The Worms Go In…

“… I reckon I’d be a pretty miserable, angry person with a chip on my shoulder if I also believed that I was no more than worm meat at the end of the day.” –from an email to PZ, a couple of years ago. I’m reposting this one from the old blog, because A) it bookends the “nothing to live for” verse of a couple days ago, B) it was also featured on the Good Funeral Guide blog I wrote about yesterday, and C) I can’t believe I hadn’t already reposted it. I am told that this verse has actually been used at some living wakes, for people who aren’t yet dead.

When we are dead, we’ll feed the worms
And other stuff that writhes and squirms
And if you cannot come to terms
With that—well, use your head!
There are no ifs nor ands nor buts:
Bacteria within our guts
Will start to eat us; that is what’s
In store, once we are dead.

Yes, life is short and full of toil,
And when we’ve shuffled off this coil
Our carcasses will start to spoil—
There’s nothing wrong with that.
Our share of fish or pigs or cows,
And all the chicken time allows,
Is done. It’s only fair that now’s
The worms’ turn to get fat.

Should we die young, or old and gray,
The laws of nature we’ll obey
And spend our heat in mere decay,
Replenishing the Earth;
“Three score and twelve” may be our years
For love and laughter, hope and fears
And then—mere smoke—life disappears;
No heaven, no rebirth.

And with no heaven up above
Nor hell we ought be frightened of
It’s best we fill our lives with love,
With learning, and with fun!
Don’t waste a lifetime while you wait
For halo, wings, and pearly gate—
This is your life, so get it straight:
You only get the one!

I’ll have no moment lost to prayer,
To cleanse my soul and thus prepare
For passage to… THERE’S NOTHING THERE!
Those moments, all, are wasted!
I’m only here a little time
Before it’s bugs and worms and slime;
I’ll eat and drink my life so I’m
Delicious when I’m tasted!

Headline Muse, 11/15

From their gilded and silk-cushioned heights
Where their privilege has suffered some slights
The bishops are whining
“The laws are confining!”
They’ve vowing to fight for their rights

Headline: Bishops Renew Fight on Abortion and Gay Marriage

Heh. This headline has two daddies names–the “fight on abortion and gay marriage” one, and the far more catholic-friendly “Bishops Open ‘Religious Liberty’ Drive”. Same article, two headlines. The bishops are trying to reframe bigotry as “religious liberty”. The commenters are having none of it, which is nice. Yeah there are the occasional “the church is doing the right thing, fighting immorality”, but these are few and far between. In the New York Times comments, at least, the church has lost the high ground.

Over My Dead Body

I was listening to NPR the other day (it was brief, and I don’t remember which program it was that I heard a snippet of), and heard a man speak of the death of his mother, which happened many years after he and his siblings had left the Catholic Church. As non-believers, and more importantly, as individuals independent of any faith traditions, he and his siblings were at a loss: what do you do with the body? Not in the sense of “do we just let her lie there and decompose?”, but more in the sense that they had no rituals, no traditions to follow. (More, after the jump:) [Read more…]

Oh, Newt!

Ok, since this one was eaten by the upgrade, I’m reposting it.

Now that pretty much every GOP candidate has had a turn at the top of the polls, we finally see Newt Gingrich (within margin of error) in a tie with Mittens for the lead (.pdf) . Given the average turnaround we’ve seen, there’s a very real chance he’s already peaked and will plummet by the time I post this (and yes, his unfavorable rating is higher than his favorable), but I will probably never have another chance. This was originally written after the thrice-married Newt warned us about the dangers of same-sex marriage, and their threat to the sanctity of the institution he is so familiar with. It’s a favorite, and another one that’s long enough I’m gonna put it after the jump: [Read more…]

Nothing To Live For

It seems to me there was a post here on FtB that explored the notion that “atheists have nothing to live for”, but I can’t find it. Maybe the upgrade ate it, or maybe I hallucinated it, but it got me thinking. And writing, trying to put myself into the shoes of someone who really thinks that this amazing, beautiful world is “nothing”. If you happen to see that post, let me know and I will link it here. Anyway, this verse is longer than my usual ones, so it goes after the jump: [Read more…]

Making Amends At Penn State

We could have called the cops, I guess,
In fact, I wish we had;
We might have done the proper thing
We didn’t, though—our bad.
If maybe we’d done anything
We’d not be here today.
But now it’s time to set things right…
That’s right; it’s time to pray.

The victims and their families
Have suffered for our sins
Too late now to prevent; the time
For penitence begins.
We didn’t do the least we could;
We shuffled and delayed;
The time has come to make amends…
I think it’s time we prayed.

It’s our responsibility
Since we’re the ones who failed
Our shame keeps growing deeper as
The charges are detailed.
It’s time for us to bow our heads
And pray with all our might
For god to touch these poor boys’ hearts…
And that will set things right

More after the jump: [Read more…]

Let’s Ask The Republican Candidates

Oh, goody! Another Republican debate tonight! But they never ask the questions I want them to.

Let’s ask the Republican candidates
As they gather tonight to debate
So together we’ll find
What they’ve got on their mind
As they gear up for fights
When they turn on the lights
For the cameras, this evening at eight.

Let’s ask the Republican candidates
And see how they answer today
If we’re under attack
In Iran or Iraq
Or in China, we met
With a credible threat,
Please tell us—how loud would you pray?

Let’s ask the Republican candidates
To see what their answers are worth:
When the scientists hold
It’s 4 billion years old
But your church-going base
Makes a much younger case
Could you tell us—how old is the earth?

Let’s ask the Republican candidates
Cos I’m sure that each one has a plan
With Americans viewed
As both stupid and rude
Please reflect on the ways
That our ignorance plays
In Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan?

Let’s ask the Republican candidates
As they each pick their path through the maze:
Take the case of Penn State
And their troubles of late
Or the pedophile search
Through the ranks of the church—
What’s the best way to blame this on gays?

Let’s ask the Republican candidates…

Bad Pun Of The Day

I don’t mind eels
Except as meals
And the way they feels

–Ogden Nash

This video shows the favored result of an encounter between an octopus and a moray eel. There are other videos out there that show a different result; you can find those yourself. We are cephalopod people here.

Looks mighty tasty to me.
Eel heaven, eel heaven, eel heaven…

Am I Making Myself Clear?

With a predator beneath you, looking up to see your shadow,
It is good to be transparent, so the light just passes through
But a nearby light’s reflection makes you sparkle like a diamond,
So a darker pigmentation is the better thing to do.
Those are two competing strategies, and mutually exclusive
Each has fatal flaws, so choosing “clear or solid?” is a bitch;
But now Japatella heathi and Onychoteuthis banksii
Have evolved the best of both worlds—in an instant, they can switch!

Story, after the jump: [Read more…]

Atheism Poll

Did you lose your religion while walking to church
On a miserable, wintery day?
Did it fizzle out slowly, till one day you looked,
And your faith had all melted away?
Did it leave all at once, in an argument, maybe,
The reverse of the “road to Damascus”?
I suspect there are millions of stories to tell…
If only somebody would ask us.

No, not my own poll–Greta Christina is asking. But if you only get your own readers, you get a biased sample, of course, so spread the word–even amongst those who don’t generally read FtB. Yes, there are those who don’t read FtB.