Chamblee54

Atheism Number Two

Posted in Library of Congress, Religion by chamblee54 on March 23, 2017








Whenever someone writes a book about religion, the writer pays tribute to mammon. Interviews are given, TED talks are given, and the printed donkey flogged within an inch of its life. The book of the moment is Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion. The author is Alain de Botton. A chat on blogginheadstv goes over the same material.

The idea is that atheists can learn a thing or two from the believers. Mr. de Botton also gave a TED Talk about this concept. TED provides a transcript, which makes the bloggers endeavor a bit easier. Quotes below,from the transcript, are in blue. Editorial comments, by the house, are in green.

One of the most common ways of dividing the world is into those who believe and those who don’t — into the religious and the atheists. And for the last decade or so, it’s been quite clear what being an atheist means. There have been some very vocal atheists who’ve pointed out, not just that religion is wrong, but that it’s ridiculous. These people, many of whom have lived in North Oxford, have argued — they’ve argued that believing in G-d is akin to believing in fairies and essentially that the whole thing is a childish game.

We may as well began by questioning the entire belief paradigm. Christians believe G-d exists, and a few other things. Atheists do not believe G-d exists. What no one seems to be questioning is whether belief is the best way to go about the G-d issue. The word gnosis (the root of agnostic) refers to having a knowledge of G-d… to feeling her presence in your soul. There are some who say that man and G-d are one and the same. When all you have is a belief… a strongly felt thought… you just might be missing most of the picture.

Christianity is a religion based on beliefs. One of the central beliefs is the notion that having the correct beliefs will cause you to be “saved”… to go to heaven when you die, instead of hell. This is a big deal to Christians, who find it difficult to deal with someone who is not as fascinated by belief in “salvation” as they are. Some say Jesus is appalled by this obsession with life after death.

Atheism seems to be a reaction to Christianity. If they Christians did not tell them about G-d, how would they know what not to believe in?

“they’ve argued that believing in G-d is akin to believing in fairies and essentially that the whole thing is a childish game.”

Oh my, what a terrible thing to say about faeries. Maybe faeries are not something to believe in either. Just wear the fabulous fashions, and don’t worry about that silly religion business.

Mr. de Botton laments the lack of community is atheism, and he may have a point. PG has often envied the sense of extended family that churches seem to offer. If only those pesky beliefs didn’t get in the way. Does religion fulfill a tribal need for conformity, rather than spiritual fulfillment?

“Now religions start from a very different place indeed. All religions, all major religions, at various points call us children. And like children, they believe that we are in severe need of assistance. We’re only just holding it together. Perhaps this is just me, maybe you. But anyway, we’re only just holding it together. And we need help. Of course, we need help. And we need guidance and we need learning.”

It is a common rule of public speaking… you treat children as though they were adults, and adults as though they were children. The concept of being “born again”, of having a second childhood… these are very appealing notions. Can an atheist church offer these good times? Or would it spoil the fun by treating “worshipers” as adults?

Another point about education: we tend to believe in the modern secular world that if you tell someone something once, they’ll remember it. Sit them in a classroom, tell them about Plato at the age of 20, send them out for a career in management consultancy for 40 years, and that lesson will stick with them. Religions go, “Nonsense. You need to keep repeating the lesson 10 times a day. So get on your knees and repeat it.” That’s what all religions tell us: “Get on you knees and repeat it 10 or 20 or 15 times a day.” Otherwise our minds are like sieves.

So religions are cultures of repetition. They circle the great truths again and again and again. We associate repetition with boredom. “Give us the new,” we’re always saying. “The new is better than the old.” If I said to you, “Okay, we’re not going to have new TED. We’re just going to run through all the old ones and watch them five times because they’re so true. We’re going to watch Elizabeth Gilbert five times because what she says is so clever,” you’d feel cheated.

PG listened to the embedded TED talk twice, the second time taking notes in the transcript. The idea of listening to this lecture three more times is horrific.

The other thing that religions are really aware of is: speak well — I’m not doing a very good job of this here — but oratory, oratory is absolutely key to religions. In the secular world, you can come through the university system and be a lousy speaker and still have a great career. But the religious world doesn’t think that way. What you’re saying needs to be backed up by a convincing way of saying it.

So if you go to an African American Pentecostalist church in the American South and you listen to how they talk, my goodness, they talk well. After every convincing point, people will go, “Amen, amen, amen.” At the end of a really rousing paragraph, they’ll all stand up, and they’ll go, “Thank you Jesus, thank you Christ, thank you Savior.” If we were doing it like they do it — let’s not do it, but if we were to do it — I would tell you something like, “Culture should replace scripture.” And you would go, “Amen, amen, amen.” And at the end of my talk, you would all stand up and you would go, “Thank you Plato, thank you Shakespeare, thank you Jane Austen.” And we’d know that we had a real rhythm going. All right, all right. We’re getting there. We’re getting there.

This is one issue where PG has a big, big problem. Jesus worship is an emotional affair. Powerful feelings are stirred up. This power, and fury, can be a terrifying thing if it is used against you.

This use of Jesus driven emotions is an issue in American politics today. The force and thunder of a screaming Jesus worshiper, leading his flock of angry sheep, is a terrible thing to have used against you. It is hoped that an Atheist church would be more “humanistic”.

No, we need to be polite about differences. Politeness is a much-overlooked virtue. It’s seen as hypocrisy. But we need to get to a stage when you’re an atheist and someone says, “Well you know, I did pray the other day,” you politely ignore it. You move on. Because you’ve agreed on 90 percent of things, because you have a shared view on so many things, and you politely differ… That’s what the religious wars of late have ignored. They’ve ignored the possibility of harmonious disagreement.

Two wrongs do not make a right. Jesus worshipers are notorious for interrupting you if something is said they do not like. Perhaps this is another function of the belief based religion. When you believe something, and do not understand why someone does not share your belief, you don’t have time to listen. This rudeness does not speak well for Jesus. Hopefully, atheists can be a bit better.

This is a repost, with pictures from The Library of Congress. Russell Lee took the pictures in October, 1938. “Crowd, listening to the Cajun band at National Rice Festival, Crowley, Louisiana.”






Under Powerless Alienation

Posted in Poem by chamblee54 on March 22, 2017

Did Joseph Think It Was His Kid?

Posted in History, Holidays, Library of Congress, Religion by chamblee54 on March 21, 2017





NOTE: This feature was originally published in March 26, 2013…. As you may have heard, SCOTUS is hearing oral, and possibly anal, arguments about gay marriage today. In a stroke of irony, this is day after March 25, nine months before Christmas. In other words, a crucial day, in the most famous unconsummated marriage in history.

PG began to ponder the traditional marriage of Joseph and Mary. Apparently, Joseph’s last name is lost to history. The question of the day is “when did Joseph and Mary get married?” Facilities such as Liberty Gospel Tracts and Fish Eaters Traditional Catholic Forum have answers.

LGT (the B got kicked out for some reason) contributes a bible passage, Matthew 1:18-19.
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
Put her away in the privy? That is some kinky business there. Maybe the Christians and Jews have it all wrong. The thirds Abrahamic religion, Islam, might have the answer. A site, TurnToIslam, has another point of view about the traditional definition of marriage.

What about Mary, Jesus’ Mother peace be upon both of them? How old was she when she got pregnant? Not only was it a custom in the Arab society to Engage/Marry a young girl it was also common in the Jewish society. The case of Mary the mother of Jesus comes to mind, in non biblical sources she was between 11-14 years old when she conceived Jesus. Mary had already been “BETROTHED” to Joseph before conceiving Jesus. Joseph was a much older man. therefore Mary was younger than 11-14 years of age when she was “BETHROED” to Joseph. We Muslims would never call Joseph a Child Molester, nor would we refer to the “Holy Ghost” of the Bible, that “Impregnated” Mary as a “Rapist” or “Adulterer”.

“….it is possible that Mary gave birth to her Son when she was about thirteen or fourteen years of age….”Mary was approximately 14 years old when she got pregnant with Jesus. Joseph, Mary’s Husband is believed to be around 36. Mary was only 13 when she married Joseph. When she first was arranged with Joseph she was between 7 to 9 years old.”

According to the “Oxford Dictionary Bible” commentary, Mary (peace be upon her) was was 12 years old when she became impregnated. So if I want to be as silly and ridiculous as many of the Christians, I would respond to them by saying that Mary was psychologically and emotionally devastated for getting pregnant at a very young age. And speaking of “child molesting”, since most Christians believe that Jesus is the Creator of this universe, then why did G-D allow himself to enter life through a 12-year old young girl’s vagina? Please note that we Muslims love and respect Allah Almighty, Mary, Jesus and Allah’s Message to the People of the Book (The Jews and Christians). In other words, we Muslims would never make fun of Christianity through such childish topic like this one as many ridiculous Christians do make fun of Islam through our Prophet’s (peace be upon him) marriage.

Pictures are from The Library of Congress.




Botulism Rhymes With Nepotism

Posted in Library of Congress, Weekly Notes by chamblee54 on March 20, 2017


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To Be Delicious

Posted in Poem by chamblee54 on March 19, 2017

The Ides Of March

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on March 18, 2017


March 15 is the Ides of March. It was a bad day for Julius Caesar. More famous people met their maker on March 15: 1937 – H. P. Lovecraft, 1975 – Aristotle Onassis, 1998 – Benjamin Spock, 2001 – Ann Sothern, and 2014 – Bo Callaway. Others were born with one week of winter remaining: 1767 – Andrew Jackson, 1926 – Norm Van Brocklin, 1933 – Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 1940 – Phil Lesh, 1943 – Sly Stone, 1947 – Ry Cooder, and 1959 – Fabio Lanzoni.

Progress on the @WernerTwertzog sonnet continues. 24 couplets have been rhyme fitted. This is enough for 3 proper sonnets, with 3 couplets left over. The next step is to separate out the couplets with long lines. These can be assembled into a sonnet, that will have smaller letters in the graphic incorporation. … Terrible Sobriety, the first of the twertzog sonnets, is on the air.

Call Me A ‘Purist’ Again turned up on facebook. The first paragraph is so entertaining … there in no need to read the rest of the piece. “More and more I run up against vagina hat-wearing keyboard warriors of the McResistance dismissing progressive rebels as “purists,” “purity ponies” and “purity progressives,” the idea being that if you don’t want to vote for Democrats who actively facilitate corporatism, warmongering and ecocide, you are somehow being unrealistic and unreasonable.”

This monolog is not working. It is three days later. The next chore is a writing contest, Week 4: Write for 5 right now. The picture is a lady, 23 ducks, and one dog. They are going somewhere. The other picture is a restored car, in the entry to a garage. The garage is somebody’s painting studio. Maybe that is where the ducks are going.

When looking for the contest, PG googled five minute timer. There are several devices for marking the passage of 300 seconds. If you start to type five minute into google, the suggested results are timer, journal, funk, fudge, heaven. Something called the online stopwatch will be used.

That goofy lady has done it this time. I tried to tell her that if you feed one duck, then all of his friends will expect you to feed them. But did she listen? No. She thinks that just because I am a dog, that she is not supposed to understand the common sense advice I give her. I am getting tired of these parades, but, unless I can find another meal ticket, then I am stuck with the lady. I should have wagged my tail faster when that gay couple was looking at rescue dogs. But no, I had to play it cool, and now I am trying not to step in duck poop. Does she even know where she is going? The garage-painting studio is over there, and ducks are not allowed inside.

WSB

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, History by chamblee54 on March 17, 2017






WSB radio is 95 years old. On March 15, 1922, The Atlanta Journal received a telegram authorizing it to broadcast weather bulletins. The telegram instructed the station to use the call letters WSB. (Later, a station in Nashville was named WSM.) While the letters were later said to stand for Welcome South Brother (as well as World Series Baseball, and We’re So Boring), they appear to have been randomly assigned at first.

WSB is a 50,000 watt, clear channel station. At night, it can be heard for hundreds of miles around. It’s transmission tower is on LaVista Road, across the street from Northlake Mall. In the seventies, you could hear broadcasts on pay phones in the area.

WSB was owned by the Atlanta Journal, and had it’s first studio in their building downtown. The radio station moved to the Biltmore Hotel when it opened in 1926. In 1926, WSB joined the NBC radio network. (Station logs show a broadcast of the inaugural NBC broadcast in November, 1926.) In 1939, the Journal, and WSB, were sold to James Middleton Cox, who founded Cox Enterprises. In 1950, Mr. Cox bought the Atlanta Constitution.

The thirties and forties were the glory days for radio. In the fifties, television started to move in. WSB-TV started to broadcast on Channel 2. A studio known as “White Columns on Peachtree” was built in 1955, and was the home WSB, radio and TV.

When PG was old enough to listen, WSB had a format which is no longer in use. It played “middle of the road” music, and had lots of news broadcasting. As FM radio began to dominate music broadcasting, (including WSB FM), the venerable AM station evolved (devolved) into a news-talk format. This is what you hear today.

HT to Peach Pundit. This is a repost, with pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library” and WSB.





Porcelain

Posted in Book Reports, History, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on March 16, 2017


PG was in the Kroger parking lot, waiting for his brother to buy groceries. To pass the time, he read
Porcelain. This was a memoir, written, allegedly, by Moby. The copyright goes to “Moby Entertainment, Inc.” There is a modern notice below.

“Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to publish books for every reader.” Should PG say you’re welcome?

Page 360 was the focus. Moby was in Portland, at the last gig of a bad tour. He is flying home to Connecticut the next day. His mother is going to die in a couple of days. The christian-vegan-performer is drinking Jack Daniels with strippers. A fan asks him to autograph a bible.

This was 1997. PG saw a few parallels with his life. In late 1997, PG’s mom was still alive, but clearly near the end of her life. 1998 would see the cancer diagnosis, the surgery, the radiation treatment, and finally, the death.

PG quit drinking at the end of 1988, and never looked back. Moby was an alcohol enthusiast, who went straight edge in 1987. Eight years later, Moby gave into temptation, and started drinking again. Evidently, he tried to make up for lost time. His drunken adventures are described in great detail here. How does Mobes remember all that?

Moby continued to call himself a christian, even with more and more doubts crowding into the picture. PG quit going to church at 17. Jesus is impossible to ignore, and only marginally tolerable. Whatever the temptation, and the social rewards, PG has never called himself a christian. In the southern baptist tradition, you walk down the aisle, shake the pastor’s hand, and get baptized. Then you call yourself christian. PG, for various reasons, never took that walk.

The trip to Connecticut did not end well. Moby apparently woke up in the night, and set his alarm clock ahead three hours. As a result, his missed his mother’s funeral. Porcelain starts with young Moby sitting in the car, while his single mom is paid to do laundry for neighbors. While in the car, he heard “Love Hangover,” by Diana Ross, and was impressed.

Page 378 was a few days after the funeral. Moby goes to a party at Windows on the World, on top of the World Trade Center. Few imagined what would happen to that space four years later. (Richard Melville Hall, aka Moby, was born September 11, 1965.) Moby got very drunk, and had sex in a ladies room stall. After the act, Moby was staring out the windows, looking at New York, and crying. The DJ played Downtown, by Petula Clark.

On January 23, 1965, Downtown, was the number one hit in America. When Moby was born, eight months later, the number one hit was Help, by the Beatles. PG turned eleven in 1965. Thousands of drafted young American men were sent to Vietnam. The techno dystopian world of nineties New York was a few years down the road.

The last few pages see Moby driving, without a license, through the Connecticut of his youth. He is listening to a rough cassette. The tunes on that cassette will become Play, sell millions of units, and make Moby a star. All this will be in the second volume of his memoirs, currently in production.

While waiting for the next part of this story, maybe a few one star reviews will be amusing. John The most depressing book I’ve read in a while. I used to love Moby. When it was announced he was writing a biography I was very excited…that is until I read it. Moby has always had the reputation of being arrogant and rude. Well it won’t disappoint the critics. This is the worst autobiography I have ever read. Self indulgent and pretentious from start to finish. … Startlingly transphobic. I gave up. I will admit, I didn’t get through the entire book. But that’s the reason for this review. I put up with seven chapters filled with tales of death, drugs, and destitution, all with way too much specific detail to be totally true. In chapter 8, Moby starts getting into some pretty blatantly transphobic territory, repeatedly calling people the derogatory “tranny” and using pronouns like “his/her”…

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. Pictures were taken in Louisiana, August 1940. The photographer was Marion Post Wolcott

Terrible Sobriety

Posted in Poem by chamblee54 on March 15, 2017

POC

Posted in Library of Congress, Politics, Race by chamblee54 on March 15, 2017

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PG saw a tweet that he agreed with. His reasons for agreement were different from the reasons of the tweeter, Black Girl Dangerous. In any event, this is something that PG has wanted to opine about for a while. It will be a good excuse to write text. Something needs to go between the pictures, from The Library of Congress. Permission to quote the tweets has been requested. If this permission is granted, the tweets will be included. This is a repost.

The tweets were about the expression POC. For those who are new here, POC stands for person/people of color. It is a preferred expression for people who are not of european origin, and use a language other than english. People of color is similar to colored people. The latter expression is considered offensive in 2017.

The fine print for @BlackGirlDanger says “Amplifying the voices of queer and trans* people of color. We don’t respond to clueless white tweets.” BGD responded to the comment by @chamblee54. The gravatar image for c54 has a paper bag over his melanin challenged face. Maybe the comment was clueful. In any event, a reply was made.

As for POC, it lumps too many different groups of people, with too many different experiences, together. It doesn’t say very much. Some POC are oppressed. Some POC are privileged. Many people who claim POC status have experienced little of the oppression that many African Americans face.

This is not the first time the BGD has written about this. There was a post recently, 4 Ways to Push Back Against Your Privilege. Part four is about people who think it is cool to say they are POC, when they haven’t really had the experience. The post is copyrighted. You are encouraged to use the link and see for yourself what BGD has to say.

In June of 2012, a firestorm broke out in Atlanta about a drag queen named Sharon Needles. The linked post tells a bit of the story. PG made a comment. He was criticized by a person, who used the expression “those of us who are people of color” in the diatribe.

PG has heard that this person is of Indian origin. The amount of wealth, education, and privilege possessed by them is not known. They are clearly not of African origin, and might be caucasian. It is unlikely that they has experienced the oppression faced by many African Americans. Why does they make angry statements, with the phrase “those of us who are people of color”?

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π Day

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Holidays by chamblee54 on March 14, 2017

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Today is 3-14. It is a tuesday, and 314 are the first three digits of pi (affectionately known as π ). It is a math thing, the number you multiply a diameter by to get the circumference. When your grammar school math teacher told you about π, she probably used 3.14, or 3 1/7. (PG went to school when Hewlett and Packard were still in the garage.)

You might also have heard the formula for the area of a circle, the racy π r squared . This means that you multiply π by the radius (half the diameter, a line from the border to the center point), and then multiply the whole contraption by the radius again. The formula has a funny sound to it. Pie are not square, cornbread is square, pie are round. Like Sly Stone says, all the squares go home.

According to wikipedia, π seems to have been known as early as 1900 b.c. The pyramids of Egypt have a π based feature. The Greek letter π is the first letter of the Greek word περίμετρος (perimeter) . This was determined OTP.

The pyramid- π function is fairly simple. The total length of the four sides, at the base, will be the same as the height of the pyramid, times two, times π. PG likes to make model pyramids. They are 6″ tall, and the base sides are 9 3/8″. The combination of these four sides is 37 1/2″. If you multiply 6x2x3.14, you get 37.68″ The .18″ is because of a measuring error.

A lady named Eve Astrid Andersson has a page of her website dedicated to π. The only trivia question that PG understood was the first one…1. What is the formal definition of pi? …the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter // 3.14159 // the radius of a unit circle // the surface area of a sphere of diameter 22/7 // a delicious dessert, especially if it contains cherries.

There is the football cheer from M.I.T. ” Cosine, secant, tangent, sine 3.14159 // Integral, radical, u dv, slipstick, slide rule, MIT!”

In 1998 a movie titled π was released. It caused brain damage in 3.14% of those who saw it. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that 1998 = 666 x 3.

π has been calculated to over five million digits. The second part of this feature are a few of those numbers. There are 82 characters in each line. This feature shows π extended to 10,165 digits. This is .02% of five million. This is a repost, with pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510582097494459230781640628620899
8628034825342117067982148086513282306647093844609550582231725359408128481117450284
1027019385211055596446229489549303819644288109756659334461284756482337867831652712
0190914564856692346034861045432664821339360726024914127372458700660631558817488152
0920962829254091715364367892590360011330530548820466521384146951941511609433057270
3657595919530921861173819326117931051185480744623799627495673518857527248912279381
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LBCB024-097ax

LBCB024-125bzb

LBCB024-125bza

LBCE23-026bz

LBT10-003az

A Proud Look

Posted in Poem by chamblee54 on March 13, 2017