Wednesday, April 13, 2011

myliblog: Uncle Bobby's Wedding

myliblog: Uncle Bobby's Wedding

This posting by a librarian, responding to a patron's objection to the book mentioned in the title of this blog posting, is a very well reasoned response that highlights the raison d'ĂȘtre of a public library.

I especially liked this quote:
I fully appreciate that you, and some of your friends, strongly disagree with its viewpoint. But if the library is doing its job, there are lots of books in our collection that people won't agree with; there are certainly many that I object to. Library collections don't imply endorsement; they imply access to the many different ideas of our culture, which is precisely our purpose in public life.

And this one, too:

... our whole system of government was based on the idea that the purpose of the state was to preserve individual liberties, not to dictate them.

The post is a good read. I recommend it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

My Truck is Fixed!

Kudos to Norb's North Side Service on St. Mary's Street in Norwalk. They picked up the truck with their flat-bed wrecker at 10:30 this morning, and by 6:30 this evening, I was driving away in my freshly repaired truck. It was, in fact, the starter motor as I had guessed. I'll return home bright and early tomorrow morning.

I had a great time at the reunion, and it was wonderful to see people I haven't seen in 50 years!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Truck Trouble

Well, I had an enjoyable visit with my old classmates last night, in spite of my truck trying to immolate itself! When I tried to start it to go to the reunion, I got nothing: dead as the proverbial doornail.

While I sat there a moment contemplating the issue, suddenly the electrics came back to life and the radio started to play. Another attempt to start was met with silence, and then I noticed white smoke curling up from under the rear corner of the hood!

Killing everything and opening the hood, I could see the smoke was coming from under the engine, and smelled of melting plastic! The smoke seemed to be diminishing, but when I felt the cables running from the battery, they felt quite warm, so I found an appropriate tool and disconnected the ground cable.

I borrowed Nancy's car to go to the reunion, arriving about a half-hour late. Tomorrow, I'll have to "get out and get under" as the old, old song went, to see if I can locate the source of the smoke and perhaps effect some repair.

First time in ten years and over 150,000 miles the truck has left me stranded.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

On Public Prayer

Want a prayer at your high-school graduation (or other public function)? This is what the Bible has to say:

Matthew 6:5-7 (King James Version)

5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

Monday, May 31, 2010

On Veteran's Day

On this Veteran's Day, this veteran would like to thank the branch of the military I served in, the United States Air Force.

While I served during the period of the Vietnam War, I do not consider myself to be a Vietnam veteran. I served my four years in the concrete jungles of the Pentagon. It was no less a life-altering event, although all for the better. There I learned my trade, and, most importantly, I met my wife, Sally.

I think I got more out of the deal than the Air Force did.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Some Thoughts About Religion

From the same website, someone posted some quotes about religion by some famous thinkers. I found them very interesting.

“But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?”
– Mark Twain

“You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”
– Anne Lamott

“If god doesn’t like the way I live, Let him tell me, not you.”
– Unknown

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”
– Philip K. Dick

“I’m not convinced that faith can move mountains, but I’ve seen what it can do to skyscrapers.”
– Unknown

“If God has spoken, why is the world not convinced?”
– Percy Bysshe Shelley

“No man believes that the Bible means what it says; he is always convinced that it says what he means.”
– George Bernard Shaw

“Faith is deciding to allow yourself to believe something your intellect would otherwise cause you to reject — otherwise there’s no need for faith.”
– Unknown

“When one person suffers a delusion, it is called insanity. When many suffer from a delusion, it is called religion.
– Robert M. Pirsig

“Believing is easier than thinking. Hence so many more believers than thinkers.”
– Bruce Calvert

"Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time! But He loves you."
– George Carlin

A Reasonable Person

The website is reporting on Ireland's new anti-blasphemy law. Among the many, many comments (most pro-blasphemy) was this one:

I don’t consider myself an atheist, but I’m sympathetic with atheism–up until it becomes a fundamentalist monolith. “Atheism is the only thing that makes sense and anybody who doesn’t see that is deluded.” That kind of fundamentalism is just as ignorant and ugly as any other kind of fundamentalism.

That being said, anti-blasphemy legislation seems to me to be about as effective and sensible as anti-ignorance and -ugliness legislation.

A nugget of Islamic wisdom tells us to see everything, doubt everything. Judicious and thoughtful doubt takes the form of examination of facts, which leads to knowledge. Atheism is, to put it mildly, extreme doubt. How could that be bad? Any theism that can’t tolerate close examination isn’t worthy of theists.

That doesn’t give atheists license to be mean, though. I don’t think that anyone is born an atheist; atheists are converts, and there’s nothing more zealous than a convert.

Be careful, and mind your manners. Be nice, try not to worry too much, and have a little harmless fun along the way. Think whatever you want, but remember that while uninformed ignorant statements are unfortunate, informed hurtful statements are far worse.

Attempting to legislate morality is invariably a bad idea, but freedom of speech comes with the responsibilty of acknowledging everybody else’s freedom of speech, even if (or especially if, I would argue) you disagree with them. Just be nice about it.

You have every right to disagree with my beliefs, but there’s no reason for you to insult my beliefs. I don’t think that you have the authority to insult my beliefs, but you do have the power to, and there’s a big difference. I think that the Irish government would do well to remember the distinction.

Why would you say “Fuck your god and fuck jesus” except in an effort to make me mad, hurt my feelings, and start a fight? That’s childish bullyism, and the sort of thing that fundamentalists thrive on. Atheist fundamentalism isn’t any more informed or admirable than any other kind of fundamentalism. Stop it, and be nice.

When we say or do something stupid, we know perfectly well that we’re saying or doing something stupid–we just go ahead and do it anyway. Religion–including atheism–encourages some people to be mean and stupid, but those are people inclined to meanness and stupidity in the first place. It also leads other people to be nice and smart.

Which one are you?

Which one you are is not at the whim of a judicial dictate; it’s in your hands.

As individuals, we need to be smarter, better, and kinder than our governments, because we’re the ones who have to live, work, and travel together every day.

Comment by Uisgea — January 1, 2010 @ 10:05 pm

Now that is a reasonable person.