Sunday, December 29, 2013

Friday, October 25, 2013

Regarding the Idiot Box.


Photograph taken at art installation @ Burning Man 2005.

Monday, October 14, 2013

"If you can't determine right from wrong, then you lack empathy, not religion."

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

This Film Will Flutter (And Fade To Black)


.  .  .


Behind us: nothing; we come in through a door.

The game is very much already in progress.

We haven't heard of Galileo - so we think we are the center.

We are dealt a hand.

Off we go with our notebooks trying to make sense.

We hear stories.

When they make us feel good and capture our imaginations we fill our blank pages with them.

The others have been here longer - they must know what this is about.

One hears amazing legends of gods, warriors and princesses; the powers of ghosts and stars.

We don't want to say things that will get frowned upon, that isolate us, and remind us that we stumbled upon this place by accident.
Fit in. Being alone can be scary.


Eventually we stumble upon the Animal Facts.
Sex, and its possibilities compartmentalized.
And that other carefully disguised truth: that there is an exit door to all this that we will each face at some point ~ time and place: unknown (surprise!) - located somewhere under the powerful wheels of Time.

Entertainments are rolled out - like magic tricks,
sleight of hand, drawing away attention.
Grand creations to participate in and mundane distractions to consume.

The summarizing line: This is not an unlimited run in a theater of action, comedy, and tragedy. Lady Luck is the usher here.

This film will flutter - and - fade to black.


[Make of this visit what you will.]

-----------------------------------------------------------

"I won the huge genetic lottery and I get joy every day" 
                                           - Penn Jillette ("This I Believe"/NPR)



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Determine Something






















What is the frame of mind of a human - New York City, 2013 - that they would be drawn to this "Walk-In Special", put down an Alexander Hamilton or more, and have someone determine something from looking at patterns in wet tea leaves.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Depends On How You Look At It


Is this an apparition of Jesus Christ, or [fill in blank],
on a chair in an office where I work.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
“Did Jesus Christ, he asked, suspect that someday his church would spread to the farthest corners of Earth? Did Jesus Christ, he asked, ever have what we, today, call an idea of the world? Did Jesus Christ, who apparently knew everything, know that the world was round and to the east lived the Chinese (this sentence he spat out, as if it cost him great effort to utter it) and to the west the primitive peoples of America? And he answered himself, no, although of course in a way having an idea of the world is easy, everybody has one, generally an idea restricted to one's village, bound to the land, to the tangible and mediocre things before one's eyes, and this idea of the world, petty, limited, crusted with the grime of the familiar, tends to persist and acquire authority and eloquence with the passage of time.” 
                           ~ Roberto Bolaño,  "2666"

Friday, July 12, 2013

Thoughts on Patriotism

The red-white-blue 'n' bar-be-cue (& fireworks) fumes from the 4th of July have faded into the ozone.  Now is a good time to share some thoughts regarding this deeply ingrained mental and emotional disorder called patriotism.

"Imagine there's no countries / It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for / And no religion too." - John Lennon

____
____
______________________


Naturally the common people don’t want war . . . Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders . . . All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism.
– Hermann Goering
______________________________

That worst outcrop of herd life, the military system, which I abhor . . . This plague-spot of civilization ought to be abolished with all possible speed. Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism–how passionately I hate them!
– Albert Einstein
______________________________

How much longer are we going to think it necessary to be “American” before (or in contradistinction to) being cultivated, being enlightened, being humane, & having the same intellectual discipline as other civilized countries? It is really too easy a disguise for our shortcomings to dress them up as a form of patriotism.
– Edith Wharton
______________________________

God and Country are an unbeatable team; they break all records for oppression and bloodshed.
– Luis Buñuel
______________________________

Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts, as a last resource, pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and glad to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.
– Arthur Schopenhauer
______________________________

You’ll never have a quiet world till you knock the patriotism out of the human race.
– George Bernard Shaw
______________________________

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Open Minds, Holes in Parachutes

If You Open Your Mind Too Much,
Your Brain Will Fall Out (Take My Wife) - Tim Minchin

“A mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it is not open.” - Frank Zappa

"If a mind or a parachute are open in such a way that the necessary barriers don't hold, and air flows through them freely - you spiral, dangerously fast, towards a thud." - Zena Koan


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Remembering the Hits, Forgetting the Misses

For the Skepticism 101 curriculum, a brilliantly done advertisement for The Con Academy.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Jesus Done Somebody Wrong

When I came by a few hours later Jesus, his buddies, and that bread and wine had obviously gone to inspire some new home.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Inspiring Words


"The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one." ~ George Bernard Shaw
 

"George Bush says he speaks to god every day, and Christians love him for it. If George Bush said he spoke to god through his hair dryer, they would think he was mad. I fail to see how the addition of a hair dryer makes it any more absurd." ~ Sam Harris

 "The only difference between a cult and a religion is how much real estate they own." ~ Frank Zappa


"Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer," ~ Anonymous 

 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Passover Easter Springtime

A god sent down the-one-who-was-known-by-his-working-name, the Angel of Death, to kill all those particular innocent tots who possessed foreskins, and of course their baby sisters, because these innocents' parents were enslaving the ones he liked best. Pretty basic misdirection of wrath, your honor.

Quite a few episodes later this particular god sends his son down to earth, knowing of course that he'd get killed, the goal being something called redemption, which would somehow enable this god to stop killing enslavers babies in the future.
Lucky for Thomas Jefferson's offspring.

And, as happens only in make-believe, the son beats death and soon after disappears, never to be seen again, except in office furniture, musical numbers, and mostly in that special un-checked inner dialog called faith.

Superstition, social pressure, and spring in the air, is why this time of year is different from other times.
 
As to the election of a new new Pope: if "Napoleon" at Bellevue Hospital had that number of believers he'd be emperor of France.