Rabbi Adam Chalom’s humanistic messages for the 2020 High Holidays (Non-fiction)

Kol Hadash Humanistic congregation, based in the Chicago area, held its High Holidays services last weekend.  The full services, lead by Rabbi Adam Chalom, can be viewed here.  Below are the messages from each service:

Before I met my wife, I never imagined myself being involved in a religious humanistic community, let alone one centered around Jewish traditions.  Honestly, I’m still learning about the community, even after seven years, but I enjoy learning and experiencing this community.  I’m also proud of how we’ve handled the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic and pulled off virtual services.  Though it will be nice to enjoy an oneg once we can stop social distancing.

Video: Babbler columnist survives academic panel (Fiction)

By Wendy Onofrey
Webmaster for the Bolingbrook Babbler

My brother, who writes a column for the Babbler, managed to get himself invited to a very special panel discussion last weekend.  Considering that he only has a degree in journalism, I think he did pretty well.  I think he came across as the second most reasonable person on that panel.

Note:  This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer.  Feel free to leave a comment here or in the Bolingbrook Babbler Readers Group. 

THE FREETHOUGHTBLOGS CARNIVAL OF CURIOSITY presents ‘The Rift: A Bolingbrook Babbler Story’ live reading in about an hour.

Just a reminder that I will be doing a live reading of my upcoming novel in about an hour.  The book is called “The Rift: A Bolingbrook Babbler Story,” and is based on the Bolingbrook Babbler setting.

I’ll also talk a bit about the history of the Babbler blog, and answer appropriate questions.  See you soon!
Do not forget that the purpose of this glorious weekend of fun and frolic is to entice you to make donations to either our PayPal or to our GoFundMe!

Carnival time! (Non-fiction)

Tomorrow is the start of the THE FREETHOUGHTBLOGS CARNIVAL OF CURIOSITY.   I’ll be on the panel of bloggers tomorrow. Saturday I’ll do a live reading from my upcoming novel, and participate in an evening quiz show. Then Sunday, I’ll be playing Babbler columnist Dale Onofrey as he presents his inexpert opinion on the panel of inexperts!

Check the link for the schedule and auctions. Including my auction item.

Do not forget that the purpose of this glorious weekend of fun and frolic is to entice you to make donations to either our PayPal or to our GoFundMe!

Sarah Kendzior tells Bolingbrook’s weredogs to vote and occasionally bite fascists (Fiction)

Author and authoritarian expert Sarah Kendzior addressed Bolingbrook’s weredeer population.

In a secret video presentation, Sarah Kendzior, author of The View from Flyover Country and Hiding in Plain Sight, told Bolingbrook’s weredogs it was okay to bite fascists, but it is more important to vote in the upcoming election.

“You can’t be complacent when fascism confronts you,” said Kendzior.  “You’ve got to punch Nazis, bite fascists, and tear apart Trumpism!”  

Many of the weredogs howled in approval.

“Let’s devour the MAGA hats!” yelled a weredog.

“Wow,” replied Kendzior.  “You guys are the most enthusiastic furries I’ve ever met.”  She added, “I’m not that concerned about Nazis getting black eyes, but at the same time, too much violence can lead to chaos.  That’s what authoritarians like Trump and Putin crave!  They’ll use the chaos and redefine groups like Antifa to be vague caricatures of evil.  They’ll be so vaguely defined, that anyone who opposes Trump, from anarchists to bloggers will be rounded up and labeled as Antifa.”

“Wait!” Cried out one weredog.  “Since when is being anti-fascist a bad thing?”

“Since our institutions failed to stop Trump,” replied Kendzior.  “Good God, I can’t tell you all the times I’ve tried to warn everyone about Trump’s international crime syndicate masquerading as a government.  They didn’t listen to me!  Okay, a lot of people listened to the Gaslit Nation podcast with Andrea Chalupa and me, and I was a regular on MSNBC.  It wasn’t enough.  Just look at all the free publicity Morning Joe gave Donald.  How could I compete with the Infotainment Media Complex?”

“We believe you,” said Brett, a weredog alpha.  “But is there anything we can do besides devouring the MAGA hats?”

“Um, let’s take this in a different direction.”

Kendzior then posted a link to the Gaslit Nation 2020 Survival Guide.  She said it was no accident that most of its suggestions involved electoral politics:

“Authoritarians want you to think you’re powerless.  That’s not true.  Voting is powerful.  Don’t give up the power of the ballot box.  Don’t let Trump’s plans to contest the election deter you.  Vote in such large numbers that he’ll have to choose between stepping down or openly abolishing our democracy.  Hell, don’t just vote.  Run for office.  Run for your school board.  Run for city council.  Run for dog catcher.  You can do lots of good things on the local level, and keep the fascists out of power in your community.  Sure it might feel good to punch a Nazi, but it will feel even better to teach children how to recognize and resist authoritarianism!”

“Even township government?” asked another weredog.

“Um, I don’t know what that is, but if it’s local, it’s worth running for.”

“Even if we think those Edgar County Watchdogs will save us from the township trustees?”

“I don’t know the whole story, but you can’t rely on others to save you.  You are the savior you have been looking for.  As Living Colour sang, “Only you can set you free!”

The weredogs cheered, but one asked, “But what if Trump steals the election?”

“Take to the streets, and try not to eat the National Guard soldiers.  Was that in character?”

Kendzior thanked the weredogs at the end of her speech.

“Best online furry convention I’ve ever spoken at!”

When she logged off, many of the weredogs talked about running in the 2021 DuPage Township election.

A receptionist for DuPage Township said none of the Trustees were available for comment.

In the background, a woman who sounded like Trustee Alyssia Benford, said: “I trusted you when you said you have everything under control.”

“We do,” said a man.  

“I don’t think so.”

“We did get rid of Bill—”

“But you unleashed something almost unspeakable!”


“Escalation.  I turned on my party.  They turned on me.  I sent you guys to finish them off, now they’ve revived this group to finish me off.  Look!”

Citizens for a Better Bolingbrook?  What is it?”

“An evil coven that will rain Internet hellfire upon us.  They answer to no one.  (Trustee Maripat Oliver) can’t control them.  (Will County Board Member Jackie Traynere) cannot stop them.  (Mayor Emeritus Roger Claar) was only able to exile them after years of conflict, but they’re back, and he can’t save us this time!  We can’t make them resign.  We can’t disrupt their meetings.  We can’t even sue them!  But they can inflict so much—”

“Don’t worry.  We have a web site and the backing of the Illinois Policy Institute.”

“They have Bonnie.”

Also in the Babbler:

Sentient COVID-19 virus endorses President Donald Trump for election
The ticket out of our long emergency:  Babbler endorses Biden/Harris for election
The scientific evidence speaks for itself: Babbler endorses Rep. Bill Foster for re-election
Beware the Ives of November: Babbler endorses Rep. Sean Casten for re-election
God to spare Bolingbrook this week

Note:  This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer.  Feel free to leave a comment here or in the Bolingbrook Babbler Readers Group. 

My Freethought Blogs CARNIVAL OF CURIOSITY schedule for the weekend of 9/25/20 to 9/27/20 (Non-fiction)

In addition to holding an auction, I’m also doing four events for this weekend’s Carnival of Curiosity, a fundraiser for the network, and to pay off the consolidated legal bills from the recently concluded S.L.A.P.P. case.  Donations can be sent to either our PayPal or to our GoFundMe! So if you want to see the guy who survived poking fun at Mayor Emeritus Roger Claar for years, here’s my schedule of events:

Parade of Bloggers, part I (Friday, 5pm PT-8pm ET, 1am BST):  I’ll be joining some of my fellow bloggers as we preview our events, talk about our blogs, and who knows what else.

The Rift: A Bolingbrook Babbler Story (Saturday, 3pm PT-6pm ET, 11pm BST):  I’ll be doing the very first live public reading of The Rift: A Bolingbrook Babbler Story.  I will take reasonable questions if I can figure out how the chat feature works on YouTube.  🙂 Starts at 5pm Bolingbrook time.  🙂

The Quiz (Saturday, 6pm PT-9pm ET, 2 am BST):  Will I figure out the QI format before I participate?  Will I avenge my game show loss at TAM 9 to PZ Myers?  Find out!

The Panel of Inexpert Discussion (1-pm PT-4pm ET, 9pm BST):  Babbler columnist Dale Onofrey has taken on skeptics, taken on politics, and now he’s ready to take on expertise itself!  Dale will join a panel of inexperts to shatter the boundaries of thinkable thought.  Can thinking be too free?  Find out!

You can also check out the other carnival events here.  Crip Dyke is also hosting an auction for a custom story.  I’ve put in a bid, but I’m sure you guys have better ideas for her to bring to life.  So outbid me!  🙂

Do not forget that the purpose of this glorious weekend of fun and frolic is to entice you to make donations to either our PayPal or to our GoFundMe!

Biden addresses hostile Space Force troops in Bolingbrook (Fiction)

By Reporter X

Former Vice President Joe Biden received a hostile reception during a surprise visit to Space Force Troops stationed in Bolingbrook.

“Lock her up!” yelled many of the soldiers in unison.

“Is that supposed to be an insult?” asked Biden during his address.

Lieutenant Colonel Blake Z. Baker, the commander of the 1st Space Force High Border Wall Battalion, replied: “It’s what the soldiers are trained to say to anyone (President Donald Trump) doesn’t approve of.”

According to anonymous sources, Biden contacted Baker and demanded to address the troops.  When Baker refused, Biden presented documents proving he was a member of the Illuminati.  Baker then pointed out that Biden is an active member of the New World Order, and therefore couldn’t be a member of the Illuminati.

“Give me a break,” replied Biden.  “I believe in bipartisanship and in dual secret society memberships.  I fought the Trump Mayor to a draw over this, but it was really no contest.  Here’s the deal:  You let me address the troops, and my illuminated friend Pop-Tart won’t tell Donald about your Ukrainian friend.”

Baker hastily gathered the troops, upsetting many.

“I was practicing tear gas skills when we got the call,” said Private Carl V. Drake.  “I was about to set the record for gassing an apartment—I mean an enemy hive.  Now I can’t wait to vote for Trump.”

In his speech, Biden reminded the soldiers that all branches of the military serve the country, not the President:

“Our country is great because of our professional military.  They know their job is to protect our country from enemies outside the US.  When a country’s military gets involved in politics, it gets ugly.  I mean really ugly!  We’re talking coups, assassinations, and dropping dissidents from helicopters.”

“What’s wrong with that?”  yelled a heckler.

“Come on, man!  Do I really need to tell you?”

Biden later said that he expected all branches to respect the results of the November election.  He added that if Trump loses and refuses to leave office, he would order all military branches to respect his command and send soldiers to drag Trump out of the oval office.

The soldiers booed then chanted: “Submit!  Don’t resist!”

 “Look,” replied Biden.  “I understand you’ve been brainwashed by Trump.  You think you’re nothing without your Space Force uniform.  But here’s the deal:  I consider all of you part of the military.  Once Trump is out of office, you’ll come to your senses and embrace bipartisanship.  It’ll be just like the old days, only better.  Am I right?”

“Eight more years!”  chanted the soldiers.

Biden turned to Baker.  “You’re coaching them aren’t you?”

“I’d get out of here if I was you.”

“I was going to leave anyway.  Just remember not to interfere when the interplanetary absentee ballots are delivered to Earth.”

“It is our responsibility to destroy any fake ballots and kill those who threaten us.  MAGA!”

After Biden left the base, a campaign staffer, who asked to remain anonymous, defended the speech:

“Trump is lying about Biden being weak and alone.  Today he addressed a hostile group of elite killers.  I mean soldiers.  That proves that Joe is tough enough to rebuild our country and stand up to the “squad” and appease Republicans.  I’m sure this will win us the moderate UFO believer vote!”

Also in the Babbler

ASPCA investigates Carnival of Curiosity
Bolingbrook Temple of Set endorses Trump
Wereskunks rename sacred trash pile to honor former Mayor Roger Claar
God to smite Bolingbrook on 9/18/2020

Note:  This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer.  Feel free to leave a comment here or in the Bolingbrook Babbler Readers Group. 

For the September Fundraiser: A special preview and an auction! (Non-fiction)

The lawsuits are settled, but the legal bills still need to be paid.  So Freethought Blogs will be hosting a fundraiser.  I’ll be contributing two things.

First, I’ll be auctioning off a PDF collection of Babbler articles published before I moved the FTB.  Some of them haven’t been online in years.  I’m still putting it together, but I’m pretty sure it will include the infamous “Bank of Roger” article and one of my favorites, “EvoPsych House.”  The tentative title is God to Smite Bolingbrook: The Best of the Bolingbrook Babbler 1998 to 2017.

Here are the rules:

  • Bidding starts at $1
  • You can place a bid in the comments for this article or by email. I will post the amount of an emailed bid in the comments. 
  • The auction will run from 9/14/20 to 9/27/20 11:59 PM.
  • The winner will only have to pay $1 more than the second-highest bid.
    • For example, if the highest bid is $100 and the second-highest bid is $75, the winner will only have to pay $76.
  • I reserve the right to refuse or reduce bids.
  • After the auction, the winner will need to email proof of payment to receive the PDF. 

(Thanks to Marcus for the rules.)

Second, I’ll be reading an excerpt from my in-progress novel: The Rift: A Bolingbrook Babbler Story.  If the fundraiser reaches $250, I’ll post a recording.  If it reaches $500, I’ll do it live!  You can make a donation through PayPal.  

Many of the other FTB Bloggers will be hosting auctions, participating in panels, and other events during the fundraiser.  The schedule is here.  It will be a fundraiser in the defense of free speech and a fun virtual conference.  I hope to see you there!

Web Exclusive Guest Opinion: A FEW THOUGHTS ON 9/11 AND OUR CURRENT MOMENT

File image of Congressman Sean Casten.

By Congressman Sean Casten (IL06)

This guest opinion is based on a twitter thread posted on 9/11/20. He is a member of the Congressional Freethought Caucus.
I grew up in the NYC suburbs in the 1980s. I wasn’t living there in 2001, but still had lots of friends and family in the area. A good family friend was on flight 93. He was, among other things a pilot. We’d like to believe he had some heroic role in those final moments given his training.
I was working in MA at the time and was in the process of training a new sales rep when we were interrupted with news that “a small plane” hit one of the towers. It seemed insignificant, in the way that breaking news sometimes does. Of course, the news moved quickly and (by completely random coincidence) the power went out in our office. Caused by a line worker in our office park, but felt like the beginning of a national disaster. We sent everyone home. I called my wife who was on her way to grad school and told her I had no idea what was going on, but to get home. We met and watched TV for the rest of the day.
There is nothing heroic in my story, but for the universality of it. Our day was like everyone else’s in the country – and the world. We were panicked, heartbroken, confused, saddened, angry… and yet united by our common humanity.
And the day was a mix of almost absurd specificity (my friend on flight 93) and global generality (who did this? Why?) Even if you didn’t know anyone who died on 9/11, the nature of the event made it personal. This story from Esquire captures that vibe almost perfectly: https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a48031/the-falling-man-tom-junod/
Now to the current moment. We’ve lost more Americans to COVID-19 this week than we lost on 9/11. Each of the 192,000+ we have lost is also a very specific person with friends, neighbors and loved ones who had plans. Who may or may not have been heroic in their final moments. But who did nothing to deserve their fate. We can’t afford to lose sight of that. I’ll leave psychologists to explain why an individual friend’s death is more of a gut punch than the deaths of 3,000 (or 192,000) strangers. But the tragedy is greater, not smaller for the larger loss.
George W Bush, for all his flaws, understood that on 9/11. He reminded us we were all Americans. He reminded us this wasn’t about a religion. Most Americans, and the best of our elected officials still understand that.
So be strong today. Celebrate our shared humanity. Don’t sink to the level of those who can’t do that; model the behavior you’d like them to follow. #leadwithlove.

UFOs displaying Jeanne Ives ads crash in Naperville (Fiction)

By Reporter X

Ten UFOs displaying ads for Congressional candidate Jeanne Ives crashed in Naperville Sunday eve.   The UFOs lifted off from Bolingbrook’s Clow UFO Base at 7:30 pm, but each craft reported equipment malfunctions when they flew over Lisle at 7:45.

A transcript from one of the pilots read: “Our hologram is spinning!  The ground is above me!  There are too many trees!”

Other pilots claimed they were victims of the so-called Lisle Square, a mysterious region in Lisle where some UFO’s experience anomalies.  The last crash associated with the Lisle Square occurred in 2008 when K09 UFO crashed into Four Lakes Ski Hill.

When Clow traffic control ordered the craft to fly south, the UFOs flew westward instead.  The leader explained that flying west would have saved the crew of Flight 19.  Flight 19 was a Navy Air Squadron that flew into the Bermuda Triangle wormhole back in 1945.

Instead of regaining control by flying west, the UFOs lost power once they left Lisle airspace and crashed in the downtown Naperville area.

John X. Carter witnessed one of the UFOs crash into downtown Naperville:  “I saw this burning disc with a Jeanne Ives ad in a power dive.  I turned to run away because I thought it was going to hit an apartment building. A few seconds later, I stopped when I heard a fire alarm go off.  The apartment was fine and I didn’t see any sign of the UFO.  The fire department blocked off the area behind the apartment and got really mad when I tried to take a look.  Maybe it phased cloaked through the apartment and crash-landed in the Library parking lot?”

Clow officials denied the existence of the Lisle Square and insisted there was a rational explanation for the accident.

“These display ad crafts have the same design flaw as the K09,” said Joan Armstrong, spokesperson for Bolingbrook’s Department of Interstellar Affairs.  “They’ll travel thousands of light-years without any issue, only to fall apart when they reach Earth.  There is no Lisle Square and don’t make us drag Brian Dunning out of obscurity to debunk it!”

Armstrong confirmed that the fleet was paid for by the Ives campaign to display her ads above the Sixth Congressional District.

“If she wants a refund, she’ll have to talk to the crew.  Clow assumes no responsibility for defective UFOs that just happen to be in our airspace.”

An anonymous staffer for the Ives campaign denied that Ives is spending money on UFO advertising:

“Jeanne’s signs are being defaced with vulgar words like (expletive deleted).  (Congressman Sean Casten) won’t denounce his (transphobic remark deleted) (racist remark deleted) (sexist remark deleted) gang!”

A woman who sounded like Ives said, “Remember what’s on the banner outside?”

“I’m sorry, but ‘Mobs or Jobs’ is lame.  Why can’t we just say (racist remark deleted) or militias?”

“I’ve played dog-whistle politics longer than you’ve been alive, so don’t you dare lecture me on what slogans I should use.  Now tell that reporter that Sean is the real divider and Pat Brady is an evil R.I.N.O!”

A spokesperson for the Casten campaign reached by Zoom laughed and talked about Casten’s work on climate change.

In the background, a woman who resembles covert social media operative Charlene Spencer spoke while wearing a modified full-face snorkel mask:  “You’re going to love these scripts, and I won’t charge you for the production.”

A woman wearing a hazmat suit replied:  “Thanks, but we already produced our first TV ad.  Here’s the first one.”

“You’re going with the nerd angle?  Seriously?  Have you guys seen how dark and depressing the world is today?”


“Then why are you running a funny ad?”

“Because where there’s humor, there’s hope.  A vote for Sean is a vote for hope.”

“Oh, please!”

A receptionist for Bolingbrook Mayor Mary Alexander-Basta said she was speaking with the co-village administrators and could not be disturbed:

“Have a great day, and don’t blame Mayor Mary for two more weeks of COVID mitigation rules.”

In the background, a man shouted, “Zombies!  2020 has unleashed zombies on Bolingbrook!”

A man who sounded like Mayor Emeritus Roger Claar yelled:  “Just because they named a street after me doesn’t mean I’m dead!”

Also in the Babbler:

Joshie Berger closes Clow’s Worst to First restaurant
Bolingbrook man’s blood turns to vodka after taking Russian COVID vaccine
Editorial:  Nineteen years later, the terrorists lost, but so did we
God to smite Bolingbrook on 9/12/20