You couldn't be here if stars hadn't exploded.
To the question, “Why me?” the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply, “Why not?”
Atheist: Natural Morals, Real Meaning, Credible Truth

30 December, 2011

Will 2012 Be the Year of the Atheist?

Think Hitler (Christian­) and Jim Jones. Atheists are moral without the need for divine justificat­ion and bribery.
About Atheism
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

25 December, 2011

Skin in the game.

A Christmas Message From America's Rich | | Rolling Stone

People like Dimon, and Schwarzman, and John Paulson, and all of the rest of them who think the "imbeciles" on the streets are simply full of reasonless class anger, they don't get it. Nobody hates them for being successful. And not that this needs repeating, but nobody even minds that they are rich.
What makes people furious is that they have stopped being citizens.
Most of us 99-percenters couldn't even let our dogs leave a dump on the sidewalk without feeling ashamed before our neighbors. It's called having a conscience: even though there are plenty of things most of us could get away with doing, we just don't do them, because, well, we live here.

Read more:

Take the test | Pharyngula

22 December, 2011

Why does anyone like Ron Paul?

So, why are these people supporting a crazy, racist Christian fundamentalist?

Translate this joke please...

From: Khaghani, Mojan []
Sent: Thursday, December 22, 2011 12:13 PM
To: Khaghani, Mojan; Hail, Tom
Subject: Conversation with Khaghani, Mojan, Hail, Tom
Khaghani, Mojan [12:02 PM]:
merry xmas
Hail, Tom [12:03 PM]:
poor puppies... to be made to pose for a mythical event like that.  animal abuse.
Khaghani, Mojan [12:03 PM]:
Hail, Tom [12:04 PM]:
Am I terrible?
Khaghani, Mojan [12:04 PM]:
some one sent me a joke
the title is farmers joke
all the people cc'd thought it was funny
but I did not get the joke
can you translate for me please?
> Cletus is passing by Billy Bob's hay barn one day when, through a gap in the
> door, he sees Billy Bob doing a slow and sensual striptease in front of an
> old green John Deere.
> Buttocks clenched, he performs a slow pirouette, and gently slides off first
> the right strap of his overalls, followed by the left. He then hunches his
> shoulders forward and in a classic striptease move, lets his overalls fall
> down to his hips revealing a torn and frayed plaid shirt.
> Then, grabbing both sides of his shirt, he rips it apart to reveal his
> stained T-shirt underneath. With a final flourish, he tears the T-shirt
> from his body, and hurls his baseball cap onto a pile of hay.
> Having seen enough, Cletus rushes in and says, "What in the world are ya
> doing, Billy Bob?"
> "Good grief, Cletus, ya scared the bejeebers out of me," says an obviously
> embarrassed Billy Bob.
> "But me 'n the wife been havin trouble lately in the bedroom d'partment, and
> the therapist suggested I do something sexy to a tractor."
> (Don't make me come splain this to you!)
Hail, Tom [12:06 PM]:
Ha ha ha!
Khaghani, Mojan [12:07 PM]:
I really dont understand anything
Hail, Tom [12:08 PM]:
Billy Bob was supposed to do something sexy to attract his wife.  But he misunderstood, being the country hick he is, and thought he was told to do something sexy "to a tractor".
Khaghani, Mojan [12:08 PM]:
why did he miss understood?
Hail, Tom [12:08 PM]:
an old green John Deere is a tractor.
Khaghani, Mojan [12:09 PM]:
I understood the same thing....
Hail, Tom [12:09 PM]:
"to a tractor" and "to attract her" sound the same in english.
Khaghani, Mojan [12:09 PM]:
Hail, Tom [12:10 PM]:
Khaghani, Mojan [12:10 PM]:
man that was hard
Hail, Tom [12:10 PM]:

Why get married conversation...

My friend Violy wonders why Liz and I don’t get married and we’ve had this on-going conversation over the last few months in the hallway.  Yesterday I get this question about decency, that somehow being married is more decent? …

Continuing our discussion about marriage … the decency (conventional?) to introduce this is my wife/husband matters.

Who decided that married is decent, unmarried is not?  Isn&# 8217;t the nature of the relationship is what matters?  The label “married” has nothing to do if the relationship is good or not.

Barely 50% of US adults are married. 

I am not going to click the link …
I got to thinking on my way to the ladies room that there isn 217;t anything you care about … in what people say or think about you.  What matters to you is what you think/feel about yourself.  I am not saying it is wrong to think that way.  It would almost be one is untouchable.

So can you feel hurt?  If you don’t care about what anyone says or think, then you can’t get hurt.

There are lots of things I care about.  I do care and it is important what people think of me and how I live.  I do care to be socially accepted.  But there are limits to what I will do to be accepted.  I will not pray to a make-believe god.  Nor wi ll I pretend to just to look like I do.  I care how people see my relationship with Liz.  It doesn’t need a label to be a good relationship.  I care that a loving, respectful, happy relationship is seen because that is what it is, without coercion by a religion or dogma.  The social norms have always changed and will change in the future.  You live in a world where the marriage label is important, but that may be a shrinking world.  You can have that world, it is important to you and I have no problem with it.  Just don’t expect me to conform to it.

My views are too simplistic and narrow … I realized it after I sent the last email.  Sorry …

Don’t be sorry, it is worthwhile to discuss and think about these things.

21 December, 2011

Take the risk of thinking for yourself

"Take the risk of thinking for yourself. Much more happiness, truth, beauty and wisdom will come to you that way."

As did Hitchens, my grandfather Evan lived his life like he didn't know enough, couldn't know enough.

19 December, 2011

Christopher Hitchens 1949-2011

Christopher Hitchens 1949-2011
"Hitchens is gone. His brain – which was everything he thought, felt, remembered, and all the insight he had to offer the world – no longer functions, and never will function again. The same fate awaits us all. Without regret, Hitchens seemed to understand the flip side of this reality – we are the lucky few who get to live. So make the most of it while you can."

I'm going to miss Christopher Hitchens

North Korea and heaven. Heaven would be worse.

08 December, 2011

The Wind Storm of December 2011

There was some wind in California last week (Nov 30 to Dec 2 2011) that caused problems all around the state.  In Santa Cruz County, we had power outages all over, especially in the mountains where I live the wind in the redwoods played havoc with the power lines.  The wind wasn't particularly strong, but the power lines were clobbered everywhere.  We lost our power Wednesday morning and it wasn't restored until Saturday night.  The cell tower near here went off line.  The cable tv/phone/internet also was out from Wednesday evening until Sunday.  But no damage to our house.  No limbs through a car or the roof.  The little generator kept the fridge cool, the TV running with old TiVo recordings, and the most important, the sewage pump to the septic tank.  Propane heat for water and warmth!  No problem!

So what happens?  Liz gets a nail in a tire coming home Thursday.  I see it Friday morning.  I tell her to take my car to work and I'll drive my truck in.  She is nervous about my car and asks about the lights... I mention something about them coming on automatically and point to the switch.  Coming home from work Friday and she calls me, "Tom, your car won't start!"  Huh?  Did you push the clutch in?  "Yes!"  Did you try turning the key all the way off and then try again?  "YES!"  Uh oh.  Did you turn the lights off when you got to work?  "YOU TOLD ME THEY WERE AUTOMATIC!  I am going to cry!"  Wait!  Do the lights come on when you open the door?  "NO!"  Oh hell.  Ok, I'll come jump start it.  I am an hour away.  I get there, battery is pretty dead, and successfully get it started and we get home.

Saturday.  You take my car to work and I'll get your tire fixed.  "Ok!  You would do that for me?" I had to make up for confusing her about the lights on my car.  She takes my car and goes to work, I get her car on level ground and change to the spare tire, no problem.  I drive it to Firestone and they patch it for "free" since I bought the road hazard insurance, and I pick it up on my way back from the airport.  So far, good day.  I get home and fire the generator back up since the power is still out.  Liz is still gone.  Shortly she calls.  "I'M STUCK IN THE ROAD ON HWY 9!  YOUR CAR WON'T MOVE!"  Oh no.  What do you mean it is stuck?  "I can't get it into gear to get moving!  I've tried, the flagman tried, people are honking.  I HATE YOUR CAR!"  The engine is running?  "Yes.  PG&E is working on power lines and a lane is blocked and we had to wait until it was our turn to go around them."  Oh.  I know.  Another Jetta feature.  Is the clutch petal stuck down on the floor?  "Yes!"  Stick your toe under it and lift it up.  "Wait a second... that worked!  BYE!"  Liz got home safely.  The look she gave me wasn't too full of hate.

Sunday.  Got up, went to town for breakfast and then came back home.  Ok, lets put the fixed tire back on Liz's car.  Hey Liz, want to see how this is done?  "Ok."  Got the tire and jack out, set the jack under her car, loosened the lug nuts, jacked up the front.  Taking lug nuts off.  One off.  Another off.  Uh oh.  No.  The third one is totally jammed up.  It won't come off.  It won't even tighten back up.  CRAP!  (Liz would tell you I wasn't really this calm about it.)  Tightened the rest back up.  I gave Liz her car keys back and told her to go to Firestone and get that fixed.