Dr. Who’s Questions

The Doctor (He doesn’t say, ‘of what.’) claims that he just wants to ask some respectful questions of Atheists – no trick or gotcha ones.  He wants to amass the information, and sift and sort it, to produce a published report.  When asked when he might submit it, and to whom, he was delightfully vague.

He and his wife were Atheists, until each of them had a revelation from the Christian God, and they became Jews For Jesus.  His questions natter on and on – and on, full of presuppositions and leading statements.  Another blogger graciously simplified the list, although I included part of his number six, for context and clarity.  I thought I’d have a go at them.

  • Is Your Atheism Based on Study or Experience? …

Yes!, to both.  As young as seven or eight, I regarded stories that started with “In The Beginning” to be no more believable than those that began, “Once Upon A Time.”  I didn’t realize until I became an adult myself, that other children, and adults, took them seriously.  I became curious enough to begin a long-term investigation.  I spent a great deal of time looking at arguments for or against God’s existence, and eventually had to conclude that there just wasn’t any evidence for God that stood up to examination.

  • Do You Have Purpose and Destiny? …

Yes.  I have had many ‘Purposes,” and will probably have more before I die, but each of them was created and affixed by me, or those close to me, not by some supernatural entity.  I believe that I have a destiny.  It’s just that I am not enough of a fortune-teller to see far enough into the future to get a clear glimpse of what it might be.

  • Does God Exist? …

This might seem a strange question to be asking of Atheists.  In the original long-winded version, he wanted Atheists to provide total, complete, 100% proof, that there was absolutely no chance that God exists.  This is the philosophical equivalent to home invasion.  There are almost no things that can be utterly proved not to exist.  He appeared to want a tiny gap, where he could wedge his definition of God into.  I consider the possibility of God existing, only slightly more likely than the existence of a married bachelor.

  • Can Science Explain the Origin of Life? …

Science has explained the origin of life!  There is one major, largely-accepted (by biologists and related scientists) theory, and a couple of minor variations.  They all entail the chemical soup present in early Earth seas, with geothermal energy and solar radiation fueling and mutating the chemical reactions, until self-replicating RNA strands evolved upward to cells and DNA.  All that free energy powered the increasing DNA complexity.

  • Have You Questioned Your Atheism? …

Constantly and continuously!  I have never been convinced that I can’t be wrong.  Over the years I have done considerable reading and study.  Now, with YouTube, I can watch debates and lectures.  Atheism is merely the lack of belief in God/gods – the failure by theists to provide sufficiently convincing evidence.  (See above) With all the research and investigation that I have done, I continue not to be convinced that God is guilty of existing.

  • Are You Materialistic? …
    Are you completely materialistic in your mindset, meaning, human beings are entirely physical, human consciousness is an illusion, and there is no spiritual realm of any kind?

First, a pedantic language lesson, I think that phrasing should be ‘are you a materialist?’. ‘Materialistic’ refers to someone who prioritizes obtaining money and possessions!  I believe that humans, and all else within our Universe, are material.  I don’t think it makes much sense to say that consciousness is an illusion.  I think a more accurate phrasing of the materialist position on consciousness would be that it’s the product of material things/physical laws.  I continue to see no evidence of a spiritual realm of any kind, except in the hopes and dreams of the gullible.  I do not believe in tarot, Ouija boards, crystals, ghosts, mind-reading, fortune-telling, or a miracle-producing God.

  • Would You Be Willing to Follow the God of the Bible?

It depends which part of the Bible you’re talking about when you say ‘God of the Bible’.

From reading the earlier part of the Old Testament, I remember a god laden with petty jealousy, orchestrating hideous mass deaths, with archaic views on rape and slavery and some strange gaps in his scientific knowledge. The existence of this god would be bad news.

In the later part of the Old Testament, I glimpsed a different and better kind of god; the god of Ezekiel 18 and similar passages, expecting us to take personal responsibility but also willing to see our virtues and our efforts and to judge us fairly. The existence of this god would be good news, and, yes, I would follow and honor him.

In the New Testament, we get the most hideous god of all; the one who condemns all non-Christians to an eternity of torment, who blames the Jews for sticking to the laws that He himself strictly instructed them to keep to forever, who expects us to overlook the ways he acted back in the early books, and who tries to convince us that all these things are really signs of great love and concern on his part. The existence of this god would be terrible news. And, to answer the question, I could never honor such a god, and while I suppose I’d follow him because ‘Or burn in hell’ isn’t really much of an option, it would never be willingly.

Flash Fiction #276

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Anne Higa

IN VINO VERTIGO

Try some tequila they said.  Experience something new.  Waking up on a couch, not knowing who owned it, or where I am, was new.  I had to put a hand on the floor, to stop the room whirling around.  That water-tower outside the window better settle down, too, because I don’t know where the bathroom is.

At the Miracle of Fatima, several people said they experienced visions, and the sun moved around in the sky.  I can believe it.  Didn’t that happen in Mexico, where tequila is king?  I have a vision of Coors Lite for me, from now on.

***

If you’d like to join the Friday Fictioneers fun, go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Fibbing Friday Ate

Pensitivity101 has found that restraining orders do not work on me.  I was released on bail after my last assault on truth, into the custody of WordPress, and immediately stole another list of prompts to satisfy my perverted desires with.  The Language Police have been alerted, and they’ve dispatched a tactical team.  Until they get here, here’s a little something to amuse and entertain you.

  1. What is usually shaken and not stirred?
    Me, when I’m trying to have my afternoon nap.
    The dogs are in the back yard, barking at the neighbor.
    Fine! Tell them to stop.
  2. Who was Dr. No?
    My doctor, after she learned my true weight. 😯
    No sugar!
    No carbs!
    No snacks!
    No beer!
    No shit??! And No reason to go on living.
  3. What is a Thunderball?
    It is the eventual, inevitable, gastronomic result of a big meal of beef and bean burritos. A YOLO Yahoo, with loose track pants, a Bic lighter, and no shame, can turn one into a Lightning Strike.
  4. Who sang ‘For Your Eyes Only?’
    It was a duet, by Ray Charles and (Little) Stevie Wonder. 😎
  5. What does ‘M’ stand for?
    It’s the Roman numeral for 1000
    If I’ve told you once, Double-O Seven, I’ve told you a thousand times, the Secret Service Medical Division is going bankrupt, curing these “Tropical Diseases” that you keep picking up. Only take your Walther PPK, not your Little Walter, out of your pants.
  6. What snack did ‘Q’ almost lose when showing off one of his latest gadgets?
    A bowl of kimchee with a haggis smoothie.
  7. What was sent from Russia with Love?
    Trump’s third (Or was it fourth??) Stepford wife, Malignant Melanoma Maleficent Malign Ya Melania.
  8. What scares the living daylights out of you?
    Politicians!! The best candidate for any position is the one who needs to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into office. I’m not exactly full of sunlight – or unicorn rainbows – to have it forced out of me.  In response to most politicians, it’s often a darker substance, exiting a lower orifice.

We used to be able to tell when Politicians lied to us – their lips moved.  Things have changed.  Now, they talk more, and say less.  Recently, Ted Cruz marathoned a 23-hour filibuster.  I didn’t see the text.  I’m told that it was a Seinfeld speech – all about nothing.  It might have been a monolog about how fortunate, happy, and proud he was to have been born in Canada, to a Mexican mariachi-player father.

  1. What does a Moonraker do?
    It smoothed out the biggest (so far) sand trap in the Solar system, 50 years ago, after Alan Shepard hit some golf balls during the Apollo 14 NASA Lunar mission.
  2. What is You Only Live Twice about?
    It’s the book my wife wrote about my aggressive driving habits. “Getting There” is not half the fun, to me. Time spent on the road, is time wasted.  I’ll be out on the highway, in the fast lane, passing big-rigs like they’re pulling in for a piss-break.  Suddenly, in the center turn-around lane, I’ll spot a County-Mountie – Kojak with a Kodak – a State-trooper with a radar gun.

Quickly I slow to almost the legal limit – and hope.  Will he??….  Is he??….  Did he?
NO!!!  He didn’t pull out.

That’s when I live twice.  I experience the reality first, and then I have that segment flash before my eyes a second time.

The truth is, I’m getting pretty good with these lists – if I do say so myself.  In a couple of days I’ll post something that doesn’t need to be strained through a lie-detector.  😀

Mistaken Identity

It’s a pandemic of poseur, Pocahontas Pretendians.  America has had a recent deluge of government functionaries at all levels, falsely claiming to have Native Heritage.  It happened again!  Two more Canadian female Federal politicians, one of them the Assistant Minister of Indigenous Affairs, have been found to be pretending to have Native blood.

This goes back as far as around 1900, when an English writer came to Canada, became a trapper, called himself Grey Owl, and lived with two different Indian women to get experience and information to write a book about ‘Being An Indian.’

In the 1970s, an Italian-American styled himself as an Indian named Iron-Eyes Cody.  The government even paid him to be in an ecological TV advertisement about keeping the highways clean by not throwing trash out of cars.

While there was money to be made, these two were unusual.  Until about fifty years ago, it was considered quite déclassé for a white person to be deemed even partly indigenous, any more than being thought to be even partly Negro.

Slowly that changed.  Twenty years ago, Eileen Edwards, a white chick from Windsor, called herself Shania Twain, in celebration of her non-existent Native Heritage.  Ten years ago, Justin Bieber claimed that he was enough Indian to get free gasoline, when even full-blooded natives had to pay.

It’s become a cottage industry.  Scarcely a week goes by without another claimant being exposed.  It’s hardly an official diagnosis, but I have been told that it is a form of Indigenous Munchausen’s.  People who are nothing and nobody as a white person, claim Native background and receive sympathy as a member of an oppressed minority.  They get undeserved respect, more than their fifteen minutes of fame, and often, impressive and well-paying positions.

It’s often unclear whether these people are intentionally lying, or whether they actually believe their delusions.  A little from Column A (Or here in Canada, Column Eh.), a little from Column B.

Perfect One-Liners

A perfectionist walked into a bar….
….Apparently it wasn’t set high enough.

My professor accused me of plagiarism….
….His words, not mine.

During the COVID pandemic….
….Is not the time to surround yourself with positive people.

I’m in an open marriage….
….I just found out.

How do you stop a bull from charging?….
….You just unplug it.

The leading cause of dry skin….
….Is towels.

My wife and I had this long, pointless argument about which vowel is most important….
….I won.

People say that time is money….
….I don’t buy that for a second.

My wife asked if I had seen the dog bowl….
….I said, No, I didn’t know he could.

I got assaulted by a mime for having a spasm….
….He thought I was heckling.

I wish everything was as easy as….
….Getting fat.

I asked my therapist if driving my car 100 MPH was an emotional problem….
….She asked me to pay two weeks in advance.

My wife says she’s going to leave me because of my addiction to poker….
….But I think she’s bluffing.

What do you call someone who can’t stick to a diet?….
….A desserter.

Old age is when you’re faced with two temptations….
….And you choose the one that will get you home by nine o’clock.

The trouble with learning from experience….
….Is that you never graduate.

Wait! One day at a time….
….Like, FOREVER??!

I tried starting up a hot-air balloon company….
….But it never took off.

I’m great at multi-tasking….
….I can waste time, be unproductive, and procrastinate, all at once.

My wife said, “Look at this.  I haven’t worn this in years, and it still fits.”….
….I said, “It’s a scarf.”

If only Sarcasm….
….Burned calories

’21 A To Z Challenge – C

(The un-named) They say that curiosity killed the cat, but I say that some curiosity, mixed with a healthy dose of skepticism, and cynicism, can prevent you from becoming a manipulator’s cat’s-paw.

I once worked as a Purchasing Agent for a Bernie Madoff-wannabe owner of a small business – a little metal stamping shop with 25 plant employees.  He apparently had dreams of more and larger automotive contracts, a bigger plant, and 250 employees – or 2500…. Or 25,000!  😯

He had loyalty and honesty only for himself and his company, and no commercial morality.  Management staff were told not to ever allow any barricades to his business – “over, under, through or around.  Don’t come to me with problems!  Come to me with solutions.  Rules are for fools.”

I hired a young man in his early 20s, as a Production Control Clerk.  He was getting married, and he asked the company President for a mere two days off, for an abbreviated honeymoon.  The boss gave him an extended lecture about how he should not even get married.  He should reserve his time and energy for the company.

The Boss was on his second wife.  I don’t know why they bothered to marry – social propriety??!  He put in 12-hour weekdays, often 8-hour Saturdays, and sometimes came in on Sunday.  I don’t know if they ever dined together.  She was a Middle Manager, putting in lots of hours herself, and had girlfriends and hobbies.  He had…. the company – and a disturbing habit of drinking in his office at the end of workday.  He often chivvied me and other staff to remain and keep him and his booze company.  😦

Back in 1982, debit cards didn’t exist, and credit cards weren’t common.  One day he asked me if I had a credit card.  I answered, yes.  “Well, you should get yourself another one.”  Why??!  “So that, when I tell you to buy something for the company, you can keep the charges separate.”

He was already paying 30-day invoices at 120 days.  He expected me to use a personal card to purchase company supplies??!  What assurance was there that I would ever be reimbursed?  I quietly declined to get sucked in.

One day, he wisely decided to computerize the entire office system. (Yes, there was a time when computers weren’t everywhere.)  He hired a tech-nerd who could do the job.  Coincidentally, the guy just happened to have experience in the Purchasing field.

He interrogated other office staff, but, for three weeks he spent a lot of time with me, finding how I had set up my process.  Finally, the boss came to me and said, “Business is slow right now.  You’ve got your paperwork well-organized.  If I give him some assistance, Roscoe and I can handle it.  I’m scheduling your hours to zero for now.  You don’t need to come in.

I never even got fired.  He just stopped paying me.  Losing any job and its income can be quite traumatic, but I was actually (eventually) happy not to be employed at this one, when the police, or the bankruptcy bailiffs, showed up.  Rules are for fools eventually killed him, when he violated flight regulations and splashed a rented 4-seater all over a friend’s pasture.

’20 A To Z Challenge – Z

And the First shall be Last, and Last shall be First.  At last we are approaching the first of a new alphabet challenge – But first, the word

ZENOSYNE

zenosyne – The sense that time keeps going faster. .Coined in 2012 by John Koenig in The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, https://www.dictionaryofobscuresorrows.com/ a project to create a compendium of invented words for every emotion we might all experience but don’t yet have a word for.  And Keta – an image that inexplicably leaps back into your mind from the distant past.  Koinophobhia – the fear that one may have lived an ordinary life.  Wytai – feature(s) of modern life that one may consider absurd, like zoos, drinking milk, or organ transplants. 

Morii is the desire to capture a fleeing experience, something we try to do incessantly every waking minute of our lives these days, with Instagram stories, photographs, and snaps.  Lacheism is a longing for clarity of a disaster or apocalypse.  Lilo is a friendship that can lie dormant for years only to pick right back up instantly, as if no time had passed since you last saw each other.  Astrophe – the feeling of being stuck on earth when there is an entire universe or beyond to explore.  Modus tollens – is the feeling that the plot of your life doesn’t make sense any more. 

Onism is the realization of how little of the world you will experience.  Socha is the hidden vulnerability of others.  Lutalica is the part of your personality that doesn’t fit into categories.  Vemödalen is the fear that everything has already been done, and Avenoir is the desire to see memories in advance. 

We take it for granted that life moves forward.  But you move as a rower moves – facing backward.  You can see where you’ve been, but not where you are going.  And your boat is steered by a younger version of you.  It is hard not to wonder what life would be like, facing the other way.

Klexos is the art of dwelling on the past.  Your life is written in indelible ink.  There’s no going back to erase the past, tweak the mistakes, or fill in the missed opportunities.  When the moment’s over, your fate is sealed.

Xeno is the smallest measurable unit of human connection, typically exchanged between passing strangers—a flirtatious glance, a sympathetic nod, a shared laugh about some odd coincidence—moments that are fleeting and random but still contain powerful emotional nutrients that can alleviate the symptoms of feeling alone.

Mahpiohanzia is the disappointment of being unable to fly.  Being unable to stretch out your arms and vault into the air, having finally shrugged off the ballast of your own weight and ignited the fuel tank of unfulfilled desires you’ve been storing up since before you were born.

Trumspringa is the temptation to step off your career track and become a shepherd in the mountains, following your flock between pastures with a sheepdog and a rifle, watching storms at dusk from the doorway of a small cabin, just the kind of hypnotic diversion that allows your thoughts to make a break for it and wander back to their cubicles in the city.

Kairosclerosis is the moment you realize that you’re currently happy—consciously trying to savor the feeling—which prompts your intellect to identify it, pick it apart and put it in context, where it will slowly dissolve until it’s little more than an aftertaste.

Sonder – the realization that each passerby has a life as vivid and complex as yours
Opia – The ambiguous intensity of looking someone in the eye, which can feel simultaneously invasive and vulnerable.
Monachopsis – The subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place.

Kenopsia – The forlorn atmosphere of a place that is usually bustling with people, but is now abandoned.

Mauerbauer-Traurigkeit – The inexplicable urge to push people away, even close friends that you like.

Énouement – The bitter-sweetness of having arrived in the future, seeing how things turn out, but not being able to tell your past self.
Vellichor – The strange wistfulness of used-book shops.

Anticipointment – The sinking feeling when anticipation fails to be the greater part of pleasure.
Jouska – A hypothetical conversation that you compulsively play out in your head.

This man obviously had way too much time, sitting by himself in the attic.  I don’t know whether he should have taken more drugs – or less.  At least he got an entire book out of it – portions of which I have stolen researched, and used for free, for this post.

The same old alphabet begins with brand-new words in a couple of weeks.  This year, C may be for Compulsive.

One-Liners Rub off On You

Comedy

I got a new dry-erase board at work….
….It’s remarkable

People who can’t distinguish between etymology and entomology….
….bug me in ways that I cannot put into words

I could tell you about my addiction to reading books….
….but that’s another story

If you boil a funny-bone….
….you get a laughing-stock
….This is humerus.

I didn’t think that my orthopedic shoes would work….
….but I stand corrected

Why did the coffee file a police report?….
….It got mugged

A toothpick saw a hedgehog….
….”Oh, wow, a bus.” it said.

How do you teach schoolchildren about God?….
….Gather them all in a classroom, and then don’t show up.

I swallowed a laxative with Holy water….
….I’m going to start a religious movement

I nearly bought a hill today….
….but it was too steep

Some people think my puns are juvenile….
….but I like to think of them as full groan

I once had a job prospecting for gold….
….but it didn’t pan out

I got a job in a guillotine factory….
….I’ll be heading there soon

I had amnesia once….
…or twice???

They told me that I was gullible….
….and I believed them

You shouldn’t try to write with a broken pencil….
….It’s pointless

I was addicted to the Hokey-Pokey….
….but I turned myself around

Never argue with a fool….
….they will lower you to their level, and beat you with experience

How do you seduce a fat woman?….
….piece of cake

I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way….
….so I stole a bike, and asked for forgiveness

Practice makes perfect….
….but nobody’s perfect, so why practice?

The floor was so dusty….
…. that it seemed to be suffering from sweep deprivation.

Flash Fiction #205

Memory

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

I’VE GOT A GREAT MEMORY: IT’S JUST REALLY SHORT

Now what was I going downstairs for?? I’d better go back up to the kitchen to find out.

Why am I in the kitchen? I was supposed to be going downstairs for…. something….

Senior citizens’ memories are not necessarily faulty, often just overfull – recollection upon recollection – experience after experience.

Science fiction offers us a future when we might upload our consciousness to a computer. Might be a good idea. Occasionally run a de-frag – do a sort and delete. I don’t need to remember that Bobby peed himself in First Grade. Where is that cake mix we bought the other day?

Black Forest Cake

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

friday-fictioneers-badge-web

Smitty’s Loose Change #10

Smitty's Loose Change

A screenwriter was paid $25,000 for two days work, to produce an outline for a successful movie. A story reported that he was given 25,000 “Big Ones”.   Now, twenty-five thousand dollars can be described, in slang, as 25 Thou, 25 Grand, 25 Gs, or even as 25 Big Ones, but, if there are 25,000 of them, they’re not Big Ones, they’re all little ones. I’ve read writers like this described as knowing the difference between wet and dry, but feeling that it’s a fine distinction.

***

I recently discovered something even worse than helicopter parents. These are lawn-mower parents, who precede their children, and mow down every possible problem, obstacle and hindrance to their life. They conceal the realities of life for their unfortunate children and allow them no chance to mature and grow, to become self-sufficient, and to learn from experience and failure, and how to adapt.

***

The Universe of Politically-Correct speech continues to expand and grow. I recently read an account of a small-plane crash which killed three people, described as a shatter landing. No George Carlin bathroom tissue was involved.

***

The Grammar Check needs a slap as badly as the Spell Check. I typed I wonder what Eli Whitney’s Cotton Gin tasted like into a one-liner comedy post, and got back, ‘I wonder what Eli Whitney’s Cotton Gin is.’ 😯

***

Bag man, and bag lady, mean completely different things.

***

I recently bought myself a box of Wheat Thins crackers, as an occasional snack…. because I like Wheat Thins, and they were on sale. I opened the box, took a small handful, and sat down with a book. I popped one into my mouth and crunched it, and – What in Hell is this petrified wallpaper paste??!

My weak eyes and weak mind must have made me pick up the wrong thing. No. The box clearly says “Wheat Thins,” – but, as I look closer – under that, it says ‘Multigrain.” You assholes do know that oats, barley, quinoa and chia don’t make “WHEAT Thins”, right??! I would have been better off just cutting the cardboard box into small squares, and eating it. Now I know why they were on sale.  😯

***

I also recently astounded my chiropractor. The clinic where he practices also has two massage therapists. I took the wife in for massage, and sat out front waiting and reading a newspaper. When he stepped out of his office, his eyes went wide.

“In all the time I’ve worked here, I’ve never seen anybody read a newspaper here. They all have their noses stuck into the blue glow of their smart phones or tablets. They bring a book, or they leaf through one of our magazines, but I’ve never seen a newspaper in this waiting room.”

I told him that I never have to worry if the ISP is down, I don’t have to ask for the Wi-Fi password, and my batteries are never low – although occasionally I have to remember to sharpen the pencil that I do crosswords and word jumbles with.

***