Nice guys these Quakers

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Quaker_star

Yesterday I came across an article in a local online newspaper about how a group of Quakers are helping the LGBTQ community flee Uganda’s absurd and outrageous Anti-Homosexuality Act. What’s more, I got to learn a lot about the Quaker community, otherwise known as the Religious Society of Friends (didn’t know that either).

Like the Amish community, Quakers are fervently religious and believe very strongly in non-violence. However whereas The Amish are very conservative and don’t adapt to change, Quakers are pretty liberal and embrace modern technology. Another thing, Quakers don’t have priests or clergymen and eschew religious symbolism, and for that alone this atheist is warming up to them.

But here’s why I think they’re simply awesome: Quakers are involving themselves in a dangerous activity by helping people escape persecution. And they’ve done it before; many times.

Quakers denounced slavery as early as the 1670’s in Barbados. Later they would play a fundamental role in abolishing slavery in the United States. They were also involved in setting up the Underground Railroad in the USA which helped runaway slaves.

It was therefore fitting that the group based in Olympia, Washington, assisting people escape the bigotry and persecution as a result of the draconian law passed by the Ugandan government, decided to call themselves Friends New Underground Railroad (FNUR).

However not everyone likes what they’re doing; even right’s activists and NGO’s within the LGBTQ community have their reservations, but I think it’s just remarkable.

Meanwhile Ugandan activists, and right’s organizations like Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) who incidentally are critical of what FNUR are doing, are petitioning the courts to overturn the anti-gay law. I sincerely hope they’re succesful. The world does not need legislated hatred.

Good Vibrations

You’d have to be a special kind of asshole to not appreciate how truly beautiful music is. But how many of us stop to consider how much blood, sweat and tears not to mention ingenuity and tenacity goes into crafting a song, or any piece of music for that matter.

I must admit that I’d given scant thought to this, until I watched the Brian Wilson biopic Love and Mercy this past Sunday. The Beach Boys are a household name to many, but I had no idea what a genius Brian really was.

While the film mainly portrayed a life tortured by (an apparent mis-diagnosis of) schizophrenia and other mental symptoms, Brian’s virtuosity was brought to the fore in the segment of the film where the song Good Vibrations was being recorded.

The song dubbed a “pocket symphony,” was recorded in 17 sessions at four different recording studios over a period of 8 months in short segments. Over 90 hours of magnetic recording tape was used and it cost between $50 000 and $75 000, a record production cost for a mere single. The techniques used by Brian and an assortment of musicians during the whole process was unprecedented.

In this segment of the film you can clearly sense the frustration and impatience of the other members of the Beach Boys and the personnel involved, because it’s quite clear they did not understand the genius at work, nor recognize history in the making.

There is quite a detailed account of the recording process over at Wikipedia for those with more than a casual interest, but there are probably better sources which explain the complexities in finer detail for the aficionados.

Da eish*

Generals gathered in their masses,
Just like witches at black masses.
Evil minds that plot destruction,
Sorcerer of death’s construction.
In the fields the bodies burning,
As the war machine keeps turning.
Death and hatred to mankind,
Poisoning their brainwashed minds.
Oh lord yeah!

Not exactly the kind of way to kick off the week, but the world’s pretty messed up 24/7, so what the hell.

And one of the biggest contributors in recent years to this messed-up world is ISIS. Otherwise known as Daesh. It sounds so innocuous doesn’t it, but can mean anything from “trample down and crush,” to “a bigot who imposes his view on others.”

It’s being reported today that Daesh have blown up the ancient temple of Baal Shamin in Palmyra, Syria. This temple had been standing mostly intact since 17AD, until these cretins came along to wage their religious war on mankind. Just last week, these retarded bastards beheaded the 82-year-old retired chief archaeologist of Palmyra, who apparently refused to cooperate with them.

Many newspapers report that ISIS/Daesh follow or practice a harsh version of Islam, but I don’t buy that. There is only one version of every religion, which unfortunately has been perverted over time by idiots like these. Off course religion generally, does not help its cause by being so bloody ambiguous. Which to my mind is one of the clearest signs that the whole thing is just man-made.

As far as the song is concerned: Black Sabbath may have composed War Pigs as an anti-war song, but it works well as an anti-ideology song too. And ISIS propagate a religious ideology that’s about as ghastly as it can get.

*eish. A South African word originating from the Xhosa language to express exasperation or disbelief.

Sowing the seeds of fraud… with John Oliver

With apologies to Tears For Fears…

High time we made a stand and shook up the views of the common man,
and the love train rides from coast to coast.
D.J.’s the man we love the most.
Could you be, could you be squeaky clean and smash every hope of democracy as
the head line says you’re free to choose
There’s egg on your face and mud on your shoes.
One of these days they’re gonna call it the blues yeah, yeah

John Oliver’s made a stand. He’s shown us how easy it is for preachers to take money from people who willingly buy into a religious belief system – by setting up his own Church. Yes, Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption was given birth on live television, a medium so beloved of evangelists out for the kill.

The video above is 20 minutes long, but hilarious from start to finish. I promise, but unlike the preachers, I keep mine. See for yourself.

There you go, I am true to my word, aren’t I? So, are you going to continue funding these charlatans’ private jets and ranches, or will you help shake up the views of the common man?

There’s gonna be hell to pay

church101

This week I read about a woman who’s been kicked out of church for not paying her tithes. Now I know what most of you are thinking – that’s pretty mean and un-Christian.

Well, you’re wrong. First African Baptist Church (FABC) of Bainbridge’s Pastor Derrick Mike is perfectly within bounds for turfing Josephine King of Georgia out on her 92-year old ass. Once one buys into the whole religious belief thing, one should sure as hell* expect to pay. Nothing’s free (except the coffee apparently), for anyone of any age.

In the video embedded in this article, you will notice that the FABC is one big-assed Church. It must surely cost a pretty penny to keep that monster suspended like belief afloat. Church management are reasonable to expect payment. It’s all business after all.

* If you’re wondering how an atheist can speak of the surety of hell, wonder no more. Hell does exist – in vast parts of Africa, the Middle East and other parts of the world, being ruled by either religious zealots or dictatorial psychopaths, or being torn apart by either or both.

John Stewart’s Parting Thoughts on Bullshit: If You Smell Something, Say Something

lennymaysay:

Wake up and smell the bullshit…

Originally posted on Ideas Out There:

Thank you, John Stewart, for leaving us with your sublime insights on bullshit:

Bullshit is everywhere. There is very little that you will encounter in life that has not been, in some ways, infused with bullshit. Not all of it bad. Your general, day-to-day, organic free-range bullshit is often necessary. Or at the very least innocuous. “Oh, what a beautiful baby. I’m sure he’ll grow into that head.” That kind of bullshit in many ways provides important social contract fertilizer and keeps people from making each other cry all day.

But then there’s the more pernicious bullshit, your premeditated institutional bullshit designed to obscure and distract. Designed by whom? The bullshit-talkers.

[It] comes in three basic flavors:

One, making bad things sound like good things. Organic all-natural cupcakes. Because “factory-made sugar oatmeal balls” doesn’t sell. Patriot Act – because “Are You Scared Enough To Let Me Look At All Your…

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About whorehouses and armadillos

Heard about the Texan who got shot by an armadillo?

Actually this guy from down Texarkana way, fired three shots at an armadillo with his .38 revolver and one bullet managed to ricochet off the poor creature, to hit him right smack in the jaw. He’s in hospital so he misses out on a Darwin Award. There’ no word about the armadillo though. I hope he got away unhurt.

While laughing my way through that, it suddenly occurred to me that that armadillo sounded like an armed dildo, and thus my wicked thoughts strayed from Texarkana to La Grange. It happens quite often, these crazy associations. [Imagine the headline, “Texan fucked by armed dildo”].

This brilliant ZZ Top song is about a brothel outside La Grange, Texas which became known as the Chicken Ranch. It’s off course more (in)famously known as the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. I have had the great pleasure of watching ZZ Top guitarist and lead vocalist Billy Gibbons live in concert with the Kings Of Chaos outfit. You’d never guess he’s been rocking with the same crew for more than 40 years.

And with that piece of useless trivia, have a fabulous week ahead.

Lucky fish… er snake.

Neither fish nor snakes have anything to do with legendary rock outfit Uriah Heep. At least not that I know off. The title will make sense when you watch the video.

The band originated in 1967 as The Stalkers, which changed to Spice when David Byron joined (formerly David Garrick). Thank Odin, they didn’t keep these awful names. Imagine being remembered as the Spice Boys?

In a flash of brilliance, Uriah Heep was adopted after the famous Charles Dickens character in David Copperfield. And so rock history was made. Gypsy is from their first album Very ‘Eavy … Very ‘Umble, and what an awesome beginning that was…

I was only seventeen,
I fell in love with a gypsy queen.
She told me – hold on!

Her father was the leading man,
Said “You’re not welcome on our land.”
And then as a foe, he told me to go.

He took me to a little shack
And put a whip across my back
Then told her – leave me.

I was out for quite a time,
Came back with her on my mind.
Sweet little girl – she means all the world.

Though I want my gypsy queen,
Will she still be torn between
Her father and lover?

One day I will go to him
Strong enough to fight and win.
The kind of a man that he’ll understand

Marching to be Equal

Originally posted on Dining with Lesbians:

And so we went, together, holding hands. Marching for gay rights might sound ordinary to many of you but it’s very special to us, to me. My partner has never, I say never, joined a rally, march or demonstration of any sort. The closest she ever got was dropping me off two blocks away from the site I was going to hold IDAHOT at, and she was very shy about being seen even at that distance.

The rally itself was alright, about 1,000 people turned up.  I loved how one sign said “I am straight.  I support Gay Marriage” (too bad I couldn’t get it clearly on camera).  It was peaceful along the way and the police were nice, too (we had to ask for directions and were politely shown the way by a middle-aged policeman who showed no signs of negativity towards the gay rally).

On the way to…

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Wednesday again, and it’s mountain time

You drive west on 80 and it won’t take too long
‘Til the road starts climbing up to mountain time
There’s a girl I know there, she lives free and easy
And she shows me wonders and she takes my mind

And she’s wild as eagles
She’s as sweet as honeysuckle
Her life’s flowing like a mountain stream
And she takes me somewhere
And it’s good to be there
And she pulls me into her bright golden wing

Now I hate the city and I love the country
And I love that feeling on that mountain high
And that girl is waiting, but she won’t wait too long
So I drive all night to that clear blue sky

And she’s wild as eagles
She’s as sweet as honeysuckle
Her life’s flowing like a mountain stream
And she takes me somewhere
And it’s good to be there
And she pulls me into her bright golden wing

I can feel it in the wind blow
I can feel love flow
And I’ll be there when the morning comes, yeah

And she’s wild as eagles
She’s as sweet as honeysuckle
Her life’s flowing like a mountain stream
And she takes me somewhere
And it’s good to be there
And she pulls me into her bright golden wing

Bright golden wing

And she’s wild as eagles
She’s as sweet as honeysuckle
Her life’s flowing like a mountain stream
And she takes me somewhere
And it’s good to be there
And she pulls me into her bright golden wing

Bright golden wing

And it came to pass…

faith

It was to be expected when self-proclaimed prophet TB Joshua’s House of Cards came tumbling down, he would use all means possible to evade responsibility. In September last year when a guesthouse under construction on his Synagogue Church of All Nations (Scoan) property collapsed killing over 100 people, he claimed that it was caused by a terror attack.

This week Coroner Oyetade Komolaf found that the church was culpable due to criminal negligence, and should be prosecuted.

TB Joshua off course rejected this finding, still hanging onto the ludicrous assertion that the incident was due to sabotage. But never mind Joshua’s refusal to accept liability. It is well within character for a charlatan to avoid accountability. It was to be expected. And so it came to pass.

But what about his followers and the family of those tragically killed in this titanic abuse of trust? Would they denounce him and call for his head?

Off course not! They are believers. And so it came to pass that they would rationalize this tragedy using every foul excuse in religious doctrine. Here are some of the more absurd:

One woman said the coroner’s ruling was “nonsense” concocted by “earthly experts” who know nothing about spiritual matters. The church could not be blamed for “work of the devil.” She went on to state that she does not believe in “scientific findings for spiritual matters”.

Another said the investigation was “devilish”. Yet another invoked the devil, accusing him/her/it for wanting to destroy his bishop.

The worst has to be the statement from a church spokesman who told AFP that it was “unfortunate” that the coroner ignored submissions that “having building approval is not [a] panacea for building collapse”. WTF? How insane is that?

Now that the coroner has made a finding, will TB Joshua actually be prosecuted?

That to my mind is unlikely. He is well-connected politically in Nigeria. It’s no secret how corrupt their politicians are. And he has been rather busy visiting family of the victims, palming off blood money and currying favor.

And it shall come to pass that justice will not be served.