Peace Through Stupidity

Shock

Some years ago, shortly after Kitchener built its new (third) City Hall, I had cause to be walking in front of it. On the sidewalk were two earnest-looking young men, with a folding plastic table covered with papers.  Curious to see what was attracting a small group of people, I ambled over.

They were looking for signators for a petition to the Federal Government of Canada, for “Unilateral Nuclear Weapons Disarmament.” The woman beside me grabbed a pen and quickly filled in name, address, phone number and signed it.  Then she stuck the pen in my face, and said, “Here, sign!  It’s a really good idea.”

“I don’t really think so.” “Why not?” she demanded.  “Well, first of all, while Canada has nuclear power plants, we do not have nuclear weapons, or heavy bombers or ICBMs to deliver them.  Also, I don’t think it’s a good idea for ‘us’ to give ours up, if ‘the other guy’ doesn’t give his up.”  She replied, “That’s what this is all about.”

“No, the petition is for UNILATERAL action.  That means that we do, but they don’t.”  Almost crying, she blurted, “That’s not right!”  “No, it isn’t, but that’s what you were in such a hurry to sign up for.” and I watched the crowd dwindle before walking away.

After an 18-month hiatus, caused by a poor choice of restaurant, I recently attended a relocated Free Thinkers’ Sunday brunch. Somehow, they were conned into allowing a World Peace representative to give a ‘little’ talk.  He promised that it would be just a 15-minute AV presentation, but maundered on for over half an hour, killing most of my chances to interact with the other attendees.

First he attacked NATO. Up until 1991, they were a defense against Russia, and the Communist Bloc.  When they lost their raison d’etre, they just became big bullies, and spread out all over the world.  Now they were in Africa, and Asia, invading countries.

Then he segued to the United States, another big bully. The American General who was the liaison to NATO was recalled to the Pentagon.  How our mumbler would know this, I don’t know, but he told the possibly apocryphal story that, on his first morning, NATO guy was approached by another, excited General, who asked if he’d heard “The Plan” yet.

It seems that there was a list of 7 countries that the US would invade over the following 5 years.  He couldn’t seem to keep his facts and/or accusations straight.  First he claimed that they were to be invaded for their oil, then it became just so that America could show its power, and control them.

It turned out that the US only went into 6 of the 7. I don’t know or care who produces oil, but I’m sure of one, and suspicious of another, that they don’t.  Of course, that still leaves him his ‘bully excuse.’

Then he turned on Israel. The US didn’t need to invade, because they already controlled it.  I was going to ask how much oil Israel had, but I remembered that, also about 1991, the Prime Minister of Israel complained, “The Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years, and when Moses finally led them to their promised land, he picked the one spot in the region with no oil under it.”  And then, a couple of years later, a bit of oil was discovered offshore of their north-western tip.

If the Jews would just ignore those guys in the Gaza, who threw 18,000 rockets at them, and hid behind women and children, all would be peaceful. The Arabs pushed the Jews out of the region in a diaspora, centuries ago, but when the United Nations gave them back a little bit of territory, he felt sorry for the displaced Palestinians, and could support them in their frustration when they promised to use violence to push the Jews back into the sea.

It didn’t even surprise me when he became an apologist for North Korea, going through Libya and Iran to get there. Peter Paranoid Peacenik claimed that both Muammar Khadafy and Saddam Hussein had been threatened by the US, to give up their weapons of mass destruction.  They had given them up, and America had still invaded, and ruined both countries.  Kim Young Psychopath looks at this and sees what happens to countries that disarm, and decides to keep his nuclear weapons – strictly for peaceful protection.

Neither Khadafy nor Hussein, quietly, peacefully or obediently, gave up their weapons of mass destruction.  Libya didn’t even have them.  What they had, were training camps for terrorists, to spread death and mayhem among the Western, Christian countries.  Libya provided money, food, weapons, training and false documents, until a coalition of countries used bombers to convince Khadafy that it was not a good idea.

While Hussein didn’t have the WMDs that George W. was led to believe he had, he very un-peacefully used regular weapons to invade Kuwait, and set fire to hundreds of oil wells, before the United Nations-led coalition forced the Iranians out.

It’s difficult to understand how someone like this could acquire and justify these points of view. Is it ‘White Man’s Burden’, or is it just wishful thinking and terminal stupidity?  The pacifist, Neville Chamberlain returned to England from Berlin in 1938, claiming to have achieved “Peace for our time”, but instead, embroiled most of the Western World in 6 years of nasty war.

‘We,’ – our countries, our militaries, our politicians – are far from perfect (and Donald Trump is pushing the envelope), but I’d far sooner live with/under them, because I can live with them, and not be exterminated simply for having the wrong race, religion or skin color.  I’m not stupid.  🙄

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I Confess

confession-box

I went to confession after a long break I was feeling depressed, and life wasn’t going so well, when walking down the street I passed the church. It had been many years since I went to church, and just as long since I last went to the confessional. Perhaps, I thought, getting right with God would help fix my life.

I went into the church, and the dim light and smell of incense brought it all back. I headed for the confession booth and went straight in. Wow, things had changed in all those years.

There was a comfy chair, a small screen TV, the Wi-Fi password. Then I opened the cupboard and inside was a bottle of fine malt scotch, and some cigars! Suddenly the door opened and the priest appeared, and he said sharply “Get out, you’re on my side!”

Or maybe that guy is confessing because….

A thief in Paris planned to steal some paintings from the Louvre. After careful planning, he got past security, stole the paintings, and made it safely to his van. However, he was captured only two blocks away when his van ran out of gas.

When asked how he could mastermind such a crime and then make such an obvious error, he replied: “Monsieur, that is the reason I stole the paintings. I had no Monet to buy Degas to make the Van Gogh.”

***

THE LAST SUPPER

And it came to pass that they were having a glass or two of vino. Jesus looked but only saw 11 disciples. Yet in the place of Judas was a six pack of Guinness.
“What is that?”
“That´s Judas´ carry out” replied James.
“Will he be along later?”
“I doubt it,” said Thomas.
“What about some music? Peter you are the Rock star. Play some heavy metal.”
And Lo, Peter did play some Nine Inch Nails.
“Why are you dressed in all of those dark clothes?” asked Jesus.
“I thought it was a Black Sabbath,” said Mathew, Mark, Luke and John.
It was a great night, though later on Peter let himself down a bit; you should never wait up for the cock.
And in the morning, Jesus Swept.

***

Texas
The Sheriff pulled up next to the guy unloading garbage out of his pick-up into the ditch. The Sheriff asked, “Why are you dumping garbage in the ditch? Don’t you see that sign right over your head.”

“Yep,” he replied. …. “That’s why I’m dumpin’ it here
’cause it says: …. ‘Fine For Dumping Garbage.’ “

***

Ole was talking with his brother Sven, who lived next door, when Sven said, “Ya know Ole, you and Lena should really get some new curtains.” “Vy’s dat?” Ole asked. “Vel last night I saw you and Lena, vel you know…” Ole thought for awhile, then said, “Ha-ha Sven, da yokes on you! I vasn’t even home last night!”

***

On a recent lunch hour, I decided to take a walk down by the harbor. A big wave washed a lawyer off the dock, and he was drowning. Now I was stuck with a moral dilemma. Do I just ignore it, and continue with my lunch – or stay here and watch?

***

 

WOW #19

Icon

Iconoclastic

Definitions for iconoclastic
attacking or ignoring cherished beliefs and long-held traditions, etc., as being based on error, superstition, or lack of creativity:
an iconoclastic architect whose buildings are like monumental sculptures.
breaking or destroying images, especially those set up for religious veneration.

Origin of iconoclastic

Iconoclastic is an adjective derived from the nouns iconoclasm “image smashing” and iconoclast “image smasher.” The Greek noun eikn means “image, likeness,” whether a painting or a statue; -clast and -clastic- derive from the Greek adjective klastós “broken in pieces.” The most famous instance of iconoclasm began under the Byzantine emperor Leo III the Isaurian (c680–741). It lasted from about 726 to 787 and was partly based on the injunction against graven images in the Hebrew Bible (the second of the Ten Commandments recorded in Exodus and Deuteronomy). A second period of iconoclasm occurred in Switzerland, the Holy Roman Empire, France, and elsewhere in Western Europe in the 16th century during the Protestant Reformation. Iconoclastic entered English in the 17th century. The modern nonreligious, secular sense arose in the 19th century.

I’ve never really been one to follow the rank and file; especially when I found that ‘rank’ means having a foul, offensive odor, and ‘file’ is an abrasive tool.  To the Brits, a ‘file’ can be a sly, cunning, or artful person, like Oliver Twist’s Artful Dodger pickpocket.  I’ve known a lot of foul-smelling, abrasive, dodgy tools in my time.  I did it my way, long before Frank Sinatra sang about it.

I tried to be part of the sheep herd, but, even before I was out of short pants, I realized that their baa-ing didn’t describe reality. I was a goat among the sheep, and I was often made the goat, when I pointed that out.

Respect politicians??! They put on their bullied, bought, coerced and cozened pants, one nepotistic leg at a time, the same as honest people.  Even the few who start out with the best of intentions, soon are turned rotten or disillusioned.

Respect police??! The people whose enforcement of the laws tends to make them believe that there are two sets of laws, one for you and me, and another (complete with free passes) for them?  I respect the work they do and the Police Forces, but it’s hard to respect a group of folks which include testosterone-soaked alpha-males who severely beat citizens – not criminals, not even suspects, but innocent civilians – simply because they do not immediately, and unquestioningly, obey illegal commands.

I have unkind thoughts and words for officers who take a 6-pack of beer along on a midnight patrol. I regard as unsafe, but typically entitled, an officer who flicks on his cruiser’s lights and siren to skate through a red light, and turns them off again a block later, to turn into a coffee/donut shop.

Save the best for last, because, even the definition emphasises it – RELIGION – which, in this area, means all the many different, mutually incorrect branches of Christianity.   Whether by Atheists, Jews, Muslims, or just another Christian sect, any time the particular and peculiar aspects of any given denomination are questioned or contradicted, there is always the outcry that, “You have to respect religious practices.” Why?  You don’t!  What you really mean is that your religious practices should be respected.  The only reason that the assertion is broadly stated, is so that your group is included.

Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part. So also, your faith and reverence does not mean that I must show reverence, when I find your beliefs and ceremonies, rites and rituals to be superstitious, foolish and misguided.  Screw you and your commandment-violating icons and paintings and statues, as you worship and show reverence on the commandment-violating wrong day of the week.

I’m not usually enough of an asshole to go out and actively be Iconoclastic, but when some other asshole proudly shows me “To Serve And Protect”, and I know it’s only to serve his/her own best interests and protect his ass; when someone boasts of their ‘inerrant Bible, or Koran’, or their ‘infallible Pope, or Imam’, then my ‘private opinions’ become a little more public.

A lot of people don’t even form opinions about things that they really should. Many of them hesitate to ‘rock the boat’ by disagreeing.  I’ve never had that problem.  I will call a spade a fucking shovel, and then use it to dig out of the bullshit being spread.   😯

Dazed And Confused Op-Ed

Extra Extra

PRAY! BUT TO WHOM?

Re: ‘Pray for everyone in Florida-Sept. 11

Who would not want to respond to the heartfelt cry from Florida Gov. Rick Scott? It calls to us again in this harrowing description of Irma’s relentless advances, indeed a terrifying and devastating onslaught.

Pray! But to whom?

The U.S. Supreme Court has banned prayer in schools. In Canada, courts found that the use of The Lord’s Prayer in schools infringed on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Defining the above rulings, as has been done, to mean that teaching religion in school is illegal, teaching about religion in school is legal, has excited argument rather than agreement.

Veteran education journalist Linda K. Wertheimer has written a book, “Faith Ed: Teaching About Religion in an Age of Intolerance.” She explores the diversity of cultures and religions as they meet in the classrooms and community, with many stories of teacher-pupil episodes, as well as parents getting involved.  Pray! But To Whom?  That’s a book I plan to read.

Cora Wright

Cambridge

***

Pray Where?

Cora Wright’s Sept. 16 letter confuses and disappoints. “Pray! But To Whom?”  Doesn’t she know?  A clergyman could direct her.

Perhaps she could pray to an English teacher, who would help her differentiate between ‘where’, and ‘to whom.’ She expends much ink and angst, listing public places where the Christian religion may not be monopolistically imposed on the multicultural population.  She fails to mention her chosen place of worship, the privacy of her home, or the sanctity of her own mind.

As for whom she may pray to, in these locations she is free to pray to God, or Yahweh or Allah or Zeus or Odin, or The Flying Spaghetti Monster. It doesn’t really matter.  The observed results are all indistinguishable from random chance.

Yours truly

Grumpy Old (logical, freethinker) Archon

***

Aside from my negating arguments above, here in Ontario, in schools run by the Catholic School Board, teaching religion is still legal, although this unique privilege is being considered for cancellation. Catholic schools accept non-Catholic students (to increase their declining enrollment-generated Government grants), but they, and even Catholic students, are allowed to opt out of religious studies.

In both the American, and Canadian rulings, what has been banned is the exclusive use of Christian prayers, to the omission of all other religions.

While her letter seems to show her as open-minded, she puts a lot of energy into the Christian faith.  She may be surprised and disappointed when she finds that Wertheimer’s book doesn’t treat Christianity as an only child.

***

Someone else had a Word to say.

Pray? What For?

Re: Trump’s National Day of Prayer

If we are to believe our religious friends, everything that happens is the handiwork of their all-powerful God. If this were true, it would be logical to assume that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma were the creations of their omnipotent and loving God.

With this in mind, I find it difficult to understand the declaration by Donald Trump of a National Day of Prayer, following Hurricane Harvey. It is a mystery to me what the prayers are meant to accomplish.  The devastation and destruction having already occurred to lives and property, it seems illogical to appeal through prayer to the very entity that created these hurricanes, guided their paths, and allowed said devastation and destruction to happen.

It is noteworthy that Trump did not declare a second National Day of Prayer following Hurricane Irma. Perhaps he was not impressed with God’s response to the first one.  😳

 

Frankly, A Great Challenge

Footprints Challenge

AFrankAngle has issued a fiction challenge. He is asking his readers to take the above photo, compose a 150 word story about it, and link to his post.  Stop over there to see what he, and others, have written about footsteps in the sand.  Here is my offering.

FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND

Bobby was almost six. A fisherman’s son, he lived on an island off the Carolina coast. He’d had an argument with his Mom.  He wasn’t going to blindly obey her rules any more.  He would run away from home, and live on his own.

He packed what he thought he’d need, and marched down to the shore. The mainland was a blur, and he couldn’t run a boat.  Fine, he’d find a spot in the grass or trees to live.  With his driftwood ‘staff’, he trudged up the beach.

No suitable spot appeared, so he kept slogging – on and on. He finally came around a headland….and there was the dock again.  There was the big log on the beach – and somebody was sitting on it.  It was his Mom.  She just held out her arms and said, “Lunch is almost ready.”

Oh well, he could run away some other time.

Footprints Victory

For Frank, and others, I also offer the story of a devout man who died and went to Heaven. Before God actually ushered him in, He showed him his life with God.  The man saw it as a walk along the shore with God – two parallel lines of footprints in the sand.

At certain spots in his life, there was only one set of prints. When he looked closer, he realized that these had been the hardest times of his life.  He said to God, “How could You have abandoned me when I most needed You?”  God replied, “My child, those were the times when I carried you.”

The Smartest People Say The Dumbest Things

atheist-i-am

Perhaps tired of having ‘God’ and Christianity shoved down their throats, in their Government, and into their schools, many Atheists, agnostics and free-thinkers can become a little bit testy and aggressive.

The older, wiser, calmer leaders of the movements often advise the firebrands not to call Christians or Christianity stupid. “They’ll just try harder to defend their position.  You’ll never change their minds with insults.”

Personally, I’d settle for ‘Live And Let Live.’ Minds are not going to change, not when a well-known scientist, a PhD in Paleontology, who knows about evolution and that the Earth is really 4.5 billion years old, says that, when he goes home, he believes that the world is only 6000 years old, because that’s what his religion tells him, despite scientific evidence to the contrary.

If the above admonition is to be taken seriously, then, the smartest people in the world say the dumbest things. There is a group of people, both professional and amateur, known as Christian Apologetics, from the Greek word ‘apologia’, meaning speaking in defense.

They make it their crusade to provide answers for questions, and explanations for the doubts, of non-believers. They could be named Pretzels, for the mental gymnastics and theosophical knots they tie themselves in, trying to buttress their blind faith.

Some of their claims are amazing, and just mind-numbing.
Atheists really believe in God, but they don’t believe in Satan, so that they can sin.

Yin Yang

This is like believing in Bugs Bunny, but not Elmer Fudd – Sonny, without Cher – salt, but no pepper, or Yin, with no Yang! They come in matched sets.  Belief in one of them enforces the need to believe in the other.

BTW, nice backhand insult, that Atheists sin….because we all know that believers in God never sin.

Atheists are angry at God for something He did, and deny His existence.

This is dumber than the first one. If I believed in ‘God’, to be angry at Him, I’d believe in His omniscience, and know that, even if something happened that angered me, He works in mysterious ways, and it would be for my good, or the good of all.

Even if I were angry at God, I’d still believe in His power, and know that denying Him would result in everlasting torment. This is like a five-year-old, running around with his fingers in his ears, yelling La La La.  Mommy will still spank.  Angry or not, I gotta believe.

Atheists really believe in God, they just don’t know they do.

This one confuses the Hell out of me – so to speak. Does this mean that, even if I deny that God exists, I still get to go to Heaven??  If that’s the case, what’s the fuss?

If someone showed you proof that God existed, would you believe in Him then?
Duh! That’s what this dispute is all about, but nobody’s done it, in 2000 years.  Atheists and Agnostics are not petulant children, rebelling simply for the attention.  This belief by ‘smart’ Christians, simply shows how foolishly desperate they are.

A female phoned in to The Atheist Experience podcast, and asked, “If Y’all don’t believe in God, then who do you worship?” She was told that Atheists don’t believe in deities, so they don’t worship any. “Then y’all worship Satan.” They told her that they did not believe in either God or Satan, so they didn’t worship either. “Well, my preacher told me that, if y’all don’t worship God, then you worship Satan.” The one moderator said, “Then he lied to you.” and thereby made a mistake.  He had no more proof that the preacher had actually, intentionally lied, than the preacher had that they worshipped Satan.

“Well, if that ain’t the truth, then why would he have said it?” (Oh, so many reasons!) This gave the moderator a chance to retract his earlier gaffe.  “He may have been in error.  He may have wrongly believed something that someone else told him, but he does not know, and he has no right to make claims about who Atheists may, or may not, worship.”

A recent post that I read, attributed Christians’ belief in an ‘Assault On Christianity,’ to the rise of the internet, but the Information Age stretches back even further than that.  As long as any religion could fester in its own dark little private hole, like the five-year-old above, they could close their eyes, plug their ears and pretend that they were the only, or at least the most important.

Now that TV, movies, videos and all the other new social media keep displaying the fact that there is a large majority of other people on Earth with contrary opinions, insecurity sets in, and they get their particular emotional/religious crutch kicked out from under them.  This ‘new assault’ isn’t new. It’s been there all along.  They’ve just never had it brought to their attention, or had to face it. 😯

I don’t believe that all Christians are stupid….but some of them say real dumb shit!

manure

Smitty’s Loose Change #4

Smitty's Loose Change

In my (ARCH)ON The Road Again post, I wrote of buying our first brand-new car, a Kia Sorento. After the first three months, we got a call to take it in for its first (free) oil change.  When the son arrived at the dealer, he was told that there had been a recall, which we wouldn’t have received notice of yet.  While one mechanic changed the oil, another installed a new hatch lock/latch.

SDC10992

After another three months, we got another phone call. That’s right!  A real, live person!  This time when the son arrived, he was again told that there had been another recall we weren’t aware of.  This time it was the ball-joints.  A hatch popping open, I can live with.  Steering malfunctions are a little more serious.

The ‘04 Chevy Impala we got rid of had just been recalled for ignition switches that could fail at speed. This factory-fresh Sorento has had two recalls before it is 6 months old.  I don’t know whether to worry about what else can go wrong, or appreciate how quickly Kia caught the problems and corrected them.

Any of you guys had vehicles that were recalled??

***

I was loath(cct) to vote for….  I found this snippet in a newspaper.  Despite typing (cct) in, in small letters, every search engine I used insisted on capitalizing it, and giving me lists of acronyms (that weren’t actually acronyms).  Acronyms form ‘words’ – radar, loran, snafu.  These were all initialismsCCTColombia Cocaine Trade.

After an hour of fruitless searching, I was forced to believe that the (cct), apparently meaning ‘correct’, was put after the word ‘loath’, the way that ‘misteaks’ (sic) are noted. It is another sad commentary on the level of public comprehension, that a correct word has to have a special sign on it, to tell the trolls that it is, in fact, correct.

***

If I really had an open mind, surely someone would have put something into it by now.

***

Religious happiness might be a bit like the state of euphoria some people get from taking drugs. It’s not real, but it’s good while it lasts. And also like using drugs or alcohol, some people become happy and good natured and others are mean drunks.

***

On Valentine’s Day I looked out at the mulberry tree in my back yard. I thought I saw a robin.  A robin?  On Feb 14th?  Just then, from a higher branch, I saw the flutter of scarlet wings.  Ah, a cardinal, not often seen this close….  But is the ‘robin’ merely a slightly duller red, female cardinal??

I asked the wife to bring her eyes glasses, and come check.  She dislodged a cat, and folded up her laptop.  By the time we both looked out the window again, there were eight (8! count ‘em, 8!) robins bunched in the tree, four bright males and four females.

I’ve never seen eight robins in one place anywhere. I can only assume that they were discussing Donald Trump, and the wall they thought he’d erected between Canada and the US, which prevented them from flying south.

Spring is coming, my lovelies. 😀  Arncha glad?