Thursday, September 10, 2009

Go Time

Summer is over.

Baseball is not enough.

We need something bigger. And tonight, we finally get what we want.

It's the NFL. It's Steelers-Titans. And this week, it counts.

And now, folks, gaze upon the logo and, unless you're a citizen of the Pittsburgh Nation, cower in fear:

For the next 18 weeks, this is the logo to chase. Our Steelers are the defending Super Bowl champions. This is Sixburgh Football, going for the second ring for the second hand. We are the ones to beat. No sports writer outside of New England would dare rank the Patriots above the Steelers. Those that do shall be shown the errors of their ways.

Smash-mouth. In your face. Hard-hitting. Bone-crunching. Blue-collar. Blitzburgh.

Just three more hours, and the season begins. It's Football Season, kids! Grab your tortilla chips and salsa, because we're getting ready to go to war.

Let us sort-of pray:

Oh, made-up Gods of Sport and Competition, look down upon the Steeler nation with favor this night. Give our gladiators the strength, drive, and will to drive for the ball, find the open man, plug the hole, sack the quarterback, and otherwise maketh the most holy Big Play. Grant them favor when the zebra man throweth his tiny yellow flag, and give the replay official high-def picture and clarity of vision during challenges. In the name of the Lombardi, The Tomlin, and the Holy Bradshaw, rAmen.
Are you ready for some football? You'd best fucking believe I am!

By Candlelight's Glow

w00t! Give it up for Angela, my longtime friend, who came along with me to the Candlelight Red show at Mojo's three weeks ago and brought with her the means to videotape what you now see before you:

Many thanks to Josh, Jeremy, Adam and especially Ryan, the boys in Candlelight Red, for letting me come up on stage and rock some Nena by way of Goldfinger. Enjoy, folks!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Left Behind... At Last!

Found lolgod through @MovingToMontana today, and there I found probably the best comic I've seen in quite a while. Screw prophets with bombs for hats, THIS is some spot-on commentary right here!

There's only one reason that Atheists secretly hope that the Rapture is real, and this is it. That would mean people like Pat Robertson, Fred Phelps, and all those altar boy-molesting freaks in the Vatican - Gone.

Enjoy the LOL, everyone!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

One Ring to Find Them...

Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes oh yes OH FUCK YES. At last, at last! Enough repeating! The Tolkien Estate and New Line have settled, thank Eru Illuvitar! Join in the merriment and geek-bashing that is the Fark Thread!

So, why is this good news? It clears the way for the Peter Jackson-produced, Guillermo del Torro-directed two-part over-hyphenated Hobbit adaptation! For those who are only familiar with the Peter Jackson trilogy and not Professor Tolkien's original work, The Hobbit follows the journey of one Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm in the Trilogy) as he and a party of Dwarves travel to the Lonely Mountain of Erebor. Of course, along the way, he happens upon a magic ring that makes him invisible, setting off the events that culminate in the epic War of the Ring as told in the LotR trilogy.

This comes on the heels of Ian McKellan (Gandalf) letting slip the fact that the role of Bilbo has indeed been cast, although there's no idea who it will turn out to be just yet. All we know is, according to McKellan, that people will be very happy with the decision.

So, is it Holm? Does he still have the spark enough to take on the role that made him famous to a whole new generation? I hope so! Holm is a great actor, and one of my favorites of his is the legendary Time Bandits, wherein he appeared as Napoleon. Technology has obviously progressed to the point where we can believably de-age an actor or actress (see Clu in the upcoming TR2N, to be played by Jeff Bridges, or Benjamin Button), so Holm is a viable choice indeed, especially given the techniques perfected in Jackson's films using body doubles.

Whoever it is, though, we'll finally get to see The Hobbit on the big screen in live-action, nearly 75 years after it was first published. Fellow geeks, can I get a w00t!


So, are you out?

Does that question make any of you uncomfortable? Probably a few, since some of you are a bit homophobic, or maybe defensive of your sexuality for some reason. I'm not here to judge that. But when the vast majority of Americans hear that someone is "coming out," they think that someone is letting the world know that they're gay.

That's not always the case, of course,. It isn't always a sexual thing, either. In fact, coming out as a homosexual is really just the tip of the iceburg. There's all kinds of coming out! The kind we tend to focus on here is coming out as an Atheist, Agnostic, Freethinker or Secular Humanist. Off the top of my head, here are a few examples.

Trekkies - Oh yeah, you knew that was tops on this list. I'm an out Trekkie, just not the stereotypical uber-Trekkies you think of when you hear the term used. Hellz yeah I loves me some Star Trek! And there are literally tens of millions of people like me who are fans in some form or another of it. But a lot of people also ridicule the Trekkie, based on the extreme stereotype that some fans have managed to get associated with the name. It's fear of that rebuke that still keeps some Trekkies closeted, and often makes it tough for them to come out.

Furries - Every culture has a dark side, although I'm not quite sure where the Furverts fit in. I mention them because they're a very small niche culture that's often shunned, even by the somewhat-larger niche culture they tend to co-exist with. Obviously, coming out as a Furvert is on par with coming out gay, and might even be harder, given the peculiarity of the whole thing.

Potheads - Let's face it, folks: Pot is what it is, and its out there. It's legality is what keeps people in the closet, obviously, but some folks are taking a stand of some sort. Al Gore admitted during his 2000 Presidential run that he had, indeed, smoked pot, and that no one held a gun to his head. Tommy Chong? Duh. Woody Harrelson, same difference. The members of 311, pretty much any solo or group rapper out there, I can go on for days. But now Medical Marijuana is legal in some states, and some states are even decriminalizing possession and making it a summary offense instead of a major crime. Will this help? We'll see.

Male Soap Opera Fans - You know you're out there, guys. And we know why you're quiet. But we won't question your masculinity just because you like daytime serials. I can sympathize on at least one level: The stories are probably better than anything Vince McMahon has put on TV in the last 10 years. This group can also include guys who like Chick Flicks, Oprah, Lifetime, or novels with a Fabio clone on the cover. Heh heh heh. Hey Butt-head: Man-din-go! Heh heh heh...

Mainstream Religions Themselves - Depending on what part of the world you live in, people might seriously be afraid of admitting to what denomination they adhere. In some places, being Muslim isn't enough: you have to be Shia or Sunni or whatever. Some instances can even get you killed in some crazy holy scrap. Yeah, it can be that bad, even for the Mainstream religions.

And then there's us - Atheists. While America may not an 'officially' Christian nation, it is most certainly dominated by Christianity as a whole per capita. Fully 90% or more Americans probably claim the carpenter from Nazareth as their personal savior through one denomination or another, and probably 80% of those have a tendency to look down on us. To the individual Secularist, it can seem like overwhelming odds: The community at large, members of their own family, other loved ones, all some form of Christian, and all with the desire to share it.

To say words like "I don't believe" takes more courage than they can seem to muster. Coming out as an Atheist means condemnation from those that, up until you came out, once smiled and welcomed you into their lives. It means distrust simply because you don't believe in any God, let alone theirs. It means discrimination for that same reason alone. It means dirty looks, whispers behind upheld hands, and even a measure of fear of what you are, simply because you're different.

Yeah, coming out as a Secularist can be a pretty scary thing. It will mean fights with family and friends sometimes, and it will mean a whole bunch of confusion as to why they can't accept you for how you are now, even though they accepted you as you were for all these past years.

But it doesn't mean you're alone. Coming out can be like sending up a flare. It can be like standing on the deck of a carrier signaling an incoming fighter pilot. It can be like standing at the highest point available to you and saying "Hey! I'm here!"

And you know what? Someone else will see that signal. Someone else - someone who thinks very similarly to you - will hear you shouting, see you waving flags, and they will reach out and help pull you out of the fog.

Because that's how we roll. With us, it's about Humanity, and what we can do to help it along.

Remember: Ubi dubium ibi libertas - Where there is doubt, there is freedom.

And more importantly, there are friends waiting there for you, too...

Do You Really Want To Know?

So yeah, I'm surfing teh Intartubes this morning, and a strange thought crosses my mind as I'm going through my morning Tweets: All these groups of Atheists all over the place, but are there any close to home?

Teh Google, light the way in the darkness of Cyberspace...

...and show me one particularly interesting link. To save you the trouble, I'll do all the obligatory click-through nonsense to reach the final, most-recently-updated destination: Pennsylvania Nonbelivers. Aha! I knew there was at least one organization! Take that, Pat Robertson! Anyway, they have a map of organizations in Pennsylvania, and out of 52 total Counties, all of 12 have groups. 12! There are 40 Counties in my home state that lack any sort of Atheist/Humanist/Agnostic/Freethought society.

Sadly, that list of 40 includes my home of Clearfield County. Well, that sucks.

There are of course groups in Centre County: With Penn State's main campus at its core, it's hard to believe that there wouldn't be any secular groups there. How many are there in reality, though? The truth is, I'm not sure: It's either two, or one. The sure bet is the Penn State Atheist Agnostic Association - they have a Facebook page as well. The other group's site seems to redirect to some sort of "Days Until" calendar website. I checked: Yes, they DO list Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Blair County was highlighted as a candidate, too. But the first group's site redirects to the host provider, so no dice there. The second group has no site, only an email addy that indicates the group is centered at Penn State's Altoona Campus.

Two Student orgs, and I haven't been any sort of student in damn-near precisely 10 years. Plus, Altoona and State College, while not really all that far, aren't trips I can really afford to make with any regularity. Also plus, given that it IS Penn State, I'm a bit wary: While I live the Blue and White as a life-long PSU fan, that place can sometimes be a little too liberal for me. And I'm a freakin' liberal!

So, I guess there's only one thing that I can do - it's Ding-a-ding-dang my dang-a-long-ling-long. See what I get for listening to Ministry when I type? Ohy...

Anyway, seriously, I guess I don't really have much of an option. I'm just going to have to start something on my own and see what happens.

Funny thought: Christians like to think that the Magic Sky Pixie "calls" on them to do things. In a more secular light, an Atheist like me may feel like something they do is a "calling" of sorts. For years, I've known of and worked within mine: I'm an entertainer. But lately, I've been thinking that I've got another "call" to answer, and again not from God's hotline.

It's time to wake the sleeping outcasts and rally them to the soapbox...

Monday, September 07, 2009

Whil Whheaton @ PAX Video!

PAX may be over, - and those of us here on the East Coast are gearing up for PAX East 2010 I can tell you - but the goodness is already flowing forth! Even though it's Labor Day, PAX attendees are hard at work processing video and posting it on YouTube for those of us less fortunate due to location. How very geek of them!

Since I'm a total Wheaton Monkey (and de facto co-leader of the East Coast branch of the Super Awesome Monkey Army, w00t!), and thanks to the obligatory Fark Wheaton Link (FT), here's some video of Wil at PAX. Firstly, here he is with his Department of Geek Affairs Proclaimation:

And secondly, as found on Fark, witness as Wil gets totally serenaded by Jonathan Coulton:

This, folks, is why I'm going to PAX East next year. How can you even think to say that geeks don't know how to party and have a good time? I don't care how awesome a party person you are, I highly doubt you could ever keep up with us...

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Are We So Evil?

This came to me over Twitter from @denyreligion, a link to this article. There are two more videos posted there, but I really feel it necessary to show this one. Question, Christians: When have you EVER seen an Atheist - even one of the more passionate ones like myself - do ANYTHING like this?

Your brothers and sisters in Christ. You must be so, so proud...

You claim that the worst of us are people like Richard Dawkins and P.Z. Meyers, militant Atheists bent on your destruction. Well, you're half right. We'd like to see religion abolished, sure! Trust us, that wouldn't be a bad thing for the human race. But we're not like these people. Not a single, solitary bit.

The worst Mr. Dawkins does is either sit or stand in front of a microphone and calmly own your ass with fact and evidence - two things, I fear, that you lack.

The worst Mr. Meyers does is laugh at you and your silly "museums" that teach tomfoolery and madness.

Look. As much as I want to reach out and deck a stupid fundie who's clearly out of control like our redneck friend in the video, I don't. Despite popular belief that the godless are also without morals, we do in fact know right from wrong, and know that all punching people like that jackhole will get us is a night in the tank at county and an arrest record.

And yet Captain Christian here is freely lobbing threats - including physical violence and terrorism (blowing up a house?) - in the name of God. Don't you just love him? He's adorable!

And you want to make sure your kids grow up secure in the "knowledge" that the same God this guy worships is the right thing for them? Yeah, you need to rethink that position.

Personally, I think this video is just further proof that belief in any sort of imaginary man in the sky should be classified as just another delusion, and treated for what it truly is: Mental Illness.