Archive for November, 2009

War on Christmas XII, Austria vs. Santa

November 30, 2009

There exists a group of reasonable, sensible people misguided folk psychopaths in Austria who believe that Santa Claus is a conspiracy by Coca-Cola to undermine Austrian Christmas traditions.

“What are these traditions?” You might ask yourself. Well, it’s totally different from Santa Claus, which promotes “gaudy commercialism.” Instead of Santa sneaking into the homes of families to leave his sweatshop-made presents overnight on Christmas Eve, the “Christmaskind (Christmas-child) Movement” favors a young blond child sneaking into the homes of families to leave presents overnight on Christmas Eve, which is totally not gaudy commercialism at all. It’s totally different! Well, no, not really – it’s pretty much the same, just more Aryan.

GTFO

“It’s not against Santa. He is good for the British and Americans but he is not good for us,” said Walter Kriwetz, organiser of the candle-lit procession in Austria’s second city.

See, with Santa’s hair being white, you can’t tell much about his ethnicity. He might be one of them thar FOREIGNER JEW COCA COLA BANKERS BENT ON DESTROYING OUR GLORIOUS NATION AND ENSLAVING US ALL AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Opportunities to troll IRL

November 29, 2009

I have to work for both of these and can not attend either. But asking provocative questions at either or both would be fun and might even be a deterrant to kooks to GTFO of Buffalo and never come back. They will not be missed.

UFO freak at NCCC Wednesday evening

Creationist at UB Saturday afternoon

Go, seek them out, ask embarassing questions, and then dine on their flesh. Gnaw at their fingers and feed their bones to your dog.

War on Christmas XI, Best. Santa. Ever.

November 29, 2009

A last-minute stand-in for a Santa appearance in Evesham, UK, was fired for being so grumpy that he made children cry. Here is a real picture from the article:

“We were all so let down, I don’t know if the rain had dampened his spirits, but he looked truly miserable and lacking in Christmas spirit.”

This guy is claiming that he was just caught off guard with a last-minute job for which he was not prepared. But we all know he’s really a deep cover operative in the War on Christmas. Good work, Mr. Cowell. You have succeeded in your mission and are an inspiration to us all.

TV personality on death row in Saudi Arabia for “witchcraft”

November 29, 2009

So before Saudi media outlets were just complaining about witchcraft (in this post, I mentioned the Hajj “stoning the devil” ritual that usually results in collapsing structures, killing gullible pilgrims. This year, flooding killed 83. Allah didn’t stop the flooding for some reason. Just a quick update.), now they’re doing something about it. Well, the courts are anyway.

The Lebanese TV presenter Ali Sibat was on a trip to Saudi Arabia when he was arrested for “witchcraft.” This apparently involves making predictions on his show.

Here is video of his trial:

So let’s see, there’s no real evidence against him, he’s not even Saudi Arabian, and he’s being put to death for being annoying on television. Can’t Oprah go on vacation in Saudi Arabia?

UPDATE: Stay of execution!

Criminals of the week

November 29, 2009
  • Police in Chitungwiza are looking for three women who kidnapped an 18 year old man and forced him to have sex with them in a church.
  • Essex. UK police can’t imagine why someone would steal a life-size cardboard cut out poster of a police officer.
  • Two Clifton, TN prison inmates escape, steal cigarettes and return to prison.
  • Santiago Martinez of Long Beach, CA was sentenced to death for killing his girlfriend. Why did he do it? Because she wouldn’t help him bury his other girlfriend, whom he also killed.
  • Three kids stole a sheep, put it in a shopping cart, and wheeled it into a grocery store. This is the shepherd’s equivalent to leaving one of your co-bank robbers at the door to the emergency room at the hospital.

Quote of the Day

November 28, 2009

Stuff

November 28, 2009

Florida news anchors implicated in gang rape

November 28, 2009

Click above pic for story

From the article:

“[T]he owners of WPMI, have suspeneded General Manager Shea Grandquest and News Director Wes Finley for one week, without pay.”

So why did they suspend the GM if it was the anchors doing the gang raping? Not to mention that they’re totally unrepentant for their crimes. They look so happy about it!

War on Christmas VII-X

November 27, 2009
  • Switching on the decorative city lights in Belfast sort of acted as an ignition for sectarian street battles between the largely Catholic nationalists and the largely Protestant loyalists.
  • Some old retired lady in Hamburg (Germany, not NY) was crushed by a huge Christmas tree. She survived but was badly injured.
  • Here is a hilarious editorial decrying a town’s toning down the whole Jesus thing for the holidays.
  • Cahmbersburg, PA reversed a long-held position of allowing for displays from citizens near a war memorial when Pennsylvania for Christian nativity scenes when  Nonbelievers, Inc. asked to display a secular memorial honoring the war dead.

Arguments atheists shouldn’t use

November 27, 2009

With all the “new atheist” brouhaha, there’s bound to be a few kids who are new to freethought making bad arguments, messing up our lawns, and otherwise making the rest of us cranky. When believers encounter nonbelievers like this, they might understandably take such bad arguments and lack of concern for lawn care to be characteristic of atheists, which would only then serve to reinforce their faith. So here are some quality control tips for the kiddies.

Bad argument: “Genesis has two different accounts of the creation of the universe. Since they’re different, both can’t be true. The existence of the two stories is a biblical contradiction, and a divinely inspired work cannot contradict itself. Therefore the Bible can’t have been divinely inspired.”

Why it’s dumb: It is implausible that the holy text of the ancient Jews would for centuries include two contradictory accounts for no reason, with no explanaion, and without anyone noticing. It’s right there in the first few pages. The contradictory passages must be there for some deeper reason other than serving as some kind of AP report of what God did when he created the Universe. Most believers will immediately respond that the second story is an interpretation of one of the days of the first.

What you should say: This point is really only helpful to bring up against people like Ken Ham and his friends at Answers in Genesis who insist that they don’t interpret the Bible, and that they simply read God’s Word as is. Self-professed biblical literalists, in other words. It’s all well and good to try to understand the Bible literally, but when confronted with the contradictory creation accounts they will invariably give a response very much like what I just said above. But the problem with that is that it’s not actually in the text. Nowhere in Genesis does it actually say that one account is an extrapolation of the other. The two stories are simply mentioned one after the other. A more sophisticated believer can interpret what they like, but a literalist would have to admit that they are using their own human reason in order to come to an understanding of the text, and not simply the text itself. And the human reason they would use to do such is a product of the Fall – a point made constantly in Ken Ham’s creationist “museum.”

Bad argument: “Religion is a disease.”

Why it’s dumb: This meme came from an essay by Richard Dawkins called Viruses of the Mind. It compares the way that viruses and memes infect hosts for their own benefit and not that of the host. But Dawkins goes to great lengths to make the point that viruses aren’t necessarily always bad things. Most of the time they are neutral. This and other caveats and intricacies are areas where Dawkins is great at explaining, and they’re lost when you just tell someone that their beliefs are a cancer which must be destroyed.

What you should say: Simply point out that the best predictor of one’s religious convictions happens to be their geographical location. This should give believers pause. Why doesn’t God transcend geographical boundaries? Why does religion, like language, appear to have evolved from the bottom-up by cultural means instead of given to us by a deity from the top-down?

Bad argument: Jesus condoned slavery, and even the beating of slaves in Luke 12:47

And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

Jesus also made this strange and barbaric request in Luke 19:27

But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

Why it’s dumb: Read it in context. These are parables.

What you should say: Sure, they’re parables meant to teach a lesson. It’s just that the lessons here are very immoral because they promote a Might Makes Right mentality commonly found within authoritarian systems such as Christianity. To be fair, Jesus wasn’t just swinging around a sword, screaming like a maniac while (if) he was saying what he said in Matthew 10:34

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

, but the point to make is that he didn’t have to actually have a sword to be immoral in this instance. That is all for now.

Pygmy

November 26, 2009

OK, first of all, this book is much better than his previous one, so those who were disappointed by Snuff and thought Palahniuk was in decline can probably write that off as an anomaly.

But Pygmy is written in a very different, Engrish-y style. And it’s relentless. It almost never stops. The only escape from the narrator’s voice is through other characters when they speak. And unlike other books with a lot of slang (A Clockwork Orange, Irvine Welsh), it’s not something you can just put aside and hope it all starts to make more sense as you go. You really have to understand what the narrator means to say by syncing yourself up with his way of thinking or else the plot will escape you completely.

Here’s an example. This:

“Could be fists of operative me execute Punching Panda, bam-blam, so render entire crowd no conscious. Subsequent then execute Pumping Rabbit Maneuver distribute own seed among various appropriate vessel. Exit shrine. Seek midday nourishment. Visit memorial acclaimed war hero Colonel Sanders.”

translates to something like, “I could just knock everyone here out, rape them, and go eat lunch at KFC.” Yeah, he thinks Colonel Sanders is “similar Lenin” because of all the “many vast mural.”

Anyway, the narrator is Pygmy, an undercover operative on a student cultural exchange program for an unnamed totalitarian country. His “glorious homeland” kidnapped and brainwashed him and other young specialists to have total devotion to the state. There are many Communist overtones in Pygmy’s political indoctrination, along with social Darwinism and reverence for a nondescript deity.

Even with the weird writing style, you still get a lot of that “chorus” thing Palahniuk always does – those single or few sentence repeating themes that show character development and the escalation of tension. In Survivor there are the announcements of the fuel tanks running empty and the biblical citations. In Lullaby there’s the narrator counting to himself. You know what I mean.

The best advice I can give for this book is that if you haven’t read Palahniuk before, this is a bad place to start. And if you have read him before, and you aren’t intrigued by the first 20 or so pages, don’t bother with the rest. Just wait for Tell All out next year instead.

Happy Thanksgiving

November 26, 2009

It seems like William S Burroughs just keeps showing up for holidays.

Re-writing history at Fox

November 25, 2009

This is even crazier than the 9/11 “truthers.” At least they acknowledge that 9/11 actually happened, unlike Perino here.

I also love how the very next sentence is her saying that she hopes that Obama’s administration is “not looking at this politically.” Yes, there’s nothing more apolitical than pretending that there were no terrorist attacks during Bush’s terms in office.

War on Christmas VI, Arkansas Society of Freethinkers vs. Little Rock

November 25, 2009

The Arkansas Society of Freethinkers last year applied the state capitol to allow them to display a winter solstice thingy on their lawn. Their request was denied on the grounds that the display applied for was not described very specifically. Probably the ASF got the idea to counter a manger scene a little too late and, like many freethought organizations, lacked the organizational skills to accomplish their goals.

So this year, they decided to correct their past mistakes and apply in a more proper manner but their request was denied. And this time, no reason was given for such a denial. However, the good folks at the ACLU are on the case:

“It’s a pretty clear rule about how we use the space on the Capitol lawn. The thing that makes it constitutional to use our government property for displays is the fact that all different points of view have equal access and consideration. So it’s troubling to think that we might be in a situation where they haven’t been given that consideration,”
-Holly Dickson, ACLU Arkansas

I’m not a big fan of the winter solstice substitute for Christmas. The solstice was the basis for the whole Christmas holiday in the first place. So Christmas is just one superstition replacing another. One being older doesn’t make it less stupid. And besides, now we have the one true religion and can all make room on government property to celebrate His Noddlienss:

Hallelujah!

War on Christmas V, Best Buy

November 25, 2009

As you can see from this SHOCKING image, Best Buy has wished the Muslins happy Eid al-adha and DID NOT MENTION JESUS AT ALL:

So obviously this is basically like Best Buy saying that 9/11 was a righteous act by freedom fighters and therefore we must all BOYCOTT.

What the people who apparently believe that kind of stuff don’t seem to notice is that Eid al-Adha comes this year only two days from now (maybe four or five from the time of the above advertisement) whereas Jesusday is a month from now. And since it’s a Thanksgiving (also mentioned) holiday weekend ad, it’s a little more timely to mention the one holiday and not the other. But then again, that conclusion might involve stepping outside of some weird ideological bubble, which is apparently to much to ask for in certain circles.

If you want a good reason to not shop at Best Buy, polka dots referring to religion is not one of them. A good reason would be because their staff sucks. I worked for a contracting network for two years, one of the main clients of which being Best Buy; and their level of incompetence and record of just lying to customers is staggering.

UPDATE: Here is Snopes on this jihadic newspaper ad.