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The Trolls I’m Not Feeding

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Monday I made a visit to Forest Grove Community School, where the 5th & 6th grade students are using The Mighty Quinn for their block of study on realistic fiction.  I spent two class periods with them, first with the 6th graders and then the 5th graders.  I read a brief TMQ excerpt as an example of revealing character via dialog, did a Q & A session, and met individually with students to hear their writing samples and banter about story ideas.  The kids were delightful, and one of the best school groups I’ve ever visited.

I got a kick out of observing the students’ interactions (from the back of the class, before the teacher introduced me.  (Yep, I was lurking).  What a difference a year makes.  The 6th graders were obviously conscious of how they might “look” to their peers when asking a question or offering a comment.  Their Q & A concerns focused on their struggles with their own writing assignments.  The 5th graders were energetic, unbounded and out there – one boy shrieked with delight and threw me a high five when I was introduced as the author of the book they’d been reading aloud in class.  The 5th graders’ Q & A session was dominated by personal (to me),  what’s it like to be a writer queries.  One student even asked about my royalties, and was thrilled when I complimented him for knowing the term.  Several students stayed after class, missing part of their recess, to gather around me.  They gushed about how unbelievable it was that they had met a REAL PUBLISHED AUTHOR ® a sentiment I find embarrassing/annoying when expressed by adults, but from those students, it was sweet beyond words.  FGCS 5th and 6th graders, this Pretty Purple Toe Award is for you.

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BELLY LAUGH OF THE WEEK

Tuesday:  in my car, waiting for the left turn signal.  The car in front of me had one of those stick figure family decals in the rear window, which, in general, I find annoying and rarely give a second glance to.  But something about this one caught my attention.

STICK FIGURE FAMILY

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BELLY CREEP OUT OF THE WEEK

Wednesday: Back in the damn car again, performing what used to be an almost daily chore that has evolved into a rare errand: sending a manuscript via snail mail.  The nearest mailbox where I might still make the pickup time [1] was a couple of miles away, by a Bi-Mart store. As I pulled into the Bi-Mart parking lot a woman pushing a shopping cart with an infant seat in it crossed in front of me.  Heading for the store, she walked slowly and laboriously and looked neither left nor right.  She just crossed the lane of traffic.

I was ~ ten feet away from her, in no danger of hitting her as I was going quite slowly, but I was annoyed by her negligent pedestrian-ship. FFS lady, maybe you don’t care about your own life but what about the baby?  Further annoying me was the fact that it was 27º outside, and I could see the infant’s bare legs sticking out from the bottom of the child seat.  As my car rolled closer I could see that the woman had a vacant, slack-jawed expression on her face, one that might be explained by a mental or physical disability, and the “baby” in the baby seat was actually a (very realistic-looking) baby doll.

DOLd

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“It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”
(Einstein’s letter of 3-24-54 to a correspondent who’d asked Einstein to clarify his religious views.
(“Albert Einstein: The Human Side.”)

 One of the great games in the culture wars is claiming the good and smart for your team and pushing the monsters away. Picture Christian and atheist captains in a sandlot choosing basketball teams. “Einstein, we get Einstein!” say the atheists. “No way, he used the word God!… “Oh you WISH!” ….
Albert Einstein is the three-point shooter everybody wants to draft.

(from Dale McGowan ‘s blog post, “Owning Einstein.”)

holding out for free agent status

holding out for free agent status

A link I posted on my Facebook page – to Hemant Mehta’s  blog post about Ron Reagan Jr. taping a PSA for an atheist organization – got me sucked into one of those  discussions.  A FB friend apparently took issue with the younger Reagan’s statements about reason being “the hallmark of the human species.”

FB Friend: Who says that believing in God makes one unreasonable? That is a rather objectionable statement. Most of history’s great thinkers believed in God. I believe in God and I believe im (sic) a reasonable person. You don’t believe? No prob. Its (sic) not my job to force my faith down your throat. We can get along without faith being an issue…

RP:  “Most of history’s great thinkers believed in God.” Now, that is a statement of faith, not fact.   😉

FBF: Einstein believed, Newton believed, Galileo believed, Devinci (sic)  did as well. its not a matter of just having faith…

MH also followed the link in my post. He read the Reagan post in its entirety, and thus was confused by FBF’s reaction.  “Why did he (FBF commenter) assume the article said religious people are unreasonable, when it didn’t?” he mused.

My Son K would probably say that I violated the don’t feed the trolls rule by even acknowledging the comment.  You know, stick to posting pictures of your dinner and links to fart jokes.

TROLL

But, no.  That’s too easy.  And besides, the commenter is no troll.  Rather, he is a friend from high school days, and a very nice guy.  So, I posted the Einstein quote that opened this section, and said I’d deal with this more extensively in this blog post.  Here we are.  More extensively, ho! [2]

Although they (of course) are not here now to speak for themselves, I’ve little doubt that many if not most of what we might call the “great thinkers” of the past were religious…at least, in their public personas. People had to make some sort of public religious profession; there were no other options. [3]  What choice did people have, to believe or express opinions to the contrary?

Giordano Bruno was just one of many great thinkers who were tortured and murdered for expressing opinions and/or doing research that the religious/political authorities (often one in the same, in that most unholy of alliances) found threatening or blasphemous.  You need not have a writer’s imagination to posit what would have happened to Galileo if he’d expressed doubts as to the existence of the Jehovah deity, when for merely making scientific (not religious) statements – backed with, hey, evidence! – he was called to Rome and tried for heresy.  Galileo, well aware of the fate of Bruno and others before him, was given a “tour” of the church’s dungeons, and shown the instruments of torture that would be used on him if he did not recant his support for Copernicus’ theory .  Even after he recanted the truth [4] Galileo was confined to his home under house arrest, where he died seven years later, not having been allowed to leave or to receive visitors.

Albert Einstein tried to fit his complex ideas into terms that might interest the lay (as in, non-science literate) population.  The mis-location of Einstein to the Religious Believers’ Great Thinkers Team mostly stems from two of his public figurative comments:

(1) his public statement, reported by United Press in April 25, 1929: “I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals himself in the orderly harmony in being, not in God who deals with the facts and actions of men,” and
(2) his famously misinterpreted metaphor regarding nature conforming to mathematical law: “God does not play dice with the Universe.”

But in his private/personal and other correspondences, Einstein lamented the misuse of his public statements to infer religious belief on his part.  He made his opinion about such matters quite clear, as in the opening quote and many others, three of which I’ll cite here.

“The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.” [5]

“The idea of a personal God is quite alien to me and seems even naïve.” [6]

“It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I feel also not able to imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere. My views are near those of Spinoza: admiration for the beauty of and belief in the logical simplicity of the order which we can grasp humbly and only imperfectly. I believe that we have to content ourselves with our imperfect knowledge and understanding and treat values and moral obligations as a purely human problem—the most important of all human problems.” [7]

Ultimately, the numbers on anybody’s “teams” are irrelevant. The criteria for evaluating the truth of statements – even those phrased as “beliefs” – is not all that complicated.  Which leads me to a brief [8] incursion into what seems to be a minefield for many people:  the difference between facts and beliefs.

MINE

I hold many, many beliefs about many, many subjects.  I believe that Meryl Streep is a great actor and that Tom Cruise is not, that Oregon Pinot Noirs are superior to California Merlots, that is more enjoyable to watch a high school varsity volleyball game than any professional golf tournament, that corn snakes make better pets than mice, that cedar-planked salmon is a tastier entrée than fried razor clams, that MH looks better with a full beard than with just a moustache, and that Elvis, Lady Gaga and the Virgin Mary do not make cameo appearances in the spots on someone’s flour tortilla.

Beliefs can be preferential, like those I listed.  A preferential belief expresses your opinions about interesting but ultimately inconsequential matters.  But beliefs can also express factual or cognitive claims, which call for evaluations of the truth of the propositions or assumptions behind the claims.  For example, if you assert that you “believe in God,” you are also making the assumption that the god you refer to exists.

If you express a cognitive belief but make no effort to justify it, you’re merely telling me your feelings or expressing your opinion.  It may be true that you believe you are the greatest fastball pitcher since Sandy Koufax.  However entertaining that claim may be to your slow-pitch softball league teammates, your belief by itself has no factual value.

koufax

There is nothing admirable about a belief just because you hold it, and cognitive beliefs are not immune to criticism. Cloaking beliefs in the robe of “god” or “religion” doesn’t excuse those ideas from examination.  “Believing” (aka “having faith in”) something doesn’t make an irrational claim suddenly rational, nor does it protect your belief from the test of evidence and reason – from the kind of the evaluation a thoughtful, intelligent person would normally apply to any statement of any kind, be it political, cultural, emotional….

If you want your beliefs to be taken seriously by others, you need to communicate them as something other than personal statements about what you “have faith in.”  Beliefs become objective when backed up by explanations and evidence that can be analyzed.  If you don’t want your beliefs to be subjected to this kind of scrutiny, then you should keep them to yourself.

I for one wouldn’t go around claiming too many of the “great thinkers” of centuries past for my team.  Great minds who seemed ahead of their time in their niches of music, art, literature, philosophy and/or science may also have thought that the earth was flat, that enslaved peoples were “naturally” inferior to their enslavers, that diseases were caused by evil spirits and ill humors, etc.  Even great thinkers are commonly bound by the ignorance and superstitions – and subject to the cultural and political pressures – of their times.

Down from the soapbox and up to the feel good FB posts.  Truly, those are what I should be posting at this most festive time of year – a sampling of flatus classifications:

Backseater: an odiferous fart that occurs in automobiles, it is usually not very loud and can be concealed by traffic noise.

Cherry bomb: A loud, high-pitched, squeaker fart.

The Rambling Phaduka: One of the most loud and lengthy of farts,  it goes on for at least 15 seconds, often leaving the farter unable to speak, as if he’s had the wind knocked out of him.

The Skillsaw:  sounds like an electric skill saw ripping through a piece of plywood.  It has been known to cause people to back away in terror and confusion.

TGIAF: the thank goodness I’m alone fart. You look around after producing it and say, thank goodness I’m alone.  Then you get out of there, fast.

And may the farting animals compilation video hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

 


[1] I didn’t, and ended up driving to the main Post Office.

[2] As in Westward, ho!” and other idioms expressing the desire to go or return to a certain destination, and not as in a reference to skanky pavement-pounders Our Great Nation’s proud sex workers.

[3] Even the option to choose this flavor of Christianity or that flavor of Islam could get you murdered, plundered or banished, depending on which group was in charge.

[4] And some  say he recanted his recanting, under his breath….(Atheism for Dummies, ch. 6, “enlightening Strikes”)

[5] (From Einstein’s letter to philosopher Eric Gutkind, dated Jan. 3, 1954, cited in The Guardian, “Childish superstition: Einstein’s letter makes view of religion relatively clear,” by James Randerson, May 13, 2008).

[6] From Einstein’s to Beatrice Frohlich, December 17, 1952 ( The Expanded Quotable Einstein )

[7] Albert Einstein Creator and Rebel, New York: New American Library, 1972, p. 95.

[8] No really…considering the subject.

The Black Friday Sales I’m Not Shopping

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Well, of course I’m not shopping the Black Friday sales today.  Black Friday was last Friday. The Thanksgiving week lingers on in my mind; having K and Belle home from school threw off my calendar sense. When all else fails, blame the fruit of your loins.

On the actual Black Friday Day (BFD?), we observed our traditional ode to consumerism:  Buy Nothing Day. Getting lunch at a local sports pub doesn’t count, because…well, because.  I hadn’t pledged to observe Eat Nothing But Leftovers Day.

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I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.
(Jon Stewart)

pilgrims

Even as a child I was skeptical toward the Disney-fied version of what my school taught about The Pilgrims. The idea that, to this day, there are still people who celebrate the survival of the Plymouth colonists trespassers by thanking a god who supposedly protected and championed the European offensive makes my mouth feel as if I’ve been sucking on a cotton ball.[1]  Nevertheless, faced with the mythical vs. factual scenarios –

☺ Pilgrims invited the locals to a feast after surviving their first year in New England.

☺Indigenous Americans broke bread with the invaders they’d saved from starvation, those who later stole their land and decimated their numbers via murder and disease.

– which image would your grandparents favor for their Hallmark holiday greeting card?

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Ah, but I’ve mellowed in my dotage. I am pleased that the observance of the third Thursday of November has evolved into a special day set aside for gluttony gratitude. There was much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving, including last week’s politics/world affairs-free blog from moi.

It even seemed as if there were several days (as in, maybe two) that were rant-free. Silence from the Repugnicans – what gives?  I began to wonder if the sore losers of the election finally decided to just go away.  But, nooooooo. Like a recurrent arse pimple or a psychotic, spurned lover, the acumen-free, neo(lithic) cons are not going to be ignored.

But the latest rightwing hysteria cause caught me by surprise. I’d thought the kind of minds attracted to the secession twaddle would have so many other things on their agenda. After all, they’ve got crosses to burn, mayo-on-white bread sandwiches to eat, pro-wrestling matches to watch, and there are sheep out there, somewhere, in desperate need of lovin.’

But really, some of them sound like they’re serious.  And the loudest-sounding seem to be (surprise!) from Texas.

Now, I acknowledge the majority of the whining comes from fringy-wingnut element of politics and punditry. There are many decent, rational, realistic, intelligent and compassionate people from Texas, even some political and media figures I admire, including Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Walter Cronkite,[2]  Molly Ivins [3] ….

Oh yeah, they’re all dead. Anyway….

Memo to Texas Nationalist Movement President Daniel Miller and like-minded loonies: Stop holding your breath and kicking your feet and otherwise throwing the political equivalent of a marginally potty-trained toddler’s tantrum.

tantrum

And, hey you — any state claiming to be serious in your girly-man threat to secede: go ahead, make my day. After your residents have ponied up for their share of the national debt[4], don’t let the information highway[5] hit you in the ass on your way out.

Cleverer minds than mine® have taken the secession speechifying seriously enough to come up with about twenty Declarations on the matter.  I’ve seen so many variations I can only offer attribution to the version[6] brought to my attention by my alert Swednadian friends.   Here it is, with just a bit o- tweaking from yours truly.

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The Declaration of Oh please, are you serious? November 2012

From: Red/Slave State Secession Support Group, aka The E.S.A.

To: the Red States Threatening Secession

Dear Red States:

We’re sick of your Neanderthal beliefs and 47% politics. We who support your secession intended to form our own country anyway, and we’re taking all the Blue States with us. In case you aren’t aware, that includes Hawaii, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, New York, and all of the Mid Atlantic and Northeast states (as per the most recent election, Florida and Virginia have a two-year probationary status).

We believe this split will be beneficial to the hopelessly polarized nation, and especially to the people of our E.S.A., The Enlightened States of America.

You wanna secede?  Go for it. A brief summation of the results of your departure:

  • You get Texas, Oklahoma and almost all of the other slave states. We get stem cell research and the best beaches.
  • We get Barack Obama and Joe Biden. You get Bobby Jindal,  Richard Murdock, and Todd Akin.
  • We get the Statue of Liberty. You get OpryLand.
  • We get Harvard. You get Ole’ Miss.
  • We get Tahoe and Vail and Aspen. You get Utah.
  • We get Intel, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft. You get Chic-fil-A.
  • We get 85 percent of America’s venture  capital and entrepreneurs. You get Alabama.
  • We get two-thirds of the tax revenue. You get to make your states pay their fair share.
  • We get science. You get myth and fantasy.

With the Blue States in hand we will have:

  • firm control of 80% of the country’s fresh water,
  • more than 90% of the pineapple[8]  and lettuce,
  • 92% of the nation’s fresh fruit,
  • 95% of America’s finest wines (y’all can serve French wines at your state dinners)
  • 90% of all cheese,
  • 90% of the high tech industry,
  • most of the US low sulfur coal,
  • all living redwoods, sequoias and condors,[9]
  • all the Ivy League and Seven Sisters schools, plus Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT,
  • the Rose Bowl

With the Red States you will have:

  • 88% of obese Americans and their projected health care costs,
  • 92% of US mosquitoes,
  • nearly 100% of the tornadoes,
  • 90% of the hurricanes,
  • 99% of Southern Baptists (without counting our provisional states),
  • virtually 100% of televangelists,
  • the philosophers Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilley, and Sean Hannity
  • Bob Jones University, Liberty University, ‘Bama, and the University of Georgia.
  • 90% of all deep fat fried foods.

We get Hollywood and Yosemite – jackpot! Thank you!

Here’s just a sampling of the cheap entertainment provided by y’all; in other words, what we may actually miss about you when you go:

  • the 38% of you who believe there was an actual dude name Jonah who was actually swallowed by a whale,
  • the 62% of you who believe life is “sacred,” except in cases of war, the death penalty, and shoot-first laws,
  • the whopping 5% of you Republicans (according to Gallup Polls, really) who even partially understand the scientific theory of evolution.
  • the 61% of you crazies who believe that you have higher morals than we lefties.

Oh, and BTW, we’re taking the good weed from Oregon, too. You can have that crap from Mexico.

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Revisiting the subject of gratitude, I am thankful to be able to confer a Pretty Purple Toe award this week, to my most deserving friend and blogging mentrix,[10] SCM.

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I’ve always loathed “ess” or “ette” or other attachments to what should be gender-neutral nouns. Such suffixes add a diminutive/diminishing effect, and presume – and teach, IMHO – that there are male “defaults” for certain occupations. If I act in a play I call myself an actor, not an actress. My family (MH, K, Belle and I) has a family practitioner who sees us for our respective medical concerns;[11] when we have our annual exams we see our doctor, not our doctress or doctrette.  When I had friends over for Thanksgiving dinner I was their host, not their hostess.

However….

A day or so before I was to host the Tday dinner I e-queried one of our dinner guests, SCM (also an attorney), re questions I had about updating MH’s and my wills.  I mildly tweaked SCM for using the term “executrix” in her reply.  She was, as always, succinctly witty in her own defense:

I like executrix instead of a gender-neutral executor, or administratrix instead of g-n administrator. It just sounds faintly naughty and it’s more precise. Maybe you should be a hostrix?

Hostrix.  I think I could get used to the sound of that.

Hijinks ensue.

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Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!


[1] Or on a piece of overcooked turkey breast. I was the cook. The legs & thigh portions were fine. Sound familiar?

[2] Beloved by most Americans for his “most trusted man in America” journalism, and by moi because I was able to get the traffic court judge to drastically reduce  my one-and-only speeding fine when I explained how, mesmerized by an Uncle Walter radio interview, I failed to notice the lowered speed limit and thus was driving “under the influence of Water Cronkite.”

[3] One of my fave MI witticisms: “I have been attacked by Rush Limbaugh on the air, an experience somewhat akin to being gummed by a newt. It doesn’t actually hurt, but it leaves you with slimy stuff on your ankle.”

[4] A whopping portion of it run up by the war now pay later policies of a president from Texass

[5] As well as those pesky Federal $$  paying for your Social Security, Medicare, Johnson Space Center and other defense contract businesses, highway improvements and fee-free interstate travel, the defense of your borders from illegal immigrants….

[6] Paul Magnusson, Spokesman for the Red/Slave State Secession Support Group, The Enlightened States of America (E.S.A.)

[7] Swedish-Canadian

[8] I like pineapple

[9] I like condors, too, but wish they smelled more like pineapple

[10] Not mentor or “mentoress”

[11] It’s a good thing our good Dr. MM can write her own Xanex prescriptions.

The Romantica I’m Not Googling

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This week’s internet hygiene tip for smart boys and girls of all ages: be sure to practice safe Googling.

I received this email from my publisher’s publicity assistant:

Great news! People can now pre-order The Mighty Quinn. Here are the links: Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Mighty-Quinn-Robyn-Parnell/dp/1938063104/ref=sr_1_20?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1350928793&sr=1-20&keywords=the+mighty+quinn  

Barnes and Noble (the cover image should be up soon): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-mighty-quinn-robyn-parnell/1112095494?ean=9781938063107 

And another interesting piece of news to go along with this is that evidently there is an erotic novel series called The Mighty Quinns… And so when you search “The Mighty Quinn” on Amazon or B&N, your book gets lodged right in the middle of some saucy covers. Not the most ideal placement, but perhaps we’ll just suggest people search your name instead.  

Where is a deep, protracted, “Oh, myyyyyyyyy” when I need it?  Oh, yeah, right here.

But of course, I had to do my search and check out the source of those alleged saucy covers. I found Harlequin Blaze a certain publishing imprint, which describes itself thusly:

                 You like it hot! (Our) stories sizzle with strong, sexy heroines and irresistible heroes playing the game of modern love and lust.
They’re fun, flirty and always steamy. 

Ah, as in, Lifetime Channel aficionado core porn? Excuse me for using the p-word; the genre prefers to call itself Erotic Romance, or Romantica.  And, indeed, the series cover “art” features various square-jawed, pectorally-enhanced men[1], most of whom seem to be battling (but not too successfully) the genre-specific, shirt-be-gone malady.

The idea that a searcher for my book may encounter (from The Mighty Quinns: Marcus):

                                                                Boat restorer Marcus Quinn is not going to sleep with the infamous Eden Ross he tries his best to ignore her topless sunbathing and blatant teasing. But when that fails, what else can he do but give her exactly what she’s asking for–frenzied, brain-numbing sex?

 is reason enough to send me into frenzied, brain-numbing my Happy Things file, and confer a Pretty Purple Toe to…well, to me.  And to The Mighty Quinn.  Singular, please.

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Whaddya mean, there’s nothing to celebrate this weekend?

Notable birthdays on October 26 include

– Leon Trotsky, Russian revolutionary and founder of the Red Army, 1879
– Mahalia Jackson, “The Queen of Gospel” singer and civil rights activist, 1911
Felix the Cat (the wonderful, wonderful cat),   1917
– Wheel of Fortune host and Vanna White’s drinking buddy, Pat Sajak, 1946
– Hilary Clinton, Secretary of State and world-renowned texting-maniac, 1947

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Smarter People Than Us Said This

– The truth will set you free.  But first, it will piss you off.   (Gloria Steinem)

– If 50 million people believe a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.  (Anatole France[2])

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It’s been quite the week, both personally and politically, and no rallies for wisdom or reason or common sense in sight.  One of the few things I find more relaxing and sanity-restoring than doing Tai Chi, reading a good book or contemplating the diverse criteria for categorizing farts[3]  is the bestowing of the Asshat of the Week award.

So many worthy recipients come to mind.  Nominees include:

-The conservative/Republican/fundie/non-uterus bearing Indiana senate candidate who attempted to justify his grievously mistaken notion that what goes on in a woman’s uterus is any of his bid-ness by proclaiming that even a pregnancy resulting from rape is something his god “intended.”[4]

-Perennial Lady Asshat[5] Sarah Palin, who was mysteriously silent[6] on fellow wingnut whackadoodle  conservative pundit Anne Coulter’s use of the word “retard” to refer to President Obama , despite the fact that when then White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel used the term, Palin wasted no time in seizing the spotlight, and called for Emmanual to be fired.

About the r-word.  After Anne Coulter’s spew, a mutual friend of MH and moi posted a FB link to an article that addressed how most people still don’t get the gum-flapping about using “retarded’ as an insult.  That night MH and I had a rumination-worthy dinner conversation about the subject.  In that calm, trying-to-appreciate-the-issue way of his, MH dared to postulate that people (in particular the teens, including our own, we’ve heard rib friends about having, say, a “retard” idea) never envision an actual, mentally retarded or developmentally disabled person when they use the word to tease a friend.[7]  MH rhetorically wondered/wanted to understand why other people find it hurtful, or claim insult for another person or category of persons, when the word is not directed at them.

Earlier that day I’d read a commentary about the incident on a British newspaper’s website.  The article began  “… it should come as no surprise to anyone that Coulter used terms that were idiotic and offensive.”  Well, now, I said to moiself.  I’d bet that many people, even those who decry using retarded as an epithet, would not hesitate to declare that a politician who preaches about divinely intended rape pregnancies is an idiot, and his ideas moronic.  And they’d likely do so with nary a thought as to the origins of the labels.

Moron and idiot are/were rankings on the Binet Scale of Human Intelligence ,and indicated intellectual deficiency based on IQ score ranges, with the respective orders of moderate and profound.[8]

Perhaps, MH speculated, it is just too recent in history that retarded was both a medical description and an insult, but idiot and moron have been out of the medical lingo long enough not to ruffle feathers in the same way.

Yet again, I digress.  The business at hand:

I’d read the excerpts in online newsmags about a certain cartoonist blogging his endorsement of a certain presidential candidate.  Surely, they must be wrong, I thought.  Had to go to the source to discover that no, Toon Guy wasn’t quoted out of context.  And the context, yikes.

In a recent blog post  Scott Adams[9] spends a good deal of time enumerating President Obama’s failure on what seems to be the key issue for Scott Adams.

We grapple with increasing world population growth and climatologically induced natural disasters and extricating ourselves from ill-planned wars and a possible nuclear Iran and the continual rumblings of other conflicts in the Mideast and around the world and a tenuous economic recovery and the burgeoning social, cultural, political and economic divide both abroad and here at home…and the deciding factor for Adams?  The Obama administration’s upholding and enforcement of existing Federal laws governing medical marijuana dispensaries.

So while I don’t agree with Romney’s positions on most topics, I’m endorsing him for president starting today.

Uh….yeah.  Because nothing says rational decision-making like voting for someone you think is wrong about most topics.

And so, with a lusty, pungent inhale, asshat bong-head of the week goes to Scott Adams.

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With all the hoopla-doodle-doodery  as Armageddon the election approaches, I yearn for a combination sanity/humor break.  Has it really been two years since the The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear took place at the National Mall in D.C.?

The rally, as those of you who were sober may remember, was co-led by The Daily Show host Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert (who stayed in-character as his Colbert Report conservative political gasbag analyst).  The purpose of the rally, besides being a send-up of a certain, prevaricating talk-radio show host’s[10] ironically titled “Restoring Honor ” rally,[11] was to have some fun promoting the idea of civil, reasonable social and political discourse — you know, the kind of dialog favored by most intelligent, thoughtful, good-natured folk, in contrast to the fear-mongering and irrational shrillness of the more vocal and extreme political voices which manage to dominate the news.

After the rally I remember spending more than a few I-should-be-working hours minutes perusing the online photo collections of people who’d attended or covered TRTRSAOF.  Revisiting the list of homemade signs carried by (and/or t-shirts worn by) the rally attendees still brings a smile to my cynical heart, and will do the same, I hope, to yours.  It is in that spirit I share some of my favorites:

Use your inside voice

I Disagree With You But I’m Pretty Sure You’re Not Hitler

Make Awkward Sexual Advances, Not War

I scare Juan Williams at Airports (sign carried by a Muslim woman)

ALL CAPITAL LETTERS MEANS I’M SERIOUS

Down With Zippers

I Masturbate And I Vote (But Not Usually At The Same Time)

Facts Are Like Opinions Except They’re True

Reality Has A Well-Known Liberal Bias

We Disagree But I Still Understand I Mustn’t Stomp Your Head

What Exactly Is In That Tea you’re Drinking?

THREE WORD SLOGAN!  THREE WORD SLOGAN![12]

I Want My Country Forward

I Fought Nazis And They Don’t Look Like Obama (sign carried by an elderly man)

If You Keep Shouting Like That You’ll Get Big Muscles All Over Your Face

Confused Senior Citizens For Sanity

Christine O’Donnell Turned Me Into A Newt!

I hate taxes.  But I like:  roads, firemen, some cops, traffic lights (except red ones), national parks, the coast guard, etc.  so I pay them anyway.  Oh yeah, I hate war too.

Frustrated
Arizonans
Rejecting
Tea

More Beer Nuts, Less Paranoid Nuts

…and take it off CAPSLOCK

The Mad Hatter called.  He wants his tea party back

WTF, I thought I voted for a Muslim?!

I like tea and you’re kind of ruining it

Don’t be a douche

Even my sign chooses not to yell

Obama is not the devil, I am
(carried by a woman wearing a devil costume)

I like my beer cold, my TV loud, and my homosexuals flaming

I want more tortillas when I order fajitas at a restaurant

Is this the line for Justin Bieber tickets?

Eggs are white.  Obama isn’t.  Breakfast is RUINED.

Stop Americans from stealing our jobs

100%  randomly searched at the following airports
(t-shirt with picture map of us with all major airports highlighted, worn my man with cobalt blue turban and long curly beard)

Bacon is good for me

The sign is too damn BIG

We should do this more often

My arms are tired

404 error political message not found

(Sign attached to a beagle puppy’s collar):  I am not afraid of Muslims, tea partiers, socialists, immigrants, gun-owners, gays…but I am kind of scared of LARGE BIRDS

Am I acting suspicious? (sign carried by a man wearing a Sikh turban)

Lions and tigers and Muslims, oh my

I am pretty sure that god hates us all equally

I already regret choosing to carry around a sign all day

I’m mad as hell but mostly in a passive aggressive way

End Glee theme nights

I see smart people

My name causes national security alerts.  What does yours do?
(shirt worn by Muslim teenager)

When I think about Christine O’Donnell I touch myself

God hates TimesNewRoman

I am the next generation responsible for you in your old age – FEAR ME!
(sign held by toddler sitting atop his dad’s shoulders)

Floridians
Against
Rational
Thought

I left my hyperbole at home

The rent is too damn high

Somewhat irritated about extreme outrage

Does this shirt make me look Muslim?

If you’re not using your braaainnzzzzz can I eat ‘em?  Please?
(shirt worn by zombie)

I shaved my balls for this?

Ironically, this rally is insane.

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Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!


[1] Alone, or in a suggestive embrace with a lissome crotch clutcher

[2] French poet, novelist, journalist, Nobel Prize Winner, and all-around quotable dude

[3] Screamers:  High-pitched, tight-sphincter offerings, often of astonishing duration and tonal variations.

[4] What is it about religion that compounds political stoopidity? Never mind; I already know.

[5] Sounds like a pop star moniker, doesn’t it?

[6] Okay, Sarah Palin remaining silent on any issue, for any reason, should be a cause for unilateral rejoicing

[7] However, Coulter really was directing the “retarded” at developmentally disabled voters

[8] The scale has been revised several times since its inception, with moron, imbecile and idiot replaced with words deemed more descriptive of a scale of intellectual deficiency, such as Beck, Coulter and Limbaugh.

[9] Dilbert comic strip creator and infamous internet sock puppet, who seems to enjoy nothing better than (a) to warn readers of his blog that they are going to misunderstand what they read and (b) issue condescending apologies for confusing readers with his cogent blathering proclamations.  Because, you know, people are too obtuse to appreciate his genius.

[10] Why is it always the lying, slandering, chickenhawk Glenn Becks of the world who loudly squawk about “honor”?

[11] I think Stewart in fact denied that particular motivation for the rally.  But, really.

[12] Actually, that was a chant, not a sign