What If??  What If?? What If??

Oh goody!  We’re going to play a game of What If.  I have not been amused or entertained by one of those for years.

Let’s say you were in a naval battle in the middle of the ocean and your ship was destroyed so you are in very cold water. You know that you need to act now to get on a ship or you will die. Now there are 4 ships that you can swim to. But it looks like all the ships are very badly damaged and unlikely to be seaworthy enough to save you. It’s hard to tell from your position but as best you can tell one ship has a 5% chance but the others have less than a 2% chance of being seaworthy enough to save you. 

What do you do? Do you think well no one has “proven” or “verified” that any of these ships will save me so I might as well die in the water? Or do you start swimming to the ship that gives you a five percent chance (the best shot)? I think that is the obvious choice. You are not in a position to demand “proofs” or “verification.” You just have to make do with the information you have. 

I think this is analogous to the situation we are in when it comes to how we should live. We can’t pause our life until someone can prove how we are supposed to live. We choose to act or not act all the time. And we can’t insist on verification or proof beyond what we have. We just have to take our best shot. 

For me I think following Christ’s teachings is the “best shot.” I may wish I had better evidence or proofs but reality does not bend to my wishes. The rational person bends his beliefs and actions to reality.

People often believe that they are thinking, when all they’re really doing is rearranging their prejudices.  So, you’re going to dream up a scenario that is so outlandish and restrictive, that it makes your already-decided-on choice look good barely acceptable.

I am disturbed that you would advocate a selection with a 95% chance of failure, but, as you inferred, It’s (barely) better than nothing.  Desperation is not considered a good method of choice.  It usually results in wrong decisions.  Even choice is a bad method.  You can attend a Christian church, and repeat all the magic words, but it won’t produce the honest, true-hearted Belief that the unwritten rules call for.

I’d like to ask what mechanism you used to determine what percentage of success your choice, both in real life and in your specious analogy, had.  I see none, other than desperation and gullibility – only an unproven claim.

Unlike your fantasy-novel format, in real life it is both possible and advisable to do some research, so that you don’t end up in these religious shipwreck scenarios.

What if that water isn’t as cold and deep as you believe?  What if you were just told that, by the guy who runs the life-preserver franchise?  What if, no matter which ship you swam to, it sank and drowned you?  What if the ship you chose was an enemy vessel, and the agents of Allah tortured you to death?  What if you stopped panicking, and used your strength and determination to swim toward the big orange rubber raft that the rescue helicopter just dropped, labelled Reason/Reality?  What if you’re not Captain James T. Kirk, and there just is no right answer?

What if you summarily dismiss all of my What Ifs, because you think that they sound almost as silly as your What Ifs??!

Crafty Beer One-liners

Spilling a beer is….
…the adult equivalent to losing a balloon.

Please do not pet the peeves.

It’s like Harry Potter said….
….Expensive petroleum.

I accidently swallowed a bottle of invisible ink….
….Now I’m sitting in Emergency, waiting to be seen.

Do you need a current licence….
….to drive an electric vehicle?

The first rule of micro-manager club is….
….here, I’ll just show you.

I went swimming in the mall fountain….
….Good money in that.

I needed a password eight characters long….
….so I picked Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs.

You call them swear words….
….I call them sentence enhancers.

I love working out….
….Today I did abs….olutely nothing.

Warning: Going to sleep Sunday night….
….will cause Monday.

Today is a good day to….
….have a good day.

Shout-out to ATM fees….
….for making me buy my own money.

Do not read the next sentence….
….You little rebel, I like you.

Kids today are named like ‘Tony’….
….but spell it ‘Toughkneigh.’

(Reality protrusion – American couple just named their daughter Reighfyl, and pronounce it ‘rifle.’)

Eat alphabet soup….
….Have a vowel movement.

Why am I the only naked person….
….at this gender reveal party?

Time travellers’ meeting….
….Last Thursday, 11 P. M.

The problem with censorship….
….is XXXXXXX

What is the best Christmas present?….
….A broken drum, you just can’t beat it.

The Self-Deprecation Society is looking for new members….
….I’ve already put myself down.

The wife’s friend confused her birth control pills with her Valium….
….She has 16 kids, but she doesn’t care.

The trouble with some women is that they get all excited over nothing….
….and then they marry him.

When we go out, I always hold the wife’s hand….
….If I let go, she shops.

Charity begins at home….
….and usually stays there.

Behind every angry woman….
….stands a man who has no idea what he did wrong

I’m going to start collecting highlighters….
….Mark my words.

I asked my wife if I was the only one she’d ever been with….
….She said, “Yes.  All the others were nines and tens”

Don’t irritate old people….
….The older we get, the less ‘Life in Prison’ is a deterrent.

Tempest In A Theological Teapot

I recently read a rant about gender reassignment.  https://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2022/03/22/one-simple-question-for-woke-atheists/  The author, and six or eight of his testosterone-infused followers had their Theistic jock-straps in a bunch, because Thomas had become Lia.  He titled it One Simple Question For Woke Atheists.  I asked how the title had anything to do with the existence of Atheists, or God.

I got back:  Atheists insist “there is no evidence for god.” Entailed in their atheism is the notion that all beliefs about reality should be supported by convincing evidence. And, personal feelings, personal testimony, personal experience, intuition, etc. do NOT count as evidence.

Woke people believe Thomas is a woman because he, I mean she, says so and if you dare to disagree with Thomas, it is because you are an evil, transphobic, bigot.

I’m looking to see if the Woke atheism is a coherent, reasonable position or whether it is inherently irrational due to its arbitrary, make-it-up-as-you-go, essence. That is, either come up with another way to define atheism or provide the evidence that Lia Thomas is a woman. Of course, I already know that Woke atheism is irrational, so I’m just illustrating it.

Atheism is the lack of belief in God, or gods.  Everything else is something else!  There is no “Woke Atheism”!  There is a Woke point of view, and it is shared by Atheists and Christians alike.  People who accept Atheism, are also likely to support Lia, but there are many Atheists who do not.  Conversely, there are many ‘Good Christians’ who would.  Woke or not, this is not “an Atheist position,” any more than Westboro Baptist Church protesting at a serviceman’s funeral, is a Christian one.

The difference between believing in God, and believing in Thomas as a woman is that, God is external, and Lia is internal.  God is subjective, and Lia is objective.

If God exists, He is outside: outside each believer, outside the Universe, outside Nature, and outside reality.  If you claim that He is real, you’d better come with some solid evidence.  All your faith, and belief, and claims, and hopes, and wants, and needs are not going to magick Him, or my acceptance, into existence.  Nothing is made-up-as-we-go.

Personal feelings, personal testimony, personal experience, intuition, etc. do NOT count as evidence, when applied to something outside yourself.  They are, however, the only valid way to know what is happening in anyone’s mind.  Lia could state that she is a Cincinnati Reds fan, a non-smoker, a vegetarian, and likes heavy metal music, and you have to accept that.  And if she says that she feels more like a girl than a guy despite the plumbing, just as she feels more like voting for Biden than Trump – that’s an objective proof.  You have to accept it, even if you are a dyed-in-the-wool Republican.  She is, and will remain, the best judge of what she thinks, feels, and believes.  She identifies as a female personality, trapped in a male body.

I and other Atheists are approached by Apologists demanding that we Prove Atheism, or Prove Atheism is true.  They seem to feel that, like Christianity, Atheism should have an all-encompassing worldview, with tenets and dogma and scripture, and leaders.  That is not the case.  It is a position on one single point – the lack of belief in a God, or gods.  Atheists have not been presented with sufficiently convincing evidence.  I can quickly and accurately ‘Prove’ my Atheism.  I do not accept your ridiculous claims about your imaginary friend.  That is honest and true, and objectively valid.

’21 A To Z Challenge – V Twofer

’21 Reading Challenge
Vanquished

I read somewhere…. That I read somewhere.  In a vain attempt to brag (Are there any other kinds??!) about all my free time in retirement, I present a rogues’ gallery of the books I read last year.


Gregg Loomis – The First Casualty

Tom Clancy’s series

Line of Sight


Oath of Office

Enemy Contact


Code of Honor


Lee Child – Blue Moon


Lee Child – The Sentinel

Gregg Hurwitz – Out of the Dark
Gregg Hurwitz – Hell Bent

Nick Petrie – Burning Bright
Nick Petrie – Light It Up
Nick Petrie – Tear It Down

Ilona Andrews – Sweep Of The Blade

Ilona Andrews – Sweep With Me

Ilona Andrews – Magic Steals

Ilona Andrews – Blood Heir

Steve Berry – The 14th Colony

Steve Berry – The Lost Order
Steve Berry – The Bishop’s Pawn

Raymond Khoury – The Templar Salvation

Mark Greaney – Gunmetal Grey
Mark Greaney – Agent in Place

Crawford Killian – The Empire of Time

Mark Greaney – Agent In Place

Eric Flint – The Course Of Empire

Mike Massa – River Of Night

Grant Blackwood – War Hawk

James Rollins – The Demon Crown

James Rollins – Crucible

H. Beam Piper – Paratime

H. Beam Piper – Lord Kalvan Of Otherwhen

Philip K. Dick – The Zap Gun

A.E. van Vogt – Masters Of Time

James S. A. Corey – Persepolis Rising

James S. A. Corey – Tiamat’s Wrath

John Brunner – Time Jump

John Brunner – Total Eclipse

Kenneth Bulmer – The Key To Venudine

Neal Stephenson – The Rise And Fall Of D.O.D.O.

Crawford Killian – Red Magic

Seth Andrews – Sacred Cows

Herman Melville – Bartleby The Scrivener
*
Edgar Allen Poe – The Cask of Amontillado

Mark Twain – Letters From The Earth

Ward Bowlby – A Canadian’s Travels To Egypt

“21 A To Z Challenge – W

 

 

 

You know what’s weird??!  The word weird’s great-great-great……. Grandmother.  She was a Norse goddess named

WYRD

She came across (No, no, not that way.  She was a chaste goddess – not a chased goddess.) with a bunch of hot and bothered Viking guys in a longboat, when they rowed over to England.

She wasn’t a powerful goddess, like Freya, in charge of fertility, beauty, love, magic, war and death.  She was a lesser goddess, responsible for karma.  She supposedly guaranteed that you would eventually get what you deserved.  Even the Vikings, though, realized that anyone actually getting what they deserved was strange.  When she eventually retired to the Old Norse Gods Home on Yggdrasil, she left behind her name, which became spelled weird (And that’s a weird spelling – getting poor, little I before E, except after C, in a real tizzy.) and carried the meaning of odd or unusual.

I’ll moor my longboat, and wait for you at the dock in a couple of days, and we I can talk about what I read last year.

Fibbing Friday VII

With Pensitivity101 staring aghast, I have prefabricated some prevarications for another list of her Purloined Patented Posers ©

  1. Where will you find a pushme-pullyou?

At any K-Mart Blue-Light Special.  It’s the main reason that there are no more K-Mart stores in Kinder, Gentler Canada anymore.  Only in the U.S. do they combine cheap clothing sales with MMA death matches.
2. What is meant by the term ‘chocolate box’?

I’m not sure.  I’ve never seen a chocolate box.  I’ve seen a cracker box.  A tomato can.  I’ve seen a horse fly, but I’ve never seen a deer fly.  Bonnie May, but Donna Wood.
3. Who lived in the house made with gingerbread, cake and pastries?

The guy who is Public Enemy #1 on the Weight-Watchers Most Wanted list.  Since I cut back a bit on my snacks, and lost 20 American pounds, or 9 Canadian kilos, my ranking has dropped from #7, to #9.
4. Where will you find Mr. Stay Puft?

On a bench at the strip-mall, three doors down from the new marijuana dispensary.
5. Where will you find The Hallelujah Mountains?

That’s what women discover when they take off the bandages, after breast augmentation surgery.  Hallelujah, Mountains!
6. What did Gru intend to steal with the Shrink Ray?

It wasn’t exactly “steal.”  It was more like an extortion scheme.  He was going to shrink all the Kardashians’ butts, and blackmail them – and several Black guys with no taste – to return them to their ridiculous but normal size.  Just as he was lining up on Kim’s ass, ‘Andy,’ who became the 40 Year Old Virgin, suddenly appeared.  He had sneaked in to discover whether Kanye West was CGI, or an animatronic built by American Amusement Corporation.  Gru’s shot hit him right in the crotch, causing a small problem, and the plan collapsed.
7. Going back a long way, what was ‘Baby’ in the 1938 film Bringing Up Baby?

She was the girl who grew up to be the actress who played ‘Baby’ in the movie Dirty Dancing“Nobody puts ‘Baby’ in the corner!”
8. Who played the drums in The Muppets?

It was Charlie Watts for a while, but Janice and the rest of the band felt that his face was frightening children, so they replaced him with the Muppets Animal.  Charlie went on to fame and fortune with the Rolling Stones, playing at morticians’ conventions.
9. What magical instrument did Sparky play?

See #4.  It was a Bic lighter.  For 79¢ at the nearby Dollarama store, he gets to join in on the festivities all day – and night.  “Hey man, got a light?”  “Sure – for a toke off your little friend.  Here, I’ll spark it up for you.”
10. What did ‘Andy’ have waxed in The 40 Year Old Virgin?

See #6, above.  It was his snowboard.  After getting his sex appeal downsized, women were freezing him out.  He wasn’t getting laid, and his sex-life was going downhill fast.

The truth is, I’ll be back in a couple of days with And Now For Something Completely Different.

’21 A To Z Challenge – H

 

There are many delightful, old, archaic and arcane words that I wish were still in use – like ‘snaithe,’ which is a single thread within a larger cord, or rope.  It was often used in reference to magic, and the alternate time-lines and reality-lines caused by invoking spells.

And then there are the words, and the concepts that created them, that we wish had disappeared, but sadly haven’t.  So it is with today’s terrible twins – the disreputable duo of

HOODLUMS

AND

HOOLIGANS

Hoodlum – a thug or gangster.
a young street ruffian, especially one belonging to a gang.

Hooligan – a ruffian or hoodlum.

These two are examples of the entitled worst of American society, who on January 6th, urged and led thousands of their brothers to take Government into their own hands, and invaded the Capitol building.  Victims of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, they didn’t know how dumb and gullible they were, but continued to forge ahead in Holy zeal, following a false prophet.

This is the world of Trump’s spiritual adviser Paula White and many more lesser-known but influential religious leaders who prophesied that Trump would win the election, and helped organize nationwide prayer rallies in the days before the Jan. 6 insurrection, speaking of an imminent “heavenly strike” and “a Christian populist uprising,” leading many who stormed the Capitol to believe they were “taking back the country for God.”

The (dis)United States already has more than enough ways that it is separated, one segment from another.  A new term has recently arisen – the Stained-Glass Divide.  It’s bad enough that there is constant friction between whites and blacks, citizens and immigrants, Republicans and Democrats, Red States and Blue States.  Now the vocal Christian Evangelicals are pulling away from those they don’t feel are Holy enough.

You guys better get your act together, or we Canadians will send down a couple of Mounties to straighten things out, and you’ll wind up being our 11th province.

Flash Fiction #260

                        PHOTO PROMPT © Russell Gayer

FLYING CAR-PET

I can’t believe that this van is flying.  There must be some kind of technology involved.  Anti-gravity is tough enough to accept – but MAGIC??!

It’s not MAGIC magic.  It’s just that some of us have learned to harvest and direct cosmic radiation.  Harry Potter’s car flew.  I often wonder if Rowling is one of us.

But people must be able to see us.  I’ve never heard even nut-case reports.

The diffraction field makes people view us as birds, or distant airplanes.  We might even be some of those government UFO reports.  We’ll need to wash the unicorn shit off later.

***

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

A Love Of Reading

Even for a grumpy, retired old dude like me, with nothing much to do, COVID-infested infected 2020 provided me with a little extra time to read ‘em and reap.  I thought that I was doing well, but….  The son swore off TV some years ago, and spends all his spare time reading – something.  He still reads the occasional dead-tree book, but gets most of his from Kindle Unlimited.  Kindle keeps track of how many books he has read – and reread.  In 2019, he went through 152.  During Apocalypse 2020, his list numbered 213.  I recently went to bed.  By the time I arose, eight hours later, he’d (re)read 3 books.
I only got these 37.

Hawking dumbed down ‘A Brief History of Time’ enough that I understood a lot of it. Mlodinow further simplified the concepts, in this version.

Book number 6 of The Expanse series. I am currently watching my way through series number five, on Amazon Prime

Interstellar Sci-Fi, with magic. Thanx to the son for introducing me to this series.

A time-filling men’s adventure book

A little bit of spaceships and ray-guns Sci-Fi

Alternate-Earth, with magic. Second book, Red Magic will be in this year’s list.

More Action/Adventure

A Sci-Fi book about time travel. One of several read last year.

A stand-alone book from these author’s ‘Magic” series, explaining some plot focus changes, and allowing for the beginning of a new series.

A murder mystery from fellow blogger K J Ivany. A post about this book will soon follow.

The culmination of the ‘Magic’ series. Swords, vampires, shapeshifter were-animals, and various monsters. It’s been fun.

Book #2, mate to last year’s ‘Saints.’

Book number five of The Expanse Series – the one I’m currently streaming. Thanx BrainRants – great reading, and watching.

Bourne Identity type of men’s action/adventure

Another in The Innkeeper, ‘Sweep’ series. This husband/wife writing team are almost as prolific as Isaac Asimov, with four series and several singletons.

More mindless men’s adventure. I am highly qualified.

Another Jack Reacher book. Another in the series has just been released for this year’s reading. As Clive Cussler passed his series on to his son, so has Lee Child passed his on to his son.

Tom Clancy’s heirs just passed the writing of the Jack Ryan series on to a committee of commercial writers.

Same series – different author

An invading alien machine makes the gods of Greece, Egypt and Rome real for those trapped inside a reality bubble.

If one was fun – and more importantly – sold, let’s trap another group with the Norse gods.

One of several ‘Classic’ Sci-Fi books that I reread. A book review will soon follow.

I realized that I had not read this book in the 1960s, so I bought it from Kindle for $1.99.

For the same two bucks, Star Rangers (above), came attached to this book, which I had read in the mid-’60s, titled ‘The Last Planet.’ As a matched pair, this second novel now makes more sense.

Eight millennia-old immortals among us, and how they have dealt with change. Another upcoming book review will tell you how.

Historical/urban fiction to pass the time

More Sci-Fi rereading. I originally read this, titled as ‘The Junkyard Planet.’ How to pull a failed world up by its financial bootstraps.

More interesting men’s action/adventure to pass the time. The first of another series which I believe I have to thank River Girl for introducing me to. The rest will help keep me busy in 2021.

Another reread from the ’60s. Urban fiction which barely qualifies as Sci-Fi because a man finds a way to get rich through industrial espionage, by inventing a device which allows him to move about, unseen and unstopped, while time stands still for everyone else.

More historical/urban fiction. They contain a pleasant amount of fascinating trivia.

Not much blood and guts, but lots of brains and gunplay. Solid story arc and character development.

Were the ten plagues of Egypt actually real?? Is the entire biome of the Earth a semi-sentient, interlocked, Gaia-type entity? Dunno! But it makes good reading.

Another ghost-writer, for Clive Cussler, presents a period-piece action/adventure whose hero is an early 20th century detective, reminiscent of the real Alan Pinkerton.

Time travel without leaving home. Bits and pieces of geography and time periods are inexplicably swirled together. Can our hero figure out how to put it all back where/when it belongs?

Centuries of life through organ transplants for planetary monarchs, but not for the their subjects. A topic brought up in this ’60s novel. The author also wrote the 1776/1976 American Bicentennial Saga series. If I read this book soon after its release, I don’t remember it. It was a pleasant discovery in a storage box.

At least one book to reinforce my lack of belief in the supernatural/religion. A disappointing little 156-page novelette with several passages repeated in different chapters.  Trying to justify his position through  philosophy and logic – and failing miserably.  As dry and tasteless as Muffets.

COVID19 should have given most of you some extra time this past year to read.  Aside from my magnificent prose, did you encounter anything morally or intellectually uplifting?