Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lame Ducks, War Criminals, and TSA Perverts




Gee Wilikers, Batman! It's been like six weeks. I figure insomnia is as good a reason as any to update this poor, neglected blog.

I'm swimming through this sea of retardation that has turned this country into a caricature of what it used to be. For those of you who subscribe to my YouTube channel, you know this already. I'm just spent right now. It's not even fun to crack jokes about stuff anymore. I'm. Just. Drained. And I should be, really. What good has come out of Washington this year? Yep, that's exactly what I was thinking - nothing.

So news... news. Congress was overtaken by illiterate fundamentalists and even in the lame duck session taking place right now, they're sure to drop the ball on repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell. We have leaked classified documents from both of these illegal wars of aggression that offer concrete evidence that the entire Bush Administration was a fraud and responsible for war crimes and the deaths of at least a half a million people, yet we do nothing. And I suppose the minor, newly developing story is the TSA upping the ante on how to be fascist cocksuckers.

But back to Don't Ask Don't Tell. I'm still amazed at the apathetic stance towards equality from our legislators. This is the only issue I can remember that has had 70+% support from the American people, but they still won't repeal it. I don't get it. That's why we elect these asshats to begin with, isn't it? To serve the will of the people? I thought so. And from what I can see, the will of the people is pretty fucking apparent when it comes to this issue. I could spend all day pointing out the flaws in every argument sent our way from the Religious Right, but it wouldn't make any difference. Hell the only reason I'm even bringing it up again is because of the current Congressional situation.

The lame duck session can be a beautiful thing. It can also be an equally detrimental thing *cough* Clinton got impeached for a blowjob from a fat chick *cough*. It all depends on who the lame ducks are. This year's House is especially lame. Come on, people! These guys couldn't get anything passed when they had control of both houses and the White House and you really expect them to do any serious lame-ducking? Not a chance. And why should we expect anything from them? As Bill Maher's been screaming for the last few years, the Democrats are a bunch of pussies. Even with a golden opportunity handed to them, they'll still manage to fall short and not get anything done. The Republicans may be the "Party of NO!", but the Democrats are surely the Party of "Yes, We Wanted to, But Then We Chickened Out".

That's really the bottom line. It doesn't matter how batshit crazy the Republicans are, they get shit done. And that's what we like in this country - getting shit done! So what if they did a shitty job and no one agrees with what they're promoting, at least they're working. Right? That's certainly what it feels like to me. And they're GREAT liars. That's the key. Enter WikiLeaks and their "treasonous" acts of *gasp* informing the American people that our government sucks and has no regard for human life, be it foreign or domestic.

To cap off their leaked Afghanistan documents, WikiLeaks has hooked us up with thousands of classified documents from the clusterfuck we call Operation Iraqi Freedom. State sanctioned torture and murder of civilians and an Iraqi death count that's fast approaching 300,000 are just a couple of lovely tidbits that were leaked. Let me repeat that - THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND Iraqis are dead now. And for what? Weapons of Mass Destruction? No, they didn't have any of those. Osama Bin Laden? Nah, he wasn't in Iraq, nor was he connected to Hussein. To bring peace to that country? Nope. Iraq is more dangerous and unstable now than it was before we invaded them sans U.N. support.

These mistakes would almost be forgivable if the intelligence had been shitty and our government didn't know any better, but that's the best part! They did know better. They knew there wasn't anything to be found in Iraq. Bush, Dick, Rice, and Rummy (sounds kind of like a dirty slapstick improv group) all knew they were lying. Unlike previous administrations, there was zero evidence of them having plausible deniability. They were well aware of what they were doing and they just didn't give a fuck. So, just six decades after the Nuremberg Trials, we no longer consider war crimes a priority. And that my friends is a tragedy.

Now on to the last tragic news piece of the week/month/year (don't judge me for being flaky)...


TERRORIST



The United States government isn't the only group of folks taking advantage of the fear that was inspired by the attacks on September 11th, 2001. Ever since that day, the TSA has also been capitalizing on America's brown trouser fiesta. The photo above is from 2002, and I have to say that airports were my worst enemy. Being the semi-ignorant 17 year old that I was, I didn't know I could object to the indignities I went through every time I went through airport security. I didn't know what the Fourth Amendment was, nor did I have any problem with them strip searching me due to racial profiling gone awry. I figured, as did most of the country, that whatever they needed to do to keep me "safe" was fine by me.

Here's my take on the whole thing:

I've worked security before. If you think the checks you go through at the airport are rough, try getting onboard an aircraft carrier in a foreign port with a duffel bag full of trinkets. We had x-ray machines, wands, and big motherfucking guns, but no full-body scans, and pat-downs were only used if we had probable cause. If that level of security is okay for the U.S. Navy, it should be okay for the TSA. There is nothing detectable with a full body scan that isn't detectable by the aforementioned, less-invasive methods.

" The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

That there is the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

From what I've read over the years, this little bit of our most sacred document is left up to interpretation, BUT in my opinion, what the TSA does is still in violation of it. They have no probable cause to search everyone in this manner, nor do they have it to search people at random after they've passed the metal detector and their bags have gone through the x-ray machine. Our only offense is that we'd like to get to where we're going faster than we can get there on a car or a train. Now I'm sure that somewhere in the gigantic obscenity that we call the Patriot Act, there's something that negates our right to not be molested and gawked at while traveling by plane, but I think it's time to stand up and call these folks out on their bullshit. Warrantless searches in this fashion are a violation of our privacy and an insult to us as a people.

The irony in all of this is that I will be flying to Virginia for Thanksgiving next week and I'm fairly sure I'm on the high risk flyer list. Why? Who the fuck knows. Maybe I wrote a blog that was contrary to what the societal norm is... Anyway, I won't be as crazy as the "Don't Touch My Junk or I'll Have You Arrested" clown, but I will not go through the full body scanner. I don't know how that's going to mix with me being one step below the terrorists on the Federal McCarthy Roster of the Terror-Inclined, but I smell a lawsuit if they don't let me on the plane. There's no reason to deny access to a law abiding, active duty military member. All that being said, I will consent to the pat down. I just ask that the man or woman doing the patting to be gentle, and remember to cup the balls.

Until next time, adios.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I'm Gay For Fred Phelps


Brace yourselves, but I'm about to defend Reverend Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church.





So we have another First Amendment trial in the Supreme Court. I have no idea what the decision will be, but I certainly hope that Fred Phelps and his family will win. Why? Because they should. Taking this issue to the Supreme Court is treading on dangerous ground to begin with and here's why:

America was founded on principles of freedom. One of those principles, The First Amendment, which is first because it's the most important, is being contested by the family of the deceased LCPL Matthew Snyder. LCPL Snyder's funeral was protested by these Westboro yahoos and the family has been fighting to win a lawsuit against Phelps for awhile now. I certainly understand the pain that's been dealt to this family, but I can't support this lawsuit at all. I truly feel for the people that are hurt by Phelps' idiocy, but limiting his First Amendment rights is not the answer, nor should it be.

There is nothing in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights that is as important or 'sacred' as the right to free speech and the Separation of Church and State. Free speech and freedom of religion are tied directly to free thought. We lose those rights the very minute the government decides to take any aspect of our speech, no matter how minute or insignificant as it may seem, away from us. With that loss would undoubtedly come the loss of our individuality and sense of self.

I hear a lot of people say things like, "I support free speech, but these guys are just taking it too far." If that's the case, you don't support free speech. Because who's to say what is or isn't "too far", obscene, or offensive? Having to put up with the pollutant bullshit from folks like Phelps, the KKK, the Tea Party, neo-Nazis, and other fringe groups, is a sacrifice that we have to make to preserve our own right to say what we want. I don't agree with what they do, but I'll be damned if I'll live in a country where they don't have the right to do it.

So how do we prevent the WBCs of the world from being insulting assholes? There are only two solutions that I've been able to come up with. The first one doesn't guarantee success, but the second is unacceptable.

1) Educate people. Education won't always work, but it's the only sound way to do it without infringing on the rights of the American People.

2) Limit free speech and start legislating morality. Let the government tell us what we can and can't say, and when and where we are allowed to say it.

If you want true obscenity, I think #2 fits the bill. The idea of limiting free speech is nauseating to me, moreso than the ignorance and hate that we see from Westboro Baptist.

This whole thing reminds me of something that happened in 2004. I was fresh out of technical training school for my job in the Navy and I was on an airplane home for a week's leave. I was in uniform and I happened to be reading Anton LaVey's The Satanic Bible. At one point during the flight, I set it down on the little flip out tray in front of me. The gentleman sitting next to me gasped and said the first of many idiotic things that have since been directed at me because of my ideals and my military service:

"How in the world can you wear that uniform and read that book. That is absolutely disgusting."

Without even looking at him, I politely said, "Sir, the very reason I wear this uniform is so that people can have the right to read this book. Or any book for that matter."

Of course, like most other times, I got no response. Most people in this country can't grasp the full concept of free speech in this country. They feel that free speech means that we're free to say anything that they deem acceptable. Thankfully, that's not how it works.

I know I sound like a broken record, but again: Equal rights are equal rights. If one person is left out, that's one person too many. If that line of thinking doesn't suit you, move to Iran.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

"Militant Atheism"


It's always hard to start these blogs when I know they are going to be longer than my usual posts, but here goes nothing.

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 12.3% of the population in this country is black. 12.3% is a very, very small number. The percentage has only grown a little over one percent point since 1960. Why am I bringing this up? Because even though blacks are in the tiny minority that they are, their cause was heard. The Civil Rights Movement took place and it provided a foundation for true equality among whites and blacks. Obviously there is still plenty more work to be done, but this is an ongoing task which started over 150 years ago.

Most Americans would agree that granting citizens equal rights regardless of race is a good thing. But, and there's always a 'but', if our nation had taken the approach to civil rights that it is taking towards religion, many of my friends would still be using the back entrances to the few restaurants that they were allowed to eat in, they would be drinking from water fountains marked "Coloreds Only", they would be forced to ride in the back of the bus, and their children would undoubtedly still be attending all black schools.

"How do you figure, Steve?" Here's how I figure: The majority of this country is white. It is "One Nation Filled With White People." That being said, it only seems fair that the government should only grant civil rights and liberties to its white citizens and never consider the opinions of the lowly Negro. Do you see what I'm getting at?

There are twenty million "out of the closet" atheists in this country. Based on the other type of person that keeps part of themselves in the proverbial closet, let's assume that there are at least twice that number. Couple that with the other forty million people who are agnostic or claim "no religious preference", and you have the largest minority in the United States. On top of being the largest minority, we have ZERO voice in the political and legislative process unlike the other ethnic minorities.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for, we get to so-called "Militant Atheism".

First off, I abhor this term. There is nothing militant about atheism or our movement. This is a derogatory term that serves only to demonize and group outspoken non-believers with the radicals of other religions that threaten the White Male Christian Power Structure ((c) 2007, Bill O'Reilly). Other folks' beliefs are routinely shoved in our faces and we maintain our right to voice our opinion on the matter. That's part of the American Dream. It's covered in the First Amendment. Let me also add that freedom of religion is guaranteed under the First Amendment as well, and atheists support freedom of religion because it is an issue of free thought.

We are promoting rational thought and the Separation of Church and State, which just so happens to also be covered under the First Amendment. Slowly but surely, this country has been gravitating towards a theocracy since the mid nineteenth century. The Founders, religious and non-religious alike, wanted God to have no place in our government, and they wanted our government to have no place in God (church). They knew of the horrors that accompany a state-sponsored religion thanks to the Anglican Church and they wanted none of it. In fact, that's the whole reason people came to the New World to begin with - to escape state-sponsored religion.

Contrary to what many evangelists believe, and what they would have you believe, "In God We Trust" did not appear on any currency until the 1860s. It also did not become the national motto until 1956. The same goes for the absence of "Under God" from the original draft of the Pledge of Allegiance in 1892. "Under God" was not added until 1952. These things and many like them have been injected into our government like a virus and it's only getting worse. The Reaganites accelerated this process by associating the Republican Party with the "Moral Majority". After that, people began to vote for their religion as opposed to their political preferences.

The far Right Wing of this country, which is supported by almost all of the 30 million members of the National Association of Evangelicals, was completely outraged during the 1960 presidential race because JFK was a Catholic. As a Catholic man, surely he would be taking orders from the Pope and not the American People... But, Kennedy, in all of his charismatic glory, rejected this notion, as did Catholics across the nation. And guess what - he kept his word. Right up until that fateful afternoon in Dallas, he kept his religion out of his politics. He was an American FIRST. This is terribly ironic considering the current political climate in this country, starting with Reagan all the way up to the current Teabagger movement that we see today.

Prior to his three year homosexual relationship with a prostitute, Ted Haggard (PRESIDENT of the National Association of Evangelicals) had WEEKLY conference calls with President George W. Bush. He was one of Bush's most trusted advisors, and contributed greatly to the decisions that were made in the White House. This led to the horribly offensive Bushisms that were used in reference to the war like calling it a "Crusade" and "Our God is not neutral". Pardon my French, but how in the blue fuck is this any different from what Bush's very own party was worried about with Kennedy?

Rev. Haggard was very open about the evangelical movement getting involved in politics as it was "part of their Christian duty". Not only do members of the National Association of Evangelicals preach about Christianity and Biblical morals, they preach about politics and where this nation needs to go, in a sense. They speak of the Christian responsibility to "bring America back to God" and elect candidates who are close with Jesus, despite any lack of credentials or qualifications that they may have regarding the office they intend to hold.

To top this off, you have people who are supposed to be part of an objective mainstream media taking sides and attacking non-Christian members of the population. Glenn Beck is a great example. All you have to do is tune in to his show and I can almost guarantee that at some point during the broadcast he will make mention of atheists being un-American because, after all, this is One Nation Under God. Beck and others like him also insist on calling every non-Republican candidate's faith into question in every election as a means to discredit them. They do this when a person's faith is the very last thing that should be of concern to us. Consider this and the fact that there are still some states, Texas being one, where it is still illegal, that's right, illegal, for an atheist to hold a public office.

Here's where we atheists come into play: We reject the notion of any god or gods or goddesses, but we are completely cool with people practicing their religions as long as they don't discriminate against us or interfere with our personal lives. I understand that it's part of some faiths to "witness" and prosthelytize to every person they come into contact with, so I just do what a normal person would do, and I politely tell them to fuck off.

Our argument, while just as unsolicited as the evangelical argument, is one of sanity. It's the idea that our species has potential. Atheism is not just about the non-existence of a deity, it's about being reasonable and moral without the influence of a god or goddess. It's about doing good for the sake of doing good, and not behaving a certain way for fear of eternal consequences. It's about an objective look at the way things should be so that they may better the lives of all mankind equally.

This will undoubtedly be countered with the Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin argument (if we're really lucky the proponent of this point will be extremely ignorant and throw Roman Catholic Adolf Hitler in there as well) that atheistic societies have contributed to as many, if not more deaths than theistic societies. The missed point that these "atheism is evil" advocates fail to see is that Stalin's atheism did not make him commit those horrible atrocities. There are crazies in every crowd and godlessness is not exempt from that. I believe it was Richard Dawkins that stated, "Stalin's atheism made him no more prone to evil than his moustache did."

But, as atheism did not contribute to those leaders' massacres, religion has influenced and contributed to massive amounts of killings in human history. You've heard about the Crusades and the Inquisition and today's Islamo-fascism, etc. etc. It's very easy to look over just the last 2,000 years and see a very gruesome scar on our past left by religion. Atheism has no set moral code or list of commandments, whereas religion has many. On top of all of the good that can be found in any holy text, there is an equal or greater amount of bad in there as well. You can't rationally use atheism to justify murder or any other type of injustice committed in this world, but you can certainly use the Scriptures to do so. I won't bore you with the endless Bible verses and excerpts from the Qur'an to prove this point because honestly, I don't have the time and I don't think any reader has the patience for it.

So how do we "militant" atheists "combat" this phenomenon of increasing religious intolerance that is sweeping the nation? We do what has earned us this awful title - We go out and inform others of our lack of belief and try to exhibit our humanity simultaneously. We promote critical thinking and rational thought. We aim to educate in all areas, but especially in the social forum that presents us as amoral scoundrels. We want the world to see that we are not without morals and principles the way that the church says we are. Most importantly, we want to uphold the Separation of Church and State that the Founding Fathers so desperately wanted.

It's one thing to have a view on one's own life that is based on religious teachings, but it's another thing altogether to want that same view to be reflected in the operation of the government that writes legislation that affects the lives of the entire population. To put it in perspective, you Christian folks that are terrified of the possible implementation of Sharia Law know exactly how the rest of us feel when you attempt to restrict marital and reproductive rights. Just because something doesn't negatively impact your lives doesn't mean that it's positive. While you may be the majority, if something isn't good for one man, it's no good for the rest. Obviously I'm referring to legislative actions in the government.

So despite the fact that it's still taboo to criticize religion, we continue on. We want to spark constructive, intelligent debate along with equal treatment from the government regardless of religion or lack thereof. I, and the others like me, will continue to be vocal about this issue until there is no more theological discrimination occurring. It may be to the emotional detriment of innocent theists who don't contribute to the overall problem, but that's just going to have to be a necessary casualty in this whole process. It's not personal in the sense that it's not aimed directly at any individuals, but it is personal in the sense that it is something that affects us all and we are very passionate about it.

"The divide of race has been America's constant curse. Each new wave of immigrants gives new targets to old prejudices. Prejudice and contempt, cloaked in the pretense of religious or political conviction, are no different. They have nearly destroyed us in the past. They plague us still. They fuel the fanaticism of terror. They torment the lives of millions in fractured nations around the world. These obsessions cripple both those who are hated and, of course, those who hate, robbing both of what they might become." ~President William Jefferson Clinton

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What I Do Every Year


Here I sit, nine years later. I'm doing the same thing I've done every year since the attack on the World Trade Center - I'm fighting insomnia, listening to Rage Against the Machine, and chain smoking my last pack of cigarettes. Today is tough to get through, and like, I suppose, December 7th is for the folks who were alive in 1941. Today is a somber one and the sadness I feel is not just for the victims of September 11th, but for America on a whole. Before I get to that, I'll start with the obligatory "My 9/11 story."

September 11th is my generation's "Kennedy". Everyone remembers where they were, what they were doing, and who they were with. It was my junior year of high school. I was completely zoned out in front of the school before class and Michael Vickers came running up and said, "Dude! We're being fuckin' attacked! They're bombing shit! They hit the Pentagon and New York!"

I looked at him with bloodshot eyes and told him to shut up and stop bullshitting. It was too early for this madness. I didn't have time for his shenanigans and like most days, I didn't even want to be at school. And who the fuck were "they" anyway?

I don't think anyone was prepared for what was waiting for us when we got to class. I walked to my 1st Period English class and opened the door and there it was. The World Trade Center was in flames. Vickers was not out of his mind after all. Or maybe he was. Maybe we all were.

"Makeshift Patriot, the flag shop is out of stock - I hang myself at half-mast..." ~Sage Francis

In the months and years that followed September 11th, this country underwent radical changes that massively influenced who we are and what we've become. The population grew closer together than we'd ever been and then swiftly drifted farther apart than we were before that day. The government abandoned almost every principle it was founded on with the Patriot Act and an endless assault of propaganda on the general population. Every lunatic came out of the woodworks and was given credibility when, at any other time, they would have been laughed at. A part of us died that day.

"You're either with us or against us," is what President Bush said when he finally finished Siegfried Engelmann and Elaine C. Bruner's The Pet Goat. It's our way or the highway. There will be no questions and the only answer is blind allegiance to a cause that we're still trying to decipher. For me there is nothing more sickening than the way people were swept up in the crazed psychosis. Every car had a yellow ribbon or a flag. Every house had a flag. Being American had been reduced to a trend and that disgusted me.

Where I come from, you either fly a flag or you don't. It doesn't really matter. Looking back now, the same folks who flew a flag before 9/11 are the same ones still doing it. Attack or no attack, threat or no threat, these were people who did it because it meant something to them. It wasn't about keeping up appearances or trying to fit in. It just was. But now that we'd been attacked, EVERYONE had a flag. Everyone was one-upping the next guy to show him that we were just as patriotic as he was. We were even more patriotic. Why? Because we were not going to let the terrorists win! They were after our Lucky Charms and goddamnit, we were not going to let them have some!

But that's exactly what we did. We didn't just give them a bowl, we let them have the entire box.

As if the five dollar plastic flag holder/American flag combo on the back window of your car was going to fight terrorism...

You see, terrorism is "the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion" or "the use of violence or threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes". Not only did the terrorists win, but our own government helped them achieve their goal. Threat levels, ultimatums, terror alerts, wars, sleeper cells, plots, prisons, conspiracies, censorship. If someone didn't follow whatever was proposed, their integrity and patriotism were questioned. If you don't agree with what we're doing, you must be a terrorist or a terrorist sympathizer.

Every news clip and article where someone is accused of being anti-American reminds me of To Kill a Mockingbird when Atticus Finch is repeatedly called a "nigger lover". The majority of the country was caught in what I call the Toby Keith Hysteria Wave while the few of us who questioned what was happening were called un-American. We were no different than Mr. Finch in the respect that we wanted the truth and we wanted justice. No more, no less. This should have been a universal aspiration but it wasn't. The government had already given us "truth" and were in the process of seeking "justice". Who were we to question that?

So while Toby's pocketbook and gut got fatter as he stuck his metaphorical boot up Osama's ass (join the military if you're that passionate, you asshat), our economy and lifestyle went completely down the shitter. Illegal wire-tapping was now legal. The 4th Amendment is non-applicable if they say so. "The Constitution is just a piece of paper." Habeas corpus is now just a long forgotten dream. Almost overnight our federal government expanded to three times the size it was prior to the attacks and we ate it all up and asked for seconds. This was going to protect us and make us safer.

I guess what I'm getting at is this: Every year I sit and think about the people who were killed because of this whole thing over the last nine years. From the impact of that first plane all the way up to the most recent casualty in this current "War on Terror". I try not to dishonor their memory by exhibiting fake patriotism and feeding the beast that we've become. And what is patriotism really? Is it just flying a flag once a year, or putting a Made in China bumper sticker on the back window of your pickup truck? Is that what makes you a "Good American"? I don't think it is.

Being a good American is not perpetuating the effects of the attacks. Being a good American is telling Al-Qaeda and any other radicals, "Fuck you, we're not going to change who we are. We're not going to compromise our lifestyle and freedom because you want us to. We're not going to live in fear." That, my friends, is being a good American. Accepting your fellow citizens and not labeling them is patriotic. Questioning the government is patriotic. Standing your ground and not allowing our rights to be stripped is patriotic. Wanting peace is patriotic.

So I sit and smoke and think. I think about how ultimately, the terrorists won. They accomplished their objective. We are a changed nation and not for the better. Racism and intolerance on a whole are at their highest levels in decades. Our economy is in ruins. Our military is fighting an unwinnable war, because how do you fight ideas with bullets and bombs? We are divided and we shall fall unless we pull our heads out.

We need to do right by the people who died and get back to who we were on September 10th, 2001. We need to stare the enemy in the face and stand proudly, saying, "We will not move. We will not be broken. We will not become what you are. We are better and we are stronger. We are everyone and we are no one. We may not be perfect, but damn it, we're trying. We are America." We need this to be heard by radical factions of people around the world as well as our our own government and it needs to be now so we don't become everything we've fought over the years.

We have the right, not the privilege, to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and I will not stand for anyone threatening that, be it foreign or domestic, government or public, military or civilian.

Remember September 11th, 2001. Remember the people who died. Remember who and what we were. Remember our potential and what we can be, and be extremely fucking pissed at who we've become.

“But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
~
Hermann Wilhelm Göring, President of the Reichstag


Monday, September 6, 2010

Why I Love Science Fiction

It's an old concept that there is some truth in everything, or rather that there is no absolute fiction. The apocalypse is very real and, I fear, inevitable. As Mr. Schwarzenegger said in Terminator 2, "It's in your nature to destroy yourselves."

As a species, we've understood that we suck on a basic level for centuries now. That's why all of these doomsday scenarios pop up in every medium from the book of Revelation to Zombieland. Whether the disaster that destroys us is man-made or not, the underlying theme in most science fiction storylines is the same: We have to put aside our petty differences and fight together to preserve the human race.

Ultimately, there is no just cause to go to war with one another. Not land, not skin color, not retribution, not religion. We have the potential to be better than that. Nothing illustrates this better than these prophetic movies and books, and nothing gets ignored as much either. The Terminator series is one of the most successful of all time, yet people constantly ignore the underlying theme. The average guy that watches these movies is the same one that advocates using the bomb on the Middle East.

This media is a direct attack on the military industrial complex that we love and adore in this country and people just shrug it off as a piece of entertainment because "that could never really happen." But beneath all of the special effects and intense action sequences lies a simple message to the world: Fix yourselves. Fix yourselves, or you won't be around much longer. "Judgment Day" is approaching, my friends. And I definitely don't mean that in a Biblical sense. We're on a path to annihilate ourselves with the same tools we build for our "protection". So keep that in mind the next time you watch some "light-hearted" post-apocalyptic film.

And that's why I love science fiction. It tells the truth. It paints a two sided picture of ourselves. One side shows our potential for self-destruction and the other side shows our potential for good and self-preservation. The Human Spirit, if you will. It gives me a tiny bit of hope thinking that other people out there might "get it" the way I do. Maybe they will take this fiction's frightening possibility of becoming a reality seriously and go out there and spread the Gospel of Peace. Maybe.

I'll end this retarded and cheesy blog entry with an equally cheesy quote....

"There is no fate but what we make." ~Kyle Reese in The Terminator

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Quotes You Can Believe In


This is part 2 of my ever-expanding compilation of dumb shit that I've said. I still contend that I am a modern day Ben Franklin. Enjoy.



----


Most of the population is concerned with the physical war overseas. I am too, but I'm also concerned about the intellectual war here within our borders. Nothing is more damaging or divisive than religion and it is tearing this nation apart. I would rather lose my life in Afghanistan than lose my freedom to think in the United States.

So, if Noah was a Jew, and all of his family was Jewish, why aren't we all still Jews? And how, in just a matter of centuries, without adequate transportation, were different tribes of people able to spread across the Earth? Tribes of people who have zero history of worshiping the Judeo-Christian god or anything even remotely similar...

Every great scientific discovery piggybacks off of predecessors whose purpose was to more efficiently facilitate death. We certainly are a fucked up, sadistic species.

The next person that says "refudiate" like it's an actual word gets a swift kick in the nuts.

Duck Duck Goose should be mandatory through the age of 45.

Will Arnett makes me want to kill kittens.

Unlike other branches of Christianity, the Mormon Church has EXPLICIT texts from its founders and in its SCRIPTURES that are directly aimed at the supposed "inferiority" of black people. I want to send Ving Rhames back in time so he can bitch slap Joseph Smith and Brigham Young right in their stupid inbred mouths.

I wish I was retarded. Then maybe stupid people wouldn't get on my nerves as much.

I'm pretty sure my ideal woman doesn't exist. On the off chance that she does, she's probably dating some douchebag like Dane Cook or The Situation.

The U.S. Navy: Where you can get $200 sunglasses, $120 switchblades, and 62" TVs for "training", but ordering 2-ply toilet paper for the shitter is out of the question.

Attention: This Grammar Nazi has had it with the majority of his friends prefacing every other statement with "literally". It's completely unnecessary and I get that what you're telling me actually happened. The only time I wouldn't think that it did in fact happen is if you said "metaphorically" prior to divulging your sordid little tales. And remember - too many adverbs will KILL YOU. Thank you and goodnight.

Being charitable is suicide.

The value of a person's life should not be measured by their bank account.

Equality for everyone is exactly what theology does NOT teach. We should fight to preserve rights but not beliefs as people are not born with beliefs. Separation of Church and State exists (not for much longer if people don't speak up) for this reason. To support theocracy is to support blatant discrimination and THAT is un-American.

I always giggle when I see wrecked cars with "Jesus is my co-pilot" bumper stickers. That's nothing to brag about if you ask me and it makes complete sense that they wrecked when you think about it. There weren't cars 2000 years ago, so Jesus doesn't really have the credentials to operate a motor vehicle. I doubt he even has his license.

I'm going to start speaking in tongues at random points throughout my day and see how long it takes before they have me committed.

I'd rather vote for Trig Palin than Sarah anyday. You'd get the same results but at least he's got an excuse...

America: Land of the Free White Protestants

Thanks to wireless networking, I can now surf the web while I take a shit.

If Hitler, Attila the Hun, Stalin, Hussein, Satan, and any other racist, psychopathic, genocidal maniac jerked off into a turkey baster and squirted it into a very fertile Queen Mary I... Ann Coulter is what would pop out of her vagina 9 months later. Ann Coulter is a cunt.

If you like Jeff Dunham....KILL YOURSELF. Seriously. I'm not joking. Kill yourself. You are a worthless and retarded lemming. Kill yourself.

Part of me really wishes the Rapture were real... Then maybe we'd be able to get some shit done in society instead of catering to bullshit fascism that hides under the guise of morality.

Funny how we liberated Europe and they became more free than we could ever hope to be.

No, people, I do not 'worship Satan', nor am I a Satanist. Maybe loosely in a LaVeyan sense, but not really. I am an atheist. That means that God, Satan, and demons (or any other supernatural hibbity-bibbity) are not real. To acknowledge Satan, you have to acknowledge the existence of God. I acknowledge neither. Thank you, and have a wonderful day.

As you go out into the world today, remember these important truths: Right is wrong, everything is nothing, and Ann Coulter is a cunt.

The difference between Republicans and fascists is that fascists never figured out how to bullshit poor people into loving them.

The problem with prayer: John 14:13 "You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father." Someone's lying about something...

If everyone in the country shared the same opinion, we would no longer be free.

As humans we all have two universal things in common: 1) We're all going to die. 2)Nobody knows what happens when we DO die. Nothing else really matters. So why spend the short time we have on this planet fighting and killing one another?

If people wake up and decide to rebel against American Corporatism, there's no need to ask me whose side I'm on. I swore an oath to protect the Constitution of the United States of America and my fellow citizens. I didn't swear to protect a failing economic system or corporate interests. I joined the United States Navy, I didn't apply for a job at Blackwater.

"Steve, why do you think America is such a failure?" The best, of a million examples I could give, is this: One of the smartest people I know works at Taco Bell. True story.

Prideful, outspoken ignorance should disqualify anyone from running for political office. There's a difference between not knowing something and not knowing something and being proud of that fact. I don't trust anyone who doesn't have an answer and has no desire to find one.

Trying to explain how and why things happen in the UFC the way they do is like trying to explain why Japanese porn has subtitles. No one knows.

Growing up in church is like starting a marathon with broken legs.

I need to acquire a disco stick so Ms. Gaga can ride on it.

If you ever bought a Master P record you should just kill yourself. Seriously.

I have been to the deepest darkest corners of the internet and returned nearly unscathed. With all of the sick and depraved shit that I've seen, none of it compares to the unadulterated clusterfuck that is the BP oil spill.

When I am free, I will go wherever I am needed. I will go to the hottest deserts and the darkest jungles and fight alongside those who need it. Any cause which is just is my cause. Any cause which is true is my truth. If my life is lost in the process of freeing others, so be it, but I will not spend the latter part of my life as an armchair revolutionary.

I think it's completely unfair for people to demand that immigrants speak English when half the people who were born here have no grasp on the language.

You can have all the money in the world and own more than you could ever dream of using, but if you do and still lack an education, you have nothing. Having no knowledge provides a meaningless life, and as insignificant and finite as our one life is, it's all we have. Make the most of it and try not to step in the bullshit they've been throwing at you since birth.

I attack ideologies, not ethnicity or nationality. You can choose to be or not to be stupid, but you can't choose your skin color or where you were born.

If you want to respect and honor your god, try not shitting all over his creation. Religious people (most) have no regard for the planet and that baffles me.

Manslaughter. Man's laughter... What the fuck, English?

The only difference between the theocracy in America and the one in Iran is "free market" capitalism exists here. And we also have Snuggies...

The Pope dictating how people should think and behave sexually is like Hitler giving advice on Equal Opportunity programs.

Going to the Republicans for advice on fiscal responsibility is like going to Stephen Hawking for jogging tips.

I find it absolutely hysterical that in a country that's "Great because we're free!" there are people on Facebook that click the 'like' button on pages that urge others who don't share their ideological views to get out of the country. In the America that I dream of, we will celebrate our diversity.

White guys that refer to each other as "nigga" and use that word in conversation as if they are black should be bludgeoned to death.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sonic Evolution


What is it about music that makes us who we are? How has it so effectively inspired us in our lives and shaped our views and ideals? Or is it the other way around and conversely we find our music based on who we have already become? Do we find our music or does our music find us? Maybe it's a little bit of everything. I know I reflect my music and my music is definitely a reflection of me.

I've been a rebellious little bastard since I was a kid. I learned to read at a very young age and I always asked way too many questions. Come to think of it, I've been questioning religion since before I could ride a bike. That's just who I am. Moving on...

I can remember being caught up in the bullshit Vanilla Ice/MC Hammer shitwave of the early 90s, but I was six for fuck's sake. Also, who wasn't a V-ICE fan? Don't lie, you know you had that tape. At the same time, between the Haddaway and House of Pain spins on the local Top 40 station, I tuned my little boom box to KBPI (ROCKS THE ROCKIES!!!) and my eyes were opened to a brave new world of dissent. Willie B hooked it the fuck up on a nightly basis and I was introduced to the likes of Ozzy, Pantera, Judas Priest, Bad Religion, Metallica, Hendrix, and the list could go on forever.

I remember 1991 and hearing Alice in Chains' "Man in the Box" for the first time and having my mind split wide the fuck open. I was hooked. No more pop for me, although I do confess to being a loyal viewer of Yo! MTV Raps!. I was a little rocker. I was a Cowboy From Hell Breaking the Law with No More Tears in an Angry Chair with an Appetite for Destruction and a Recipe for Hate.

1994 hit and I got my first DiscMan. My mother asked me what CDs I wanted. The list went a little something like this: the Offspring, Danzig, Pantera, Stone Temple Pilots, and Soundgarden. I got rejected like Spudd Webb trying to dunk over Hakeem Olajuwon. My first four CDs my mother purchased for me were (and I remember this because all but one were fucking awful) as follows: Live - Throwing Copper (great album), Collective Soul - WhicheverAlbumHadThatAwfulSongAboutHeavenAndItsLight (piece of shit), Aerosmith - Greatest Hits (helped culture me, but piece of shit), and THE FUCKING ENCINO MAN SOUNDTRACK. Never fear, my dad came to the rescue.

Under the tree at my pops' house were the Ignition and Smash from the Offspring. Enter melancholy, in your face punk about global atrocity, drugs, women, and being yourself in the face of everyone who attempted to mold you into what society wanted. At ten years old, the title track from Smash changed my life. Watch the video below and pay close attention to the lyrics.


That was it. I was done trying to fit in and I was done with all of the bullshit. Regardless of where they went after that album, the Offspring's first three records were filled some of the rawest, motivational, "fuck you if you don't like it" punk records ever captured in the studio.

Throughout the years I've always gravitated towards the heavier things in music, but I've always been a punk at heart. Keep in mind that when I say 'heavy', I don't always mean that in a sonic sense. To quote Tom Morello, "You don't gotta be loud, son, to be heavy as shit." That holds true on so many levels. Johnny Cash, Muddy Waters, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Tori Amos, and others like them haven't been heavy in the conventional sense, but the pure emotion and feeling that they were/are able to convey in their music is nothing less than magical.

So yes, I'm a metalhead. I'm a rocker. I'm a country outlaw. I'm a man with the blues. I'm all of these things and so much more, but ideologically, I'm a punk. My politics, my anti-establishment, anti-theistic, fuck authority attitude has always been there. From the just out of diapers me that asked how Noah fit all of the animals on the Ark and why can't we see God, all the way up to the here and now, I have been everything that my music embodies. It just took certain musicians to give my visceral angst the words to express itself.

So what is it that draws us to be so passionately enthralled with the sonic delights we enjoy? I guess it just depends on the person. This is me. This is who I am. It's not about image or tattoos or whatever, it's about what's inside. It's about that feeling you get when you hear a certain riff or verse that connects with something deep inside you. The half euphoric, half nauseous gut feeling that gets even the most rhythmically challenged of us wanting to move to the beat and break shit. That good music that simultaneously attacks all five senses and overwhelms you until you can't take it anymore.

You know what I'm talking about. If you don't, you're missing out.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I Am Made of Scars


So there I was, spending another uneventful afternoon alone in the warehouse. I went to the bathroom to yoo-ren-nate and I must have thought I was Travis Bickle or something because I started making faces and talking to myself in the mirror. This wasn't a pep talk or a pre-fight motivational speech (although there is a retard who's supposedly going to try and fight me at some point this evening), it was just me being a bored idiot and working on my face warping skills.

After about five minutes of me embarrassing myself despite the fact that I was alone, I ended up glaring into the mirror and making my "war face" just like Gunny from Full Metal Jacket. And there they were, looking all sorts of fucked up like a trash compactor, staring at me saying, "You dumb motherfucker." That's right, my lovely broken teeth from a very large fist attached to an equally large man. This got me thinking about every stupid thing I've done in my life that's left permanent damage, either physical or mental. It also made me think of my son. My son, the big beastly five year old monstrosity who aspires to do great things like join the Navy and become Batman when he grows up.

Before I get into how awesome my kid is, let me give you a brief history of my pain as a child:

1988, 3 years old: Sliced off my finger nail on a circular saw in the garage.

1988, 3 years old: Fell off my bike and lost the skin on my arms and legs.

1989, 4 years old: I spent the entire summer covered in thick scabs, again on the arms and legs.

1993, 8 years old: I thought it would be a smart idea to try and back flip out of a swing and landed on my face in the gravel.

1993, 9 years old: I got hit in the face with a bowling ball at a birthday party and my front tooth )(thankfully it was a baby tooth) turned black and fell out.

1994, 9 years old: I tried to ride a bike through (perpendicular) an irrigation ditch and flew over the handle bars, de-fleshing 30 percent of my front side.


Now those are just the memorable ones. Oh yeah, I also crushed my pinky in the front door of the post office because I was retarded and thought that just becuase there was space under the hinges, I should stick my finger in there. It was fine until someone opened the door and there I was, little 7 year old Cub Scout howling in agony and the poor broad coming out of the building had no clue what was happening.

ANYWAY, aside from a couple of wicked scars on his forehead (my little monster has a tendency to fall into coffee table corners), little Wes has gone through the first five years of his life relatively unscathed. He's a tough little dude, but he's been really lucky. Other kids however, are a completely different story. I see kids at the store and just out and about all the time and nothing. It's the end of August and not one of these little booger eaters has a single cut, scrape, or bruise. What the shit is that?

I remember the end of summer when I was a kid being completely different. The first day of school was always a fun time because three quarters of us showed up covered in gauze, some with casts, and everyone had Band-Aids galore all over their bodie. We looked like Bravo Company coming home from Europe after four years of fighting the Nazis.

Some folks say that every generation is weaker than the last. They say that it's because people don't beat the shit out of their kids anymore. I agree with the former to some extent and disagree with the latter completely. My "toughness" didn't come from my corporal punishment at home (which was a lot less than I probably deserved), but rather from going outside and being a dumb little turd and wrecking myself on my bike and getting into fights. It came from thinking I was Superman and jumping out of trees and tripping over my own feet when I was sprinting down the sidewalk. It came from being a normal little kid.

I see these kids today who aren't allowed to do anything unless their parents are right over their shoulders and it makes me sad. They can't go outside and play by themselves because the boogeymen might come and snatch them up. They aren't allowed to kick the shit out of each other at school, and if they do happen to get into a fight, both children are suspended and the police get involved. No one plays sandlot football or "Smear the Queer" at the park after school. I could go on forever.

Their tears come exclusively from someone not sharing. Their tears come from their feelings being hurt. Their tears come from not being able to watch their shows or play their video games. It's all emotional pain and nothing physical. It's that physical pain that helps mold who you are and gives you the confidence to be a man. It preps you for adolescence so that you don't cry when you get hurt and if you fall down or get knocked down, you get up and walk that shit off!

I guess my main question is this: What will the future men of America be like when they are adults after a childhood of being coddled and Purexed to death? How tough will they be with no bumps and bruises and scars to help them remember growing up and being a boy? And will it even matter at that point, or will we have evolved enough to no longer need to be tough in our society?

All of this from making faces at myself in the bathroom at work. I need a lobotomy.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

FUCK YOU, GLENN BECK. FUCK YOU.

Fuck you.



And here's an awesome link to all of the lovely things that the LDS folks think about black people.

http://www.christiandefense.org/mor_black.htm

Friday, August 27, 2010

I Love Double Standards

I promise I'll get back to actual writing at some point this weekend, but it's just so goddamned easy to rant incoherently into my webcam.






*EDIT*8/28/2010*


I was perusing YouTube and caught a video with the same title as mine. I responded to it with a retort via my webcam. Both videos are below.




Monday, August 23, 2010

More Delicious Scuba Steve in the Flesh

A Q&A episode.





Go Back to Sleep, America...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Just Because


I'm stuck here at work with absolutely nothing to do. The Marines are all gone and the only reason I'm here is because there are civilian contractors building some new shelf unit in the back of the warehouse. I have an ungodly (fitting, seeing as how I'm an atheist) amount of gas and I'm exhausted. All I want right now is some gin and juice and a motherfrackin' mustard dog. Then I can rest. "Rest for what?" you might be thinking... For KICKBALL of course. Friday morning kickball. Go Navy!


Since I've already started writing, I might as well drop some lines about a few things that have crossed my mind over the last few days:


1) I've decided that the only truly "Official" Brett Favre retirement is going to come in the form of him dying on the field. For whatever reason, Mr. Favruh just doesn't seem to know when to quit. Looking back, I suppose that maybe only John Elway got it right. Retiring after back to back championships was epic and has immortalized him as one of, if not THE best QBs the game has ever seen (even if that's not entirely the case). So, Mr. Favruh, fuck you. That is all.


2) I've come to the conclusion that my not being a civilian is tremendously beneficial to certain individuals. There are certain things that would have pushed me over my boiling point long ago that I haven't been able to do anything about, simply because retaliation on my part would have adverse effects on my career. So count your blessings, you sad sorry motherfuckers. Your legs would have been broken and your teeth would have been knocked out if it weren't for my swelling pride, integrity, loyalty, and sense of duty regarding this oh so glorious nation.


3) We're out of Iraq. "Combat Operations are over." Whoopity fucking do. There will still be endless occupation and our troops will continue to die over there. The numbers will be smaller, but lives will still be lost. We have the Dubya and Vice President Dick to thank for that. I won't be satisfied until every last one of our men and women are out of that shithole. EVERYONE.


4) TAKE YOUR JESUS SHIT OFF OF YOUR DESK. If I can't hang up a witty de-motivational poster about how much of a FAILURE religion is, or even just a simple pro-atheism poster here in the workplace, I don't want to see your superstitious bullshit draped all over your computer tower. Anything that promotes god(s) is just as irritating and offensive to me as my stuff is to you. But unlike you, I have the common courtesy to not hang up signs that say "God isn't real" all over my cubicle.


5) I love Hamburger Helper. I really think that it might be the best stuff on Earth. The trick is to ignore the amount of water that you're supposed to use and just use all milk. You need to stir the milk and the sauce mix in a separate bowl prior to adding it to the skillet. Undercook the burger when you're "browning" the beef - don't worry, it'll cook all the way through when you boil the pasta. Then, when you're all done and you take it off the stove, dump about a cup and a half of shredded cheese (Mexican is the preferred nomenclature) on top of it. This makes it more delicious no matter what the flavor is.


And that's really all I've got for now. Actually it's not, but I have to empty my bladder and I think these retards might be leaving for the day. Adios, comrades.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My Debate With a Jehovah's Witness Part 1


So to eliminate any confusion henceforth, Monica is my friend and her husband was on her Windows Live account.


Monica says:
so my husband will be on in just a little k

Scuba Steve says:
Perfect. I'll be here.

Monica says:
k well it was nice saying hi have fun..

Scuba Steve says:
I will.

Monica says:
hello. good evening.

Scuba Steve says:
How are you?

Monica says:
good, yourself?

Scuba Steve says:
I'm doing great. I'm a little disappointed that there's too much artificial light where I'm at, so the meteor shower is barely visible. It's supposed to pick up in a couple hours, so maybe I'll have better luck then.

Monica says:
sounds nice, i have an affinity for all things space-related.

Scuba Steve says:
So I've heard. Congrats, by the way. I know you guys have been married for awhile, but still. Monica and I have been friends for a really long time. It's good to see her happy. You're a very lucky man.

Monica says:
Thank you. I hope you and I will get to know each other a bit during our little chat about big issues. Can i suggest a starting point?

Scuba Steve says:
I'm game for whatever, brother. I've got all the time in the world and I love a healthy conversation.

Monica says:
I will start at the very beginning. "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth..." ...just joking. a little humor there.

Scuba Steve says:
Good one. I actually snorted.
Hit me.

Monica says:
i have a small disclaimer first, do u mind?

Scuba Steve says:
Not at all.

Monica says:
i am very involved in our congregation (JW), as u may have heard, but u may notice my conversations may be a bit on the logical side. is that ok?

Scuba Steve says:
That's fine. Any point of view can be thrown on the table. Most times I maintain a decent level of tact and respectability. I'm arrogant and I say what's on my mind but I try not to get inflammatory unless stones are thrown in my direction first. Saying what you feel is part of being honest and I'm a huge honesty advocate.

Monica says:
There are no stones to throw here. Let's start with the foundation of this chat. I will limit my personal opinions. May I ask what you think FAITH is?

Scuba Steve says:
My definition of faith is trust. I have faith (very little as of late) in humanity. I have faith in certain people in my life. Faith is a belief that has no evidence. I have zero reason to believe that people are inherently good, but I choose to hope for it because to survive as a species we need to put aside our petty differences and work together.

Monica says:
Thanks. The reason I ask is simply this: Most people would also define "faith" similarly. Such as you put it, "Faith is a belief that has no evidence". Would you be surprised to know that the Bible clearly states that faith is the exact opposite?

Scuba Steve says:
Of course it does. The Bible is a subjective book that claims to be the exact word of God, so faith IN God as told by the Bible would be belief based on fact.

Monica says:
The point is this: Hebrews 11:1 clearly states that faith must have a foundation of convincing, provable, and inexorable evidence. You're exactly right in thinking that just because a book says so, that dont make it so. But what about external secular sources?

Scuba Steve says:
External secular sources that say what, exactly? If you say Josephus, I'm calling shenanigans immediately.

Monica says:
hahaha. good one. no josephus talk, i promise. I just want to make sure one thing is quite clear... We will be speaking with clearly logical arguments only. Fact-based reality. Sounds good?

Scuba Steve says:
That's what I'm all about.

Monica says:
Great! Because anything else would be a waste of your time. Topic 1: Does a supreme being (aka Judeo-Christian "God") exist? I am curious as to what reasons do you have for saying no? Care to share?

Scuba Steve says:
There are two answers to this question. 1: No. The Judeo-Christian God doesn't exist anymore than Zeus, Horus, Mithra, Satan, The Flying Spaghetti Monster, etc. 2: I am an atheist because there is no evidence for the existence of a supreme being. If there is one, he is uninvolved with anything that goes on here on this planet. I don't believe in God for the same reason I don't believe in Santa Claus.

Monica says:
how dare you negate the existence of the flying spaghetti monster?!

Scuba Steve says:
It's a shocker, I know. Personally, I worship Samuel L. Jackson. But that's a whole other conversation. I'll save the blasphemy for a more appropriate time.

Monica says:
Well, good scientific investigation tells us that reasonably minded intellectuals "follow the evidence" no matter where it leads. So, let's start with, say... evolution.
what has evoultion proved?
it has proved that species have changed to adapt to their environment over eons of time?
That's actually quite an idealistic oversimplification of the what the evidence actually says.

Scuba Steve says:
First off, let me say that evolution does not disprove 'creation', but it DOES disprove the traditional theological creation stories that have been told over time. The DNA evidence alone is proof of evolution, not to mention the fossils. We are genetically linked with other members of the Great Ape family of primates, 97% (If memory serves) with chimpanzees. Even after that, all forms of life share similar genetic coding. For example, chickens have the genetic code for teeth in their DNA. Darwin's biggest mistake was naming his book "The Origin of Species" instead of "The Gradual Transition and Development of Life on Earth" or something to that effect.

Monica says:
thats true, except u forgot to mention that humans are linked to the great apes thru 97% of the actual 3% of the genome thats actually been decoded. thats quite a large gap.

Scuba Steve says:
Touché, Salesman, touché. That being said, if we are to believe the Bible, there should be 0% similarities.

Monica says:
remember, i'm not talking about the bible anymore. and dont forget that the fossil record does not corroborate step by step, gradual changes in life forms thru eons of time. please, look it up, all the forms of life that have been found remain unchanged and only do new forms of life appear at the start of a new geological era. That's called stasis.
each geological era produces new forms of life that remain virtually unchanged for millions of years. that's why there is such a rush to find "missing links" (so long as they dont end up like the "piltdown man").

Scuba Steve says:
And others change constantly. If we are to believe that we are all connected to the first two humans who were spontaneously poofed into existence, it's peculiar that there are different ethnicities. And about fossils:
Firstly, finding fossils at all is tough. The conditions that had to be present to fossilize bones had to be very precise. All living things are "transitional" life forms. Australopithecus africanus is an example of a transitional fossil.

Monica says:
you are confusing two vastly different ideas, MICRO-evolution (which can be observed and proven to be true) and MACRO-evolution (darwins theory).

Scuba Steve says:
Secondly, evolution is present in so many other forms of life and observable in microevolution that lack of fossilized evidence is easily and accurately supplemented.

Monica says:
For macroevolution to be possible there wuold have to be gradual, unassisted mutations from one species until it created such variation in a group of descendants that an entirely new species would be produced. This has not been proven, even in the slightest.
ASSISTED mutation (by genious geneticists and microbiologists) has been completely unsuccesful for the past 60 years.

Scuba Steve says:
Are you familiar with Stephen Jay Gould? And you don't have to go any farther than Wikipedia to find an enormous list of transitional fossils.

Monica says:
Very. Please look up what they have actually found of these fossils. It can all fit on a large billiard table.

Scuba Steve says:
Not true. And Gould mentioned gravity and how the theory started with Sir Isaac Newton observing things fall. Einstein improved on the theory and gravity as we know it is vastly different from what Newton had originally thought, but that doesn't change the fact that things fall. Darwin's theory had more holes than a barroom dartboard. Today's theory is still incomplete but it does not change the fact that things change over time. Hence the average human height increasing, different ethnicities, and all those transitional fossils and genetic evidence linking all life on Earth that Creationists continually choose to ignore.

Monica says:
There are many things being ignored, such as: If our species evolved from primates to humans, why are there still primates yet NO superior ape-man survived?

Scuba Steve says:
For the same reason that many species of animals survive while others go extinct. Environmental factors, natural disasters, famine, drought, whatever. That's an absurd argument too because modern primates are not our common ancestor.

Monica says:
exactly. the weak die off. those not fit enough to perpetuate the existence of their "lesser" species. you cannot account for the lesser primates surviving yet their superior conterparts (hence, more promising evolutionary intermediates) ended up dying off.
besides, are u aware of how they get the dates for these specimes?

Scuba Steve says:
The primary basis for evolution is on reproductive success. The most fit individuals, which, within given environments will produce the most offspring and the characteristics which provided that success will spread amongst the group. And carbon-14 dating is accurate.
If our understanding of radioactive half-lifes and atomic structure in general was even the slightest bit off, we would have never been able to create atomic bombs or nuclear power. Everything involved in all of these processes is linked in atomic physics.

Monica says:
Steve, you are very well informed about many things, yet there are a few things are not accurate. Monica mentioned to me a few things that you thought about JW's that were ill-informed. That's ok, as long as you are willing to hear the reality of it. By the way, carbon-14 only has a half life of 5730 yrs. The full amount of carbon-14 isotope decays to 0% after 50,000 years. Anything older than that cannot be dated via carbon-14.
The australopithecus africanus is said to have been around at 2-3 million years ago in the Pliocece. Carbon-14 dating does not permit that.

Scuba Steve says:
Have you seen the method of computation that is used?
And are you also saying that the Earth is "young" and not billions of years old?

Monica says:
yes, and it is flat so dont sail too far or you'll fall off. I spoke with someone at ucla about dating processes but i am not sure. please enlighten me.

Scuba Steve says:
C-14 dating can be extended past your 50,000 year mark, but it is not the only radioactive isotope used for dating. It is the most accurate, but not the only one. There are huge lists of others (again, you don't have to go farther than Wikipedia) that are used, that are less accurate, BUT can be used to measure back millions and billions of years. And really, when you're going back a few hundred million years, does it really matter if you're off by 100k? These dates are just general timeframes and not on the dot accurate. That's why you'll see numbers like, "Such and such was dated at BETWEEN 200 and 250 million years old".

Monica says:
very true. i forget that humans are not the standard of measurement on this earth.

Scuba Steve says:
As they shouldn't be. Remember, Noah lived to be 950 or thereabouts.
Maybe HE saw some macro-evolution firsthand. Hahaha.

Monica says:
hahaha! i like that. well, our first conversation turned out to be a good one, eh? i just want you to see that I am not going to come around with arguments that sound like "well, the bible says..."
trust me, you're speaking to one skeptical dude.

Scuba Steve says:
That's comforting. And I'm a tiny bit surprised you're not a supporter of Biblical Inerrancy. When Monica said you were a space geek (I am too. The Universe on History is my favorite show) I knew you'd give a good debate no matter what it was over. We should definitely do this again sometime. It was fun.

Monica says:
It has been. One thing i cant stand is ignorance by choice (I humbly include myself). Thats why i read up on everything i can. I don't mind admitting an idea I have is wrong as long as it can be proved without a doubt. Believe me, the real tough part begins when we get to the "hard sciences" (astronomy, cosmology, origin of life).

Scuba Steve says:
Well, until next time... And we should discuss the Scriptures next time. Also, microbial life on Mars would be a good subject too. I'm gonna run outside and try and catch the tail end of this meteor shower.

Monica says:
oh, sorry i forgot about the time difference. sounds good. its been a pleasure increasing my neurons with you.

Scuba Steve says:
Likewise.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The One


She is it. Pure poetry in motion. The most beautiful song never written. All that never was. I see her sometimes as I float delicately between sleep and consciousness, her eyes swallowing me like Jonah. She stands there beckoning, never quite as visible as I'd like. I want to run towards her but nothing is working outside of my head. I'm stuck. I cry out, warning her of all the things that make me undeserving. I tell her of shameless exploits, demented thoughts, backwards philosophy, and every bad habit that I possess and couldn't shake even if I wanted to. Still she remains. Silent, yet saying everything with her eyes, she lets me know that none of it matters. She is everything and nothing, simple and infinitely complex. The type of woman that men would go to war for. The one who makes the universe feel as big as a marble because anywhere that she isn't doesn't matter and therefore, doesn't exist. Light creeps in and overwhelms her until she's gone just as quick as she appeared. I don't know who she is, where she came from, or where she is going... I just see her sometimes as I float delicately between sleep and consciousness.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Death is the End of the Ride and You Fear It

"Oh shit, he's talking about death again." Actually, yes, I am. It was a healthy blend of Hitchens on AC 360 and Rollins Band that made me start thinking about that inevitable fate that we all share. It just seems so silly how emotional people get when they're dying. I understand friends and family, but not the individual. So bravo to Mr. Hitchens for being a man and keeping his cool through a shitty situation.

Before any of you call the cops and tell them there's going to be a suicide in Benbrook, let me say that I expect to live a fairly long and productive life and, assuming I don't get hit by a bus or gang raped by a pack of angry giraffes, I'm not going anywhere anytime soon. I just don't get the whole conversion on the deathbed thing. Like it's really going to matter at that point.

I dunno. This is short and sweet and I just wanted to giggle over the terribly ironic fact that the people who are most afraid of dying are the ones who believe in an afterlife. Go figure.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I'm This Many


So here I am, 25 years old... I have no idea how I've survived up to this point. I've been in the military for seven years, I've been deployed to the Persian Gulf, I've spent two years of my natural life on the ocean and plan on dedicating many more years to the art of floating aimlessly while performing some critical operation. All of this and I'm still just a boy in a man's body.

When someone asks me what I do, I tell them and they stare at me in awe. "Blibbity blah blah multi-million dollar aircraft components blibbity blah War on Terror blah blah deployments blah blah blah United States Navy." I guess I've become desensitized to the fact that I'm part of a machine that is the most powerful physical force in the world. None of this seems to impress me anymore and the things I've had and have to do at work are just that: things.

Compliments from strangers, free beers, family bragging about me to everyone who will listen, etc. I suppose everyone in the military gets this though. I'm definitely proud of my job and my accomplishments in that job, but what about life itself? What about outside of work? Well, I'll tell you.

I'm part of a Lost Generation of Man-Children. We 'grew up' and joined the military for all sorts of different reasons. We were forced into a lifestyle that not too many people could handle (a lot don't and find themselves sent home earlier than expected) and given a responsibility that we sometimes take too lightly because the true gravity of it would tie our stomachs in knots. We think because we go to war and play with guns and operate really cool, expensive shit that we're "grown-ass men" as so many coworkers delicately put it.

What do most of us do after that? We get married. Some of us have kids. Most of us do both. Why is that? I've been married twice and as much as I swore I was ready (both times), I can see now that I was nowhere close. I'm still a child. I can't manage my money, I play too many video games, and I still think that cartoons and cold pizza are the best possible way to start off a Saturday afternoon when I wake up. I can barely take care of myself and I thought I could take care of a family? Clearly I was out of my mind.

I was also under the assumption that having what is arguably the dumbest and most destructive job in the world would help my marriages be successful. Boy was I wrong. We expect our wives to pick up and move to WTFEUSSM: Where the Fuck Ever Uncle Sam Sends Me. We expect them to leave everything they've ever known and go to some strange place where they have no friends, no relatives, and no job, and just be happy as hell about it. Not only that, but they have to do all this and hang out alone for months at a time while we go out and play big boy games and risk the chance of coming home in a bodybag.

We expect our children to be okay with us never being around and being so mentally drained from the idiocracy that is the U.S. Military that when we are home, we don't have the energy to give them the proper amount of attention. And then when the inevitable divorce happens, and believe me it does, we hope that they turn out alright growing up in a broken home.

All of this because most of us joined a warfighting organization (some before they could even buy a lottery ticket legally) way too young and as much as we've "matured" in our careers, we're still the same idiot kids we were when we joined. Children raising children. Socially retarded. Not all, but most.

I may be able to effortlessly rattle off hours of nonsense about what I do at work when I'm asked, but if someone asks me how old I am, I pause. I know how old I am, but I sure don't feel that old. On one hand, I feel like I'm sixty. On the other hand, I feel like I'm twelve. Age is all relative in so many different areas of one's life, that it's absurd to measure a person's true age by the number of trips the Earth has made around the sun since they've been born. So how old am I? "I'm this many."

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Remember Me


This horribly cheesy and very well-done film captured what I think most people overlook when they think about September 11th. It took you on a ride with a guy who, while confused, was what every idiot 22 year-old kid should aspire to be. It took you on that ride and it all went up in flames at the end.

Every person who lost his or her life on that day had their own story. It may or may not have been as romantic and captivating as Twilight Guy's was in the movie, but they had one. 2,976 people were killed that day and every single one of them had a life and a story the same as you and I do.

I guess what I'm getting at is I'm glad they titled the movie Remember Me and not Holy Fucking Shit! We're Not Safe Anymore and We Won't Be Until We Rid the World of Arabs. After the film was over, I wasn't left with any feelings of anger or an urge for revenge. Then again, I didn't feel that way on September 11th, either. I just felt sad; a lot of sadness and shock.

Maybe I'm just different. Maybe I'm not a "true patriot" or a "good American" because I don't have an insatiable thirst for bloody retribution. I think most people take those terms out of context anyway because I think that a true patriotic American shouldn't have a knee-jerk reaction to something like that. I think a true patriotic American should be tough and shrug it off. Mourn, yes, but don't give the perpetrators what they wanted. Don't validate their cause.

Almost double the number of American lives have been lost in the "War on Terror". Double. There have been no substantial victories or results short of the previous administration's payback on a man that had nothing to do with the attacks on the World Trade Center whatsoever. Who knows how long it will last either? I sure don't, but I'm willing to bet that it will continue far longer than even the Vietnam War did.

"Remember Me"

Remember the people who were killed. Think about what they would want. Think about the injustices committed in their names. Most importantly, remember who they were. Everyone has a story.

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves." ~Abraham Lincoln