November 30, 2005

Overheard in... WRONG!

I'm sorry, but I can't go along with this one.

Queer: Stop calling your arms "guns"!

Step right up and get your tickets! Get your tickets to the gun show, baby!


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Dear CNN, Your Bias is Showing

I am so over the war in Iraq. We killed Uday and Qusay. We caught Saddam. As far as I'm concerned our business is done there. I can understand using Iraq to hunt terrorists, because terrorists are bad and since we totally rocked that place we can assert our right to pursue baddies there as long as we can continue to show that that is what we're doing. Since there's no shortage of terrorists, that could go on for a while.

But I do NOT support this silly thing we're doing now where we're trying to help these people set up a new government and train their police and all of that. We shouldn't stand in their way, but we don't have to help them. It's a waste of our time and energy to do so anyway.

Well, CNN's main headline today is about Bush's new Iraq plan. The headline says "Document maps out Iraq victory strategy." The problem I have is that the headline is paired with a picture of Naval Academy midshipmen sleeping in an auditorium somewhere.

The caption does explain that they are sleeping while waiting for Bush, but the pairing would lead a casual observer to think that they are sleeping while listening to Bush's plan.

That would be completely disrespectful if they were, but they aren't. Instead, CNN is showing their disrespect with the obvious implication.

As I post this, CNN is updating the page. Now, they have a picture that looks like Bush has his eyes closed. I know CNN can afford to hire competent photo editors and I'm sure they have, so these pairings cannot be taken in any other way than a brazen display of bias.

I've mentioned before that I don't mind bias when everyone is honest about it, but I resent CNN's pretense at being unbiased.

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Category: In the News
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More Evidence that Marriage Law is Poorly Defined, Inconsistent, and Pretty Much Absurd

CNN: Grand jury indicts woman who married boy

GAINESVILLE, Georgia (AP) -- A 37-year-old woman who married a 15-year-old boy was indicted Tuesday on charges of child molestation, statutory rape and enticing a child for indecent purposes.

Lisa Lynette Clark, who says she is pregnant with the teenager's child, was arrested earlier this month after their November 8 wedding.

She has been ordered not to come within 100 feet of the boy.

Georgia law allows children of any age to marry -- without parental consent -- if the bride-to-be is pregnant. The law dates back to the early 1960s and was written to prevent out-of-wedlock births.

How does it make any sense to forbid a husband and wife to see one another? If they are permitted to marry, then it is understood from the legal perspective that they are allowed to have sex (Since not having sex can be used as grounds for divorce and/or anullment, the implication is that sex is even required in marriage.), and if a 37 year-old woman can marry a 15 year-old boy, how does it make sense that they aren't allowed to have sex outside of wedlock?

On one hand the law is sanctioning this foolish pairing and punishing it on the other. This isn't justice. It's not even consistent. Even if these two were completely rational, well-formed human beings, there would be no legal way for them to have their relationship and follow the law.

I do not support adults having sex with children, but the serpentine logic that created Georgia's statutory rape and marriage laws is ridiculous on its very face. This situation highlights exactly how absurd this can be.

Meanwhile, we forbid gay people from getting married because it might unseat Western Civilization or something.

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Category: Politickin'
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November 29, 2005

Sheeps are Fast


Props to Ice Scribe for the tip off.

I got "Bobbing Bobcat" the first time. That's not so great. It told me to get some coffee. Although, I did get one of them in .016 of a second. Cheeky sheeps.

Update: I just managed to earn a "Rocketing Rabbit" rating. I think I need to find something else to do before I waste my whole evening.

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Office Rumor Mill

You know the asshole who recently left? Well, I just heard that she actually left a list of people in the office who should NOT be considered to take over her responsibilities.

This says more about her than anyone on that list.


To the max.

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Category: At My Work
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November 28, 2005

Kiss it!

Thanks to Ice Scribe, I have discovered the trainwreck that is Those Who Would Have No Christmas.

Like the lovely Scribe, I'm not religious. At all. I don't do faith. I don't do Jesus. I don't do any kind of supernatural mumbo-jumbo. And on top of it all, I love life and reject altruism.

Christmas for me is very much about the celebration of prosperity and showering of loved ones in luxuries and gifts. The idea of Christmas without gifts is ridiculous to me. RI-DIC-U-LOUS. It's not even Christmas.

So, these no gifts on Christmas people can just kiss it. I'm going to the mall just because they said not to now.

(Actually, I'm not setting foot in a mall any time between now and Christmas. I'm not crazy. Shopping is why God invented the internet.)

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Happy Chrismahannukwanzikah!

So, I'm slowly getting all of my decorations up for the holiday. I'm planning on having a couple of dinner parties and my family has finally agreed to allow me to host Christmas this year. I'm stoked.

I bought like five CD's of Christmas music. I have two christmas trees (1 9' tree for the living room, 3' one for someplace else, and a 2' tree that now sits on the corner of my desk here at work.) and lots of garland. I also got the ornaments from my mom and brought them up this weekend. So, it's gonna be cool.

BUT! I have to tell you about the thing I love most: the timer that controls my outdoor lights.

This is a genius invention.

My lights come on at 6:30 and they go off at midnight without me messing with them at all!

I'm totally tempted to get some for the lights indoors, but I also fear that I might become addicted. I could put all my lights on timers so that I don't have to bother any more with flipping switches! How great would that be!?!

So, I'm excited. I am just not excited about having to take all this stuff back down again. I'll cross that bridge when I get there... in a month or so.

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Category: Odds & Ends
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November 25, 2005

The Business Genius of Trey Givens

During my MBA courses, we had to brainstorm business ideas in a couple of classes. One idea that I had, which I actually thought would work, was for high-quality, digitally "watermarked" and validated paintings.

My thought was that the business would also partner with some company that manufactures high-resolution displays to sell digital canvases. Basically, the canvases would be flat-panel television screens set-up to do two things: connect to your home network and display these images.

The digital watermarking would just be digital coding hidden in the file to allow my company to authenticate the files and to prevent unlicensed copying of works protected by copyright.

My class generally poo-pooed the idea, but I must conceed that they, nor I, have enough experience in the field of fine-art to assess whether or not the plan is a good idea.

I bring this up now because I was over at Klaus Norby's site and saw his rant against museums and the . Sounds to me like there might really be a market for digital versions of fine art at many levels of quality.

I might have to give it some more thought.

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Category: Money, Money, Money!
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November 24, 2005

From the Manolo I Must Dissent

I confess: I have not been following the Manolo as I should. But on this day of thanks, I decided to take a peek and imagine my horror when I saw the Manolo praising the work of John Galliano.

By and large, Galliano's "clothing" is absolutely dreadful. Awful! Awful! Awful!

Clothing is decorative, which means that it must serve the functions of clothing first. These outfits fail. By everyone's admission, they are unwearable, so why praise them as fashion? It's not.

So, what is it supposed to be if it's not supposed to be clothing? Art? Don't make me laugh! John Galliano's work does not even qualify as art!

I think that the Manolo is quite wise in his knowledge and understanding of fashion, but on this I cannot possible agree.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 11:58 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Category: State of the Arts
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Holiday Party Conflict

I was going to have a holiday party this year, but it's really turning into something really, really difficult.

All of my Saturdays from now until Christmas are scheduled out with other parties.

Ok. I'm slow child at play. I just thought of a brilliant idea: New Year's Party!

Now, I need to make sure that I get invitations out soon before folks make plans.

Mark your calendars!

Update: Ok. Invitations sent. I've invited 51 people. If 51 people show up and bring a significant other, there will be WAY too many people in my house. Actually, 51 people by themselves is WAY too many people in my house. Obviously, I expect some people have other plans and will decline, but I am a little bit freaked at how not good I planned that.

On the upside, preparing for this will require some real creativity, which is always good fun.

Worst case scenario: I cancel my party.
Best case scenario: The right number of people (whatever that is) show up at my house.

I had no idea I was friendly with so many people.

Update: I am so smart in spite of being so incredibly stupid in wildly destructive spurts as documented herein. I changed my invitation so that it says that my party is tentative so I can see how many people are interested.

This is the best way because then I can see what this looks like and THEN plan a party if it is even possible!

And I think I was able to change it before anyone, but for maybe two (you know who you are) of my would-be guests even saw it!

Genius plan!

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Category: Odds & Ends
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On Running for Two-ish Hours

Most people think that anything more than 100 yards is why God invented cars, but if you decide to pay not heed to this tribal wisdom, there are some things you should know, especially if you're going to run for more than about an hour at a stretch.

1) Protect your nipples. I know. I could have started my list with something less likely to inflame your lusts, but it is for that very reason that I feel the need to warn you of this. The regular, plain, white, cotton undershirts I run in tend to rub my nipples raw. It is not uncommon to see people who run full marathons with bloody splotches on the front of their shirts because of the wear. Consider band-aids or shirts of a smoother texture, or just do like me and suffer sore nipples.

2) Protect your knees and ankles. Do not be a "stomper!" When I am out for a run, I often have to clear my throat when approaching others from behind, that's how quiet I am. If you can hear a steady "thud thud thud" as you trot along, you're going to wind up in pain after 2 hours for sure. I'm not saying that having a nice, easy stride won't still give you some aches and pains, but stomping is both annoying and hurtful.

3) Use the restroom in advance. I'm sorry I have to talk about this, but I strongly recommend that you find a way to inspire a bowel movement BEFORE doing a long distance run. The rythmic motion of running is well known to induce bowel movements for you and unless you want to stop during your race or just poo your pants, make sure you're empty in advance. (Hey! That kind of rhymes!) No, I'm serious. Watch a Marathon sometime and I promise you will notice that some have not heeded my advice and have allowed their dignity to suffer at the expense of the race.

4) Do a race where the crowd is rowdy. Atlanta is not that place. It's much more fun and inspiring when the crowd is into the race and cheering for you. My favorite thing is to give kids five when I run by. The Country Music Marathon in Nashville is an awesome event with a great crowd. I have not been impressed by the crowd in any of the three Atlanta races I've run. New Orleans also wasn't very lively.

5) Eat something. I'm not saying that you lack integrity or anything, but if you don't eat something before the race and then eat something after the race, you just might turn to violence after the race. You could turn on your own children. Fortunately, in your weakened state, you don't pose much of a threat and you're certainly not going to chase anyone down.

6) Drink something. This should go without saying. Don't be a dumbass like Pheidippides.

7) Walk it off. Stretch, too. I know you won't feel like it, but walk around a bit. Stretch. Your feet and legs will thank you. If you can, find someone to give your legs a massage.

I'm sure there are some other things I could say, but that's all I have right now.

Happy running!

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Category: Odds & Ends
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Record Breaking and Working Holidays

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Well, first the easy-to-write good news: I beat the two hour mark on my half marathon this morning! Yay! My running buddy and I came in around 1 hour 57, which is five or six minute faster than our previous best. So, I'm pretty proud of that.

The temperature was perfect this morning. We started out in the upper 40's, which sounds bad, but if you're running, it's not. It was the low 60's when we finished, so it was perfect. And unlike last year, there was no rain. The only complaint I have, if you could complain about anything on such a beautiful day, is that the sun was too bright. My eyeballs do not like staring right into our solar system's own little ball of fusion. They're nuts like that.

There were tons of super-cute guys in the race. I ran with one of them for a good eight miles before I realized I had left my running buddy WAY behind me and had to stop. No, I didn't get the digits. He and I only got to the point where we realized we were checking either out before I had to slow down. *sigh*

At this point, I've gone on about the race longer than I had intended when I started, so I'll stop by saying that I was surprised about our starting pace: my running buddy is generally a good pace-setter, but this morning we were cooking along at about a 8:20 mile for the first four miles. Then, she eased up. I kept trucking, of course, because I haven't good sense about these things and I don't pay close enough attention when there's a hot guy trotting along in front of me in tight shorts that perfectly accentuate his... wait. Um.

I forgot what I was saying.

Anyway, I'm at the office now more or less working.

I'll put in my eight hours as usual.

Contrary to the impression you may have about this, my working today is actually a good thing. Due to the meandering plans that plague most of my family gatherings when anyone other than my mom or myself attempts to plan, we're doing Thanksgiving tomorrow.

I managed to arrange with my boss to basically swap the holiday. So, I'm taking tomorrow off instead of today without having to use any of my time off.

If she had not allowed me to do this, there's a good chance I wouldn't have visited with my family today because that would mean that I would have had to drive four hours immediately after my race, eat dinner with them, and hop back in the car and drive back four hours so that I could be here tomorrow.

(I am trying not to use any more time off than I need right now because if I can't keep my job once I start school, the remaining time off I have saved up with turn into dollars.)

So, anyway, I'll probably get lots more done without meetings or phone calls to interrupt me. (Actually, in the past 20 minutes I've already been lots more productive.) And I'll get to spend more time with my family.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Category: Odds & Ends
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November 23, 2005

Tomorrow's Schedule

5:30 am - Wake up
6 am - Meet friends
7 am - Start half marathon
<9 am - Finish half marathon
12pm - Arrive at office and work, work, work
8pm - Drive 4 hours to south Georgia or just go home and do the driving on Friday

We'll see.

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Category: Odds & Ends
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Cute Starbucks Guy

There is a new barista guy at Starbucks now and he's pretty cute. I think he might have been throwing a little game my way, too.

My pocketbook can't really handle it, but I might have to hang out there more often.

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Category: Odds & Ends
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Killing Customers Is Definitely an Unwise Business Practice, But...

CNN: Bartender jailed for lethal tequila

OSLO, Norway (AP) -- A 32-year-old Norwegian bartender was sentenced to six months in prison Wednesday for serving a customer so much tequila that he fell into a coma and died.

This is my favorite part:

"In the court's opinion, it is hard to imagine a more serious case of excessive alcohol serving," said the ruling

Undeniably, it's just not really a great idea to let your customers kill themselves, but in the case of a bar, the business is to serve alcohol, so the court ruling is basically against doing too much business.

Of course, we're talking about Sweden Norway, which isn't known to me as being a Capitalist paradise.

No one's rights were violated in this exchange. One might compare this conviction to convicting a store for murder if they sell a gun to someone who kills himself or another with it.

Props to Chris Brown for raising my blood pressure again this morning

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Category: Money, Money, Money!
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November 22, 2005

Who's Worst Than Both Batman and Superman?

He-Man: the altruist mystic of a dark, medieval world of magic and mayhem.

So, there.

Update: I did a Googlefight of Batman and Superman, and I am sad to say that Superman lost. Hard.

Update 2: Then I went to see if there were any Objectivist comic book heroes and found this forum discussion.

Some seem to support for the Batman and I don't see a mention of Superman, but I stand by my reasons.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 02:38 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Category: State of the Arts
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November 21, 2005

Gotham v. Metropolis

I saw the trailer for Superman Returns last Thursday during Smallville. I am really excited about it except for one thing: Metropolis.

Superman is one of my favorite superheros, but one of the things that is inseparable from the Superman story is the Superman universe, Metropolis. Similarly, lots of people really like the Batman character and story with the same accompanying sympathetic environment.

I described it to my friend yesterday thus: "I like Superman better than Batman because Gotham is a bad place where good people happen, while Metropolis is a good place where bad people happen."

If you watch Batman, the buildings are gothic, dark, dirty, and oppressive. In Metroplis the buildings are soaring, majestic, bright, and clean. Also, it's night time in Batman where as it's daytime in Superman.

Well, in the trailer for Superman, things look like they might be dirty and I'm worried about it.

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Category: State of the Arts
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November 20, 2005

Ominous Parallels and the Second Coming of Christ

One of the several books I'm reading now is The Ominous Parallels from which the quotation in my previous post was pulled. While I was nlooking to Amazon for the link, I decided to read the reader reviews.

Reader reviews on Amazon are wild, especially when the book in question is on a controversial topic or the writing himself is controversial. Ayn Rand is very controversial. So, if you look at reviews for her books you'll get a crazy mix of glowing reviews and raw condemnations. The Ominous Parallels has a similar mix but not with such variety or vehemence on the part of would-be detractors.

The bad reviews are usually the most fun because they're like side-show freaks.

One reviewer states, "The ones [people] who are not fully "rational," including unborn children, have no whatsoever, and may be killed if their continued existence is inconvenient. (Yes, Rand actually all these things - but not quite this clearly. She was a master of propaganda.)" Ayn Rand never said or implied any such thing. Other reviews recite the more common and equally ungrounded aspersion at Rand, that she echoed Marx and Neitzche.

One reviewer struck me by saying that Peikoff attempts in the book to blame Kant for the rise of Nazi Germany. Now, I haven't finished the book, yet, but I have read the first chapter where Peikoff actually attributes the roots of Nazi philosophy to Plato. Kant was a cog in the process of philosophical degradation for Germany then and America today -- a big cog, yes, but a cog all the same.

A few reviewers say that Peikoff and Ayn Rand both fail to provide (enough) evidence for the cases they make. Those reviews have to be disregarded off the cuff because they fail to understand the difference in the two works and their individual purposes and because no standard for "enough" exists. You'll have to read their works to judge for yourself, but my experience has been that each idea proceeds well from the previous and the citations of practical phenomenon are well-founded.

Another audacious criticism offered is, "Before writing an entire book based on the assumption that history is determined by philosophy, Peikoff really needs to prove this point empirically." That comment implies the idea that any purposeful action might be divorced from an idea. It's like the writer is imagining a world in which people make decisions for no reason at all. I'm sorry but that's just not the case. I would hope that before picking up any book a reader realizes that every purposeful action is a reflection of ideas if only from an observation of one's own actions.

What I'd like to look at, however, is the claim that I'm surprised doesn't appear more frequently among Peikoff's critics: that his predictions have not come true, America isn't the new Nazi Germany. Those who wish to take the criticism a step further and accuse Peikoff of being "shrill," "overblown," or "knee-jerk" in his predictions are likely to draw a parallel with the second coming of Jesus. Christians say that the second coming might happen at any moment. It's a spiritual sword of Damocles or something. Similarly, they will say that the rise of American national socialism is the threat Peikoff would hold over our heads.

First, there is no such thing as determinism. Just because America is turning into a socialist cesspool (Yes, it is. Check the news and Congress for numerous examples.) does not mean that it will continue to follow that path to the point where the country becomes a totalitarian dictatorship. There are lots of steps along the way, some large and some small, and the country may deviate at any point. The reality is that in any country there are likely those who oppose such a movement and every now and then they get to make a decision that runs counter to oppression.

Individuals are the same way. My Christian friends are all inconsistent and I love them for the times that they don't practice what they preach. Just because they say they're Christian or Buddhist or Pagan or whatever, doesn't mean they're going to carry out all the ideas subsumed by those titles, turn into lunatics, and die. Dying IS the logical, ultimate consequence of carrying out bad ideas.

So, that's the first thing.

But my friends might turn into lunatics and start dying -- that is if they start applying their bad ideas consistently and follow them to their logical conclusions.

That brings me to the second point which is that it's ridiculous to demand a timeline on this sort of prediction. The prediction is merely that IF America continues to apply these awful ideas THEN it will descend into totalitarianism. That does not have to happen in order for the statement to be true any more than my saying, "If I roll out of bed then I will hit the ground" requires that I roll out of bed as proof.

What Peikoff's book offers is a clear illustration of how ideas do impact action. He also traces the progression of ideas and how they build upon one another. From the platonic idea of Forms to marxist communism and socialism.

Boy, did I ramble on this one...

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Category: Importance of Ideas
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A Quotation for the Time Being

"Christianity ... paved the way for modern totalitarianism by entrenching three fundamentals in the western mind: in metaphysics, the worship of the supernatural; in epistemology, reliance on faith; as a consequence, in ethics, the reverence for self-sacrifice.

- Leonard Peikoff, The Ominous Parallels

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Category: A Quotation for the Time Being
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November 18, 2005

This Weekend

Things I want to get done this weekend:

- Begin putting up Christmas decorations
- Watch Harry Potter
- Do the laundry
- Do some work at the office (in progress now)
- Clean up the house a bit
- Homework?
- Catch up on sleep

So, we'll see.

I just ran 10 miles at a smidge over a 9 minute mile pace and I'm a little loopy right now. We'll see how things turn out.

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Category: Odds & Ends
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Paul at Noodlefood posted about a new weapon. It's some kind of laserbeam-lite that blinds people.

Let me be clear, when I'm talking about laserbeams, I mean the kind that cut through titanium like buttah. I'm not talking about some kind of glorified pointer thingie.

So, imagine the eye-rolling I was doing when I read, "the device will require close scrutiny to ensure compliance with a United Nations protocol on blinding laser weapons."

There's a protocol about blinding people?

Frankly, if I had one of these razzle-dazzle guns, I would give killers an option: Either be blinded or be dead.

Because if folks are upset about the bedazzler then grenades, tanks, surface-to-whatever-the-hell-is-in-the-way missiles are also effective deterrants.

And I'm not calling that thing a phaser either. It's demeaning to good phasers that I would categorize as useful laserbeams.

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Hello, Objectivists and Students of Objectivism!

I am so happy because some of my recent posts have evinced some comments from some of my favorite Objectivist bloggers.

Diana Hsieh was here and Don Watkins, too! And Mike of Passing Thoughts linked over to me a little while back. And, of course, there's Ice Scribe who sails by now and then.

I love it! I love them. I love them here.

It's like I'm throwing a party and looking out at the howling wind satisfied in the thought that it is my mind that brings warmth and food. (If you don't get the allusion, go get you some Atlas Shrugged.)

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More Signs of the End Times

Yahoo! News: Vatican Official Refutes Intelligent Design

Vatican's chief astronomer said Friday that "intelligent design" isn't science and doesn't belong in science classrooms, the latest high-ranking Roman Catholic official to enter the evolution debate in the United States.

The Rev. George Coyne, the Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, said placing intelligent design theory alongside that of evolution in school programs was "wrong" and was akin to mixing apples with oranges.

"Intelligent design isn't science even though it pretends to be," the ANSA news agency quoted Coyne as saying on the sidelines of a conference in Florence. "If you want to teach it in schools, intelligent design should be taught when religion or cultural history is taught, not science."

What's very surprising about this is that an institution of faith is actually standing up for reason.

What doesn't make this SO surprising is that these comments and the ones later in the article are actually in line with previous statements other Catholics have made on the matter. (I wish I had some citations for you, but unfortunately, I've read far too many articles on IB, Creationism, and Atheism to remember where I've read all these things right now.)

Some people are quite honest about their faith and acknowledge that it is completely separate and distinct from reason. They're more honest than their I.D. counterparts in that regard.

So, good for them in continuing to stick to their guns of irrationalism and not allowing the Intelligent Design crowd lure them into mixing their faith with the appearances of reason.

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Category: Mythology and Modern Man
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Overheard at a Dinner Party

Party guests are moving the couch to make more room.

Hostess: Don't be scared if you see a roach under there. I'm so embarrassed to have to say that.

Flibby: Roaches aren't you're fault. They're the fault of people who invent inadequate nuclear weapons.

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Category: Overheard
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Worst Advertising Slogan

I was listening to the radio this morning on my way to work and a commercial for a Chevy dealership came on and the guys said, "Buy American. Not because you ought to but because there's no reason not to."

Ok. So I understand this to mean, "I have no good reason to buy American but at the same time I have no good reason not to buy American."

hmm... Are there any worthwhile products anywhere?

If it weren't for all the fabulous goods and services I've purchased with origins all over the planet, I might seriously start to question the virtue of shopping altogether.

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Category: Money, Money, Money!
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