Sunday, May 31, 2009

Beware of old modems

Greetings.

Jewish date:  8 Siwan 5769.

Today’s holidays:  Pentecost Sunday (Western Christian), Feast Day of Alphonse Louis Constant.

Today’s quasi-holidays:  Speak in Complete Sentences Day, World No Tobacco Day.

Worthy causes of the day:  “Ask Kerry to hold a hearing on Sudan”, “Arctic Refuge Threatened by New Drilling Proposal”, “Don't Let the Insurance Industry Dictate Health Care Reform!”, and “Reduce the Military's Carbon Bootprint!”

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. “Actually that iz a commun”:
    funny pictures of cats with captions
    Yes, this is most definitely a joke.  However, I am still fuzzy on the origin of this notion of “harvesting souls”.
  2. “Twilight series spawns religion: Edward Cullen is real, members should read the books like a Bible”:  This is also a joke (probably).  I am not clear on what the point of a parody/joke religion based on a series of novels about vampires is, especially when it takes the position that the novels are an accurate depiction of reality, yet deifies characters who are merely human or vampire.  For an example of a parody religion which actually makes sense, please see the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the purpose of which is to expose the sloppy thinking and dishonest tactics of creationism.  Remember, creators of parody religions, self-consistency and a clear goal count.
  3. “Trouble Brewing for AIG and Federal Government; Challenge of AIG Bailout Allowed to Proceed”:  Here we have a clear problem of separation of church and state, not to mention aiding and abetting the enemy.  AIG, which has received government bailout money, is into shari‘a-compliant financing, which involves giving to Muslim causes—including funding terrorism.
Today’s news and commentary:
Today’s weird thing is “1964 300baud modem surfs the web.  Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Beware of wannabe Starfleet personnel

Greetings.

Jewish date:  5 Siwan 5769.

Today’s holidays:  Day 49 of the ‘Omer (‘Erev Shavu‘oth), Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter.

Note:  Tomorrow is Shavu‘oth, a major Jewish holiday which commemorates the Divine revelation on Mount Sinay.  There will be no blog entry tomorrow.  I do not stay up all night learning (the practice comes from the Zohar), so I get to be more awake than many other people tomorrow.

Today’s quasi-holidays:  Slugs Return from Capistrano Day, National Hamburger Day, Whale Day.

Worthy causes of the day:  “Will Your Representative Help Sea Otters?”, “Allow Seniors the Choice of Independent Living”, and “Don't Let Walmart Cut Corners on store security”.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:  “How Bad Is The Day School Crisis?”:  Something that has to be resolved.  Jewish children need a good Jewish education, but the costs have to be something that parents can afford.

Today’s news and commentary:
Today’s weird thing, submitted by Barry, is Real Tricorders.  Enjoy, share the weirdness, live long and prosper, and ḥagh sameaḥ.

Aaron

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I cannot think of a title that would not spoil today’s weird thing

Greetings.

Jewish date: 4 Siwan 5769.

Today’s holiday: Day 48 of the ‘Omer.

Today’s quasi-holiday: National Senior Health and Fitness Day.

Worthy causes of the day: “Museums are Essential to Our National Heritage” and “Is Rush Limbaugh the voice of the Republican Party?”

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. “Revelation denied: The scandal of Jewish ignorance”: Few people value anything they know little or nothing about. That is a major reason for the Divine Misconceptions project. I like the idea of more and better-done Jewish movies. (I wonder what a film about the Vilna Ga’on would be like...)
  2. “Sect members accused of denying children education”: I have no clue what these people are thinking. I do not recall anywhere in the New Testament where Jesus proclaimed ignorance as being virtuous.
  3. “RUSSIA: A new 'Inquisition'”: Governmental violation of freedom of religion shows its ugly face again.
Today’s news and commentary:
Today’s weird thing is “GIVE A CAT A FISH”.
funny pictures of cats with captions
Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron

PS: I take no responsibility for the consequences if you show this to your cat and it gets any naughty ideas.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Beware of the kids from other schools

Greetings.

Jewish date:  3 Siwan 5769.

Today’s holidays:  Day 47 of the ‘Omer, Feast Day of the Magi: Siddhartha.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. “Growing TV ministry spurs profits, questions”:  Major rule:  Never send money to anyone who claims that those who give him money will financially prosper unless he can prove that he is a genuine prophet.
  2. “we had kum to claim ur sole but teh door wuz”
    funny pictures of cats with captions
    I know very well this is pure humor and not to be taken seriously.  But where does this notion of soul-stealing or soul-eating black come from?  Intuition suggests a variation on the Faust legend.
  3. “Synagogues Seek Cell Phone Jamming Equipment”:  Frankly, I do not think I have ever heard of a religion where they approve of cell phone use during services.
  4. “Pope 2.0: Vatican launches Facebook application”:  Interesting tactic.
  5. “How Google's cute "doodles" became Satan's pawns”:  Some people read way too much into Google’s logo graphics.
Today’s news and commentary:
Today’s weird thing is “Pep Rally”.
Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron

Monday, May 25, 2009

Beware of humans

Greetings.

Jewish date:  2 Siwan 5769.

Today’s holidays:  Day 46 of the ‘Omer.

Today’s quasi-holidays:  Memorial Day, Towel Day.

Worthy causes of the day:  “Join Obama and Support the Employee Free Choice Act”, “Hold KBR/Halliburton War Profiteers Accountable”, and “End Child Trafficking, Exploitation in Haiti”.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. “Did You See The Cheney Speech? Watching The Bizarro-Buddha in Action”:  This has to be the most unusual characterization of Richard Cheney ever—and one with some logic to it, too.
  2. “Liberty U. Drops Democratic Club”:  Thus is it written:

    Liberty University will no longer recognize its campus Democratic club because, officials say, the national party's platform goes against the conservative Christian school's moral principles.
    So... are they saying that they approve of the moral principles (or rather lack thereof) which the Republican Party has demonstrated for the last nine years?  Are divisive politics, lack of compassion, torture, and treating the poor like dirt what Jesus was really about?  Or are they falling into the moral cliché of reducing all morality to opposition to abortion and homosexuality?
Today’s news and commentary:
Today’s weird thing is Earth Speaks, which asks the question of what we should say to extraterrestrial civilizations.  Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron

Friday, May 22, 2009

Beware of clouds

Greetings.

Jewish date: 28 ’Iyyar 5769.

Today’s holidays:  Day 43 of the ‘Omer, Jerusalem Day. Relevant to Jerusalem Day are “This year in Jerusalem”, “Once upon an Independence Eve”,“Jerusalem (1973)”, and “The Struggle for Jerusalem”.

Today’s quasi-holidays: International Day for Biological Diversity, Buy-A-Musical Instrument Day, The Anniversary of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Worthy causes of the day: “Education is the Pathway Out of Global Poverty” and “Help Support Tougher Sanctions on Iran”.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. “Oh, Texas, this guy runs your school board?”: Creationist attacks on academic integrity in our public schools have not ceased. This article is about one creationist on a school board in Texas who has trouble with the idea of experts, i.e., people who know more about him on, say, evolution, and who believe he is wrong. Claiming to know better on a subject than people who actually, demonstrably know more is a bad idea. Not to mention this guy has no clue that punctuated equilibrium (“stasis”) is not a disproof of (or even vaguely resemble a disproof of) evolution, which does nothing to help his case.
  2. “Holocaust remembrance group silenced in Ukraine”: As if covering up something horrible that happened ever made the world a better place to live in.
  3. More persecution: “ADL voices concern over recent anti-Semitic incidents in Argentina”.
  4. More paranoia: “Children in Congo forced into exorcisms”.
  5. It is very easy to point at something wrong and announce its wrongness to the world. Harder is to explain why someone reached a wrong belief or decision. “Don't judge the chemo kid” is an article which attempts to explain why Daniel Hauser, the 13-year-old boy with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and his mother have gone on the run to keep him from having to undergo chemotherapy.  Chemotherapy is an extremely difficult treatment with horrific side effects.  The correct decision is still to undergo chemotherapy, but it is understandable that Daniel and his mother would want to find another way to cure him.
Today’s news and commentary:
Today’s weird thing is The Cloud Appreciation Society. Enjoy, share the weirdness, and Shabbath shalom.

Aaron

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Beware of the Death Star

Greetings.

Jewish date:  27 ’Iyyar 5769.

Today’s holidays:  Day 42 of the ‘Omer, Ascension.

Today’s quasi-holidays:  World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, National Bike to Work Day.

Worthy causes of the day:  “Tell Congress you want action on global warming” and “Support Clean Water and Sanitation”.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. “South Bend buses to carry atheist ads”:  Atheists in Indiana are advertising on buses “You can be good without God.”  Big deal.  Yes, you might be able to be good without God, but that depends on what definition of “good” you use—which might have believing in God as a requirement—and in any case, even if one claims that one can be good without believing in God, being an atheist does not make one intrinsically more good (unless one has a moral system which makes it axiomatic that not believing in God is better than believing in God).  Someone please teach atheists how to do PR, especially the obvious fact that a single sentence is a very small amount of material to work with to make a moral point.
  2. More persecution:  “US priest killed in robbery in Guatemala”.
  3. More unsubstantiated accusations:  “Abuse of child 'witches' on rise, aid group says”.
  4. “Islam Day and the Year of the Bible in America”:  Um, aren’t such events an obvious violation of separation of church and state?
  5. More of the saga of the 13-year-old who refused chemotherapy for Hodgkin’s lymphoma on religious grounds:  “Boy's mother faces arrest over chemo refusal”.
Today’s news and commentary:
Today’s weird thing is “Death Star Destroys Enterprise”.

I have no clue what the point of this is.  Other than the creator probably thinks Star Wars is better than Star Trek.  Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Job application stupidity of the day

Greetings.

A job advertisement I just opened gave me this rude message:
To ensure your ability to access the pages of this website, use Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher. Click here to receive a free download now.




Close window
Let us think about this for a moment:  1) The point of standards like HTML is so that one does not need a specific browser in order to view Web pages.  A Web page which actually requires Internet Explorer is therefore broken and in need of revision, not to mention that whoever created it should be fired for incompetence.  2) How much is Microsoft paying these people to shill for them?

Aaron the annoyed job-hunter

Beware of annoyed cats

Greetings.

Jewish date: 26 ’Iyyar 5769.

Today’s holiday: Day 41 of the ‘Omer.

Today’s quasi-holidays: Weights and Measures Day, Eliza Doolittle Day.

Worthy causes of the day: “Stop Starbucks”, “WHAT HAPPENED TO OBAMA'S
ENERGY PLAN?”
, “Loaded weapons in our National Parks? Your action is needed today!”, “Tell Republicans to Stop Their Conspiracy Theories!”

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. “Fall TV cheat sheet: What's in? What's out?”: Cupid, Reaper, and Kings have all been canceled. On the bright side, this gives me three less things to worry about. And I have to repeat, Reaper is no big loss. It may be amusing, but the premise is so incredibly stupid that I have gained an appreciation for how well the premise-botched Buffy the Vampire Slayer was.
  2. “The Ten Commandments: An interesting insight into the cold war”: This is an historically-based review of The Ten Commandments, with the history both in terms of the setting the story is supposed to take place in and the setting the movie was actually made in. I had not considered that there might be a Cold War aspect to this film.
  3. More religious persecution: “In Iraq, an exodus of Christians”, “Pakistan's religious minorities report violence”, “An armed band kidnap a Christian teacher in Kirkuk”, “Chinese lawyers say they were beaten, detained”,
  4. “Should Universal Health Care Cover Faith Healing?”: The answer is “no”, since it does not work.
  5. “AA is Faith-Based, Not Evidence-Based”: Apparently Alcoholics Anonymous does not work either, plus courts mandating it is a violation of separation of church and state. The criticism that Alcoholics Anonymous encourages a weak sort of repentance that avoids the penitent taking the responsibility to change his/her ways is a valid one.
Today’s news and commentary:
Today’s weird thing is “Advanced Cat Yodeling”.

Enjoy, share the weirdness, and consider whether you really want to annoy your cat.

Aaron

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Beware of shark

Greetings.

Jewish date:  25 ’Iyyar 5769.

Today’s holidays:  Day 40 of the ‘Omer, Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter.

Today’s quasi-holiday:  Bike to Work Day.

Worthy causes of the day:  “Tell BLM no more public lands for the world's dirtiest fossil fuel!” and “SAY NO TO U.S. PRESSURE ON ISRAEL”.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. After the Rapture: Orlando man will deliver messages to those left behind” and the associated site, The Post-Rapture Post - Send Messages to Loved Ones!:  An atheist set up a joke site offering for a fee to deliver messages to people left behind after the Rapture.  Strangely enough, people actually placed orders.  Go figure.
  2. A bit of relief:  “Well-known Canadian imam issues fatwa against Taliban”.
  3. Yet another view of that 13-year-old boy with Hodgkin’s lymphoma refusing chemotherapy for religious reasons:  “The case of chemotherapy refusenik Daniel Hauser”.
  4. An article clearing up a common confusion:  “Satanism vs. Wicca: Two alternatives, often confused, little in common”.
Today’s news and commentary:
Today’s weird thing is the cartoon “Outreach”.
Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron

Monday, May 18, 2009

What’s in your coffee table?

Greetings.

Jewish date:  24 ’Iyyar 5769.

Today’s holidays:  Day 39 of the ‘Omer, Feast Day of Elias Ashmole.

Today’s quasi-holidays:  International Museum Day, Victoria Day.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:  “Don't dumb down the Bible” and “Let my people know!”:  There is a new translation out of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh), Tanakh Ram.  This is a translation of the Hebrew Bible into Hebrew—Modern Hebrew.  While Biblical and Modern Hebrew do have a lot in common, there are enough differences that Israelis often have trouble understanding the Hebrew Bible, much as Modern English speakers have trouble understanding Shakespeare.  There is therefore a need for works to fill in the gap between knowledge and understanding.  Indeed, there have been many translations of and commentaries on the Hebrew Bible written, starting during the Second Temple Period.  Translations into languages other than Hebrew alone has at times been controversial, due to the fact that people may try using them to avoid learning (Biblical) Hebrew.  With translation, there is always the problem that the meaning of a translation is rarely identical with the meaning of the original.  One can expect plenty of people to be no happier with a translation into Modern Hebrew than with a translation into another language altogether.  I recommend using Tanakh Ram if at all as a stepping stone towards learning Biblical Hebrew.

Today’s news and commentary:
Today’s weird thing is The Periodic Coffee Table.  Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Beware of expanding planets

Greetings.

Jewish date:  23 ’Iyyar 5769.

Today’s holidays:  Day 38 of the ‘Omer, Sixth Sunday of Easter.

Today’s quasi-holidays:  World Telecommunication Day, Rural Life Sunday/Soil Stewardship Sunday.

Those of you who are getting this through the mail, please ignore the incomplete version of this post previously sent. Blogger does stupid things sometimes.

Worthy causes of the day: “Demand Governor Rendell Speak Out About Luis Ramirez’s Death”, “Appoint A Special Prosecutor For Torture Now”, “Ensure Health Coverage for All Children in America”, and “TELL THE SENATE: KEEP OBAMA'S MILITARY BUDGET CLEAN!”

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. A step in the direction of sanity:  “Child Witch: Bishop, 4 Others Arraigned”.  “Bishop” Sunday Okon Williams, who claims to have killed 110 child witches in Nigeria in the name of exorcism, has been arrested.
  2. “COGIC car plates hit a snag”: Just great. State congresspeople have been trying for religious license plates in Tennessee.  This is despite the state attorney general rightly claiming that the idea is “probably unconstitutional”, an obvious violation of separation of church and state.  Why, why, why does anyone care to advertise their religion on a license plate, something meant to be a boring evidence of registration?
  3. “Kings to Come to DVD”:  Better title:  “Kings has been canceled”.  At least this saves me from further reviews, despite the fact that early cancellation means a lot of loose threads have been left behind which will never be tied up except maybe in fan-fiction.  But that means I may have to pick up the slack and write more about Reaper and Cupid.  Well, maybe just Cupid.  Last I heard, Reaper is endangered.
  4. “Rabbi Shmuley Rejects Pope’s Condemnation of Israel’s Fence”:  He is right.  Pope Benedict XVI forgot the context.
  5. “Judge rules family can't refuse chemo for boy”:  In summary:  The courts rule that a 13-year-old with Hodgkin’s lymphoma is not legally empowered to commit stupidity in the name of his religion.
  6. Notable weird addition to my personal library lately:  Religions of Star Trek by Ross S. Kraemer, Wiliam Cassidy, and Susan L. Schwartz.  Yes, people do write about such things.
Today’s news and commentary:
Today’s weird thing is a bizarre pseudoscientific idea which I encountered recently, the expanding Earth hypothesis, which suffers from such problems as it requires the Earth to gain mass or the gravitational constant of the Universe to change.  Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron

Friday, May 15, 2009

Beware of fancy iPods

Greetings.

Jewish date: 21 ’Iyyar 5769.

Today’s holidays: Day 36 of the ‘Omer.

Today’s quasi-holidays: National Chocolate Chip Day, National Receptionists Day, Straw Hat Day, International Day of Families.

Worthy causes of the day: “Fighting Cancer Requires Health Care Reform”, “Tell President Obama: Keep your promise to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."”, and “Don't let the banks water down credit card reform”.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. Interesting tactics: “Online Confessions Rising In Popularity” and “Church wants Jesus in jeans statue to connect with community”.
  2. Rabbi Shmuley says Miss California’s real issue is posing topless rather then opposing gay marriage”: He has a point. Christian values go beyond just opposing homosexuals marrying each other.
  3. Dishonest tactics:  “The myth of a secular Palestine” and “Islamism's Campus Club: The Muslim Students' Association”.
Today’s news and commentary:
Today’s weird thing is “Classy Mini Mod”.  Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Beware of Romulans

Greetings.

Jewish date:  20 ’Iyyar 5769.

Today’s holiday:  Day 35 of the ‘Omer.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. Project Moses:  This is a project to promote and sell Ten Commandments monuments, with hope of a “National Judeo – Christian Memorial”.  There are a couple of things wrong here:  1) There is nothing really “Judeo” in this “Judeo-Christian” project.  The shape of the Tablets is traditionally given as square, not something I have heard compared by a rabbi to McDonald’s golden arches.  The language used is supposed to be Hebrew, not English.  And finally, the term ‘Asereth hadDibberoth translates as “the Ten Statements” or “the Ten Words” (hence “Decalogue”); “the Ten Commandments” would be ‘Asereth hamMiṣwoth.  Jewish tradition holds that there are a total of 613 commandments binding on Jews, not a mere ten.  Jewish tradition also holds that non-Jews are obligated to follow a mere seven commandments, not ten.  This project is thus an example of false or misguided inclusiveness.  2) A “National Judeo – Christian Memorial” sounds suspiciously like a violation of separation of church and state.  Project Moses is soliciting private funds for the Memorial, but it is unclear whether they want this built on public or private land.  The former would be illegal, while the latter would be protected under freedom of speech.
  2. Christian group declares UFOs 'evil spirits' of the Bible”:  I cannot make up the beliefs of this group, Alien Resistance.  It should be noted that there is no good evidence that demons exist or that alien abduction experiences faithfully reflect physical reality.
Today’s news and commentary:
Yesterday I watched the new movie Star Trek, which I am relived to find was actually worth watching and not the disaster I feared it would be.  (Thank you, YHWH, for having mercy on my cinematic experience.)  In honor(?) of our avoiding disaster, today’s weird thing is an in-progress comic parody interpretation of Star Trek.  Enjoy, share the weirdness, and live long and prosper.

Aaron

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Guard your laptop!

Greetings.

Jewish date:  19 ’Iyyar 5769.

Today’s holiday:  Day 34 of the ‘Omer.

Today’s quasi-holiday:  National Third Shift Workers Day/National Nightshift Workers Day.

Worthy causes of the day:  “Save Critical Habitat for the Florida Panther” and “Tell Holder: It's time to prosecute Cheney.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. Sheikh Tamimi attacks Israel, pope walks out”:  I have to give Pope Benedict XVI credit for walking out on a paranoid anti-Semitic tirade.  I give Tayseer Tamimi an F for doing his very best (wittingly or unwittingly) to ruin the image of Islam at an interreligious meeting.
  2. The Patriot’s Bible — Really?”:  I am not the only one out there attacking bad religious ideas.  This article attacks something called The American Patriot’s Bible, which apparently tries to force the Christian Bible into an extreme Republican-conservative mold with a sledgehammer.  The reviewer’s approach is... interesting.
Today’s news and commentary:
Today’s weird thing is “Step 1:Remove cat from”.
funny pictures of cats with captions
Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Of course, Yaakov Kirschen had to post a Lagh ba‘Omer cartoon...

Greetings.

In honor of Lagh ba‘Omer, I would also like to note the cartoon “Lag Ba'Omer (1984)”. Enjoy.

Aaron

Beware of virtual bonfires

Greetings.

Jewish date: 18 ’Iyyar 5769.

Today’s holiday: Day 33 of the ‘Omer (Lagh ba‘Omer).

Today’s quasi-holiday: International Nurses Day.

Worthy causes of the day: “Put Single Payer Health Care On The Table Now” and “The Human Face of Climate Change”. I would also like to encourage everyone out there who can to give blood. (I did a week ago.) Remember: it is a very safe and easy way to save a life and be a hero.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. EU criticizes Jewish boycott of religion meeting”: Let’s see... We have some Muslim delegates being anti-Semitic. This is not conducive to dialog with Jews. Why should anyone expect Jews to bother participating?
  2. Saudi judge: It's OK to slap spendthrift wives”: Here we have an instance of “blame the victim”.
  3. “Woman accused of witchcraft shot dead”: Yet another instance of witchcraft paranoia. I am getting sick of reporting these.
  4. More intolerance, this time very cowardly: “Bomb attack targets Cairo church, no one injured”.
  5. Interesting Jewish legend: “Was there a Jewish pope?”.
Today’s news and commentary:
There is a custom of lighting bonfires on Lagh ba‘Omer. Therefore, today’s weird things are the Ethereal.Org Screensavers. One of them, Inferno, displays a blazing fire. Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron

Monday, May 11, 2009

Yes, Virginia, there are superheroes

Greetings.

Jewish date:  17 ’Iyyar 5769.

Today’s holidays:  Day 32 of the ‘Omer, Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter.

Today’s quasi-holiday:  Eat What You Want Day.

Worthy cause of the day:  “Put Single Payer Health Care On The Table Now”.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. Minnesota boy taken to court for refusng cancer treatment”:  A 13-year-old a member of the Native American Church organization Nemenhah is refusing actual treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma on religious grounds.  Seeing that whatever god may exist does not favor people who refuse treatments that have been rigorously demonstrated to work, this is reckless self-endangerment.
  2. More reckless self-endangerment:  “50 people looking for solar image of Mary lose sight”.
  3. Witchcraft paranoia does not stop:  “Couple ordered to leave Bihar village for ‘witchcraft’”.  Do note that more than expulsion occurred; the husband was beaten.  There is also no mention of evidence of the practice of witchcraft or its efficacy.
  4. Evil spirit paranoia is not dead either, even in the United States:  “Activist calls for protection against evil spirits in election”.
  5. Televangelist Pat Robertson compares same-sex marriage to child molestation, pedophilia”:  Strangely enough, I can understand comparing homosexuality to child molestation and pedophilia; homosexuality has a bad reputation in the Hebrew Bible, so it is easy to compare it with other sexual perversions.  However, he also compares it with polygamy, which he seems to hold is Biblically prohibited.  Where he got this idea, I have no clue.  The Torah lists no prohibition on polygamy, and it was practiced by a number of prominent figures in the Hebrew Bible (’Avraham, Ya‘aqov, Dawidh, Shelomoh...) without Divine disapproval.  Shouldn’t a preacher know this?
Today’s news and commentary:
Today’s weird thing is Real Life Superheroes.  Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron

Sunday, May 10, 2009

WE’RE OFF TO ZAP THE WIZARD

Greetings.

Jewish date:  16 ’Iyyar 5769.

Today’s holidays:  Day 31 of the ‘Omer, Fifth Sunday of Easter.

Today’s quasi-holidays:  Mother’s Day, Golden Spike Day.

Worthy causes of the day:  “Support the EPA's Stand Against Big Oil and Coal” and The Big Read.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. “Witch hunts, murder and evil in Papua New Guinea”:  This is indecent:  people being killed with neither trial nor even a solid basis for believing they are an imminent danger to anyone else.  And the government is not putting the resources into stopping this travesty of justice.
  2. More governmental religious intolerance:  “Devout Hindu loses cremation bid” and “Somalia: Kenyan Pastor Beaten At Somaliland Border”.
  3. This looks like an attempt to defuse free publicity for Angels and Demons before it happens:  “Demons 'harmless', says Vatican”.
  4. Archbishop says Obama advancing anti-life agenda”:  With all respect due to Archbishop Raymond Burke, never has there been a truly “anti-life” or “anti-family” politician.  When was the last time anyone saw a politician give a speech praising abortion or condemning families?  We are all entitled to our own opinions, but not to dictate the opinions of other people.
  5. Commandments bill passes”:  The Capitol of Oklahoma is getting a Ten Commandments monument.  Critics are right in condemning this as a violation of separation of church and state.
Today’s news and commentary:
Today’s weird thing is “Dalek Invasion Of Oz 1939”. Enjoy, share the weirdness, and EXTERMINATE!

Aaron

Friday, May 8, 2009

Beware of cheap supervillains

Greetings.

Jewish date: 14 Nisan 5769.

Today’s holidays: Pesaḥ Sheni, Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter.

Today’s quasi-holidays: No Socks Day, World Red Cross & Red Crescent Day.

Worthy causes of the day: “Keep Obama's Military Budgets Clean!” and “Protect the Grand Canyon from Uranium Mining!

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. Women remove veils following govt pressure”: The government of Egypt is violating separation of church and state by pushing for (Muslim) women to stop veiling themselves. (Whether Islam holds it obligatory or not for women to veil themselves will be left to scholars of Islam.) However, the reasoning of one of the people in opposition to this move leaves something to be desired. Thus is it written:
    “What’s happening in Egypt is the law of American city hall,” conservative Islamic scholar Sheikh Youssef al-Badry told Abu Dhabi’s The National newspaper. “It’s being translated and enforced on all aspects of life, the niqab is a must. They don’t want the niqab because they want to spread prostitution and illicit desires so that society will be disrupted.” [Boldface mine, not his.]
    What makes Al-Badry think the government of Egypt or the United States are trying to spread prostitution or “illicit desires”? Who would want to do such a thing and why? Has any politician ever claimed such a thing? Are there secret government documents attesting this claim?
  2. The Vatican's continuing Jewish problem”: Alan Dershowitz has a point: It is not consistent for the Vatican to try to have good relations with Jews while allowing anti-Semites to have high positions within the Roman Catholic Church.
  3. Nashville Scientologists Turn Fascist Against Protesters
  4. Jihad 2009
  5. Texas is only 6000 years old!”: It does not matter what politicians agree on. The age of the Universe cannot be decided by a vote, as the Universe will not abide by any decision made by politicians.
  6. Hawaii lawmakers back the creation of 'Islam Day'”: Um, isn’t this a violation of separation of church and state? Or are they going to honor all the other religions on the planet as well?
  7. In rare ceremony, Jews redeem donkey in Australia”: Yes, we Jews do tend to do all manner of strange things commanded in the Torah, even deliberately creating conditions to do so.
Today’s news and commentary:
Today’s weird thing is a scan of a title page I came across long ago with some interesting sarcasm written on it.

Enjoy, share the weirdness, and Shabbath shalom.

Aaron

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Beware of time travelers

Greetings.

Jewish date: 13 ’Iyyar 5769.

Today’s holidays: Day 28 of the ‘Omer, Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter.

Today’s quasi-holiday: International Tuba Day.

Worthy causes of the day: “Support The Historic Bill to End Canada's Commercial Seal Hunt”, “Senate: Vote YES for Credit Card Reform!”, “Shell: Stop Gas Flaring Now!”, and “Protect Yellowstone's Newborn Buffalo.”

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. Turkish novelist on trial for insulting Islam: More Islamic intolerance, this time author Nedim Gürsel’s The Daughters of Allah being accused of blasphemy. One would think that after The Satanic Verses that Muslims would learn that raising a huge fuss over a book is free publicity... That latter book is so bad that if it was not for the fatwa against it, few people would have bothered reading it. I wish Gürsel great prosperity at the expense of his government’s intolerance stupidity.
  2. 10 Worst Countries to be a Blogger: Guess who’s on it?
Today’s news and commentary:
For today’s weird thing, in honor of the Time Traveler Convention, you can have a recap of “Grandfather Paradox” or enjoy the official site of The Time Travelers Convention: A New Musical. Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Beware of Agent Smith

Greetings.

Jewish date:  12 ’Iyyar 5769.

Today’s holidays:  Day 27 of the ‘Omer, Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter.

Today’s quasi-holidays:  Nurses’ Day, No Diet Day.

Worthy causes of the day:  “Tell FOX News: Stop the Smear Campaign Against Healthcare” and “Urge the Obama Administration to Give Polar Bears the Protection They Need”.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:  More countries demonstrate they have no clue when it comes to freedom of religion:  “Vietnamese Police try everything, but in vain, the Thai Ha pilgrimage goes ahead”, “China reject latest US report on religious freedom”

Today’s news and commentary:
Today’s weird thing is “The Matrix Vs. Carl Sagan”.

(Tip of the hat to Bad Astronomy.)  Obviously Morpheus has seen Cosmos too many times before and does not care to hear anything from it again.  Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Beware of falling anvils

Greetings.

Jewish date: 11 ’Iyyar 5769.

Today’s holidays: Day 26 of the ‘Omer, Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter.

Today’s quasi-holidays: National Hoagie Day, Cinco de Mayo.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. “Saudi Arabia clamps down on unlicensed female gyms”: I have no clue what the Saudi government is thinking. Yes, they are collectively misogynists, but I cannot see the point of keeping women from staying in shape. The idea that working out may cause unmarried women to lose their virginity is rather far-fetched; the only plausible way I could see this happening (and it is still rather far-fetched) rather misses the point of what virginity is supposed to be about.
  2. “8 same-sex couples tie the knot at church”: The troubling part of this article rests in this paragraph:

    The criticisms about such unions weren’t heard because “love” was the theme of the day. The church’s minister, the Rev. Rich Hendricks, said later, “The Bible never addresses same-gender relationships as we know them today. It does address cultic worship.” He said references in the Bible to Sodom and Gomorrah really refer to “inhospitality,” not to some sexual reference.
    Reverend Hendricks is making excuses, not doing proper exegesis. The incident from Sedhom (Sodom) in Genesis 19 does indeed refer to sexual intercourse. The verb yadha‘, used in the text, has as one of its frequent meanings “to have sexual intercourse with”, and the context of the text makes it very clear that the people of Sedhom did indeed want to rape the strangers; Loṭ’s panicked (and thoughtless) offering his own daughters as substitutes otherwise makes no sense. As for the prohibition on male homosexuality in Leviticus 20:13, nothing in the text limits it to the Tabernacle or the Temple. In the same section are also prohibitions on cursing one’s parents, sacrificing one’s child to Molech (Moloch), consulting magicians, adultery, incest, bestiality, and sexual intercourse with a menstruating woman. Does Reverend Hendricks really think it is permitted to curse one’s parents and sleep with a goat, so long as one does not do it ritually? Hardly likely.
  3. “Egypt's Christians see bias in pig slaughter”: Killing pigs does nothing to stop H1N1 flu. Considering that the pigs of Egypt belong to the Copts, is it any wonder that they see discrimination?
Today’s news and commentary:
Today’s weird thing is “Cartoon Laws of Physics”. Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron

Monday, May 4, 2009

Beware of roadrunners

Greetings.

Jewish date: 10 Nisan 5769.

Today’s holidays: Day 25 of the ‘Omer, Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter.

Today’s quasi-holidays: Kite Day, International Firefighters’ Day, International Respect for Chickens Day.

Worthy causes of the day: “Take Action to Prevent Child Marriage” and “Protect African Elephants' Food Sources”.

Today’s news and commentary: “It's Simple”

Today’s weird thing is “MEEPMEEP!”:
funny pictures of cats with captions
Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Beware of eBay

Greetings.

Jewish date: 9 ’Iyyar 5769.

Today’s holidays: Day 24 of the ‘Omer, Fourth Sunday of Easter.

Today’s quasi-holidays: World Press Freedom Day, National Two Different Colored Shoes Day.

Worthy cause of the day: “Tell Congress to stop coal companies from using mountain streams as waste dumps.”

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. Very sensible:  “Worship sites seek to keep the faithful flu-free”.
  2. Very disturbing: “Commission Names 13 Countries as Religious Freedom Violators”, “Taliban demolishes 11 homes of Sikh community”
  3. Very incoherent and paranoid: “Swine Flu: God's Mercy Running Raw”: It should go without saying that saying known lies about someone, such as claiming that Barack Obama is a Muslim, and making serious accusations without the least shred of evidence is itself a dialectic faux pas. A good argument cannot be built on false premises. However, claiming that Obama is “Marxist Muslim”, a combination which is inherently contradictory, is an insult to both Obama’s intelligence and the reader’s.
  4. Yet another incidence of extralegal witchcraft paranoia: “Couple killed over witchcraft claims”. Remember: never kill anyone extralegally in a non-emergency situation! You may kill someone innocent. When was a trial where anyone was proved to have committed magic? When was it proved that the magic actually could hurt anyone? When was it proved that any magic actually hurt anyone?
  5. Very embarrassing to the wrong people: “Inside the cult, scientology”:

  6. Very paranoid and foolish: “Religious sect slams brakes on anti-polio drive”.
Today’s news and commentary:
Today’s weird thing is “Packages”.

Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron

Friday, May 1, 2009

Beware of ghosts

Greetings.

Jewish date:  7 ’Iyyar 5769.

Today’s holidays:  Day 22 of the ‘Omer, Festival of Ridvan, Walpurgis.

Today’s quasi-holidays:  May Day, Save a Rhino Day.

Worthy causes of the day:  “Sign the open letter to President Obama” and “Impeach Jay Bybee”.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. More intolerance:  “Authorities trying to keep secret arrests and sentences of Tibetan monks”, “China Still Presses Crusade Against Falun Gong”, “Mais Forbids Ahmadiyya Worship”, “RUSSIA: The battle with 'religious extremism' - a return to past methods?”, and “UZBEKISTAN: More severe jail sentences for Muslim prisoners of conscience”.
  2. Unusual intolerance: “Stewardess sacked for refusing to wear Islamic robe and walk behind male colleagues”.
Today’s news and commentary:
Today’s weird thing is Pac-Txt. Enjoy, share the weirdness, and Shabbath shalom.

Aaron