October 23, 2017

Saturday Ramblings, June 18, 2016

Hello, friends, and welcome to the weekend. Ready to Ramble?

1963 Rambler American

1963 Rambler American

Please keep the Orlando victims in your thoughts and prayers. I don’t know i have anything to say that hasn’t been said already this week, but you are welcome to discuss this tragedy in the comments if you wish.

What do porn stars, the East German secret police, Harvard University, forged Aramaic documents, Christian feminism, duped auto part executives, angelic authors, and Jesus’ wife have in common? Well, you will just have to read this long article from the Atlantic to find out; trust me, it is worth your time. The TLDR version is this: it is now almost beyond dispute that the much ballyhooed “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” is a hoax perpetuated by a crackpot, second-rate antiquity scammer which Harvard bought hook, line and sinker. This is perhaps the best piece of investigative journalism I have seen in years.

Pro-abortion activist groups are planning to fly a drone carrying abortion pills into Catholic-dominated Northern Ireland next week. Women on Waves, the Netherlands-based abortion group heading the “abortion drone” pill drop, said the drone will fly into the country from Ireland at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. Women on Waves is calling it: “an all-island act of solidarity between women in the north and the south to highlight the violation of human rights caused by the existing laws that criminalize abortion in both the north and south of Ireland except in very limited circumstances.” The Catholic Church says it will be ready: ece8ea964f33d80c4a8fd0577dc69a84

The 2016 Presidential Primaries are over!!! And we have the first female presidential candidate from a major party in history!!! This is a very historic moment!!! Why is no-one talking about this???? Seriously, whatever you think of Hillary, isn’t this more newsworthy than the attention it has received?

The Southern Baptist Convention marched bravely into the 20th century this week when it told its members and churches to stop flying the confederate flag. Even better, amid calls to restrict Muslim immigration, the Southern Baptist Convention approved a resolution encouraging member churches and families to welcome refugees coming to the United States. “That we affirm that refugees are people loved by God, made in His image, and that Christian love should be extended to them as special objects of God’s mercy in a world that has displaced them from their homelands,” reads the resolution.

An Oregon man tried to steal a bike from Walmart, and was caught in the parking lot. By a man on horseback. Who lassoed him. You gotta watch:

A Japanese man noticed a urinal with a disconcerting way to celebrate his “contribution”.

The Playboy mansion has been sold. The buyer?  The owner of Hostess Brands (you know, the Twinkie makers). The Playboy mansion has 12 bedrooms, sits on five acres of land and comes with a cave-like grotto and a zoo, according to the listing. Besides bunnies, the property includes monkeys, cockatoos, peacocks, African cranes, and about 1,500 strains of chlamydia. Hugh gets to stay till he dies, which, if he gets hold of some of those Twinkie preservatives, might be in another hundred years or so.

Suggestion for Hostess man: Fill this pool with bleach for about a year.

Suggestion for Hostess man: Fill this pool with bleach for about a year.

I suppose we should not be surprised antisemitism is still around, lingering like a stale fart at a banquet. What is surprising, at least to me, is that the smell is getting worse. Much of this is caused by the alt-right. Haven’t heard of the alt-right? They are the online mob sprouting anti-immigration slogans to each other, increasingly tinged with jejune racist, sexist and antisemitic ranting. They have now taken to  placing three sets of parentheses around a Jewish name, like (((Cohen))) or (((Goldberg))), like an online yellow star. Or sometimes they will use the parenthesis to slyly imply Jewish control or influence.

Mark Pitcavage, an expert on right-wing extremism who also maintains the Anti-Defamation League’s hate-symbol database, notes that symbols and memes are part of the dna of the the alt-right. “There’s now an unlimited number of white supremacist memes, just like there’s an unlimited number of cat memes . . .The white supremacist movement is very visually and symbolically oriented.” Just like 4 year olds.

Sick of the neighbor’s late night parties? If you live near Portland, this Craigslist post may have a solution: a 20 foot trebuchet. I imagine a few barrels of flaming oil ought to shut the party down.

But watch out for their heavy cavalry

But watch out for their heavy cavalry

On Tuesday, the Senate approved an expansive military policy bill that would for the first time require young women to register for the draft. The shift, while fiercely opposed by some conservative lawmakers and interest groups, had surprisingly broad support among Republican leaders and women in both parties. Under the Senate bill passed on Tuesday, women turning 18 on or after Jan. 1, 2018, would be forced to register for Selective Service, as men must do now. Failure to register could result in the loss of various forms of federal aid, including Pell grants, a penalty that men already face. Good idea, imonks?

Theoretical physicist Dr. Michio Kaku is featured in a video titled, “Is God a Mathematician?” Kaku, one of the founders of String Theory, believes He is.  “The mind of God we believe is cosmic music, the music of strings resonating through 11 dimensional hyperspace. That is the mind of God.” Sounds much like Tolkien’s description of creation in The Silmarillion “Before the Creation, Eru Ilúvatar made the Ainur or “holy ones”. The Universe was created through the Music of the Ainur or Ainulindalë, music sung by the Ainur in response to themes introduced by Eru. This universe, the song endowed with existence by Eru, was called Eä”. Here is the video:

Computer troubles are for everyone.  In Virginia this month, a computer crash wiped out a decade’s worth of U.S. military data. Fortunately, the Chinese government called and said “no problem, we backed it up.” And Russian hackers broke into the Democrat National Committee computers and stole all their opposition research against Donald Trump. I think the only reason they were caught is that 200 terabyte data transfers tend to get noticed. The Russian Government categorically denied any involvement.

Putin

“You owe me, Donald”

A new academic study analyzed the vocabulary and grammar of recent presidential candidates. Trump’s vocabulary, the paper concluded, was at a middle school level, while his grammar hit the fifth grade. Trump responded by calling the paper’s author, “a poopy-head”.

Lithuanian Police released dashboard camera footage last week of a harrowing high-speed chase where the driver attempted to use a smokescreen and spikes against police. The video ends with the police car pinning the Volvo against a roadside barrier. Police did not identify the suspect or the original reason for the pursuit, but it is believed he was heading to his super-villain lair.

Meth production is down in our country. Which is a good thing, I guess. But other drugs have filled the void rather easily. Including a new one: Imodium. Apparently intense ingestion of the anti-diarrhea drugs is giving some users a heroin-like high. The Annals of Emergency Medicine recently published a study detailing the dangers of loperamide, the primary ingredient in Imodium, which is sold over-the counter. While the recommended dosage is between 8 milligrams and 16 milligrams per day, some people have taken as much as 300 mg in one sitting. That would be expensive, of course, but one would presumably save quite a bit on toilet paper.

Tired of road work in your neck of the woods? At least you don’t have to commute to downtown Ottawa, where a massive sinkhole sucked in four lanes of road.

Duck tape will fix that

Duck tape will fix that

Of course, this being the internet age, a few people tweaked the photo:

CkcsTYpWsAAN18D

CkhUBGaVAAAXB5P

6a00d83451587d69e201b8d1f515bc970c-800wi

Ckczj-eVEAAzapO

Not to be outdone by sissy Canadians, Texas officials announced this week that their sinkhole was not only a lot bigger, but soon might collapse and become truly gigantic.

This is before the potential collapse

This is before the potential collapse

Astronomers at Cornell University said that it may take 1,500 years before aliens respond to our radio signals from earth and respond. Which sounds like some customer service phone calls I’ve experienced.

Japan’s first “naked restaurant” opens in Tokyo next month. But there’s a catch:  you have to be between 18-60, have no tattoos, and, ummm… how to say this? . . . not be pudgy. In fact, prospective diners will be weighed and ejected if found to be too fat. “If you are more than 15 kilograms (33 pounds) above the average weight for your height, we ask you refrain from making a reservation”. You know what, I didn’t want to eat there, anyway.

So here’s a headline you don’t see every day: Noah’s Ark crashes into Coast Guard Ship. But it happened. The 230-foot long Ark replica collided with a Norwegian Coast Guard vessel as it arrived in Oslo, Norway on Friday, causing damage to both ships. The ark,  built by Dutch carpenter Johan Huibers after he dreamed of a flood in his home town, was being towed into Oslo harbor when it somehow lost control and crashed into the moored patrol vessel Nornen.

Watching the video its hard to tell exactly what happened, but photos posted by Norwegian media show a big hole in the side of the Ark’s wooden hull.

A crew member inspects damages on the hull of a full-size replica of the Ark of Noah after it crashed into a moored coast guard vessel in Oslo harbour, Norway June 10, 2016. NTB Scanpix/Hkon Mosvold Larsen/ via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NORWAY OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN NORWAY.

The Ark is now owned by the Ark of Noah Foundation, which was planning on bringing it across the Atlantic for the Rio Olympic Games this summer, which sounds like a really, really great idea, seeing how well it sailed in the harbor. Fortunately, no animals were on board.

American teenagers are having less sex. A lot less. This is the finding of a study conducted every two years by the Centers for Disease Control. The survey found 41 per cent said they had ever had sex, after it had been about 47 per cent over the previous decade. It also found marked declines last year in the proportion of students who said had sex recently, had sex before they were 13, and students who had had sex with four or more partners. The reason? No idea. “We’re trying to look at reasons why this might be happening,” said Dr. Stephanie Zaza of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who oversees the survey. One possibility: “It may be that parking at Lookout Point has given way to texting from your mom’s living room couch.”

The survey also found declining rates of smoking and alcohol and drug use among teens. Fewer than 11 per cent of the teens smoked a cigarette in the previous month — the lowest level since the government started doing the survey in 1990, when the rate was more than 27 per cent.  Just under a third had at least one alcoholic drink in the 30 days before the survey, down from 35 per cent in the last survey and down from 45 per cent in 2007. About 63 per cent had ever had a drink, down from 66 per cent in 2013 and 75 per cent in 2007.

Well, that’s it for this week, my friends. I leave you with some opera. Why? Because my wife and I were able to go see Carmen last week, and I’m feeling all cultured and sophisticated. So here is the Met’s version of L’amour est un oiseau rebelle. Enjoy!

Comments

  1. Why isn’t Hillary Clinton, the nominee, more of a big deal than she is? Maybe because she has been a “done deal” for at least 3 years? The Democrat’s roster of potential nominees was thin for quite a while because everyone assumed that Hill would be the preferred choice. Just bow to the inevitability.

    But the question now is, with Harry Reid retiring, which Democrat will now accuse the Republicans of misogyny when they oppose something that the presumptive president will do or say?

    • Oscar, just between you and me, I think that even many older women are privately embarrassed that the best they could come up with was Ma Barker. Please don’t speak this aloud. Maybe with younger women, tho they probably wouldn’t know who Ma Barker is, tho their smart phone would tell them.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Maybe because she has been a “done deal” for at least 3 years? The Democrat’s roster of potential nominees was thin for quite a while because…

      Of the FBI files of Her Inevitableness.

      which Democrat will now accuse the Republicans of misogyny when they oppose something that the presumptive president will do or say?

      Simple. ALL OF THEM.
      Ees Party Line, and FBI files can be quite a motivator.

      • Stephen says:

        Especially with a all the misogynists in the Republican party welcome to meet her more than half way!

    • But the question now is, with Harry Reid retiring, which Democrat will now accuse the Republicans of misogyny when they oppose something that the presumptive president will do or say?

      Aren’t you being overly presumptive by declaring Hillary Clinton the “presumptive president?” I, for one, wouldn’t be surprised if there is an attempt made at one or both major party conventions to push aside the front-runner in favor of another candidate. After all, the front-runners in both major parties are quite unpopular with the electorate.

  2. Daniel. thanks for the break from the usual contemporary music mishmash that gets posted. That voice! That talent! That presence!

    I’m thankful that opera houses now have subtitles instead of having to bury your nose in a program to catch the meaning of the dialog.

  3. Maybe it’s just the late hour, but for a minute there I was really, really thinking that you’d gone to a Carmen concert of the CCM variety. Thank you for making me entirely wrong.

  4. (((ChrisS))) says:

    (((I))) think (((we))) should (((all))) put multiple parentheses around things to neutralize the (((effect))) of the (((half-brained))) racists. Make it so common that it loses its vitality for (((the dim witted unpeople))). Hope I didn’t sound overly strident but I feel pretty strident about (((low life racist ideology))).

    • Burro [Mule] says:

      The left, as usual, accuses their opponents of stupidity when the problem is that they are evil, or at least falling under the spell of an evil ideology. One of the tiredest memes in the center-left repetoire is the one where if the yahoos had only listened to their enlightened English teacher at Hodunk High, they’d be cycling around Mountain View and sipping lattes instead of conspiring on how to lynch the duskies at a u-pull parts depot.

      There are many things that Milo Yannopoulos is, but stupid is not one of them.

      The Alt-Right destroyed one political party this season, and the other held together only by a display of open corruption and cronyism that would have warmed the cockles of Boss Tweed’s heart,

      This election season is warming up to be a face-off between Chateau Heartiste and XOJane,

      Virtue is hard to find in the body politic these days.

      • (((ChrisS))) says:

        Now there you go judging and jumping to conclusions. I’m not quite as edumacated, left and elitist as you may think. I’m Republican and have only ever voted that way ( but can’t this year). I graduated college with a C plus average and I am completely unfamiliar with Mountain View, Yannopolous or the Alt-Right. I’ve never heard of one of them until this moment. I spend my days painting houses, not reading journals or some such so lighten up there Muley. I just read here that antisemitism was rearing its ugly head and that people were using (((parentheses))) to highlight (((Jewish))) names in a negative light. It doesn’t take a left handed genius to characterize any and all racism as stupid and ill informed. A kindergartener will tell you that. Racism is utter dumbness and anyone that engages in it, while they may be otherwise intelligent, is experiencing at the very least a blind spot of induced stupidity. That’s my comment. As for the other stuff, what can I say? Find an elitest lefty who knows Greek people and alternative rightys and have that conversation with him.

        • Btw. I wasn’t flattering myself in thinking you accuse me of being overly intellectual. Just saying. I’m no Yale man and don’t walk around with some pretense as such. The tree of knowledge brings nothing I consider fundamentally essential. That all comes from the tree of life. Love, mercy, generosity. None of those require brains.
          On a lighter, more Suturday like note;
          Why did the Marine flush the toilet ? It was his duty.

          • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

            I agree Chris. Mule has a point that people can be evil without being dumb, but anti-semitism and racism are, by definition, incredibly stupid.

        • Clay Crouch says:

          Well put.

        • Robert F says:

          Racism is the result of ignorance. But ignorance may be willed and desired.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          > Alt-Right. I’ve never heard of one of them until this moment

          Alt-Right is a rising meme/term. I hope it endures as it highlights a real and distinctive category; there are good “Right” people with reasonable thoughts and good intentions. They deserve to be distinguished from the fear-mongering hordes of the Alt-Right. That distinction is critical to maintaining productive public discourse.

          The same is true of the Identity-Left which is distinct from The Left as being motivated primarily by moral vanity and having little to no interest in traditional Left issues [labor, economic policy, housing, urban affairs, etc…].

          While the Alt-Right and Identity-Left square off, almost defining themselves in contrast to the other, the traditional Right and the traditional Left find they have much common ground. This ugly clarification is one reason I have a generally positive outlook for the future of our nation; in the end it must diminish the faux-duelism of American politics.

      • Milo has become a huge influence on younger right-wingers, mainly people disenchanted with evangelical Christianity for whatever reason. I know a couple of gay teens from an online message board I’m on, and they love Milo (and Trump.) One of them told me that he finally left church because of some “stupid woman” who came to speak, and who made Jesus sound like some sort of freak who just wanted to be a social justice warrior (his description) It turns out this was Rachel Evans, beloved of many on this board. Make of that what you will.

        • Clay Crouch says:

          It seems a fair number of them hang out at Doug Wilson’s Blog and Mablog site. Forget having a reasoned discourse with them. You’ll have better luck with a petulant, know-it-all 14 year old.

        • I hear all kinds of reasons why young people leave the church, but I never heard of someone getting upset by Jesus being described as something like a “social justice warrior”. I like Rachel Evans, but ew, Milo is a gross man, although there are even worse alt-rightists.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says:

            The younger generation contains the same fiercely partisan contingent as the old generation; possibly even more so. That is not a majority, but this reason for leaving certainly happens.

      • Richard Hershberger says:

        I take it you don’t actually read much leftist commentary. They are entirely prepared to characterize this stuff as evil, too.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          +1. The characterization of the Left here is uniformed, bordering on comical. I actually attend Left events, speakers, campaign meetings, etc…. Nobody speaks in the voice Mule describes. Some random half-witted bloggers you can find on the interests are not The Left.

      • Clay Crouch says:

        Alt-Right? Not hardly. More like Alt-Universe.

        My momma always said, “Stupid is as Stupid does.”

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          “Stupidity is like hydrogen — it’s the basic building block of the universe.”
          — Frank Zappa (though Harlan Ellison also claims credit)

          • Robert F says:

            Stupidity is like pigeon shit — it falls on the smart and not-so-smart alike.

          • Stephen says:

            The Harlan Ellison quote is

            “The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity.”

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            OK, so the Zappa & Ellison versions are slightly different.

      • Robert F says:

        I agree that evil and ignorance are not coterminous, though they do overlap. Evil uses ignorance, supported by lies; but behind evil, and the lies and ignorance it supports, is malignant intelligence. If I believed that what we call evil is really only a form of ignorance, I would have stayed in Zen Buddhism; it, along with all of Buddhism and Hinduism, deals in enlightenment and ignorance, not good and evil. Behind these religions/religious philosophies is the assumption that what we call evil, and the suffering it causes, is ultimately caused by ignorance or forgetting our true nature or identity, and the true nature or identity of reality. We then must undertake practices and lives that help us to become enlightened, or to remember and see, the true nature of reality and ourselves. When in Joyce’s Ulysses Stephen Dedalus says, “History is a nightmare from which I’m trying to awake,” he is expressing this perspective, which is shared also by Plato/Socrates, Homer’s Odyssey (Odysseus’ struggle to find his way back home, and to remember that his life was back in Ithaca, not on Circe’s island, is a clear example of this; and this is why Joyce titled his great novel as he did), Plotinus, much of the esoteric mystical tradition of the West, etc.

        But Christianity, as well as Judaism and Islam, affirms that evil is ultimately the result of a choice made by malevolent intelligence: one may know all the religious truths involved, and still make a choice for what is not good. Socrates recognition that such a choice is actually also a choice against oneself, and his belief that such a choice can never knowingly be made, led him to the conclusion that it was ultimately and really the result of ignorance that needed to be dispelled; Dostoevsky’s narrator in Notes from Underground, however, exhibits more moral realism, a realism that admits paradox and mystery, when he says that even in an Enlightenment Utopia someone like himself would throw a monkey wrench into the whole works, and destroy it all along with himself, just for the hell of it, just for the fun, just to scratch an itch, just to create an itch. The mystery in how this could be is no greater than, and probably coextensive with, the mystery of how God could create something that is truly and ontologically not himself. No one can explain freedom, either freedom to be something other than God (which is implicit in the doctrine of creation ex nihilo, or freedom to choose something other than good.

        Incidentally, the belief that evil is not ultimately caused by ignorance, but by malevolent intelligence, makes the existence of demons, and even of Satan, far more plausible. It’s why I continue to believe in them, despite disbelieving most of what religious people having attributed to them.

        That Milo is a strange and toxic hybrid, though I’m not sure what point you were trying to make by providing the link to his article.

        • Robert F says:

          Well, I really screwed up the italics, didn’t I?

        • Well, Robert, I admit to not reading your whole treatise on good and evil. We wouldn’t be having this discussion had not our erstwhile parents partook of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, or as we call it today more succinctly, dualism. NB, it wasn’t the Tree of Knowledge. I think the Buddhists just might be on to something here.

          • Robert F says:

            The distinction between creator and created depends on a form of dualism; without it, reality is pantheistic. My own belief is that Christianity is incompatible with pantheism. Absolute moral dualism is impossible, because evil is not a created thing or divine quality or principle, but the disorder and disordering of created things that are intrinsically good. Evil is negation, not an equal and opposite principle to good; but negation brings about a real state of affairs by putting things in wrong relationship to each other. And the negation may be chosen, even in the full knowledge of what it entails and is.

          • Robert F says:

            I think the Buddhists are on to a good many things, some of them true; but there is no room in Buddhism for a creator God, or a creation for that matter

          • Robert F says:

            To put it succinctly, rather than in treatise form, Charles: evil is disordered relationship, and the choice for that disordering. In the language of the mythology of the disobedience of Adam and Eve, the evil was in the choice to violate and disorder the relationship to God by not taking God at God’s word. It is this choice that makes the tree the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and that disorders humanity’s relationship to God. Before this choice, evil does not obtain; the choice itself disorders relationships, and brings about that state of being we call evil. This is a myth expressing a religious truth not only about the past, but also the present: if it is true, then you and I, Charles, are Adam and Eve, and we are the agents of disorder who have brought about this state of affairs (although I do believe that devils “preexisted” us, and had already introduced a big measure of disorder).

            Of course, I may be wrong, and all our identities may be God. In that case, Shirley MacLaine was right when she shouted “I AM GOD!!” on that beach in CA, and perhaps I should be doing the same.

          • Robert F says:

            I realize that once again I was not succinct, my avowal notwithstanding. Apologies.

          • Robert F says:

            The Shirley MacLaine thing doesn’t really appeal to me. But being a full blown pantheist would also liberate my neo-pagan side, and I could freely love this song, instead of having the uneasy conscience my ardor for it has induced in me all these decades:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxCPkg_Ee3Q

          • >> The distinction between creator and created depends on a form of dualism; without it, reality is pantheistic.

            Or possibly without the obscurant of dualism, reality is experienced as Unity, as Jesus attained Oneness with God the Father, and as Jesus prayed for us to attain along with him. Of course we can always choose not to participate.

          • >> . . . there is no room in Buddhism for a creator God, or a creation for that matter.

            Plenty of room. Just no point in wasting time and energy in the attempt to pin down the unpinnable in words. Of course that would put most of here in the West out of business.

          • >>Of course, I may be wrong, and all our identities may be God. In that case, Shirley MacLaine was right when she shouted “I AM GOD!!” on that beach in CA, and perhaps I should be doing the same.

            Don’t feel bad, Robert. The Pharisees were flummoxed as well when Jesus pointed out that the Bible says we are all God, or gods if that is more acceptable, which it probably isn’t. I think the difficulty with Shirley is that it was her ego or small self doing the hollering, tho it’s hard to sort that out in yourself, never mind others. I think she probably had the thought pretty much right even if not the practice, but I could say the same about myself. Bless Shirley, bless you, God bless us all.

          • Robert F says:

            Charles, Buddhism tries to pin down the unpinnable aplenty, with its insistence on the doctrines of karma and no-self, among other things. In fact, there are many forms of Buddhism, and most of them have a whole different things to say about unobserved metaphysical reality. If dealing with the hard to define and observe was prohibited, most religions East and West would go out of business. So would your own distinction between the false and true selves.

          • Robert F says:

            Charles, It’s really low to imply that I’m a Pharisee for holding to traditional Christian teaching in this one area. But there’s irony it it: the orthodox say I’m a heretic, and the heterodox say I’m a Pharisee

          • >> Charles, It’s really low to imply that I’m a Pharisee . . .

            No implication intended Robert, and sorry it came across that way. My implication was that the Pharisees were human, and humans seem to have a hard time with the concept of spiritual Unity, and if you and I get lumped in with the rest of humanity there, who can say different? The disciples of Jesus didn’t seem to much get it either. My take on it is that there is a gradual awakening going on all around us as we speak, perhaps with emphasis on gradual, but picking up speed too, as I see it. It’s all good, or was before the apple was et. Doesn’t seem to be a sword guarding the way back in any more.

          • Robert F says:

            And Charles, I like many-ness: I like that other things and people exist in their own right, and that they can resist my will and desires, as you regularly do. Most of all, I like that I’m not God; it’s way above my pay-grade.

            As you say, God bless us all.

          • Robert F says:

            Okay, Charles. One last thing: I could start line up scriptural references from the New Testament against yours, from the same Gospel of John, like soldiers on opposite sides of a battle line, seeking to prove opposite truths. Jesus in the same Gospel says things that support a distinction between God and his creatures, especially those of whom he says that the Satan, the father of lies, not God, is their father. What comes of marshaling such texts against each other? Nothing, and nothing is proved.

          • >> What comes of marshaling such texts against each other?

            Hopefully and with God’s help, discernment and understanding and even more hopefully, wisdom and enlightenment, hopefully not of the seventeenth century variety.

          • Robert, pantheistic or panentheistic?

          • I know… 10$ words. Just curious, though, if only because i recently came across “panentheistic” and had to look it up.

          • Robert F says:

            numo, Panentheistic = all is in God, Pantheistic = all is God. Strictly speaking, Buddhism is non-theistic, so not pantheistic or monotheistic (though some branches of Buddhism have a pantheon of gods, none of them are a creator God, and they themselves arise out of the same conditions that humans and the phenomenal world do). Where Hinduism at its highest levels, and in its various schools, usually asserts the divinity of all things, breaking down dualism by way of asserting the divine oneness of all things (pantheism), Buddhism at its highest levels negates the existence (or the significance of the existence) of the gods (or God) as well as the self. For Buddhism, all things, including the gods, are in flux and impermanent, and both multiplicity and oneness are illusions. When Buddhism asserts non-duality, it is denying both oneness and dualism.

          • Robert wrote;

            The distinction between creator and created depends on a form of dualism; without it, reality is pantheistic.

            Or, reality can be seen as panENtheistic…

          • Robert F says:

            Tom,
            I think panentheism still maintains a distinction between creator and created; that is, it’s a form of monotheism in which the creator is the source of and prior to the created.

          • Robert – yes.

          • Agreed Robert. However, I thing Panentheism goes some distance in bringing the “upper” and “lower” stories back together. Much more unitive.

      • I am perfectly happy to call conservatism–especially christian and moslem conservatism–evil. I’ve done it most of my life.

    • Suzanne says:

      I have a cousin, my age, raised in a decent family very similar to mine, responsible job, takes care of the grandkidswho has been linking to some majorly unhinged, racist propaganda on Facebook. One post warned us all to look for green roofs because it is a known fact that Muslims are painting their roofs green so when ISIS bombs, they will know who is who. She’s posted other unbelievable memes and articles about lazy blacks/immigrants and if I post a link from a reputable myth busting site, she always says that the site can’t be trusted (never mind the research being documented). She seems fairly benign in person, so on the surface, you would never know what lurks beneath.

      • Klasie Kraalogies says:

        It is claimed that none of the neighbours of Thomas Mair, killer of Jo Cox, had the vaguest notion that he was an extremist and racist. Till he did something.

        • It seems we hear something like this said far too often about criminals who commit notorious or heinous acts.

          On the one hand, it’s too bad we rarely catch such people before it’s too late. On the other hand, I’m not too thrilled about having the government or anyone else spy on people. So what do we do?

          • Klasie Kraalogies says:

            We do what we have always done. And we speak up against racism and all other forms of hate. Especially from prominent people. When prominent people go racist (for instance), it legitimizes it in the eyes of the already marginal types. That is why one as to challenge the likes of Trump, Farage etc.

            We do not curtail free speech. But we go up against those abusing it, calling them to order, pushing them to the margins in the public’s eye. We do not keep quiet.

      • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

        Actually, the green roofs thing is about lowering the heat sink (temperature differential between highly populated areas and surrounding countryside). It turns out that green is the best color for proper sunlight reflection to minimize heat sink – which makes sense, given that most of the earth is covered in blue or green. It can lower one’s energy bills as well.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        One post warned us all to look for green roofs because it is a known fact that Muslims are painting their roofs green so when ISIS bombs, they will know who is who.

        Now THAT’s tinfoil hat country.

        Like that comedy one-liner about “My house was broken into last night; everything I own was stolen and replaced by An Exact Duplicate”, but DEAD SERIOUS.

        • Christiane says:

          I’m going to drive around town and count the green roofs. You never know about people. 🙂

      • Laura W. says:

        @ Suzanne, Yes I have a friend like that, too. She, too, is of a certain age, also posting every anti-immigrant meme that comes along. However I have seen this happening with many senior citizens lately. I have been wondering about the cause of this. The only thing i have so far is: when you are older, you feel you don’t have control over anything, and you’d rather blame *them* than feel powerless. And enough scoundrels exist to take advantage of this.

  5. No disrespect for Orlando – but you might also remember the family of Jo Cox MP, murdered in the UK. All the indications are that the killer was influenced by the far right extremists who are attempting to hijack the UK’s referendum on EU membership.

    • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

      Seems like it worked. I haven’t heard peep about brexit since the attack.

      • Donalbain says:

        All campaigning has been suspended as a mark of respect.

        • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

          As in, coordinated? Well, that is good; at least it is intentional. Although it does seem to be giving the far-right terrorists exactly what they want.

          • How? It means that nobody is out there demanding Brexit. Which is a good thing at the moment, imo, as it means that the shooter isn’t getting any validation from his supposed political allies, like Ukip.

            Do you read The Guardian? If not, I’m recommending it to you – you’ll get top headlines from the UK even when using the US site exclusively.

          • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

            I usually read the BBC for my online Brit news. It doesn’t mean no one is out there demanding Brexit; it means the media is not posting and politicians are not campaigning in either direction. Generally speaking, murdering a political opponent is a direct attack on free speech. Suspending the conversation seems to be exactly what the killer wanted. I doubt he would have committed murder if he was winning the conversation.

          • Things are done differently over there; i get their reasons for backing off for a time out of both respect *and* as in intense way of showing total disapproval of what the killer did and who he is sligned with. Neo-fascism has bern in a resurgence all over Europe for the past 7-10 years, and the UK has an extremely troubled history in that respect. (British fascism in thd 30s and 40s, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s close relationship with Hitler and approval of fascism in general, “peace in our time” – plus skinheads and, now, Ukip.) Fwiw, i think they are wise to have taken this step.

    • The killer is involved in neo-fascism…

      • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

        Do tell…

        • Klasie Kraalogies says:

          He has a history of neo-Nazi connections – first uncovered by the SPLC. Mostly literature and things.

          • But with white supremacist, anti-immigrant orgs over there as well. What he is supposed to have shouted is on thebanner of one of the British groups.

        • Doc, you wondered why the Brexit campaign is on hold, as if they are capitulating. That was supposed to be part of my response, but it ended up in the wrong place. I am not sure why you’ve responded in this way – ? But it’s ok, am just puzzled.

          Keep in mind, too, that gun ownership is not a thing most Brits want. People from there, and Aus, keep asking me what is wrong with us.

          Nor has there been a political assassination there in a good long time. Here, Gabby Giffords got shot in the head and nobody shuts up long enough to pay respect to her or to the victims who died. Same with the kids and teachers in CT, the folks in Charleston, and then Santa Barbara and Orlando. We are very insensitive, imo, and the 24/7 news cycle has made that worse, not better (again, imo). We seem to treat these awful events like a spectacle.

  6. That Rambler resembles the Batmobile…

  7. A “hero” for roping a bike thief?? I’m surprised the Hispanic wasn’t lynched on the spot… ;o/

    • Danielle says:

      The video finally asked the real question in the final second or two:

      What was a horse and cowboy doing at Walmart?

      I can totally imagine this, actually, but where was he going to put the horse once inside? If someone takes the horse, do we all get the pleasure of running out of Walmart screaming HORSE THIEF?

      • I think he was on his way to a rodeo and had just stopped off at Walmart for supplies. That was the impression I got from the print versions of this tale.

        • Richard Hershberger says:

          Having lived in cowboy country, I can attest that the presence of a horse in the parking lot is unremarkable. Amish country too, for that matter.

          • Robert F says:

            Yes, here in Amish/Mennonite country, there are special spots set up in many parking lots where one may hitch a horse while shopping.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says:

            +1 Having lived in northern Michigan the presence of a horse in a parking lot is not remarkable. I’ve even ridden a pony to the store on numerous occasions.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        What was a horse and cowboy doing at Walmart?

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvxNgdFeWqM
        (Though a lot of the weirder ones in the video seem to be from Halloween.)

      • I imagine they have hitching posts outside. Not j/k, as i live in horse and buggy country.

    • Yeah I’m surprised too. A cowboy at Wal-Mart. Might as well been a Ku Klux Klan rally.

      • flatrocker says:

        ah yes, yet another astute blue-blood observation from snobville.
        yawn.

        • That was a bad attempt at sarcasm on my part. I’m not sure how you go from catching a thief to “lynching” without some false presuppositions about Wal-Mart customers and cowboys. Maybe I misunderstood.. I’m no blue-blood, believe me.

  8. Beakerj says:

    We needed those laughs in this week where so much tragedy has happened. When you said ‘1, 500 strains of Chlamydia’ I nearly choked on my bagel. Just touch no liquids of any kind on that property & you’ll be fine.

    • Danielle says:

      +1

      Between Orlando and the Jo Cox killing, this has been quite the week. Thanks for being extra funny this week!

  9. Glad to hear of a scientist who does not find the notion that there is a Creator absurd and foolish!

  10. About that trebuchet… I have only one thing to say.

    FETCHEZ LA VACHE!

  11. Suzanne says:

    I love opera so bravo for the opera clip!

  12. Klasie Kraalogies says:

    About the Mathematical Mind thing – as a scientist, I am sympathetic to the Mathematical Universe Hypothesis or MUH, as described by Max Tegmark – the Wikipedia article is actually not bad: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathematical_universe_hypothesis?wprov=sfla1

    I have observed too much to be unduly skeptical of the idea.

  13. Richard Hershberger says:

    On The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife, I second the recommendation of the linked article. Even for those not especially interested in the topic, it is heart-warming to see actual long form investigative journalism. We rarely get the pleasure.

    That being said, no one fooled “Harvard.” Harvard University has never expressed an opinion on the subject. What you mean is that that a professor at Harvard was fooled. This is only somewhat true. While it is clear that she thought it more likely authentic than not, she has never gone all-in on its being authentic, and very much to her credit she has come around to thinking it a fake, in light of the information in the linked article. Many people would be doubling down right now.

  14. Also this news: http://theroottv.theroot.com/video/Charleston-Massacre-One-Year-La

    The pain in certain communities in Charleston is still very, very real.

  15. Christiane says:

    This is FUNNY!

    “The Playboy mansion has been sold. The buyer? The owner of Hostess Brands (you know, the Twinkie makers)”

    you can’t make this stuff up

  16. Robert F says:

    It seems to me that Michio Kaku is using the word God in the same way that Einstein did, not to refer to a personal creator and omnipotent, transcendent Lord, but to the laws that govern and direct existence, in this case mathematical laws.

  17. Robert F says:

    Oh no. Now they’ve really got Donald Trump pissed off:

    http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=eraserhead&view=detailv2&&id=06CFCD4591C7B

  18. Loperamide is fatal if too much is ingested. Its operative ingredient is belladonna, which is a deadly poison.

  19. In my humble opinion, as a male who barely escaped the Lottery in 1972…I think the all volunteer military should be eliminated and we should go back to conscription. That will limit political over-reach in the use of military force. When parents of every 18 yr old run the risk of their sons AND daughters being called up I’m confident that the electorate will exercise much more diligence and influence.

  20. Small correction on the Ark story: initial reports said it was the full scale Ark headed for Rio. But it turned out that this was in fact the first Ark Johan Huibers built, a half size version. This was sold off when he started the full size project, and is now owned by a Dutch Christian puppeteer, who made it into a floating Bible exposition full of wooden puppets. I’ve seen it while on display in the Netherlands and it is quite good. Whereas Huibers is a young earth creationist, Peeters is not.

    The full size Ark should still go to Rio (although the target is not the Olympics, but the Paralympics) but I’m not sure Huibers has been able to raise the funds to ship his Ark to South America (it may float, but doesn’t comply with modern shipping regulations). Huibers himself has hinted on the possiblity that his Ark may have to stay in Holland until some unspecified disaster will strike. It has been raining quite a bit down here, these last few weeks. But the Ark website says that ticket sales have been suspended.

    O, and Huibers has offered Peeters help in fixing the hole. He still has a supply of ceder wood used in the construction.

    Here’s the Ark website: http://www.arkvannoach.com/

  21. br.thomas says:

    “Please keep the Orlando victims in your thoughts and prayers. I don’t know i have anything to say that hasn’t been said already this week, but you are welcome to discuss this tragedy in the comments if you wish.”

    As far as I can tell, this statement is the first on this website following the worst mass shooting in US history. I wonder if the victims, being primarily gay, and the location of the shooting, a gay nightclub, have silenced the majority of evangelical Christians from expressing compassion publicly.