Meaningless, meaningless, all is meaningless... including this blog.

2021 Recap Friday, December 31, 2021

On this day in 1687, Calvinist members of the Reform Church of France known as Huguenots left in great numbers due to persecution from King Louis XIV and the Catholic Church following the Edict of Fontainebleau in 1685, which declared Protestantism illegal. To be fair, and life isn't fair, the Huguenots were kind of a bunch of wealthy assholes. Speaking of wealthy assholes, today we look back over significant events of the past year, listed here in no particular order:

  • The G7 (Group of 7 nations: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, and the United States) agreed to back a new global minimum tax rate of 15% that companies will have to pay regardless of where they are based. Later on, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released the Pandora Papers, which contained nearly 12 million documents showing how the wealthy and powerful use off-shore accounts to evade taxes and hide money, along with who wipes their ass with paper currency and with what denominations.
  • Elon Musk's billions surpassed Jeff Bezos' billions by $96 billion after Tesla went public, but both launched their billions into outer space via SpaceX and Blue Origin.
  • Coups were held in Chad, Mali, Guinea, Sudan, and Myanmar -- up four from the previous year's single coup d'etat in Mali, making it the third Malian coup in ten years.
  • Trump insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol building with the intent of disrupting the joint session of Congress assembled to count electoral votes. The attempted coup resulted in nine deaths: one shot by police, one by drug overdose, three of natural causes, and four responding officers by suicide. A week later, the House of Representatives impeached Trump for incitement of insurrection, making him the only U.S. president to have been impeached twice and fulfilling his slogan to Impeach Donald Trump Again.
  • A US/UK/AU trilateral security partnership named AUKUS provided Australia with U.S. technology to build eight nuclear-powered submarines, pissing off France because it terminated $37 billion worth of diesel-electric powered submarines and purturbing China because they're Communists.
  • Iran announced it had begun enriching uranium to 60%, just shy of weapons-grade, following an explosion at one of its uranium enrichment plants which it blamed on Jewish spyware.
  • The first direct observation of light from behind a black hole was reported, confirming Einstein's theory of general relativity. Redditors forcing a short squeeze on meme stock in GameStop (NYSE: GME) caused its price to inflate from $17.25 per share to over $500 per share. However, it ultimately failed in its primary intent of harming short-selling hedge funds, once again confirming Einstein's theory of general relativity.
  • Supply chains stagnated worldwide due to the pandemic, production shortages, canal blockages, port backups, a vast reduction in the workforce, and the break-up of Daft Punk.
  • The U.S. once again denied any involvement in tracking Unidentified Flying Objects, but did concede that it was officially interested in Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.
  • Joe Biden won the U.S. presidency and returned America to the Paris Climate Agreement, the World Health Organization, the Istanbul Convention, Juneteenth, and reruns of The Cosby Show.
  • The U.S. withdrew its military forces from Afghanistan and the Taliban quickly returned to power, forcing female McDonald's employees to wear burqas.
  • Roscosmos' Nauka laboratory docked with the International Space Station, forming the first duplex in orbit around Earth.
  • England's Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle were interviewed by Oprah Winfrey on television. The Duke and Dutchess of Sussex were paid with an assortment of Poop Like a Champion® breakfast cereals.
  • Five years after Brexit, the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement took effect, allowing Great Britain to freely trade Benny Hill memorabilia for French Jerry Lewis memorabilia, Italian Roberto Benigni memorabilia, and Belgian Jean-Claude Van Damme memorabilia.
  • COVID-19 vaccines that were developed in less than a year, beating out the development of the mumps vaccine by three years, were administered worldwide with half going to the U.S., China, and India. The Delta variant showed up at the end of 2020, the Omicron variant arose at the end of 2021, and somewhere in between was the Joe Rogan variant. Regarding things that went viral, let's not forget Bernie Sander's mittens.
  • Regarding COVID-19, a joint investigation involving China and the World Health Organization into the source of the outbreak concluded that it was unlikely a Wuhan laboratory leak and more likely a venereal disease shared between a pangolin and a bat -- which, incidentally, is a favorite Chinese spice that was being synthetically developed in a Wuhan laboratory.
  • Pope Francis met in Iraq with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the first ever meeting between a pope and a grand ayatollah. In a statement issued by his office after the meeting, al-Sistani affirmed that Christians should "live like all Iraqis, in security and peace and with full constitutional rights, so long as they convert to Islam."
  • The Roscosmos' Soyuz MS-17 successfully supplemented its income by taxiing Uber rideshare passengers to and from the International Space Station. The Soyuz MS-18 likewise ferried Lyft passengers beyond just the U.S. and Canada. Not to be outdone, China launched the first module of its Tiangong space station, which will host Airbnb vacation rentals until completed.
  • A ransomware attack by Russian hackers encrypted the Colonial Pipeline, disrupting the distribution of gasoline in the eastern United States until supplies could be restored from backup reserves.
  • 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, 2020 World Expo in Dubai, UEFA Euro 2020 held in eleven European cities, and 2020 North Korean short-range ballistic missiles fired at Japanese territorial waters.
  • Russia increased its military presence along the Ukranian border, causing Joe Biden to hiss at Vladimir Putin and claw the air.
  • Record winter storms, heatwaves and drought in the U.S., record flooding in Belgium and Germany, record wildfires in Greece, Australia and Canada, record monsoons in India and Nepal, record cyclones in Indonesia and Timor, and a record Internet outage for Facebook and Instagram.
  • The United Nations declared 2021 as the International Year of Peace and Trust, the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development, the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables, the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour, and the International Year of the Orbital Duplex.
  • NASA's Perseverance rover borrowed money from the China National Space Administration's Zhurong rover in order to boost a sagging U.S. economy on Mars.
  • Many, but not everyone, mourned the loss of Larry King, Alex Trebek, Rush Limbaugh, John Madden, and Yahoo Answers.
  • NASA launched both the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) and the Lucy spacecraft -- the first to deflect an asteroid to protect Earth, the second to gather information from nearby asteroids in order to redirect any rogue asteroids from striking the first.
  • The Hubble Space Telescope was succeeded by the James Webb Space Telescope with improved infrared resolution and sensitivity, allowing it to spot Voyager 6 and make sure we are prepared for its sentient return home.
  • Scientists who have either never seen Planet of the Apes or failed to heed its dystopian primate future announced they successfully injected human stem cells into the embryos of monkeys, just because they could.

Next year will see a major overhaul of this blog. Spoiler alert: the colors of headers will be changed to red instead of blue.

Fundamental Agreement Thursday, December 30, 2021

We're back from a two-day hiatus. Mustn't let the online community know when vacationing or they'll come steal your shit. Let's see what we missed. Stan Lee's birthday was on Tuesday (1922-2018). He was one of the creators behind many of Marvel's more famous superheros, including Spiderman and all those who made up the Fantastic Four and the Avengers. One of his first characters was Jack Frost, who joined the Liberty Legion to fight Nazis in WWII within the Marvel Universe, which wasn't actually until the 1970s in real time. But backing out of the rabbit hole, we also missed the Feast of the Holy Innocents (Childermas), celebrated in remembrance of the massacre of children by Herod the Great in an attempt to kill the baby Jesus (Matthew 2:16). Some of the activities of this celebration dating back to medieval times include pranks, flour fights, and role reversal in which alter boys dress as bishops and bishops dress as alter boys and... well, um, anyhow... on Tuesday, the fourth of the Twelve Days of Christmas, or Twelvetide, my true love sent to me four calling birds (song birds), originally colly birds (blackbirds), with other variations including canary birds, curley birds, colored birds, and ducks quacking. Yesterday was five golden rings and today is six geese a-laying, which most versions can attest. Yesterday in 1845, the Republic of Texas was annexed by the United States, allowing it to create four new additional states from its territories which was not in violation of the 1789 Admissions Clause of Article 4 of the U.S. Constitution prohibiting new states being formed from existing states because it was not ratified until 1992. Which somehow brings us to this day in 1813 and the Battle of Black Rock in the War of 1812 in which British troops set fire to many buildings and ships in Buffalo, New York. As you may recall from high school history, the War of 1812 was fought between the U.S. and Great Britain over neutral maritime rights, but some argue that it afforded the U.S. an opportunity to annex Canada. I for one don't remember this and had to look it up on Wikipedia, where I linked to the death of Grigori Rasputin on this day in 1916. Rasputin was a Russian mystic and social figure during a period in history when spiritualism and theosophy were all the rage amongst the aristocracy. He was befriended by Tsar Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra and supposedly healed their son of hemophilia, or at least forestalled its effects through miraculous powers of spit. Rasputin developed a reputation as a sexual deviant, false prophet, and enemy of the empire. He was shot and killed after being poisoned by royal family members in St. Petersburg and his body was dumped in the Neva River. In a more diabolical plot, Israel and the Vatican City formally established diplomatic relations on this day in 1993, which corresponds to the sixteenth day of the month of Tevet in the year 5754, with the signing of the Fundamental Agreement, despite the Roman Curia's historical stance that a Zionist nation would never be recognized by the Holy See as long as Israel denied Jesus as Lord.
Note that according to Article 11 Section 2 of the Fundamental Agreement, the Catholic Church will not take sides between the Jews and the Muslims: "The Holy See, while maintaining in every case the right to exercise its moral and spiritual teaching-office, deems it opportune to recall that, owing to its own character, it is solemnly committed to remaining a stranger to all merely temporal conflicts, which principle applies specifically to disputed territories and unsettled borders."

Oh, and the despot in this picture or one of his look-alikes was executed on this day in 2006 after repeatedly failing to prove possession of weapons of mass destruction.

  Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti

Boxing Day (Observed) Monday, December 27, 2021

The day after Christmas in the United Kingdom and British Commonwealths (Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, et al.), unless that day is a Sunday, is Boxing Day, originally a holiday for distributing alms to the poor from the church's donation box in honor of Saint Stephen's Day and for slave owners and employers of servants to give them a day off after serving their master's spoiled families on Christmas. These servants were often given boxes full of white elephant gifts and leftover food as their annual bonus, which they in turn re-gifted to their families. The officially observed meaning is to give gift boxes to civil servants or cheritable donations in the form of gratuities to tradesmen and vendors in appreciation of their services throughout the year. However, you must hand-deliver any such gifts since this is a federal holiday and therefore no postal service and thus an oxymoron. It is also the first day to return Christmas gifts, giving old fashioned brick-and-mortar stores the opportunity to put all their remaining items from year-end stock on sale. For fans of rugby, football (the soccer type), cricket, horse racing, bandy (hockey played with a ball instead of a puck), and -- you guessed it -- boxing, this is one of the biggest days of the year for gambling. But let us not forget St. Stephen, the first official martyr of the Christian faith (Acts 7) whose feast day was yesterday, so he's already forgotten.

Black Holidays Matter Sunday, December 26, 2021

For those of you expecting a lengthy description of Boxing Day, celebrated in Great Britain the day after Christmas, you'll have to wait until tomorrow because they don't celebrate it on a Sunday. Instead, today is the firt day of Kwanzaa, which is a week-long holidays celebration of African Americans as an alternative to a white Christmas. Created in 1966 by black activist Maulana Ndabezitha Karenga (born Ron Everett), the term comes from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, meaning "first fruits" and is a secular humanized version of the the Zulu winter solstice harvest festival Umkhosi Wokweshwama. Each day is celebrated in honor of one of the seven principals of Nguzo Saba, or African Heritage:

  1. Unity (Umoja): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  2. Self-Determination (Kujichagulia): To define and name ourselves, as well as to create and speak for ourselves.
  3. Collective Work and Responsibility (Ujima): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems and to solve them together.
  4. Cooperative Economics (Ujamaa): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
  5. Purpose (Nia): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
  6. Creativity (Kuumba): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
  7. Faith (Imani): To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

Not to be confused with Chanukah, or Hannukah, the Jewish celebration of Passover, Kwanzaa is symbolized with a candle holder called a kinara, which holds seven candles (a Jewish menorah holds nine). You don't have to be black to celebrate Kwanzaa, nor a Jew to celebrate Chanukah, nor a black Jew to celebrate both. So a joyous Kwanzaa to all who observe.

A Charlie Brown Christmas Saturday, December 25, 2021

In a 1965 CBS production sponsored by Coca-Cola, Linus Van Pelt quoted Luke 2:8-14 as the true meaning of Christmas: "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Apple TV+ now owns the rights to Luke 2:8-14.

Another fine example of what you get with a free Shutterstock trial membership. I have to remember to cancel before I'm charged for images of used postage stamps.  

Black Peter Friday, December 24, 2021

This holiday season we celebrate Christ's Mass, sometimes abbreviated as Christmas or "Xmas" -- where X is the Greek letter Chi and the first letter in Χριστος (Christos), or Christ. Contrary to popular belief, or popular to contrary belief, the condensed Xmas wasn't done intentionally by the Pagans at Hallmark or the Jews in the United Nations to take Christ out of Christmas, but by ancient Christians themselves who sometimes just used X in place of Christ when writing letters, theological discourses, sermons, and holy day greetings dating as far back as the eleventh century. Among various other compounds for the name Christ is the infamous fourth century christogram Chi-Rho (☧) used not just by the Catholic and Orthodox Churches but by many Protestants, which is an amalgamation of the Greek letters Chi (X) and Rho (ρ) representing the first two letters in Christ. Some today consider "Xmas" as sacreligious, like saying "happy holidays." But this drives to a deeper issue where Christianity, once the predominant religion of the United States and its founding fathers, is on the decline, making Christians more sensitive to feelings of persecution. Although I'm willing to concede that this might be the case, I'm not concerned if Christianity in America is driven underground. As I sometimes remind my brother-in-law, by fighting the powers that be on political grounds, Xstians are just prolonging the second coming of X. So let those without faith have a little hope on Xmas by partaking in holiday cheer and wearing ugly sweaters. Christian believers can celebrate the birth of Christ any and every day of the year. Oh, and Black Peter is just the Dutch version of Krampus.

  Pictured: Zwarte Piet ("Black Pete") assisting Sinterklaas by bagging naughty children in the Netherlands as gifts for cannibal tribes in faraway lands. Although not as terrifying as his cousins Krampus or Belsnickle, he is far more offensive. Depicted as a bumbling Spanish Moor who helps St. Nicholas haul his bag of gifts around and punish those who didn't make the nice list, Zwarte Piet is essentially a slave. Because of this, blackface in the Netherlands is a holiday tradition, which the UN has now asked them kindly to cease and desist. Illustration by Jan Schenkman, 1850, Wikimedia Commons.

Backfill Thursday Thursday, December 23, 2021

To attest to the fact that this blog is sometimes an afterthought, I didn't get around to posting anything, so I dug around for something as backfill, such as Lorem ipsum, and came across my very first website which was dedicated to an old college friend named Steve LeCompte, whose name I affectionately misspelled as LaCompte. (Or is it the other way around? Sorry, Steve, I don't remember.) It was an online roast of someone I held near and dear, and this is an example of how I showed my fondness for him. These are the top 110 reasons why Steven J. LaCompte is a content and happy man:

110. Steve likes to make sock puppets and then wear them over his shoes.
109. Government welfare funding pays for Steve's medicated hemorrhoidal furniture covers.
108. Hope for Steve is always glimmering on the horizon, though when he gets there it's usually just a mirage from sunlight on hot pavement.
107. Steve's inner light illuminates the iridescent colors of his bedroom posters, one of which reads "John 3:16".
106. Steve is only as old as he feels, though he still hasn't gotten over the feeling of being a molested four-year-old.
105. Every cloud has a silver lining, and Steve's had just enough to fill all his teeth.
104. Steve donates his well-being to the National Wellness Foundation and is well-acquainted with the well-rounded members of the Federation for Worldwide Wellness. His children are also well-adjusted and his dog is well-behaved.
103. Steve is able to buy all the Finger Hut products he wants with money earned from selling Amway.
102. Steve is never one to complain, he takes what life deals him like a dumb animal whose will has been broken by an angry trainer.
101. Two words: Pickled Preserves
100. Steve doesn't suffer from the crippling pain of arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome that could've developed from entertaining himself all these years (wink wink).
99. Steve already fulfilled his dream of working his way up from peanut vendor to "Steven, the Witless Wonder" with the Shriner's Circus.
98. Steve spells satisfaction "J - E - L - L - O".
97. Steve is actually an android created by Dr. Noonian Soong during a time when he was more concerned about emotions than intelligence.
96. Steve married a woman who can remember his name in bed.
95. The world is Steve's oyster, and it doesn't take much to get him off anyhow. (For Steve's close friends: oysters are considered aphrodisiacs, and if the world was an oyster, that'd be one very large stimulant inhancer for just one man.)
94. Steve's brain has a high sperm count.
93. Steve's gastrointestinal flatulence has the same effects as nitrous oxide, and there's plenty to anesthetize everyone.
92. Underoos are still fun for Steve to wear.
91. Steve has discovered that utopia can be obtained from ordinary household solvents.
90. Steve was lobotomized during a childhood experiment while playing doctor with a can opener.
89. Steve has found karmic release from receding into his alter ego of "Bagwhan Sid Yogi LaCompte, the Witless Wonder".
88. Steve's parents sold him to a band of roving gypsies, who taught him the value of going nowhere.
87. Steve studied under a family of gorillas and concluded that the key to satisfaction with ones surroundings lies in how well one utilizes one's own poop.
86. Steve's closet has a revolving door.
85. There's a television cable in every room of his house, and though he only has one TV, it's reassuring to know he can watch it anywhere he wants.
84. Steve's usual quad shot espresso drinks like the "Evel Knievel Grand Canyon Jumper" and the "Mt. Saint Helen's Harry Truman Killer" keep him lively and astute.
83. Steve's silicon testicle implants are still slapping away intact.
82. Steve is his own man and takes orders from no one, which is evident by the way he parts his hair.
81. Life for Steve is a laugh-a-minute escapade because he has learned to laugh at his own foibles.
80. Steve has come to terms with his inner child by finally giving it the spanking it deserves.
79. Though irregular, Steve has mastered the zen of sphincter pinching for prolonging the uphoric effects of staving a bowl movement.
78. Steve is rest assured that he'll have a generous nest egg at retirement knowing that his savings are soundly invested overseas in the development of Iraqi chemical warfare.
77. Steve has accepted, and even enjoys, the late night anal probings by E.T.
76. Steve is unrestrained from the burdens of a popular lifestyle; such as fashion, beauty, wealth, a nice car, parties, and the ability to look natural in a speedo.
75. Though Steve himself is about as much of a dad as Al Bundy or Homer Simpson, he grew up in love with father figures like Fred MacMurray, Hugh Beaumont, and Michael Landon.
74. He's either happy....or just fat, dumb, and spastic.
73. Steve's anger is transcendental -- it's projected on whomever's nearby, leaving him feeling hunky-dory and making them mad as hell at him.
72. Steve has successfully transformed indifference into complacency.
71. Steve speaks simple English, without all those complex gerunds, participles, and schwa sounds.
70. Steve maintains consisent enjoyment from frivilously attempting to exact revenge on his friends who berate him.
69. Steve is clinically disfunctional and misinterprets the pity poured out on him by friends and family as undue affection and adulation.
68. Steve upholds mind over matter, which may be why for him ignorance is bliss.
67. The reckless hyperactivity on the outside is only a veneer that hides the inner peace and tranquility, which the National Weather System calls "Hurricane Steve".
66. Because he has to wear an identification badge to work, Steve thinks he has job security.
65. Steve bought himself a home starter refill kit so that he'd never run out of piss and vinigar.
64. Steve was genetically cloned from Silly Putty.
63. Steve is in a constant state of flogging administered by little masochistic elves clad in leather and lace, which, of course, only he can see.
62. Steve's astral plane passes through an everlasting Balls A Poppin' pinball machine.
61. Steve is master of his domain -- the Bog of Eternal Stench.
60. Steve has overcome his fears and limitations by denying they exist, though he has yet to deny the existence of Regis Philbin and Cathy Lee Gifford.
59. By distancing himself from anything negative or pessimistic, Steve has avoided the ugly truth about the part in his hair.
58. Steve sings the blues with a stomp fiddle.
57. Scientifically speaking, the evolution from Ritalin to Zoloft helped Steve adapt to his unstable environment.
56. Steve spent several years of his life hand crafting rosary beads in a monastery, a meticulous endeaver that taught strict perseverence since he was required to break them in with an initial thousand Hail Mary's apiece.
55. Steve has a concave chest and suffers from shallow breathing, which results in too much carbon dioxide in his circulatory system and a deficiency of precious oxygen to the brain.
54. Steve is possessed by a horde of demons who call themselves the "Legion of Stooges".
53. Steve tunes out loud man-made noises, like his own blaring car horn, and instead listens to the soothing sounds of nature, like seagulls squawking around his garbage dumpster.
52. Steve grew up on Lake Wobegon.
51. Steve relaxes by tending his garden of rhubarb and has a fulfilling appetite for rhubarb marmalade, rhubarb relish, and sun-dried rhubarb stalks.
50. Steve gains self-confidence from believing himself to be a member of a master race of blonde Aryans, simply because his hair is mustard yellow and parted the same way as Adolph Hitler's.

I think I shall save the remaining fifty for another forgotten blog post. (Kyle and Dave, you're next.) Steve, if you're out there, thank you for the memories and for something to backfill my blog. Oh, and I'd be remiss if I didn't throw in the obligatory spinning head of Steven J. LaCompte.

"Your going to get it! Your going to get it! Your going to get it! Your going to get it! Your going to get it! Your going to get it! Your going to get it! Your going to get it! Your going to get it! Your going to get it! Your going to get it! Your going to get it! Your going to get it! Your going to get it! Your going to get it! Your going to get it! Your going to get it! Your going to get it! Your going to get it! Your going to get it! Your going to get it! Your going to get it! Your going to get it! Your going to get it! Your going to get it... And that damn spinning head!" --Steven J. LeCompte, 1997

Curmudgeon Chronicles Vol 3 Wednesday, December 22, 2021

The following is a true story. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent, although no one is truly innocent. Today Kelvin is slightly perturbed -- his sick dog kept him awake all night, but he's on his second cup of coffee and seems to be settling down. However, not all is at it may seem: a user has accused him of losing their VPN key fob when he replaced their laptop. He storms into the IT supervisor's office, who is forced to put down her knitting needles and attend to the grievance. I am in my office remotely assisting another user find her missing personal e-mail folder, which she informs me Kelvin lost when he was working on her computer yesterday. It is a simple matter easily remedied by a configuration setting and the call is closed. I tell Kelvin he lost a user's data when he is finished complaining about the missing key fob. Kelvin utters his famous last words, "And what do you want me to do about it?" Then he gets another cup of coffee and retreats behind the closed door of his office.

Plymouth Colony Tuesday, December 21, 2021

On this day in 1620, Puritan Separatists aboard the Mayflower who were fleeing from religious persecution by King James I of England landed in Massachusetts. During his thirty-year governorship over the colony, William Bradford kept a detailed journal. Here are some excerpts from the first ten chapters of the "History of Plimoth Plantation."

Anno Domini 1617: Where to go, the fertill Guiana, a cuntrie rich, fruitfull, and blessed with a perpetuall spring, and a florishing greenes; where vigorous nature brought forth all things in abundance and plentie without any great labour or art of man? Or to America, where the colde is fitt for our English bodys?

Report from Virginia Colony: A strange and hard land awaits ye. C'mon over and make your selfes at home.

Anno Domini 1620: We had a sollemne meeting and a day of humilliation to seeke ye Lord for his direction, and all who survived the days long teaching from pastor Brewsters texte were chosen worthy and solid to goe on the dangrous vioage.

Conditions upon the which ye adventurers and planters doe agree: The persons transported and ye adventurers shall continue their joynt stock and partnership togeather, ye space of 7 years, (excepte some unexpected impedimente of death doe cause ye whole company to agree otherwise,) during which time, all profits and benifits that are gott by trade, traffick, trucking, working, fishing, or any other means of any person or persons, remaine still in ye comone stock untill ye division. That at their coming ther, they chose out such a number of fitt persons, as may furnish their ships and boats for fishing upon ye sea; imploying the rest in their severall faculties upon ye land; as building houses, tilling, and planting ye ground, and makeing shuch comodities as shall be most usefull for ye collonie, with exclusions of course for wenching and harde drink and the unscrupulus thinges the which some trade moneys for.

August 3rd: A smale ship was bought and fitted in Holand, which was intended as to serve to help to transport them. So being ready to departe, they had a day of solleme humiliation, and the rest of the time was spente in powering out prairs to ye Lord with great fervencie. And ye time being come that they must departe, these pilgrimes lefte ye goodly and pleasante citie, which had been ther resting place near 12 years, and they departed with sighs and sobbs and pithy speeches peirst each harte. Thus hoysing saile, with a prosperus winde they came in short time to Southhamton, wher they found a bigger ship come from London, lying ready, with all the rest of their company. But there did arise ground of discontent betweene them, the which delayd their vioage.

Dartmouth, August 17th: Being thus put to sea they had not gone farr, but Mr. Reinolds ye master of ye leser ship complained that he found his ship so leak as he durst not put further to sea. So the biger ship (caled Mr. Jonas) being consulted with, proceeded on her viage complet with provissions of victeles.

September 6: Ther was a proud and very profane yonge man, one of ye sea-men, of a lustie, able body, which made him the more hauty; he would allway be contemning ye poore people in their sicknes, and cursing them dayly with grevous execrations, and did not let to tell them, that he hoped to help to cast halfe of them over board before they came to their jurneys end, and to make mery with what they had; and if he were by any gently reproved, he would curse and swear most bitterly. But it plased God before they came halfe seas over, to smite this yong man with a greeveous disease, of which he dyed in a desperate maner, and so was him selfe ye first yt was throwne overbord. Thus his curses light on his owne head; and it was an astonishmente to all his fellows, for they noted it to be ye just hand of God upon him.

After they had injoyed faire winds and weather for a season, they were incountred many times with crosse winds, and mette with many feirce stormes, with which ye shipe was shroudly shaken, and her upper works made very leakie. And truly ther was great distraction and differance of opinion amongst ye mariners them selves; faine would they doe what could be done for their wages sake, (being now halfe the seas over,) and on ye other hand they were loath to hazard their lives too desperatly. And one of the maine beames in ye midd ships was bowed and craked, but ther was a great iron scrue ye passengers brought out of Holland, which would raise ye beame into his place, and would make it sufficiente. So they comited them selves to ye will of God, and resolved to proseede.

In sundrie of these stormes the winds were so feirce, and ye seas so high, as they could not beare a knote of saile, but were forced to hull, for diverce days togither, and they fell amongst deangerous shoulds and roring breakers, and they were so farr intangled ther with as they conceived them selves in great danger, and after a longe beating at sea they fell with that land which is called Cape Cod, as by Gods providence. Being thus arived in a good harbor and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed ye God of heaven, who had brought them over ye vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all ye periles and miseries therof, againe to set their feete on ye firme and stable earth, their proper elemente.

But hear I cannot but stay and make a pause, and stand half amased at this poore peoples presente condition; and so I thinke will the reader too, when he well considers ye same. Being thus passed ye vast ocean, and a sea of troubles before in their preparation (as may be remembred by yt which wente before), they had now no freinds to wellcome them, nor inns to entertaine or refresh their weatherbeaten bodys, no houses or much less townes to repaire too, to seeke for succoure. Besides, what could they see but a hidious and desolate wildernes, full of wild beasts and wild men? And what multituds ther might be of them they knew not. For summer being done, all things stand upon them with a wetherbeaten face; and ye whole countrie, full of woods & thickets, represented a wild and savage heiw. What could now sustaine them but the spirite of God and his grace?

To be continued...

International Human Solidarity Day Monday, December 20, 2021

Cletis came a-runnin' from the field barefoot, dirty, and one strap from his overalls flapping in the wind. He stopped in the clearing by the old oak tree and gasped in bewilderment at the wreckage of the alien space craft. "What in tarnation?" he gawked as he drew his slingshot and approached the smoldering crater. The space ship was small and looked like a toy. There were little martians strewn about, most of which had lost their helmets and were barely moving. Cletis gathered them all up and stuffed them into a rusty tin can he found nearby. Then he picked up the space ship and ran on home with his amazing discovery. As he neared the bucolic farmhouse that had belonged to his family for generations, he tripped on a rock and dropped the tin can, sending the little martians tumbling down a ravine to where the hound dogs rounded them all up and tore them to shreds. But he still had the space ship, which he took into the barn and began pounding with a hammer to see what was inside. He pounded and pounded with all his might, eager for the surprise that awaited inside, not realizing that it was booby-trapped with an Illudium Q-36 explosive space modulator.

The Crisis Sunday, December 19, 2021

On this day in 1776, Thomas Paine's first essay in a series entitled "The American Crisis" is published during the Revolutionary War. Here are some of its its highlights:

  • "These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value."
  • "Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but "to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER" and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God."
  • "I have as little superstition in me as any man living, but my secret opinion has ever been, and still is, that God Almighty will not give up a people to military destruction, or leave them unsupportedly to perish, who have so earnestly and so repeatedly sought to avoid the calamities of war, by every decent method which wisdom could invent."
  • "Such was our situation and condition at Fort Lee on the morning of the 20th of November, when an officer arrived with information that the enemy with 200 boats had landed about seven miles above; Major General [Nathaniel] Green, who commanded the garrison, immediately ordered them under arms, and sent express to General Washington at the town of Hackensack, distant by the way of the ferry = six miles."
  • "I shall not now attempt to give all the particulars of our retreat to the Delaware; suffice it for the present to say, that both officers and men, though greatly harassed and fatigued, frequently without rest, covering, or provision, the inevitable consequences of a long retreat, bore it with a manly and martial spirit."
  • "Voltaire has remarked that King William never appeared to full advantage but in difficulties and in action; the same remark may be made on General Washington, for the character fits him. There is a natural firmness in some minds which cannot be unlocked by trifles, but which, when unlocked, discovers a cabinet of fortitude; and I reckon it among those kind of public blessings, which we do not immediately see, that God hath blessed him with uninterrupted health, and given him a mind that can even flourish upon care."
  • "The period is now arrived, in which either they or we must change our sentiments, or one or both must fall. And what is a Tory? Good God! What is he? I should not be afraid to go with a hundred Whigs against a thousand Tories, were they to attempt to get into arms. Every Tory is a coward; for servile, slavish, self-interested fear is the foundation of Toryism; and a man under such influence, though he may be cruel, never can be brave."
  • "Not a place upon earth might be so happy as America. Her situation is remote from all the wrangling world, and she has nothing to do but to trade with them. A man can distinguish himself between temper and principle, and I am as confident, as I am that God governs the world, that America will never be happy till she gets clear of foreign dominion. Wars, without ceasing, will break out till that period arrives, and the continent must in the end be conqueror; for though the flame of liberty may sometimes cease to shine, the coal can never expire."
  • "America could carry on a two years' war by the confiscation of the property of disaffected persons, and be made happy by their expulsion. Say not that this is revenge, call it rather the soft resentment of a suffering people, who, having no object in view but the good of all, have staked their own all upon a seemingly doubtful event. Yet it is folly to argue against determined hardness; eloquence may strike the ear, and the language of sorrow draw forth the tear of compassion, but nothing can reach the heart that is steeled with prejudice."
  • "Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it. Say not that thousands are gone, turn out your tens of thousands; throw not the burden of the day upon Providence, but "show your faith by your works," that God may bless you. It matters not where you live, or what rank of life you hold, the evil or the blessing will reach you all."
  • "Not all the treasures of the world, so far as I believe, could have induced me to support an offensive war, for I think it murder; but if a thief breaks into my house, burns and destroys my property, and kills or threatens to kill me, or those that are in it, and to "bind me in all cases whatsoever" to his absolute will, am I to suffer it?"
  • "Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man. I conceive likewise a horrid idea in receiving mercy from a being, who at the last day shall be shrieking to the rocks and mountains to cover him, and fleeing with terror from the orphan, the widow, and the slain of America."
  • "There are cases which cannot be overdone by language, and this is one. There are persons, too, who see not the full extent of the evil which threatens them; they solace themselves with hopes that the enemy, if he succeed, will be merciful. It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf, and we ought to guard equally against both."

International Migrants Day Saturday, December 18, 2021

Today is the birthday of Joseph Vissarionomotherfuckerovich Stalin, born in 1878 to proud parents Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin, who became arguably the greatest liberator of Russia from the bourgeoisie. Not to be outdone by his contemporary authoritarians, including the admirable fascist dictator of rebounding Germany, the humble Stalin amassed a commendable record of purging over 700,000 ethnic undesirables, in addition to rounding up another million or so free market miscreants, religious reprobates, sissy socialists, and other enemies of the pure-blooded proletariat and imprisoning them all in empty grain silos. Although not the obvious shoo-in for the Axis in WWII, the USSR was hoping that the Nazis would overlook their racial inferiority after siding with them at the outbreak of the Blitzkrieg, but Adolf Hitler, TIME Magazine's 1938 Man of the Year, likened the smell of Slavic blood to that of the Jews and initiated a surpise attack. In reaction, Stalin called on his old Bolshevik friends the Snow Miser, who responded by freezing German troops, and the Heat Miser, who scorched everything in their path so there was nothing to conquer, which garnered "Uncle Joe" TIME's Man of the Year for 1942 (his second after the first in 1939 for being almost as big of a world stage prick as Hitler). As a result, Stalin was allowed to annex much of Eastern Europe in the hopes of exiling millions more to Siberia, including many of his own troops returning from victory. By the end of his illustrious career, he had sentenced over five million of the Soviet population to Gulag labor camps. In his last years, with private council from the corpse of Hitler, Stalin began a campaign of anti-Semitism against the newly formed Jewish state. Just prior to his death in 1953, he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage that left him incapacitated for several days. Not realizing that Zionist conspirators had infiltrated the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and induced atherosclerosis in his arteries through the secret burning of Hanukkah lamps which permeated his mustache, he sentenced himself to the Gulag for having become a western couch potato. At his public funeral in Moscow, thousands of those in attendance were rounded up and honored with a vacation getaway to Siberia. Now, why I would spend so much time on this particular individual escapes me, especially when today is International Migrants Day. Oh, well, maybe next year I will be more communistic with my efforts.

Hard Times Success (I) Friday, December 17, 2021

Here's an alternative mode of employment in these tough economic times: ballpoint pen salesperson. The scam, er, uh, method for success goes like this -- Take all the pennies out of your car ashtray and buy a pack of ballpoint pens. Next, scribble on a scrap of paper that you are deaf, dumb, and mentally challenged. Lastly, walk around populated areas of town and sell your pens for a buck a pop. Once business picks up, consider re-investing your initial profits into a variety of ballpoint pen colors and maybe a label affixed to the end of each pen like a little flag that reads, "Thank you for your support of persons with intellectual deficiencies. God bless you." Don't be ashamed to solicit in established businesses -- any place with a waiting room is a potential gold mine. If anyone objects or gives you guff, remember that you are deaf and dumb and just ignore them. Those who are offened because they themselves suffer from a disability and work for minimum wage are only jealous. Note: dress modestly, maybe even appear a little dirty and disheveled. This is not a job where you have to wear a suit and answer to a boss. You are your own boss and your hours are your own. You don't even have to consider this a job because if you enjoy your work then it is not a job. And this is based on a true story. Here's another alternative mode of employment, which henceforth shall be deemed "entrepreneurship." Place a trash can in break rooms throughout an industrial and/or office park, each labeled ALUMINUM CANS ONLY. People will not question the aluminum can bin -- they will simply obey and fill your pockets full of money. Also, strongly recommend they crush the cans first. The key to success here is volume, as aluminum prices are dire. Note: do not spell it ALUMINIUM, as people will get caught up on the word and may question why they are bothering to recycle at all.

Words to Live By Thursday, December 16, 2021

As much as I'd like to reminisce about Pepin of Herstal and his consort Plectrude of the Frankish Kingdom on this day in 714, I have more pressing issues. For starters, I have read very few inspirational quotes in my lifetime that have intrigued me in the slightest. Some are clever, most are banal. Whether it's Eleanor Roosevelt, Nelson Mandela, Ralph Waldo Emerson, or Anne Frank -- they have lived remarkable lives, overcome adversities, contributed greatly, and acquired a wealth of wisdom... only to have it bounce off my face and onto my pragmatic plate, where I have cut it with my knife of skepticism, consumed it with my fork of rationale, digested it with a smidgen of misanthropic acid, and expelled it into my chamber pot of perception. Here is my first installment of what I call Words to Live By:

  • In this life we cannot do great things like Mother Teresa. We can only do small things like an orphaned child.
  • You will face many defeats in life, but never let yourself be defeated by Maya Angelou.
  • Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people. Toxic minds discuss on 4chan.
  • Life is 10% what happens to us and 10% how we react to it and 80% shit just happening.
  • The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising without a broken hip or busted knee every time we fall.
  • Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck, just like a failed attempt at suicide that leaves you paralyzed from the neck down which prevents you from ever committing suicide.
  • Never be afraid to fall apart because it is an opportunity to rebuild yourself the way you wish you had been all along -- with transsexual cyborg appendages.
  • Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail so that others may follow your path to where ever it may lead... perhaps a bottomless hole.
  • If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and would be a video game.
  • Everything happens for a reason, unless you believe in the Big Bang theory, then there is no reason your existence.
  • Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue, except when it's scarred again.
  • The most dangerous poison is the feeling of achievement, the antidote to which is complaining that nothing is ever good enough.
  • Life isn't about finding yourself or about creating yourself. If you remove yourself from the equation, life goes on.
  • Don't let someone else's opinion of you become your reality, unless they think you're God, then you may walk on water. If they speak of you as God's gift to mankind, or all that and a bag of chips, or the greatest thing since sliced bread, then their sarcasm is outdated.
  • A heart without dreams is like a bird without feathers, which likely suffers from Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease. A heart with feathers is just a tattoo.
  • Pain is temporary but giving up lasts a lifetime, as does drug addiction and a tattoo of a heart with wings.
  • The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who are cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.
  • Sadness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of sadness; it is generally the by-product of other activities that don't lead to happiness.
  • It ain't about how hard you hit, it's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward until you eventually succumb to chronic traumatic brain injury and stop moving altogether.
  • Life is really complicated, but we insist on making it simple by reducing everything to its basic sugars.
  • If at first you aren't the Dalai Lama, die, die again.
  • Life itself is the most wonderful of fairy tales, but every one of them has a dead end.

Bill of Rights Wednesday, December 15, 2021

In 1941, U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt declared this day to be Bill of Rights Day, which for all U.S. citizens should be every day. The Bill of Rights is basically the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution (itself a revision of the Articles of Confederation), which were approved as a bundle by Congress in 1789 (out of twelve originally submitted), and by 1791 were ratified by 3/4 of the fourteen states of the Union. There are a total of twenty-seven amendments, but those ratified after the Bill of Rights are all loose-leaf sheets stuffed into a leather three-ring binder that was hand-crafted by James "Jemmy" Madison. Here for your daily constitutional reading pleasure are the ten amendments of the Bill of Rights:

  1. Freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. (Apparently, these were constitutional afterthoughts. As with all privileges, there are also abuses, but a free market society usually regulates poor taste and indecency.)
  2. Right to bear arms: A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. (Back then, arms were muzzleloaders and metropolitan police departments were not yet established.)
  3. No forced private lodging for soldiers: No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law. (This was in response to the Quartering Act of 1765 which required Americans to provide food and shelter to British soldiers during the Revolutionary War, but apparently didn't apply to the pillaging of homes by Union and Confederate soldiers during the Civil War.)
  4. Search and seizure: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. (Evidence taken in violation of this amendment cannot be used in court, per Weeks v United States, 1914, known as the "exclusionary rule.")
  5. Criminal cases: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. (You have the right to keep your mouth shut.)
  6. Speedy trial: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defence. (Unfortunately, this pertains only to the trial itself, not the period prior to it.)
  7. Jury trial for civil cases: In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law. (Twenty dollars was a lot back then. Nowadays only a small percentage of civil trials require twelve angry jurors.)
  8. Cruel and unusual punishment: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. (Some argue that the death penalty is cruel and unusual. I argue that life in prison is cruel and unusual and that the death penalty is getting off easy.)
  9. Additional rights observed: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. (In case the dullards in power assume that everything not covered herein is niggling or bootless.)
  10. Limited federal government: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people. (State, municipal, and county governments have the right to impose their laws, too.)

Sweet Dew Membership Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Han Yue, general of the Left Jinwu Corps of the imperial guard in Chang'an, stood outside Hanyuan Hall headquarters and gazed up at a pomegranate tree. It was early evening and the setting sun revealed a trail of sweet dew trickling down a leaf and dripping upon a piece of fruit that resembled a large ruby. He smiled and whispered, "Ganlu," knowing that Emperor Wenzong would be pleased to hear in the following morning's report at Zichen Hall that the emperor was to be blessed with divine favor. The next day General Han Yue made the report before the emperor and his royal court, who congratulated the emperor. But Chancellor Li Xun and General Shu Yuanyu were skeptical of the sweet dew and pursuaded the emperor to send officials from the Examination Bureau to Hanyuan Hall and inspect the sweet dew to ensure it was authentic Ganlu. Otherwise, there would be no divine favor for the emperor. So the officials went and inspected the sweet dew, but upon close examination they discovered that the sweet due was not true Ganlu and quickly reported this to the emperor, whereupon Emperor Wenzong sent Qiu Shiliang and Shence Army commander Yu Hongzhi to provide further examination of the sweet dew. However, before they could return an edict, Han Yue became nervous and a drop of sweat rolled down the side of his face like sweet dew, which caught the attention of Qiu Shiliang, alerting him to impending danger. Soon, everybody was Kung Fu fighting and those cats were fast as lightning. The elaborate plot to murder the imperial eunuchs and take control of the Tang Empire had been exposed, resulting in the execution of many of the emperor's top officials. But little did they know that Emperor Wenzong was the mastermind behind it all. This sweet dew incident happened on this day in the year 835, and was brought to you by... it just occurred to me that this site has no advertising sponsors. Therefore, those of you fortunate enough to be reading this shall henceforth be known as Ganlu Members.

Pope Celestine V Monday, December 13, 2021

On this day in 1294, Pope Celestine V resigned after just five months on the throne of vicars, assigned some guy named Bob as his replacement, and returned to being a hermit monk named Pietro Angelerio (aka Peter of Morrone). In his defense, he did not desire the position that was foisted upon him and initially refused the election. Although not the first pope to step down, his lasting edict was the right of the pope to abdicate. Unfortunately for him, his successor, Pope Boniface VIII, fearing his possible reinstatement as antipope, had him imprisoned until he died within a year, although he was old and feeble. Some accused him of being a coward for refusing the papacy, many considered him incompetent in the role, while others saw him simply as virtuous and humble. His legacy was the Celestine monastic order which built upon the Benedictine order by adding more asceticism, penitence, severities, privations, and solitude. In yesterday's entry I mentioned my own viewpoint about the pope, so why should I spend time recounting the theme or bringing further attention to it? It just seems curious to me that the sole position that many consider to be the earthly presence and authority of God is so historically convoluted and wrought with dissent, annulments, excommunication, and scandal, which owes primarily to the fallibility of man... that's all.

Note: "Antipope" is one who claims papacy or attempts to claim the title of Bishop of Rome/Supreme Pontificate/Vicar of Christ/Primate of Italy outside the official election by the College of Cardinals (conclave) through other authoritative channels, such as a faction of the conclave or with the support of strong allies in the Church or the ruling elite who are in opposition to the elected pope, and there were dozens of them who made history complicated for the Catholic Church.

Stating the Obvious Sunday, December 12, 2021

Today we celebrate the following saints: Abra of Poitiers (patron saint of dead young virgins); Columba of Tirdaglas (patron saint of the plague); Corentin of Quimper (patron saint of seafood); Edburga of Minster-in-Thanet (patron saint of royal charters); Finnian of Clonard (patron saint of asceticism and penance); Vicelinus of Holstein (patron saint of paralysis). Actually, I made up all but one patronage. Can you guess which one? Today we also celebrate the first transatlantic radio signal in Morse Code by Guglielmo Marconi in 1901, inventor of the wireless radio wave telegraph system and therefore inventor of radio. SOS signals were later sent from the Titanic in 1912 and the Lusitania in 1915 via the Marconi International Marine Communication Company. Marconi was also involved in the development of radar, television transmission, and microwaves. In 1931, he helped establish Vatican Radio and introduced Pope Pius XI by saying into the microphone, "With the help of God, who places so many mysterious forces of nature at man's disposal, I have been able to prepare this instrument which will give to the faithful of the entire world the joy of listening to the voice of the Holy Father." Although it would seem that science is at odds with religion and that religion is an impediment to science, it is science that is based upon God's laws of nature and which in turn reveals the mysteries of God. But the spiritual realm cannot be detected by scientific observance nor proven by technological means. However, it can be revealed on an individual basis to the mind, heart, and soul. Therefore it remains anchored in faith, which the author of Hebrews wrote in chapter 11: "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible... And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him... All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country -- a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them." (NIV)

Disclaimer: I do not consider the Pope as the Holy Father, nor do I recognize the authority that the Roman Catholic Church bestows upon him, nor do I accept the claim that salvation only comes through the Catholic Church whether directly or indirectly, nor do I believe that anyone who accepts Jesus Christ as their savior outside the Catholic religion and its traditions then becomes an imperfect member secretly of the Apostolic Universal Church. Rather, those who accept Jesus are members of his body with Christ as the head.

Simplest Answers Are The Best Saturday, December 11, 2021

It just occurred to me that I forgot about Human Rights Day. Oh, well. Might as well just forget about International Mountain Day as well. Instead, here's a segment I like to call Simplest Answers Are The Best:

  • What is International Mountain Day? It's what the United Nations calls December 11.
  • Does Sasquatch exist? Yes. Just look out your window. (However, most are invisible.)
  • Do aliens exist? Yes and no. Aliens do exist, but they are not really aliens.
  • Is Elvis Presley still alive? Maybe. Those who know him personally will not say, but he lives in the heart of every Elvis impersonator.
  • How old is planet Earth? Somewhere between 6,000 and 5,000,000,000 years.
  • Is there a general cure for cancer? Yes.
  • Is there a general cure for cancer that is not death? Yes.
  • If there is a cure for cancer that does not involve expensive and unpleasant medical procedures, then what is it? Can't say because the pharmaceutical industry will have me exterminated... er, uh, cured of cancer the old-fashioned way.
  • Will man evolve into superman? Wait and see. (With punctuated equilibrium, this could take just tens of thousands of years rather than millions.)
  • Is time travel possible? This blog post was written tomorrow. Just kidding, the answer is no. Time is simply a measurement.
  • Do ghosts exist? No and yes. There's no such thing as ghosts, but there are spirits.
  • Is God angry with you? Yes, perfectly and eternally.
  • Why is there a hell? Because the Christian belief system is black and white. Utter annihilation is considered a grey area.
  • Is it grey or gray? "Grey" is the British English spelling and therefore the correct spelling. "Gray" is the lazy American English spelling and therefore the easier and more acceptable way to spell it.
  • How do you make salt water drinkable? Remove the salt.
  • Are animals telepathic? No, but single-cell amoebas are.
  • When will the Rapture take place? Now. No, now. No one really knows, not even Jesus himself and he's leading the parade.
  • Is there life after death? Wait and see. (Hold your breath.)
  • Is there life before death? Maybe. The debate is on-going.
  • Who's a better Starfleet captain, Kirk or Picard? James T. Kirk. -- long debate short, he single-handedly defeated the antiproton doomsday machine, Landru, Nomad, M-5, and the Kobayashi Maru. (Picard was once a Borg named Locutus who refused the advances of the Borg Queen. Kirk would've taught her the meaning of love. Picard also relied on time travel in order to save the Earth from the Borg, which we have determined is not possible.)
  • What rights do humans have? Once born, we all have the right to die.
  • What rights should humans have? We should all have the inherent right to live with dignity, but even in a perfect society that's still not possible because we all just fuck up our individual lives in our own embarrassing ways.

60 Second Holiday Romance Friday, December 10, 2021

Coming this holiday season to the Hallmark Channel: Marilu Henner stars as Elizabeth, a jaded socialite from Upstate New York on her third divorce; Christopher Lambert is Connor, a loveless county clerk and notary public who has a dark past. They were the least likely pair to ever end up together, but due to unforeseen circumstances in the small town of Marble Fleck Falls, combined with the warmth and glow of the yuletide season -- Christmas calamities ensue, along with holiday hijinks and festive decapitations, only to become the surprise gift of a lifetime. Co-starring Ed Asner as Gramps, Sally Struthers as Ma Prichard, George Takei as the effervescent Mr. Yin, and with special guest appearance by Clancy Brown as the resurrected Victor Kruger. This is a story guaranteed to melt your heart and make you say, "Well, I didn't see that coming."


Mother of All Demos Thursday, December 9, 2021

Let's see, Wikipedia, what happened today in history? No, I'm not going to contribute financially. In 1531, Our Blessed Virgin Lady of Guadalupe makes her first appearance in Mexico City to a peasant and insists that a church be built in her honor. After subsequent appearances, she performs a couple miracles to prove herself to the Catholic Church, which then builds the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and promotes it as the most popular Marian destination in the world. In 1851, the first North American YMCA is established in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Young Men's Christian Association was initially a healthy alternative hangout to taverns and brothels, but later generations had forgotten it was a fun place to stay when you're down and out. Thankfully, the Village People came along in 1978 and turned it into a gay disco hit for everyone to enjoy and not just young men. In 1917, during WWI, Jerusalem is liberated from the Ottoman Empire by British forces with the help of Lawrence of Arabia. On this day in 1948, the UN adopts the Genocide Convention, making activities like the Holocaust a crime. On this day in 1965 is the Kecksburg UFO incident, where thousands in the U.S. and Canada witness a fireball sail through the air and crash in Pittsburgh. Officials initially attributed it to either a meteor, a Soviet satellite, or the usual weather balloon. It was later discovered that the Nazis had secretly deposited Giorgio Tsoukalos into our hearts and imaginations via a time-travelling Volkswagen Beetle. Prior to Xerox PARC's revolutionary contributions to modern-day computers, on this day in 1968, Douglas Engelbart gives a presentation now known as "The Mother of All Demos" at the ACM/IEEE Computer Society's Fall Joint Computer Conference demonstrating much of the technology that would come to be the Apple Macintosh. In 1979, smallpox is certifiably eradicated, except of course for "research" purposes. Birthdays include Redd Foxx (1922), Buck Henry (1930), Ashleigh Brilliant (1933), and a bunch others. Heinrich Christian Friedrich Schumacher dies of boredom in 1830 while researching mollusk taxonomy. This is becoming exhausting.

Ancient Aliens meme magnet Giorgio Tsoukalos

Dispelling the Myths Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Today we remember Louis the Stammerer (846-879), king of Aquitaine, also crowned king of West Francia on this day in 877. A descendent of Charlemagne, he was son of Charles the Bald, brother of Charles the Child, cousin of Louis the Younger, and father of Charles the Simple. Some may find French history dreary and humdrum, like myself, but for the cognoscenti of antiquities, it is pure gold. But I shall digress and dispel a few myths before the Carolingian Dynasty puts me into a coma.

  • Not all people who attend sci-fi conventions are nerds, geeks, and dweebs. Some are actually Klingons, Vulcans, Jedis, and droids.
  • Godzilla does not hate Japan. On the contrary, it's his favorite recreation destination.
  • Dogs do not understand each other, which is why they bark at one another. They only smell other dog's buttholes in order to sense what their diet is to help decide if they want to hang out with them and possibly get in on the action.
  • Not all dogs go to heaven. Only 144,000 dogs will go to heaven (12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of Israel).
  • Cats are not evil, although they are devious and full of guile, but they have no concept of good or bad.
  • Most government employees are not lazy. They are simply under-achievers. Those who claim civil service for the good of society wouldn't do their job if they weren't paid.
  • Admitting your weaknesses is not the first step to success. It's the last step off the cliff to obsolescence.
  • Lasting and effective weight loss does not come from diet and exercise. It only comes through death and decomposition. So eat all you want and just crap as much of it away as possible.
  • If you can't beat them, then don't succumb to joining them. Victors will never respect losers. Everyone has a built-in self-destruct mechanism that will obliterate anything within a five-yard radius. Learn to self-destruct. (This is not terrorism, which relies on incendiary devices and explosives with a maximum blast radius.)
  • There's no business like show business, except for selling your .com business for millions.
  • Every cloud has a silver lining, including poisonous clouds, particularly of metallic toxins, with the exception of an atomic mushroom cloud.
  • There's only one way to skin a cat and that's with your bare hands.
  • All the world is not a stage. It's actually a disreputable street corner in a sleazy part of the galaxy.
  • JFK was not assassinated. Parts of his body merely exploded from a lethal overdose of methamphetamines and goat semen -- a concoction he had become addicted to after sustaining injuries in WWII. Lee Harvey Oswald and his accomplices were only trying to shoot him inconspicuously with tranquilizer darts filled with MGS.
  • Jesus didn't die for the sins of Latter-Day Saints. Instead his spirit left his body upon the cross before it died. The blood that Mormons say he shed on their behalf was during his anguish in the garden of Gethsemane prior to his trial and crucifixion.
  • Nice guys do finish last. There is no debunking this well-established fact.

Curmudgeon Chronicles Vol 2 Tuesday, December 7, 2021

The following is a true story. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent, although no one is truly innocent. Today Kelvin is slightly perturbed -- someone has been raiding his coffee pot, which percolates in a common area. He vows that if and when he locates the offender, he will exact financial retribution. But more pressing issues emerge as a server goes down at a remote office and Kelvin flies into action by going to the bathroom. When he returns, all are assured that the server is back up and running after a brief power outage. He pours himself another cup of coffee and checks his e-mail to discover an important memo from the CIO regarding the misuse of precious network resources. This gets him to thinking about wasteful bureaucratic spending and he begins listing off what he considers to be the department's most recent squanderings of taxpayer dollars, which elevates his blood pressure, as evident from the bulging veins in and around his neck and forehead. There were the dozen or so servers that were purchased but not deployed until after the warranties expired, all the LCD monitors that were damaged from being shipped in one giant box from HQ without any packing material, replacing brand new phones with brand new phones due to a change in service provider, additional staff hires because some support groups can't get their shit together, the overnight statewide IT conference that no one wanted to attend, and having to move offices just for the sake of change. (Yes, someone in authority read the book Who Moved My Cheese? and got the bright idea to have everyone swap offices as an exercise in change.) "You oughta be used to it by now!" the IT manager bellows as he bursts into Kelvin's office. He then ribs Kelvin about being a cantankerous old man, reminds him that his job security is due to the agency's inefficiencies, and ascends to the administrative heights of the building, as Kelvin utters his famous last words, "Yeah, and what do you want me to do about it?"

Blessed Krampusnacht Monday, November 6, 2021

Today is the Feast of St. Nicholas, but in case you awoke this morning to find some of your children missing or severely beaten with birch rods, last night was Krampusnacht, when the ancient Austrian fiend Krampus emerges from the Alps and visits naughty children worldwide to deliver whippings, kidnappings, or simply take away the fruit and nuts wrongfully gifted by St. Nicholas. In some countries he leaves a lump of coal in the stomach of naughty children. Since coal is highly prized in most impoverished villages, the parents do what they can to extract the coal from their child in order to make use of it. However, if a child finds a lump of coal in their stocking, they have St. Nicholas to thank, who has interceded with Krampus on their behalf. Should they not change the evil of their ways the following year, then Krampus will be allowed to do with them as he pleases and St. Nicholas will be forced to watch. If you forgot all about it this holiday season, it's never too late or too early to send your loved ones a Krampuskarten, or Krampus greeting card.

Pictured: Krampus doing what St. Nicholas never had the cojones to do -- removing naughty infants from families who deserve better.

Abolition of Haitian Slavery Sunday, December 5, 2021

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue aboard the Santa Clara and landed on the island of Hispaniola. He then forced its inhabitants to chop down all the trees on half the island and built three more ships -- the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. Before sailing on to discover the East Indies, he named the clearcut part of the island Haiti, cursing it from then on to be devastated annually by hurricanes and for its natives to speak French. Today treeless Haiti and its neighbor, the Dominican Republic, celebrate Discovery Day by eating Red Cross rations and deep-fried tobacco leaves, respectively. Haiti has a rich history of slavery, beginning with the subjugation of its indigenous peoples, the Taino, to mine for gold. After all the gold and indigenous peoples were gone, African slaves were imported to work sugarcane and coffee plantations, but revolted after being forced to speak French. Napoleon then invaded Haiti to re-establish French-speaking slavery, but was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo by a black general named Francois-Dominique Toussaint Louverture. Although officially gaining sovereign independence in 1804 and eradicating all white French nationalists, Haiti would forever be enslaved by the French language and plagued with dictators, uprisings, massacres, and hurricanes. The End

Eid il-Burbara Monster Saturday, December 4, 2021

Today is Saint Barbara's Day for Middle Eastern Christians. The daughter of a wealthy Phoenician of Heliopolis in the third century, Barbara was kept locked in a tower for her protection where she secretly became a Christian, miraculously escaped, was captured and tortured by Roman prefect Martinianus, and killed by her father. During her brief sojourn of faith, many miracles were reported on her behalf, including the healing of her body each morning after the previous day's torturing. Since Barbara disguised herself as different characters to elude Roman persecution, the tradition is for participants who celebrate her feast day to wear costumes and go door to door seeking food and money, similar to needy children on Halloween. There's more to her story than this and she is venerated as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers by Catholics, so if you're interested, look her up online. Today is also National Cookie Day in the U.S., when pagans and Christians alike celebrate along with Sydney Monster (aka "Cookie Monster") by consuming tremendous amounts of delicious cookies, which is actually no different than any other day in the U.S. Debuting on Sesame Street in 1969, Cookie Monster went on to win several Grammy Awards for his song C is for Cookie, however, by 2006 he was morbidly obese and forced by Muppet practitioners to go on a strict fruit and vegetable diet. His subsequent song Cookies Are A Sometimes Food tanked at number eighty-three on Billboard's Toddler Tunes Top 100 list and was gone after just three weeks.

Pictured: royalty-free image of St. Barbara disguised as Cookie Monster.
This is the kind of quality provided by a Shutterstock trial membership.

Missing 411 Friday, December 3, 2021

Today we celebrate saints Abbo of Auxerre (unofficial) and Johann Nepomuk von Tschiderer zu Gleifheim (questionable, but approved), among others. On this day in 1999, NASA lost the Mars Polar Lander somewhere near the south pole of the fourth planet in our solar system, taking with it a $165 million investment. Today is International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) and to this end the United Nations aims to level the playing field further by eliminating the word "disability" from all languages. Rather than focusing on someone's impairment or weakness, focus instead on their abilities and strengths. For example, Marie has been in a wheelchair most of her life, consequently her arms are as powerful as legs. Louis is blind, thus he has developed an extraordinary sense of sonar. Jacque is an autistic savant, so he has rapid penny jar calculation abilities. Ursula has gigantism, which makes her large and in charge. Tabatha has trisomy 21, therefore she is awesomesauce. Vladimir has cerebral palsy, which empowers him with a comedic prowess like Geri Jewel, Josh Blue, or Zach Anner. And so on.

  Have you seen me?
Name: Mars Polar Lander
Alias: Mars Surveyor '98 Lander
Weight: 290kg   Height: 1.06m   Width: 3.6m
Last Seen: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
Last Contact: Dec 3, 1999
Last Known Whereabouts: Mars (the red planet), possibly in the region of Planum Australe (76°S 195°W)
Accomplices: Two micro surface probes, aka "Deep Space 2"
Condition: Likely disabled, er, um, in recovery mode
If you have any information as to the whereabouts of this probe, please contact the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

International Day for the Abolition of Slavery Thursday, December 2, 2021

The following is a true story. Only the names have been changed to protect the stupid: Chad hung his head in shame and utter embarrassment. After hours of troubleshooting, the cause of the problem remained undetermined. He returned the projector (model PT-LBI0VU) to its protective case and suggested replacing the lamp (part number ET-LAB10) but everyone already suspected that was not the cause, especially since it had already been successfully tested in another projector. However, unbeknownst to Chad, a new replacement projector (model 1781W) had already been ordered. All the same, they mocked him for his failure and threw rocks at him.

Michael Bolotin Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Lest anyone forget that COVID-19 is not the only potentially deadly virus around, today is World AIDS Day (Google it yourself). Although AIDS has a head-start on fatalities over COVID-19, claiming over 36 million lives since 1981 (COVID just over 5.2 million deaths), the two have teamed up for a comorbidity rate that some countries have estimated at double that of the general population, according to UNAIDS. To keep from saying anything offensive about either pandemic, I will quit there. Some of the saints who are being feasted today include Ansanus of Siena, Castritian of Milan, Eligius of Noyon-Tournai, Evasius of Asti, Grwst of Gwynedd, and Ursicinus of Brescia (Google them yourself). According to a CNN news radio report I once accidentally heard, the cause of bullying may be due to underdeveloped communication skills. Researchers have apparently found that weaker children will develop verbal tactical skills from the pummeling they receive from stronger, more aggressive children, while bullies will continue to express themselves with pummeling. The solution? Survival of the fittest. Scientific minds predict the weaker underlings will come out on top because they will be driven underground where they may survive the catastrophic effects of global warming. What does any of this have to do with Michael Bolton? What does anything have to do with Michael Bolton? (His last name is actually Bolotin).

60 Second Romance Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Her nose began to bleed each time she was in his presence. Could this be a sign of true love? If so, would it bleed forever? She stuffed some tissue up her nostril and approached him to ask him on a date. Once face to face her nose began to bleed uncontrollably and before she could say anything the tissue was saturated. Without a second thought, she pulled the red plug from her nose and immediately he vomited on her. He knew without a doubt it was true love. At first it was disgusting, but in time they learned that no lasting relationship is without its messes.

Palestinian Solidarity Monday, November 29, 2021

Today we celebrate, among other saints, Abibus of Nekresi (stoned to death by Zoroastrian Persians), Radboud of Utrecht (patron saint of scientific practice), Brendan of Birr (Brendan the Elder, not Brendan the Navigator of Clonfert), Sadwrn (Sadwrn of Llansadwrn, not Sadwrn of Henllan in Denbighshire of Rhufoniog), and Saturnin of Tolosa in Occitan (dragged to death behind a bull through the streets of Toulouse by the Gauls). Today is also the United Nations' observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, in honor of UN Resolution 181(II), UN Partition Plan for Palestine recommending the creation of independent Arab and Jewish States, adopted on this day in 1947. The proposed separation of Palestine and Israel has a rather complicated history. Prior to WWII, the territory was under British rule, but they couldn't manage a peaceful agreement to the division of land between Palestine and Israel, particularly in regard to the immigration of Holocaust survivors into Palestinian territory, so it was handed over to the oversight of the United Nations, which had replaced the League of Nations. In summary, the plan was accepted by most Jews, although the resulting Jewish state would include a large Arab minority. It was rejected by most Arabs on grounds that it violated the UN Charter's principles of national self-determination. Part of the problem that exists to this day is determining the boundaries between the two states that are intricately merged, which would mean incorporating or displacing people already occupying designated areas and includes the difficulties of taxation and representation. Another issue is how to govern the city of Jerusalem, which is divided in population between Israelis in the west and Palestinians in the east, comprises numerous sites deemed holy by both peoples, and is considered by a majority of Jews to be the capital of the nation of Israel although not recognized as such internationally with most embassies being located in Tel Aviv. Now you understand the situation as well as I do. Tomorrow I shall return to sarcasm and attempting to be witty.


Church-Going Advice Sunday, November 28, 2021

Some people don't like to attend church because they feel they are being looked down upon or judged unworthy. Unless you are intentionally looking to make a statement, here are some helpful tips to avoid pious eyes and make your visit more undetectable:

  • If riding a camel, park it outside where it cannot spit on an elder.
  • If you are legally blind and have a seeing eye donkey, rather than a guide dog, don't share your coffee with it. Also, don't let it drink straight from the coffee dispenser or eat directly from the cookie plate.
  • Don't put anything in the offering basket that isn't money and don't take anything out -- just pass it along.
  • Unless attending a Unitarian or Episcopal service and unless everyone is holding hands, don't hold hands with someone of the same sex or with someone of the opposite sex who isn't your spouse.
  • Avoid singing hymns loudly during prayer time or before the sermon is over.
  • If a Catholic service, try not to speak in tongues.
  • If a Pentecostal service, remember that after speaking in tongues someone must be allowed to interpret for the edification of all.
  • Do not interpret the speaking of tongues with quotes from Napoleon Dynamite.
  • Refrain from making fart noises. If you do fart, whether quietly or loudly, point at someone else. A guide dog or service animal is always a good "scapegoat."
  • If not an Evangelical service, remove your trucker hat that reads "Let's Go Brandon."
  • Utilize underwear to accessorize low-rider jeans or short skirts.
  • Do not pretend to be covered by the blood of the lamb by literally soaking yourself in sheep's blood.
  • Wear a turtleneck rather than a burqa to cover any offensive tattoos around the neck and facial area.
  • If not a synagogue, avoid wearing sackcloth and covering yourself with ashes.
  • If not a mosque, refrain from kneeling on a Persian rug and praying toward Mecca.
  • Use a cover for breastfeeding and refrain from breastfeeding anyone over the age of three.
  • Fall alseep upright, not laying flat on the pew or lying down on the floor.
  • Refrain from yelling, "Hell, yeah!" instead of, "Amen!"
  • Speak quietly when addressing the voices inside your head, or not at all.
  • Don't argue openly with the pastor, priest or clergyperson. Wait until after the service is over to go forward and quietly disagree. You may have to make an appointment or write your vitriol on a visitor card. Also, deny the temptation of approaching an open mic.
  • Avoid tipping people over in wheelchairs or mobility scooters to test their faith in healing.
  • Avoid sitting in a wheelchair, using crutches, or wearing a cast or any kind of brace. If completely unavoidable, soil yourself to keep would-be layers-on of hands at a distance.
  • If you have uncloved hooves and fear being labeled unclean, consider having them surgically cloved.
  • If you have any condition of the skin that resembles leprosy, wear a paper sack over your head and socks on your hands and arms.
  • If your breath smells like alcohol or sex, then wear a surgical mask. This also applies for Tourette Syndrome. (Warning: in an era of Coronavirus, right-wing conservatives still might gawk.)
  • Put out your cigarette before going inside.
  • Stop greeting others with a "holy kiss."
  • Don't shake hands if signs of the stigmata appear on your body and start bleeding.
  • Try not to let any holy water get in your eyes or a crucifix touch your skin.
  • If you are possessed by demons, try not to let your head spin around, projectile vomit, or utter unkind words about other people's mothers.
  • Remember to pull your pants up after going number two. (Washing your hands is secondary.)
  • If a vagrant or transient, first roll around in the mud to mask the smell of urine and cover up holes in tattered clothing. In areas where mud is not readily available, roll around in wet leaves, tar, or freshly poured cement. Avoid rolling in cow manure, as this may defeat the purpose.
  • Down your liquor with the use of a Starbucks cup coupled with a drinking lid rather than from a flask or bottle conspicuously concealed in a paper bag.
  • Refrain from eating Corn Nuts, or at least burping while eating them.
  • No shoes or shirt? Stop by the Lost & Found for a quick shopping spree.
  • Avoid wearing a name tag that reads "Judas Iscariot" or "Mephistopheles."
  • Avoid anointing foreheads with a tincture of oil, or at least refrain from offering to heal others of their ugliness and stupidity.
  • Carry an Authorized King James Version Bible with you at all times -- the bigger, the better.
  • Turn off your cell phone.
  • Sit in the front row.

Jack Chick Saturday, November 27, 2021

Among the saints being remembered today are Alypius the Stylite, Ethelwine of Athelney, and Stylianos of Paphlagonia. One person who may never be considered a saint is Jack Chick, whose feast day would actually be celebrated on October 23. If you've never been handed a tract from Chick Publications, then you are missing out on a vital piece of classic American religious propaganda. A Google image search on Jack Chick will bring you up to speed, although Chick Publications includes all of the tracts online. Whether or not you fully believe in all that he preached or in the way that he delivered the message, Chick tracts are still fun to hand out at parties, prisons, grocery stores, street corners, transit buses, occult gatherings, cathedrals, or on Halloween.

Black Friday Friday, November 26, 2021

The biggest shopping day of the year that kicks off the capitalist Christmas season, Black Friday has been a term used since the early 1950s. It was first coined to describe the day when workers called in sick following Thanksgiving. A decade later it was used to describe the same day when the same people congested the streets to go shopping, causing traffic control problems in big cities. There are other stories behind the origin of this term, but that's the one I'm going with here. With no relation to the Black Plague, Black History Month, Black Day for sad and lonely South Korean singles, or the traditional sense of the term related to days of emotional and psychological darkness, Black Friday has come to mean the most financially profitable day of the year for many retailers, lifting them out of the red from lower sales the previous months. Some have tried to change the name over the years, including Gimbels Day (Gimbels), Macy's Friday (Macy's), Blue Light Friday (Kmart), Crazy White Friday (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Cheap Plastic Shoe Day (Kinney, Thom McAn, Payless ShoeSource), Stay Home & Read Day (Crown Books, Borders, B. Dalton, Barnes & Noble, Hastings, Waldenbooks, Discovery Channel), Last Friday (Woolworth, Mervyn's, Montgomery Ward, Linens 'n Things, Barneys New York, K-B Toys, Toys "R" Us, Tower Records, Sam Goody, Sports Authority, Sport Chalet, Men's Warehouse, JoS. A. Bank, J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus, Pier 1 Imports, Stein Mart, Imaginarium, The Limited, Sharper Image, Bon-Ton, DressBarn), Buy Computer Parts Friday Go Home Set It Up All Weekend Then Shop Online Monday (Circuit City, CompUSA, Fry's Electronics, Radio Shack, Future Shop, Egghead, Gateway Country, The Wiz, Ultimate Electronics), and Cyber Monday (National Retail Federation). I once made the mistake of standing in line at 4:00AM on Black Friday for two hours in front of a Toys "R" Us to get a Nintendo Wii, only to discover they had just five of them which were sold out as soon as the store opened. The next day I walked into Costco to buy toilet paper and they had a whole palette of them. Funny thing is, now Costco is sold out of toilet paper.

Thanksgiving Thursday, November 25, 2021

Today is Thanksgiving in the U.S., which for my generation is a celebration involving the Pilgrims and the Indians getting together for a meal of indigenous foods, but for many these days it is a memorial of white Europeans stealing land and enslaving foreigners to help develop it. Regardless, for a brief period in history real freedom was had by all in this land of opportunity. However, it is now on to phase two of what our founding fathers actually intended as paving the way for the New World Order. Everyone has their predictions about what will transpire during the period leading up to the end of days. Here are my predictions of the unpredictable:

  • Global warming is a direct result of the fires of hell. The polar ice caps will completely disappear as the fires are stoked, revealing the lost city of Atlantis under Antarctica. Greenland will also completely melt away, revealing a giant floating glob of ancient hair.
  • When the FDA removes marshmallows from Lucky Charms cereal, then run to the hills. Nothing will be safe from government interference.
  • As hard as we've worked at it, the cities of the United States are only runners-up to the "Whore of Babylon." Once the entire country has been removed from the world stage by a meteor strike that triggers a super volcano, then the field is wide open for this distinguished title (Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Toronto, Vatican City).
  • Dinosaur DNA will be combined with chicken DNA, creating a ten-ton Chickensaurus Rex, which will solve much of the world's protein deficiency.
  • When "Two and a Half Men" becomes a British sitcom, then look to the heavens, for Armageddon is nigh.
  • The European Union will collapse and the Soviet Union will rise from the ashes, but only long enough to ethnically cleanse one-third of its population. Eventually, all of Western Europe and Russia will become Muslim, then the Middle East will be at peace.
  • Africa will become the epicenter of humanitarianism and ethnic harmony. Great Britain will become the Isle of Mediocrity. Japan will be destroyed by Mechaminilla.
  • Jeff Bezos will acquire the dark web and rebrand it as Amazon Afterhours. Blue Origin will send satellite condominiums into orbit around the Earth, each with its very own Wi-Fi satellite.
  • Facebook will be renamed Meta, then renamed simply 666. Try as he might, Mark Zuckerberg will never become the antichrist. However, he will be one of the first to take the mark of the beast and attempt to market it as his own brand.
  • Microsoft and Apple will acquire each other and become Applesoft. Bill Gates' body will reject its cybernetic transplant, but his brain will be uploaded to the cloud and attempt to conquer the deep web.
  • Donald Trump's body will not reject becoming a cyborg, which will allow him enough time to build a hotel on the moon and then bankrupt it. Afterward, amidst all the quality people moving to Mars, he will run for lunar president under the slogan "Make the Moon Earth's Primary Destination Again."
  • Once Jesus removes Tea Party activists, then the antichrist will rise to power, making his debut at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, where there will be much sliming and gnashing of teeth.
  • Donations of sperm by the globe's most liberal intellectuals to the Fertilization Receptacle Of World Nations (FROWN) in Helsinki will be paired with a pig ovum to breed an androgynous representative for the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (aka the False Prophet).
  • The third Jewish Temple will be built in Jerusalem after the Dome of the Rock is secretly relocated about 100 meters from where it is now. (The movement has already begun at an estimated 1.5 meters per year -- Orthodox Israeli engineers have constructed a massive subterranean conveyor belt below the foundation of the Dome that moves it slowly enough not to be detected and the Israeli Ministry of Transport and Road Safety ensures any potholes or cracks are immediately filled in from underground.)

Evolution Day Wednesday, November 24, 2021

The anniversary of the day that "On The Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin was originally published in 1859. Anyhow, sometimes it's weird, you know? Cognizance, I mean. Yeah, that. Realization of awareness and all that conscious stuff. At least it boggles my mind. We evolved to a point where we are conscientious of our own existence? I don't buy it. I call bullshit on evolution and natural selection, as unpopular as it makes me amongst the scientific elite, of whom I know none. I am a voiceless voice crying out in ones and zeros. Too much time is required, no matter how you look at it. The numbers required are too high -- years, probabilities, galaxies... it's all theoretical. Can't blame it on the devil. Man has done it to himself on this one. We often give the devil too much credit. We're evil and clever, too, you know. Just look at evolution: a theory that by its very nature cannot be proven; so statistically improbable that it's damn-near impossible; accepted by so many people who do not comprehend nor understand it that it is declared a fact. I believe it to be the biggest crock of shit ever dumped down the gullet of mankind. Yes, I realize evolutionists believe the same about creationism. The irony is not lost on me.

Pictured: The evolution of Darwin's hat. Note that there are no intermediary images of the evolutionary process of the hat, just like in all fossilized biological remains.

Curmudgeon Chronicles Vol 1 Tuesday, November 23, 2021

The following is a true story. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent, although no one is truly innocent. It's a nice sunny day but we wouldn't know it because we are basement-dwellers of the IT support realm. Today Kelvin is slightly perturbed -- he has misplaced his coffee mug somewhere in the building and he has already helped four users, so it could be on any one of four floors. It is not a good time to confront him about his role on the image team and their decision to install an older service pack on the operating system with the deployment of new computers, but I do so anyway at my own peril. His voice becomes stern and the wild hairs from his mustache begin to twitch as he explains the technical ramifications of the implementation. I argue the lack of support involved in troubleshooting the problems it has already caused and he takes it personally. His blood pressure elevates as indicated by the veins bulging in his neck and forehead. Tempers flare and gestures ensue, but fortune smiles upon me as he retreats into his office with his famous last words, "Yeah, and what do you want me to do about it?"

Feast of St. George Monday, November 22, 2021

If you are a member of the Church of England, then today is your day to celebrate Saint George, who actually died on April 23, which is when he is celebrated by the Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, and members of the Eastern Orthodox Church, unless it falls on Easter, then it's moved to the following Monday. The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates St. George on November 26 of the Julian calendar, which is December 6 of the Gregorian calendar. According to Roman Rite, St. George's veneration has historically gone from semidouble, to simple, to commemoration, all the way down to memorial. Likewise, the Church of England has reduced celebration of St. George over the years from a double major national holiday to wearing white clothing with a red cross (the flag of St. George). George of Lydda was fed by the Romans to the lions in 303 AD, and has re-appeared throughout history to lead Christian armies to victory in a variety of battles, particularly those of the Crusades. Sometime in the 11th century, legend was transferred from St. Theodore Tyron of Amasea (martyred in 304 AD) to George about slaying a dragon that was terrorizing the village of Silene in Libya and he has since been depicted as such, which many scholars consider common iconography of ancient Roman warriors. (Special thanks to Wikipedia, whether accurate or not.)

Mennonite Porn Sunday, November 21, 2021

Jebadiah sat across the candle-lit room from his new bride, Rebecca Elizabeth. In awkward silence sat her mother, Sarah Bethany, her grandmother, Sarah Elizabeth, and her aunt, Rebecca Bethany. He nervously eyed a jug of cider on the hardwood floor next to Grandmother Sarah Elizabeth's chair, to which she shook her head in disapproval. Rebecca Elizabeth stood on the opposite side of the modestly furnished room and slowly removed her bonnet, letting it slide down her hair and onto the floor. Aunt Rebecca Bethany bent over and picked it up. Rebecca Elizabeth then untied her apron, letting it fall to the floor. Mother Sarah Bethany bent over and picked it up, folded it, and laid it across her lap. Rebecca Elizabeth untied her white wedding cape and handed it to Grandmother Sarah Elizabeth, who would hold onto it for the marriage of Rebecca Elizabeth's sister, Elizabeth Rebecca. Then, finally, Rebecca Elizabeth removed her blue linen dress. There she stood, naked as the day she was born, save for her wool undergarments. All was quiet, except for the ticking of the clock and the sound of Aunt Rebecca Bethany chewing a stalk of celery. "Ahem," Mother Sarah Bethany cleared her throat and nodded at Rebecca Elizabeth, who slowly began to unbutton her beige modesty frock. Rebecca Elizabeth dropped her last article of clothing and walked across the room to where her newly-wedded husband sat with nervous anticipation and presented herself fully to Jebadiah, who remained motionless. A bead of sweat trickled down the side of his face, reflecting the candle light. Aunt Rebecca Bethany stopped chewing her celery. The clock ticked. The floor creaked as Rebecca Elizabeth shifted her weight to reach out her hand and take Jebadiah's hand, which she placed upon her body. It was hairy. Every part of her body was hairy, some more hairy than others, and the bottom more hairy than the top. It was then that Mother Sarah Bethany slid the key to Rebecca Elizabeth's chastity belt across the floor to Jebadiah and Grandmother Sarah Elizabeth blew out the candle.

World Children's Day Saturday, November 20, 2021

"World Children's Day was first established in 1954 as Universal Children's Day and is celebrated on 20 November each year to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children's welfare. November 20th is an important date as it is the date in 1959 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. It is also the date in 1989 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child."

More of Grandma's Sage Advice Friday, November 19, 2021

Back by popular demand, more of dear grandmother's bitter wisdom. And what better day than World Toilet Day?

  • Always wear clean underwear before leaving the house. You never know when you will be strip-searched by the Nazis, Secret Service, or KGB.
  • A penny saved is a penny earned but a penny lost is a year off your life.
  • Never sass your elders or else when they die their tormented spirit will possess your tonsils.
  • Never take candy from a stranger. Candy causes tooth decay.
  • Wash your hands after urinating. Badgers are attracted to the scent of urine and their favorite food is a young boy's prepubescence.
  • If you don't like something about government, write a letter to your congressperson. Make it 300 pages long, single-spaced, and two-sided, just like the laws they pass without voter approval.
  • Never accept a ride from a stranger, even a bus driver. Some people will go to elaborate lengths to pull off a kidnapping.
  • Never trust a milkman. (Milk is the number one cause of pregnancy.)
  • Never trust a mailman, (Mail is the number two cause of pregnancy.)
  • Masturbation is the leading cause of a liberal mind.
  • In my day, VD stood for Victory Day. On that note, it's possible to contract psychological herpes from looking at pornography. Also, venereal diseases lie dormant in all vaginas.
  • Crabs and scabies are an Asian delicacy.
  • Genital warts are a Scandinavian delicacy.
  • Captain Nemo had VD 20,000 leagues below the sea.

Observance of Alphaeus and Zacchaeus Thursday, November 18, 2021

According to bishop and historian Eusebius Pamphili, two Christians were tortured to death in Caesarea in 303 AD for refusing to worship the Roman gods at a festival commemorating Emperor Diocletian. Part of the reason for their notoriety among the centurions was because they were pleading with other Christians not to sacrifice to the Roman gods, many of whom were reckoned as compliant simply for being present, but these two were outspoken in their dissidence. These two must've run into George of Lydda. Fun fact: In the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, martyrs go directly to heaven, while everyone else waits for the final Day of Judgment and prays to them for intercession.

World Prematurity Day Wednesday, November 17, 2021

And now a feeble attempt at evaluating the goodness of humanity -- much of which has to be based on self-evaluation, so the outcome is not optimistic. People are basically meat with electricity flowing through them, which just goes without saying. Their primal attributes are laziness and selfishness, which makes them seem evil and appear stupid. Although there is some beauty in humanity, it is in the design, not its demeanor. Are people intrinsically bad? Does it even matter? Yes and no. Mankind tends towards a propensity for baseness, so we are inevitably doomed. Those who delude themselves by pretending to be virtuous only prolong our demise ever so slightly, but in vain. Try as they might to overcome their depraved nature, they are outnumbered and can only become absorbed or devoured by the abject populace. Without hope that there may be an absolute benevolence above and beyond ourselves, then we are relegated to rely on physical comforts: the principal foundation for material acquisition, exploitation, and domination. Egotism leads to gratification, which tends towards complacency, which ultimately cannot sustain us as a whole. Oh, shit, look at the time. I have to get back to work. Please reply by sending a check or money order in the amount of two cents for my opinion.

International Day for Tolerance Tuesday, November 16, 2021

"The United Nations is committed to strengthening tolerance by fostering mutual understanding among cultures and peoples. This imperative lies at the core of the United Nations Charter, as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and is more important than ever in this era of rising and violent extremism and widening conflicts that are characterized by a fundamental disregard for human life." Well, I for one struggle with tolerance for those who drive in the passing lane on interstate highways without passing. Not only is this illegal in most states, but it's also immoral and unnatural, making these people inhuman monsters. Out-of-state offenders should be ticketed, while in-state offenders should be publicly flogged. If you have to ask what the big deal is, then you should not even be driving an automobile.

Day of the Imprisoned Writer Monday, November 15, 2021

"Since November 15, 1981, the Day of the Imprisoned Writer has been an opportunity for the international PEN network of over 100 centers around the world to draw particular attention to writers at risk and threats to free expression globally. By detaining writers, governments worldwide deprive them of their individual right to free speech, while also robbing the broader public of access to their innovative and influential voices of dissent, criticism, creativity, and conscience." (My favorite imprisoned writers include the apostles John and Paul. Of course, much of their best writing came while they were imprisoned.)

Win Friends, Influence People Sunday, November 14, 2021

From the Dale Carnegie School of Professional Encouragement: You will never achieve success unless you truly enjoy what you are doing, even if it's prostitution, serial killing, or fund-raising for the Democratic Party. Always be prepared to offer a stick of chewing gum or a breath mint -- poor oral hygiene is a deal-breaker and friends with halitosis reflect poorly upon you. Point out foreign objects in someone else's teeth or facial hair. Let them know you are astute and you care. Use ALL CAPS in every e-mail message because anything you have to say is important. Do not be ashamed to display pictures of yourself liberally in the workplace or home office so that others can see how important you are instead of just always having to take your word for it. Other items of self-promotion include trophies, diplomas, certificates of achievement, newspaper clippings, and blue ribbons (no certificates of appreciation or ribbons that are not blue). Also, frame everything.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Saturday, November 13, 2021

I once dozed off while listening to someone recite the entire "I have a dream" speech. I hope that doesn't make me prejudiced. My favorite MLK quote is, "You don't have to hit every step when falling down the stairs. They all go straight to the bottom, except for winding staircases. A winding staircase without a railing is like the path of ignorance." If he didn't actually say that then I suppose that somehow makes me a bigot. Sometimes I think I might be racist because I don't always like white people.

End Times Friday, November 12, 2021

No one knows when the Second Coming will take place (Mark 13:32-33). However, look for the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem as a primary sign that the end is near (Daniel 9:27, 11:31, 12:11-12, Mark 13:14-27, Matthew 24:15-31). The Temple Institute in Israel is in the process of constructing all of the temple ritual utilities. I don't think the U.S. plays any major role in the final countdown to Armageddon. It's my opinion that most of North America will be destroyed by then (Revelation 8). I really don't care about whether the Rapture occurs before or after the Tribulation but, rather, if my name is written in the Book of Life (Revelation 3:5).

Space Aliens Thursday, November 11, 2021

Although I don't believe in aliens from outer space, I do believe in fallen angels -- ones that appear humanoid but are devoid of any attractive physical features, since they were not made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26, 5:1). These angelic beings must operate in fewer dimensions than the heavenly realms and therefore must rely on their technological ingenuity to get around (Ezekiel 1:15-21). Either that or these creatures were made by Satan, who would have had to demonstrate the ability to create life if he were really to convince other angels that his power is anywhere near equal to God's. Although these creatures either originated from inside planet Earth or were exiled to Earth, they have the means to travel throughout space and dwell on other planets.

Illegal Aliens Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Regarding Mexican immigrants illegally entering the U.S., I think building a wall is the dumbest idea imagineable. The U.S. should either annex or invade Mexico, then divide up the land into new states of the Union. Immigrants shouldn't have to earn their citizenship, they should have to win it. This is the land of the free and home of the brave, so they should be subjected to a series of T.V. gameshow trials that will determine whether or not they are lucky enough to gain citizenship. Winners will receive a new life of opportunity, while losers will be deported to Canada. Bring our troops home from the Middle East and then send the National Guard down to the Mexican border, where they can round up illegal aliens and put them in a federal prison camp, where they will receive the best care and medical treatment available, free of charge. Whole families are welcome.

Evolution Tuesday, November 9, 2021

I don't believe in evolution. I find it too far-fetched and mathematically implausible. Even if there were billions of galaxies with billions of opportunities for life to evolve, it's still too statistically improbable that life on Earth evolved to what it is today from next to nothing. Furthermore, I don't believe that much time ever existed from the moment the galaxies were formed until now. I have the writings of Richard Dawkins to thank for clarifying much of my misunderstandings about evolution and helping me to better understand its theories. However, Dawkins' fanatical treatment of evolution as a zealous belief system has also made me realize that atheistic humanists who buy into this are really nothing more than a bunch of godless, intellectual elitists in need of some form of religion. There were dinosaurs, I believe, but not as we regard them. I tend to think many of the large lizard-like reptiles were actually dragons that were hunted to extinction by warriors and knights, like they say they did.

Death Penalty Monday, November 8, 2021

I'm not opposed to the death penalty. There are countries that have abolished the death penalty and have lower maximum sentences than the U.S. with lower recidivism rates. However, I think that the most cruel and unusual punishment is life in prison. Child molesters deserve the death penalty. All other sex offenders should be castrated (whether it prevents recidivism or not). On the subject of death, I'm also not opposed to assisted suicide in cases of terminal illness. We are not playing God when we take a life but when we attempt to prolong life as much as possible. Click here to see more about this topic.

Abortion Sunday, November 7, 2021

What an awful conversation to have over lunch. Logically, I think abortion is murder, however, if democratic law allows a mother to choose to have an assisted termination of her fetus, then she has the legal right to kill her own offspring... but she will have to answer to a higher power when the time comes. That's her burden to bear. I could not force a woman to carry an unwanted baby to term. God will judge the pro-choice society. A fetus that dies prematurely of natural causes may qualify for stem cell research. I am a proponent of mandatory sterilization for females with several offspring who are dependent upon the state to support those offspring. Deadbeat fathers should be castrated so that they do not produce more bastard children. Amen.

Gay Marriage Saturday, November 6, 2021

The U.S. is civilized, not righteous. Therefore, I am not openly opposed to same sex civil unions between consenting adults. However, I am opposed to gay marriage that is sanctioned by any Christian church. Marriage is biblically and traditionally intended for a man and a woman. If gays want to wed for ceremonial and tax purposes, let them do so beyond church doors.

Holidays Friday, November 5, 2021

Christians should celebrate the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus every day of the year. The holidays of Christmas and Easter, however, were concocted by the marketing department of hell. Enjoy.

Matthew 5:29-30 Thursday, November 4, 2021

During his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that if your right eye causes you to sin, then gouge it out and throw it away, or if your right hand causes you to sin, then cut it off and throw it away -- it is better to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. I've never heard anyone intrepret this passage literally, but it only seems logical, given the strictness of the entire sermon (which includes the threat of hell for calling someone a fool, more righteous qualifications than a Pharisee to get into heaven, and allowing others to take advantage of you without recourse). Therefore, all Christians with two eyes and two hands are hypocrites. This includes me.

Grandmother's Wisdom Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Here are some special sayings I remember my dear grandmother utter before she departed bitterly from this world:

  • All things in moderation, including sex, smoking, alcohol, and profanity.
  • Faith is healthy, but keep your religion to yourself.
  • If you act like white trash then you are white trash. If you dress like a whore then you are a whore.
  • Dogs are man's best friend, not wives.
  • Unless you survived the Great Depression, World War II, and lived to see your great grandchildren, then you truly haven't lived... so quit your griping.
  • You'll never become wealthy in government service, but it's better than welfare.
  • Alcoholism is a disease, like death and stupidity.
  • Look both ways before crossing the street or you'll get hit by an Idaho driver.
  • Sex makes babies, in case you haven't figured that out yet.
  • Close your eyes and go to sleep or else the eyeball fairy will come pluck out your eyes and force you to see unspeakable things.
  • A tomato is a vegetable, not a fruit.
  • Sponges are better than wash cloths, at least when cleaning inanimate objects. They don't do so well behind the ears or under the scrotum.
  • The Internet revolutionized the way in which we waste our time. What did we do before computers? Oh, yeah -- everything.
  • There is no better motivation than a swift kick in the ass. If you find this offensive, then you deserve a swift kick in the ass.
  • Spend less time with negative people. If you are the most negative person, then spend more time asleep.

William Penn Tuesday, November 2, 2021

"The wisdom of the nations lies in their proverbs, which are pulpy and full of juice. Collect them like baseball cards and trade them with your friends. If someone asks for directions, give them a proverb, which is a little map for life. A lot can be said with few words, like a recipe, but who cares whose aunt used shortening instead of lard?" (That's how I remember it.)

Blogs Monday, November 1, 2021

I don't have time for reading blogs, let alone writing one. Who does? What? There are people who make a living from maintaining a blog?


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