Nothing To Talk About

Wow, it has been a long day. So nothing new today, but one that has been on my mind recently, what with Rock Beyond Belief coming up, and the Reason Rally, and the Global Atheist Convention, and more, and because just so damned many believers telling me what I must, as an atheist, believe.

My faithful friends were wondering,
And I was wondering, too,
When atheists get together—
Just what all do they do?
They have no common purpose,
And so I find it odd,
To think they join together
And talk about “no god”.

(continues, after jump:) [Read more…]

A Question For Stephen Fry

Like pretty much all of us, I just love Stephen Fry. And no, I am not going to attempt to laud him in verse or song—that’s been done, and wonderfully, and in person—but rather, am hoping to use his expertise. You see, he wrote the book. And some day soon, I am going to have a long post (or series) here singing its praises.

I heard Susan Blackmore, at some conference, say something to the effect of “if you want to learn all about something, write a book on it.” She was speaking of consciousness, and her journey led her to write, now, several books on it. But that’s not what I need help with. I need to know if I have, as I suspect, come up with a brand-new verse form worthy of its own name and everything. It has structure. It has rules. It has examples. What I don’t know is, has it already been done? And who better to ask than Stephen Fry, the man who wrote the book?

Dear sir: I am not a real poet, and know it,
I read lots of stuff, and I comment in verse;
It’s not that my words are much sweeter in meter
And rhyme, but the truth is they can’t be much worse.
Because my obsession’s impassioned, I’ve fashioned
A form that, as far as I know, is unique;
I missed, though, some critical knowledge from college,
So yours is the expert opinion I seek.

I hope that a simple example is ample
To show you the structure, to help you decide;
I’ve other ones, too, that I’m thinking of linking
In lieu of some sort of a technical guide
The scansion is simple, both rhyming and timing
With eight lines per stanza, two stanzas in all;
But that’s all I’ve got; it’s still nameless—but, shameless,
I’m hoping you’ll help me, and answer my call.

(by the way, this is probably the clunkiest example of the form, but once I decided to ask Mr. Fry, I couldn’t help myself… nor could I wait and edit it until I got it just right.)

A bit more, and links to many more examples, after the jump: [Read more…]

Not Bugs–Features

So in my travels here and there around the internet, I ran across “Five Problems with Atheism“, written by a “Spiritual Traveller”. Seems a nice enough person, just pointing out some ways to perhaps heal the rift between believers and atheists, by pointing out some things atheists get wrong:

[T]here are some fundamental problems with atheism. I’m not nailing these five thesis to the door of a church, because there isn’t one. That isn’t the problem. There are problems with atheism a wider view could possibly bridge, or at least decrease the polarity between atheists and non-atheists. These persuasions are intended to reach across the aisle of a doorless structure.

Again, I see he has the best of intentions. But the way I see it, what he sees as problems, I see as misunderstandings on his part. Understandable mistakes, but mistakes nonetheless. I’m sure he did not intend to insult atheists, and I write in the same sense of open communication, with no malice aimed at the Spiritual Traveller. continues… [Read more…]

Pastor: “Stop Supporting Buffoonery In The Pulpit”

“The problem is”, the pastor said,
“We’re hip-deep in buffoons;
The public sees the ministry
As perverts, thugs, and goons.
To save ourselves, we’ve got to lose
The losers and the loons.”

He’s right, of course; the Christian church
Has standards to maintain;
The scandals and buffoonery
Take effort to explain
But once you take the crazies out…
Will anyone remain?

Context, after yon jumpage: [Read more…]

Lenoir City Update, Update

Ok, so it wasn’t fit to print in a school newspaper. Krystal Myers now has a bigger soapbox to stand on, with her letter printed (under her own byline) in The Knoxville News Sentinel. Here, see for yourself.

As of this writing, all comments are positive. Of course, three comments is perhaps early in the game.

To reiterate my view: the school may have been well within their rights to suppress publication to prevent disruption. They acted legally, but not intelligently. The bigger question is, how will they deal with the behavior Ms. Myers describes in her column? There, they are acting neither legally nor intelligently. They need to clean house.

Why I’ll Never Be Asked To Be NPR’s NewsPoet

A poet’s job—to find the words to say
To translate into meter, into verse;
To write about the stories of the day

Of course, there ought to be a better way,
But there it is—a blessing or a curse,
A poet’s job—to find the words to say.

To find the turn of phrase to best convey
(Though poets’ minds are sometimes too perverse
To write about) the stories of the day—

So editors are heard to softly pray
“Please, find me someone else who can traverse
A poet’s job—to find the words, to say

So much.” The job description reads, “You may
Be asked to fill in here and there, or worse,
To write about the stories of the day”

It’s only one of many roles to play;
The part is yours—it’s time now to rehearse
A poet’s job—to find the words to say
To write about the stories of the day.

More: [Read more…]

Headline Muse, 2/25

To the editor: Please, I am urging—
There’s a phrase that could really use purging;
There are words we can choose
To say “win” or say “lose”—
But why must Santorum be “surging”?

Headline: Down to the wire in 2-man GOP race in Michigan

Oh, yeah.

FLINT, Mich.—Republican Mitt Romney fought Saturday to prove he is the strongest challenger to President Barack Obama, an increasingly difficult task given the tight race in his native state of Michigan against surging conservative Rick Santorum.

The first time a headline spoke of “Santorum surging from behind”, it was clever and disgusting. Now it’s just old. Can we maybe up the ante with “what can we expect next from this asshole?”?

The Prayer Activist

Gonna get me a pen and a paper
Gonna write to the head of the board
I’ll tell him, in schools
The majority rules,
So each day they should pray to the Lord

Gonna get me some paint and a placard
Gonna make me a beautiful sign
And I’ll make myself heard
While defending The Word—
The opinion that matters is mine!

Gonna write to my members of Congress
Gonna reach anyone I can reach
Cos school prayer is a right
That’s deserving of fight!
It’s a matter of freedom of speech!

Gonna get me a laptop computer
Gonna blog me a story today
I’ll scream it; I’ll shout it,
I’ll rant it; I’ll pout it,
I’ll spew it and spout it
No reason to doubt it—
The fact that I don’t know a damned thing about it
I’ll never let get in my way.

[Read more…]