I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

August 30, 2012 - 12:38 p.m.

You Must Remember This

Every morning I start my day by playing WFUV's Question of the Day. As soon as it's posted on the website I put a link to it on the QotD Players Facebook group then send in my responses. Any day I have time I take part in the discussion on the group. I love doing this but I also find it frustrating. Most days I'm unhappy with the question or the answers sent it or the ones chosen to be played on the air. Some people don't suffer fools gladly. I'm worse, I don't suffer mediocrity gladly. Of course the fools are even worse. The other day the question was "Share a song that says 'non-commericial' or music you might not have heard if not for public radio!" On the group I said, "At least it won't be all classic rock songs though i bet some people suggest some on the blog." I was right, someone said a Tom Petty song. Did that person even read the question? Did he or she just want to hear a Tom Petty song? That was bad enough that I got sarcastic about it on the group. Another person suggested "Stairway to Heaven" but I think he or she was being facetious. At least I hope so. You wonder why our elected leaders aren't good, look no further than the electorate. The person who thinks Tom Petty is the epitome of non-commercial music gets to vote and probably puts just as much thought into it.

I've been doing nothing but vegetating this week so I did something that I haven't done since I had my stove hooked up; I went out for dinner in the neighborhood. I went to Habana Outpost, the Cuban restaurant. I love that place. Who wants to visit and eat at one of the neighborhood restaurants with me?

I watched the end of Casablanca last night. When I posted on Facebook "You can keep the RNC, I'm watching Casablanca." Seventeen people "liked" it. It's the perfect film. I came in a few scenes before this one.

Viva la France!

That is my test for a national anthem; you could play it in that situation and get that response.

This two minute scene tells a story by itself. Ingrid Bergman's face communicates more than most full length films.

Early in the film Rick (Bogie) breaks up with Yvette, the young woman that shouts, "Viva la France." The next time we see her she is on a date with a German. "In her own way she is opening up an entire new front." Till this scene she is portrayed as shallow and selfish. Here it is revealed that she isn't the detached hipster she thinks she is but a patriot. I derided the electorate earlier and what I said is true but that doesn't mean that at times we can't rise above it. That's what leaders are supposed to do. The cinematic purpose of the scene is to show us Victor Lazlo's greatness. Till then we are just told about it.

The film teaches us about being human on all scales. It goes from the ultimate personal, the love triangle or Rick, Ilsa, and Victor, to the fate of the entire world. "The problems of three little people doesn't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world" But of course they do. We care about those three people. They are why we care about the world.

I've seen Casablanca countless times and it always inspires me. It's the answer to those that remain uninvolved. "We stop breathing we die. We stop fighting and the world dies."

That wasn't what I was going to write about today. What I had planned was discussing how difficult it is to write about atheism. I can hear you saying, "But you do it all the time?" I do but only with an effort and even then it doesn't come out the way I want. It isn't just me as I have even more problems with what most people write about atheism. The problem is that when you write the audience is varied and you don't want to say the same thing to different populations.

Look at these Billboards that atheists put up in Charlotte NC for the DNC.

These are billboards on display to everyone most of whom are believers. Do they think mocking and distorting people's beliefs is going to change their minds? Do they think it is going to make them act nicer to atheists? I'd expect it to have the opposite effect. That it would make people dislike atheists and therefore atheism. Yes it's the kind of thing I might say to an atheist friend and even then only to one who knows that I'm saying it in jest as an exaggeration. What was the response? Threats of violence. That's horrible and it wasn't deserved but it should not come as a surprise. When you set out to offend people they'll take offense.

Then I get mad at the accomodationists. They'll go on and on about how beautiful religion is and that they share its values and deny any conflict with science. That's great when you are talking to get a meeting of minds with true believers that are hostile to atheism. It's an attempt to find common ground. That's commendable but finding common ground does not mean saying you believe in things you don't. And if they do believe it then they haven't read the bible very closely. There are parts that are abhorrent, parts that praise genocide.

Some atheists get upset at the accommodations the law makes towards religion; suspending alternate side of the street parking on Jewish holidays or allowing Native Americans a limited use of psychoactive mushrooms and peyote in religious rituals. They don't get that those accommodations are founded on the same principles that protect us. If the government can force people to do things forbidden by their religion without a very strong reason to it can force atheists to participate in religious rituals they disagree with. Jews don't have to move their cars for the same reason schools can't have official school prayers.

Atheists and believers could do with learning some history. Europe after the Reformation ended the Catholic Churches hegemony, it ceased to be catholic in the sense of being universal went through a period of horrors. People did unspeakable things in the Thirty Years War and the English Civil War. The memory of these events were fresher in the minds of the founding fathers and they wanted to make sure nothing like that happened here. So we accommodate religions and lack of religion.

What makes it really hard to write about atheism is that I simultaneously think that the existence of god isn't even worth discussing, but that intelligent people who are otherwise rational believe. I don't respect them any less for it and I always want to make that clear why simultaneously saying that I don't respect the beliefs at all. That's pretty much impossible to do. So I talk all around it and hope people will just keep talking to me after they read it.

OK now it's time to eat. Today is a Taylor Pork Roll (ham) omelet day. I might use up the last big Taylor Pork Roll. All they have in the store now are the slices. That isn't as good and is more expensive I really should talk to the manager about it.

I signed the Pro-Truth Pledge:
please hold me accountable.

Memories: Not that Horrid Song - May 29, 2018
Wise Madness is Now In Session - May 28, 2018
The NFL and the First Amendment - May 27, 2018
On The Road Again - May 26, 2018
Oliver the Three-Eyed Crow - May 25, 2018

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Horvendile August 30, 2012
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