Rat Bastard TraitorCover article of the latest Wired is "The New Atheism". Extensive interviews with Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris, who I hadn't heard of, whose main idea seems to be that religion is too dangerous to continue to coddle; plus sidebars. The rat bastard traitor author (Gary Wolf) totally cops out at the end: "the fact that no matter how confident we are in our beliefs, there's always a chance we cold turn out to be wrong". What's this, the atheist converting on his deathbed, "just in case"? What crap. If I die and wind up before an angry jehobah (the child-killer) who sentences me to eternity in hell (or on Jupiter's moon Io, pretty damn hell-like), I would gladly accept the sentence and spent eternity plotting how to turn the tables on the genocidal mother-fucker and give him his well-deserved comeuppance.
But, the guy is right in some of his points. It is so easy to become bitter, harsh, shrill over the idiocy of religious beliefs. But, part of it is that I do miss the community that a church provides. It is a nice size between the family and the city/town. Churches are a great networking tool. I was sorry my children grew up without this social safety net, but the church of soccer provided a fairly acceptable substitute. But, still, I would like the community without the crap.
Speaking of which, my friend Patrick has started a Google group, The Antitheist League", in part I think to give me a place to rant away from the mild-mannered KASESforum teachers. So, I will now rant there as well as here, and limit posts to KASES to evolutionary biology/psychology or other science. One of the KASES guys has posted there, and I will use it as the repository of The World's Greatest Religious Jokes.
I was mentioning to my wife how I had read that some wealthy republicans had sponsored the candidacy of a Green party candidate in a tight Northeast race (I think). She immediately came out with, "The democrats should do that." And I thought, she's right. We need to get some wealthy democrats to pour money into conservative christian parties/candidates. Nader's Green candidacy in 2000 probably cost Democrat Gore the election, maybe some nice fundamentalist candidates could return the favor. And I don't think this is a "dirty trick". Creating more political parties that accurately reflect the beliefs and hot buttons of their constituents would be a good thing for America. For sure the current two party thing totally sucks. I would like to vote Green, as I do think that helping the world survive the coming ecocaust of the next 40-50 years should be the top priority of the human race, but I can't, because in doing so, I help fucking republicans win.
Read "The Year's Best Science Fiction" 23rd edition, edited by Gardner Dozois. Great reading as always, but no real standouts like Charles Stross, Robert Reed, and Octavia Butler in years past. A couple of good 1st timers who will bear watching: Hannu Rajaniemi (Finnish) and Dominic Green (Brit). Then tore through the magazine stack (my wife's working 3rd shift), and am now starting the new Tim Powers. Then something from the non-fiction stack, I swear.
Music-wise, right now listening to "The Runners Four" by Deerhoof, given to me by my youngest daughter. I have been tempted to give it the coveted "Unclassifiable" genre, but have settled for "Alternative & Punk". Very odd stuff, but lots of nice hooks, and 20 tracks. 3.5 stars. Also have the new Beck "The Information", nice, 3 stars; the new Paul McCartney (bought at the behest of my youngest) "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard" -- it's OK (my youngest really likes it???), 3 stars. Also have Thom Yorke (Radiohead)'s "The Eraser", 3 stars. Needed 5 dollars for free shipping on amazon so bought Quicksilver Messenger Service eponymous. I had totally forgotten about their version of "Who Do You Love", octaves in the lead, and "What About Me" and "Fresh Air". Still mostly 2 stars, those 3 maybe 3 stars. Finally, got "Fever To Tell" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who my youngest saw in Austin TX recently. Somewhat disappointing, may wind up at 2 stars (doesn't go to the iPod.)
Had a good week playing last week. Tuesday night went to Around the Corner, a black club on the northside. G-busy, a harp player/singer/front man, had a gig there, and the standard crew, Lindsay on guitar, Matt on bass, Bob on keys, and Sheri on drums, were there. I started playing with them, with my Blues Jr amp, on the 3rd song, and wound up playing from around 8:45 to 11:45, with 2 breaks. Only sang 1, "Who Do You Love", but played pretty well the whole time. I was somewhat punchy at work the next day, but still went out to Lynagh's Wednesday. Left after my wife left for work (8:10), was fourth on the list to play guitar, didn't get up til around 10. 1st did The Band's "Up On Cripple Creek", 1st time I'd tried it, and it worked pretty well, Bob Hopps and the guitarist Gary both singing harmony on the chorus. I only remembered the words to the 1st, 4th and 5th verses, I'll get 2 and 3 the next time. Then did "Everybody's Got To Change Sometime", and finally "Wine". Wine came off I think the best it ever had. The last chorus, did a full stop, the whole band it sounded like sang the last line "Pass that bottle to me", then a single snare pop, then the elvis ending, 2-5-1 at half time. I was still kind of punchy and wasn't singing real well, but all three came off OK. I think I'm going to try Around the Corner again this week.