Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bribe them to attend

If attendance is down at church offer a $20 gas card to pack the pews. Or not…

It sounded enticing, but interest in a free gas giveaway at a Peterborough, Ont., church Sunday was nearly running on empty.

Christian Victory Church was offering $20 gift cards for gasoline to the first 50 visitors at its Sunday morning service who weren't already part of the congregation.

D’oh – that church must suck.

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Pastor beats wife for a very long time

via Ex-Christian.net


Police say he used to be the pastor at the Freedom Pentecostal Church on Conley Fork in Floyd County, but detectives say behind closed doors he tortured his wife for a decade.
“It's just a horrendous case. It's one of the worst assaults we've seen on a woman in a long time. Sadistic type injuries to this woman of beating with implements and using instruments to actually burn her with and so forth, so it's just a terrible situation,” trooper Mike Goble said.

Sweet… a redneck pastor allegedly beats his wife silly for ten years. Then gets arrested wearing a fundie shirt.

Youth Pastor Ben Boysel arraigned

Van Wert is a pleasant little place. I know several people who claim it as their home, including one woman who attended Trinity United Methodist Church, the scene of this latest crime. Youth pastor Benjamin R. Boysel stands accused of sleeping with 4 girls from his youth group. Each girl was under the age of 18 at the time. I’m a little confused here as the age of consent in Ohio is 16. I wonder if that means each girl was under the age of 16 or was it something else?

Possibly Ohio 2907.03 Sexual battery.

(9) The other person is a minor, and the offender is the other person’s athletic or other type of coach, is the other person’s instructor, is the leader of a scouting troop of which the other person is a member, or is a person with temporary or occasional disciplinary control over the other person.

I find it disturbing that “pastor” is not listed as one of the possible offenders in the code. By now “pastor” and “Catholic priest” should have their own section.

Boysel pleaded not guilty and was released to his parents. I think he has a fair chance at not being convicted. If the girls were over the age of 16 and consented to the relationship, it will be difficult to prove rape. Of course, it’s still not right sleep with the children in your youth group, no matter the age of consent.

And… no mention of the incident of the church website.

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Introducing Logical Prophecy

Please join me in welcoming our newest Atheist Blogroll member, Logical Prophecy.

I am the prophet of logic. I preach the good word of thinking for yourself, and using reasoning in your daily life. Actually, no, I'm Magnamune, and I discuss mostly society on my blog, with a side into Religion. Many people do not understand me when I speak, but when I type it's a little easier.

I always take my point of view in my posts, which is to say the point of view of a sufferer of G.A.D. and general observer. I try to back up my claims with evidence, though on occasion assumptions slip past. If you have a problem with that, I ask you whether you're infallible. If you think society is screw up, check me out. If you think religion is unhealthy in society, check me out. If you disagree with me, check me out and refute my claims, if you can.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Pastor Dean Tarkington guilty

Beautiful downtown Lubbock can add another pedophile pastor to it’s walk of fame. I hear there is a spot near Buddy Holly. Former pastor Dean Richard Tarkington pleaded guilty to charges of attempted possession of child pornography.

Authorities said Tarkington contacted an undercover Louisiana State Police officer posing as a teenager in an Internet chat room in early December. Prosecutors say he sent her a lewd video shot with a church computer webcam, then asked for one from the officer.

10 years in prison… sweet.

Pastor Tommy Shelton arrested

TommyShelton Back in the 1990s Pastor Tommy Shelton worked at the Community Church of God in Fairfax, Kentucky. Two men came forward with a story of sexual abuse from back in the day. Now this 64-year-old man of God needs to explain a story of sodomy and indecent liberties. I wonder what his defense is? Perhaps he was trying to show them the real love of Jesus. Or more likely, this was not about love at all but instead, something base and evil.

In 2008, two men approached Fairfax police and reported that they had been sexually assaulted by Shelton. One man said he had been molested when he was 12 to 14 years old, and the other man said he was 8 to 9 years old when he was molested, police said.

He looks like such a nice grandpa.

Introducing 360 degree skeptic

Please join me in welcoming our newest Atheist Blogroll member, 360 Degree Skeptic.

360 Degree Skeptic applies a skeptical mindset to all areas of life, with special emphasis on religion, psychology, and language use. Every day a new scientific finding is shared and evaluated as a means of modeling and promoting critical thinking skills. 360 Skeptic is authored by a former psychology professor and long-time lover of science, nature, and the written word.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Top 10 photos #10

I started a new personal project a few months ago. I am re-evaluating my top 10 favorite photos. I’ll post them here in descending order along with rationale for each choice. As usual, your comments are welcome. I already gave away #4 in a recent post. I’ll tell that story when I get to it.

My response to good photography is an inquisitive internal dialog that can last decades. The questions can be profound or simple, like for this photo. I asked myself, why is that man crying? I’ve spent many long years looking for a deeper answer.

Num10_NavyCPONavy CPO, Graham Jackson plays "Goin' Home" by photographer Ed Clark

Actually, when I first saw this photo 30-years ago in a high school textbook, the question was, “Why is that bus driver crying?” I did not understand the historical significance of the photo. A kind teacher, now forgotten, spent the better part of his lunch hour explaining the significance of the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt on the American public. He explained that he too had cried upon learning of Roosevelt's death even though he was thousands of miles away fighting a war.

I learned about the importance of iconic photo’s from this image. The lesson stayed with me. Now, by reflex, I look for the story within a photo. I look for real emotion in perfect moments that capture history. I research iconic photos looking for bias and political manipulation. It helps me appreciate truly transformative photography while developing a level of discernment which keeps the political hacks at bay. The nation really mourned for Roosevelt back in 1945 despite what modern-day revisionist Republican political monkeys would have us believe. If they could have their way, pictures like this would just fade away.

This picture was no accident. Ed Clark was a good photographer. His resume describes a remarkable career spanning decades, his photos were a staple of Life Magazine. He died at age 88 in year 2000.

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The fall of the witch hunter

I read a few Wiccan blogs, just like a read few Christian and Islamic blogs. There are a few voices out there who are authentic and if I give them a chance, influence the way I think about the faithful. The Wild Hunt is a one of these blogs.

Since launching “The Wild Hunt” in 2004, Jason Pitzl-Waters has become one of the leading voices for analysis and insight into how modern Pagan faiths are represented within the mainstream media. In addition, “The Wild Hunt” has also conducted in-depth interviews with prominent figures within modern Paganism, academia, and religion journalism. Jason wants to raise the level of discourse and journalism on important issues within the modern Pagan and Heathen communities, while advocating a broader commitment to encouraging religious multiplicity and solidarity (where appropriate) with surviving indigenous and non-monotheistic faith groups.

The wild hunt posted an article about a witch hating youth pastor named Andrew L. Thomas. He’s on trial for allegedly raping a 16-year-old boy.

For while Thomas was allegedly abusing young boys, he was also leading an anti-Pagan crusade in order to drive Witch School out of Rossville, Illinois.

Drop in and give it a read.

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A murderous Wiccan

It’s spring and time for Wiccans to sacrifice unsuspecting males to celebrate Beltane. Angela Sanford killed Joel Leyva with her special silver Wiccan dagger… 13 times.

A woman who claims she was going to perform a Wiccan celebration of spring is accused of using a ritualistic dagger to kill a man she invited to the ceremony

Survival rule #1: Never go drinking on a solstice with a self-proclaimed witch. Especially if she always carries her ritualistic Wiccan dagger.

The Wiccans are distancing themselves

"The Wiccan community has come out on local media outlets stating they do no such things like kill anything or anyone."

So when a Wiccan kills somebody she’s not really a Wiccan… Sound familiar?

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Youth pastor Andrew Thomas arrested

Not much to go on here… Another youth pastor falls.
Andrew Thomas of Rossville faces criminal sexual assault charges.  The charge is more serious because the alleged victim is a teenager, and as a youth minister Thomas is considered someone in a position of trust.  He pleaded not guilty in court Thursday.
He’s a youth pastor in Vermilion county. I’ll have to set up a filter to watch for more info.

Update 5/10/11 - Andrew Thomas was convicted and sent to prison.

My human trafficking experience

While in China these last two weeks, I killed a lot of time sitting in a bar watching CNN and reading my Kindle. I met lots of people this way, mostly non-Chinese travelers who are in Suzhou on business. In the evenings I would see a few prostitutes, but these ladies were obvious and overt in their business practices. The hotel staff made sure we knew who they were, they take great pride in protecting their regulars.

On a Sunday afternoon I found myself at the bar sipping San Pellegrino as I came down from a nasty bout of travelers distress. An older Chinese woman started to talk to me. By “older” I mean early 30s. Most people in Suzhou are so young that a 35-year-old woman is an oddity. The conversation was cordial. For 30 minutes we talked about California, China, my profession and travel. I thought she was a business traveler. It turned out she was sizing me up for an offer.

Things changed near the end of our conversation. I think she assumed I was unmarried because I was not wearing a wedding ring. She asked if I would like a Chinese bride. I told her no, but she persisted anyway. I’m paraphrasing here but I think it is close to what I remember… I could have my choice of brides from a lineup of girls. All came with papers attesting to their age (18 or older) and their medical purity (virginity). If I agreed to marry a girl, they claim she would move to America as soon as the paperwork cleared (about a year).  All I had to do was put up a few thousand dollars to help pay off the bureaucrats and to defer her living expenses while waiting for her visa to clear. She suggested $250 per month.

At this point my favorite bartender leaned over and said, "It’s a scam”. I smiled and said “Of course.” The term “Duh” does not translate very well.

The woman was escorted out of the bar by what passes for big scary hotel security guards. I never saw her again.

The scam… You pay a “few thousand dollars” for a bride chosen from a lineup of attractive local women (prostitutes). You marry one in a local ceremony (big mistake), and then you pay thousands of dollars helping to support a woman who will never make her way to America. $25o a month is enough to support a small family in China. When you add a computer and a cell phone (to help communicate), English lessons (you need to talk, right?) and a few gifts, well you can rack up some big numbers. And if by chance your wife makes it to America… get a good lawyer.

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SLOG: Youth pastor and pimp Clinton Danner

SLOG’s Youth Pastor Watch is a great way to keep up with hypocrites. This week Dan Savage reported on Clinton Danner. The wayward youth pastor who pimped his wife out for extra income.

ClintonDanner He initially forced her to have sex with strangers in Minnesota, but over the last six months “branched out,” sending her to New York, Georgia, Washington D.C. and Illinois, Antonietti said.

He’d often travel with her and their 3-year-old daughter, living out of a van while she was forced to prostitute herself, Antonietti added.

Danner used Craigslist to find sex partners for his young wife.

I have a quest for my readers: Find the church where Clinton Danner was the youth pastor. The prize… I offer a first ever guest post on Deep Thoughts.

A music teacher falls

DavidLanham Follow me on this one… David Solomon Lanham turned himself in for molesting children at the Royal Child Academy, a day-care facility in Alcala, Florida. Lanham was the music teacher.

…Lanham told the judge he did not have any money and only owned a car. He was given a public defender, and bail was set at $255,000 for multiple charges that include lewd and lascivious conduct, exhibition, molestation and child abuse.

The victims are 5 to 11 years old.

The Royal Child Academy sit on the same property as Open Door Community Church. They share a parent corporation EBM International (cache). Lanham was listed as a worship leader and design coordinator. The senior pastor at Open Door Community Church, Gerald Bustin, contacted the police about alleged abuses. His own child may have been a victim.

David Lanham was fired after the allegations surfaced. When a pastor’s child is the victim, justice is swift.

Note to the faithful: When your music director is arrested for molesting young children, don’t take your website down. Engage with your community. It is the honest thing to do.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Photographer Jim Marshall has died

74 no longer sounds ancient to me. It's the age of the next generation. It is too near to feel far away. Time moves too quickly.


Jim Marshall is dead. I was a fan. On my list of top 10 photos ever taken, Jim Marshall's photo of Johnny Cash flipping the bird finger is number 4. He took an amazing number of good photos in his career. I had a secret desire to meet the man.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Youth Pastor David Esarey convicted

Baptist youth pastor David Esarey was convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl.  

David Esarey mouthed the words, "I love you," to his sobbing wife and then shrugged after a Superior Court jury of three men and three women found him guilty of second-degree sexual assault, promoting a minor in an obscene performance, possession of child pornography and three counts of risk of injury to a minor.

He faces up to 95 years in prison when he is sentenced

Esarey waited to have sex with his wife until they were married. Then he stalked and assaulted a 15-year-old girl. These predators are an odd lot. It does not reconcile how  can they live two lives, an honorable public life and an decrepit private life. It reminds me of serial killers I've read about. They assume the role of loving husbands yet at times are horrible butchers, their wives completely unaware. I wonder if his wife knew?

I'd love to blame Baptists, but I see it too often in other religions. What motivates a man, a pastor no less, to take advantage of a young girl like this? I'll never know.

Many of you know I'm in China on a business trip. Each night I sit at a bar drinking soda water (wink, wink) and talking with my friends. We also talk to a half dozen beautiful young girls who work the bar and restaurant floor each night, all around 22 or 23. I'm near 50 now, when I look at these girls I see young women the age of my children and in need of protection, not girls ready for conquest. I see them through the eyes of a father. I recognize they are beautiful, but my thoughts don't go down the road of sexual conquest. I think I'm normal in this mindset, at least by comparison to my friends. When I read about youth pastors like Esarey, I recoil. Their actions are horrible. I keep looking for a common thread. I think I've found it… power over others. Power and the autonomy granted to those in clergy can lead to corruption of the worst sort. Teachers, pastors, and counselors, they all have this type of power. Why do they choose to abuse it?

Youth Pastor Dwight Bullock arrested

I can't post pictures right now. I want to so badly… This guy is friggen creepy. Follow this link. Check out his mug shot. When I first saw it I thought of Kinko the kid loving clown.

Jasper Police arrested a local youth minister Friday and charged him with possession of marijuana and one count of aggravated sexual assault of a child.

Dwight L. Bullock was arrested Friday by Jasper police while conducting an investigation into multiple child molestation allegations. Bullock is a youth leader at Moore Chapel CME Church, located on South Bowie.

"It appears he sought out children from dysfunctional families as his victims." That's a line that I'm starting to hear more an more in these cases.

Bullock is a youth pastor at Moore Chapel CME Church.

China and diabetes

The hotel I stay at while in China sets across the street from a beautiful central park. On the weekends, families gather to play on the various attractions. In the late afternoon they migrate to the hotel with children in tow to enjoy a discount buffet dinner. The odd thing is, most of the children are fat, and by fat I mean fat by American standards. It got me wondering about diabetes. I did some research, China is the new diabetes capital.

For each person, doctors measured blood sugar levels up to two hours after subjects had swallowed a sugar solution or, in cases where diabetes was suspected, eaten a bun. Because people with diabetes can't use the sugar in their blood effectively, a high blood sugar level indicates disease.

Based on their findings, the researchers calculate that about 50 million men and 42 million women have diabetes, or almost 1 in 10 adults. And in most cases, the disease is undiagnosed.

Could it be the ubiquitous McDonalds, Burger Kings, Pizza Huts, and KFC restaurants that clog every commercial complex? It follows that when they start to eat like Americans they start to look like Americans too. I lose weight every time I visit China, as much as 10 pounds on some trips. I eat native Chinese food. It's 85% protein and vegetables with some rice and noodles. I keep thinking I should eat like this back home. It might help.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

A visit to Tong Li

I became a tourist attraction in the Suzhou area ancient town of Tong Li, which is known as the Venice of the east. The town has a history covering 1000 years. I can testify to this because I visited Tong Li's History of Sex museum and wondered at their magnificent ancient phallus collection. It was uplifting…

I sat in a boat for a tour of the canals. I've described it like visiting Disneyland's It's a Small World only the dolls have cameras and chase you along the canals taking your picture. I attracted an enormous amount of attention. Just call me Joe Buddha from here on out. Everyone was calling me the smiling Buddha or just Buddha or simply pointing and saying the Chinese equivalent of golly gee wilikers. It got to where I was asked to wave for the cameras as I rode along in the boat. I was the attraction. Never mind the 1000 year old city passing by behind me. The Chinese yokes wanted Mojoey. When the boat ride ended, I was cornered by school children asking for pictures.

I'd love to go back, but only like Michael Jackson did when visiting Disneyland. He went after hours and had the whole park to himself. I did not enjoy my visit. I highly recommend it for anyone who is normal sized, has dark hair and does not have a beard. Since I have all three, there is no way to simply enjoy the scenery without being mobbed. Of course, visiting the History of Sex Museum did not help my cause. Now they all think I'm a big fat fair haired and bearded sex fiend.

Good times… Remind me to post about Chinese karaoke bars. I thought I had entered the twilight zone.

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Christ sure pays

When I read stories about pastors living large like Bishop Anthony Jinwright, the first thing that pops into my head is scam. Why would a pastor need 18 cars over a 8 year span, including a Bentley GT and a Mayback 57? How is this Christ like? Did Jesus ride a Mach 5 donkey? Jinwright and his congregation have the message all wrong. You might ask why I care? I'm an Atheist, what does the lavish live of a religious person have to do with me?  I have a couple of reasons to back up my position. Hear me out.

First, I know a scam when I see one. The parishioners at Jinwright's church may not realize it, but they are foolishly wasting money. They might as well be flushing it down the toilet. To pay anyone a millions of dollars run a church is a first class scam. I don't know, does it mean something to have the most well paid pastor on the block? is this about what the Jones pay their pastor? Or is this something worse? Is this a greedy man and his wife sucking the lifeblood out of his parishioners for his base carnal pleasures. It's a scam…

I judge bad pastors by the good Christians I know. And let me tell you, the good Christians I know don't drive Bentley GTs. They work hard, try to help those who are less fortunate, and try to live a good life. Fiscal responsibility is a trait most of them share.  I don't see it here. Lavish lifestyles and tax evasion, it is a scene right ouf of a1930s gangster movie, only the substance of choice is prayer instead of bootleg rum.

Check out the excess:

Anthony Jinwright received more than $4.1 million from 2001 through 2007 from the church, according to the indictment. His salary in 2007 was about $300,000, prosecutors allege. He also got a housing allowance, which increased from nearly $130,000 in 2001 to more than $160,000 in 2007, and annual bonuses totaling about $125,000.

The indictment alleges that Harriet Jinwright got more than $1.2 million from the church during the same time, including a $175,000 salary in 2007, anniversary bonuses ranging from $2,000 to $11,000, and a travel allowance of almost $25,000 in 2001.

The indictment says the couple lived a lavish lifestyle. They've leased 18 cars since 2001, the indictment says, including a Bentley GT worth $175,232, a Maybach 57 valued at $244,182 and a Rolls-Royce Phantom worth $352,500. The couple also are accused of using unreported income to buy a $990,000 house on Lake Norman and to lease a $3.7 million house elsewhere.

Check their bathroom. I bet their commode has gilded seats.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Youth pastor Jeff Wasley convicted

Youth pastor Jeffrey Alan Wasley or "Magic Jeff", or Jeff the kid loving magician, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography. He will spend 20 years in Federal prison and face the rest of his life on probation.

"This case is a sobering reminder that there are troubled and dangerous people in our community who will go to great lengths to gain sexual access to our children," U.S. Attorney Sally Yates said in a written statement released after Wasley pleaded guilty to one count of child pornography.

Pastor Wasley used to sneak in to public bathrooms with a video camera to secretly tape young boys peeing. His computers had tens of thousands of images of child porn, plus hundreds of videos he made himself. All of this on the side. His real calling was molesting children while performing magic tricks. the guy is a freak. He prompted one of my top ten rules: Never let you kids go to a public restroom alone, especially in cities with three or more Baptists churches or magical youth ministers.

Read more about Magic Jeff here.


Caipirinha and new friends

I tried a new drink last night at a party held at the Renaissance hotel in Suzhou, Caipirinha, the national cocktail of Brazil. It's made from Cachaca, sugar and lemon. It's delicious but packs a heavyweight punch. I only had one. My friends drank several... to their peril. The Cachaca was 60% alcohol by volume, which made it impossibly strong, but the sugar hid the alcohol content so it went down easy. I watched as several of my friends slipped into an alcohol induced daze. I decided to stick to my scotch. We were at a social event, it was best to not get fall down drunk.

I met a Brit while watching a cute floor show (Think 6 year old girl doing modern dance). As the night wore on and our tongues loosened, he said the inevitable line, "You don't seem like a typical American." I had to laugh. I hear it all the time. He was referring to my quiet and friendly disposition in a backhanded aren't-all-Americans-assholes kind of way. I let it pass not wanting to stir up trouble in such a nice social setting. He went on to comment on our religiosity. He mentioned that most Brit's were not religious but tend toward atheist or agnostic, or just not interested. He talked about American fundamentalism and the rise of the religious right. He talked at me for a long time before stopping to ask if he had offended me. I told him no, and added that I was a rare American atheist, well not so rare now a days as there seems to be more of us every day. He commented on the American atheist movement and on how vibrant our online blogging community was. He mentioned reading the Friendly Atheist and Atheist Revolution. I bought him a drink at that point and then told him I write an Atheist themed blog called Deep Thoughts. He looked at me strangely for a few seconds and then said, "Are you Mojoey?" When I said "yes" he jumped up and gave me a big man hug. It is such a small world. It turns out he's been a reader for five years. We've corresponded. How weird is that?

His last comment to me… "You're not kidding about being a big friendly guy…" Ha! we are all big and friendly when you have your beer goggles on!

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Youth pastor Shane Horning sentenced

Youth Pastor Shane Horning was sentenced to a year in jail and five years probation, but was given credit for time served so he will see no more jail time. Plus, he does not have to register as a sex offender becuase "he felt remorseful". Someboy is drinking the coolaid.
The sentence was part of a negotiated plea between prosecutors and Horning, which allows him to not have to register as a sex offender, according to Horning's defense attorney Fred Thiagarajah. Horning has no prior sex offenses on his record, and immediately admitted to the crimes, Thiagarajah said.
At least he lost his job. I wonder if he will become a Baptist? They hire convicted child molesters all the time.

Eat those chicken bones

My team was invited out for Japanese food in Suzhou last night. I was told it would be sushi, and there was some sushi, but most of the food was stuff I’ve never had before served in a style called Yakatori. Basically, if they can put it on a stick, we ate it. So aside from the chicken livers, hearts and other odd bits. I ate a whole bunch of stuff that was new to me, like a dish they called chicken bones. I’m not sure where the meat came from, it might have been comb, or parts of the chicken feet, but it was a chewy mess. Good though, but hard on the teeth. It was like eating chicken flavored soft rocks.


I also tried Yukke, which is raw sliced beef. It was served chilled with a raw egg mixture for dipping. The texture and flavor were perfect, but I could not see eating it in large quantities. There is something about eating raw beef that I find unsettling.


Another interesting meal combination was grilled fish (Yakizakana) stuffed with roe. You eat it head and all. It was delicious, but different enough that I had to stifle a gage response at the initial smell. We also had a eight inch long fist that looked a little like a small mackerel cooked whole. You had to pull the meat out in long strips so that the bones were gently peeled away from the meat. I enjoyed this dish. I’ll post a picture of it when I am able.


We drank a tall bottle of sake and a few beers each.  The ritualized toasts are still hard to understand, but after a few bottles of hot sake it no longer mattered. My team looks a little the worse for wear this morning, plus we must do it all over again tonight. Travel is hell.


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Saturday, March 13, 2010

It is a small world

I ran into a lady I knew 20 years ago in a different job. This happens all the time and all over the place. This time she sat next to me on a flight between LA and San Francisco. We caught up in the hour we sat together. She remembered me, knew my name even. I thought she looked like somebody I used to know. She was a fat happy grandma now and a frustrated office manager back in the day.

She remarked that I had not changed much, still big, burly and friendly. I had to laugh.

We intend to friend each other on facebook.

Sent from my mobile device

Friday, March 12, 2010

China here I come

I'm making my second trip to China this year on Saturday. The long flight kills me, but now that I have a Kindle, I'm sure it will fly by. I got the Kindle DX because I'm XXL myself. It works.

I had a hell of a time blogging on my last trip in January. I think I have that problem solved. I'll just email in the updates. But I have a trick or two up my sleeve, just in case.

I'm torn over the idea of bringing my Nikon along. I had zero free time on my last trip. I don't want to take the risk of damaging my camera, but I would hate to miss an opportunity to take some good shots. Ah... if only I had some free time. Suzhou is such an interesting place. I could have fun, but I know that the project management work that I do will consume almost every hour of my day and most of my nights. Plus, I have to do interviews... I hate interviews. It's never fun.

Oh well, I'm off for two weeks in the middle kingdom.

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He's not legally culpable, just dumb

Evelyn Marie Boyd killed herself via a religious fast. Her husband, a deacon at the local church, watched her slowly die and did not know it. And why? So she could be like Jesus. I'll never understand religion.
"It is amazing that something like that can be going on right beside me," said Brown.

Boyd's husband, John Boyd, a bishop at Higher Praise Full Gospel Ministries, told investigators his wife was performing a religious fast.

Don't worry folks. It was not suicide that killed poor Mrs Boyd. When you starve yourself to death for religion it's not suicide. There is some other word for it... It starts with an "S".

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More children allege abuse in Fulton case

Jeremy Fulton, a former Youth Pastor who is facing child molestation charges over allegations he repeatedly raped a 12-year-old girl, now finds himself accused of the same crime by three more young girls.

Fulton's alleged conduct was discovered after the first victim's mother learned that another young girl attending the center was complaining about his behavior with both girls, prosecutors said.

Fulton is now charged with rape, course of sexual conduct against a child, sex abuse and endangering the welfare of a child, and remains held on $200,000 bail. The education center is affiliated with Mariner's Temple Baptist Church.

Counting the small victories

I keep track of the various fundie battles in Texas. I have friends there. I worry about their children.

At the SkepticBlog: A victory for reality in Texas.


The man who ousted him is Thomas Ratliff, who is — gasp! — an actual educator who has vowed to try to remove the politicization of the board and also to actually – gasp again! — listen to educators when it comes to, y'know, educational topics. You may remember McLeroy is the goofball who infamously said, "Someone has to stand up to the experts!"

Even the small victories make me happy.

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Why wage a battle when you cannot win the war?

Why wage a battle if you cannot win the war? I hear it all the time. Why fight the system, city hall, or hatred and bigotry? Why fight? I don't like having a big meaty bible thumping finger pushed in my eye for some fundie. Or in the case of Florida Atheist Michael Middlebrooks, a bumper sticker ripped from his shirt by Florida Governor Charlie Crist.

I found this today. Atheists are fighting back by waging the battle they cannot win. Heck, they will be lucky if hyper religious Florida Governor Charlie Crist pays them any attention at all let alone engages in a fight over his treatment of a Florida Atheist. Check out the Atheist of Florida podcast for more on the subject:
HOST: Matt Cooper. TOPIC: Why did Governor Crist lash out at a Florida citizen on Friday, March 5, literally shouting over his shoulder, "I feel sorry for you!" after ripping a campaign sticker off a man and pointedly turning his back on him? What would be a relatively minor incident in most cases takes on new and disturbing significance when the perpetrator of such a display of hatred, fear and loathing is none other than the chief executive officer of the state government, someone sworn to protect and defend the equal rights of all citizens without respect to any individual's opinions or beliefs about religion. Hear what happened or call to ask questions.
I think having the bumper sticker placed on Middlebrooks' chest was an affront all by itself. Having it ripped off could be seen as mercy.

Host Matt Cooper and friends are barking up the wrong tree by calling this a hate crime or asserting that Crist should resign. Crist will run away from an oversold controversy like this. He can legitimately claim we are acting crazy and people will believe him. Nor do I think the press would pay much attention to this argument. Crist was stating his opinion about his personal religious beliefs in a public setting in an inappropriate way. That alone would be newsworthy as it speaks to his character, which the press is already questioning. Overselling,,, It rarely works. Issue a press release, work the media. They are hungry for this type of story.

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They shoot cats now too

It is not enough that our pastors abuse children, cheat on their wives, or even murder others. Nope, now they have to embarrassed America by shooting alley cats while stationed abroad. Pastor John Sisk of Kaohsiung City Assemblies of God Church allegedly used an airgun to shoot stray cats because they bothered his fish and birds, plus they kept him up at night. He went on to blame his neighbors for the problem because they liked to feed the cats.

A woman found the two injured six-month-old cats on the street last Wednesday and took them to a nearby vet. One cat was shot on the abdomen. The bullet penetrated its intestines and kidney. It did not survive the serious internal bleeding. The other cat was shot in the spine. It was paralyzed and will only be able crawl with its forelegs for the rest of its life.

Under full disclosure I must admit to shooting cats too. Only I use a wrist-rocket and non-lethal ammunition. The cat gets a sting on the rump at worst.

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Matt Baker is creepy

Even in jail this former Baptist Pastor and convicted murderer continues to creep me out. This time he has been disciplined for flashing obscene hand gestures at female inmates. The story has dropped from the Waco Tribune for some reason but Don't Even Get Me Started posted some of the story.

Wait - I found it.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

An Old Pasadena foodgasm


I did something unusual today. My wife and I took a food tasting tour of Old Pasadena offered by Melting Pot Food Tours. I had visions of geriatric Midwesterners shuffling along while complaining about bunions. Boy was I wrong. I had a blast. The tour was fun, the food was high quality goodness, and the tour guide Mike knew his city history well enough to make our walk together fun. That’s Mike on the left explaining the history and virtues of Opera Cake prepared by Aux Delices.

DSC_5627 Foodgasms are rare. We enjoyed several today. The first was a surprisingly good torta from Tortas Pasadena at 90 N. Fair Oaks Ave.  The No. 1 asada ($5.95) was perfectly seasoned, juicy, and layered together with succulent jalapeno peppers, onions, avocado, and of course, beans. It may not look like much in the picture, but I was willing to fight for another taste. Heck, I even ate my wife’s jalapeno.

DSC_5639 Father Nature Lavash Wraps and More (Yelp) on 17 N. Delacey was an interesting stop. My initial impression was typical Middle Eastern food, but then Mike started talking about lunch time lines down the block and a long history of happy customers. I suspended my initial impression long enough to try the Falafel, I had another foodgasm… It’s on the menu as No. 35 Side of Falafel(3) for $3.oo. I could have ate a dozen. As I left I said to myself, “remember that taste.” I intend to use it as my benchmark.

DSC_5651 Melting Pot Food Tours is relatively new. They offer the Pasadena food tasting tour and a Farmers Market/3rd Street food tasting walking tour in Mid-city Los Angeles. Our tour guide mentioned plans for an additional tour in Long Beach. At $49 per person and a suggested $8 tip, it makes for a fun mini excursion. I’ll do it again. Heck, I'll do it as soon as I can. This was fun. I highly recommend it to locals and visitors alike. And don’t worry about needing to be in good shape. The walk is leisurely with frequent breaks… to eat. 

DSC_5649 My favorite stop on the tour was the Equator Restaurant and Bar at 25 Mills Place (Yelp). It serves Dim Sum on Saturday and Sunday. Based of the quality of the food I tasted today, I plan to return with my foodie friends as soon as possible. Plus, it’s pretty close to the highly addictive Burke Williams spa, so I am sure my wife and her posse will pay a visit. The Equator Basil Migon ($9 lunch) ranks as one of the best fusion dishes I’ve ever tried. The DSC_5647Chicken pot stickers ($6) hardly registered on my palate because of my Basil Migon foodgasm, yet when judged on their own merit they were delicious. Equator ranks as a double foodgasm. When you add in the beautiful interior, I’d say it made the whole tour worth while. Except I’d be lying – the next experience was even better.

DSC_5678 I scratched my head when our tour entered Beyond the Olive, an olive oil and balsamic vinegar shop. I did not see how we could taste olive oil besides dipping it with bread. Again, I was so wrong. We were offered small cups of olive oil to sip. Bread was available, but I abandoned all desire to dip after my first taste. When we moved on to balsamic vinegar, something I have never enjoyed, I was shocked at the pleasant taste of an 18 year old vintage. This place blew me away. Owners Chip & Crystal Reibel have a hit on their hands. I sampled a few more delicious samples in their bulk items area. My wife and I shared that look that says, we’ve got to come back here. It was a liquid foodgasm.

One of the things Beyond the Olive helped me with was a Food Channel problem I’ve had with balsamic vinegar. The TV hosts often talk about drizzling good balsamic vinegar over ice cream. Every time I’ve seen this I’ve recoiled at the idea. Now I crave it.

DSC_5726 The only place I did not enjoy was The Nepal House on 171 N. Raymond (Yelp). The food was too salty for my taste. As we nibbled their offering in the light rain, my wife noticed a sign that read, We Serve Yak Meat. I’ve never had yak. I plan to return to try it, just so I can cross it off my list.

Mike told us they serve an all you can eat buffet on the weekends. We stood outside to sample their cuisine while peering in to a seating area that was packed with people, but I must say, they were mostly older folks. I think we found Pasadena’s favorite geriatric eatery. The best way I can describe the food is that is similar to Indian food but less spicy.

DSC_5731 There were other visits, including some unbelievably good award wining gelato from Tutti Gelati (Yelp). Refreshing tea from Bird Pick Tea & Herb (Yelp), and lightly fragrant soap from The Soap Kitchen (sensory tasting). But we ended with the best, chocolate from Mignon Chocolate Boutique. I ordered the no sugar added almond dark chocolate and almost died of happiness. It was so unexpectedly good. Those of you who can’t eat sugar will understand. My wife liked her chocolate sample so much we came home with a box. It was that good.

DSC_5701 The tour was a great combination of learning about our local history in a city that is unknown to me, walking in warm sunshine and light rain, and having an opportunity to meet new people while trying new foods and enjoying the good things in life. But most importantly, to me at least, it was a chance to relax after a stressful week at work. I’ll do it again as soon as I’m able.  I owe my wife, who suggested this to her skeptical husband, I big thank you.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

No miracles here

Apparently the spirit of Pope John Paul II did not heal a French nun of a Parkinson like disease. It might ruin the former Pope’s changes at Sainthood.

Now, a Polish newspaper, Rzeczpospolita, reports Simon-Pierre's symptoms have returned. The newspaper also said her doctor, on his Web site, suggested she did not suffer from Parkinson's but from a disease with the same symptoms that is known to go into remission.

Vatican sources told the Guardian a panel had been scheduled to meet in April to examine Simon-Pierre's reported cure

It’s all BS anyway. I often wonder why they play this charade? If praying to Pope John Paul II could cure people of Parkinson’s disease, there would be run on kneepads.

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I know honesty when I see it

I had one of those epically long work weeks where you actually can’t remember what day it is. It’s started with an unplanned overnight shift on Sunday night. I saw the sun come up. That has not happened in five at least five years. A few brutally long days followed, then I made an emergency run to the ER with my dad. I got home just before sunrise, slept for 4 hours and hustled in to work a long day and the better part of a night. I think that was Wednesday. Another long day follow on Thursday, I got home at 10:oo PM and then stayed up to the wee hours covering a technical issue and dealing with a problem in China. I was pacing in my backyard with a cell phone at 2:30 AM. Unfortunately, my team had worked even longer than me, so I covered the morning shift on Friday. By the afternoon I was a zombie.  It was in this state of zombiehood that I met an honest man.

TwentyDollarBillI had parked along Avalon in Wilmington to visit El Metapaneco No 2. I was checking out the window menu when I noticed that I had lost $20. I was pissed but wrote it off as a loss, I figured there was no way to find it again. I entered the restaurant and ordered  Pastelitos de carne. While waiting for my take out order, an old man entered the store and started talking to me in Spanish, a waiter translated. The man saw me drop $20 when I got out of my truck. He was tying to return it. I offered to give him half of it as a reward, he refused. I offered to buy him lunch, he refused.  His translated response to my offers was, “I work hard for my money, I assume you do to.”

Wilmington is a lower middle class Hispanic city. The people who live there do not have a lot of money. They work hard. $20 is nothing to sneeze at. Heck, I’m not sure I would have returned the money. I like to think I would have done so. It would have been real easy for him to pocket the cash since it had fallen from the pocket of an outsider. Non-Hispanic visitors to Wilmington are rare. Heck, the only other white guy I saw as a cop. Don’t get me wrong, the neighborhood is not hostile, in fact, it is just the opposite, I always feel welcome.

I was stunned to meet such an honest man. We shook hands as he left. A smile passed between us. My long week did not seem so oppressive after that. Of course, having a foodgasm helped.

I slept till 10:00 am this morning. It felt damn good. 

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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Some Christians do not know love

I see this simple truth every day. Hate and intolerance permeates the religious discussion of our day. I ask, where is the love?

Life is too short so love the one you got cause you might get run over or you might get shot. - Bradley Nowell

Christians… sometimes I say the word and want to spit. I don’t understand. Why do they preach love yet act with hate? Take Landus of Generation Christian.net blog. He’s upset because two consenting adults, one a Christian and the other a Satanist, are happily married and living without the pain and burden of Christian love. Their secret? They tolerate each other’s beliefs.

The couple has been together for eight years. They have been married seven years, and have four children who range in age from 2 months to 5 years. Two dogs, two hamsters and eight fish blend in around the edges.

Proud to be a family man, Jeff said he’s grateful for the religious freedom he has in his household.

"I try to respect my wife enough not to do my satanic things in front of her," he said.

I read the article and smiled. Here are two odd but happy people living together with their children in marital bliss. The story is a cute human interest piece. I had a good laugh and thought, “Good for them.” Just for kicks, I checked links and found Landus. His sage advice, mixed marriages will lead people away from God.

….Look at how the woman in the "Christian-Satanist" union has compromised in her faith in order to be with this man, putting this man above the Lord. And as a consequence, her compromise will lead her further and further away from the Lord unless she has since repented. This is the danger we face my brothers and sisters from making such a decision.

Don’t marry a non-Christian,

For the believer, if it comes down to marrying an unbeliever or being single, the believer should stay single.

But if you are in a relationship, let God’s love screw it up.

If you are in this situation, continue to do right by your spouse and continue to let the light of Christ shine through you. You will be in my prayers.

Never mind that he suggests being married to a non-Christian will lead people away from God in the same breath as he suggests those in that situation let God light shine as a beacon to non-believing spouses. Never mind that he mixes old Testament and new convent stories to build a fiction that fits his “us or them” world view, and never mind that he somehow sees a healthy marriage as abhorrent and evil. I’m tired of the hate masquerading as love. These legalistic bastards are are so out of touch with a message of love that they remind me of old school racists. It pisses me off.

I left a couple of comments over at the Landus’s blog. He deleted them. Love and tolerance… got to love it. Apparently the moderation policy only allows people of faith to post.

I’ve been married 30 years. My wife’s a Christian, I’m an Atheist. We tolerate each others beliefs. It works. I’ve seen it work in other relationships. It’s based on love and respect, not some externally imposed law or biblical principle. The marriages I know that have failed over this issue were tragic examples of zealous intolerance on the part of Christians. Intolerance, lack of empathy, intractable legalism and the opposite of true love, benevolent externally driven hate masquerading as God’s love.  It starts with the advice of people like Landus. It ends with inexplicably bad breakups, divorce, child custody disputes, and the proliferation of hate.

I have simple advice. Love others and love will come back to you. Just like the late Bradley Nowell said, “Let the lovin come back to me.

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Dirty Heads feat. Rome of Sublime

The song is Lay Me Down. This is damn good music. I miss Sublime but with The Dirty Heads and Rome pumping out tunes like this, I’ll get by just fine. I’ve got to see these guys live, Sublime with Rome too.

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Pastor John Kleinpeter pleads guilty

Look up my skirt will you!

Pastor John Kleinpeter pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of using a concealed camera to shoot upskirt photos of unsuspecting women in the Murrieta and Temecula areas of Southern California.

Kleinpeter is a registered sex offender. He was linked to Generations Church in Lake Elsinore at the time of his arrest and also goes by the name John Andrews. His punishment was insignificant.

He was sentenced to 60 days in jail, to be served on weekends, beginning in April, according to a Riverside County district attorney’s office news release. He also was placed on probation for three years.

I checked the Generations Church website. They have a P.B. and J. Outreach, but no upskirt outreach. That’s strange. They would pack the perverts in.

See Pastor with an upskirt fetish for more information.