Sunday, July 31, 2005

the browser warz

Discussion today on slashdot regarding Opera's plan to stop pretending to be IE by default in order to fool sites into loading.

Being an Opera user, I'm of two minds on this. On the one hand, one of the reasons Opera isn't more accepted is that it doesn't get counted in web stats, because it pretends to be IE. And because it isn't counted, webmasters don't think it has any users, and thus go on coding with non-standard Microsoft IE gadgetry.

On the other hand, I know of plenty of sites which work just fine with Opera, but if you don't have it set to spoof as IE, you can't even get in. I find that extremely irritating, as do, predictably, many others at slashdot.

atheists in foxholes

"There are no atheists in foxholes" someone recently quoted to me, during a discussion on atheism.

Hmmm. Is that a fact? There are plenty who would dispute that.

If the quote is meant to impune the patriotism of atheists, it is easily disproven. Even if you mistakenly believed that atheists never volunteered, it's kind of idiotic to suggest that all atheists who were ever drafted into the military deserted before they saw action. Still some people erroneously use the quote that way, but that's not the original meaning.

The original intent of the quote was to suggest that everyone believes in god when "put to the test" and that atheists have never been "tested" properly or they too would be believers. As if atheism were just some childish bravado, easily stripped away in a moment of fear.

If you look a little deeper, the real nugget of truth in the quote is this: Belief in god is based on fear and helpless desperation.

If it takes the extreme conditions of a foxhole to drive an atheist to belief, how much more brave and fortified must the atheist be than the believer, who is driven to accept the absurdities of religion by the abstract thought of death, in the comfort of his home?

(The "Atheists-in-Foxholes" monument is adjacent to the Willa Mae Whatley Auditorium in Fearn Park, overlooking Lake Hypatia, Alabama.)

Saturday, July 30, 2005

church smarm conspiracy?

The Primitive Baptist Church (as if there were some other kind) and the Church of Christ across the street have always enjoyed a friendly rivalry (in my mind at least) over their signage, one sign being within eyesight of the other on a rather major highway in suburbia.

I have to admit, when it came to out-and-out smarminess, the Primitve Baptist Church always had the upper hand with gems such as "Seven days without prayer makes one weak" and "Exposure to the Son may prevent burning." Cute, isn't it.

But the past few days, an unusual trend has emerged. Both churches have abandoned smarminess to congratulate newlyweds. "Best wishes for your life together John and Sue" at the Primitive, and the characteristically more pedestrian "Congratulations Glenn and Debbie" at the C of C.

I don't get it. What gives? Have they just recently begun performing marriages? Isn't that kind of their bread and butter?

I have a few theories.

1. Maybe John and Glenn are actually rivals embroiled in a bitter game of churchgoers' who's who one-upmanship.

2. Both churches are currently hell-bent on proving that they truly only marry men to women and women to men.

3. Clergy nationwide have finally come to their senses and gotten "real".

But what I really think is that there must be a big subscription service for church-sign-smarm. A content-server went down somewhere, and for once they were on their own, and just couldn't muster it up.

Actually it was kind of nice. I wished John and Sue and Glenn and Debbie well.

Hope they were virgins.

Friday, July 29, 2005

bush jokes you might not have heard yet

Gratuitous and mean spirited Bush jokes...yet somehow fitting.

Thanks to lowbot at >everything isn't.

ambient orb

Operates "at the threshold of our senses."

Hmmm. Price will have to come down a bit before I bite.

Goes nicely with the blog template though.

best live band in the world, bar none?

This rave review of the Allman Brothers Band 2003 “One Way Out” release is hard to believe. Hard to believe, but I think I agree.

All Music Guide: One Way Out

I suppose if you truly hate the Allman Brothers Band you won’t like this either, but if you have any affinity for their rock/blues/jazz improv style at all, this is really worth a listen.

The live performance on DVD is mesmerizing. 20-something Derek Trucks is probably the best slide guitarist in the world and he is fascinating to watch, with his calm zen-like attitude and pickless fingering style. To my ears, his improvised guitar solos rival Coltrane and Miles Davis. Gregg Allman is sober and his vocals are better than ever. I have a new appreciation for just how good a blues singer he really is, for a white guy. The other guitarist is Warren Haynes, who’s played with them off and on since the 80’s, and he’s a great traditional blues player. His solos lack the finesse of Derek’s but his song writing and singing adds dimension and a deeply blues flavor to the band’s repertoire.

Since they threw Dickey Betts out of the band, they don’t seem to be recording any of his songs which means no “Ramblin’ Man”, “Elizabeth Reed”, or “Blue Sky” but I for one don’t miss them. Who isn’t sick of “Ramblin’ Man” anyway?

If you are old like me you remember the original Allman Brothers and probably figured they were washed up has-beens in the 80’s. What a surprise.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

i don't wanna be

another rude suffering blogger, to paraphrase Parthenon Huxley.

I know things are really screwed up; I've been to TruthOut and RawStory. I've joined the ACLU. I've ranted, I've cried, I've given money to PFAW. I've written to my so-called representives (HA!). I've challenged co-workers and comforted friends. I've boiled and burned and cursed.

None of it to much effect.

Now I just want to make some sense. Find something new. Look far, somewhere much farther ahead, to see some other tomorrow.

my dog

wishes he was smarter than he is.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

on atheism

Often, the religious think that atheists "just haven't thought about it enough." This is rarely true of someone who proclaims their atheism. It isn't easy in this society to admit to being an atheist. When you meet someone who does, you can be fairly certain that he or she has given it a good deal of thought.

We are the most hated group in the world, and you might ask yourself, who is doing that hating? It isn't other atheists. At times the depth of hatred the religious display seems evidence of an inherent evilness; but then I remember it's just a human thing.

Some people think that it must be frightening to be an atheist. Contemplating permanent death is scary to most people at first, but having to make up and convince yourself of lie after lie to keep from thinking about death is exhausting!

There may be a few moments of panic early on in one's athiesm, as letting go of the elaborate system of lies you've been told is kind of scary. Acceptance brings peace. Things start to make sense and become clear when you realize how simple it all is.

It was largely your religion that taught you to fear facing your fear of death, and wholly your religion that taught you to fear atheism. When your mind is no longer bound to religion's crazy fantasies, you can think rationally, as humans naturally do, and this brings peace and satisfaction.