode the wall of separation between church and state.
As per this alert from The American Humanist Association:
If pastors are given the right to endorse candidates from the pulpit, their parishioners may be coerced into supporting specific candidates because of a perceived religious obligation. This is fundamentally un-American, and weakens the state of our democracy by giving religious leaders untold influence. Stand up for church-state separation by opposing this harmful bill.
Church and state are separate for a reason, and attempts to de-secularize our government are opposed by levelheaded people of all worldviews, from humanist to religious believers. Please, take a minute and make your voice heard by contacting your Representative.
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DVD pick of the week : Murderball
This award-winning 2005 documentary about the U.S. quad rugby team, a team composed of paraplegic men, is highly entertaining. However, the film is not exactly in the mode of Reader’s Digest Inspiring Stories when it comes to portraying the psychologically transformative power of living with a disability. In other words, if the macho asshole sensibility was your guiding force in life before you were disabled, chances are you will continue to be a macho asshole in your souped-up wheelchair.
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Department of Oh Please, Please, Make It Be True
In the latest issue of The Week‘s It Must Be True I Read it in the Tabloids section, there is a blurb about a new home-renting service: Airpnp.
Nah, I thought, it can’t be real, although it’s a great prank on airbnb…then I searched, and found the service’s website:
Find a clean, comfortable bathroom no matter where you are. Airpnp gives you access to a ton of restrooms all over the planet. Whether you’re just out and about, at a big event, or need to find a place to go in a new city we’ve got you covered.
Apparently, someone made it so.
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Department of Too Good To Be True, But It Is
Aka, The Updated Version of Our Bestseller will Be Titled
The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven: And Lied His Ass Off for Jesus
There’s a whole industry based on books where people “die” and then come back to life with firsthand accounts about what it’s like in heaven and what a really nice guy Jesus is. To American Christians, this is like deep-fried foods – they just eat it up, no questions asked. Because it verifies what they already believe, but can’t prove.
(Bill Maher, “Heavenly Fodder”)
You may have heard that Christian Evangelicals and religious booksellers all over the nation were peeing their pants with capitalist delight over the book that the gullible believers faithful flocked to purchase. The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven: A True Story, the 2010 “memoir” of a boy’s recollection of his tour of heaven during his comatose state that followed a car accident, is being pulled from shelves after the (now) 16 year old boy admitted he made up the tale. 
The boy’s name? Alex Malarkey.
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Speaking of malarkey, Pope Not-As-Big-A-Cretin-As-The-Others-But-Still-a-Pope Francis went on his Hell Freezes Over  tour of the Philippines. He led an outdoor Mass last Sunday in Manila, during which he praised the faith of “simple people” (translation: those willing to swallow whatever codswallop the church dishes out).
The F-pope also spoke out against “poverty, ignorance and corruption,” giving those of us who are religion-free yet another thigh-slapper.
After all, the church’s Holy Trinity of poverty, ignorance and corruption is what sustains their hold over the ignorant, fearful, deceived masses faithful.
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Department of Really Stupid Stuff I Nearly Said
Sub-Department: This is Going To Come Back To Haunt Me Someday
As my groceries were being rung up I was about to comment on the clerk’s unique hand tattoo but, fortunately, took a second look before I opened my mouth…and realized that what had caught my attention was not ink art on the back of the clerk’s hand, but rather a tangle of varicose veins.
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Department of Yum
The aroma is wafting in from the kitchen, where a pan of toasted whole spices is cooling on the counter. I’ll grind them  after they cool, then mix them with ground turmeric and coriander, for my special recipe curry powder.
I love the smell of toasted spices, which lingers for hours, sometimes even overnight. Belle, not so much. One of the few plusses to having your children away at college is being able to mix up whatever spice or sauce combinations suit your palate, and not hear the dreaded Eeeeew, what’s that?
On one such Eeeew occasion, a long long time ago in a kitchen far far away, MH helped Belle weather the storm. I think it was something Thai I was cooking; whatever it was, she didn’t like the smell of it, and he rigged a protective “device” for her — a tissue placed under her nose and held in place by her (relatively new, at that time) eyeglasses. I was so pissed off My joy at his inventiveness knew no bounds, and I’m still thanking him for his ingenuity. 
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A few weeks ago someone said I didn’t often post personal info on my blog. I don’t know how much more personal you can get than to show a picture of your pestle-that-could-be-mistaken-for-a-marital-aid; still, I suppose it was a valid observation.
So. Here are
15 Little Known If Not Exactly Personal Facts About Moiself
Content alert: name dropping
- I am interested, to the point of occasional fascination, by reports of inclement weather. (It’s a good thing MH & I are the Last Remaining Neanderthals Who Do Not Now Nor Ever Have Had Cable TV, ® or I would be glued to the various weather channels).
- I abhor the taste of black licorice and licorice-like flavors and aromas (if a recipe calls for anise or fennel seeds, I’ll leave it out). It isn’t a true allergic reaction, but even the whiff of a fresh fennel bulb makes me woozy.
- There is no third little known fact about me.
- One day in the early 70’s Danny Bonaduce (“Danny Partridge”) tried to strike up a conversation with me at Seattle’s Space Needle, where he and Dave Madden (“Reuben Kincaid”) were attending a Partridge Family promotional event. 
- I have shorter than average toes. 
- I think it would be great fun to have a glass shattering range (ala a firearms shooting range), where a person could lob full bottles of liquid against a concrete wall.
- I have had cats, dogs, snakes, lizards, birds, hamsters, rats, guinea pigs, snails, fish, mice and tarantulas for pets, but never a rabbit.
- When I was accepted to UC Davis I received a recruitment letter from their field hockey team.
- I worked for the obstetrician who delivered Neil and Pegi Young’s second child. 
- Oops, looks like only ten little known facts.
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Department of Why I’ll Never Be Ambassador to Kenya
At least once a week, whatever part of my brain is in charge of such things rings me up in the proverbial middle of the night with a must-write-this-down call. Over the years I have learned that whatever prompts these nocturnal nudges cannot be ignored if I am to go back to sleep; thus, I keep a notepad and pen on my nightstand.
Nine out of ten times I wake up in the morning aware of (mostly) what I’d written down. Last Saturday was one of the 10% mornings: I knew I’d written something, but wasn’t sure about the content. In the morning, my scribbles on the note pad read:
No, Hakuna Frittata.
Oh. Okay. I get it.
Don’t you wish your subconscious was as profound as mine?
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May your Wall of Separation keep you safe from encroaching licorice, and allow for an occasional fennel-free frittata to sneak past the border patrol…
and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
 Actually, it’s quite sad to read the story behind the story. The accident left the boy quadriplegic; he wanted attention, was raised religious…and the boy and his mother were exploited by both fellow evangelicals and publishers and pressured to remain silent when they wanted to go public with the book’s “inaccuracies.”
 Wafting is an aroma’s favorite means of transport.
 In a $9 coffee bean grinder I purchased solely for grinding spices.
 Or, not.
 I thought he was trying to impress me with his celebrity, and I snubbed him. He was surrounded by adults and I was the only person his age nearby…I think he was just a lonely/bored kid trying to connect, and I’ve always regretted not being kinder to him.
 As confirmed by many a shoe salesman, one of whom said, after espying my naked feet, “Wow, if you had, like, normal length toes your shoes would be one or two sizes larger.” Guess who didn’t make that sale?