Sunday, April 30, 2006


This post marks my 100th post. Wow is seems like only yesterday I was attacking the Bush administration for their awful performance following Hurricane Katrina. Now I’m ripping them for other things like wire-tapping. My how time flies.

Anyway I suppose making it to 100 posts really isn’t that big of a deal. I’m sure lots of bloggers have posted for more than I ever will. But it’s my blog and I’ll do as I please.

I blame my excitement over the 100th post on comic books. Every time a series got to issue #100 there was some sort of special event. There could be a guest star or the death of a supporting character. Sometimes it would be the finale to some multiple issue story arc and you just knew it would rock your socks. I’m such a pathetic nerd.

Anyway since I can’t kill any characters off or get guest stars, I had to come up with something. I mean I’d love to have a guest star on here but usually no one even comments on my blog. So where am I going to get a guest star?

So what did I come up with? I wrote a joke. I hope you like it. I will warn you, it is a bit randy. So if you don’t like such things feel free to skip it. I think the joke is a hoot. So do what makes you a happy camper.

But before I get into the levity, I as always have some random thoughts to inflict upon you.

So I’m at Mass last Saturday when I notice someone sitting in the pew in front of me is wearing a t-shirt. On the sleeve is written “Catholic to the”. I’m a practicing Catholic and I will keep on practicing until I get it right. I however never have felt the need to be a Catholic to the max. I’m more of a Catholic to the median. Some days I’m a Catholic to the minimum. Depends on my mood, I guess.

I’m not even sure what the max for Catholics would be. I know there are people that beat themselves and hang on a crucifix and actually have nails driven through their hands to show their devotion. I appreciate passion but that borders on fanatical. I have always failed to see how me bleeding like a stuck pig gets me closer to God. Well I mean other than the fact I might die from the blood loss.

I got on the Internet and went to the Catholic to the max website. I found out they sell t-shirts that say “Get Holy or Die Tryin’”. Wow! If you follow the logic of that t-shirt it translates to “Get Holy or Go to Hell!” since unholy folks get to surf the lake of fire for an eternity. I think this statement is a bit on the extreme side. Don’t you?

I’m not a big fan of wearing your faith on a t-shirt or a ball cap or whatever. Shouldn’t your deeds and words give some kind of clue to your faith? Shouldn’t the “Jesus is my co-pilot” bumper sticker be too much of a good thing? Didn’t Jesus chase the moneychangers out of the temple? Do you really think he wanted some schmuck to build a wacky t-shirt empire?

Anyway, enough of those brain droppings on to the chuckles. Remember this joke is a wee bit randy. So if such things are not your cup of tea then feel free to stop reading right here. Of course this warning is only worthwhile if I haven’t already offended or angered you.

Here goes nothing.

Two men are sitting at the bar talking.

One guy looks at another and says, “ I figured out how George and Laura Bush have sex.”

The second guy looks at him and says, “How do you know George and Laura Bush have sex?”

The first guy replies, “I notice things.”

“What have you noticed?” the second guy asked.

The first guy looks the second dead square in the eyes and says, “When George and Laura do it Laura is always on top.”

“What? How in the Hell do you know that?” the second guy asked.

The first guy smiles and says, “Well all George does is fuck up.”

Come On! Laugh! It’s Funny!

As always thanks for reading, especially those of you that have read all 100 posts. I promise I’ll try harder the next 100.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I don’t know how many people that read my blog are old enough to remember the show, Growing Pains. If you do then you will remember Kirk Cameron, who played the oldest son Mike. Well Kirk Cameron is no longer in sitcoms. It seems Kirk has gone off and started a church. Kirk and Ray Comfort (I must know if that is his real name) have founded The Way of the Master. That would make for such a kick-ass kung fu movie title. Alas gentle reader it is the name of a church.

Anyway, The Way of the Master has about a million free videos you can get off of Google Video. One of them concerns atheism. If you watch that video pay extra close attention to learn what is an atheist worst enemy. If you lack the patience for such things I shall inform you. It is the banana. Yes gentle reader the humble banana is the nemesis of all that is atheism. It’s not faith or hope or love. It’s a banana.

How is the banana an atheist’s kryptonite? Well you see it fits our hand perfectly. It also is easy to peel. It has a non-slip surface for gripping the banana. It’s easily digested. When you open the contents don’t squirt in your eye. It’s curved shape makes eating it easier. The color of its flesh tells you whether it’s ripe, under ripe or over ripe. Wow! Those twelve years of religion classes at St. Wendelin were worthless. I could have gotten all the faith I need from one minute of video about a banana.

I’m kidding of course.

You see friends, what Ray and Kirk did was anti-science, if I may coin a phrase. To understand what anti-science is you must first understand the scientific method. As any attentive eighth-grader can tell you, the scientific method relies on observation and experimentation to draw your conclusions. You must first find the facts then formulate your conclusions based on those facts. It just makes good sense. What Ray and Kirk did was have a conclusion and then look for things that support it. Kind of like what the Bush administration did in Iraq, but I digress.

If you try and follow their logic it all gets messy really fast. So since a banana is so healthy and convenient what about food that’s less so? Let’s take a watermelon. I mean sure they’re delicious, but they’re high in sugar and a pain to slice up and you got to spit seeds and it's sloppy to eat. So then are watermelons a sign God doesn’t exist? Maybe the Devil made them. They are red on the inside after all.

Also here’s another fun fact the banana is actually a product of years of human intervention. Bananas are so domesticated that the plants are sterile and therefore need human intervention to reproduce. That seems hardly like God’s gift to humanity.

I bring this up not to mock other religions. Though I do find the Way of the Master a bit odd to say the least, but that’s another essay. I bring it up to try and point out how people use so-called logic to fool people. The banana as proof of God is laughable at best. Yet they are those out there that will swallow it whole. Fortunately the Way of the Master seems fairly benign. It’s when people believe illogical things that make them do irrational things that trouble starts. Look at Al-Qaeda or Janjaweed or the people that bomb abortion clinics or any of the other radical groups killing in the name of God or Allah.

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

If you have never been to the fine website Peace Takes Courage I highly recommend you do so. I have enjoyed that website a great deal. It features a great many animations set to music, most of which oppose the war in Iraq. I was unaware until today that the website is run by a fifteen-year-old girl named Ava Lowery.

Ava must be a fairly impressive girl to do such moving work. Also to be so intelligently against the war at such a young age is mighty impressive. One of her more recent creations, entitled “WWJD” (“What Would Jesus Do?”) shows images of wounded Iraqi children with the voice of small child singing a song “Jesus loves me, this I know”. It ends with quotes from the Beatitudes. Imagine that in our so-called Christian nation someone quoting Jesus’ keynote address The Sermon on the Mount. The “WWJD” animation is rather poignant and worthy of your time as are the rest of her animations. I particularly recommend the one titled “Someone’s”.

Ava isn’t getting all praise and love and heaped on her however. She has been threatened. Go read about it here. Not that this surprises me. All the “pathetic flag-waving ignorant geeks” (Thank you System of a Down) get all irate when someone dares challenge the zeitgeist.

I wish I didn’t have to do this, but I feel I must. I want you all to remember that one of the truly great things about the United States of America is that all opinions are free to expressed. It matters not if you’re a Democrat or a Republican or a Libertarian or a Socialist or a Communist or an Anarchist. All opinions are free to be expressed. If you disagree then I suggest you try and prove them wrong. To threaten or use insults to prove your point, especially directed at a fifteen-year-old girl, shows you haven’t the slight idea what you are talking about.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Force shites upon the back of reason” or in it’s more G rated version “Might makes right”. I get the feeling that Franklin was pointing out a chink in our armor as opposed to condoning that awful behavior.

This is one of the reason I usually ignore those talking head political shows. Every attempt at a debate degenerates into talking points or platitudes or ad hominem attacks. Who cares? We see or hear so little substantive debate that I’m not sure a lot of people would recognize it if it did happen. If the Lincoln-Douglas debates occurred today they would probably be to dry for CNN or Fox News and thus relegated to the 6 AM slot on C-SPAN.

“The highest treason in the USA is to say Americans are not loved, no matter where they are, no matter what they are doing there.”

Kurt Vonnegut

Thursday, April 20, 2006

My mom, who grew up on a farm, always used to tell the story about how if a dog would kill an animal on the farm they had to “put it down”. “Put it down” is a nice was of saying shoot it in the head. If a dog tasted blood than the farmer knew that the dog would want more blood. So they could no longer trust that dog near their important animals.

I fear humans operate in much the same way. Once they know they have a weapon that has such awful power as to tip the scales on any conflict in their favor. They will not surrender it.

Dave wrote a comment in response to my post about Iran’s nuclear ambitions. He asked so what do we do about Iran having nukes?

I’d like to say that if everyone got rid of their nuclear weapons it would end the problem. I wish it were that simple.

It’s bad enough they were ever developed in the first place.

It’s bad enough that they were used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

It’s bad enough that was an arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union where both nations accumulated tens of thousands of nuclear weapons.

It’s bad enough that the know-how has been leaked to the world, allowing anyone with the money and technology to make one or thousands.

How that the dogs of war have tasted nuclear power I fear that they can no longer be trusted. To rid the world of nuclear weapons, including Iran’s, I fear there are only two options. One option is good. One option is awful.

The first would be a change in world leadership where there was more trust than fear. Nations would start working together to eliminate existing nuclear weapons stockpiles and work together to keep anymore from being built. I fear this is not likely, because on June 2nd, 2006 the United States will engage in “Divine Strake”. “Divine Strake” is the test explosion of 700 tons of explosives to test the new nuclear weapons class called an RNEP (Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator). The RNEPs are the so-called “bunker busters” that we may purportedly use in Iran. Why are we testing weapons? Is there some plan we need to know about?

There is a good deal of skepticism about the effectiveness of these RNEPs. Please go watch this animation from the Union of Concerned Scientist. You can watch it here.

If the Unites States with the most powerful military in the history of the world still feels the need to develop new nuclear weapons, then what do you expect from the rest of the world?

The second option though less desirable is the one I fear more likely. Someone is going to use one and cause a disaster of an unimaginable scale. Of course the two nuclear bombs used on Japan to end World War II did little to sour world leaders on nuclear weapons.

But even one of the RNEPs has a payload sixty times more powerful than the bomb used on Hiroshima. So the ensuing disaster would be far worse. If the Union of Concerned Scientists are correct and the use of one RNEP would kill 3 million people, then maybe leaders could be shocked into action. It’s truly horrid that it would take 3 million deaths for leaders to act though.

I hate not to have a good solution to this dilemma. I’m sorry to sound so dire. I sincerely hope and pray I’m wrong. But the dogs of war have been in the nuclear henhouse way too long to be trusted.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Do you remember the Dr. Hook song, “On the Cover of the Rolling Stone”? It was all about how he was so happy that he was a cover boy for Rolling Stone. He was, if memory serves, “gonna buy five copies for my mother”. Apparently he didn’t get any issues comped to him. Anyway I don’t think President Bush is going to be so happy to be a cover boy for Rolling Stone. You see, gentle reader, they ask whether he is the worst president ever.

Please go forth and read the article. Worst President Ever?

If you read my blog regularly you know I’m not a Bush fan, to put it mildly. So I won’t spend a whole lot of your time bashing him anymore. But I will bring up a few things from the article that grabbed my attention.

President Bush has borrowed more money from foreign governments and financial institutions than the previous forty-two presidents combined. Let that sink in for a moment. It’s been said that if China or any of our foreign creditors ever decided to call us on our debt we’d be doomed. The national debt is about 8.4 trillion dollars. Bush took office with a budget surplus left from President Clinton’s administration. Bush is also the only president to ever give a tax cut in a time of war. The war is Iraq has cost us about 275 billion dollars. That’s enough to insure over 164 million children for one year.

The other thing that grabbed me was the quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, "a foolish consistency . . . adored by little statesmen,” By God if that doesn’t sum up Bush I don’t know what does.

I know that I said I was not going to bash Bush as much anymore. I apologize for my own thoughtlessness. I just didn’t think the man could keep screwing up. But he does! It’ staggering.

Neil Young has recorded a song called “Impeach the President”. But I suggest to you that he had already written what should be the anthem of this administration. It is simply titled “Fucking Up”.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

All I got today is random observations. So be prepared to be disappointed.

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes gave birth today. Well only Katie gave birth. Tom just stood there bouncing on the furniture and telling Katie to be quiet. They named it Suri. This has inspired one sweet joke.

“Did you hear Tom and Katie named their kid, Suri?”

“Suri! You can’t be serious!”

“I am serious and don’t call me Suri.”

Come on! Laugh! It’s hilarious!

If you notice in recent appearances President Bush has seemed a bit agitated. I know he claims to not pay attention to polls or even read the papers. But somehow I think George knows his presidency is in dire straits. His poll numbers are bottoming out. Seven retired generals and admirals are calling for the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are not going well, to say the least. The situation in Iran is looking rather bleak. Gas and crude oil prices are at record highs. It looks like the Republicans could lose control of either the House or the Senate, maybe both, come November.

Yes I think George realizes the party is over and it’s going to be a rough ride for this lamest of ducks. But I feel no mercy for him. He has made his own mess. Let’s see if he can even come close to cleaning it up. Of course if you know anything of George’s history then you know this how he seems to work, usually. He gets a job. He messes up. He leaves it for someone else to clean up. Yes it’s par for the course for George W. Bush.

If you watched any news today you heard that today (April 18th) was the 100th anniversary of the earthquake that devastated San Francisco. Interestingly enough when that earthquake struck President Roosevelt and War Secretary Taft had the Army on the scene in a day. Congress had the money approved by 4 PM the next day. By the end of the week every tent the military had was pitched and ready to offer shelter to those in need. In light of how poorly our government responded to Hurricane Katrina it makes you pine for the good ole days doesn’t it?

I leave you with a good quote.

“I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.”

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Monday, April 17, 2006

If you’re old enough to remember when Iran held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days, then you should remember the novelty song, “Bomb Iran”. It was sung to the tune of the Beach Boys’ song, “Barbara Ann”. It was a catchy enough little ditty. The irony is that we never did bomb Iran but given all the saber rattling we might soon.

Iran will not fall as quickly as Iraq did, should we attack them. Iran still has a standing military. Iran has 42 million more people than Iraq and is much larger. Iraq was crippled by a previous US led invasion and over a decade of crippling UN sanctions. Iran doesn’t have these problems. Certainly our Air Force has the raw firepower to cripple Iran’s military. As we have learned in Iraq a nation without a military isn’t necessarily defeated however.

Also according to a good many experts if the US were to attack Iran. Iran’s first move would be to strike Israel. If Israel gets involved the whole Middle East would become involved. This would open the gates to Hell.

Our military is already stretched dangerously thin. If we were to get involved in another conflict we would be pushed beyond our capacity. Do you really want another draft? Do you really want to see our guard and reserve units called to even more combat duty?

But that’s neither here nor there. The question that really needs to be answered is this: does Iran have the right to nuclear capability?

Is a nuclear Iran worse than a nuclear Pakistan or a nuclear North Korea? Hell, is a nuclear Iran really worse than a nuclear Russia with all its unsecured nuclear weapons? Remember it was Pakistan that helped North Korea acquire nukes. Did we bomb Pakistan?

When you consider that the US has about 10,000 nuclear weapons what are we really afraid of? We have the firepower to turn this precious blue ball into a glow in the dark parking lot. Why should we only have the destructive power of the wrath of the gods? Let’s arm everyone! Let’s arm Chad and Bolivia and Lichtenstein. Let’s arm the whole wide world until we all have the power to annihilate each other. If the USA, Russia, China, Great Britain, France, Israel, Pakistan, India and North Korea get to have them, then why shouldn’t everyone? Let’s arm each other to the teeth and wait for someone to get an itchy trigger finger. Remember that the US is the only nation to use nuclear weapons in a war.

If you don’t feel like tempting Armageddon, I have an alternative. Maybe we should just outlaw nuclear weapons. Maybe, just maybe, no one should have them. You see if everyone engaged in total nuclear disarmament then we might have a more legitimate complaint. But when you got 10,000 of something and someone else might have 1 in ten years I fail to see your logic in complaining.

Sure Iran could sell the nukes to terrorists. But, so could any other nuclear-capable country. We have unleashed an unholy terror on this planet. Nuclear weapons are so terrible that they make confident cowards of all those who possess them. Nuclear nations feel secure in raw destructive might they possess but they fear terribly their enemies ever acquiring similar power.

Iran armed with nuclear weapons would be indeed very troublesome. But then again any nation armed with nuclear weapons doesn’t make me sleep any better.

“If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker.”

Albert Einstein referring to his role in creating nuclear weapons.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

In all the noise made lately about immigration, I notice that something has gone unsaid. So I will say it.

Now if you notice there seems to be two culprits in this debate. One is the immigrants themselves. The other is the people that offer them aid. But there is a real culprit here, one that doesn’t seem to be getting any heat at all. Those culprits are the business owner that hires these people to do these difficult jobs for inhumanely low wages.

See the talking heads on the cable news are always bitching and whining about the Mexicans who walk through the scorching desert and cross polluted rivers to work for these immoral wages. They keep screaming, “It’s illegal!” Technically it is illegal. What they don’t tell you is why they are so willing to break the law. It is because they are desperate. They have so little opportunity in Mexico that they are willing to risk almost everything to work in the United States.

I know they took it out of the bill before it left committee, but they almost made it as illegal to help these people as the act itself. So all the Catholic churches that offer these people food and have special masses for them would be in trouble. My own church does these things so I guess the feds would have to raid the place. God forbid we offer comfort to those in need. I mean it’s only in the Bible like a million times. Some guy named Jesus seemed awfully fond of the idea but His teaching don’t seem very important in this governments decisions.

Let me get back to the real cause of all this commotion, the business criminals who pay these people squat. You see if there were no opportunity for the Mexicans here, they would not come, because there are business criminals who will hire these illegal immigrants. They come. These criminals care not for the safety or the well being of these poor people. They only care for their profits. They only care that they are paying as little as possible to get the work done so they can profit as much as possible.

I know there’s that tired old argument of they have to have cheap labor to pick the produce otherwise the prices would go up. Don’t you think that if everyone was paid a decent wage we could afford to pay a bit more for our produce?

I live in an area that sees a pretty steady influx of Mexicans to do farm labor and a few other things. They cause no trouble really. In fact if you didn’t know where they were you’d probably miss them. So I really doubt they are a threat to our security. In fact, a good number of immigrants that come up do stay. They seem to become hard working, honest members of the community. Apparently we need less of those.

The government can be bothered to crack down on the real cause of the problem however. Instead of going after the real cause they go after all the easy targets. Just like they do in the war on drugs or the war on terror.

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!!”

“The New Colossus”

Emma Lazarus

Monday, April 03, 2006

Run for the bomb shelters! There’s a war on Christianity!

I just heard of this global conflict today and I must say, I agree. There is indeed a war on Christian values and beliefs.

Want proof? Oh you know you do!

In the United States there are 12 million children living in poverty. There are 38 million people on the verge of living in hunger. Yet the government has cut programs to aid the poor repeatedly. I guess all the money for those programs was lost in the tax cuts for the wealthy. Heaven forbid someone has to forsake a second BMW so a kid can eat.

The United States has invaded a sovereign nation with no provocation. All the reasons that United States government used to enter into this conflict were proven false. In all at least 36,000 irreplaceable souls have been lost. Does “Blessed are the peacemakers” or “Thou shall not kill,” mean nothing to them? Heaven forbid we admit we screwed up and go home.

The Catholic Workers and the Quakers have been the target of surveillance. Apparently the Quakers promote among other things, pacifism. Heaven forbid we learn to solve our conflicts without violence. The Catholic Workers are said to be almost communists. Heaven forbid that anyone lend a helping hand to those people crippled with need.

I know that this so called War on Christianity isn’t what I’m writing about. But it should be. I know what it really is a campaign to rile up the extreme right wing Christians and get them to hate gays a little more and maybe go blow up an abortion clinic.

This is why Christianity is getting such a bad name. People on the outside believe we are all a bunch of raving lunatics. We are not.

If one truly reads the teachings of Jesus you can’t help but be struck by the beauty of it all. Jesus preached forgiveness and tolerance and compassion. He did not preach violence and bigotry and hatred. Jesus’ teachings are so profound that even non-Christians find them inspirational. Kurt Vonnegut, a humanist, said he rather not even be human if Jesus hadn’t delivered the Sermon on the Mount.

You see I’ve become convinced that this is all a power play. The Christian right has made a grab at power. They’ve done this in conjunction with neo-conservative movement that has infiltrated the Republican Party. They’ve used hot button issues to get the sheep all riled up. Once they’ve convinced them that they are in danger, it all starts to fall into place.

Notice they use the issues of abortion, homosexuality and loss of religious freedom. You got to use the hot button issues if you want to start a fire.

I know I’ve said a lot about abortion before so I won’t beat that fossilized horse any more. But I will say this; the Republicans have a golden key with this issue. So many Christians, especially Catholics, vote strictly on the issue of abortion that it drives a large number of Christian voters away from ever voting for a Democrat. So they have to make sure this is always out front in the campaigns so that good Christians don’t ever even think of voting for a Democrat.

Homosexuality as an issue really has always befuddled me. I personally don’t care one way or another what two consenting adults do. But for some reason Christianity is opposed to being gay. I will admit I have never fully understood why. But since the rise of the movement to give gay couples the same rights that straight couples have especially when it comes to insurance and inheritance matters the Christian right has pounced. I have no idea how gay marriage will ruin marriage, like the right-wingers claim it will. Maybe the gay couples will make all the marriages be extra fabulous. Other than that I’m lost.

Loss of religious freedom is almost laughable if they weren’t so damn irate about it. The good ole US of A is exceedingly Christian. How the hell is someone going to take your religious rights away from them? It isn’t going to happen. You see what they really want is to have reminders of their religion everywhere. They want their religion to be dominant. It’s not that Christians are being oppressed. It’s that these Christians to the far right aren’t as powerful as they’d like to be.

So you see gentle reader the real war on Christianity is on those humble servants of God and man who seek to make the world a far better place for everyone. It is not being waged on those who preach from mega-churches and bankroll politicians.

I leave you know with the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”