The God #Wine
I’d like to start with a risky disclosure. [deep breath] Okay! Here goes! Hang on tight, this is going to be one hell of a ride.
In real life I’m not that entertaining.
I know, right?!
I have an analytical personality, specifically “INTJ” aka The Architect which includes, among other things, this telling description: “One Reflects More When Traveling Alone.”
As an analytical type, I’ve often gotten into trouble in social situations after being asked a question, especially when I’m not prepared. A question stimulates my brain into “pondering mode” and my face goes blank in the same way as a computer that has been tricked by Captain Kirk.
To the person asking the question, I’m told, this comes across as rude. (Whatever the hell that means.)
(128 words in and the H-bomb has already been dropped three times in a post containing the word “God” in the subject line. Is this guy good or what? -Ed.)
After School Special: Booze Lotto Parenting
Sure, you love kids, so you gleefully punched out one, two or even octo-quantities of them. (Hint: Almost as many as a nine-round ammo clip.) But then, like a baby chick a few days after Easter Sunday, they stick around and are always underfoot, demanding attention and care.
It’s not like you can make a chicken-and-egg scrambled omelet with them and viola! Problem deliciously solved! (Although an amazing number of parents do find a way to carry out filicide but that’s decidedly outside the scope of this post.)
Like the vast majority of my blog posts, it all started when I decided to set foot out of my house…
Looking for some dinner my wife and I drove into the parking lot of the divey Chinese restaurant. The lot was amazingly full. What gives? The food must be awesome here, eh?
But when we walked into the dining area, only two tables were occupied. Huh?
That’s when I slapped my head and yelled, “D’oh!” I almost forgot I live in Oregon. That’s where they have a state-run lottery and run a continuous stream of commercials urging the citizenry to go out and gamble because doing so accomplishes “good things.” (Like increasing revenue into state coffers.)
Sure, they simultaneously run anti-gambling ads but that’s only because they like a mixed-up, dazed and confused populace. Let’s blast ’em with a hot mix of pro-gambling and anti-gambling messages … at the same time, they seem to be saying whilst rubbing their hands together in glee. That’ll learn ’em a lesson!
Indeed. What’s not good for the individual is apparently good for the state.
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On Monday the Supreme Court Of The United Status (SCOTUS) rendered a decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.
What’s a “Burwell,” you ask? As the Secretary of Health and Human Services at the time the decision was rendered*, Sylvia Burwell automatically became a footnote to history. Based on her position, as far as this case is concerned, she’s a proxy for the United States.
melt down (fat) – process (the carcass of an animal) in order to extract proteins, fats, and other usable parts.
At issue (per the Hobby Lobby website): The federal government mandating that “family businesses provide four specific potentially life-terminating drugs and devices through their employee health plan in conflict with their deeply held religious convictions.” Widely the issue is described as contraception. So what are these four drugs? “[T]wo kinds of emergency contraceptive or ‘morning after’ pills, and two types of intrauterine devices, or IUDs.”
Which way did SCOTUS break? Let’s put it this way. I went to the official Hobby Lobby online store and clicked a menu option labeled “News Center.” I was whisked away from shopping to HobbyLobbyCase.com, a lavishly and gorgeously designed website which proudly proclaimed, “A VICTORY FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY.”
I guess that answers the question, “Will they keep it low key?” Obviously, hell no. Shout it from the mountain top Moses-style. Some can just naturally sense the appropriate amount of decorum. Is gloating one of the seven deadly sins?
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No Good, No Bad
When one is an atheist in small town conservative America, one learns to play things close to the vest. Maybe later, after getting to know someone, the truth may be divulged. But it is known that premature sharing comes with a significant amount of risk. It’s a lovely place where the wrong bumper sticker will get your car keyed.
One company in that small town, named after a biblical location no less, asked about my religious beliefs during a job interview. That was my first clue that the game was afoot.
Later, when applying for another job in that same small town, my due diligence ended up freaking me out. I didn’t particularly get a good feeling from my research and, thanks to the internet, learned the owners of the company were flamboyantly religious. I was on a quest to get out of the frying pan and into the fire, so naturally I didn’t let this slow me down.
Despite shouting his religion for all to see, the man was one of the most unethical business people I’d ever met. And that’s saying a lot. He was no slouch. Yet there he was, up on the high ground, at least in his mind, looking down his nose at everyone else. Compensate much?
When office discourse finally turned to matters of politics and religion, I defiantly let fly with my disclosures. His reaction was one of thoughtfulness and class. “Atheist, eh? I have a question. Why don’t you kill people?”
Although flabbergasted by the audacity, I still think I handled it with style and aplomb, especially considering the source. “You don’t kill people because God forbids it,” I said. “I don’t kill people because I choose not to. It’s my decision.”
Right and wrong. Good and evil. Yin and yang. Night and day. Black and white. Betamax and VHS. DVD and Blue-ray.
But now, after assessing more empirical data, I now think, perhaps, I was a bit hasty. It’s time to bust out with yet another theory. I got a million of ’em.
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Freedom of Conscience
There’s a group in our country who wants what they want. They communicate these wants through their leaders.
So, what do they want?
One example is something they want is atheists out of America. We know this through messages (called sermons) from official representatives of their organizations (called churches) led by official spokespersons (called preachers). Further, we know these messages are official because the membership (called congregations) has indicated support by voting (called money) for these representatives.
Another example (as if we needed more) is elected representatives (called Republicans) trying to control other human beings (called legislation) extending the “rights” of some to the detriment of others. These are the so-called Freedom of Conscience laws.
A few attempts have failed so far, including the one in Arizona just this week, but make no mistake about it. More are on the way. This will continue until one becomes the law of the land, at which point it will be appealed (at great expense) where it will finally be decided by the Supreme Court of the United States.
Now, I know that this combative group isn’t representative of all religious, conservative, Republican folks out there. There are lots of good, sincere and well-intentioned people on both sides of most any issue. (Even if one side stubbornly refuses to admit it.) But these types are supported by enough people that their messages often have as much power as a gathering storm.
The Freedom Of Conscience strategy represents a shift from the time-honored traditions of “abomination” and “you’re going to Hell.” One thing about the Culture War: It never ends and scouts are always being dispatched to probe for weaknesses along enemy lines.
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You Don’t Know Polite
Why does shit like this happen to me? (This is my version of the “dark and stormy” night opening as a literary device.)
My wife and I were out to dinner and having our usually jolly time. Things were clicking. My jokes were firing on all cylinders. I was witty. Our repartee was fast and furious on a highly intellectual level.
As we exited the restaurant I was feeling pretty good. (It could happen.) I saw four people behind us. They were far enough back that I could have let the door close and no slight would have been perceived. I decided to be nice and waited to hold open the door.
They came through single file. As she passed, the first person actually said, I kid you not, “Thank you.”
Wow. It’s a modern day miracle. I’m now that much closer to sainthood. I was momentarily stunned and at a loss for words. As quickly as I could I responded with, “You’re welcome.”
Oops. By then the third person was already walking by. She heard what I said and turned and looked at me. With dagger eyes. Of hatred and death.
Ah. She thought I was talking to her and assumed I was being snotty because she decidedly did not bother to say thank you.
Good intentions: 0. Crass misunderstandings: 1.
Bad form, Mr. Smee. Bad form.
And now some politeness tips from yours truly.
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This is day six of The Dog Days of Summer, a Blogdramedy writing challenge. If you came here looking for quality content you are decidedly barking up the wrong tree. -Ed.
Tom B. Taker
The typewriter atop the little red doghouse furiously clacked…
“Here’s the high-tech visioneer ascending the stage. Suddenly…”
Meanwhile, in an overly-elaborate thought bubble…
The houselights dimmed and a hush rippled through the assembled guests. The curtains parted and he stepped out.
The crowd went wild.
A master of audience manipulation with a flair for histrionics, he waited patiently for the perfect moment.
Then, triumphantly, he seized the red bowl in his mouth and held it above his head, dramatically revealing it for all to see.
The crowd exploded in frenzy.
“I give you the iBowl!” he emoted.
Charlie looked up from the typewritten page. “Good grief!” he cried.
Blogdramedy’s The Dog Days of Summer writing challenge commands
victims participants to author ten stories, ten days in a row, consisting of exactly 110 words each. All stores are themed based on dogs that she has pre-selected. For more information about the challenge and to view the work of other participants, please click the link. But only if you want stories that have real teeth.