Cephalopod Awareness Days!

I got busy and missed the beginning (yesterday), but it’s not too late! I have not seen a lot of hullaballoo this year, but the NC Museum of Natural Sciences Blogs reminds us that October 8-12 (strange, it’s usually 8-10) are Cephalopod Awareness Days. Among other things, this means the Cephalopod Awareness Days at Noadi’s (I get no kickback, but I did buy the Cuttledaughter a necklace there and she loves it), but there seems to be less cephalopod awareness this year than in previous. Ocean of Hope has a post up for the season, with a “state of the ocean” address that is sobering, as an honest state of the ocean address certainly would be. Go read it, get depressed, and come back here for a bit of silliness to bring you just far enough back to be ready to actually do something about it.

The time has come! (What time, again?)
October 8, and 9, and 10!
Each year, this time, We play the odds
And celebrate the cephalopods!
(See, Pascal’s wager must apply
To more than just that Yahweh guy—
And crosses, crescents, pentacles
Cannot compare to tentacles!)
You need to hug a cuttlefish,
Or, yes, a squid, if you should wish,
Or octopus, if you insist,
But someone, somewhere, must be kissed,
With lots of arms to hold you tight,
And though we could, we will not bite.
(I would not even make a fuss
If you should snogg a Nautilus)

If you should think these days are Holy,
You do not grasp the concept fully—
The cephalopod, the fish, the eel,
Unlike the God, you see… are real.

Headline Muse, 10/8

There are microbes in water that spoil it
You can’t drink till you treat it or boil it
But the still greater cost
Is in lives that are lost
So it’s worth re-designing the toilet

Headline: Hi-tech toilets save lives–and mean big business

In 2011, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, awarding $3.2m in grants to promising entrants.

The conditions were tough. Designs had to be hygienic, sustainable, cheap to operate, and capable of working “off-grid” – without connections to water, electricity, or sewerage networks.

They have given out their awards. Worth reading about.

I do hope they are investing not just in the hardware, but also in local-level cultural change; there is not only a lack of equipment, but the presence of tradition, that acts as an impediment to change.

“Stand Your Ground” Against Atheist Attacks?

So my aggregator sent me to a site where I expected to find bad arguments about crosses on war memorials. I found them (along with some fascinating descriptions of what atheists are, and what they think).

And then, this disturbing bit:

“Stand Your Ground” isn’t any different when atheists defile Jews/Christians, believing that Due Process will protect them from God’s preeminent power. Likewise, any War Memorial “Stand Your Ground” is equally justified under Jesus’ Principality where the sanctity of life is honored above all others.
Is an atheist better off dead or alive? Good Question. Are atheist “zombies” higher up the food chain than the guilt carried by mortal atheists? How about pagan “zombies” under the pre-supposed command of Osiris, Lucifer or Baal? It doesn’t take much imagination to understand how this psychotic morphology transpired between “atheistic guilt” to digging up graveyards in search of manifested hatred.
If given the chance, would atheists dig up War Memorials looking for reasons to conjure anti-God retribution? Sure!! Wasn’t this their goal all along? Yes it was/is!! Don’t be fooled by atheists; they’re the devil’s spawn bent faithless martyrdom and pagan futility. Morons!!
War Memorials are sacred, and are meant to be defended by God’s infinite power!

If I am translating properly from word salad to English, he is calling for the killing of atheists who would oppose distinctly Christian public war memorials.

I was livid… for a few minutes, until I checked some of his other writing (this, for example: “Why did God create Aliens?”). Now I feel mostly pity for the man. On the other hand… his views don’t come from his autism. They come from his environment. He clearly keeps tabs on lots of media, online and off, and if this leads him to suggest “Stand your ground” responses to the secularization of civic war memorials, then that idea is out there.

The writing is different, but the ideas would be at home on many news commentary sites.

In Support Of Marriage Equality In Maine

So I got another donation very recently (thank you!), from a name which seemed familiar. I have learned never to trust my memory, but I think this was someone with whom I used to argue, years ago. He or she (I know, but hey) was opposed to same-sex marriage (though the host of that site was far more irrationally opposed–but then everything about that person was irrational), but was honest and open in xir arguing, and did listen to opposing views.

Anyway, I think this recent donation was from this person. That being the case, I am hopeful that it signals a change of mind. So, having de-godded the amount of the donation (plus my own contribution), this money is being donated in support of Maine’s ballot question 1, in support of same sex marriage. (edited to add–Rodney Nelson, in a comment below, proudly foils my attempts at de-godding ALL the coins, by noting Mainers United For Marriage‘s website, where you can donate directly. Curses! Foiled again!) Of course, disclosure of support is in the news today, with the opponents of question 1 refusing to disclose their donors, in direct opposition to Maine’s election laws.

Maine’s campaign disclosure law requires groups that raise or spend more than $5,000 to influence elections to register and disclose donors. NOM has argued that releasing the donor list would stymie free speech and subject donors to harassment, but the lower court refused to throw out the law.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear NOM’s appeal, leaving the state law intact. But the ethics commission is still investigating, and NOM is fighting subpoenas in state court.

This gives me the opportunity to repost something from 4 years ago, when a previous set of politicians was traipsing around New England trying to stir up voter outrage. Two years ago, the Republicans promised they would repeal, but having watched the weathervanes, have chosen not to.

I had insufficient warning
When I stumbled out this morning
Past a half a dozen candidates, each stumping for my vote;
When I looked, the morning paper
Had a headline of some caper
Or the record-breaking snowfall—really, nothing there of note.

So I grabbed my trusty shovel
To plow out my “home sweet hovel”
When I noticed something different—something didn’t quite feel right.
There was snow, and politicians,
But some change in the conditions
Made me wonder if my marriage had the sanctity it might.

So I checked the sanctitometer
And struggled not to vomit—her
“Conventional morality in danger” light was on!
Now a grim new dawn was breaking
And I couldn’t stop my shaking
‘Cos the morally upstanding world I trusted now was gone!

I considered seeking shelter
As I watched the helter-skelter
Of the politicians canvassing the noble Granite State;
I heard one of them disparage
Civil Unions, or Gay Marriage
As the reason for the panic—then I thought, more clearly, “wait!”

All this rattling of sabers
Is about my friends and neighbors;
These are people whom I know, and who have lived here all along
If these folks are who they’re blaming
It’s just pre-election gaming
And between the politicians and my friends, I know who’s wrong.

If our morals are declining
As the candidates keep whining
I propose a different theory to explain why this is so:
An invasive mass of liars
With their speeches, signs, and flyers,
Slinging mud and kissing babies in a dog-and-pony show.

Soon the voting will be over
And the state, from Keene to Dover,
And from Lancaster to Nashua, will heave a weary sigh;
With the moral issue buried
Now my neighbors can get married
And the Granite State will mean it when it says “Live Free or Die!”

Now it’s Maine’s turn.

The Sanctity Of Suffering

There’s fire, flood, and famine, and there’s pestilence and war
And there’s cholera, malaria, diphtheria and more
Kids will die of diarrhea by the millions every year
Jesus loves the little children, so He wants to keep them near.

It may first appear a tragedy, to die at six or seven
But remember how much happier the kids will be in heaven
Though a short life, full of sorrow, might appear to be the worst
Jesus welcomes all His children, but they have to suffer first

Yes, He has to let them suffer
Make their lives a little rougher
Not too little—just enough, or
They won’t cry out in His name
So with gusto and with relish
He makes brief existence hellish
Add some heartbreak to embellish
Like it’s all some sort of game

It’s the sanctity of suffering, the cleansing pow’r of grief
It’s the lame attempt to justify what beggars all belief
When a child dies in agony, you have to think it odd
That the church finds this consistent with a kind and loving God.

“Up until now, the idea of being American and believing in God were synonymous”

At the Washington Post, Sally Quinn is the most—
The most wrong, most annoying, most vile
Now she’s written a screed that’s offensive indeed
And it’s full of the usual bile
Says “belief is a must, cos in God we do trust
So our coins are the ones God would favor
You can see every time, on a nickel or dime…”
And again, I pull out my engraver

Oh, it’s badly thought out, badly written, and (yay!) badly received.

This is a religious country. Part of claiming your citizenship is claiming a belief in God, even if you are not Christian.. We’ve got the Creator in our Declaration of Independence. We’ve got “In God We Trust” on our coins. We’ve got “one nation under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance. And we say prayers in the Senate and the House of Representatives to God.

An atheist could never get elected dog catcher, much less president. (Democratic Rep. Pete Stark of California is a nontheist but doesn’t talk much about it).

Up until now, the idea of being American and believing in God were synonymous.

The comments are hilarious. And, for the most part, excellent.

But, as per my promise, this means once more into the breach, and another batch of coins gets de-godded.

Texas Cheerleaders Fight The Tyranny Of The Minority

In Texas, where football’s religion
And religion is bigger each year
Where the cheerleading squad
Gives all glory to god
And sings praises to Jesus in cheer

There’s a school where they all read the bible
And the handful who don’t, watch their backs
Because Jesus comes first
All the kids do their worst
To protect Him from any attacks

They’ve been painting some scripture on banners
Which they bring, Friday night, to the game
And if some disagree
Why, they’re no one you’ll see
Because everyone here feels the same

But it seems that some cowardly loser
Wants the biblical stuff taken down
But the cheerleaders fought
As God knows that they ought—
It’s majority rules in this town

And the popular kids are all Christian
And the teachers and staff are as well
If some miserable few
Might be Muslim or Jew—
Even atheist—no one can tell

Cos we’re free to express our religion
And we’re free to impose it on you
We’re expressing our rights
By the stadium lights
Close your eyes, if you don’t like the view

We believe that our speech is protected
On the field, in the halls, on the bus
If you, too, want free speech
Then your dream is in reach…
It’s so simple: be Christian like us.

Texas Cheerleaders fight for the right to wave Bible-passage banners.

Debate One

The question of who is the greater debater
Is not as important as sometimes it seems
We follow, to see who seems fitter, on Twitter;
Opinions are written, in digital reams
The candidates spar, and their minions’ opinions
Will saturate all the political shows
We’ll credit the better at spinning with winning—
It’s Rorschach on steroids, as everyone knows

Pretending it’s really a battle, they prattle,
Releasing the zingers they’ve practiced so long;
Attack—not the point, but the bearer—Jim Lehrer,
Make Lehrer look weak, cos it makes you look strong.
For those who believe that this drivel’s uncivil
For those who are watching as part of the crowd
For those who think all sides are trying? They’re lying.
The truth? This fiasco is what you allowed.

Could a moderator do a better job? Yes. Could one do worse? Probably. Would a moderator that actually holds candidates feet to the fire be tolerated? Right now? I don’t know, I’m a goddamn cephalopod, not an expert on this stuff. But damn. As always, a “debate” is actually anything but, and so many questions that could have been asked were not. This will always be the case. Well. This will be the case as long as we allow it.

Inertia is a bear and a half.

Could it change? Will it?


I Think I’m Doing It Wrong

… but at least I no longer worry I’m some sort of felon for de-godding some coins.

Take a look on eBay for “Cross Pennies”. I’ll try some links here, but they may break once the auctions are over.

You can buy a penny with a cross punched out of it… for a dollar. Or fifty of them, for $14.99. Or 100 of them, for $48.00 (different groups, different pricing). One penny and a prayer for $1.69. Or if you want a heartstring-tugging tag, a “2001 Lincoln Penny Cent Christian Cut Cross Memorabilia For 9-11 To Never Forget”.

There is also (not on eBay) a “cross pennies ministries

You may have seen them lying around or given to you by complete strangers. Either way, these cross pennies have been used all over the world by missionaries and witnessers alike to spread the Word of Christ! The penny is the least of our coins in America and to many people, it is almost worthless. Though some find it hard to believe that something with such a small monetary value can mean so much just by stamping a cross into it, we as Christians find endless worth because through the witnessing that has resulted from it, lives have been added into the kingdom of GOD!

Actually, they have taken something of monetary value and made certain it is monetarily worthless, by punching a cross out of the middle of it. At least these people appear to charge only one cent per cross penny… well, that plus shipping. A flat rate of $5.50 per 1500 pennies. Compared to eBay, this is a deal!

So, while they are charging for nearly worthless coins rendered useless as change, my godless dollars are fully functional and making their way into the pockets of people who, if they find themselves offended by the coins… can spend them just as easily as any other dollars.

Hell, they can even use one to buy a penny with a cross-shaped hole in it… though they may have to chip in a bit more for shipping.