Fandango’s Friday Flashback — November 22

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember?

Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 22nd) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on November 22, 2014 in my old, now defunct blog. It was a bit of a rant. Sorry about that.

Second Thoughts

416BE191-4846-4736-907E-881C29AF6489The title of this post is probably a little misleading. I’m not really having second thoughts about anything in particular. Second thoughts imply a change of heart or opinion or resolve reached after considering something again. It might also mean having new doubts about someone or something. But don’t worry, I haven’t suddenly found religion or been having intimate conversations with God or Jesus.

No, this post is not about changing my mind or having doubts. What this is about is complaining (okay, whining) about bloggers who follow certain practices on their blogs. I realize that it’s not my place to tell anyone else how to run his or her blog. But I do have a few strong opinions about certain protocols some bloggers follow.

Awaiting moderation
543E056E-07C5-4DA4-BBFE-45D675E70213When I make a comment on your posts, I don’t like to be told that my comment is awaiting moderation. I mean, seriously, what are you afraid of? If it’s spam you’re worried about, and if you blog on WordPress, Akismet should have you covered. Since I’ve been blogging on WordPress, Akismet has trapped more than 125,000 spam comments on my blog. That’s like half of a quarter million spam comments, for crissake. And if you’re worried that someone is going to post a comment that you or some of your readers might find inappropriate or offensive, then perhaps you should close your posts to comments. Problem solved.

I invite anyone and everyone, without moderation, to comment on my posts. No filtering, no deleting. Say what you wanna say and it will be there for everyone who reads and/or comments on my posts to see.
So this comment is awaiting moderation business — just cut it out.

Chronological order
reverse chronological orderWhat is going through your heads, people, when you choose to display the newest comments at the top of your posts’ comments sections and the older ones at the bottom? Showing comments in reverse chronological order makes no sense. The natural flow of any conversation is from start to finish, not from finish to start. When comments are displayed in chronological order, it’s easy to follow along with the conversation, to see the interactions, the reactions, the responses, and the replies in the order they were made.

This is especially true if someone posts a comment based upon an earlier comment that someone else posted. If the latter comment appears at the top of all the comments, how the hell are you going to know what that commenter was referring to?

So why would anyone want to have the newest comments first, rather than the oldest? If your blog is set up to show the newest comments at the top of your comments, you need to think about changing that. Please.

It’s none of my business

Well, I grant you that. It really isn’t my business. It’s your blog and if you want to moderate comments and/or display them in reverse chronological order, that’s your right and privilege. But in a way, it is my business because I find both practices to be quite annoying. And I don’t think I’m the only one who feels that way.

I’m not going to do something silly like add a poll here. But I do wish those of you who read this post would let us know what your thoughts are about comment moderation and about oldest first or newest first in the comments sections. And if you do state your preference or express your opinion, explain why you feel that way. Or not. It’s up to you.

But if you “like” this post and don’t comment, I will take that as an endorsement — nay, a mandate — that I’m right and that comment moderation and reverse chronological order for comments are both inherently evil practices.

Fandango’s Friday Flashback — November 15

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember?

Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 15th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on November 15, 2010 in my old, now defunct blog. It is, admittedly, a bit dated, as it refers to Sarah Palin. Remember her? I also removed the links to the Zogby poll and to the ABC News/Washington Post poll, as those links are no longer available.

Good News, Bad News

I’ve got some good news for you and some bad news. According to a recent Zogby poll, 37% of Americans say they believe in ghosts. And according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll, 27% of American voters say Sarah Palin is qualified to be president.0DC72640-4140-4E06-9C26-E8755BCCDC7DSo first, the good news is that more Americans believe in ghosts than believe that Sarah Palin is qualified to be president. The bad news is that 37% of Americans believe in ghosts!

But I guess that’s to be expected. After all, most Americans are Christian and most are taught, according to Christian mythology, that Jesus had a god as his father and a human woman — who also happened to be a virgin — as his mother. They’re also taught that an elderly man built a huge ark and loaded it up with one pair of each living creature on Earth that he somehow rounded up, and while God flooded the entire planet, this guy and his menagerie sailed around for forty days and nights until the flood waters receded.

I could go on and on, but beliefs such as these certainly make it plausible that more than a third of Americans actually believe in ghosts.

(Editorial post script: It occurred to me after I re-read the draft of this post that some people might take offense at what appears to be my singling out Christianity for its strange mythologies and somewhat absurd beliefs. The reason I did so is because four out of five Americans identify themselves as Christians, and since this post is referencing to what Americans believe, I used Christianity to illustrate my point. The fact is that, as an atheist, I find the mythologies, beliefs, and superstitions of virtually all recognized religions of the world to be pretty much equally absurd. But that doesn’t mean I don’t believe that each person has a right to believe or not believe in anything he or she chooses — including believing in ghosts, holy and otherwise. Hey, whatever floats your ark.)


Before posting this flashback today, I was curious if 37% of Americans in 2019, nine years after the Zogby poll I referenced, still believe in ghosts. Turns out that, according this recent poll, the percent of Americans who today believe in ghosts is up to 45!1F36B8F7-3BF2-4181-AB0A-D2C196E6FD62

Imagine

674CBCDF-01CE-4446-B59D-A8E4D0E67F8CIn his song, “Imagine,” John Lennon wrote:

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too

Well, leave it to none other than Rory, A Guy Called Bloke, to pose a bunch of questions about one of my favorite topics: Religion.

Warning. I’m an atheist and I have some strong views about religion. If you are one who tends to get offended when someone questions your believe system, I suggest you stop reading here.

With that out of the way, here are the provocative questions about religion that Rory posed, along with my answers:

Would our world be any different to today [if religion just simply never existed]?

I believe it would be different…and better, with one big caveat. The planet would be seriously overpopulated — even more than it already is — because millions of people who, over the ages, were killed in the name of God and religion would not have perished.

Would the world have begun without some kind of belief system in place?

Of course it would have begun. The world (i.e., the planet Earth) is four and a half billion years old and modern human beings have only existed for only about 200,000 years. So, since humans are relatively new compared to the planet, and it’s humans who have “belief systems,” the planet did just fine without any kind of belief system for billions of years. You’re welcome.

Is religion really needed?

As an atheist, my answer is no. Not for me, anyway. But for some, religion or faith or belief in something bigger than themselves provides comfort and solace. My philosophy on religion and belief in God is “whatever floats your boat.” Just don’t try to sink my boat because it doesn’t look like yours.

Many already say that ‘something’ would have been created to fill that void and if that is the case, what would that have been?

Humans are always seeking answers to questions, some of which, even given present knowledge, may be unanswerable. Hence, throughout human history, humans have invented gods and supernatural beings to fill in the blanks and to answer the unanswerable. So yes, based upon human nature and the need for answers and to belong, some sort of belief system would have been created.

Organized religion, as it exists today, though, is designed to control, manage, and manipulate their flocks, and to create and promote group-think built around superstitions and mythologies. It also tends to divide us based upon our specific set of beliefs, rituals, and practices, rather than unite us based upon our commonalities as human beings.

Organized religion also reinforces the notion of “the other” with respect to those who don’t share the same superstitions and mythologies that they do. That is why so many religions have as their mission converting “the other” to their own beliefs, rituals, and dogma. And those efforts to convert the “heretics” and “infidels” can be violent and deadly. And, to me, that’s not a good thing. In fact, I think it’s the most negative and destructive aspect of organized religion.

Okay, rant over. But this is what you get when you ask an atheist about religion. What are your thoughts?

Curses and Spells

8ECCA349-4791-493D-8664-44D23DBA63FCThis is truly bizarre to me. I read an article yesterday about a Catholic school in Tennessee has banned the “Harry Potter” series of books because a reverend at the school claimed they include both good and evil magic, as well as spells, which, if read by a human can conjure “evil spirits.”

I am not making this up. The reverend, apparently shortly after touching down from his magic carpet ride from heaven, claimed that there are curses and spells used in the books that are actual, real-life curses and spells. When read by a human being, these curses and spells can conjure evil spirits into the presence of the person reading the text.

Is that not something to marvel at? But wait! It seems that a number of Christian critics believe the Bible makes it clear that magic stems from demonic sources, and that “Harry Potter” books and movies may seduce children away from the religion and into occult practices.

Seriously?

The school’s pastor made the decision to ban the books after receiving a complaint from a parent. He then sent a letter to parents of the kids in the school warning them that if their children read the “Harry Potter” books, the parents may need to surmount an invasion of their home by evil spirits or migrants from Mexico and Central America.

Actually, that’s not true. I am making up the part about Mexican and Central American migrants. I was merely using some levity to offset the tension I’m sure you’re feeling if you have any “Harry Potter” books in your home, and your kids cast a spell on you.

But I was serious about the conjuring up of evil spirits. For what it’s worth, the Catholic Church does not have an official position on the magical book and movie series. Instead, each pastor has canonical authority to map out his parish school’s policies in such matters and to “act in that manner.”

You gotta love religious superstitions, don’t you?


Written for these daily prompts: Word of the Day Challenge (bizarre), The Daily Spur (carpet), Ragtag Daily Prompt (marvel), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (surmount), Your Daily Word Prompt (levity), and Daily Addictions (map).

Yes, I’m Angry

5B25D55D-D91C-409E-B0BC-B5B2E7829AA0I’m upset.

I’m frustrated.

I’m disappointed.

And I’m pissed.

Don’t worry, though

I’ll get over it.

Because what choice do I have?

There’s really very little I can do.

But I am hopeful that, eventually, the truth will out.

And decency and sanity will be restored.

I am optimistic that this madness will end.

I am counting on the survival of our republic.

But just in case I’m wrong

And Donald Trump gets re-elected

I will be exploring other countries to move to.

Being an expat might not be so bad

Compared to staying around

And witnessing the dissolution

Of the American republic.