left biblioblography: January 2011

Monday, January 31, 2011

Tuesday Twofer - Kung Pow, Enter The Fist

It's no secret that I absolutely adore spoofs - especially of martial arts flicks. Here is the trailer for Kung Pow, Enter The Fist:

And likely the funniest fight scene ever, bar none:



Saturday, January 29, 2011

Allegories Gone Wild–All The Chicken Littles Come Home To Roost…

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasisrapture

Somehow, I never get tired of these folks. It’s kind of simultaneously fascinating and repellent, like driving past a bad accident and rubbernecking anyways:

End of Days in May? Christian group spreads word

RALEIGH, N.C. – If there had been time, Marie Exley would have liked to start a family. Instead, the 32-year-old Army veteran has less than six months left, which she'll spend spreading a stark warning: Judgment Day is almost here.

(And me without my sunblock!)

Exley is part of a movement of Christians loosely organized by radio broadcasts and websites, independent of churches and convinced by their reading of the Bible that the end of the world will begin May 21, 2011.

‘Loosely’ is a word more likely to describe their mental state.

To get the word out, they're using billboards and bus stop benches, traveling caravans of RVs and volunteers passing out pamphlets on street corners. Cities from Bridgeport, Conn., to Little Rock, Ark., now have billboards with the ominous message, and mission groups are traveling through Latin America and Africa to spread the news outside the U.S.

Yeah, screw feeding and clothing the poor! Super-Jesus will bail his elite fan club out!

"A lot of people might think, 'The end's coming, let's go party,'" said Exley, a veteran of two deployments in Iraq. "But we're commanded by God to warn people. I wish I could just be like everybody else, but it's so much better to know that when the end comes, you'll be safe."

How people like this live with anti-climax, I’ll never know.

In August, Exley left her home in Colorado Springs, Colo., to work with Oakland, Calif.-based Family Radio Worldwide, the independent Christian ministry whose leader, Harold Camping, has calculated the May 21 date based on his reading of the Bible.

Only the millionth chump to pull this stunt – but the religious never learn.

She is organizing traveling columns of RVs carrying the message from city to city, a logistics challenge that her military experience has helped solve. The vehicles are scheduled to be in five North Carolina cities between now and the second week of January, but Exley will shortly be gone: overseas, where she hopes to eventually make it back to Iraq.

"I don't really have plans to come back," she said. "Time is short."

The next 60 years is going to be one, long involved shock.

Not everyone who's heard Camping's message is taking such a dramatic step. They're remaining in their day-to-day lives, but helping publicize the prophecy in other ways. Allison Warden, of Raleigh, has been helping organize a campaign using billboards, post cards and other media in cities across the U.S. through a website, We Can Know.

Meanwhile, children starve in the streets.

The 29-year-old payroll clerk laughs when asked about reactions to the message, which is plastered all over her car.

Never heard of bumper stickers, apparently.

"It's definitely against the grain, I know that," she said. "We're hoping people won't take our word for it, or Harold Camping's word for it. We're hoping that people will search the scriptures for themselves."

Shouldn’t believe any word of it, I’d say.

Camping, 89, believes the Bible essentially functions as a cosmic calendar explaining exactly when various prophecies will be fulfilled.

Yes, senile dementia does some rotten things to people.

The retired civil engineer said all his calculations come from close readings of the Bible, but that external events like the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948 are signs confirming the date.

Oooh…that’s novel. No wait, it’s not.

"Beyond the shadow of a doubt, May 21 will be the date of the Rapture and the day of judgment," he said.

Not gonna hold my breath.

The doctrine known as the Rapture teaches that believers will be taken up to heaven, while everyone else will remain on earth for a period of torment, concluding with the end of time. Camping believes that will happen in October.

Hey! My birthday’s in October! I wanted a pony, not the Apocalypse!

"If May 21 passes and I'm still here, that means I wasn't saved. Does that mean God's word is inaccurate or untrue? Not at all," Warden said.

Oh yeah. Hunker around the campfire kiddies, as Uncle Warden explains his crazy.

The belief that Christ will return to earth and bring an end to history has been a basic element of Christian belief since the first century. The Book of Revelation, which comes last in the New Testament, describes this conclusion in vivid language that has inspired Christians for centuries.

Which has been disproven. But nobody listens.

But few churches are willing to set a date for the end of the world, heeding Jesus' words in the gospels of Mark and Matthew that no one can know the day or hour it will happen. Predictions like Camping's, though, aren't new. One of the most famous in history was by the Baptist leader William Miller, who predicted the end for Oct. 22, 1844, which came to be known as the Great Disappointment among his followers, some of whom subsequently founded the Seventh Day Adventist church.

So this’ll be the Second Great Disappointment?

"In the U.S., there is still a significant population, mostly Protestant, who look at the Bible as kind of a puzzle, and the puzzle is God's word and it's predicting when the end times will come," said Catherine Wessinger, a professor at Loyola University in New Orleans who studies millennialism, the belief in pending apocalypse.

Bad news: the bible IS a puzzle – conjured up by lunatics and rearranged by the surrounding society to suit whatever fantasies are in fad.

"A lot of times these prophecies gain traction when difficulties are happening in society," she said. "Right now, there's a lot of insecurity, and this is a promise that says it's not all random, it's part of God's plan."

Gee, the doomsayers can be blamed…on the economy?

Past predictions that failed to come true don't have any bearing on the current calculation, believers maintain.

No surprise there.

"It would be like telling the Wright brothers that every other attempt to fly has failed, so you shouldn't even try," said Chris McCann, who works with eBible Fellowship, one of the groups spreading the message.

That analogy would only apply, if the Wright brothers never flew. Because these EOT’s (End Of Timers) don’t realize that none of the ‘prophecies’ in the wholly bibble ever came true.

For believers like McCann, theirs is actually a message of hope and compassion: God's compassion for people, and the hope that there's still time to be saved.

Oh, nice article. Don’t even bring in a skeptic to discount the effin’ thing.

That, ultimately, is what spurs on Exley, who said her beliefs have alienated her from most of her friends and family. Her hope is that not everyone who hears her message will mock it, and that even people who dismiss her now might still come to believe.

Because why? Because it’s crazy. Or as Malcolm in Serenity said it best: “Ah, hell, Shepherd, I ain't looking for help from on high. That's a long wait for a train don't come.”

"If you still want to say we're crazy, go ahead," she said. "But it doesn't hurt to look into it."

And the poison spreads.

Till the next post, then.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday Funny - HyperDrive

Definitely one of the most underrated comedies put out by the BBC, "HyperDrive" is a goofy spoofy of space operas everywhere.
Favorite lines: "Commencify!" and "My mother died 2 months before I was born, so I was raised by space pancakes, which is all right, except I have this deathly fear of maple syrup..."



Saturday, January 22, 2011

More ‘Inspirational’ Stories From The ‘Religion Of Peace’…


Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

UK woman cuts out daughter's heart in bizarre religious ritual

LONDON: In a gruesome incident, a mother in Britain has killed her four-year-old daughter, and then cut out her heart and other vital organs as an apparent "religious offering", a media report said.
Shayna Bharuchi, a 35-year-old woman of Somali origin, was arrested after her daughter's body was found stabbed to death in the kitchen with her heart and other vital organs cut out and strewn around her flat.
The woman was allegedly chanting verses of the Quran as her daughter's disemboweled corpse lay next to her in the home in East London; she had her MP3 player on full blast as she listened to Muslim holy book.
The woman was arrested on Thursday after her partner Jerome Negney, believed to be a Muslim convert, informed the police after seeing the woman clutching a kitchen knife.

They’re horrendous, incidents like this. But it tells a stark, gripping truism: to the religious, this life only counts as collateral for their ‘afterlife’. The acts and deeds they commit in the here and now are entered on some divine ledger, to be examined and cross-examined, to see if the committer qualifies for that most unproven of all hypotheticals: a little old place named heaven, where these people imagine they will be lauded for their singular bloody-mindedness.

There is no way to tell if this Shayna was ‘inspired’ by the Koran to do this – the level of mental illness required to perform such a horrendous act very well means that she may well have been able to cobble up an excuse for anything. The religious have this ‘apologia’ thing going on – an endless litany of apologies and excuses designed to change the playing field by whinging on about how these things are isolated acts.

Jihad Watch points out another horrible ongoing event: the actual training of children being trained as suicide bombers:

Taliban actively training child suicide bombers

WASHINGTON - Pakistani terror camps are teaching children the three R's: reading, 'riting and rage.

Taliban suicide schools dotting the Af-Pak tribal belt leave no child behind in the deadly lessons.
Graduates don't go to college - they blow themselves to bits in Afghanistan to find paradise.
Since 2005, when the Haqqani Taliban introduced suicide bombings in the Afghan war, kids have become a messenger of choice.

The suicide schools aren't new, but the processes of recruiting, training and operations are detailed in a grim new report by West Point's Combating Terrorism Center.

And in Iraq:

KIRKUK, Iraq, April 21 (UPI) -- Iraqi forces arrested four children, all under 14, who are allegdly linked to al-Qaida and training to become suicide bombers, an Iraqi general said.

The children, detained near Kirkuk, were part of a cell known as the "Birds of Paradise," and were being trained to avoid detection as they carried out their attacks, The Times of London reported Tuesday.

"Special forces units have arrested an organization of children consisting of four individuals under the age of 14 who call themselves the 'Birds of Paradise'," said Gen. Abdelamir al-Zaidi, Iraqi army division commander in Kirkuk. "The group relies on children and is connected to al-Qaida. It works to recruit children and young people to carry out suicide attacks and to aid the terrorist groups in detonating roadside bombs."

Al-Qaida militants have used Iraqi children previously in attacks on U.S. and Iraqi security forces, the British newspaper said. Militants also have been accused of using mentally ill women as suicide bombers.

Other insurgent groups have used children to fire rocket-propelled grenades and detonate roadside bombs, officials said.

Using children as cannon fodder, to advance some twisted dream cobbled up by a crazy desert fairy beggar.

It’s hard to believe we’re living in the 21st century. It’s saddening, and depressing.

Till the next post, then.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Tuesday Funny - Futurama

One of my all time favorite characters - Bender.



Saturday, January 15, 2011

‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ Has Had Repercussions–Among The Fauna? WTF?


And just as Sarah Palin’s political career has spiraled off into nowhere (I can imagine the exquisite WHOOSHING sound as it is metaphorically whisked into oblivion), not sooner has the collective sigh hit, when another lunatic arises. Get set folks: it’s a doozy.

‘Gay demon’ exorcist claims mass animal deaths due to ‘don’t ask’ repeal

The deaths of thousands of blackbirds in Arkansas may have been caused by the recent repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," according to a self-described "prophet" who once claimed the ability to banish "gay demons."

Because of course it’s related…no wait, it’s not.

Evangelist Cindy Jacobs said on a video posted over the weekend that the strange phenomenon, that has now occurred in various places across the world, was an "answer" from God for violating his principles concerning homosexuality.

Yes, because your deity can’t just show up and say something, can he? Oh no, that’d be bad for morale. Might even prove the thing exists.

"According to biblical principles, marriage is between a man and a woman, so we have to say 'what happens when a nation makes a decision that’s against God's principles?'" she said. "Well, often what happens is that nature itself will begin to talk to us – for instance, violent storms, flooding."

Which means this gawd fella is runnin’ around whomping on…well, everybody. And has been doing it for…well, forever. Oh wait: nobody there.

Jacobs founded Generals International (GI), an international evangelical Christian group, along with her husband in 1985. She is also a member of the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders, a group of prophets who claim to have foreseen Islamic terrorism in 1999.

Uh huh, via use of elaborate and tricky allegory, which leaves the whole interpretation open-ended, making it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

During an evangelical conference in 2008, Jacobs conducted a mass exorcism of the audience to cast out the spirits of pornography, addiction, lust, bisexuality, homosexuality, and perversion. In another event in Texas in November, she claimed that if Latinos voted for candidates who opposed gay marriage, then God would reward them with immigration reform.

“Eenie beenie, chili weenie, the spirits are about to speak!” announced Bullwinkle once upon a time. Seriously, that’s the image that springs to mind after reading that. Now watch this spectacularly bizarre brand of logic:

"Let’s talk about this Arkansas pattern and say, could it be a pattern?" Jacobs continued. "But the blackbirds fell to the ground in Beebe, Arkansas. Well the Governor of Arkansas' name is Beebe. And also, there was something put out of Arkansas called 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' by a former Governor, this was proposed, Bill Clinton."

Well certainly can’t argue with that – mostly because I don’t speak fluent crazy.

"As so, could there be a connection between this passage [Hosea 4] and now that we've had the repeal of the 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,' where people now legally in the United States have broken restraints with the Scripture because the Scripture says in Romans 1 that homosexuality is not allowed."

Really? My eyes cross when I read this kind of crap. While the next paragraph seems somewhat weird and worrisome:

Nearly 500 dead birds were discovered in Louisiana and 5,000 in Arkansas last week. About 100 dead birds were also found in Sweden. This week, another 100 dead birds were found along Highway 101 in California. There was no sign that the mass deaths were related to the bird flu.

There is, as always, a rational explanation:

The mass death of wildlife is a fairly common occurrence, according to the US Geological Survey (USGC) scientists. The agency said the deaths were probably caused by loud noises, such as fireworks, that startled the birds and caused them to fly into objects such as houses or trees during the night.

"Although wildlife die-offs always pose a concern, they are not all that unusual," Jonathan Sleeman, director of the USGS in Madison, said. "It's important to study and understand what happened in order to determine if we can prevent mortality events from happening again."

And to top that off,

According to USGS records, there has been 188 reported mass death of birds across the country during the past 10 years.

Pretty funny that the article included this:

The King James Bible, which most conservatives cite in pursuing policies that discriminate against homosexuals, also bans wearing gold, getting tattoos, trimming beards, divorcing your spouse, eating shellfish and wearing mixed material fabrics, among other things.

(I’d not heard about the beard thing, or wearing gold.) And as a bit of sobering afterthought,

Last year Jacobs participated in an event called "Awakening 2010," where she shared a stage with Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

‘Sharing a stage’ isn’t the same thing as providing counsel, or having any influence at all. Hopefully Cuccinelli treats her as civilly as he’d treat any random crazy.

I am desperately hoping that the time will come soon, where people stop treating this sort of behavior as newsworthy, or portentous, or whatnot. Likely it will not happen in my lifetime, alas. But we keep on hoping, but also we keep on fighting against the flow of supernatural belief, because at some point, an idea of logic persistently repeated will eventually sink into the collective psyche and take hold.

But I am too much the optimist.

Till the next post, then.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wednesday Funny–A Little Too Close For Comfort, Maybe?

Very funny. Spot on, too.



Saturday, January 08, 2011

More On The Madness Of Muslim–Silencing Dissent Is Always An Ill Portent…

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasisjesusandmofreespeech

Dissent and you will be known. – Arab proverb

One of the more major demarcations of civilized behavior and/or society, is how dissent is treated. If it is tolerated, you have a true marketplace of ideas. If it is viciously squelched, then you have rabid mob rule. If this reaches across other cultures and/or societies, then you have a stampede of mindless intolerance, a hierarchal ochlocracy, and the voices of reason aren’t only shouted down, they’re shot down. Case in point:

Mainstream Pakistan religious organisations applaud killing of Salmaan Taseer

Mumtaz Qadri, who killed Punjab governor, showered with rose petals by lawyers as he arrives in court

The increasing radicalisation of Pakistani society was today laid bare when mainstream religious organisations applauded the murder of Salmaan Taseer, the governor of Punjab, earlier this week and his killer was showered with rose petals as he appeared in court.

Taseer was buried in his home town of Lahore. The 66-year-old was assassinated yesterday by Mumtaz Qadri, one of his police bodyguards, after he had campaigned for reform of the law on blasphemy.

Qadri appeared in court, unrepentant, where waiting lawyers threw handfuls of rose petals over him and others in the crowd slapped his back and kissed his cheek as he was led in and out amid heavy security.

The internet had already been hosting fan pages for Qadri, with one Facebook page attracting over 2,000 followers before being taken down, while there were small demonstrations in favour of the killer in north-west Pakistan.

While terrorist acts are generally associated with an extremist fringe, the gunning down of Taseer appeared to have significant support that reached into the heart of society.

All the big mainstream political parties strongly condemned the murder, and thousands attended funeral prayers for Taseer. However, both the large religious political parties declared that he had deserved to be killed for his views.

Reports suggested that Qadri, 26, was a known radical in the police service who had previously been declared by his superiors to be unfit for guarding VIPs. He told interrogators he was proud to have killed a blasphemer.

So not only did this fuck Qadri kill the man he was contracted to protect, he gets the red carpet treatment, and a Facebook page?

Islam has a long list of censorship, which likely doesn’t tie the Catholic church’s record, but it’s catching up with aggressive speed. In fact, the Islamic ‘culture’ is becoming quite famous for this. Salman Rushdie, for instance, has been threatened several times. Taslima Nasrin’s life has been threatened repeatedly, as well as being exiled from her home in India, due to her anti-Islamic views. Ayaan Hirsi Ali has had to go into hiding. Faraq Foda was shot down for daring to speak up. Theo Van Gogh was assassinated for making movies that dared criticize Islam(e).  There’s a sufficiently gut-wrenching list to be found here, but the point stands:

Radical Islam. It’s gotta go.

We will need, however, to slaughter the sacred cow status of religion everywhere, and throw the steaks on the barbecue. No more free passes: there is no supernatural, there never has been. As such, this renders all forms of worship as waste, and all the lives sacrificed to it meaningless.

Till the next post, then.


Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Wednesday Funny–The Far Left Side


(Hat tip to PZ Meyers at Pharyngula)


Sunday, January 02, 2011

From Beginning To End, A New Year Starts…

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis.
calvin-and-hobbesnewyearsThis is the time when people decide what to do with the start of a new year.

So here is a general question to all: what lists, what agendas, what new resolutions have you made? Any? Any that you can share? (wink-wink, nudge-nudge, know what I mean?)

To start the ball rolling, I’ve printed out a list, which I’ve hung where I can’t miss it.

1. Get a job

2. Lose weight

3. Get more organized

4. Get certifications (A+, MSCE, etc.)

5 Get regular business cards.

In addendum, I am going to light a fire under my feet, and start attending protests, seek out and attend more humanist events and/or meetings, and try to establish a physical presence (as opposed to a virtual one) among my assorted brethren.

What’s on your list?