Monday, December 10, 2007

Children--Your New Sunday School Teacher is an Atheist

Just how often does anyone think that the phrase above would ever be uttered in a fundamentalist Christian church?

My guess is never.

So, why in the hell would they expect a legitimate scientific institute to hire a nutbag that believes in Creationism? Well, that's exactly what some seem to expect.

It seems that one Nathaniel Abraham of India is suing the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts on the basis that they fired him because he didn't accept the Theory of Evolution. This nutbag's suit was already thrown out by The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination because "Abraham's request not to work on evolutionary aspects of research would be difficult for Woods Hole because its work is based on evolutionary theories."

But, Abraham the Creationist persists. This would be like me getting upset at a church for firing me because I wouldn't teach about God in Sunday school class. The Woods Institute has a reputation to uphold for work and research based on solid scientific foundations. Allowing some idiot who rejects these foundations to do research and then publish his nonsense as an employee would discredit the institute in the scientific community and ruin the careers of the real scientists who work there, not to mention ruin the educational value of the institute.

Mr. Abraham seems to be doing fine though, because he now has a position as a biology prof at Liberty University which was founded by Jerry Falwell. He should fit right in at this place and will be somewhere that his unfounded, unscientific views on biology will be blindly accepted by the ignorant. Liberty University, however doesn't offer any degrees in science, because they can't get the accreditation necessary to do so, so at least Mr. Abraham won't be training scientists.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Reverend Ron and His Glorious Future--Amen

Hallelujah!! My deliverance is at hand, for yesterday I officially became an ordained minister. Praise be to God, etc. etc. Yes folks, at ????? today I received notice that my application for ordination in the Universal Life Church was accepted. I can now marry, bury, bless, and curse people with the full backing of the great bearded one, or as the e-mail I received puts it, I am "authorized by the church to perform all peaceful rites and ceremonies of the church, including weddings, funerals, baptisms, blessings, and to preach, teach and hold meetings." I am also "...entitled to all privileges and courtesies normally offered to members of the clergy."

I have already ordered my ordination certificate and the certificate entitling me to be called "Reverend Ron." I started to go for "Mother Superior," but changed my mind because "Reverend Ron" seemed a better money-making title. I also wanted Popenfuhrer, or "Panzer Cardinal," but some guy in Italy has already claimed both titles.

This also means that I can now endorse a presidential candidate. I'm waiting for the endorsement requests to come in before deciding who pays best, and therefore deserves my endorsement. Unlike Oprah or Chuck Norris I have no plans to choose a candidate based on their skin color or religion.

I haven't decided on a name for my ministry yet but am leaning towards:
Reverend Ron's Guaranteed First Class Ticket to Heaven Only True Apostolic Faith Assembly Holy Spirit Church of Christ, and God International
It seems that Stairway to Heaven was already used in some song or something.

However I have decided that I will not seek tax-exempt status, because, as all church leaders know, our lord, savior, and all around good guy Jeebus commanded that we should pay our taxes, and his most high sometimes cranky father, God commanded that we not try to take tax exemptions for donations to him or his representatives a.k.a. don't eat of the offering you have made, and since I am a nice man-of-God I don't want to lead any of my future flock down the road to Hell--bankruptcy court maybe, but not Hell.

This should keep me out of trouble with not only He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Vained, but also on good terms with the Senate Finance Committee.

I have also decided not to set up house in Las Vegas despite the fact that it is the perfect place for a preacher due to the availability of money and prostitutes. It seems that some fellow men of God have deemed it to be on the list for God's wrath, and I don't want my ministry cut short by some faith-based-bombing.

I figure that within the year I should have enough brain dead followers giving me money that I will be able to buy prostitutes, steal money, buy politicians, buy judges, drive fancy cars, smoke meth, and live in mansions just like the rest of my fellow servants of the Lord. I'll just have to do it in Atlantic City, Reno, or maybe Texas. Though with all of the mega-ministers that are based in Texas the competition for money might be a bit much.

Anyway, keep an eye out for a new blog on the teachings and life lessons from my new ministry.

Amen. Pass the plate. And don't forget that God is watching and wants you to give generously.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Decisions, Decisions

I thought that it was about time that I wade into the great American popularity contest known as the Presidential Election.

In recent years elections in this country have undergone an Amereicanidolization of sorts in that people tend to vote based upon who likes or dislikes a candidate. This is far simpler than actually listening to the candidates or researching their positions on various topics important to the well being of the voter or this country. Being a good American I have decided to dumb down for a while and give this sort of thinking a try.

I do ask your indulgence for my attempts because I have never watched a single episode of American Idol so am new to this sort of thing. Anyway--here goes.

First off--Rudi Giuliani is out. This hurts a little, because he was the only leader this country had on 9/11, and we should all be grateful for his leadership during that horrific time. But, he now has the endorsement of Pat Robertson. If this moron likes Rudi then there must be some secret agenda that we are unaware of, so no to Rudi.

Then there's Mitt Romney--Didn't really like this guy to begin with but do remember the Tabernacle Choir's Christmas specials when I was a kid. Though, now that he has been endorsed by Bob Jones, I really don't like him. After all, this bigot endorsed our current idiot in chief.

Huckabee-Baptist minister/president--I don't think so.

Stephen Colbert does have the support of Jon Stewart which is a big plus, but since he's only running in South Carolina I'm not sure he will make it.

Then there's the underdog, Ron Paul--I have gotten e-mail asking for my support for this guy, and a good friend of mine likes him, but I'm not too fond of his positions (oops I slipped-forgive me). Anyway, while preachers are supporting everyone else, Paul did recently get a pretty good endorsement from some people in Nevada. If prostitutes are willing to put their reputations on the line and endorse this guy then maybe he's worth considering, but I will have to wait and see who Britney and Paris are supporting before making my decision.

No "Fruity Little Club" in Germany--Xenu Wins Again

L. Ron Hubbard and the rest of Xenu's victims are probably quite upset today due to news out of Germany.

The German government has decided that The Church of Scientology is not "an organization that is compatible with the constitution (of Germany)," so have ruled it unconstitutional. It seems that they don't consider Scientology a religion. They see it as "a cult masquerading as a church to make money." Go figure.

Now, while I'll whole-heartily agree that this fruity little club is not a religion, and is a money making scheme, it seems a little hypocritical to pick on these poor thetans while allowing other money making cults (a.k.a. churches) to operate with impunity.

After all, a cult is merely a church that someone else belongs to, and all churches are in one way or another money making schemes, so if the Germans or anybody else for that matter, are serious about getting rid of organizations that prey on the weak for monetary gain then they need to look at all of them, and not just Tom Cruise and his deluded friends.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


To quote Trent Reznor:

"God is dead, and no one cares."

It seems that God was murdered recently while getting drunk at a club in Greensboro, NC, and no one has come forth to claim responsibility.

Thanks to Ian by way of Planet Atheism for this bit 'o info.

Bigotry is Alive and Well

Who says bigotry is dead in this country (aside from old-white bigots)? Well here is proof to the contrary. Maybe T.T. can get together with Denny Altes and burn a few crosses for God at the next Republican convention.

Thanks to Jesus' General for leading me to this nutbag.

Nicholas Day for the Nicolas Atheist

Happy Nicholas Day everybody.

Here in the Nicolas household today in the traditional start of the Christmas season which runs until Twelfth Night on 6 January.

I'm assuming that this proclamation comes as something of a surprise to some readers due to my atheism, but I wasn't born an atheist I became one, so Christmas was a part of my childhood and has remained part of my life since. Atheism on my part is the result of combining intelligence, common sense, and scholarly pursuits--Christmastime traditions, on the other hand, come from family traditions. I believe that intellect and reasonable thinking are an important aspect of a good life, and I also believe that tradition is important to a good family life. I firmly believe that the loss of traditions and the absence of rites of passage are two major contributors to a lot of society's ills.

Anyway, I meant to talk about the Nicolas' celebration of Nicholas Day, and not preach, so let's move on.

The traditions surrounding Christmastime here in the Nicolas household go as follows:

On Nicholas Day (today) the tree (always a fir tree) is purchased and brought into the house. That evening it is decorated along with the rest of the house. But, any lights on the tree remain unlit until Christmas Eve. A statue of St. Nicholas (or Grandfather Frost for my Great-Grandmother--Russian immigrant) and another of Krampus are placed in front of the tree to remind the children that they should be good.

The Nicholas/Grandfather Frost and Krampus thing, as I understand it, is an amalgamation of Russian and German traditions that my paternal great-grandparents brought from their prospective ancestries. My great-grandfather was Irish/German, and my great-grandmother Russian. Only in America could such combinations happen.

Without going into all the history of these traditions (which I have done for myself) I'll just say that when I was a child, Grandfather Frost/Nicholas represented getting presents on Christmas if I was good while Krampus represented getting nothing if I was bad. My grandmother told me that for her Krampus represented a great deal of fear because the way she had understood it Krampus would come down the chimney on Christmas Eve and drag her off if she had been bad--Nicholas would take Krampus' place if she had been good and bring her fruit and a toy. Thankfully, this tradition had been toned down a bit for me, because I was already having nightmares about Dad's "Satan" coming to get me for celebrating Christmas with my grandmother.

You see, somewhere along the way my father had become a fire and brimstone Pentecostal who thought celebrating Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and any other fun holiday (including birthdays) was evil because of their connections to the Catholic Church and pagan tradition. However, my grandmother is an extremely strong woman and forced my father to let my brothers, sisters, and me stay with her through Christmas.

Anyway, I digress again.

So after the tree has been decorated and Frost/Nicholas and his buddy Krampus have been placed, the children and I light a candle for their mother. I started this the year my wife died because it was she who had made Christmas purely a time of fun for me. Since she was Catholic, Christmas was a big deal for her, and through her I began to enjoy Christmas even though by the time I had met her I had lost every bit of my belief in Christ. While she was alive, I accompanied her to mass throughout the Christmas season despite the fact that I could not actually participate in the various rituals.

After Nicholas Day it becomes pretty much a time for the normal hum drums of life with the occasional Christmas party thrown in until Christmas Eve when the tree is lit, Krampus is put aside, and a large family dinner is devoured. After the kids are in bed the presents are hauled out of hiding, assembled if need be, and placed under and around the tree. Midnight mass was on the agenda for several years, but I haven't been in a church since the day I buried my wife, except for touristy visits to St. Patrick's in New York.

Christmas morning is set aside for my children and me to open gifts and such, then the rest of the day is visiting/phone call time for family and friends.

On New Year's Eve I am in the woods somewhere camping. Sometimes the kids go with me, sometimes they don't. This night is more of a personal tradition that sprang up the year my wife died. I was extremely depressed after Christmas, so as is my way when life gets to me, I packed up my camping gear and went to the woods a few days after Christmas. That year I woke up at about two in the morning New Year's Day and it was snowing outside the tent. That was an extremely emotional moment for me, so I have been camping through New Year's every year since. This year ice climbing on Mt. Washington in New Hampshire is tentatively on the agenda, so the children probably won't go--it's way too cold for them there this time of year. Rock climbing in Red River Gorge Kentucky is the back-up plan, and the one the children are pushing.

The final event on my family Christmas calender is the taking down of the tree and all Christmas decorations on Twelfth Night (6 January) or as my wife called it "Epiphany." This is done (again according to my father's family) to avoid the bad luck that leaving these decorations up would bring to the household.

So there it is. Today, for me and mine, is the start of a truly mixed set of traditions brought from Russia, Germany, Ireland and who knows where else to the small house in the woods of Kentucky, USA where my grandmother lives then exported with a few additions to the small house in Indiana where I live.

Hopefully, these things will be carried at least in part to wherever my children end up living in their adulthood.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Explains a Lot

I was reading through some of the posts I had missed recently on Ms. Kat's site and came across the following meter. I am not at all sure how they come up with the rating but I liked mine, and will proudly post it here.

This does go a long way toward explaining why I have had to explain things over and over sometimes before people understand me. I thought it was because I was stupid or something--well according to the above I'm not. It's always nice to have someone stroke your ego once in a while.

Another Battle in the Great Crusade

The newest Anti-Christ?Well folks, it seems that there is a new evil afoot that Christian fanatics are battling to protect us from--Nicole Kidman.

Well maybe not Nicole Kidman per se, but her new movie The Golden Compass.

It seems that the children's books that this movie are based on contain some anti-religious tones.

Having not read the books myself (yet) I can't say with any authority that these claims are true, but according to some the bad guys in the books are a religious group that has power over people and does bad things to them. Sounds to me like reality.

The movie has prompted calls for boycotts much like the ones on the Harry Potter, and Da Vinci Code books and films, and we all know how successful those boycotts were--I personally have all the books and DVDs, and will buy the fourth Harry Potter movie when it comes out on DVD next week.

You would think that with war, famine, genocide, global pollution, natural disasters and such that these groups could find something to fight that was a worthwhile contribution to the betterment of the downtrodden or even the human race as a whole. Instead they attack a fantasy that makes their fantasies look bad. Anyone who watches, reads, or listens to the news on a somewhat regular basis will see things that cast Christianity in a far worse light that any movie could.

I probably wouldn't have spent the time or money to see the movie in question in the theaters, but if Christians are raising this much hell about it then it is probably worth a look see.

Birthdays and Angels

Miranda Kerr the angelYesterday I had another birthday (The present I had hoped for, but didn't get pictured at right), so have managed to survive for 42 years now which far surpasses most people's expectations and I am sure several people's hopes.

For my birthday I got to work overtime, have an argument with some idiot at the grocery about his complete lack of manners concerning his language and an elderly lady, and a sore throat.

But, my children did let me watch the Victoria's Secret fashion show last night, so the day wasn't a total bust.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Black Friday

Here in the good ole U S of A we have a wonderful tradition on the Friday following Thanksgiving. It is on this day that the Christmas shopping season officially begins. In recent years this day has become known as Black Friday, due to it's importance to the bottom line of many retailers.

Over the last few years it has become the trend for many large retailers to offer what they call "early bird specials" on Black Friday. These specials are usually phenomenal deals on big ticket items such as computers and HD TVs that only the first few people in the door at opening time get.

As it turns out, this year I was drastically in need of not one, but two new computers. My daughter entered high school this year and was sorely in need of a laptop, and the computer I had at home was roughly the same model that God used to e-mail the Ten Commandments to Moses.

To my delight, both Best Buy and Circuit City were having really good Black Friday deals on laptops and desktop PCs, so I jumped into the fray. My Black Friday experience was enough to make me decide that from now on I will pay standard retail or buy ones that have "fallen off of a truck."

My foray into the world of early birds started with my setting up camp outside Circuit City at 9 P.M. Thanksgiving day. I thought I was being sly by getting there eight hours before opening with a camp chair, a thermos, and a sleeping bag. As it turned out I was number 52 in line behind people who had brought tents, battery operated televisions, portable heaters, and had support teams to bring them fresh coffee, and food. I was quite a rookie, and way out of my league, but I stuck it out.

During the next 8 hours I got very little sleep, but did manage to witness the true meaning of Christmas. The lack of sleep wasn't due to the sub freezing temperatures or off and on light rain, because my sleeping bag is the one I use quite often on mountaineering and rock climbing trips, and is quite bombproof in such conditions. No, the lack of sleep was due to the constant barrage of idiocy that seemed to be centered in the line ahead of me.

I was pulled from slumber twice due to local rednecks making rather rude and unwelcome propositions to the very attractive young woman in line in front of me. The first one left after she called him something in Hindi (she is of Indian descent) which she later told me roughly translated as a shit eating dog. The second guy left only after I told him that if he didn't I would [paraphrased] feed him his manhood. After that incident she called her brother who came with coffee for me, and company for her until the opening bell.

My beauty sleep was later interrupted when local law enforcement arrived to resolve an argument about someones place in line, or lack thereof. Following a five minute conversation, the officers escorted three people out of line and off the property which moved me to number 49.

Things were quiet after that until 4 A.M. when store employees started handing out vouchers. It was this presentation of golden tickets that we were all in line for. It seems that in years past retail establishments have had problems with fights over who gets in the door first, so they began handing out vouchers for the items on sale. These things are hot tickets because there may only be a few of a particularly hot item in stock so the early bird does in fact get the worm.

Due to my rookie status and high place in line I missed out on the laptop voucher, but I was lucky enough to get a desktop voucher. I felt like I had won the lottery because I got the last one. Thank Frodo those idiots arguing with the police got escorted away. Anyway, with my precious voucher in hand I was foolish enough to think my experience with greed and gluttony was over--once again I was proving just how much of a rookie I was.

Shopping day in AmericaWhen the doors finally opened I was damned near trampled to death by the horde of electronics junkies behind me, because I wasn't in enough of a hurry to get inside. Then once inside I decided to check out some of the other deals, and give the voucher lines time to die down a bit.

As I was looking around, I noticed a particularly good deal on a digital camera that would be a suitable replacement for one that got destroyed in a rather long fall off of a mountain in Columbia a few months ago. As I reached for the camera I was all but assaulted by an extremely obese woman who had eyed the same camera. Luckily my reflexes were better than hers so I got the camera and managed to not loose a limb in the process. She called me names in some rather un-ladylike manner, but then moved off to swallow other less agile shoppers.

This ordeal was followed by a 90 minute qeue to pay for my hardfought booty.

Granted, I got an incredible deal on a great computer (with which I am writing this story) and have a shiny new camera for my upcoming trips to Red River Gorge, New River Gorge, and the Creation Museum in Kentucky, but I vow to never again put my self in such peril just to save a few hundred dollars.

Oh, and in case you are wondering--I later found a really good deal on laptops that I didn't have to enter Gladiator school to get, so my daughter is currently IMing away with some 17 year old boy who isn't aware that I not only know his name, but his address and what he looks like.

So, Happy Christmahanaquanzica everybody.