Feelin’ Vaguely Lazy


I considered writing about what a tool Netanyahu is, then I decided…naw. Let’s put up a funny video instead.

Integrity


I’ve refrained from commenting on the Brian Williams/NBC Nightly New situation because, frankly, I don’t much care. His exaggerations may have been intentional, but maybe not, and either way, it’s just not that big of a deal. NBC did the right thing by suspending him, and he’s probably gone for good, but my views of him as a journalist haven’t changed.

Let’s contrast that with the situation at Fox News, where Bill O’Reilly has been caught-out exaggerating to pretty much the same degree. Has Fox News suspended him? Of course not. Instead they’re blaming the whole thing on “far-left advocates”. This despite the fact that they admit he’s exaggerated his record, at the very least.

Let’s contrast these two things. First off, Williams voluntarily suspended himself before NBC did so. He did this because it was the right thing to do. By contrast, Fox has admitted that O’Reilly exaggerated some things, and haven’t taken any steps to discipline him. He certainly hasn’t taken any steps himself.

So here we have a great example of old-school journalism, which included integrity and accountability, up against modern “journalism”, which includes neither. This should be a surprise to no one.

Another New Writing Gig


Care to guess what the pay is? Yeah, yeah. But this is another Doctor Who website, and a fairly major one at that; Kasterborous. I’ve had one review of a Big Finish title published by them this week, with more hopefully coming. I might have a few interviews show up there, too. Yay! More exposure…for free…

I write because I enjoy it. I do it for free because I’m an idiot. – Chris Swanson, paid not a dime for that brilliant insight into his nature.

Me and My Carbon Footprint


I was on Slate today and came across an article about the climate-change consequences of eating meat. It’s an interesting enough read, I suppose, containing all the usual whining from the Republicans, whose knee-jerk, “If Obama’s fer it, I’m agin it!” reaction really reminds me more and more of the average three-year-old.

But I digress.

The article makes the argument that cutting back on meat intake is a good step toward stopping global climate change. That’s probably correct, and on a health-level I could certainly stand to be eating more fruits and vegetables and less meat.

All that said, if I do decide to cut back on meat, it won’t have anything to do with environmental concerns or my carbon footprint. Why? Because according to this, my carbon footprint is already quite a bit lower than average.

C'est moi.

C’est moi.

You see, I don’t drive. I ride my bike almost everywhere that I don’t walk or take the bus to. I do occasionally ride places with my best friend, but when I do that, it’s in his car which is a hybrid. So even though I eat meat, don’t really recycle and don’t ever, ever eat organic foods (they’re no better than so-called “non-organic” and are bad for the environment)

It is worth noting that I don’t buy nearly as much fresh meat as I used to. I used to buy ground beef fairly often, for example, but that’s gone up in price quite a bit lately, and so I can’t really afford it. I do often buy fresh boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but even then I only do it when they’re on sale. I do tend to eat a lot of frozen/processed meat in things like frozen dinners and the like, and I do eat meat a lot when I go out for lunch or dinner, but those events aren’t common for me, either.

If I ever do cut meat entirely out of my diet, it will likely be due to concerns of health, ethics (I really do dislike some of the modern meat farming techniques and changed the way I buy eggs because of that), or finances. It won’t be beacuse of environmental concerns.

Sic Transit Leonard Nimoy – 1931 – 2015


1931 - 2015

1931 – 2015

When I was a young boy, my parents got divorced. Sometimes my dad would take advantage of his custody rights and my sister and I would go a few hours up north to visit him for a weekend. We did lots of fun things there, but the one that most sticks out in my mind is seeing Star Trek: The Motion Picture at a theater in what was probably very early 1980, though it could have been late 1979.

It was a problematical movie, as I think we’re all aware, but something about it stuck with me, despite the fact that I fell asleep partway through. I also vividly remember seeing Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan at my dad’s house a couple of years later. I’m not sure exactly when. Then in the mid 1980s, when my sister and I visited our dad in Alaska, I got to see Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

Those memories are really the only coherent ones I have of my time with my dad back in that time period. And that probably gives you an idea of how big of a “thing” Star Trek in general wound up becoming in my life.

It wasn’t until 1986, when Star Trek: The Voyage Home came out and my love of the series was cemented. I read the novels, I watched the shows, I collected some of the merchandise. When TNG hit the TV screens, you can bit I was right there watching the first episode.

And yet today I took the news of Leonard Nimoy’s death with something of a sad shrug and went about my day. He was, after all, 83, and with the news that he’d gone into the hospital a few days ago, I was kind of expecting this. Plus I’ve been very aware that by the end of the decade him, William Shatner and Tom Baker would likely all be dead. So it’s unfortunate, but he had a good long life, and did indeed prosper.

Nimoy was by most accounts a good man, and he was certainly a good actor. Trek would not have been the success it was without him as Spock. He’s left an excellent legacy to the world, and really, that’s about all that I want to say on the subject. Aside from the obvious final line.

The human adventure is just beginning…

Ill-Advised Advice


Slate has a “Dear Prudence” section where people write in with interesting questions. Think Dear Abby, but occasionally with a more incesty vibe.

Today there was someone asking about their child who doesn’t want to go to church. Here was the question.

Dear Prudence,
Two years ago when my son was 10 he became very verbal about hating church and resisted going. My older son loves the teen group at Sunday school and assured his brother that when he made it out of the baby area, he, too, would love it. Well, he does not. Each Sunday morning he yells, pouts, and eventually succumbs to my threats. Then he takes his snarky and unhelpful attitude to Sunday school. He doesn’t believe in God, and his very cool Sunday teacher works with that. I hated my boring church as a kid, and looking back I wonder, had I not gone to church would I have been a worse person? My husband was forced to attend his church when he was little. Now, he sleeps late Sunday morning, then hikes and does other activities. He is supportive of the fact that both our sons’ spiritual development is important to me. Do I force my son to go or give up?

—Mad as Hell Mom

Here was the response.

Dear Mad,
There are some people who believe that one’s degree of religious belief has a large genetic component. That means in societies in which everyone appears to be pious, many are secretly saying to themselves, “This is a crock.” Let’s say this genetic theory is true. That means you may have passed your blue eyes and devotion to your elder son, and your husband may have passed his brown eyes and lack of belief to your younger. You and your older son find spiritual and intellectual sustenance in the church, but your younger son finds the whole thing intolerable. You’ve been fighting this losing battle for two years, and if you keep going, your son will flee all observance as soon as he is able. I think you need to walk a more tolerant path. Tell your little atheist that you’ve been thinking about what he’s been saying about church, you’re tired of dragging him to Sunday school, and you’re reconsidering your stand. But before you do, you have a requirement he needs to fulfill. You want him to write an essay (minimum two typed pages) about the progression of his (dis)beliefs, and he must cite examples of people who have struggled with lack of faith—Biblical sources get extra credit. Then, if he takes this assignment seriously, release him. But say this doesn’t mean he gets to watch TV or play video games while his brother is getting religious instruction. Have your husband agree that Sunday will be bonding time for the two skeptics. Maybe when they hike to the top of a mountain one day, your son will look around and feel a spiritual awakening.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, WRONG. This is terrible advice. The boy is clearly unhappy going to church and disruptive while he is there, thus making the experience less enjoyable for those who want to be there. Purely from a good manners standpoint, he should be left at home.

But making him write an essay about this? No, that’s total bullshit. Let me prove how by using one of my lovely little thought experiments.

Let’s suppose that the boy had decided he was going to be Jewish rather than being an atheist. Should his parents make him write an essay defending his desire to be Jewish? Actually, it’s more likely that the local rabbi would do that, but we’ll ignore that for the moment. If he wanted to be Jewish, should his parents say, “Prove it, or you’re going to Christian church!”

Or suppose that he was a boy who had been raised Muslim, but now wanted to be a Hindu. Should he have to sit and write two pages about the glory of Krishna? What if he was a Muslim, but now wanted to be a Christian?

Better yet, what if this kid’s family were all Wiccans, but he’d decided he was going to hit for Team Jesus. Actually, in that case it’s likely his parents would wince, but not get in the way, but let’s say they did. Would it be proper for them to make him “prove” that he wants to be a Christian?

The boy is twelve. He’s had zero interest in church for two years. Leave him be, and let him skip church. It would be nice if he and his father could spend time hiking, but if they just wanna sit around and watch football all Sunday, let them. It will likely lead to a “spiritual awakening” that’s got exactly the same value as that of hiking, ie: fuck-all.

Go, Go, Katee Sackhoff!


Yeah, I’ve never watched any of the Power Rangers stuff. I just can’t force myself to sit through that kind of…well, you know. Crap. But even I’d see this movie.

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