left biblioblography: December 2008

Sunday, December 28, 2008

And Another One Bites The Dust

Cross-posted @ God is for Suckers!

(Hat tip to Pharyngula)

So it seems there was an Xmas re-conversion recently - a well-known blogging atheist was 'born again'.

I have always found this phenomenon fascinating. In fact (have I mentioned this before? If so, apologies), I've always rather fancied the personal visitation these folks have. But in the years of dropping psychotropic drugs (back in the days of my wastrel youth, I hasten to add), not once did I ever encounter an external manifestation (read: embodied hallucination). I saw the walls breathe, the colors dance, and caught my hands, but no seraphim serenaded me, no booming voice from above, not even a sweet whispered nothing in my ears.

Now granted, I used to hear voices in my head, but again, these were all internal, and so I don't count those.

I am sufficiently versed in the wholly bibble, so it can't just be the written rhetoric, can it? Or is it simple overexposure?

This siren's song of madness calls, and minds dash against the rocks of the psyche's Scylla...


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Have A Wicked Winterval, Y'all

So it's Winterval again (see the second entry down):

Winterval is a portmanteau word coined by Mike Chubb[1] (former Head of Events at Birmingham City Council) to describe all festivities taking place around the end of the year (the winter in the Northern Hemisphere). It is a fusion of the words winter and festival and was intended to be an alternative description that encompasses the Neopagan (Winter solstice, Yule), Jewish (Hanukkah), Muslim (Ramadan and Eid), Hindu (Diwali) and secular holidays such as New Year's Day that take place during the last months of the year, rather than the Christian festivals of Christmas, Advent and Boxing Day exclusively.

I'm spending mine alone this year (no, no noises of sympathy, I chose this) - though last night, my nephew left a message on my cell's voice mail, telling me how Xmas isn't the same without me there, he loves me, all the usual notes a child can play on the lute of an adult's heart.

Problem is, he's about seventeen, and I suspect my (former) little sister put him up to it. I could be wrong, but that's unlikely.

Anyways, carpe diem, and all that.



Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Devil's Playground - Hey, Is That Beelzebub On The Monkey Bars?

Cross posted @ God is for Suckers!

(In which I manage to dodge/artfully evade the topic of the oncoming holiday)

Rumspringa-CoverI just finished watching the Devil's Playground. This documentary deals with the Amish custom of Rumspringa, of which the Wiki entry says:

Rumspringa (also Rumschpringe or Rumshpringa, derived from the Deitsch term for "running around or jumping") generally refers to a period of adolescence for some members of the Amish, a subsect of the Anabaptist Christian movement, that begins around the age of sixteen and ends when a youth chooses baptism within the Amish church or instead leaves the community. The vast majority choose baptism and remain in the church. Not all Amish use this term (it does not occur in Hostetler's extended discussion of adolescence), but in sects that do, Amish elders generally view this as a time for courtship and finding a spouse.

As a rule, of all the Christian cults, I rather appreciate how these folks tend to stay out of other folks' affairs. We envision them as religious anachronisms, as they tend to veer away from modern technology, but the film states that they shy away from anything that might endanger the community or family (the example was that a battery charger, not much of an impact, an automobile, a huge impact).

In fact, the doors are pretty much open to the adolescent at any time they want to return to the 'fold' - but if they return, and change their minds, to return to the 'English' ways? Then they are shunned.

My major issue with this group (as with any other religious nomenclature) is this sense of tribalism. In some ways, tribalism is a social networking tool, a meeting of like minds. The unfortunate side-effect is the exclusion of those deemed other. And when it is done in a religious context, somehow, some way, it just seems to make it that much worse. Basically, a group of human beings is isolating and outcasting another human (or smaller group of humans) over a bunch of superstitious hooey. A perceived non-crime committed by a non-criminal as per rules set by a non-existent judge.

Kafka, anyone?


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Back In Again...

My DSL connection has been down since Saturday evening. The Device Manager in WinXP reported that my Ethernet NIC card was working properly, which of course, was a lie. So I ended up buying a brand new DSL modem (this was prior to figuring out it was the NIC), which involved wading out into holiday traffic. Luckily, I have an old desktop computer, which I cannabilised for a card.
So I will be posting again (and soon!), for the benefit of those who actually read this blog.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

So, Speak Up, Please - Who Are You Folks?

So I realize that I've kinda been letting things go - I have a pile of good excuses (but I think I've used them all up by now). My blog's 2 year anniversary is coming up toot sweet, but rather than invest in a lot of narcissistic nostalgia, this time around, I'd like to give a shout out to the folks who have been consistent readers.
I have on the right-hand (if you're facing the blog) column, a little box that shows how many people are subscribing via feed. This number has never quite broken 20, but has on an average stayed above the 10 mark. So thanks.
Here's your opportunity. Drop in. Leave a comment. Let me know who you are (approximately). The reason being, is that I forgot my password to feedburner, and wouldn't you know it, it doesn't email you the password, regardless of how many times you click on that 'forgot your password?' link.
So, let me know who y'all are, for nothing more than a passing howdy-do.


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Ah, The Smell Of Biblioclasm In The Morning...

Cross posted @ God Is For Suckers!

Desecrating_Koran_in_Iran And of course, since Islam is a 'peaceful' religion:

Mumbai Muslim couple arrested for burning Quran

Mumbai, August 28:: A Muslim couple was arrested for allegedly burning a copy of their holy book in suburban Govandi area.

Mastan Shah and his wife Noor Bano Shah told the police that they were burning the book as it was very old and tattered and they did not want to throw it.

Angry neighbours who saw the holy book being burnt, assaulted Noor and Mastan. The couple's house was also vandalised.

And for another little ditty of dangerous delusion:

Students burn US flags in anger at Koran shooting

STUDENTS in Logar and Balkh have staged anti-American demonstrations in protest at a US soldier in Iraq who shot a copy of the holy Koran.

The protesters asked the United Nations and the international community to put the soldier on trial in an Islamic court.

More than 1,400 students from Porak High School, as well as tribal elders from 20 villages, took to the streets in Pul-e-Alam, the provincial capital of Logar in protest at the soldier’s actions.

During the two-hour protest, students blocked the Kabul-Gardez highway and burned effigies of President Bush and the US flag.

In fact, these are just books, people. Being an avid bibliophile, there was a time when I thought that was a sin (till I learned that the word 'sin' was just a fancy way of saying "Oops!"). Human beings are not only vaster repositories of knowledge, but are by and far more valuable than some musty old anachronistic book of rules.

Knowledge is a commodity, and life is priceless - and a book comes in a distant third by my calculations.

Till the next post, then.