What's with all the Atheism?
I have been posting a lot of atheist quotes on Facebook, because that is what I believe.  It seems that posting comments about Jesus or religion is all right, so why not atheism.  I've come under the criticism that atheist quotes attack religion, but I must say that religious remarks attack atheism. 

I find that Christians, for whatever reason, love to feel like the persecuted minority.  If you say something against them then it is taken as a vicious attack from all sides.  Rest assured, you are not under any serious threat.  You are still in power politically and socially.  You can take one person putting quotes on Facebook.

That's the problem though, so much of my life is controlled by religion or religious people.  I find that religious people tend to be more amoral than those that are not.  How can I put this?  Prisons aren't populated with atheists (studies repeatedly show less than 1%).  People who can't figure out right from wrong and need to be told from a book that constantly contradicts itself...well, is it any wonder they only care about themselves?  They don't spend any time pondering why something is right or wrong, understanding it.  The end result is that they don't really understand morals at all.  Even if they believe that the bible is their moral guide, most of them can not tell you the ten commandments from heart.  That won't stop them from saying that our justice system is based on the ten commandments (only two of which are actually illegal, three if you push it).

These religious "morals" are responsible for injustices throughout history.  The bible was used to justify slavery.  The bible was used to justify not allowing black people to marry each other.  The bible was used to justify segregation.  The bible is now being used to justify gays being forbidden to marry.  It has also influenced people to hold on to homophobia.  Go into chat rooms where gays are being discussed, the arguments against are almost always biblical quotes.

"Under God" was added to the pledge of allegiance in 1954.  One child's teacher actually had a child removed by police from the classroom for not saying the "under God" part.  Of course, the teacher's actions were scolded, but just the thought that someone thought that was the appropriate action speaks wonders.

"In God we trust" was added to money in 1864, taking out the more inclusive, historical "E Pluribus Unum", (Out of many, one).

I know your saying, "what's the big deal?!?"  Just don't say "under God" and ignore "in God we trust".  Fine...would you be all right with money saying "God is a farce" on the back of it.  Is it all right for the pledge to say "one Godless nation"?  This might be more in step with some of what the founding fathers actually believed:

Can a free government possibly exist with the Roman Catholic religion? - John Adams

God is an essence that we know nothing of. Until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there never will be any liberal science in the world. - John Adams referring to Christ

The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. - Thomas Jefferson

If they are good workmen, they may be of Asia, Africa, or Europe. They may be Mohometans, Jews or Christians of any Sect, or they may be Atheists. - George Washington

Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprize, every expanded prospect. - James Madison

I know, I know, another argument is that "in God we Trust" doesn't mean the Christian God to which my response is I don't believe in ANY God.

Which brings me to Muslims.  From my point of view, Muslims and Christians are exactly the same thing.  They believe in the same God (Allah is just Arabic for God, although people in America treat it as if it is a different God).  Both of them have holy books with Jesus in them.  Both of them have people claiming their religion is only about peace.  Yes, Muslims right now are the more violent ones, but Christians were there and might be again.  There are people in America that view the war in Iraq erroneously as a holy war; I'm not sure of the percentage that still thinks that Iraq had a part in the Muslims that attacked the World Trade Center.

Are you a Muslim?  Why not?  Could it be the same reason why I'm not a Christian?

Now let's talk personal anecdotes.  Growing up in Utah, my sister and I had the experience of people asking if we were Mormon.  When we said that we were not, they would respond by saying that they couldn't be friends and then walk away.  I was also told not to advance by my den leader in boy scouts because I was not a Mormon.  I'm not singling out Mormons, I believe all religions in a majority behave the same.  Mormons, at least had the decency to tell you to your face.

More recently, in a nursing class, we had to write papers on spirituality.  This is understandable as most people are religious and are especially so when they are sick or dying.  The nursing program tries to make spirituality about some nebulous concept that includes everyone, but essentially fails. 

In any case, one student was asked to talk about her spirituality paper.  She said, "well, the guy I talked to was an anarchist, so he doesn't believe in God."  Of course, I was a little miffed that she didn't know the definition of anarchist vs. atheist, which partly led me to the desire to educate everyone.  The thing that really got me though was the reactions of some of the students at hearing this.  One student shook her head and said, "poor thing".  Another student tsk'd three times.  A student let out a quiet gasp and yet another said, "oh" in shock.  This was out of 19 students.  I know that it seems that people were responding to her saying "anarchist", but she said that quietly and people didn't respond until she said "so, he doesn't believe in God."

I've got too much homework, so I'm going to stop here, but I wanted to talk about the following:

IQ's of atheists vs. Christians
Evolution vs. Creationism (might as well be science vs. alchemy)
Areas of the brain causing the sensation of religious experiences
How Buddhism has evolved to include atheists
and much more!

Native Star
The Native StarThe Native Star by M.K. Hobson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There is so much good stuff in this book. The author has created a version of America in the 1800's full of magic, action and interesting characters. I have to admit that I'm usually not a fan of that era, but M.K. Hobson's choice of details kept me fascinated, intrigued, and, for lack of a better word, nostalgic. This amazing backdrop supported a storyline filled with fast-paced action, following the plight of two colorful characters across the United States. I was dreading the romance that was alluded to by the cover ("the magic of the human heart"), but the romance is genuine, not mushy at all, and not an overbearing aspect of the book. One character, Dreadnought Stanton, has an incredible acerbic wit that had me laughing to myself as I read. Emily Edwards is the heroine who goes through an incredible journey. She goes from an 1800's backwoods woman trying to find a man to marry and take care of her financially to a woman with extreme power, literally in the palm of her hand.

There is more to this book than just adventure, characters, magic and romance. M.K. Hobson has also managed to ingeniously weave philosophical and political commentary seamlessly into her work as well, giving this book something extra to reflect upon. She explores the power of ideas and propaganda in a truly unique way as well as a myriad of other ponderables. I would expound upon that, but I don't want to ruin the joy of reading it...and it is a must read!

View all my reviews

The Marquis de Sade - The Crimes of Love
I decided to watch movies from a list I found on the internet of the most disturbing films ever made.  The most recent of which was called "Salo, 120 days of Sodom".  120 Days of Sodom was originally written by the Marquis de Sade.  I find that I'm running into a lot of people who are not actually familiar with the Marquis de Sade, which includes my mother (which, when you think of it, is the one person who should not know about the Marquis de Sade, right?).  Anyway, the Marquis de Sade was a French author who lived around the time of the French Revolution, 1740 -1814 to be exact.  He was a low aristocrat with over-confident sense of self.  He was best known for his sadistic actions and writings, so much so that the word "sadism" comes from his name.  Shockingly, I've run into people who are blissfully unaware of the meaning of the word "sadism".  Nowadays, people use it to simply mean finding enjoyment in causing harm to others, but the actual definition is "sexual pleasure obtained by inflicting harm (physical or psychological) on others", a sexual fetishism if you will.

Now "Salo, 120 of Sodom" was a 1975 updated version of the work by the Marquis de Sade.  Instead of French aristocrats, the director of this film set it in fascist Italy.  Four politically high level men round up 9 young men and 9 young women and take them to their countryside mansion to be their sex slaves.  The rules of the house are that the slaves must be present in a certain room to listen to stories of sexual indiscretions and then be forced to do whatever the four men want.  Another rule is that vaginal sex is forbidden, because they are not interested in the idea of sex for procreation, but want to be sure to enjoy sex for only the pleasure it provides.  Prayer, or calling out to God, is also rewarded with death.  Lewd stories are told and extremely young men and women get sodomized.  The men and women are forced at one point to behave like dogs on leashes and beg for scraps of food. 

The stories then become of a scatological nature.  The men and women are required to hold their bowel movements until dinner at which time all of the aristocrats and the forced slaves eat their feces.  One slave objects to the taste and the storyteller is shocked that she would behave so in face of such a delicacy.  As would be expected from the Marquis de Sade, many young men and women end up being brutalized at the end.  They have eyes dug out of their heads or are burned by hot irons and eventually killed while being sodomized. 

What struck me as interesting in this movie was the strange philosophical asides that were said between tortures.  The aristocrats would talk about how the slaves were their for their enjoyment and that they were justified in their treatment as a result of their birthright or their standing in society.  It reminds me of the biblical sentiment that animals are on the earth for the use of man as a justification of poor treatment of animals.  I took from this that the Marquis de Sade was talking satirically, attacking the aristocratic system and treatment of the poor.  As it turns out, I don't think he was, rather he believed some of what his character's spoke.  Nonetheless, he is fascinating on many levels.  He has been referenced by early psychologists for his views of human nature, he was viewed as a champion for the surrealist movement that occurred a hundred years after his death, even later than that he provided influence to post-structuralism, most notably, Michael Foucault.

Influenced by the Age of Enlightenment, the Marquis de Sade was a strong believer in rational thought and science.  He believed that unexplained phenomena was simply something that was yet to be discovered.  As a result, he believed religion to be the crutch of a superstitious man who could not fathom that things were simply not yet explained.  He was an atheist to the point that he requested that he be buried in an unmarked grave without a religious ceremony.  While he was placed in an unmarked grave, he was given a religious ceremony against his wishes.  As a result of his belief in science, he developed a strong belief in what he considered the natural order of things.   More specifically, he viewed a variety of vices to be natural urges.  He absolutely hated the aristocracy which purported virtue but practiced vices.  His vices included the following account from the Gazette d'Utrecht on April 26, 1768:

"Monsieur de Sade...going alone to his residence at Arcueil near Paris, chanced upon a beggar-woman whom he took with him to his house on the pretext that out of charity he wished to add her to his household, for his service.  But when she arrived, he led her into an isolated room, bound her hands and feet, and stopped up her mouth to prevent her crying out.  Taking a small knife, he made a number of incisions in various parts of her body and then melted some kind of Spanish wax into the cuts.  Having done this, he calmly went out to take the air, leaving the victim of his ferocity under lock and key.  However, she managed to free herself and jumped from the window without adding any more injury to herself than she had already sustained.  All the villagers who saw her would have massacred the Comte (his actual title) de Sade if he had not fled.  It is thought that he has lost his reason.  His family has been granted an order for him to be detained at the chateau of Saumur, and the perforated woman has withdrawn the complaint she had made in court in consideration of a sum of money."

By the way, "perforated woman" is not a phrase you see often.

The Marquis insisted that the woman was actually a prostitute and that prostitutes are paid for their pain and trouble.  Despite the settlement the Marquis did serve jail time for this incident.  In fact, he spent 25 years of his life in prisons for various offenses.  He most notably spent time in the Bastille where he had an entire floor to himself in one of the towers.  The Marquis, being a "low" aristocrat, believed that he was being used as an example to other aristocrats to clean up their own libertine behaviors.

The Marquis de Sade's novels are known for their sadistically sexual stories that are controversial by today's standards.  They were only released in 1985 in England after a legal battle.  In all honesty, I find his writing style to be quite poor.  His writings hold fascination by their dastardly plots, sadistic horror, and unique philosophical musings.  The pornographic portions of his writing are extremely graphic as in Justine, Juliette, and 120 Days of Sodom.

The only book of the Marquis de Sade that is available in the Las Vegas, Clark County Library system is his mildest work, The Crimes of Love.  Kind of ironic in that Las Vegas is considered sin city.  Where can you find his more lewd writings?  Why at the Salt Lake City library system, of course.  If it isn't pure alcohol, boobs, or gambling, it is too much sin for Las Vegas.

Anyway, The Crimes of Love, a group of short stories, does not have descriptions of sadistic sexual acts.  The Marquis de Sade wrote it, in part, to appease critics who thought his works were too graphic.  The sadism rather focuses on psychological torture.  One story, Miss Henrietta Stralson or The Effects of Despair: An English Tale, seems to be an answer to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.  I would have bet my life on it if it wasn't for the fact that Pride and Prejudice was published after this story was written.  Here is my review of Pride and Prejudice:

I don't get it. I got nothing from this book.
It seems to be the equivalent of writing notes back and forth:
"Do you like me? Mark 'Yes' or 'No'."
"I'm ever so wistful now."
"OK, I likes...lol."
"Yay, my heart dost gladden in my heaving breast."

The Marquis de Sade, like Jane Austen, focused on passing notes and calling on another's houses.  In this love triangle, Henrietta unwillingly catches the eye of a wealthy aristocrat, but she is promised to another.  The aristocrat, named Granwel, decides to stop at nothing to "have" Henrietta.  He tricks her into coming to his house and threatens to rape her.  She says that she does not love her fiancée, named Williams.  She persuades Granwel that he can have her in love rather than have her by force, but first she must break off her engagement.  He agrees and she, in turn, thanks him graciously for not raping her.

Granwel later learns that she actually does love Williams.  As the result, he claims to have been deceived (mind you to prevent him from raping her).  He decides to take his vengeance for her treachery.  He sets out to financially ruin Williams and hatches a scheme to have her arrested as a villain (which fails).  Here is an excerpt:

"'I worship her!' exclaimed Granwel, seeing his cup of joy overflow. 'And this time she shall not escape me!  However violent the methods I have adopted to possess her may be, they do not fill me with remorse, since I am consoled by the pleasure she shall give me... Remorse! Can a heart like mine ever know the meaning of such a feeling?  The habit of evildoing expunged it long ago from my calloused soul.  A host of beautiful women, all seduced like Henrietta, deceived like her, abandoned like her, could tell her if I was ever moved by their tears, alarmed by their struggles, moved by their shame, restrained by their charms... Well, here is one more name to add to the list of the illustrious victims of my debauchery.  And what use would women be if they were not good for that?... I defy anyone to prove to me that nature created them for any other reason.  Let us leave the absurd mania for setting them on pedestals to the morons.  By spouting such lily-livered nonsense, we have encouraged women to get above themselves.  They observe that we great store by the petty matter of having them, and accordingly think that they too are entitled to attach a great price to the same business and oblige us to waste on romantic elucubrations precious time which was meant only for pleasure...."

Oddly enough, many feminists, such as Angela Carter, have come out as Marquis de Sade supporters.

My favorite story in The Crimes of Love has got to be Florville and Courval.  Twist after dramatic twist, a woman discovers that she has had a son with her brother.  Later in life she is raped by her son (not knowing it was her son, of course) and killing him in the process.  She later ends up unknowingly marrying her father after condemning a woman to be hung on the gallows.  The woman ends up being her mother...of course.  The woman in the middle of all of this, after learning all that she has done, unceremoniously "blows her brains out".

I feel like a housewife.
I'm finding that during my days of unemployment and limited school, that I make a horrible housewife. 

I found myself watching Jerry Springer.  I can't believe that it has gotten sleazier than I remember.  The people on stage are exactly the same.  Some clearly are there to be on TV and making up a story and some appear to be legit.  There are still fights and the shouting of "Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!" reminiscent of old Roman Colosseum entertainment.  The audience is what has changed.  During the "question and answer" period, the audience only made poorly thought-out insults to the people on stage usually referring to the cheating women that they are fat and ugly.  One female audience member shouted into the microphone, "Look at these jugs!"  She then presented her bare breasts to the hoots and hollers of the testosterone-heavy youths around her.  This presentation of her mammary glands had nothing to do with the topic du jour, which was "I cheated on you with a threesome".  I found the whole show to be a sober form of Mardi Gras.

In addition to my trash TV, I went to the dollar store to look for bon bons(oh my god, what has become of my life?!!?).  At the dollar store, I purchased a nail buffer, because hey, it was there and it was only a dollar.  Now, I spend my time, in front of Jerry Springer, buffing my nails and eating bon bons.  In related news, my nails are extremely shiny.  I didn't really think it would make a difference, but it does.

I find myself not doing housework or anything around the house.  Oh sure, I have plans, but I get sidetracked by Jerry or Internet or junk.  I manage to do the dishes daily and drag the vacuum across the floor occasionally.  I don't even cook.  I can't cook.  Greg and I have determined that I can't cook.  He was amazed that I was able to burn some eggs for him and still mange to have the yolks runny.  It takes talent, I say.  Seriously, I can't cook.  Greg, on the other hand, is able to improvise impressive meals.  He rarely uses recipes.  He just cooks perfectly.  Not easy stuff either...well, not easy to me.  He basically improvised carnitas without ever seeing a recipe and I question whether or not he has ever eaten carnitas either.  Get this, it was the best carnitas I've ever had.  What the?!?

Greg has been uber supportive though in stating that I'm almost a typical housewife.  He adds that to be a typical housewife that in addition to doing nothing, I need to act frazzled.  I need to act like I'm just so put out that he should be grateful for what I do.  It is a full time job you know...especially with taking care of the dogs.  Thanks for the tip Greg.  I'll get on that. 

RuPaul's Drag Race
RuPaul's Drag Race is back on:


Roller Rink from Hell
A friend of my had a birthday party and in true retro fashion, he had part of it at a roller skating rink.  Crystal Palace to be exact:

First, I have to say this.  Roller skating rinks have not changed.  They are exactly the same as they were in the seventies.  They have the same skates, the same horrible black confetti carpets, and the lame decorations that were originally suppose to make the place look like a futuristic disco, like Xanadu.  They even play the same music.  They played "Funkytown".  They even played "Get Down on It" by Kool and the Gang.  There was some new stuff too, but there was a sign stating that they would not play rap or heavy metal because they were not family oriented music.  They have obviously not heard "Who left the milk out?  Yuck, yuck, yuck, yuck, yuck", which is not only a fictional song, but also reminds the listener that dairy needs to return to the refrigerator.  A lesson Greg has a hard time with, but I'm not pointing fingers.  One thing has changed though, kids now text and skate at the same time, which makes me fear for the safety of our roads in the near future. 

Greg and I arrived by ourselves, which only makes it look like we were in some sort of pedophilia club.  The place was absolutely packed with kids and I mean packed.  There was almost no spot to sit down to put on the skates.  I felt like I was in a Tokyo subway car.

Greg and I find the birthday party, who are skating, so we get on the rink...again, the Tokyo-subway-car rink.  Greg said he was nervous about being on skates again, which is funny, because I wasn't.  I figured I would pick it up quickly and it would be no big deal.  So, we get out onto the rink and I'm doing my best balance routine, which involves jerking forward, backward and flailing my arms.  All the while, the constant loud chaos of children is whizzing by me, sort of like having a hundred ambulances pass you out of nowhere.  I manage to get an eighth of the way around the rink when I stopped and fell.  Not a controlled fall either.  I was going down the way fate decided and I had no choice in the matter.  I fell back like someone pulled a rug from underneath me.  I landed on my back.  I hurt my elbow, which is all well and good, but the chaos continues to swirl around me.  I hear whoa's and people laughing at me, which is all fine.  I decide to hug the wall, until I get more used to it.  I get around once. 

Even hugging the wall, I skate slower than the trail of wall-hugging girls behind me.  Chris remarked that it looked like a mother duck with her little ducklings.  I also had to endure the snickers of the people standing on the other side of the wall looking in on the rink. 

I get off and tighten my laces, thinking that must be the problem.  Someone remarked that I need to go fast and then I wouldn't have a problem, in retrospect, they were wrong.  It's not like riding a bicycle where momentum is needed.  Anyway, I attempted to go faster and what a surprise, I fell.  A much nicer controlled fall this time, however, I caused a pile up behind myself.  I don't know how many went down, but it sounded like quite a calamity.  Again, there was a people on the sidelines laughing.  I know I shouldn't care what other people think, but this only made me feel like a fool.  I was feeling foolish.  My legs were already strained from not knowing what muscles to use, so I tensed them all.  You couldn't swing your arm without hitting ten kids....plus I was slower than the wall-huggers.  I went around one more time, wall-hugging, and got off. 

Greg skated fine and really enjoyed himself.  I would have tried more and enjoyed myself if it wasn't so crowded and I wasn't 2 feet taller than everyone.  I figure with my luck lately (see previous post), I shouldn't press it and end up with a broken limb.

This is the baddest day of my life
When I was three, I wrote myself a note that said, "this is the baddest day of my life".  I then put it in my file that had all my important documents like my birth certificate.  I can't believe that I was three when I wrote that, but thinking that I could have gotten the date wrong is just not possible.  I must admit though, I did spell "baddest" incorrectly...what an idiot.  Please note though that even at three, I used a period.

I'm not sure what happened that day and I realized that even at such a young age my memory was fallible, so it was good form for me to write some way to remember the travesties that occurred.  At a much later date, I wrote a note (now lost) stating that "Mom favors Kathy".  I'm sure a similar injustice occurred on March 25, 1974.  When addressing the matter with my parents, they are rather tight-lipped.  I'm sure that they are guilty of some heinous deed.

Today wasn't the baddest day.  To say so would cloud the already faded memory of 3/25/74.  However, today was a no good day...a no good day indeed.  I went to my eye appointment because of cloudiness in my left eye.  Well, I think partly because I have obscured vision in my left eye, I ran over a parking lot raised island.  This completely blew out my tire which I left in the parking lot as I went in to my appointment.

In my appointment, I learned that I had a virally induced corneal ulcer, which sounds so serious, but isn't that big of a deal.  When I went out to get my car, Greg was out there putting on my spare, which he first had to fill with air.  This was something that made my no good day, not so bad.  My eye appointment was next to a tire place and they replaced my tire and gave us a matching one at 4:55, even though they closed at 5:00.  That also made my no good day a little better.  However, it wasn't at all free, so I'm calling that event even.

I then went to get my three medications for my eye filled at Target....$200 and they have to special order one of them.

In other news, Greg diagnosed the ulcers before I went to my primary care doctor back in December.  Well, he said "you've got holes in your eyes".  He was right.  If only my primary care doctor actually looked at my eye this could have been taken care of a lot sooner.  She is now my previous primary care doctor.

Oh...and one of my fillings fell out. 

Lard diet, the only solution.

Warts and all
I have pink eye...or rather I have something that is making my eye pink.  It has been going on for at least a month and I'm sure I picked it up from clinicals.  There is no yellow discharge, so I figured it was viral conjunctivitis.  However, it has lasted too long and there is only so long I can say "my contacts are bugging me" at work before they catch on to the fact that I don't wear contacts. 
Not my eye(not my eye)

So, I went to the doctor.  She didn't look in my eye.  She didn't check my pupil size.  I swear one is smaller than the other.  I said symptoms like it hurts my affected eye when I look at light with my unaffected eye.  Perhaps it is iritis, which could be treated with anti-inflammatory medicine and dilation.  She just gave me a prescription for an antibiotic eye drop even though I said that I had been using one to no avail just to rule out bacterial infection. 

I then showed her a wart that has appeared above my eyebrow.  (Don't worry, it looks manly and like a mole).  She said that a dermatologist would have to remove warts.  I can understand her hesitation of removing a wart on a face, but all warts?  Time to find another doctor. 

I need to make a batch of Greg's wart remover.  It is pure salicylic acid mixed with a little bit of lotion.  It works better than anything and the wart is just gone in a couple of days from one application.  The problem is that it is hard to order pure salicylic acid unless you are a school or laboratory.  Sigh...

By the way, do not do a search for warts using the google image search, unless you want to look at a lot of warty genitals.

Hello 21st Century, It's me, Patrick.
Greg and I are finally doing it.  We are getting rid of our home phone and getting real cell phones, or mobile phones as the kids are calling it now-a-days.  Greg is most hesitant about this new era of communication.  I suggested that he just get a phone so I can contact him.  Who else does he talk to on the phone?  No one!  He hates the phone.  So it is ironic that he chose the LG enV Touch for his phone. 

It's super high tech and requires an internet connection fee.  Then he swears up and down that he is going to throw it in a drawer and never look at it in some sort of passive-aggressive action towards his phone.  That's fine, but why didn't he just get some free jobby with no features.  He better become a phone junky or I swear....pow, right in the kisser. I, on the other hand, simply wanted a Qwerty keyboard.   So, I got the very cute and functional Razzle.

Why does the base swivel, you ask?  I ask, why wouldn't it.  It very clearly is also used as an mp3 player and has a slot for adding an additional 16 GB.  That's more than I'll ever need.  My original Dell DJ mp3 player is looking clunkier than ever.


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