Friday, June 10, 2011

MadLibs Co-Creator Dies Due to (Smelly) Heart (Retirement)

Yes, Leonard Stern who some have referred to as the _(adverb)_ _(noun)_ ever to walk the Earth died Tuesday when his heart _(verb)_ it's last _(noun)_.

Not only was he responsible for MadLibs, one of the _(adverb)_ word games ever _(verb)_, but also for Get Smart -arguably the best bumbling hero sitcom ever dreamed up. And where would Inspector Gadget be without Maxwell Smart as the template? Plus he brought many other classic shows into the light.

Thank you sincerely Mr.Stern (and Mr.Price) for making my childhood a lot more _(adjective)_.


Possible word fill-ins:
* hottest
* apple
* danced
* parakeet
* slimiest
* plopped
* obnoxious

Friday, May 20, 2011

May 22nd - The End Of The End Of The World

Is it the end of the world again?
If you've got any stock in paster Harold Camping's math & interpretive skills, believe that despite numerous scribal errors, revisions and re-translations, all the relevant dates in the bible are solid and literal, and that Matthew 25:13 doesn't apply to Camping, then... well, it's hardly a leap is it?

For us hard-headed non-believers, however, the real red letter date is May 22nd. I predict it will essentially be a day like any other day, no less ended than it was in September 1994 (Camping's last prediction).

Potentially interesting links:

Monday, May 2, 2011

Bin Laden Dead: Obama Graffitos Speech with Closing Cliché

As the news has likely reached even those living under rocks, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone in any cave who hasn't yet learned of the demise of ex-spelunker-douchebag-extraordinaire Osama Bin Laden.

On the heels of the news came the president's obligatory announcement, recap of 911 (for those of you who forgot what the "never forget" bumper stickers were about), and restrained, but detectably smug demeanor.

All of which were just fine. The problem is that a speech revolving around the enemy our nation killed (for non-religious reasons) should not loop back to a conclusion that assumes our favor among god(s).

Ironic, hypocritical, shameless pandering, or totally meaningless. Either way, I think he blew an otherwise great speech there.

To be constructive, here are some preferred, more appropriate cliché closers:
"What a relief!"
"We can all sleep a little easier now."
"The world became a safer place today."
"Goodnight, and good luck."
"And that's the end of that chapter."


Monday, September 7, 2009

Quasi-Conclusion: Honor Shilling? (3)

Rifqa Bary, teen Muslim-turned-Christian runaway has been pleading her case in court. She's expected to remain in foster custody for the next 11 months until she becomes old enough to legally take responsibility for herself. The remaining debate is where she will stay until that time, as her parents have agreed that she can stay in foster care.

Does it really matter where she stays? Who knows? The cases' resolution is in plain enough sight now anyway. Keep her in foster care, and let her determine what steps to take when she hits the "magic 18". Easy enough, right?

Though maybe not for the same reason, I think it's equally important that she be kept at arms length from the other contending party in the meantime. The Bary family has also requested a psychiatric evaluation for Rifqa, while the case outcome is arbitrated.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Best Interests: Honor Shilling? (2)

Previously I wrote about the case of ex-Muslim runaway Rifqa Bary. Along with her testimony and that of her father & brother, we have a conflicting account of an obviously troubled girl.

Details coming from both sides seemed to be problematic. However, there are further details that the short video clips don't divulge. Here's what we know about Rifqa:

* She & her family came to the U.S. from Sri Lanka in 2000 for medical treatment of her eye after she'd fallen onto a toy airplane & lost her sight.

* She is not a U.S. citizen and still a minor (age 17). She's currently in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

* She first became infatuated with Christianity in 2005 (4 years prior to running away from home).

* Her father was aware she had been questioning her faith, but she supposedly tried to keep her conversion hidden from her parents. Eventually they found out as friends and family told them about her postings on facebook.

* She began proselytizing with her bible at school, but was asked to stop by her family who said it wasn't appropriate as a school activity. She was also asked to learn more about her original faith first.

* According to a source at atlas shrugs, her conversion to Christianity was made public on myspace as long ago as 2007 (her last login). "most of all... my savior is JC".

* She secretly became baptized in her home state this year.

* Her mother supposedly said Rifqa would be "dead to her" unless she recounted her Christianity. It's unclear who relayed this quote to the journalist, or if there was another implication though.

* After fleeing her home to pastor Lorenz's house, she told him that her parents would not report her missing. However, she was wrong about that.

* Her brother has expressed concern over her safety with the "pastor she's known for only 2 weeks".

So what does it all mean?

* She seems too indiscreet (or stupid) for someone genuinely worried about a death threat.

* Her parents seem genuinely invested in her well-being. Even if their words fail to convince, their actions don't. They took on the financial & social responsibility of moving to the U.S. for her sake.

* Her hyperbole suggests she's deeply fanatical, or an over-actor. No... I think maybe it's both.

* However, there have been cases before where the parents appeared well-meaning & the "apostate" child returned home to meet her end.

What do you think? Please comment below.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Honor Shilling?

This Video was posted at atheistmedia a couple days ago (where I first saw it). In the video, a young girl appears at the side of pastor Blake Lorenz of the Global Revolution Church. She's smiling and replies "hi" in response to the reporter for the first second or two until the pastor says "she's very scared". Her expression then becomes more somber as she begins her story about fleeing her home in Ohio to the safety of the Florida church.

According to her account, her parents are extremely devout Muslims and once they discovered her conversion, her father threatened to kill her. If there weren't numerous cases of this actually happening, its plausibility would all but evaporate right there.

What's got some people doing double-takes, however are some questionable behavioral oddities such as...

* The ease with which she starts and stops crying.
* Her mantra "this is reality, this is true, this is reality" as she begins crying again.
* The reporter's inane "what do you want" question near the end of the interview.

The last one launches her into the answer to the question that no one needed to ask. By the end, the whole thing almost comes across as a veiled advertisement for Christianity on the news.

If the story's not legitimate...


Another video expands on the story a little further with comments from her family disclaiming the story's legitimacy. Currently she's in the custody of child services until the facts are sorted out. This could be an interesting one to follow.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Richard Was a Feyn-Man...

...And after watching this video, I'm reminded of a Richard Dawkins quote which invites a rewrite.

"I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world."

Though it may lack the poetry & pith, maybe he should have said; I'm against religion, because it teaches us to be satisfied with an outdated understanding of the world.

In general, I don't think people are satisfied with not understanding. I doubt that the believers Dawkins was addressing think they don't understand the world and that's just fine with them.

Religion tried to address this lack of understanding long ago by attempting to explain the why's & how's while giving comfort to people living in an abstract & downright frightening world. If the rainfall could be controlled, crops would grow and people could eat. What controlled the rain? Well, it must have been some hidden agent. Hmm, perhaps we should try to get on its good side...

It was the beginning of the human quest to explain, and thus understand, our surroundings. The problem is that as humankind developed better and better ways to go about this, some of their previously treasured explanations no longer held up. And this is the problem everyone looking for answers must deal with. If you want to understand the world for what it is, you must be willing to modify, if not entirely discard old beliefs as better evidence arrives.