pass the first ideological purity test
pass the 50th
they’ll keep coming
and sooner or later you’ll be one of the monsters

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A lot of communities are big on testimony. People get up and tell emotion-laden, often gut-wrenching tales about how this or that god, or devil, or system, or subtle or invisible force worked to their harm or benefit. The testimonies are piled up as some kind of evidence or proof of the existence of concrete powerful forces in the larger world. 

But they aren’t proof, they aren’t even very good evidence. The stories I’m sure, are very often true in some way to the tellers, but that’s as far as they go. It’s easy to hear them, one after another and be moved by them. A shared humanity offers a good chance that one will be moved by at least one here or there. But they don’t prove the narratives they are put in service to.

Those testimonials at most prove that people have experiences that are powerful and important to them and that they can tell about them. They don’t prove that things happened the way they remember them, or even that they happened at all. They certainly don’t prove that there are powerful or monstrous forces or conspiracies working for or against some or many of us. 

It’s easy to get swept up in those stories and the emotions they evoke. We are human after all. But those powerful stories are still only stories. And whether we hear them in a church, a friend’s house, or read them on a blog or a Facebook post, that’s all they are.

And when someone is apparently baring their soul and delivering some powerful testimony, it can be hard to set it aside, keep it at arm’s length, and not be swayed by it to act in whatever way the teller or their sponsors would like, to jump on the bandwagon they have ready. And when it’s one person after another after another, and it’s people you like and maybe even care for, it makes it that much more difficult. But it has to be done if we don’t want to lose ourselves in others’ stories and others’ agendas.

Got my yearly flu shot this morning.

Usually, I can feel the “stick” when the nurse inserts the needle and I don’t feel anything else flu shot related until my arm is a little sore the next day. This morning I felt the usual poke and then some not intolerable burning. By the time she put the band-aid on my shoulder was sore. Now I can certainly feel it when I move that left arm. 

I know the flu shot changes from season to season, has anyone else noted an extra zing to the thing this year or am I just not as tough as I was last year? 

H and I came across a dead hornet this morning on our walk to school. It took a bit to figure out what it was. At first we thought it was some kind of locust and then a wasp. But once we could make out its thick and sleek black and yellow body and its wicked stinger we knew. No wonder their stings hurt, they are big long stingered bastards.

A woman, a baby, a dog, and a “sorry, I thought she was done”

Walked out the front door of my house this morning, headed to work, to find a woman standing next to the curb with a baby in one arm. In her other hand she held a leash which lead to a black dog doing its business in our front yard.

She said “Sorry, I thought she was done,” then tugged on the leash and headed north up the street, hooking up with a guy in a gray tee-shirt leading another leashed dog.

Besides the fact that I grew just a little more resistant to communal living in that instant, I wondered what she meant by “I thought she was done.” Was the dog supposed to do all its business in someone else’s yard and only hit our yard as part two of an uncompleted project? Was the dog supposed to be done before I walked out and saw it?

I’m sure that none of them, not she, the baby, or the dog expected me to walk out and catch them in the act of elimination. The “Sorry, I thought she was done” was an apology delivered in a bit of shock.

That leads me to think that it is indeed a good idea to be prepare oneself with some exciting statements, to draw attention from whatever act one is inevitably interrupted in – something like Dave Attell’s “Get some help, a hot towel and a chicken burrito!”

Or one can try a more classic diversion-and-split. Something like John Belushi’s line in 1941: “aw look a baby wolf” before he drives away on a motorcycle, or Cleavon Little’s: “for my next impression – Jessie Owens,” before he ran away from Harvey Korman and his henchmen in Blazing Saddles might work.

So in preparation for when someone catches me, baby in arm, dog in their yard (it’s all figurative, my babies are both older and I don’t have a dog) here are a few emergency lines:

  • Jimmy Crack Corn but try as I might I still care, I, still care…
  • God Damn You Patriarchy!
  • You needn’t give your attention to everyone who demands it Fiona!
  • You were the restless one and you did not care, that I was the trouble boy, lookin’ for a double dare (okay, that one might be a little long…and might require singing depending on how far you want to take it)
  • Man what a pollen count we’re having today!
  • Look! It’s Lemmy come back to claim the faithful as his own! (then turn and run)

I engage in what are, or should be, plenty of humiliating activities so I’ll try to think of more of these for the inevitable busts. I’d advise you to do the same.

why on Earth would I block someone who just “wanted a discussion?”

They started contacting me on Facebook a long time ago, they wanted to discuss their political philosophy with atheists. I told them I wouldn’t host the discussion on my personal page. I told them they were welcome to bring it up in a group online (like this one perhaps) or to contact a physical group who may very well like to discuss it.

They’d show up now and again, bring it up, I’d give them the same answer.

Yesterday morning they started commenting on multiple posts of mine, pushing their subject. I finally messaged them with my usual answer – they continued. I asked them explicitly to stop, that’s when they accused me of dishonesty, that’s when I blocked them.

I didn’t block them because of their opinions. I didn’t block them because I haven’t thought about the things they want to talk about.

I blocked them because I’m not willing to have, or referee that conversation online, on my page at least, and after saying so numerous times, and finally asking them directly to stop hounding me, they refused.

I blocked them in response to their blatant disrespect and disregard for me. I only regret I didn’t do it sooner. 😛

rambling 16 Aug 2016

There were plenty of faithers around when I was a kid but I never heard “have a bless-ed day” or “I’m blessed” in everyday conversation – when did that shit start?

Watching an ideology consume a friend, knowing the ideology will make them despise you

Left wing politics is a popular religion among those who’ve lost religion

hate the term “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs” ‘cos the “eggs” are usually people and the omelette some sky-pie bullshit

My lack of faith #ThingsIEnjoyIn4Words

Writing in my notebooks #ThingsIEnjoyIn4Words

Writing with fountain pens #ThingsIEnjoyIn4Words

Anything condemned by do-gooders #ThingsIEnjoyIn4Words

Por no gra phy #ThingsIEnjoyIn4Words