Despairing Comment of the Month
Overheard at our dinner table: “Hillsboro is so not Paris.” 
* * *
Regarding Pope Francis’ encyclical on global warming, I can’t say it better than FFRF founder and co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor’s essay, excerpted here, Why I Find It Hard to Laud the Pope’s ‘Laudato’ :
“…I do have a quarrel, a major quarrel, to pick with Pope Francis and his encyclical. Which is that since the dastardly “Humanae Vitae” was issued in 1968 — in which Pope Paul VI not only crushed the hopes of an entire generation of idealistic young Catholics, consigned women to be brood mares and cemented the church’s war on abortion and contraception — the world population went from 3.5 billion to today’s 7.3 billion and counting. Yes, it’s more than doubled. And that’s surely a crime by humanity against what the pope calls ‘sister Earth.’
“…Overpopulation may not be the direct cause of all our environmental ills, but it makes all of them worse, far worse. The more people, the more cars and carbon dioxide emissions, the more plane flights and fuel burned, the more deforestation, wildlife and habitats destroyed, the more trash in space, in the oceans, dumped in developing nations, the more biodiversity silenced or imperiled, the more fodder for plagues, famines, droughts, wars, natural (and “unnatural”) disasters. It’s not rocket science.
“My mother used to have a favorite analogy about overpopulation, what she called a ‘sanity test.’ You’re in a room with an overflowing sink and a mop and bucket. What do you do first? Do you turn off the spigot or mop the floor?“
* * *
Let ‘er Rip
Last week’s blog, devoted to a fondly remembered high school teacher and journalism advisor, was a bit milder than usual. But I did promise a return to my usual, highbrow, Masterpiece Theatre entertainment. Read: fart jokes.
A family drops off their elderly mother at a nursing home. While sitting in her new room, she slowly begins to tilt sideways in her chair. Two attentive nurses immediately straighten her up. After a while, she starts to tilt to the other side. The nurses rush back to put her upright. This goes on all morning.
Later, the family arrives and asks the old woman, “Are they treating you all right?” She replies, “It’s pretty nice here, except they won’t let you fart.”
Q. Why are farts smelly?
A. So deaf people can enjoy them, too.
The Duke of Edinburg loudly passed gas during a dinner party at Buckingham Palace. Queen Elizabeth gasped, and Prince Philip said, “How dare you fart in front of my wife!” The Duke apologized, “So sorry, I didn’t realize it was her turn.”
Continuing with the royal theme : 
Q. What do the Queen of England’s farts have in common with helium and neon?
A. They are all noble gases.
* * *
We now return you to our regular programming.
* * *
Things That Make Me Happy
I like to do a diva finger snap or flick my hands (ala Star Trek’s Lt. Riley in TOS’ Naked Time episode  ) when I approach a store’s automatic entry or exist doors, timing it such that my gesture appears to cause the doors to open.
When I do this (admittedly silly) thing, I do not attempt to mimic the sound effects 
* * *
Things That Make Me Sad
Last week I saw an incidence of shame eating: a woman sitting in the driver’s seat of an SUV in the parking lot of a local outdoor shopping mall, frantically and furtively scarfing down what appeared to be an entire tray of frosted cinnamon rolls.
* * *
Things That Frost My Butt
Read the sign carefully. There is no mention of who is sponsoring, leading or providing the food and activities.
Pedophiles, luring kids to the park with the promise of free goodies, games, maybe even puppies?
Using amazingly similar techniques, it’s religionophiles.
I saw the same sign last summer, in same place, which is in a local park where I walk in the mornings. I assume it’s the same group as last summer, when I took my walks later in the morning and, one day, saw the group setting up and asked them what be going down? . It’s a church group, proselytizing to the kiddies while luring them (and their low income families) with the promise of free food and “fun” games. 
The butt-frosting is due to the fact that they are not upfront about who they are and what they are doing.
* * *
It’s a good thing – a blessing in disguise, if that phrase may slither from an apostate’s lips – that the door spring on our oven broke and there is no replacement part for it and there are also several other oven parts that are either broken or fraying. Thus, MH had reason to search online for new oven options, and was able to alert me to this wonderful discovery: Even happy heathens like us have the option of purchasing appliances that have a Sabbath mode, yet another modern convenience which allows the faithful to ignore and/or circumvent comply with their ridiculous primitive treasured religious proscriptions. 
Lest you be permanently stuck in Huh/WTF? Mode, let the Chicago Rabbinical Council explain it to you:
The primary function of the Sabbath mode is to override the following features of modern ovens that conflict with the needs of a kosher home, including:
- Auto shutoff which shuts off the oven after 12 or 24 hours to conserve energy and/or prevent fires.
- Lights and signals that go on or off when one opens the door, food finishes cooking, the temperature is adjusted etc.
Instead of employing a gentile to turn your oven off or on, you can have your very own Shabbat Goy Oven, imagine that.
* * *
Things That Make Me Wake up at 3 am and say, Huh?
So, we are all familiar with the questions that have been raised as to how astronauts on a mission are able to eat, bathe, defecate and exercise (these and more space travel dilemmas are delightfully delineated in Mary Roach’s Packing For Mars), right?
But, what about dental hygiene in space? Specifically, I was wondering about the effects of zero gravity on gum tissue. 
Inquiring minds don’t give a rat’s ass want to know.
* * *
The Obvious Points I’m Not Belaboring…
Or, maybe I am.
“Nothing fails like prayer.”
(Anne Nicol Gaylor, author, feminist and Freethought activist, 1926 – 2015)
CHARLESTON, S.C. — Dylann Roof, who police say opened fire and killed nine people during a prayer meeting at a historic African American church here…
There are few words that haven’t already been said or written about the despicable, racist massacre in Charleston. There is, however, a certain…question…that isn’t being asked aloud, for a variety of reasons, including the general consensus that we’re still “too close” to the tragedy  to bring up such issues…until a person such as moiself dares to voice the ahem, excuse me observation.
In light of such a tragedy, I know what I am supposed to say or feel, about the people who gather to pray for the victims and their families. I am supposed to express if not genuinely feel platitudes about faith and about resilience in the face of tragedy.
Uh uh. Nope.
After frustration and anger re the racist motivations of the shooter (and the denial of the same by head-in-the-sand-and-up-their-asses conservative politicians, talking heads and gum-flapping Southern Heritage supporters), my second and now recurrent thoughts revolve around the folly of superstitions and incantations.
I have to put down the paper/change the channel/close the website if I read or hear about yet another event wherein religious believers gather to “pray for the victims.”
WT Holy F?!?!?!
Nine people are murdered at their “Lord’s House” during a prayer meeting, which, I can logically assume via both definition and experience, included petitionary prayers for help, inspiration and intervention – prayers directed to a deity  which, his followers believe, can move mountains  but which couldn’t be bothered to protect people in “his” church from being attacked…prayers directed to the same god they believe could have stopped the attacker (if not, why pray for help and intervention?), but didn’t?
And so, y’all are going to pray. For what? To what? Why?
* * *
A Belated Happy Half Birthday to Me
We celebrate half-birthdays in our house. Mine was two weeks ago, and I love it that I always forget when mine is just around the bend. Thus, ’twas a cool surprise to come downstairs in the morning and find a card on the refrigerator door, hanging from a red ribbon that led to a gift bag in the freezer, a bag which contained the ingredients for, IMHO, nature’s perfect feast:
The history of the half-birthday celebration is due to MH’s and my first date, which took place on the day after my birthday. When MH found out that he had just missed celebrating my birthday with me, he expressed mild distress…and I thought nothing of it until, six months later (and yearly after that), I received a half-birthday card.
* * *
May you pass the most basic sanity test and throw away that mop;
may you be surprised by gifts of lima beans and dark chocolate (or whatever ingredients compose your equivalent dream feast);
may you take enjoyment from the simple pleasures of a royal barking spider joke,
and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
 Re Belle and I trying to plan a celebratory, French-style dinner.
 Yes, there is an entire subcategory of The Queen fart jokes. Is this a great world, or what?
 Not my exact phrasing.
 Not their verbatim answer.
 If I had payots, which—surprise! – I don’t.
 The proscription relating to ovens: observant Jews are forbidden from ” creative work” on the Shabbat, which has been interpreted to include food preparation, even flipping a switch or pressing an electronic button.
 No, I don’t know what causes such concerns to pop into my mind. I’m just grateful that this time, the brain-popping happened at 4 pm instead of 3 am.
 I wonder, will the passage of time make the reactions any more rational?
 For purposes of argument, not that I think such a supernatural being actually exists.
 Matthew 17:20: ” Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (also Mark 11:23)