Category Archives: Creation Museum

Hot Air

An Advertiser Is Getting Itchy

A woman named Karen Ogden, who describes herself as “a part-time writer who works within a variety of communities as part of domestic violence outreach programs,” read one of my screeches about domestic violence and the National Football League. She sends in this communique about Verizon Wireless, one of the NFL’s big ad partners:

Hi,

I was checking out this page on your site: http://electronpencil.com/2014/09/10/hot-air-144/

Amid all the recent horrific domestic violence reports from the NFL, Verizon Wireless, one of the league’s biggest partners, has stepped up to reaffirm its stance on domestic violence: We must all band together to end domestic violence.

The company’s CEO, Lowell McAdam, made it clear in a recent editorial that the real issue at hand is not the image of Verizon or the NFL, but “the scourge of domestic violence itself.” He noted that it’s highly likely that you know someone who have been abused, physically or emotionally, by someone close to them. 

According to the Avon Foundation for Women, 60 percent of Americans know someone who has been abused while 22 percent of people are victims themselves. Those staggering statistics only further drive home McAdam’s main point: We need to talk about domestic violence, because that is the only way we can eliminate the culture of denial surrounding the topic.

To help accomplish this goal, Verizon launched a new public awareness campaign this past June called Voices Have Power. You can see it here:

http://www.voiceshavepower.com/

It is an online, social media platform that allows users to send messages of hope to victims of domestic violence. And for every message sent through the service, Verizon will donate $3 to domestic violence prevention organizations throughout the U.S. 

If you would like to participate in Voices Have Power, you can do so via text at 94079 or through social media using the hashtag #VoicesHavePower.

Voice Have Power is run through HopeLine (http://www.verizonwireless.com/aboutus/hopeline/index.html), a program started in 1995 to provide domestic violence organizations and shelters with recycled wireless phones and accessories. Victims then receive the refurbished phones with free minutes and texting plans. Since 2001, they have donated more than $21 million in cash grants and 180,000 cell phones. 

In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, can you help spread the word about the #VoicesHavePower fund raising campaign? Every message shared provides hope for victims and is $3 raised for domestic violence prevention.

Thank you so much!

Sincerely,

Karen

Generally, I don’t pay attention to companies trying to burnish their images through supposed community awareness programs but, oh, I dunno, maybe I’m feeling generous this AM.

Again I’ll remind you, if you hear what sounds like a violent domestic disturbance, drop a dime. If you’re wrong, so what? Also, if you know of somebody who slugs a lover, a wife, a daughter, or anybody of any sex just so he can get his way, shun the hell out of him. And don’t bug me with bushwa about how there are men out there who get beaten by their female partners. That’s misdirection, folks. Domestic violence is a guy thing. Guys have muscles; women are taught to blame themselves for “misunderstandings.” It’s a lousy equation that harms and even enslaves far too many females.

The Right To Be Wrong

Now comes news that one of those weird fundamentalist theme parks wants the Commonwealth of Kentucky to foot a multimillion-dollar chunk of the bill to operate its fabrication machine.

Yeah, some joint under construction called Ark Encounter and run by the Answers in Genesis cult wants KY to give it an $18 million tax break so it can spread its bizarre mythology. AiG also runs the Creation Museum, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati and, in general, tells the world that scientists are wrong and the Bible, word-for-word, is right. The whole shebang is overseen by a zealot named Ken Ham, which is ironic because of the biblical injunction against eating pork.

Ham

Ken Ham

Anyway, AiG somehow snookered Kentucky officials to approve a hefty tax break for them which, a cursory understanding of the US Constitution indicates, violates the Establishment Clause. Ark Encounter is under construction in Williamstown, near the Petersburg home of the Creation Museum.

As you can imagine, the tax break raised a frightful din among church/state separationists and civil liberties fans. Next thing you know, Kentucky officials withdrew their break. Now AiG is claiming it has a First Amendment right to the tax break. See, the outfit is only trying to exercise its free speech rights and the Commonwealth, by denying the tax break is crushing its voice. Like the Nazis did. And Stalin. And what the hell do you expect in a nation now run by a Nazi/Stalinist/Kenyan phony president?

Me? I don’t care what these religious fanatics believe. They have every right in the world to have faith that the sun will rise in the west tomorrow morning. But if they’re looking for any federal, state, or municipal dough to spread their speciousness, they’ll hear from me and a lot of others like me.

Enemies?

How does the above entry fit in with yesterday’s sermon here about how we all — Right and Left, Democrat and Republican, believer and non-believer — should stop seeing each other as mortal enemies out to destroy our beloved nation as well as civilization itself?

Hitler

Nowadays, Everybody Is Hitler

Pretty well, I’d say, with a bit of explanation. Neither President Barack Obama nor Governor Mike Pence are fascists intent on crushing all our hopes and dreams. Now, I disagree with pretty much everything Mike Pence stands for, sure. I wouldn’t vote for him if he were running against Justin Bieber (I just wouldn’t show up on election day — and, BTW, how prescient will I seem if and when JB ever runs for public office? You think it couldn’t happen? Are you new to America?)

Anyway, guys like Pence have what I consider to be a misguided faith in free market capitalism. The Invisible Hand makes about as much sense to me as an invisible father in the sky. Pence wants, I’m sure, all the homeless to have homes, all the uninsured to get medical care, and all god’s children to be able to vote. But only after those who have get even more — so much more that letting a little bit trickle down to the have-nots isn’t going to affect them one way or the other.

Funny thing is, Barack Obama’s worldview isn’t all that terribly far off from Pence’s. Yet too many in the Pence crowd still see Obama as the bastard child of Angela Davis and Fidel Castro. No matter, my non-vote for Pence and others like him does not infer that I view him and his gang as the spiritual brothers of Heinrich Himmler.

I merely disagree with them.

Now then, what about my snarky, disrespectful, insulting take on people like Ken Ham? Why won’t I embrace him and tell him he’s my brother? For the same reason I don’t embrace the guy walking the streets who, interspersed with random obscenities, is shouting about people following him and how all woman are whores. I may wish him well; I may hope his derangement is ameliorated one day. But I’m not going to say to him, “I respect your opinion, my good man.”

His opinion deserves no respect. Nor does Ken Ham’s.

 

Your Daily Hot Air

Funny Man

I know precisely what I’ll be doing Wednesday night, March 12. I’ll be sitting stage-side at Jared Thompson’s Comedy Attic.

Why?

To see the coolest funny man (or the funniest cool man), W. Kamau Bell, skewer everything in this holy land — and, hell, the rest of the world while he’s at it.

Photo by Matthias Clamer

W. Kamau Bell

I’ve been missing my weekly fix of WKB ever since the FX/FXX cable outfit cancelled his brilliant gabfest last year. Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell put everybody from Conan O’Brien and Arsenio Hall to TV’s favorite altar boy, Jimmy Fallon, to shame. He was trenchant, cutting-edge, politically aware, culturally conversant, and he gave no quarter. Naturally, his number weren’t good enough to save his show’s life. ‘Murrica, right?

Anyway, he’s touring the country in the late winter and early spring and he’ll be here in his proud mama’s beloved Bloomington. Yeah, our own Janet Cheatham Bell, author and educator, raised the son of a gun. She’ll be at the Attic, I’m sure.

Me? I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Miracles Of Modern Technology

Just wondering: Have the Peerless Leaders of this bustling metropolis ever seen or heard of the brand new technological innovation pictured below?

Snow Plow

And another thing: Has anybody around here heard tell of that hi-tech substance that some folks say makes snow- and ice-covered roads safe to drive on? I believe it’s called salt.

Salt/Water Interaction by Temperature

How It Works

See, late this afternoon I drove from Pencil World HQ on State Road 446 to Bloomington’s courthouse square. It’s a drive that usually takes about 9 minutes. Today, it took me 45. The drive back was just as long.

And in all that time I saw nary a one snow plow nor salt spreader.

A tip for our City Fathers & Mothers. It’s winter out.

Do You Mind?

America, here is your hottest craze: Mindfulness.

It’s a perfect reflection on our holy land.

Mindfulness is a concept that has been bandied about in the corner of the woo world that we in the book industry refer to as “Eastern Culture.”

The American Psychological Association says mindfulness arises from “a largely obscure Buddhist concept founded about 2600 years ago.” It became popularized in recent years through the writings of Zen Buddhist big shot Thich Nhat Hanh as well as an American pal of his by the name of Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh’s Advice: Don’t Sweat It

The best definition I can give you is it’s a state of mind that enables the practitioner to brag that s/he is concerned about “reality,” the ‘important” things in life, and a more “healthful” way of thinking and living while the rest of us are frittering our lives and precious thoughts away on trivial pursuits like, well, making a living.

Its basic philosophical exhortations include:

  • Keep cool
  • Don’t worry
  • Be nice

Mindfulness, therefore, is simply a ancient predecessor to that late-1980’s, early-1990’s self-help family of fads wherein a passel of PBS-fund-drive superstars tossed out philosophical and behavioral bromides like so much confetti. There were Robert Fulghum (All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten), John Bradshaw (“your inner child”), Leo Buscaglia ( the hug-meister), and Robert Bly (the drum banger).

Up until a few years ago, the only people conversant in mindfulness were those already predisposed to ideas such as reiki and ayurvedic medicine. In other words, awfully credulous folk.

Time

Now mindfulness has hit the mainstream. The cover of Time magazine’s February 3rd issue was devoted to this latest rage. And the evil geniuses who travel annually to Davos to strategize slicing up the known world have been sharing tips the last several years on how to utilize mindfulness and meditation to make the planet’s workforce more docile and compliant.

Americans will believe in anything, apparently. Except maybe evolution.

The Battle Of The Century

Speaking of evolution, science hero Bill Nye is debating Creation Museum founder Ken Ham tonight.

[Watch the live stream here.]

Debate Promo

Click Pic For Live Stream

I’m not watching, listening, or caring. First, you can’t really debate a person who holds a belief that is based on faith. It’s almost like debating someone over whether or not chocolate tastes good. It either does or it doesn’t, depending on the person who’s doing the tasting. And if that person doesn’t like chocolate, s/he can never be persuaded otherwise.

Ken Ham believes god created the world some 6000 years ago. He also holds that humans and dinosaurs lived side by side in our not-so distant past. These beliefs are not based on any rational evidence but on a surrender of logic to “received wisdom.” This is not meant to be an insult; the Bible warns against using one’s intellect to figure out the ways and means of the Big Daddy-o in the Sky.

Creation Museum

Faith, Not Evidence

Nobody can ever win this debate. Neither man will convince the other side of anything. Here’s a sure shot: Tomorrow morning, people on both sides of the “debate” will claim victory.

That’s not a debate; that’s a dog and pony show.

Geeky, Science-y Hot Air

Danger, Will Robinson

You gotta hear this:

I’m lucky; I don’t get robot calls on my flip phone. Maybe that’s an unintended benefit of refusing to get a smartphone. In any case, I do get robot calls at the Book Corner. I know immediately I’m getting a robot call because I interrupt and the caller doesn’t fumble for a moment trying to figure out what the heck I’m saying, as a human would. Invariably I hang up, often with a two-word send-off.

Scene from "Sleeper"

Stop Calling Me!

Robot calls (or robo-calls) come in a range of high-tech-iness. The most basic robo-calls come from schools or police departments, standardized messages warning receivers of some impending news, like a weather emergency. A more advanced robo-call utilizes something called personalized audio messaging, which is what you’re hearing in the above track.

Why, for pity’s sake, anybody would listen to a robo-call that isn’t about a tornado or a mass jail break is beyond me. It’s as senseless as reading an entire email sent from somebody whose niece is a wealthy princess and is being held captive in some central African hellhole.

Oh, Wow!

I don’t know if you caught this but last week headlines screamed that scientists have concluded that the universe may be nothing more than a hologram. In fact, some news outlets went way beyond “may be” and simply trumpeted the “fact” that everything is, in reality, a geeky picture.

Scene from "Star Wars"

OMG! George Lucas Was Right!

It all sounds so scientific and far out. Funny thing is, mostly left-leaning media seem to have glommed onto the “story.” (The links above are from Huffington Post and Raw Story.) I suppose that’s because left-leaning readers and viewers have a little bit of scientific knowledge. They know, for instance, what a hologram is and are somewhat aware that cutting edge cosmology concerns itself with incredibly counter-intuitive hypotheses. Not even the most imaginative science fiction author could have conjured string theory or an infinite number of universes.

Right-leaning readers seem stuck trying to figure out if the world is six- or seven-thousand years old and if humans rode dinosaurs.

Telling them all of existence is merely a mathematical representation encoded on a boundary of space would be like trying to tell a bandicoot all about modern advances in neurosurgery.

Bandicoot

… The Color Of The Laser Beam Must Be Adjusted To….

In this case, those who are planning a summer visit to the Creation Museum are just a tad better off than those who proudly display the Stephen Hawking book, A Brief History of Time, on their coffee tables (albeit unread). A little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Add to that the fact that headline writers are notorious drama queens and next thing you know, everybody who’s anybody “knows” the universe is a hologram.

There not only is no proof that existence is a picture, there’s no actual evidence of it either. The mathematicians who released the paper that started all the hubbub essentially were just playing around with numbers. This piece in Doubtful News dumps a bucket of cold water on the idea.

The author of the debunking piece, Nathan Miller, concludes, “It’s this sort of result-hyping that leads to a disillusioned public.”

Just a little something to think about when you think you know all you need about GMOs or childhood vaccinations.

…With Some Black Guys And Some Blow!

With a mere nine days left until the birthday of he who died for our right to bear arms, it’s time for The Pencil’s annual rip-off of The Family Guy‘s vid, “All I Really Want for Christmas.

Yellowcake and a ball, indeed!

That’s all for today. Peace, love and soul.

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