On Realizing That Corporations Are People Too… And That You’ve Fallen In Love With One.

My darling corporate entity
I’ve loved you from the start
One hundred ten percentity,
With more than just my heart
I told you what I meantity
In poetry and prose
You showed your discontentity
And that’s the way it goes.

My sweetheart business enterprise
I tried to win you back
I told you my intenterprise—
You told me what I lack
My capital I’d spenterprise
But you would not invest
My future’s in descenterprise—
My value is depressed.

My love, my all, my syndicate—
Forever and beyond!
I note, to my chagrindicate,
My word’s my only bond
I’d fight through thick and thindicate
To have you as my bride
I know I cannot windicate;
You know, at least, I tried

My darling corporate entity
I’ve loved you from the start
One hundred ten percentity,
With more than just my heart
I told you what I meantity
In poetry and prose
You showed your discontentity
And that’s the way it goes.

Yeah… put “loving you back” as another difference between the kind of people known as “corporations” and the kind of people known as “people”. “Going to jail” is another thing corporations can’t do. We’ll find out pretty soon whether “discrimination” is yet another.

On Bodily Autonomy

There are accidents and incidents
And surgeries and wars—
There’s a constant need for blood, and so,
We’d like to borrow yours.

You can spare a pint or so a month—
We’ll take it from your arm—
And to make the process easier,
I’m setting up a farm:

We’ll keep you while you serve your term,
Three-quarters of a year,
And harvest blood and marrow—
For the greater good, it’s clear

You’ll be saving lives by dozens
So you’ll gladly do your part
Sure, we’re forcing your donation
Still, it’s coming from your heart

You’re in servitude to others
It’s a slavery of sorts
But you’re saving lives, and so we know
You’re good and willing sports

You can put your wishes second
You can put your life on hold
You can meet your obligations
You can do what you are told

You claim rights we cannot trample
Or shout “Freedom!” till you’re hoarse
You have life inside your bloodstream…
If we have to, we’ll use force

To complain’s unpatriotic—
But extremists raise their voice
And they’ll blather “it’s my body”
And the foolish “it’s my choice”

If the state controls your body
Then that argument’s a dud;
For the sake of someone else, then,
We’ll be harvesting your blood.

***

I doubt I need to put this in context.

Godless Gold Is Worth More, Apparently

A couple found a stash of coins
In cans half lost to rust
Gold coins, so old some even lack
The phrase “In God We Trust”

There’s one coin, termed “miraculous”,
Uncirculated, gold
That doesn’t say “In God We Trust”
Like others just as old

That year the motto first appeared—
This coin slipped in before;
Because this coin is godless, it
Is worth a great deal more!

The godless may be rarer
(By a lot, we’re often told)
But we, without “In God We Trust”
Are truly good as gold.

That cache of gold found by a couple walking their dog in the San Francisco area contains a “miraculous” coin.

An 1866 $20 coin printed without the “In God We Trust” motto — the 1866-S No Motto Double Eagle — is the highest quality of its kind, said David Hall, cofounder of Professional Coin Grading Services in Irvine, who recently authenticated the coins.
When the motto was added to the coin in 1866, some coins were still minted in San Francisco without the phrase, he said.

The lack of that motto, and the fact that the finders did not try to clean the coin, mean that this uncirculated bit of metal will likely go for a million dollars at auction. Trying to clean it would have ruined it, and the missing motto means it is quite a bit rarer than other 1866 $20 gold coins.

I’d belabor the obvious and say “there’s a metaphor here”, but Robert Burns already did. In this case, it’s not trust in a god that imbues worth; worth can be found in the godly and ungodly alike, as can lack of worth. Or as Burns put it, “the rank is but the guinea’s stamp–the man’s the gold, for a’ that.”

Bad News From North Carolina: Christian Love Strikes Again

I thought I saw an atheist
Among the kids at school
Who didn’t understand that, here,
The Christian bullies rule
You may call it “brave” or “foolish”
But she dared to show her face
I may have seen an atheist…
They put her in her place.

I thought I saw an atheist,
According to report,
Who thought she’d start a godless group
For mutual support
But no such group was needed—
This is how the story ends—
The local bullies threatened her,
Her family, her friends

I thought I saw an atheist
As hopeful as she’s brave
If such a girl surrenders,
Then the situation’s grave
She made the choice she had to make—
The threats were aimed at her
I thought I saw an atheist
Show Christians what they were

I thought I saw a Christian town
Displaying Christian love
Who know they get morality
From heaven up above
With threats of harm directed at
Those different in their sight
Yes, by their acts we know them…
That’s Christian love, all right.

Via Hemant, the not-terribly-unexpected news (though saddening and maddening) that Canton, North Carolina will not be getting an atheist club in their school after all. Oh, it’s not that the town suddenly found a legal argument. No, they shut this one down the old-fashioned way, through bullying, intimidation, and threats to the 15-year-old girl who was looking to form the club, and to her family and friends.

I expect the good, tolerant christian folk of North Carolina to spring to her aid, identifying and denouncing the bullies… any century now.

Backyard Dinosaur Count This Weekend

It’s time to count the dinosaurs—
It shouldn’t be that hard
Just grab yourself a window
That overlooks your yard
A pencil and some paper
To make a little list
A “field guide to the dinosaurs”
To name the ones you missed
The count begins this Friday,
And by Sunday night, it’s done
It’s time to count the dinosaurs…
So won’t you join the fun?

That’s right, this weekend (which has already started in Australia, so I’d better post this!) is the annual Great Backyard Dinosaur Count (ok, they call it the Great Backyard Bird Count, but as cool as birds are, everything about them is cooler when you remember that they are dinosaurs).

It’s very easy to do, and can take as little as 15 minutes at some point over the weekend, or (if you happen to be an obsessive birder… which phrase might well be redundant…) you can spend every waking moment and a substantial portion of your dreams, from Friday morning to Sunday night, looking out your window and noting the different dinosaur species.

You can guess which end of the spectrum I fall on.

Olympic Conscience Wrestling

The thing you’ve been working for, all of your life?
That comes to fruition today?
The people in charge of this glorious time
Will turn you away if you’re gay.
Your colleagues, your teammates, your family, your friends,
(And you) couldn’t be more excited—
But if any of you has the wrong sort of love
Then—officially—you’re not invited.
You’ve worked all your life for this singular chance
But your hosts want to give you a choice
You can stand up and fight for the things that are right
Or compete, but keep silent your voice
I know what I want—cos I think of my friend—
You should stand up for her, and her wife…
It’s the right thing to do, which is easy to say
Since I haven’t worked all of your life.

I have known two (perhaps three, but I am bad with names, so am uncertain) Olympic athletes. One (maybe two) was my student. This student would have represented the US in the 1980 Summer Olympics… but that was the year of the boycott.

In my twitter feed, a simple and true statement: “When you tweet about Olympics, its like you’re tweeting about a party to which people like me were not invited. On purpose. By shitty hosts.”

For one person I care about, the Olympics are a once-in-a-lifetime chance, the ultimate reward (regardless of medaling) for decades of hard work, deferment of any sort of payment, and dedication beyond anything I have personally ever accomplished. For another person I care about, the Olympics are a slap in the face, a denial of basic humanity, an insult on a global scale.

And they are both right, and I can’t honor both.

It would seem easy to say that one is being hurt (if I take the other side), the other merely not advancing to a privileged peak beyond other peaks in what really is just a game. But that does not accurately describe my Olympians, really. They did not come from privilege (though, yes, the earlier Olympians did–only those who could afford to be “amateur” athletes were admitted). They worked incredibly hard, and got incredibly lucky. They are victims of the Russian hosts (not at all in the same sense as GLBT athletes, spectators, support, or citizens), not perpetrators of discrimination.

I’ve been an Olympics junkie since 1968. The politics is horrendous, but the athletes are able to rise above it–as, in 1968, Tommie Smith and John Carlos showed. 1972 showed terrorism saw the Olympics as a target; 1980 showed that politics saw it as fair game as well. And while I’m sure there may have been athletes who embodied the nationalism, or capitalism or communism, or discrimination by race, gender, class, sexuality, or more, other (more? I hope so, but have no numbers) athletes have used the platform to protest, to advance, to overcome.

Yes, I’m an atheist, but I do still believe in the Olympic games. At least for now. The hosts are indeed shitty, but (I hope, I hope, I hope) it’s the guests that make a party. And they want everybody there–most of them do, anyway–and are working to make sure you get invited to the rest of the parties.

And… I am willing to be wrong. I know I am biased. So as much as I want to make this an Olympics-positive site (I know other FtB bloggers are less than enthused with the games), the comments are open for arguments that I am wrong, misguided, or simply full of shit. (or right, of course, but hey.)

Almost Heaven?

My goodness, what they put in the water in West Virginia! But that’s the price of Freedom. Freedom Industries, that is.
From the first link:

The Freedom Industries president downplayed the chemical’s health effects, saying it has “very, very low toxicity” and poses no danger to the public.

Strange… I originally posted the following as a metaphor. Never really thought I’d repost it so literally.

There was poison in the water
And it wasn’t fit to drink;
So we got ourselves together
And we had a little think… [Read more...]

Ken Ham Clearly Doesn’t Believe (I Hope)

So I was just out walking the cuttledogs, and it occurred to me that the whole notion of a Noah’s Ark Theme Park showed either an incredible lack of belief on the part of the planners, or a psychopathic lack of empathy.

I mean, it’s a theme park. Think Disney. But it’s built around the greatest (by percentage, at least, if not in real numbers) genocide in history (assuming, for the time being, that the planners actually believe the Noah story). Men, women, children, toddlers, babies… dogs, cats, horses, cows… bunnies, slow lorises, baby hedgehogs… all of them, bloated, stinking corpses. Family fun for everyone! (seriously, click the link–this is what the flood ride would be, were it true to the bible)

One simply cannot have a realistic picture of what the flood allegedly entailed, and believe it appropriate for a family theme park. Ham either does not believe, or lacks any shred of empathy whatsoever.

It gets worse. Remember, the ark was the centerpiece of the park, but was by no means the whole thing. There would be rides. Remember, one of the rides (I shit you not) was (again, think Disney, but on acid) a “Ten Plagues Of Egypt” theme ride! Family fun, with blisters and boils, locusts and lice, blood and death! (Again, click the link for one of my favorites–no one who believed the story would ever suggest it as a theme park ride!)

Imagine a much smaller genocide, with a much smaller fraction of the world’s population put to slaughter. Can you imagine a family-friendly Holocaust theme park? Hop on the trains, kiddies? It sickened me to write that last sentence, and yet I wrote the verses at the two links above–what’s the difference?

The difference is, I believe (I was going to write “I know”, but I’ll settle for the weaker “I believe”) that the bible’s account is false. It’s fiction. It didn’t happen. There were no real victims (well… belief in “the curse of Ham” was not victimless), so I can write about bloated bodies and plagues of locusts. It’s simple–I don’t believe. The only ones who could treat such a genocide lightly are those who don’t believe. Those for whom the flood, and the ten plagues, are nothing more than a chance to fleece those who do believe.

.

.

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I do wonder, though, who would invest, and who would want such a thing built. Is everyone so mercenary? Are there any true believers who think the Ark Park is appropriate? And why?

Live Same-Sex Wedding To Be Part Of New Year’s Tournament Of Roses Parade

At the Tournament Of Roses,
There’s a wonderful parade
Where the floats are not just beautiful,
They’re very strangely made:
Every inch of them is covered
With a flower, leaf, or twig;
They must hide the float’s machinery—
Each lever; every rig—
It’s a grand show of technology,
A flowered tour de force,
And it’s televised to millions
Every New Year’s Day, of course
For a hundred years they’ve done it
(And a handful more, as well)
But this year there’s something different,
So the whole thing goes to hell.
It’s been flowers and designers
Since the Tournament’s first day,
But there’s going to be a float this year
That turns the whole thing gay!

The beginning of the New Year is the end of the world, or so it seems to the Christian News Network. You see, they have horrible news:

PASADENA, Calif. – Two homosexual men are set to ‘wed’ on New Year’s Day during the historic Tournament of Roses parade, as they ride a float sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

Congratulations! Danny Leclair and Aubrey Loots are getting married!

According to reports, Leclair and Loots will ride a wedding cake-shaped float themed “Dreams come true,” which will also bear the motto “Love is the best protection,” referring to the global AIDS epidemic. The AIDS Healthcare Foundations says that the float is meant to demonstrate “the role marriage can play in reducing HIV infections among gay men.”

The Christian News Network, of course, is opposed to their marriage. It is an affront to God, it displays sin, it something something … reasons. Apparently, they would rather have unstable relationships and HIV infections, because God loves… sick or dead people, apparently.

Anyway, the comments at the CNN are either hilarious or depressing, depending on how seriously you take them. Especially the letters of complaint people have written to the Tournament of Roses people, expressing offense on the part of themselves and God.

You might want to make a New Year’s resolution to never read the comments again.