Archive for the ‘religion’ Tag

07-27-2017 The Extremist Fad!   Leave a comment

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How does one become an extremist.  First they need to find their alleged passion and then the real problems can begin.  It may just be me but I feel that in the last fifty years extremism has become the newest and most dangerous fad ever created by man.

Of course it all started with the ever so popular and murderous religions that exist on this planet. How many millions of hapless souls have been sacrificed for their supposed God. It’s not good enough that you believe in God but it must be done only THEIR way. The crusades should have taught everyone a valuable lesson but they didn’t. Cities were burned, whole populations murdered, and for what? Both sides were responsible for that horrendous slaughter and we learned nothing.  March and die for Jesus or Mohammed, cut off a few heads, murder some children, what’s the real difference? There is none.

Religion has turned us against each other time and time again. Now extremism has slowly worked it’s way into the fabric of our society.  Everyone insists that everything they do or believe is the absolute right way. Anyone that disagrees the least little bit becomes an enemy and must be dealt with.  I’m sure many of you would disagree but let’s look a little deeper to prove my point.

This example is a minor bit of extremism called Veganism. Vegans are militant about how their life style is the only and best way to live. Tell a Vegan you don’t agree with them and your looked at suspiciously and become a non-believer. It’s a mild extremism that is a little annoying but no one will kill me over it (YET).

Next in line are the environmentalists who believe that the earth is their newly found god or goddess. It has morphed into a pseudo-religion that has produced a small band of terrorists who’ve murdered for their cause for years and continue to do so. Who hasn’t heard about ecoterrorism?

Of course we always have those fun loving extremist crazies at PETA to listen to. They’ve successfully made themselves into a laughingstock with their lame antics of blood throwing and other nonsense. All terrorists consider themselves complete failures if they can’t get a five minute mention on the nightly news.

What’s next?  Just take a moment and think of the dumbest thing you can imagine.  I’m sure that at some point two assholes will put their heads together and have some sort of an epiphany, maybe talk with their God, and begin a movement to convince the rest of the world to change and believe and think as they do. If you don’t believe you could become ostracized or maybe your life could become forfeit.

Unfortunately for civilization and society most of the really over-the-top extremists cannot be convinced of anything. It makes dealing with them next to impossible as we’ve all come to find out over the last few decades.

It appears that the human race in it’s infinite wisdom can’t find common ground with anyone about anything. Scientists are constantly talking about the coming “Singularity”. That’s supposedly the tipping point when machines become so intelligent they’re able to get rid of the human race entirely.  Honestly I don’t think we really need their help.  We’ll eventually destroy ourselves by arguing over all of the so-called important differences we have rather that celebrating our many similarities.

It’s a side state of affairs and I see no why of fixing any of it. Maybe I should pray to God for help.  Shit, which one should I talk to, there are so many choices.

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07-11-2016 Journal – Religious Trivia!   Leave a comment

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I am not now or ever have been considered a religious person. I’ve read as much information as I could find on almost every major religion over the years. It was my vain attempt to convince myself one way or the other that such a thing was necessary in my life.  I accomplished my goal but it left me with volumes of information on religions both interesting and some not so much.  Today I’ll post some strange but true religious trivia and you can do with it what you will.

  • The temple of all faiths: Birla Temple in New Delhi, India, includes separate areas for worship for every known religion.
  • It was not until the fourth century that the church (Christianity) began to celebrate the feast of Christmas.
  • The first Bible printed in America in 1663 was a translation into the Algonkian language.

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  • The word “and” appears 46,277 times in the King James version of the Bible.
  • Hijmar, a holy man of Benares, India, held his left arm in the same position for 12 years.
  • The first book digest: Dubash Meghji, of Zanzibar., ate one page of the Koran each day for thirty years.
  • Each year Shia Muslims in Ahmadabad, India, mourn the death of Imam Husain, a descendant of the prophet Mohammad, by whipping themselves with knife-tipped chains.
  • In 1993, Israel’s telephone company offered a service for people to fax messages to God, to be placed in the Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall.
  • Forty nuns at a convent in Stetyl, the Netherlands, have maintained a continuous prayer in their chapel for ninety-eight years.

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  • The people who worship a nail: The Maria Gonds of  Chandra, India, pray only to a 12 inch spike.
  • In 1685 a church bell from a Protestant chapel in France was whipped and burned after being charged with “inflaming the hearts of heretics”.
  • Prayer stones addressed to Egyptian god Ra and sold to worshippers in Ancient Egypt had large ears engraved on them – so Ra would be sure to hear their messages.
  • In 1992 a historic church in Melle, France, installed a juke box that plays Gregorian chants, Tibetan mantras, and Jewish liturgical music.

And last but not least:

  • Ancient Egyptian priests in 450 b.c. trained baboons to sweep out their temples.

CAN I GET AN AMEN?

03-27-2016 Journal – Easter?   Leave a comment

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‘Religious & Silly?’

Well with another  Easter finally here we should be that much closer to warmer temperatures. Having a bright sunny day just isn’t enough when the temperatures remain at or below freezing. That’s just another of Mother Nature’s teases but there’s only one way I like to be teased and this isn’t it.

It’s 10:30 am and I’ve yet to move from my bed.  The better-half and I have been playing a vicious game of "Words With  Friends" which I hate to admit I just lost by one effing point. Starting my day without kicking her butt may be a bad omen for the rest of my Easter Sunday. I know I’ll be hearing about this win all day.

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‘Religious & Badass??’

It’s another chilling and gray day that’ll keep me from getting anything done outside. I refuse to be cold and miserable while doing all of those boring little chores  that need to be completed.  When the sun finally decides to come out then so will I.  I was forbidden by my better-half from saying that “When the sun has risen . . then so will I”. She felt that would be rude to all of you religious folks out there.  I disagree somewhat because almost all of the religious people I know are permitted a sense-of-humor.  Hers has yet to be fully developed but “I pray” it will someday. 

We celebrated Easter yesterday along with the one year birthday of our grandson.  It was a fun party with lots of cake and presents but it also allowed us to have a quiet day today. We’re looking forward to a couple of steaks cooked on the grill tonight along with a bottle of blueberry Mead I’ve been saving for a special occasion. 

Easter for me has no religious connotation but I know it does for my better-half. As with most things having a good stiff drink always helps me feel a little more religious (she won’t think that’s too funny either).

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‘Religious & Intergalactic’

I’ll get this posted in the next few minutes and then spend the remainder of the day working on a pencil sketch that’s captured my interest this week. I hope all of you are enjoying your holiday with your families. Religious or not. 

SORRY I CAN’T FIND ANYTHING RELIGIOUS ABOUT AN EASTER BUNNY

JUST SAYING LOVEY!

12-02-2015 Journal–My Christmas Wish!   Leave a comment

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I realized this morning that my Christmas spirit is a little different this year. In years past I’ve been identified by many people who care about me as being a bit of a Grinch. In other years they’ve considered me jolly and fun to have around in the holidays. Which is it this year?

I feel like I have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde thing going on when it comes to Christmas.  Most of the time my feelings for the holidays can go either way depending on who annoys me and who doesn’t.  I have such mixed feelings about the whole Christmas deal it’s difficult at times for me to celebrate much of anything.

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While I myself am not all that religious, most of my best Christmas memories come from a childhood where religion was a huge part of the celebration. I’ve  pretty much given up on it ever being a religious holiday again because over the years it’s morphed into much more of a secular celebration where buying and receiving gifts is everything.

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I’ve been forced to reevaluate my entire Christmas experience this year with a new attitude. I’ve decided to be the best damn consumer I can be and spend money a little more freely than usual.  Without the cloud of religion things become instantly clearer.  Be nice to everyone, spend a lot of money, and make it about the kids and not much else. At least the emotions I’ll see on their little faces will be genuine and that’s as good as it gets anytime.  Finding anything genuine at Christmas these days is almost as rare as finding a few honest men.

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So bring on the kids and hopefully some of their legitimate Christmas spirit will rub off on all of the cynical types like me.  That’s my Christmas wish for this year.

AND A POLITICALLY INCORRECT  “MERRY CHRISTMAS” TO ALL

10-09-2014 (Sarcasm On) Merry Christmas!   Leave a comment

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We’ve reached mid-October and I’m starting to see indications of that holiday freight train that is rumbling full speed towards us. I was tasked with an errand last night that required me to pickup my better-half who was attending a wedding of a co-worked in a town north of here.  Darkness had fallen and our trip home took us through a number of neighborhoods and small towns. We were within a quarter mile of home when I spotted something that sent a cold shiver down my spine . . .  a lighted Christmas tree in front of a neighbor’s home. These neighbors are the newest members of our little community and are folks who love to celebrate each and every holiday with decorations of all sorts hanging from trees, shrubs, and anything else that doesn’t move too much.  It can be cute but also it’s also more than a little annoying just like that tree was last night.

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During some of my shopping  forays in recent weeks I’ve observed the expected Halloween and Thanksgiving craziness but Christmas rearing it’s ugly head this early in October is ridiculous. Having worked for many rears for retail companies I understand the management mentality in getting the jump on competitors.  It just seems they’ve all picked up some of the more bothersome bad habits of the king of all retailers, Walmart.  They seem to think that anything that Walmart does automatically become the final word in making money.  Having spent six months in a Walmart management training program allows me to proclaim that Walmart is just as screwed up as any other company.  Their saving grace secret is their size.  When you’re as big as Walmart it’s much easier to  hide your screw ups and bad decisions.

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I have a sneaking suspicion that Sam Walton is probably spinning in his grave after watching what has gone on with his company.  On my first day at Sam’s Club I was handed a paperback book on the life and times of their founder Sam Walton.  I was ordered to read that book immediately and was questioned heavily on it’s contents throughout the training period.  Almost all of the training tapes that were in use were tapes made by Walton himself who at the time had been dead for more than ten years.  I was being trained by a dead guy in Walmart’s lame attempt to brainwash me into their world of retail. Just before my graduation from that training program I was on my way to work and wishing I wasn’t. Ten minutes after I arrived I walked into the General Manger’s office and resigned. I walked away and never looked back. They only succeeded in making me unhappy, miserable, and just a little crazy. I’ve never regretted my decision.

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This isn’t a rant just about Walmart but a general disappointment with the cynical approach taken by almost every retailer. I think we can thank Wall Street and the Harvard Business School for a lot of these issues. The stock market virtually requires companies to meet expectations regardless of the methods used.  The Harvard MBA’s that I’ve been involved with over the years were all young bean-counters of the worst sort.  They’d gut a company, fire any number of employees, cut benefits, just about anything to help meet those Wall Street projections.  People are just numbers to them and are treated accordingly.  Is it any wonder things are the way they are.

So after saying all of that I hope you’re prepared for the avalanche of Christmas nonsense headed your way.  Ten glorious weeks of Santa Clause, presents, endless TV commercials, and a hit to your wallet that will be larger than ever before.  Oh yeah, I recently heard a nasty rumor that once upon a time Christmas had something to do with religion.  How stupid am I?

07-20-2014 I Have Questions, Do You Have Answers!   Leave a comment

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Socrates is famous for this quote, "The unexamined life is not worth living."  With that thought in mind I’d like to ask  you ten questions.  These questions  will concern your values, your beliefs and your life in general. To answer them truthfully will require that you examine your belief system when faced with difficult situations and ethical dilemmas.  You may be surprised just how much personal reflection it requires and how many interesting discussions it may initiate to answer them.

I’m putting forward these ten questions to start our discussion and more will follow if there’s an interest.  I’ll answer each question myself as truthfully as I possibly can and I hope you’ll do the same. If you wish, please send me an anonymous email or comment with your answers. I’m sure they’d be of interest to us all.

Q1.   Do you believe in God? If not, do you think you might pray if you were in a life-threatening situation?
A.   I’m not a believer and one of the reasons is that I’ve been in life threatening situations a few times and there was no praying going on.

Q2.   If you found yourself attracted to a person of a different race, how would your behavior  differ from what it would be with someone of your own race?
A.   Not one bit.

Q3.   Would you be willing to give up television for  five years if a benefactor would provide for 1,000 starving children in some poor country?
A.   No.

Q4.   Would you add one year to your life if it meant taking a year from someone else? Would it make a difference if you personally knew the person whose life you’d shortened?
A.   No, I wouldn’t do it regardless of who it was.

Q5.   Would you be willing to murder an innocent person to end world hunger?
A.   No.

Q6.   If you could prevent either an earthquake in Costa Rica that would kill 10,000 people, a crash at a local airport that would kill 100 people, or an auto accident that would kill a friend or family member, which would you choose?
A.   The earthquake, of course.

Q7.   You are given a $1,000,000 to donate anonymously to charity. How would you do it?
A.   $500,000.00 to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and another $500,000.00 to the Wounded Warrior Fund.

Q8.   If 100 people your age were questioned, how many do you think you’d find leading a more satisfying life than your own?
A.   20

Q9.  If you could wake up tomorrow in the body of someone else, would you do it? And next, who would you pick?
A.   No-one, I’m comfortable  in my own skin.

Q10. Does the fact that you’ve never done something increase or decrease it’s appeal to you?
A.   A definite increase, I’d love the challenge.

Did they make you think a little? I hate to admit it but they did for me. 

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04-19-2014 Journal Entry – Easter Memories!   Leave a comment

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I never celebrate Easter.  Since it’s supposed to be a religious holiday and I’m not in anyway religious, I choose not to celebrate. As a kid my Mother celebrated anything and everything remotely religious due to her strict Catholic upbringing and education. I had no choice in those days so I went along as best I could but only as far as partaking of the more secular side of things . . . chocolate.  My Easter memories as a child are all about candy and eggs but not much religion.

My  Father was a living and breathing agnostic who side stepped religious matters religiously but even he couldn’t side step all of the holidays.  Another of my fondest memories of Easter was the year my parents bought my sister and I white rabbits.  They were all cute and fluffy and I clearly remember trying to get one of those little buggers from beneath our old refrigerator on Easter morning.  They eventually grew up to be rather large adult bunnies forcing my Dad to build a large hutch in the backyard to house them. There was always a stream of complaints from him about feeding the damn rabbits or cleaning out the damn cage etc. etc. etc.  Who knew it would all end in murder.

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One lovely summer day we returned home from playing with some of the neighborhood kids just in time for supper.  We were seated at the table ready to dig in when I found out just how much my Dad really didn’t like those rabbits.  He had dispatched the little darlings earlier in the day and they were placed on the table as the entree.  Needless to say my Mother, Sister, and I fled the scene with my Father left sitting there with a puzzled look on his face. He just didn’t get it at all.

I still don’t celebrate Easter and I never eat rabbits under any circumstances.  It’s  creeps me out to this day. 

Have you ever had a really long term close personal friend?  They’re a rare gift and in most cases are never really appreciated until their gone.  My best friend was named Dick and he passed away approximately 15 years ago.  He is partially responsible for another of my crazier Easter memories from our childhood. I’ve written in the past about the 1955 Birdville Elementary School Easter Egg Hunt fire.  It’s a really funny story that I may repost again in it’s entirety on another day.  Let it be said that Dick and I traumatized the Easter memories of a entire elementary school that year.  A small lit cigarette turned into a raging inferno that burnt down a two acre field next to the school where the teachers and parents had hidden all of the Easter eggs.  The field was burned, the eggs were cooked, and so were we.  We paid a really heavy price for just a few minutes of stupid.

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So now you understand my hesitation to celebrate even the silly secular side of this holiday.  I hope you all enjoy your Eater celebration with your family and friends in whatever manner you choose to celebrate it.  For me it’s just another fun day here in paradise.  Pass the chocolate please.

12-11-2013 More Christmas & Kwanza Factoids   Leave a comment

I wonder about Christmas sometimes.  We know it wasn’t the actual day that Christ was born and we’re pretty sure the entire story was made up well after the fact by people who weren’t even there.  Yet it remains the ultimate religious observance except maybe for Easter where religion has slowly faded into the background.  As always I have a lot of questions and felt  the need to search out some answers.  Unfortunately there are as many answers as there are versions of the original story.  Here’s a few that I found.

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Why are there Twelve Days of Christmas?

Traditionally, it took the ‘Three Kings’ this number of days to find the baby Jesus. Their arrival on the twelfth day was celebrated in the form of the Feast of Epiphany in medieval France, and later in other countries.

Where did the Candy Cane come from?

In a small Indiana town, there was a candy maker who wanted to spread the name of Jesus around the world. He invented the Christmas Candy Cane, incorporating symbols for the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ. He began with a stick of pure white, hard candy to symbolize the Virgin Birth. The candy maker formed the stick into a “J” to represent the name of Jesus or it can also represent the staff of the “Good Shepherd.” He thought the candy was too plain so he stained it with a red stripe to symbolize the blood shed by Christ on the cross.

Weird Christmas Games

Shoe the Wild Mare

Shoeing the Wild Mare is a traditional Christmas game that goes back to at least the early 17th century. Get a narrow(a few inches wide),strong wooden beam and suspend it from the roof with two even length ropes. The beam is the ‘mare’ of the title and should be level yet high enough above the floor so that a player’s feet are off-ground. A player ‘the farrier’ then sits on the ‘mare’ in the center, a leg on either side. This player has a hammer and has to give the underside of the beam “four time eight blows” at a designated spot. If he falls off, it is someone else’s turn. Much hilarity, and the odd broken shoulder ensues.

Snapdragons

Apparently this is the best game ever to play on Christmas Eve. Make sure you have the fire department on speed dial though. Very popular from the 16th to the 19th centuries, Snapdragons  has explicably declined in popularity.

Gather everyone around the dining room table, place a large flat dish in the center. In the dish scatter a good handful of raisins then pour on top a layer of brandy or cognac. Set fire to the brandy and dim the lights. Players take turns  plucking a raisin out of the burning liquid and eating it quickly. For a more competitive edge to the game use larger dried fruit such as apricots, one of which has a lucky coin stuffed inside.

Equipment needed: plate, matches, raisins, brandy, and the address of nearest fire department.

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I could easily have added another fifty items even more stupid than these but life’s too short.  I’ve decided that every story  about Christmas and every weird tradition that’s been adopted any where on the planet is nothing more than a large steaming pile.  I give up.  When it comes right down to it Christmas is no more legitimate than Kwanza.  I’d love to be around in a hundred years or so to see what Kwansa morphs into.  They’ll always be a herd of idiots who’ll believe almost anything they’re told by just about anyone.  I wonder if this country will ever be invaded by Kwanza believers with bombs strapped to their chests, angry that their religion is being disrespected.  It could happen.  I’m also glad I won’t be here to see it.

MERRY EFFING KWANZA

12-07-2013 Christmas Memories   2 comments

My better-half has always been known as a Christmas animal, shopping for gifts, decorating every damn thing  in sight, and stressing herself to the max.  Of course that stress level spills over onto me more often than not.  I’m “that guy” who ends up doing the heavy lifting on most of the chores, except for the shopping and baking.  Since I’ve escaped most of that nonsense this year  because of my broken leg  I have a little extra time for blogging and other activities. I decided to take a short trip down memory lane back to 1952 where as a 6 year old I couldn’t wait for Christmas to arrive.

As a kid Christmas seemed to be more of a religious holiday for us because of my Mom.  Gifts were exchanged but weren’t the center of it all.  We as a family barely had enough money for essentials let alone for purchasing large numbers of gifts.  My mother was and always remained a loyal Catholic follower and  I certainly admired her determination to keep the holidays something special religiously speaking.

We attended all of the many church functions and celebrations, listened to Christmas carolers, and sent out tons of Christmas cards to everyone imaginable.  She’d then take all of the cards she’d received and tape them around the entry way to our living room.  It seemed like a big deal back then to acknowledge each other with Christmas cards and displaying them throughout the home. Emails are fine but just aren’t quite the same as a personally signed card with a short handwritten holiday message.  I remember conversations between my Mom and her friends talking about how many cards they’d each received and who sent them.  It was a big deal.  Sadly with today’s prices for mailing letters it would cost a small fortune to send a hundred cards to friends and family.

Check out this price list from 1952 and then match it against our current prices.  It’s scary”:

House: $16,800
Average income: $3,515
Ford car: $1526-$2384
Milk: $.96
Gas: $.20
Bread $.16
Postage stamp: $.03
Hen Turkeys: $ .53 lb
Pkg of 6 Bran muffins $.21
1 lb pkg of M&M’s candies: $.59
Gillette Blue Blades, pkg of 10: $ .49
At Sears – – –
Ladies Corduroy Jackets: $4.99
Cotton knit blouses: $1.98
Men’s Rayon Sport Shirts: $3.66
Men’s cotton flannel shirt: $1.79
Red “Radio Flyer” wagon: $8.75
Westinghouse Open-Handle steam iron: $19.95
Men’s T-shirts and briefs – – –
T-shirts, 2 for $.59
Briefs, each : $.59

I guess the good old days weren’t all that bad after all.  At least you could afford to live reasonably well on what we now consider pauper wages. Families felt closer and the holidays seemed to mean more than they do now.

I’m not complaining because time and things change in the blink of an eye. You can’t expect things to remain the same forever because they just won’t. You must be able to change and adapt to keep the holidays something special and meaningful not only for you but for your children.  It seems a little harder to accomplish these  days but it’s still doable. I’ve always known that if I work exceptionally hard at something it will mean much more to me.  With that in mind I’ll spend the next two weeks helping my better-half to relax and enjoy her favorite time of the year.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

11-19-2013 Religion Trivia Challenge – Answers   2 comments

Well, how do you think you’ve scored?  I found that I remembered the individual stories well enough but wasn’t too sharp with the small details.  When I was a youngster my mother purchased a series of paperback pamphlets from the Catholic church (Who else?).  Each pamphlet offered up a story from the Bible written specifically for young adults and kids.  It’s nice to see that I finally found a use for all that knowledge all these years later.  Here are the promised answers to the quiz.

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1.   The book of Esther.

2.   According to Genesis 5:27, you would be 969 years old.

3.    Pitch, or natural asphalt. This way

4.    Darius the Mede (Book of Daniel, Chapter 6)

5.    War (Book of Revelations)

6.    To, Ruth and Esther.

7.    Ahab, King of Israel (I Kings 16:28-31)

8.    Joshua. The passages in Joshua 10:12-13.

9.    The Dead Sea – which is known for it’s high salt content. The Arabs call it the sea of Lot; the Israelis, the Salt Sea.

10.   The Babylonian king Belshazzar (Daniel5:1-5)

11.   Balthazar, Caspar and Melchior.

12.   Three days and three nights.

13.   Aramaic – an ancient language in use on the North Arabian Peninsula at the time of Christ. A modern version of the languages spoken today in Syria and among Assyrians in Azerbaijan.

14.   Seven according to the Bible (Judges 16:19).

15.   On the third day (Genesis 1:9).

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There you have it.  I’ve already started work on a Food Trivia Challenge  which will be posted within the next week or so.