Question the Bible?! Why not…

James Randi: informative and entertaining. In this video he discusses the archeological evidence, or lack thereof, for Nazareth. Does the fictional status of Nazareth equate to the fictional status of Jesus (and therefore God and salvation)? Yes. I believe it’s just another nail in the coffin. 

Lumosity is bullshit

Lumosity. That annoying commercial that features 20-somethings bragging about how good their brains feel because they’re playing a fucked up game of frogger.

This “neuroplasticity” is not real. There is no “plasticyness” to your brain. It’s wet and soft like a gross sponge. A three-pound gross sponge. Neurons “talk” to each other and give you the illusion of control, independence, and immortality. These are characteristics which I think are perfectly suited to a life form that will die.

The people who created Lumosity do not understand what it is like to be a parent. They do not understand what it is like to hold down a job, try to figure out a way to pay for college and braces while trying to encourage their children to go to college so that they are in a slightly better position than you when they are your age.

The people who created Lumosity are assholes that don’t understand the value of just shutting-the-fuck-down for a weekend. Hell, for five minutes! Go-Go-Go-Go! Everything is about them going! Jesus, man. Chill out for a minute and just rest. Enjoy the scenery. Watch a movie that makes you cry. Watch a child enjoy the ignorance of bliss of this fast, rushing life for Christ’s sake.

Look, I’m excited about your excitement. Really! I used to have it once. Then reality set in and I realized, just like my parents told me, it’s not all about me. I’m a piece of the puzzle. Assuming there’s a puzzle, of course.

All you single, childless people that are so busy doing and hoping everything… keep those things in mind, but be humble and accept that your fate is the dust. Don’t even assume about the afterlife. Just look at yesterday and today. Know that these are the only things you have. Tomorrow is just a hope. A bold assumption.

Relax a little.


Universe Shmuniverse

The Universe is not sending you a message. It’s not looking out for you. It’s not trying to make things okay for you.

If you’re so arrogant to think that the universe cares more about your situation than the mom who has cancer, or the baby that’s dying, or the toddler starving to death, then you’re an arrogant fuck that has no idea of the world around you. 

The universe does not care about you. You come, you go. For some weird reason, you’re aware of it. You won an interstellar lottery living in a 1st or 2nd world country. Good for you.

All you are doing is assigning meaning to where there is none. That’s it. No thing is talking to you. No one is trying to send you a message. You think Jesus only cares about white people.

Now get off your high horse and recognize where you stand. You stand on a piece of silica or carbon. An element which ultimately floats on a ball of magma. Which ultimately is forced to the core of a ball that just happens to be in a good place in space, around a just right star.

Way to go, Goldilocks. That bear’s gonna eat the meat off your bones.

Short Story: Emma Rose

The blood withdrew from her extremities. Had she been capable of feeling them, her feet and hands would chill her. She would put on socks and bundle up under her favorite blanket. Maybe she’d have a warm cup of tea in her hands.

But she could do none of that.

While her family helplessly watched her wither up with chill, Emma grew warm in her mind. She was not lying on her bed. She was not feeling the anguish that her family felt for her. She had drifted from that place a timeless period ago.

As her brain ordered more blood for this final task, Emma grew in strength. She lifted herself from the grassy field. The sun shone brightly on her naked skin and she noticed that she was neither tired nor old. Her skin was fresh and at ease. Her legs were taut and had spring. She curled her toes in the grass and looked upon her youth. She felt her strength. She felt vigor course through her blood and she felt life.

She stretched and yawned. Emma lifted a foot and smiled as she tickled her sole on the grass. She closed her eyes and smiled. She took another deep breath and tasted the air. She was by herself, but not alone.

She was beyond thinking or speaking to herself. She had no desire to articulate her experience. She only felt. Every thought was translated into action. There was nothing other than experience. Everything outside of herself was inside her mind, and every emotion was rendered tangible in her physical world. She was at one with her world and there was no separation.

For what we can only describe as forever she enjoyed the physicality of the world around her. She lied down on the soft grass and smiled at its tickle on her skin. She rolled to her stomach, and resting her chin in her hands she looked at the grass and marveled as it glowed. The surrounding trees were soft and it seemed as though even their mighty trunks swayed ever so slightly in the soft breeze. The clouds on the horizon drifted happily over the ground and transformed into mystical shapes. In an other-worldly unison, the birds sang in symphony. Every different species sang together in their unique voices and the melody was beyond description.

She fell asleep. As she slept she dreamed. Emma was on a bed, cold and tired. Her body hurt. “This isn’t real,” she thought. She moaned, pulled her legs to her and hugged herself. Someone put a blanket on her. People spoke. She recognized the voices, but was too tired to place names. She was beyond speech, and could only experience.

“She’s cold, put another blanket on her?”

“Thank you.”

“How long has she been like this?”

“For a few days now. She’s not had anything to drink since last night. She moans sometimes, but hasn’t spoken since Friday.”

“Are you okay?”

“Yes. It’s just hard to watch. I try to make her comfortable, but I don’t know if I’m helping.”

“I know… we wish there was more we could do, like we could fix her. But it seems like our work to comfort her is more for us. It’s strange.”


“I finally saw that Woody Allen movie you talked about. I enjoyed it. Very funny.”

Emma listened as they talked. In her mind she was happy for them. They talked calmly. They laughed. They were quiet. They cried too. But she did not remember the last time all of these people were together physically and emotionally. Every single person with her was with her, and with one another. Their words and actions were as a whole, with each one as a piece of a bigger puzzle toward the completion of a larger goal. They were all separate physically, but their minds were of one. From the youngest, a child, that tried to understand what was happening, to the oldest son that sat quietly by her bed, beyond description or understanding each individual was united with them all. The only one to see it, eyes closed, was Emma. She relaxed as she felt the warmth of their love.

She relaxed as the warmth of the sun on her skin began to wake her. On her bed she softened and the tension loosed in her limbs. The blood flowed to her extremities and warmed her frail body.

On the grass she stretched, rolled, and looked at where her body had lain for an unknown period of time. She rose with an old, unfamiliar spryness she never remembered, not even as a child. As she rose, she watched the grass spring up and not one blade was crushed or troubled by her presence. All evidence of her nap vanished before her eyes.

Now she noticed the sky. It was bright. Its colors were warm and called to her. Her strength grew and she leapt. She flew several feet into the air without effort. The trees appeared as shrubs. She felt no fear. She stopped ascending and did not fall. She goggled at it all. She felt full of love. It came from some unknown source and poured into her. This love, if that even applied anymore, beckoned her upward. But she was not yet ready to go. The world below still beckoned her. With great ease she lowered herself onto the warm grass and sat.

She had been here forever, but knew that she needed to leave because there were many more things to do and see, but did not know what they were. Yet she wanted one last look at this beautiful place. She softly touched the grass and let it tickle her again. She gazed at life around her and felt a tinge of the deepest sorrow she had ever known. The tinge grew and strengthened. She was filled with a sadness most complete. Tears streamed from her face and fell from her big, clear, beautiful eyes. They crashed onto her hands, legs, and the ground.

On her bed, Emma felt peaceful. It was her greatest effort and her life’s accomplishment to open her eyes and look at her family for one last time. She could not speak for her breathing was hard and her mouth dry. On her back she could see them all. Love poured from her being and emanated to every person in the room. Every one in the room appeared as a child to her, even her children who were advanced in age. From her, all these had sprung. She loved them. She could see they were sad. She hurt for them. Everyone was touching her, and she remembered being an infant, and the touch brought comfort. She closed her eyes.

Everyone knew that all was not well, but all was as it should be. Young and old alike, they shed tears through their words to Emma. She heard, “It’s okay. You can go.” She knew they were with her in the grassy field and they heard the sky calling her. Softly, hardly noticeable, she gave one final squeeze to the hands holding hers. She managed to open her eyes for a final look, and then let them finally close.

She took her hands from the grass. She dried her eyes. She stood and rose from the ground. She was ready. She had to find the source of this love and life that was flowing through her. She looked up at the skies and willed herself to rise. And she rose.

The family around her erupted in tears and began their mourning.

The earth beneath her vibrated with joy at the completion of its mission and the birth of its new creation.

Emma rose.

2010 in retrospect and 2011 prospecting

There was a movie produced in 1984 called 2010: The Year We Make Contact. While we haven’t had business lunches with aliens this year (which I don’t consider to be entirely bad considering the bad rap they have), we have had some spectacular astronomical discoveries. We discovered a “potentially habitable planet of similar size to Earth in orbit around a nearby star” in Gliese 581. Another important discovery, whether you are a proponent of the eternally cyclical or eternally expanding model of the universe, is that we have discovered evidence that there may be multiple universes. I’m starting to think that Men in Black was written by scientists with inside information who were trying to let the masses know what’s going on.

Both of these discoveries are amazing. Things that were merely figments of science fiction only a few years ago are becoming science. I’m left breathless when I think about it too much. The problem now is we have no way of going to see and experience these things first hand. Maybe 2011 will be the year we make contact and we can stop pussy-footing around our solar system and get out to the deep waters.

On a very light note related to science, if you’re into science fiction and a little bit of suspense, you should watch Sunshine. The story is a little far-fetched, and there’s a pretty big plot hole that leaves you wondering, but overall the it is very entertaining and there are some great special effects. This turned out to be a great segue for…

Movies of 2010

This was a great year for some enjoyable films, but none of them come to mind off the top of my head… wait… … there was an alien movie I had high expectations for but it turned out to be quite bad. It’s called Skyline and the best thing about it was leaving.

Defendor was a fantastic movie. I was expecting a silly Woody Harrelson film, but got so much more. It’s a very enjoyable movie with an unexpected presence of sweetness, honesty, and truth. Have a box of kleenex handy for this one. It came out 2009, but it was released in the US February 2010 on video. This was a Canadian movie that did not get the publicity it deserved here.

I enjoyed The Crazies, a remake of a ‘70s b-film by the same title. How to Train a Dragon was a great movie I saw with my older boys. We all enjoyed it. My wife and I had some good laughs with Hot Tub Time Machine. Date Night was a bit of a let down on our date night, but Kick-Ass totally made up for it. Get Him to the Greek was funnier than I expected, and the remake of The Karate Kid was enjoyed by my kids and my wife and I who remember the original. RED I saw twice, once courtesy of AMD, and the second time with my aunt while she was visiting—a very enjoyable flick, but not for those who dislike violence. And finally Shrek Forever After was a great wrap-up to an amazingly funny series of films.

I’d like to see Tron: Legacy and I hope it’s better than the original which moved about as fast as cold molasses, but the effects were good. It was ahead of its time. While Yogi Bear doesn’t interest me I did enjoy this alternate ending:

While this final movie does not pertain to 2010, I am anxiously looking forward to The Tree of Life. It looks like a brilliant piece of work.


It’s no surprise to me that my favorites have stayed the same. If you know me even moderately well you probably already know that my favorite band is the Red Hot Chili Peppers. There’s an almost spiritual connection with their music—something in my soul connects with what they say in their beats, rhythms, and lyrics. There’s a new album coming out soon and I can’t wait for it.

This year I took a liking to John Mayer’s music. I didn’t like him too much at first, but his work has grown on me. His songs have meaning and depth that ask questions and deal with being a man. It’s good stuff.

Finally, my interest in hip-hop/R&B has stepped up a notch. It’s a mix of Kanye West and Professor Elemental. Yeah, some of it’s a little silly, but so am I.

Goals for 2011

There’s a lot this year to think about. Bithia and I feel quite positive about the new year. There are a couple of things cooking on the side that may turn into additional revenue for us. And for a single-income home (Bithia stays home with kids) you can use all you can get.

On the more important front, I think I’m finally coming out of the last two years of being a caregiver. It’s been a long and difficult road, and as normal shifts again I’m wrestling with G~d, and trying to understand where I fit with the whole scheme of things. While the last 2 years have been personally challenging, the year before we experienced some life-altering events with a very close friend that forever changed the way we view the world.

In short, and to be plain, G~d’s sovereignty is the question. What is His role in the world? Does every event, good and bad, bear his impression, or is the world merely left on its own and we as Jews are responsible for following the instructions and showing the world a better way? I know there are no simple answers, but it’s something to try to come to grips with and try to learn what He expects of me. I guess I’m at a place of making Judaism my own this year and understanding how I should view the world as one. Maybe I can even pick up a couple of mitzvot this year too. I’ve certainly let enough of them go by the wayside…

And with that, let’s see how it goes and what we can do.

Godspeed, everyone.