Monday, June 28, 2010


In the midst of the Satanic Ritual Abuse scare of the 1980’s, certain Christian preachers wanted us to believe there was a Satanic Cult in every Podunk burg in the nation just waiting for you to turn your back on your toddler long enough for them to snatch him or her up and butcher them as a sacrifice to their Dark Lord. I was always suspicious of these claims for many reasons, not least of which if these Satanic cults were murdering kiddies at the rate these fundamentalists claimed it would have been impossible to walk through a park without stepping over the dismembered remains of the entire student body of the nearest elementary school.
Not to be so easily deterred, these folks vainly offered “evidence” that these cults were real. And sadly, these holy harlequins were actually taken seriously enough by some local law enforcement folks to have these hacks make presentations detailing “how to tell if your town is overrun by Devil-worshippers”. Among the telltale signs: graffiti. Yep. It seemed that, according to these “experts” graffiti and the devil went together like secularism and casual abortions. Seems if there was graffiti on your town’s dumpsters with pentagrams, "666" and the names of MTV hair bands, your town was infested with demon-lovin’ child killers.
It is, for that reason, I found it especially and delightfully ironic that decades later it’s now the Christians who are breaking out the spray paint in order to advance their particular supernatural viewpoint.
The story is this: the North Carolina Secular Association put up a billboard quoting from the original Pledge of Allegiance: “One Nation Indivisible”. Almost predictably, within a week, Christian vandals – taking their cue from the 1954 act of Congress that altered this original version of the Pledge– broke out their navy blue Krylon cans and inserted “Under God” on the billboard indicating it was to be placed between “nation” and “indivisible”.
There’s so much irony here I don’t know where to begin. First, there’s the incongruity between the Christians’ self-professed law-abiding nature and the use of vandalism and defacing of others’ property to promote their agenda. Next, there’s strangeness in their using a medium that mere decades before they themselves had condemned as being associated with them damned devil worshippers. Third, this act of vandalism has given the North Carolina Secular Association far more publicity than they otherwise would have had. But finally, and perhaps most significantly, the morons who defaced the billboard MADE THE SECULARISTS' POINT!!! The secularists were arguing that the insertion of religion into patriotism was – in itself – divisive. So much so that the mere expression of an admirable sentiment from the original pledge can no longer be safely stated in public without some religio-drones vandalizing it!
This is typical of how the religious right works:
1. Hijack a perfectly good secular national motto / pledge / whatever and alter it into a religious one.
2. Pretend the religious one was the one that had always been there.
3. When someone who knows history points out that it was the Christians who subverted the original intent of these statements, accuse them of not being true patriots, despite the fact that it is the secularists who are the ones who are promoting the original intent of the founders.
Those who vandalized the billboard in North Carolina proved yet again that religion is a divisive force in our nation. If you want to be religious: fine. But when you try to entangle your beliefs with government to make your point, you’re doing nothing more than causing unnecessary division within the land you claim to love so much.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Applying Myself

Yesterday, for Father’s Day, my kids got me “The Complete Peanuts: 1975-1976”. Having been a Peanuts freak since I was at least their age, it was a much appreciated present.
While thumbing through its pages, I came across a couple instances of the now-classic strips where Charlie Brown runs to kick the football only to have Lucy snatch it away at the last second, with the inevitable result of Charlie Brown slamming into the ground with a subsonic thump.
I couldn’t help thinking I was a lot like Charlie Brown in that instance. Instead of kicking a football, though, my Quixotic quest is sending out job applications. I keep sending them out, only to have them rebuffed or ignored. The rejections keep coming; I keep submitting applications.
Like Charlie Brown’s vain attempt to kick the football, my attempt to find a job is equal parts admirable persistence and pathetic unwillingness to apply inductive reasoning.
So despite repeated failures, Charlie Brown kept trying to kick the football and kept ending up flat on his back.
And I’ll keep filling out application forms and sending out resumes…

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tea-ming With Bad Puns!

On this Juneteenth it's only fitting I made a horrible pun appropriate to the occasion.
This is how it happened:
My ever-dramatic daughter noticed I was reading "The Book of Tea" by Kakuzo Okakura. (This is a classic among tea-freaks like me... just trust me on that one.)
Anyway, my female offspring asked "'The Book of Tea'? What the heck is that?"
"I'll have you know this is a very famous book!" I replied. "In fact, it was very influential among the African-American community!"
"Is that for real?" she asked, skeptically.
"You bet!" I replied. "Haven't you ever heard of "Book o'Tea" Washington?"

(blogger pauses for hilarity to ensue... hears sound of distant crickets)



I can only hope that somewhere there's a planet harboring a more advanced civilization that appreciates my puns!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Take Me to Your Liter

This won't be much of a post. It's more a squirreling away of words for the future... but I want to put it here on the blog - in public - for the sole and egotistical purpose of being able to gloat at some future date.
I'm not usually one for making predictions, but in this case I will make an exception. And the prediction is as follows: by the end of the decade (2020), the scientific consensus will be that there is life on Mars.
I realize all current evidence in that regard is circumstantial, sketchy and inconclusive, but lately there is so much of it coming together that it is starting to look like there may be something to it.
So, should life indeed be discovered on Mars, I will now be able to claim to be a visionary.
And if Mars is found to be desolate and dead, I'll merely delete this post and claim your archived version is a forgery.
Either way, I win! :-)

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Novel Way to Commit Suicide

Now that Dr. Kevorkian is no longer able to provide his needed services, I would like to propose the following simple method for committing suicide:
1. Listen to an Ave Maria (Catholic Radio) station.
2. Take a shot of whiskey every time they mention the word "abortion".
I estimate an average person would last about 45 minutes before succumbing to fatal alcohol poisoning.

Smells Like Wha...?

I had once heard the single biggest correlative factor in a man's choice of deodorant was the brand his father wore. My case would seem to support that theory. My dad wore Old Spice original scent and dammit so do I.
And it looks as though the Old Spice tradition will be passed down to a third generation since my son - now that he's of an age where such things are becoming important - is also using Old Spice. Ian, however, is putting his personal stamp on things by choosing to use, instead of original scent, a variant called "Denali". Denali, according to the product label, is supposed to smell like "Wilderness, Open Air and Freedom". While I suppose something smelling vaguely of salmon innards and pine trees could pass for "wilderness and open air" what, pray tell, does "freedom" smell like? I've been gravitationally bound to this planet for nearly 50 years and this is the first I knew about freedom even having an olfactory component!
What the hell, did Harriet Tubman give this stuff to fugitive slaves after they successfully crossed the Ohio River?
"Use this! You can smell like FREEDOM now!"
The older I get the less I know.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Crime Pays! (In Michigan, at Least)

Recent press reports have indicated the Michigan unemployment rate is 14.0%. As someone who has been seeking work without success for months, this comes as no surprise.
There are, of course, things one can do to improve one's chances of gaining employment. Polishing one's resume, attending job fairs, networking, etc. are high on the list of suggested tips for job seekers.
There is, however, one tip that apparently has been overlooked. It seems there are programs to provide employment to convicts in Michigan prisons in hopes of rehabilitating them. As a result, the current rate of unemployment among the prison population is under 10%! That's right! In Michigan, it's literally easier to get a job if you're in prison than if you obey the law.
I didn't realize one of the keys to employment in this state was knocking over a liquor store, but if that's what it takes...
It appears while I've been wasting time polishing my resume when I should have been polishing a Saturday Night Special.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

21-derful Years!

Thanks to my wonderful wife Leanne for putting up with me for 21 years!
It's hard to believe I've been married since 1989. To put things in perspective, here are a couple statistics -
Number of dogs in the United States in 1989: roughly 70,000,000.
Number of those dogs still alive: 0.
So, in canine terms at least, ours is a love that has lasted forever!
Here's to many more!