Sunday, August 31, 2014

A month is a long time

Continuous Learning - Kathrine Switzer

I never knew the Boston Marathon was once excluded females. I never knew of a woman named Kathrine Switzer and her role in breaking the Boston Marathon's gender barrier. I never knew it took a fight to get the women's marathon added to the Olympics. I know so little. My ignorance is humbling.

Atheist Analysis - a promotional video

This seems like a great idea. I hope it takes off.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

William Burroughs: Advice for Young People

I happened to talk to my wife about William Burroughs during a short drive this morning. It reminded me of two things: Reading Naked Lunch in high school and Burroughs' Advice for Young People.

I read Naked Lunch in a 10th grade American Literature class as an elective because my teacher thought it might mean something to me. It did not. The book was so far above my head that it might as well have been Joyce’s Ulysses (which is still hard for me to read). Reading Burroughs made me think, and as a result, I came back to Naked Lunch many times over the years. As I matured, I started to grasp more of the meaning behind his words. It was my first confusing introduction to non-linear fiction. It blew my mind then. It still does.

Advice for Young People is a short video clip of Burroughs dropping wisdom. I’ve watched it a few dozen times in my life.

While I was writing this post I told my wife that one of the reasons I love her is that we can talk about Burroughs at random and its as normal as if we were talking about the latest sitcom. I also mentioned that I have few other outlets for this level and type of communication. If I mention Burroughs in my social circle, I get blank looks. There are a few exceptions, my friends Brad and Rich come to mind, as does my son Jon, but after this short list, it’s a cultural wasteland. Of course, my wife’s response to my heartfelt declaration was, “I got a purse!”

This can change Ferguson

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Michelle Duggar's words drip poison and hate

Why does anyone listen to Michelle Duggar? Her claim to fame is making babies. Her words are corrupt. What does she know about anything? Her words are poison.

In a new robocall obtained by the Fayetteville Flyer, Duggar claims that the bill will “allow men — yes I said men — to use womens’ and girls’ restrooms, locker rooms, showers, sleeping areas and other areas that are designated for females only.” She goes onto describe “males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female” who would enter these private areas.

Source: Michelle Duggar Warns Arkansas Community That Transgender People are Child Predators

She made these statements via robocall. Her hateful words greeted each person who answered her call. It is despicable. It is hate. Her words and religion are poison.

Michelle Duggar, do you know who is more likely to abuse children? People like that pastor you are pimping. Get your facts straight. 

What now Rev. Jesse Jackson?

I grew up with a Southern Baptist stepfather who migrated to California from South Carolina. Rev. Jesse Jackson was only mentioned in our house in the most derisive sense. I thought he was a bad actor. Over time, I grew to appreciate and value his contribution to the civil rights movement. Now I think of him as a money-grubbing opportunist feeding off the people who need his help most. Am I wrong?

Epic: Ferguson Protesters Just Told Jesse Jackson To Shove IT After He Got Greedy.

When anything involving race happens anywhere, you can be sure that Reverend Jesse Jackson will make it there.

Naturally, with a black man being shot in Ferguson, Missouri, he shows up. But this time, the Reverend didn’t quite think out his strategy; and when he pulled out his bullhorn, the protesters ran him out of town.

Is it really just about the money? 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Michael Wolf's Paris Abstraction

I am a fan of abstract photography. Photographer Michael Wolf has his Paris Abstraction project up at and its good. I will see Wolf's work in person. All I have to do is find an excuse to jump up to San Francisco. Enjoy.


Pastor Bill Wininger arrested again

Pastor Bill Wininger survived allegations last year that he molested a child 20 years ago. When I wrote about him in a post titled I smell a rat, I knew then that pastor Wininger was dirty. I even bought a used copy of his book, A Church Falsely Accused, which explored an abuse charge at another church he lead. The book was hard to read, but left me with the feeling that Wininger was dishonest. I lost track of him over the last year. Nothing has changed. Authorities arrested him for inappropriate sexual contact with a member of his staff. He rubbed his junk on a staffer. What a jerk.

Blogosaurus is following the case. Enjoy.

Portraits of Drag Queens in Half Drag

I've always wanted to make a photo project comparing the public and private faces of my subjects. These portraits by Leland Bobbé do this within the drag queen community. The results are fascinating and beautiful. Enjoy.


Tainted holy water

I read today that 86% of water samples taken from holy sources contain fecal matter. You don't drink the stuff, right? Baptisms need holy water. Tainted water cannot be holy because it contains shit. I suggest churches use 'shit dip' as the new name for baptisms.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

4,000 bottles of lies

Temitope Joshua, a wealthy Nigerian minister, sent Sierra Leone 4,000 bottles of holy water that he says can cure ebola.

To help the West African country fight the escalating Ebola crisis, Nigerian Christian preacher Temitope Joshua says he has sent the Sierra Leone government 4,000 bottles of his patented holy anointed water and $50,000 in cash in a private jet, which also cost $50,000 to charter.

Sierra Leone will, one would assume, take every penny it can get to stem the Ebola outbreak, which has claimed more than 1,000 lives worldwide, with the majority of the victims in West African countries. Such odd largess does certainly beg the question, though: Who the hell is this guy?

Source: This guy sent Sierra Leone 4,000 bottles of holy water to cure ebola

So... 4,000 people get a drink of water, which seems pointless and counterproductive. At least he sent some cash too.

R.I.P. Jay Adams

I grew up at the same time and in the same place as skateboarding legend Jay Adams. He inspired me to ride pools and risk my life doing crazy shit with my board. He died on a surfing vacation in Mexico.

Jay Adams, the colorful rebel who helped transform skateboarding from a simple street pastime into one of the world's most spectacular sports with hair-raising stunts and an outsized personality to match, has died at age 53.

Source: ‘Dogtown' Skateboarding Rebel Jay Adams Dies at 53

I had not thought of Jay in years, but then just a few weeks ago I exchanged stories with another skateboarder. We talked about trying to do a 360 inside of a huge water pipe at a construction site near Santa Monica. I tried 20 or 30 times and failed. I watched Jay try all day long. I was never that good. 

Such ignorance

"If I"m ever around an atheist, I think I'm gonna get hit by lightning or something. I just done' even want o be in the room with them." - Shaun Robinson, host for Access Hollywood.

Conservative Christian actor Kevin Sorbo and Access Hollywood host Robinson engaged in what many might consider hate speech on the August 12 edition of Access Hollywood.
Sorbo was appearing on Access Hollywood to promote his movie, “God is not Dead.”
Source: Access Hollywood host attacks Atheists by Michael Stone. 

She apologized later. Pfft.

A poem for Ferguson

Donald Glover tweeted a poem about Ferguson and race.

“childish gambino is a white rapper”
— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014
i wanna be a white rapper.
— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014
i wanna be so white im the biggest rapper of all time.
— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014
i wanna be so white i can have a number one song with cursing and parents are fine with it.
— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014

Read the whole poem here.

Poetry is powerful. Damn…

Friday, August 15, 2014

The danger of stifling creativity

I wrote a small post recently called Thought Crimes and the Atheist Movement. In it I talked about the role people have who are offended by the creative efforts of others. I pissed off a few people who thought my photography projects that dealt with the homeless was something I should not do because I might offend the homeless (or others). I feel otherwise. My work has helped others and helped bring attention to the problem. If I had listened to critics, I would have never taken the photos. It's a horrible thought.

I recently watched a video by photographer Brenda Ann Kenneally and poet Susan B.A. Sommers-Willet. This multi-media project explores poverty in Troy, New York using photography, video and poetry. Take a moment and watch the video.

It is uncomfortable to watch. Poverty is ugly, although I find photos hard to view, I do so anyway and I am made better by the experience. The individual photos are even harder to look at, but they serve a purpose. The project, called Update Girls, has attacked a lot of criticism. If photographer Brenda Ann Kenneally had listened to her critics, this 10-year-long project would have never happened. 

Ms. Kenneally’s forceful images drew a lot of attention. More than eighteen thousand people shared the Slate article on Facebook and hundreds commented on Slate’s Facebook page. Another 387 commented on the original post. Tweets criticized the subjects and the photographer.

The comments were harsh. Many expressed outrage that Kayla would smoke while holding her baby. (This photograph, singled out with especially virulent criticism, has since been taken down at Ms. Kenneally’s request.) Others remarked that poor people couldn’t afford to waste their money on cigarettes, that the houses pictured were filthy and the occupants slovenly, and that the food visible in some shots was unhealthy. Commenters wondered how poor families had money to buy their children video games. There were accusations about welfare checks and snide remarks about contraception.

If she had listened to her critics, this important sociological work would have never been created. Why listen to critics? Why let them ruin your creative efforts? Why give them the power to derail individual creativity? I just don’t understand this type of thinking. I never will. 

Our creative efforts are our own private domain. If I listen to people who are offended by my work, I would never have written this blog. I would never have helped dozens of abused children and adults find justice. I would never have helped anyone out of a wrong-headed concern for Christians who might have been offended by being held responsible in some small way for their acts of hypocrisy.  My hate mail goes to the trash unread. I do the work I must do anyway. 

By the way - once small case, a young girl who was being abused by her pastor, made all ten years and 6000+ posts worth the effort. I was able to help the girl and her parents. I consider it one of my proudest moments and it is one of the reasons I’ve started to post again. 

What is hell anyway?

I have been told by a few Christians that I will burn in hell for all eternity because I’m an atheist who has rejected God. I've always thought that was a lie told to children, now I'm sure of it.

What Jesus talked about when He Talked about Hell via Benjamin L. Corey of Formerly Fundie

The first discovery one will make on such an investigation, is the inconvenient truth that the word “hell” didn’t exist in first century Israel. This brings up one crucial problem when translating/interpreting the Bible apart from any scholastic work: we see English words that have specific linguistic and cultural connotations and meanings, and read those meanings into an ancient text which may, or may not, have intended to send the same meaning.


Pet peeves - Oversharing

I met a man who told me all about his life in the four hours we spent together. I find the experience hard to take. I also find it hard to take overt Christian propaganda this this from my drive home tonight. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

I am not doing my job

The local Korean evangelical church puts up these signs. I take them down. Except for yesterday. I was in Reno and was not to perform my duties. A friend reminded me of my failure.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunday cooking and a poem

I started the day shopping for pork chops. I enjoy shopping early because the market is empty and I do not need to be social, although I did engage in a lively discussion with a woman over the merits of bone in versus boneless pork chops. She made a good point, but I went with the bone in cops.

I cooked 24 pork chops and some smoked sausage on my grill this morning while the mist broke. My grandson and dog played around my feet. Brunch is in a few hours. I know it will be a good time.

I started my day with a poem, which is normal. Today's theme was cooking.

The Bachelor's Gourmet Cooking Manifesto by Tom Bell
A bachelor's life is, by necessity, quite simple 
We're generally the same ourselves
Complications we avoid
They take from us too much energy
And if you look at our kitchen shelves
You'll almost always see
Our gourmet pre-made food
is for us the key
We would not know how to fry
an egg or make good tea
You see, if it ain't pre-cooked,
To just be microwaved
We'll shy away from those such products
It's ease and speed we crave,
This type of food only
Until our early grave
Read the rest here.

My problem this morning is that I don’t know how to cook Longaniza the way my mother-in-law cooks it. It look like it is time for another cooking lesson. I hope she will share her method with me. 

Atheist TV is a premature concept

AtheistTV is a premature concept. Am I supposed to say that? Watching episodes of The Atheist Experience and recycled documentaries is not entertaining, informative or even worthy of my time. I'm not the only one to notice.

Via Daniel D’Addario of Salon I spent a day watching AtheistTV — and it was horrifying

“If you know why your God is so stupid,” he said, “feel free and call us.”

The show did field one call, from a young man whose thoughts were so muddled (he was introduced as devout, then explained he was questioning his faith, then said he’d been dead for a week, then said he often thought the world would be better off after he died) that it’s not really fair to criticize. But it’s worth noting that Dillahunty repeatedly suggested he was dealing with a prank caller but refused to disengage and make time for a caller who might have done a better job of representing himself; it was more important to score rhetorical points off someone clearly not equipped to play.

I have a hard time listening to the Atheist Experience as a podcast. It makes me uncomfortable. Watching it as a TV show seems odd since it consists of a couple of talking heads. Although, I have done so simply to put a face with a name. From a professional production look alone, the show is marginal. It looks like what it is, an amateur production on a local public access TV channel. I am sure that with better funding, the show would look better. If this show is intended to anchor the AtheistTV brand, we are well on the way to becoming the industry laughing stock. Hitting bottom may be hard with Sarah Palin TV in the mix, but we are competing for the bottom by launching with marginal content. 

We only get one chance to make a good first impression with the target demographic. Why use recycled marginal content? Why start without at least one good show in the can already? Why start in a weak position. 

I’m looking for content made for AtheistTV that has an appeal outside of the confrontational niche that the Atheist Experience prospers in. I would also like to see content like the Atheist Experience, but with higher production standards. I hope that is the direction AtheistTV takes. 

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Epic Bison Bars - Like a meat candy bar

I started a ketogenic diet a few weeks ago for health reasons. The diet is simple and easy to follow, but eating while traveling is hard. I found Epic Bars via my son who attended a Paleo lifestyle event at Cal State Berkeley a few days ago. I finally tasted the Bison bar. the bar is like a meat candy bar, only not sweet at all. With 7 net carbs and 200 calories, it’s makes for a great meal replacement bar. Meat is bag. It's a good idea.
The EPIC bar is a 100% grass fed animal based protein bar designed as nature intended. Paleo friendly, gluten free, and low in sugar, we believe that EPIC foods should inspire EPIC health.
Epic bars come in Bison, Beef, Turkey and Lamb. The Bison bar tasted good and unlike any protein bar I’ve ever tried.

Thought crimes and the Atheist Movement

One of my pet peeves with religion is the social pressure focused on thought crime. It’s an ugly aspect of repression normally associated with those I rail against. In fact, it was one of the things that drove me away from organized religion. I am sad to say that I see the concept working in the Atheist Movement by way of killing creativity and free expression. Hemanat Mehta recently launched a book idea via Kickstarter that was based on the premise the God is like an abuse boyfriend. People who had been in an abusive relationship complained, so Hemanat, caving to social pressure, killed the book project. When one is not allowed to be creative and explore the concept God as an abuse partner in a one-sided relationship, well… we all lose.

I get this a lot in the photography community. I like to take photos of homeless men and women. I feel it helps draw attention to their plight. A very vocal photography subgroup opposes photographing the homeless on the grounds that is exploitive and demeaning. If fact, they aggressively assert that I should stop my activities and choose other subjects, as long as those other subjects do not include kids, police, government buildings, pornography and, well just about anything you want to list. Even attempting to take these photos are objectionable. I listen to their concerns and assert my own position, a position that is often in conflict with a lots of other people. What I do with my camera helps shine a light on a part of society that is shunned or ignored by others. Good things have come of it. I am proud of my work.

What I’ve noticed is that because of the complaints of others, I’m constantly questioning myself and self editing. I ask myself, “Is this right?” Creativity is not a crime, nor is it wrong to explore that nature of religion via the metaphor of an abuse relationship.

Props to Atheist Revolution for getting me thinking about this subject. The sarcastic, Time for Reeducation Camps made my day.

Inauthentic Christianity

In good news today, inauthentic Christian leader Mark Driscoll stepped down. I call his brand of Christianity, ChristianiME.

A dog rules my life, but so does poetry

My dog sits at my feet every morning as I start my day. He reminds me that I need to take him for a walk in the most subtle of ways. I remind him that I need to read a poem each morning by holding him in my arms while I whisper daily inspiration in his ear. Somebody else in my house needs to like poetry too…

Dog Around the block by E.B. White
Dog around the block, sniff,
Hydrant sniffing, corner, grating,
Sniffing, always, starting forward,
Backward, dragging, sniffing backward,
Leash at taut, leash at dangle,
Leash in people’s feet entangle—
Read more

A poem a day is good for you. 

True style in photography

Friday, August 08, 2014

Go Michael Sam!

I'm pulling for you Michael Sam!

Watch Michael Sam make his NFL preseason debut by Jeff Gray

Pee-Bola - nobody says it better

Why is porn made in a church a crime?

In Austria it is crime to offend religious feelings by making porn in a church.

Police, investigating allegations of offending religious feeling and desecration of a church, have arrested a 24-year-old woman, who they say has made similar films, under the name 'Babsi'.
The woman, who has not been named, was born in Poland but moved to Austria with her family when she was young.
The incident led to a debate in Austria as to whether the church would need to be reconsecrated, but it was decided it didn't as the woman's sins had not been enough to drive out God.

Source: Police track down wanted porn star who made seedy film in church - by releasing footage

I have a few questions. Who did ‘Babsi’ offend and why is this a crime? Her video is soft core porn (NSFW) and in poor taste, but is it a crime? Is it the act of filming porn in a church that makes it a crime? What if it was filmed in a set made up to look like a church? The local priests seem to think that Babsi’s acts were not serious enough to drive God from the church (as if they would know). I’m sure they have asked for a copy for a closer examination.

The police went looking for Babsi by showing her acts on the internet These acts include video of her fondling her own breasts. Somebody who had been in that church and who and seen her breasts recognized the woman by her breasts from other porn videos, which translates to a Christian watching porn long enough to recognize a woman by her breasts. Which…well, you get my point. 

Religious themed porn is a fetish these days. I don’t get it, but I think we know at least one person who does. 

There is a rhythm and flow to life

I’ve been reading and thinking a lot  lately. 

[Step One: Resentment]
Hi, My name is Quentin.
I'm a write-a-holic.
I can't control it, can't curb
the urge to write.
I need help.
I want my life back.
Excerpt from Writers Anonymous by Quentin Huff

What I’ve learned is that reading and writing is a much a part of my life as eating.