Posts filed under ‘un/atheism’
I’m reading this book called Cheese and Culture: A History of Cheese and Its Place in Western Civilization by Paul S. Kindstedt. It’s pretty awesome so far; if you’re into cheese. I’m only up to the Philistines so far; I’ve gone through the cheese making history of the Neolithic eras through the Bronze Age. What’s kind of funny about this book is that there isn’t a whole lot of detail in the archaeological record about cheese making in these eras, so it’s more of a history of western civilization with bits about cheese thrown in. I came across this bit and it cracked me up:
David’s victory over Goliath launched a meteoric rise to become Israel’s greatest king. And from the lineage of David, a thousand years later, wold come the son of a carpenter, whose influence on western civilization and cheese making was arguably greater than that of any other person, before or since.
When I think of Jesus Christ, I don’t think of cheese making. I stopped reading at that point because it was really late and I was tired, but now I can’t wait to see what effect on cheese JC had on the world! I would totally convert to Christianity if it were a more cheese-based religion!
I just want to say, though it is uncool, that I FUCKING LOVE THE HOLIDAYS!!! Seriously. We had a killer Chanukah bash this past weekend. I made a ton of decorations for it and I ate latkes until I almost puked. I found some inflation gelt (it’s a chocolate bar with a gold shiny $1,000,000 bill printed on it). Dreydls were spun. Sour cream and applesauce were liberally applied to pancakes. Booze was drunk. 2 Live Jews were playing on the stereo. In short, ROCK THE FUCK ON!
Why do I love The Holidays?
1. decorating. I can decorate the everloving fuck out of anything. Seriously. I was born to adorn. I worked nearly 40 hours in 3 days at 4 Seasons, putting up X-mas decorations in lobbies and did it make me burn out on decorating? NO, IT JUST MADE ME STRONGER!!! MUHAHAHAHAH!!! I came home after a long pre-game weekend of making giant bows, sticking seasonal branches spray painted gold into containers of fake pine sprigs and arranging X-mas bulbs in giant vases and what did I do next? YES, I MADE A FUCKING CHRONICAH WREATH! Why? Because decorating RULES! A side note: I am an expert at finding the problem bulbs in strings of lights. Another side note: Tanya claims she doesn’t hate my curb-found multicolored fiber optic acid trip X-mas tree as much as she thought she would.
2. food & booze in copious amounts. Need I say more? Festivity, people!
3. singing. I’ll admit, I totally dig Christmas carols. Not the cheesy ones like Rudolph and Jingle Bell Rock, I mean the old school ones like Adeste Fidelis and O Come Emmanuel. Basically, anything that was written before 1900. It’s my yearly tradition to sing X-mas carols for at least an hour while driving home from Boston to Ithaca every year– at least from Bainbridge to Ithaca. I make Moth and Slug sing too when I get home. Note to self: find a “Messiah” sing-in, those rule. I can sing the crap out of “Life Up Your Heads O Ye Gates” and of course the “Hallelujah Chorus.” However, “How Beautiful Are the Feet Of Them” is totally my jam. I don’t care that Handel’s “Messiah” was actually written for Easter. I’m not a purist. Stuff it, purists!
4. presents. The best one, of course! I’m a compulsive present-giver. I like figuring out what people like and then getting it for them. Thus, for me, this whole month is like crack. Of course, I enjoy getting presents as well. Who doesn’t? I’m shoving my Amazon Wish List in your face now because I’m a jerk like that.
5. My birthday. I know I always complain about how my birthday is on New Year’s Eve and how that sucks because I don’t get presents and everyone is busy and when I do get presents it’s usually re-gifted stuff people got for Christmas (the fondue pot was actually an awesome re-gift, though! You can keep all the shower gel, it just makes me itch). yes, I complain. However, it’s my birthday and a reason to be festive. AND I GET CAKE!!! Cake rules. Seriously. There is nothing more festive than a cake and I will eat the shit out of any cake that is thrust upon me.
And, in the spirit of Chanukah, I made latkes for dinner tonight. We have this giant vat of bacon fat, and we all know how much I love bacon. I thought to myself “latkes cooked in bacon. That would RULE!” but, though I am an atheist, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I don’t fear a deity striking me dead, it’s more like I don’t want my zombiefied ancestors to come back from the grave to kick my ass. And eat my brain. You know they would. I should be so lucky. On my dad’s side they obviously wouldn’t care, unless it was perceived as a Protestant Thing.
Also: see my rant about Holiday Trees because I keep coming back to it in random conversations with people.
Facebook seems to be the new place where weirdos, family members, people you haven’t seen since elementary school, people who you met once at a party etc. can get together and annoy each other. There are many instant ways to do this, the old “POST THIS AS YOUR STATUS IF YOU DON’T THINK OBAMA SHOULD KILL KITTENS” statuses, “liking” groups and pages such as the now famous “DEAR LORD, THIS YEAR YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTOR, PATRICK SWAYZIE. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTRESS, FARAH FAWCETT. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE SINGER, MICHAEL JACKSON. I JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW, MY FAVORITE PRESIDENT IS BARACK OBAMA. AMEN.” and the 80 million pages to ban it. For the record, i did not think this page should be banned– sure it’s in bad taste, but once we start banning things that are mildly offensive, there’s no limit to what will go since I’m sure you could probably find someone who is offended by things like kittens and puppies.
Anyway, there’s a lot of Christian ranting that goes on, but thankfully I don’t get too much of it since I don’t have a lot of crazy Christian friends. I do, however, have a crazy Muslim “friend.” I “friended” a bunch of random strangers because I needed more neighbors for this stupid game I’m addicted to (My Town). One of these people is always posting stuff about Allah being awesome and the like. Now, I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt because she’s Muslim and in general, Muslims don’t get in my face and bug me like Christians do. However, I am not a fan of any kind of fundamentalist religion, be it Judaism, Christianity, Islam or even Buddhism. Wiccans and Pagans have been known to get on my nerves as well. So anyway, am I being a racist jerk when stuff like this really annoys me?
Kufir = “non-believer”
Insha’allah = “god willing”
Afwan = “you’re welcome”
P.S. those aren’t the real pictures that were up on FB.
I don’t know what irritates me more, the righteousness or the bad grammar and spelling. Every religion has people like this, but this chick posts like 800 things a day. It’s not just messages like this, though– she also posts articles of dubious credibility about all sorts of conspiracy theories. She seems to think that the government is about to implant microchips into all of our brains (she posts a lot of things along these lines).
The moral of the story is: don’t friend random strangers, no matter how hard up you are for neighbors in My Town!
On another note, it kind of bugs me that people are freaking out about an Islamic Community Center that’s being planned near the site of the World Trade Center Towers. Come on people, you can’t hold an entire religion responsible for what a few zealots do. The Muslim community is building a center for everyone in order to promote cooperation and community between different religions and stuff. It’s not just for Muslims. People need to chill out. Notice how I’m not saying all Muslims are like the above Facebook Freak, just like they are not all about to strap bombs to themselves and blow up school buses. This world is whack, yo.
I’m definitely not one of those self-righteous Christians who is freaking out because The Evil Leftist Media won’t stop until the “Christ” is gone from “Christmas” leaving everyone a state-mandated healthcare-laden Commie heathen. Personally, you can call it Genericmas and mandate that everyone has to hang giant bar codes on statues of Ted Kennedy for all I care.
The thing that’s dumb about calling that Douglas fir with shiny balls hanging off it a Holiday tree is that it’s trying to legitimize it as an OK symbol of the Capitalist season. Come on, do Hindus and Muslims and Jews have “holiday trees”? No, it’s a Christian thing. Granted, bringing an evergreen tree into the house during winter is a co-opted pagan tradition, but it’s still associated with Christianity nonetheless. By calling it a Holiday Tree you’re just making it OK for Christians to shove their holiday in your hellbound non-Jesus loving faces and then saying “what’s your problem? It’s a HOLIDAY tree!”
Plus it has the extra added bonus of pissing off jesus freaks and making them even more indignant and likely to start an anti-holiday tree movement (which probably already exists). Admit it, the USA, while not having a state-run religion, is pretty much a Christian country. Granted, according to the US Census bureau,
51.3% of adults reported that they were Protestant,
23.9% were Catholic
3.3% were Mormon/LDS
1.6% were Orthodox (I’m assuming this means Russian, Ukrainian, Greek etc.)
TOTAL CHRISTIANS: 80.1%
Everyone else is as follows:
Buddhist – 0.7%
Hindu — 0.4%
Don’t know– 0.8%
New Age — 0.4%
Unitarian/other liberal faiths (not sure what this means but whatever)– 0.7%
So, as far as the pie goes:
Christians = 80.1%
Everyone else = 21.4%
Hm. Those don’t add up to 100%. I need to work on my math…
And, I suppose you could take out the Jehovah’s Witnesses, since they don’t celebrate any holidays, Christmas included.
Anyway, I think it’s safe to say, however politically incorrect and offensive, that the USA is a predominantly Christian nation. That doesn’t mean that we have the right to impose the dominant religion on everyone, but still. It means that if you were to take a random U.S. citizen and say “Merry Christmas” to him or her, theoretically 80.1% of the time they wouldn’t be offended.
So, watering down Christmas trees so they are palatable to the masses at large, from non-Christians to militant political correctness enforcers is really not the way to keep everyone happy. The Whole Foods shopping thought police seem to be hell-bent on doing away with diversity. If you just pretend everyone is the same, all our differences will go away, right? how many times have you heard an upper-middle class educated white liberal freak out if you describe a random stranger as being “black,” “African-American,” or god forbid “Chinese” (excuse me, ASIAN). They always have the same answer, “I don’t see why you have to point out differences, we’re all people.” Growing up in Ithaca, I heard this a lot. The thing is, often they will describe an African American person as “that light-skinned person,” (because if they have lighter skin than the perceived average African American, they are “light-skinned” by that standard). “Light skinned” is politically correct code for “ETHNIC!”
How did I get off on this rant? Oh yeah, watering down holidays to make them inoffensive or whatever. Sure, I understand what it’s like when everyone’s going nuts with Easter bunnies and eggs and stuff. I don’t celebrate Easter, but I don’t feel OFFENDED by other people doing so, just like I don’t feel offended when other people celebrate Chinese New Year or Diwali or Ramadan or the Feast of the Ascension (We don’t use the Chinese Calendar, how dare they impose their moon phase based system on our Gregorian way of life!). I say we should celebrate all holidays. I don’t mean that 100% of the population should fast on Yom Kippur or during Ramadan. I mean people should be aware of different holidays and maybe, though it’s not necessarily economically beneficial, we could deck out some public spaces where there are Jews with a menorah or have some fireworks for Diwali.
Most of Christmas is commercial anyway, it has to do with ads on TV, and how stores and other public spaces are decorated. The “holiday tree” thing is a reaction to decorated trees in front of town meeting halls, the White House, stores, parks etc., so why not make public spaces a time to celebrate everything? And I’m not talking about putting up a menorah as a counterbalance to a Christmas tree or a seder plate as the antidote to Easter eggs. Have some token thing in the CVS front window to celebrate every holiday! I’m a big fan of holidays in general, and an even bigger fan of traditions and decorating. Well, as long as there are people in the community who celebrate such. I’m not saying put up Hindu stuff in deepest Alabama where there are no Hindus, but why not? Hinduism has got to have the awesomest holidays around! I guess what I’m saying is “lighten up, people!” and, though it’s cheesy, “celebrate diversity, bitchez!”
Bust out the Christmas tree and the nativity scene and the angels and the whole nine yards! Christianity has some nice symbols and traditions, and this is coming from a totally cranky, cynical atheist. We should at least think of Christmas as a religious holiday whether we celebrate it or not, and not a monument to consumerism. All this watering down does is reinforce “The Holiday Season” as a time where you are obligated to buy people shit.
Intellectually I know that Halloween is just another day of the year. It falls between the autumn equinox and winter solstice, which is why the Celts and other cultures celebrated it; why All Saints’ Day is tomorrow and the like. However, there’s a part of me that is still superstitious about it. It’s the same part of me that fasts on Yom Kippur, compulsively wishes on stars, and always feels up the backs of wardrobes looking for secret doors to other worlds that my intellect is fairly certain don’t exist.
This part of me was into witchcraft in my early teens, mostly because my intellect knew that it was all crap, but the other part of me (I’m calling it the superstitious part, even though most people think “superstition” is a negative term and that’s not how I’m using it) thought that it would be cool if there actually was something to it. Incidentally, nothing came of any of the spells I cast, except for the fact that the one person I put a larger hex on (she was supposed to, like, stutter every other Thursday or something) became a wiccan and is all into paganism and stuff now. Hmmm!
So this is the part of me that lights candles on Halloween to put in the window per an old Celtic tradition that says it will lead your recently dead relatives home. Not that I particularly want my recently deceased grandmother hanging out in ghost form to let me know how fat I am and how she doesn’t like my hair, but it always seems like a nice idea. According to Celtic tradition, the walls between the otherworld and this world are the thinnest on All Hallow’s Eve, which means it’s ripe for divination. So, if you put a wooden bowl of well water under your bed while you sleep, you should dream of the person you’re going to marry.
This year I managed to find well water (previous years I have used lakewater, tapwater, spring water and the like) AND a wooden bowl (pyrex and aluminum didn’t seem to cut it) AND have a bed that I can put stuff under (putting it next to the mattress on the floor I used to sleep on wasn’t very effective) AND remember to do it (a number of years I just plain forgot, or had the stuff ready and then forgot)! I started trying to do this when I lived in Ireland… I think that was 1996. So, it’s taken me 13 years to get all four items in place at once. Let’s see if anything happens! In previous years I haven’t remembered any dream I had that night, which always led me to believe that I was never getting married (pretty safe assumption!).
Gay Rob predicts that tonight I’ll dream about Seth Green (::swoon::), since I keep getting phone calls from the future where the caller says “Mrs. Green?” when I pick up the phone. Of course it has nothing to do with the fact that Jack, the Man Of The House where I work’s last name is Greene. Of course not! There is no Mrs. Greene! Laura didn’t change her last name when she married him! It is obviously someone calling from the future when I’m married to Seth Green! So, we’ll see. Heh.
I’ve been reading up on sinning, to find out what it actually entails, according to various religions, in order to see what kind of a sinner I actually am. Basically, this was in hopes that I’d find something interesting because I am basically a boring person and haven’t really done any sinning except for some token swearing and a few cases of fornication.
In fact, I’m boring myself already.
I have tonsilitis, and it’s making me feel icky, so I spent the day alternately sleeping (this made the fasting go by, well faster) and playing on the innernets. There’s this site where you can get virtual makeovers (much better than my Cosmo CD-ROm that I got in the cheap bucket at Micro Center).
What else? I stayed over at Victor’s house for the first time the other day and we did some totally bad acid that did nothing. While I was asleep the next morning, he went out and bought some stuff for breakfast– I woke up and he plopped down two cans of Reddi-Whip and said “breakfast and wheep-eets”. He also says he doesn’t do drugs anymore. OK then! I’m making him sound like some kind of massive druggie, but he’s not. He does smoke, but whatever, pretty much everyone I know does these days. Today he came over and brought me chicken soup because I was sick. So adorable!