My Old Kentucky Homesite

Archive for March, 2010

Great Moments in Stupidity #2

Posted by Larry Wallberg on 03/30/2010

The following true story is stupid on so many levels that I can’t even begin to count them.

(Please be aware that the previous sentence is just a figure of speech.  Obviously, I could begin, simply by saying “one.” Or “un,” if I happen to be French. Which, heureusement, I’m not.  But since the levels of idiocy are infinite, I’d have no chance of ever reaching the end. So why start?)

So there was a crucially important measure that the Republican-led Kentucky Senate booted today from an education bill dealing with the selection of public school personnel. The killed measure contained an urgently needed addendum to the proposed law. But now, sadly, it’s no longer under consideration.

The murdered amendment called for the legislature to make a desperate plea for a well-deserved boon. If the additional language had been included in the bill, Kentuckians would have received some much-needed recognition by one of our most cherished national institutions.

That institution is, of course, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (which is unfortunately up North, in Massachusetts of all damn Yankee places). The state’s Democrats apparently felt that an education bill was an appropriate document in which to urge the enshrinement of Joe B. Hall (no relation to the building), a former UK coach. With his 297-100 record, and one national championship, Hall certainly qualifies as one of the greatest academic heroes the world has ever known. So how, in a state that’s so hoopsmanic as Kentucky, could that proposed resolution fail?

Well, it seems that Hall is not a Republican. To be more specific, he’s a Democrat, and he sometimes lends his eminent personage to the cause of raising money for his party’s candidates.

Shockingly, the Kentucky conservatives said, “Screw basketball and the donkey it rode in on!” David Williams, the Republican President of the Senate, carried his anti-socialist animosity beyond acceptable limits. He had the audacity to point out that the Hall measure had nothing to do with the bill in question.

When someone in the news media dared to accuse Williams of playing politics with the state’s religion, the Senate President got rankled. Did party loyalty have anything to do with the Senate’s decision? Williams astutely, and articulately, replied, “With Joe B. Hall, you’ll have to ask him. I don’t know. We try not to dictate entities like the Hall of Fame. If that is so, maybe the Hall of Fame might be telling us how to run the legislature.”

Fortunately for those of us who are not Republicans, the matter won’t end there, because a Concurrent Resolution by the (Democratically controlled) House repeats the request. The House resolution begins:

WHEREAS, Joe B. Hall, a native of Cynthiana, Kentucky, is beloved across the length and breadth of the Commonwealth for his many achievements and contributions to his university, his community, and the sport of basketball, and is known fondly for his warm demeanor and strong character …

A bunch of “whereas”es follow, ending with

… it is the view of this august body that the North American Screening Committee of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame should review his nomination in a most favorable light[.]

I don’t see how a group of overgrown goofballs can be referred to as an “august body” —particularly in light of the fact that it’s only March. However, I am comforted to learn that the Democratic “Yes We Can Score” may once more triumph over the Republican “Foul!” I wouldn’t be surprised if the Hall issue is a major factor in the next statewide election, particularly if President Obama visits here to push for the coach’s induction.

In the meantime, excuse me while I dribble into my glass of bourbon.

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Posted in Idiots, New to Kentucky, Playing Politics | 13 Comments »

Psssst. Your Thread Is Open.

Posted by Larry Wallberg on 03/29/2010

Where is the thread now? Off again!
— Robert Browning

One way that some of my BlogWorld colleagues inflate hit-counts is to publish blank posts and to call them “open threads.” In an “open thread,” the writer essentially says to his or her readers, “Shit, I got nothing. So talk amongst yourselves.”

I’ve always avoided open threads because, regardless of what a post’s alleged topic is, my commenters are already encouraged to write whatever the hell happens to pop into their heads. (NOTE: there’s usually only one head per commenter, but multi-headed individuals are welcome here.) I often enjoy rambling off-course myself; that’s the way natural conversations flow in real life. But I do pride myself on being able to kick-start a discussion by spouting off on a subject of my own choosing.

When I thumbed through the newspaper this Sunday, however, I was pissed off by so many of the stories therein, that I just couldn’t make up my mind which one to write about. So I’m going to leave the choice of subjects to my readers. To get you inspired, I’m including ten fill-in-the-blank sentences. This is not a quiz, so don’t bother trying to come up with a correct answer. (For example, most blanks could reasonably be completed by writing the phrase “Lexington native George Clooney.”) Just choose one sentence, finish it in your own words, and then use it as a prompt to spur your imagination.

1. Although UK hoopsters lost their shot at winning the NCAA basketball tournament, that didn’t stop the Herald-Leader from devoting about half its pages to ____________________.

2. At a Tea Party rally in Nevada on Saturday, the writing on Sarah Palin’s hand said ____________________.

3. United Nations inspectors in Iran acted shocked, shocked to find evidence that President Ahmadinejad had ____________________.

4. Apparently, Pope Benedict was not entirely honest about ____________________.

5. On Monday night, Barack Obama will attend a Passover seder, at which his daughters will pretend to be ____________________.

6. A Lexington woman decorated her house with more than 1700 lights, dozens of egg-shaped characters, brightly colored bunnies and chicks, and a cross draped with ____________________.

7. On Saturday, Kentucky’s Senator Jim Bunning was forcibly inducted into ____________________.

8. The city had intended to spend nearly a gazillion dollars on a Downtown Master Plan to make Lexington into a real place, but efforts came to a sudden halt when it was revealed that ____________________.

9. The delusional President of Saint Joseph Hospital compared his facility to the Ritz-Carlton because ___________________.

10. As he has done every goddamned Sunday since 1951, Dennis the Menace once again annoyed ____________________.

If none of the above topics interest you, don’t be shy about commenting on your favorite color, or the flick you saw yesterday on Turner Classic Movies, or your most recent trip to the dentist. I’m looking forward to a fascinating chat.

Posted in Seriously Silly | 25 Comments »

You Mean, America Doesn’t Got Talent?

Posted by Larry Wallberg on 03/26/2010

Philly Chief wrote a great post today entitled Intolerance Is Not Inherently Bad. He’s so right, and I urge you to check out what he has to say. Essentially: It’s a ridiculous idea that “intolerance,” in and of itself, regardless of circumstances, is automatically wrong.

When I began thinking about that inane accepted “truth” — that we must never, ever be intolerant of anyone, or anything, or any random train of thought — I realized that it’s predicated on another notion that’s even dumber. Many Americans have distorted the concept of equality under the law to mean equality, period. Therefore: everyone is equal to everyone else in every way. Therefore: we all share the same capability to formulate ideas. Therefore: every idea, no matter how vile or how stupid, is worthy of consideration. Q.E.D. W.T.F. L.S.M.F.T.

When, for instance, all kids win awards merely for competing in sports or taking part in a contest (because we wouldn’t want to hurt a child’s self-esteem), society promotes phony egalitarianism. When we insist that all young people “deserve” to go to college, society promotes phony egalitarianism. When we ignore nature, and claim that there’s no difference between men and women, or between the handicapped and the able-bodied, or between young and old (as a practicing geezer, I can refute that last one with some degree of authority), society promotes phony egalitarianism. Which leads to: voilà! tolerance of everything (even French).

So we find ourselves living in a society in which it’s “wrong” to criticize our most popular delusions: religion is a force for good; America is meant to be the greatest nation in the world; all children are special in their own way; “white” lies are justifiable; it’s better to be happy than too intelligent; everything works out for the best; teach the controversy; don’t be so judgmental!

The lie that all people are equal in all things, and that all ideas are equally sound, clearly does not sit well on most couches in this country. That’s why so many of us love watching “American Idol” and “Dancing with the Stars.” Programs like those encourage viewers to show discrimination, to rate participants as bad, good, better, best. Screw the performers’ self-esteem. Whatever gave that idiot the idea that he can sing?! (Hint: he won an award for breathing during a 4th-grade talent contest.)

So, to sum up: religion is not a force for good; America is not meant to be the greatest nation in the world, some children aren’t special in any way, lies don’t come in colors, ignorance is not bliss, things sometimes work out to suck big time, and many ideas are not worth teaching. Oh, and please use your judgment always.

I expect to be intolerant about some of the comments that follow.

Posted in Random Rants | 22 Comments »

Some Urgent Messages

Posted by Larry Wallberg on 03/24/2010

You are old, Larry Wallberg,” the readers swore,
“And your verses all stink to the skies.
And yet you have entered a Poetry War —
Do you think, at your age, that is wise?”

“In my youth,” the old geezer replied to his friends,
“My writing left editors chilly.
But here on the Intertubes, nothing offends,
For ALL of the writing is silly.”

“You are old,” said the readers, “and feeble of wit.
“Your talents continue to sink.
And yet you expect us to vote for this shit?
(You don’t even give us the link!)”

“In my youth,” said the sage as he typed the address,
“I hoped to leave readers agog.
But now all I wish for is fame, more or less,
At Percy’s nonsensical blog.”

URGENT MESSAGE FOR FELLOW OLD FARTS: If you are even older than I am, and too infirm to key your heartfelt praise for my work into Sir Silley’s long, meandering thread, you may simply cut and paste the following into your comment there:
I vote for “Horton Hears an Evangelical.”

URGENT MESSAGE FOR ATHEISTS ONLY: We appear to be losing the culture war. It’s obvious that most of Percy Bisque Silley’s readers have not voted for my far superior work because they don’t approve of freedom from faith. Fight back by cutting and pasting the following:
I PROUDLY vote for “Horton Hears an Evangelical.”

URGENT MESSAGE FOR  NON-REPUBLICANS: A quick scan of those votes already cast reveals that the ultra-right-wingers are trying to gain control of this election. Don’t let that happen! You may cut and paste the following:
I vote for “Horton Hears an Evangelical.” However, any resemblance between the title character and the symbol of a political party living or dead is purely coincidental.

URGENT MESSAGE FOR POETRY-LOVERS: I HEAR America singing, the varied carols I hear. But very few of the entries have really catchy tunes. If you prefer hummable verses, cut and paste the following:
I vote for “Horton Hears an Evangelical.” I’d much rather sing that one than “Kumbaya” or “Jolene.”

URGENT MESSAGE FOR PUZZLE-FREAKS: Everyone knows how important it is for poems to have anagrammable titles. So get your caps attuned, your taunt spaced properly, and cut and paste the following:
I vote for “Horton Hears an Evangelical.” Oh, a charlatan verges online!

My name is Larry Wallberg, and I approved this mess. Thanks for your support, and may grog bliss America.

Posted in From Bad to Verse, Seriously Silly | 15 Comments »

I Hope They Use It in Good Health

Posted by Larry Wallberg on 03/22/2010

In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.
— Benjamin Franklin

Instructions for Federal Income Tax Form 1234567980 and Schedules A – Ω

Your First Name and Initial
Enter your first name. For most of you, that would have been “Baby Boy” or “Baby Girl.” Then enter the first initial you can think of. For some odd reason, psychologists have found that it will usually be X, unless you’re employed making vanity license plates, in which case it will most likely be ♥. Instead of picking an arbitrary letter or symbol, you may choose to use your middle initial, which you can calculate by following the steps listed on the Worksheet for Schedule NMN: “How to Determine Your Middle Initial By Taking The First Letter of Your Middle Name and Putting a Period After It.”

Last Name
This will usually be your father’s first name followed by the suffix “-son” (e.g., “Babyboyson,” or occasionally “Babygirlson.”) Certain ethnic groups may use a prefix rather than a suffix (e.g., “McBabyboy,” “de Babyboy,” “bin Babyboy,” etc.)  See Publication112358, “Every Last Name in the World” and Publication 112358A, “Two More That We Forgot.”

Home Address
If you moved during the past year, enter this data in red, unless your move occurred in June, July, or December, in which case enter this data in green, unless you don’t own a green pen, in which case enter the data in blue eye liner followed by the phrase “pretend this is green.” In all other cases, enter the name by which your coinhabitants most commonly address you (e.g., “Dad,” “Hon,” “Gramps,” “Dude”).

Presidential Election Champagne Fund
Check the box if you’d like a portion of your taxes to go toward celebratory alcoholic beverages.

Lines 1-5: Filing Status
Write “Annoyed.”

Lines 6a-d: Exemptions
If you have more than four exemptions, attach a short note explaining how you found the time to fill out this form.

Line 7: Wages, Salaries, Tips, Etc.
Multiply your hourly rate by 2000, add $6.95 for postage and handling, subtract the number of dependent earrings you and your spouse own (Note: You cannot count studs), (Mudville Residents Only: multiply by the number of lines in “Casey at the Bat” you can recite from memory), add the square of the number of times you’ve used a four-letter word since beginning to figure this item, and divide by zero. Your answer should be the nine of clubs. If it’s not, see Table 9C, “How Come Everybody’s Answer Was the Nine of Clubs Except Yours?”

Line 37: Adjusted Really Gross Income
Enter $32.76 or the amount of the federal deficit, whichever is larger. Then wipe your nose in the blank.

Line 37(a): Penalty for Breathing
Most Americans use way too much air, a threatened natural resource. To compute your daily oxygen fee, count the number of breaths you take in a 96-hour period, and divide by four. Multiply the result by $2.99, and write that amount on a check made out to the president or your preacher, whichever is larger.

Line 40(b): Ugly Child Credit
You may be able to take this credit if being seen with your son or daughter is a constant embarrassment. (Note: This credit does not apply if your child is a dog or cat, even in those cases when you refer to yourself as “Mommy.”) The IRS will compute this amount for you if you attach a recent photograph of the child in question.

Line 162(a-z): Multiple-Personality Benefit
Deduct $3,000 for each of your personalities up to nine. If you have ten or more personalities, obtain Schedule UUUUUUUUUU, and follow the instructions for forming a one-man band.

Line 328(y-um): Favorite Flavor
For internal use only.

Line 666
Draw a picture of Satan. You must include horns and a diabolical laugh.

Line 947: Tax on IRA’s
If your name is Ira, double whatever you owe.

Line 10356: Our Form Designer’s Pencil Slipped
In most cases, you may leave this line blank. In all other cases, you may also leave this line blank. For further instructions, see Publication 0: “Have You Drawn a Blank?”

Line Beechwood 4578.9: Old Fart’s Deduction
You may be eligible for an old fart’s deduction, as explained on Schedule OF. Use the Worksheet to write the name of every song you can think of that was sung by the Marvelettes between 1961 and 1965. If you can list more than zero songs, you may subtract $.01 for your thoughts, providing you still have any.

Line 299792458 (c): Refund or Amount You Owe
Think of the largest number you can, add one, and enter the sum here. If, for any reason, you can’t think of a number, enter the word “Everything.” This is the amount of TAX YOU OWE.

Line 299792458 (c).36D: Chest Size
In most instances, in addition to the amount on line 8181, you will owe us your shirt, too. Although this is for internal use only, it will probably be worn externally. If sending a long-sleeved, button-down, dressy style, please include a matching tie. Attach your payment to this form with a clothespin.

Sign Your Return
More importantly, sign your check. If you’ve forgotten your name,  just scribble anything illegible. We don’t care. In the event that you’ve died in the past year, you must designate a third party to sign your name.

Posted in Seriously Silly | 8 Comments »

Earworm Saturday #3

Posted by Larry Wallberg on 03/20/2010

Sometimes, earworms can be enjoyable. I’ve had one rattling around my head all week, and every time I “listen” to it, I return to my teenage years with a big goofy smile on my face. This particular song was one that I used to play on the guitar and sing to every girl I was hoping to entice into my bed through my imagined ability to sound like Paul McCartney. Unfortunately, my bed was in a crowded three-room Bronx apartment I shared with my very loud family, and I sounded no more like a Beatle than any other pimply Jewish kid. So, to tell the truth, the song was no more effective at attracting nubile young females than my Brylcreem was. (FYI: It wasn’t until I was much older that I learned what women really want. Eat your heart out, Sigmund, because the simple answer to your question is: a couple of Entenmann’s Chocolate Donuts. Who doesn’t love those?)

Anyway, it never dawned on me that I needn’t struggle to sound like a Liverpudlian genius. I didn’t realize that there were dozens of ways to sing Paul’s tune, and any of them would work equally well at driving girls away.

So this particular “Saturday Earworm” is not a song I dislike. Instead of hunting for funny versions, I’ve decided to play serious DJ for this entry in the series, and I’ve tried to pick out some interestingly odd renditions. In fact, I’ve discovered that this Beatle hit has been played in every style known to Man. Most of the following interpretations are pretty good. I realize that you’ve got only limited time to spend on my blog because you’ve got to get to the grocery before it runs out of aphrodisiac baked goods. But if you like this little ditty, you might seriously want to sample every variation here. Some of them will pleasantly surprise you.

[Addendum: (03/20/10 at 3:25 p.m.)  The list below has been revised to include four new styles.]

The Original
Jazz
Reggae
Island Stoner
Baroque
Motown
Fingerpickin’
R&B
Choral (a cappella)
Salsa
Bluegrass
Funk
Folk
Flamenco
Hip-hop
Cumbia
OK, not to disappoint you: What Was This Person Thinking?

If you do wind up with an earworm, you’d be well advised to love it … because it will never die. In fact, you might want to sing your earworm to your earworm. As for me, though: I’ll be changing the title’s singular pronoun to a plural, and crooning this classic to my donuts. [Note to Self: Try to sell that idea to Entenmann’s.]

Posted in Earworms, Music | 56 Comments »

God Exists: the Sudokulogical Proof

Posted by Larry Wallberg on 03/19/2010

My friend Desertscope solved a math problem on his blog today. I have absolutely no clue about how his formulas work, or even what the problem was, exactly. However, he definitely either proved his hypothesis or he didn’t.

My hypothesis is much clearer. I can prove mathematically that God exists.

We all know that if God exists, he’s in a constant battle against Satan. God wins, except in those cases in which he doesn’t. Since God works in mysterious ways, and Satan works in plain ol’ ordinary ways, we can assume that — if God does, in fact, exist — the percentage of battles won by Satan would be minuscule. Let’s call it 10-50%, which actually inflates Satan’s chances by approximately a zillion cases. (But, then, that poor devil needs all the help he can get, and what does an overly generous exponent cost us in the grand scheme of things?)

Now, everyone knows that Satan’s favorite number is the very bad 666. All other numbers are good numbers, favored by God. Are you with me so far?

If God exists, then, in a random selection of three numbers, Satan’s favorite number would appear approximately only 10-50% (or less) times.

It so happens that if you take the digits 1 through 9 and fill each of three places with any of those digits, selected at random, you have 9 places x 9 places x 9 places, or 729 potential different three-digit numbers. Thus, your random chance of selecting any specific three-digit number, let’s say 666, would be 1 out of 729.

Stay focused, please. Because I will now astound you.

I’ve done, literally, thousands and thousands of Sudoku puzzles in my lifetime. I was doing those puzzle before they were even called “Sudoku,” back when they were referred to as “Number Place” (not to be confused with “Word Search” or “personal”) problems. In every Sudoku puzzle, there are 81 digits, which can be read as nine rows of nine digits or nine columns of nine digits. Obviously, they can be arranged into umpteen consecutive three-digit numbers.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume that I’ve solved four Sudoku puzzles a day for at least the last 40 years. Leaving leap years out of the equation (because I don’t approve of adding an extra day to February, when the weather’s always so nasty), we get 4 x 365 x 40 = 58,400. I’m going to give God the benefit of my doubt here, so let’s reduce the number of digits in each puzzle to a mere three, not eighty-one. (Voila! We’ve saved ourselves the trouble of writing “umpteen” as a denominator.)  So: Dividing 58,400 by 729, we arrive at approximately 80.109738. I’m going to call that figure a nice round 80, because I rarely do .109738th of a puzzle.

So, if each puzzle yields exactly one three-digit solution, then — assuming that I haven’t lied about the number of puzzles I’ve done in the last forty years — by the laws of probability, I should have seen the consecutive numbers 666 somewhere in the vicinity of 80 times, give or take a degree or two of latitude.

But I’ve never seen that consecutive combination in a Sudoku puzzle! Therefore, I conclude that Satan’s evil number is definitely not appearing with its statistical probability, which, being 1 out of 729 possibilities, is somewhat higher than “never.” So why doesn’t it show up now and then? There’s only one reasonable answer: God keeps it from winning the battle over the other 728 godly combinations. (Except, perhaps, only once out of every 10-50 times. Or, to be more mathematically precise: You should live so long.)

Therefore, as any theist can tell you, God exists.

Posted in Freedom from Faith, Puzzles and Games, Seriously Silly | 13 Comments »

Sometimes “Rational” Isn’t

Posted by Larry Wallberg on 03/17/2010

Can a person be too rational?

In just about every election since 1976, I’ve advocated not voting for any candidate who trots out “God” in his or her campaign literature. Since that year, church and state have become less and less separated in this country. Politicians routinely appeal to religious so-called “leaders” (ha!) not only in matters directly affecting the practice of their particular superstitions, but on many issues that have absolutely nothing to do with religion per se. Elected officials routinely attend “prayer breakfasts,” and frequently mouth “God bless America” as a kind of mantra. We have school systems all over the nation rewriting, or threatening to rewrite, American history to emphasize an imaginary Christian basis for the United States Government, and pushing for public-school bible-study under the deceitful guise of “literature and history.” Religious institutions and their highest level employees enjoy tax exemptions that are not available to others. Worst of all, the full-range of constitutionally guaranteed rights of women, of homosexuals, and of all non-Christian citizens have been slowly but all-too-surely eroded in the last thirty some-odd years by a bible-thumping populace and our god-fearing courts.

So in 2008, I blogged frequently throughout the course of the primaries and the election, urging atheists to refuse to vote for  any candidate who commingled religion and his or her campaign.  That meant not voting for anyone who attended a “Compassion Forum,” or who advertised as a “committed Christian,” or who made obeisances to charlatan mega-preachers like Rick Warren. I said that each of us should withhold our precious votes from those who, clearly, did not fully respect the separation of church and state.

A number of friends took me to task. Some of them insisted that stray, seemingly random, non-votes would be meaningless. We’d need an organized movement if our non-votes were going to have any effect.

Fine. We’ve now pissed away two years since then, and that organized movement has yet to materialize. It’s time to get it going. It’s time for all of us atheists, freethinkers, skeptics, doubters, even “liberal to moderate” theists — everyone in fact, who feels that he or she has any stake in preserving the separation of church and state — to do something practical. It’s time to organize, and empower ourselves. We shouldn’t necessarily look for only those candidates who reflect our own metaphysical philosophies; the pickin’s would be slim. Instead, we just have to refuse to support anyone, that’s anyone, who doesn’t recognize always that there must be a total distinction between religion and government.

So now for the oh-so-rational objections:

(1) Most reasonable people are not one-issue voters. We should select from among the viable candidates and pick the least of evils.
Answer: Separation of church and state is not just one issue; it spills over into every issue. Religion has created a voice for itself in dozens of areas of government: military activity, foreign policy, the economy, the environment, education, and civil liberties. Any elected official who thinks that his or her god is “on our side,” or is “punishing us” for fictional transgressions, is endangering America. I don’t want leaders whose decisions are dictated by imaginary characters, do you? If that makes us “one-issue” voters, so be it.

(2) If we vote against the lesser of two evils just because he or she indulges religionists, then we’ll wind up with the greater of two evils.
Answer: That’s probably true in the short-run. We may have to lose an election, even a few of them, until the political sharks can smell our votes in the water. But anyone who has a concept of recent history knows how quickly the Christian right was able to solidify as a national voting bloc. In the 60s, it was a collection of laughable hicks. In the 70s, it was a frequent target of satire. But by the 80s, it had become a notable force in determining who would be elected.  And its power persists. Only yesterday, in 2008, we had presidential candidates of the right, left, and center who didn’t dare not to pander to those folks on the fringes.

Yet, according to some polls quoted with glee throughout the Atheosphere, about 15% of the population does not believe in, or doubts the existence of, the traditional Yahwistic god. Let’s call that an overestimate by more than half; we’ll say conservatively that only 7% of Americans question religious “truisms.” But then let’s add in all those theists, the Barry Lynn types, who object to having “faith” injected into the national political dialogue. Again, we’ll be ultra-conservative: does 5% of the population sound grossly overinflated for the Madisonian theists among us? If we organized, we’d now have a faction of the electorate that numbered 12%. That’s enough to swing any election.

(3)We’re not organized yet; we’re not ready yet; we need to think about this more prudently.
Answer: Q.E.D. Yep, a person can be too rational. When thought is used as an excuse to avoid doing, it’s time to re-think the inflated glories of thinking. Descartes was happy sitting in his small cell, contemplating his navel, and celebrating his own intellectual existence. We don’t live in a world where that kind of philosophical masturbation is possible any more. As religious zealots throughout the globe have shown time and time again, they desire the annihilation of not only our principles, but of us, too. Soon, the theocrats may be banging on the cell door, eager to drag us to the burning pyre in the town square. It’s time to rise up and say: “I act, therefore I am.”

Consider this post the opening salvo in an Internet organization effort. Now go write your own version. Spread the idea around. Send links to major organizations that should be taking this kind of position themselves. Let’s begin acting.

Posted in First Amendment, Freedom from Faith, Playing Politics | 12 Comments »

Shameless Self-Promotion

Posted by Larry Wallberg on 03/15/2010

I’m not a Twitterer, in either the electronic or physical sense. I’m old enough to remember when “social networking” meant sending someone a postcard from Florida. So it’s impossible for me to imagine a world in which I’d want to know exactly where all my friends are at every single moment. That sounds like a job for the secret police.

However, once in a while, I would like to tell people what I’m up to. That’s when I get afflicted by “the Hemant Syndrome,” named after everyone’s favorite party-going friendly atheist. I’m rarely bothered by HS, mostly because I don’t get out much.

Also, to be honest, I’d call myself more of an unfriendly atheist. Back-slapping camaraderie isn’t my thing. If you want your back slapped, go find an obstetrician.

Still, I thought I’d let my readers know that I’ll be speaking to the Louisville Atheists and Freethinkers group tomorrow evening (that was Tuesday, March 16, for those of you who arrived at this page from the future) at 7 p.m. in Mulligan’s Pub and Grille, 1801 Newburg Road, Louisville. I don’t expect any of you out-of-staters (lucky you!) to drop what you’re doing and drive to Kentucky just to hear me rant until someone shuts me up. But in case you’re in the area, I’d enjoy meeting you — maybe.

As Julius Caesar once said: “I hope to see you folks on March 16.” But unless you’re choking, don’t expect me to slap you on the back.

Posted in Freedom from Faith | 19 Comments »

None of the Above

Posted by Larry Wallberg on 03/13/2010

Wallberg’s Law:
When your wife asks “Does this dress make me look fat?” you’ll wind up in an argument no matter how you answer.

Examples:

Wife:   Does this dress make me look fat?
You:    Yeah
Wife:   Screw you! If you didn’t always have those Entenmann’s Chocolate Donuts in the house, I’d be twenty pounds thinner.

Wife:   Does this dress make me look fat?
You:    No.
Wife:   Don’t you even look at me any more? You didn’t even notice that I’ve gained twenty pounds? Are you blind?

Wife:   Does this dress make me look fat?
You:    No, it fits perfectly.
Wife:   Yeah, it fits a fat person perfectly. Can’t you even see that it’s two sizes larger than my other dresses?

Wife:   Does this dress make me look fat?
You:    You look beautiful.
Wife:   Since when are you an expert on beauty? Every woman you ever look at is about twenty pounds overweight.

Wife:   Does this dress make me look fat?
You:    You look great.
Wife:   That’s what you always say about an Entenmann’s Chocolate Donut. “Oh, that looks great, Honey.” Am I some kind of donut to you?

Wife:   Does this dress make me look fat?
You:    (thirty second pause)
Wife:   How come you didn’t answer.
You:    I’m thinking.
Wife:   Sure, you’re trying to come up with something clever to say, because you know how pissed off I am that I’ve gained twenty pounds because of you and your goddamned donuts.

Wife:   Does this dress make me look fat?
You:    I can’t hear you. I’m in the shower.
Wife:   You’d hear all right if I said I bought Entenmann’s Chocolate Donuts, wouldn’t you?
You:    What?
Wife:   I BOUGHT ENTENMANN’S CHOCOLATE DONUTS!
You:    We’re having donuts? I thought we were going out.
Wife:   You heard that pretty well didn’t you? Now, I’m coming in there and you’re going to tell me truthfully if this dress makes me look fat.

Wife:   Does this dress make me look fat?
You:    Define “fat.”
Wife:   Twenty pounds overweight.
You:    Define “overweight.”
Wife:   More than I should weigh.
You:    Well, how much do you think you should weigh?
Wife:   Twenty pounds less than I do. And I would, if you didn’t keep bringing those stupid chocolate Donuts into the house.
You:    You’re the one who usually buys them.
Wife:   Yeah, for you. And do you ever buy anything for me?

Wife:   Does this dress make me look fat?
You:    I don’t think so.
Wife:   What do you mean you don’t think so.
You:    I don’t think it makes you look fat.
Wife:   You’re just saying that without even thinking.
You:    No, really. I’m thinking.
Wife:   What’s there to think about? Yes or no? Fat or not?
You:    I was thinking that the dress is terrific, and you look terrific in it.
Wife:   You’re sure?
You:    Absolutely. (Three peaceful minutes go by.)
Wife:   How about this other dress? Does it make me look fat?

You:    Do these pants make me look fat?
Wife:   Yeah.
You:    OK.
Wife:   Wait a minute. Don’t go ‘way. How about this dress? Does it make me look fat?



Posted in Dangling Conversations, Domestic Policy, Seriously Silly | 24 Comments »