“19 A To Z Challenge – V

AtoZ2019Letter V

 

Stalling, distraction, avoidance, procrastination!

I had a month…. Actually, I had a year from when I chose to do this year’s version of the A To Z Challenge – but realistically, I had a month to get this post for the letter V ready. I had posts composed for the letters T and U, so I had four weeks to get my act in gear – four weeks to choose a V-shaped word, pick a theme, light a flame of composition under it, and bring it to the boil of intelligent presentation.

Did I do that??! OH NO!!

Instead, I spent an inordinate amount of time debating with Christian Apologists. Some guy who styles himself TheistThug, and lives up down to the name, really needed an opinion readjustment, and I was just the guy to do it. Saturday night, instead of dutifully typing, I watched some fool build a log cabin in Alaska, and read part of a book…. because it has 800 pages, and needs to be returned to the Library in 17 days.

A character in the book returned to her tough childhood neighborhood after escaping it at 15, and being away for another 15 years. She observed that the worldly-wise woman that she was now, barely matched the frightened teen who left it years before.

There were all my V-word candidates
venal
vivacious
vapid
vicinity

VENN DIAGRAM

vainglorious
vacuous

Venn

when suddenly “Venn diagram” stood out. Venn diagrams visually indicate how and where two or more different sets of data do, or do not, overlap. They help making decisions which will satisfy the greatest number.

For most of us, the Venn diagram of our early life, compared to our current life, need not be quite as severe as hers, where only a tiny point intersected the two segments. Still, it seems a good idea to strive for continual change and improvement. Get smarter, better, and happier. I know that I am not the same naïve, trusting, callow young man who ventured into the World and wedlock 52 years ago. If I could only enlarge that “Get Projects Finished On Time” section a bit…. 😉

The Whole Fam-Damily

Sara Sidle

The wife has been watching reruns of CSI on YouTube. The son began talking about the character, Sara Sidle. While others came and went, she remained. Son and I soon realized that we knew her entire family.

Jailbird

Her father, ‘Homie’ Sidle, came up from the ghetto and made good, but is in prison because he killed a guy.

Her mother, Sue E. Sidle, was devastated by his crime, and took her own life.

Her older brother, Herbie Sidle, opened his own plant nursery and landscaping company.

Her younger brother, ‘Pesty’ Sidle, the family joker and prankster, finally settled down and got a job with a firm which rents out poisoned traps to warehouses and food companies, to control rats.

Sara’s grandmother, Jenny Sidle, came here from Germany, shortly after WW II, and has learned to keep her political and social opinions to herself.

You can take all these names and occupations, and stick ‘em where the pun don’t shine.   We were a bit rushed because we had to get back to the show after the commercial. Can you think of any more members of the Sidle family that we have missed?? 😕

I’m Not Sure That They’re Sure

Big Bang

Here are some extracts from Atheist/Christian Apologist arguments debates.

So, how do you explain the empty tomb of Christ and the 500 witnesses to His post-death appearances?

I’d explain it the same way I’d explain Harry Potter waving a non-existent wand, and shouting ‘Petronus!’ Somebody wrote it down, who hoped that you’d buy into it.

The odds of Life arising spontaneously, are 1 with 41,000 zeroes behind it.

It didn’t have to go all the way to the last zero to be successful. It might have happened on the first – or the tenth – or the thousandth time. And all the attempts need not be sequential. In Earth’s reported early ages, the chemical soup in the oceans was thick, and there were tens of thousands of lightning strikes PER DAY, which might have catalyzed primitive life.

Question: Was there ever a time when there was no chemical soup, no oceans, no lightning strikes or electricity, no Earth?

Yes. What’s your point?

Was there ever a time when there was no chemical soup, no oceans, no lightning strikes or electricity, no Earth?

(Well, that certainly clarifies that! 😛 )
In the beginning, if the scientific and mathematical evidence is valid, 13.8 Billion years ago, ‘The Big Bang’ allowed a hyper-dense singularity, containing all matter, to expand and become the Universe of today.

If geological research is correct, the Earth came into existence about 4.5 billion years ago. This leaves over 9 Billion years in-between, twice the time that the Earth has existed, when stars were born and died. Some exploded into novas, and super-novas, fusing hydrogen and helium into the heavier and heavier elements necessary for the rise of life. Eventually gravitational tides caused some of it to agglomerate, and coalesce into our galaxy, our sun, our solar system, our planet.

Even then, it took over a billion years for the Earth to cool enough to allow the existence of liquid water, and the chemical soup that life was spurred from. Yes, once upon a time – actually, for a really long time – there was no Earth, no oceans, no soup, no lightning, no life. So what??! There is also no proof – no vague indication – that the butler God did it.

I think I answered this (a claim that Atheists can’t be happy without God) in my final paragraph in the article, for those who believe in Genesis 1:1; it’s the verse that divides. I actually think you’d agree with that statement.

Actually, I don’t agree with it, because, actually, you didn’t ’answer’ it. You made a statement – an unproven claim – which buttresses your opinions, ignoring the statements of Atheists. This is merely the first of dozens – hundreds – of verses which divide, not merely Christians from Atheists, but often one sect of Christians from the rest. I have a file with 23 pages of examples of mistakes and contradictions in the Bible. One verse says one thing, and a page or two later, another verse says something entirely different.

There’s no compelling reason for another atheist to adopt your moral imperative as their own, and many don’t. If no God created, then why should they have to? Yours is no doubt better for your neighbours than some of the things other atheists have adopted, and it may be better in practice than some who claim to be Christians do. But still, it comes back to the fact that you are the one who has decided it, and it has no answer for death. You are supreme while you are alive but you will submit to death, so your supremacy is limited. Death is supreme for you — you claim supremacy now, but you know it is only temporary.

I realize that it makes you feel better to phrase statements like this, in a way that reinforces your stance and beliefs. Of course there is no compelling reason for anyone to accept my beliefs except me. Each person should be free within their own mind. There need be no imperative. There is no dogma among Atheists, as there is in Christian churches. This whole statement seriously disturbs me. People who compel others are – at best, bullies – at worst, criminals.

This appetite for compulsion and competition is worrying. Life is not a game, to be lost or won. Rather, we all should do the best we can with what we have. I make no claim of supremacy, whether over Death, or anyone else, and I have no answer for Death. It is inevitable. Life, indeed, is temporary. Make the most of it that you can, while you have it. Don’t wait for God to (maybe) iron out your wrinkles, once you’re gone.   😳

***

BTW:

I just had an epiphany. Atheists are allowed to have them. While I was getting the above post ready to publish, I heard (All Christmas – All The Time) The Little Drummer Boy song. For years, it has drifted in one ear and out the other, with no thought. Suddenly, I realized what is being unwittingly portrayed.

“A Little Drummer Boy is not just some kid in an elementary school band. A drummer boy is the child, trained to beat out the cadences for ancient armies. The bugler conveyed the orders to march, attack, retreat, wheel left, etc. The drummer boy set the pace for thousands of men to kill and maim each other.

It is disturbing that this song shows him displaying his martial abilities…. to the Prince of Peace. 👿

Even other Christians are disturbed at a new trend this Christmas.  More and more ‘Good Christians’ are adding crosses to their Nativity scenes.  There are two, very different stories within the New Testament.  One is about the birth of the Christ child.  The other is about the death of the Messiah.  They should not be confused for one another.  This just seems to say, “Open your eyes, kid.  See what they have in store for you.”  😯

High Drama – Low Comedy

Trudeau

Okay! Move along, move along! Nothin’ to see here. Just another Canadian political rant.

I got another Op-Ed letter published. I shouldn’t phrase it like that. I get almost all my submitted letters published. With print newspapers dying, and readers going to social media, the papers are grateful for any Op-Ed letters. It used to be a contest, and the local paper published 4 -6 letters every day. Now, there’s only 2 letters per issue, and often none.

Blackface

Still…. I had this to say about our pretty, young (and pretty young) Prime Minister.

Many people, probably Liberal party supporters, want to excuse Justin Trudeau’s Blackface incident, saying that he did not mean to insult anyone. This is true, because Trudeau is far too narcissistic to care about insulting other races.

If it were an isolated incident, performed by an adolescent, it might be understandable, but it’s only one in a string of bad social choices – a blackface, two brownfaces, and his Mr. Dressup tour of India.

At 29, well beyond adolescence, he attended a black-tie society dinner. 500 guests, 249 men dressed in tuxedos, and Ali Baba Justin showed up – poorly.

We don’t need a drama student, or teacher. We need a mature statesman to lead the country, not an entitled rich kid, leading a high school musical!

India

This is our Prime Minister, Canada. Ain’tcha glad??! This makes Trump look good. Remember this on our upcoming Election Day.

The Whichness Of The Why

Rene DesCartes

Philosophers have nothing to say, but will take all day (or all of their lives) to say it.

In my ongoing attempts to get psychological explanations for why people – often Christians, but also Atheists – believe what they do, I kept running into philosophers. I thought that Philosophers were deep-thinkers, who used the power of their intellect to uncover important social revelations.

The more I read though, the more I realized that this was not so. One of them, like René Descartes (above) might make a significant claim, like; “Cogito ergo sum – I think, therefore I am” then the rest of them would discuss and debate it. If only one Philosopher contended a theory, it was like mental masturbation. If a group of them worried it like a dog with a bone, it was more like a circle-jerk. It made them all feel good, without actually accomplishing anything.

Often, no-one really proved anything. They just kept arguing with one another until observed facts finally showed one of them to be the closest guesser. Then folks would congratulate him as if he’d discovered something.

Even the winner of a debate, or series of debates, did not reveal, or prove, any particular truth. The champion became the victor by looking the best, yelling the loudest, and waving his hands the most. One Philosopher had a mortal enemy, another debater. There was only one subject about which the two agreed. Mr. Ego challenged his opponent to a debate, and took the ‘anti’ side. He won the debate by disproving an opinion that he held.

Despite the fact that colleges and Universities teach Philosophy, we have no Philosophers any more. What we have today are authors, bloggers, podcasters, and Christian Apologetics. All of them are full of strongly-held opinions, but if you laid them all end-to-end, they wouldn’t reach a valid conclusion.

Gilileo Goes To Jail

Case in point, a book that I recently read, titled Galileo Goes To Jail, 25 myths about Science and Religion. Seldom have I seen hairs split so finely, with no purpose other than to make the contributors appear learned and impressive. All 25 writers tiptoed through the minefield of truth and logic, but I felt the worst among them was the jackass who set out to prove that

Giordano Bruno Was Not The First Martyr Of Modern Science

Now, the first of anything is going to look different from what has gone before. This genius wanted to play the “Own The Definition” game. He started by claiming that Bruno was not a scientist, or was not teaching science. Of course not! Back then, the words, the definitions, the very concepts of “science” and “scientist” did not exist. Everything was Natural Philosophy.

‘Science’ did not exist, and Bruno wasn’t ‘teaching’ it. He did however publicly express and debate his opinions and conclusions about reality. He openly held Galileo’s position, that the Earth moved, and the sun didn’t, contrary to the Church’s dogma of a fixed and unmoving Earth. His claims were heresy to The Holy Catholic Church, which owned the definition of heresy.

Heresy they might have been, but as the equivalents of modern Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Mathematics, they were a Hell of a lot more like science than say, if the Pope might not be infallible, God did not exist in three parts, or we had to eat fish on Friday.

I try not to be hidebound in my opinions, and not get caught in confirmation bias. I invite, and delight in, discussion and debate about anything I publish. If you prove me wrong about any claim I make, I will accept defeat Philosophically. 😉

***

Oops, I left a link to a 1949 Sci-Fi story at the end of this draft.  Rather than delete it –  anybody want to access and read it??

Edmond Hamilton – Alien Earth

https://archive.org/details/Thrilling_Wonder_Stories_v34n01_1949-04/page/n51

 

Mistaken Identity

Passport

A guy goes to the supermarket and notices an attractive woman waving at him…

She says hello.

He’s rather taken aback because he can’t place where he knows her from. So he says, “Do you know me?”

To which she replies: “I think you’re the father of one of my kids.”

Now his mind travels back to the only time he has ever been unfaithful to his wife and says: “My God, are you the stripper from my bachelor party that I made love to on the pool table with all my buddies watching while your partner whipped my butt with wet celery?”

She looks into his eyes and says calmly: “No, I’m your son’s teacher.

***

A plane was taxiing down the tarmac, preparing for takeoff when it abruptly stopped, turned around and returned to the gate. After an hour-long wait, it finally took off.

A concerned passenger asked the flight attendant, “What was the problem?”

“The pilot was bothered by a noise he heard in the engine,” explained the flight attendant, “and it took us a while to find a new pilot.”

***

SARCHOTIC adj.
When you’re so sarcastic,
people aren’t sure whether
you’re joking or whether
you’re just crazy

Remember, if you can’t say something nice – make it funny

If you have an opinion about my life, raise your hand.
Now put it over your mouth!

Life is short. Smile….
while you still have teeth.

My luck is like the bald guy who wins a comb

Be careful when you follow the masses. Sometimes the M is silent.

I don’t remember much from last night, but the fact that I needed sunglasses to open the fridge this morning means that it was awesome.

Sometimes someone will come into your life from nowhere, makes your heart race, and changes your life forever. We call these people Cops.

Smoking marijuana has imbued me with cat-like abilities.
For example, just one brightly colored piece of paper can now entertain me for hours.

My boss asked me if I could perform under pressure.
I said no, but I could do a pretty good version of Bohemian Rhapsody

When I was little, I had a disease that required me to eat dirt three times a day to survive.
It’s a good thing my older brother told me about it.

Bank teller: Your account is overdrawn.
Me: So are your eyebrows, yet here we are.

8:00 AM – Too tired to think
Noon – Too tired to think
5:00 PM – Too tired to think
Midnight – How do dragons blow out candles??

I’m starting meetings at my house for people with OCD.
I don’t have it. I’m just hoping they take a look and start cleaning.

I don’t believe in reincarnation.
I didn’t believe in it the last time either.

When I was growing up, my parents treated me like God.
They didn’t believe in me.
And if something terrible happened, I was the first one they asked why I did it.

 

Flash Fiction #195

Wired

INFORMATION OVERLOAD

If I could just get them to shut up for a minute, I could think.

Input, input, input! The living room had begun to resemble the NYSE trading floor – everyone talking – nobody listening. I don’t know how those guys do it – a phone in each ear, and a hundred people screaming. Screw multi-tasking, I lose my place reading a book if the dog barks, outside.

The wife has an opinion. The daughter has an opinion. The son has a different opinion. All I suggested was going camping this weekend.

I’ll just lock myself in the den – and soundproof the door.

***

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