Suspenders and Face Masks

454CB634-725B-4CC7-9F88-A2E159DF09BAI have have some positive news to share about the coronavirus pandemic. I’ve lost about ten pounds since this whole shelter-in-place order has been in effect. I don’t know why that is, because, other than when I go out and walk my dog, I spend the rest of my time sitting on my ass inside my house. And yet, I’m shedding pounds, something that make my wife very annoyed, since she’s not.

As a result of this weight loss, my pants don’t fit me anymore. Unfortunately, I have no hips to speak of and I have a flat butt. Hence, my old jeans, which are now too big around the waist, keep falling down, even with my belt on. To address this dilemma, I ordered a pair of clip on suspenders from Amazon, and they were delivered last week. I also ordered some new jeans with a smaller waist size.

So now, when I wear my older jeans, I use suspenders to hold them up, despite the fact that my wife says it makes me look like an old-timey farmer. And when I wear my new, smaller-waisted jeans, using my belt to keep them up works fine.

God doesn’t wear a face mask

In the weirdness file, an Ohio lawmaker is objecting to the wearing of face masks on the grounds that God doesn’t wear one. Wearing a face mask, Republican state representative Nino Vitale argues, dishonors God.276BCABA-62D1-423C-B20C-938456DDCC29“This is the greatest nation on earth founded on Judeo-Christian Principles. One of those principles is that we are all created in the image and likeness of God. That image is seen the most by our face. I will not wear a mask,” Vitale wrote on Facebook. “That’s the image of God right there, and I want to see it in my brothers and sisters.”

Seriously folks, you can’t make this shit up.

For Those Who Claim To Be Atheists

5EDABF2B-68F5-4282-AF25-80E11407602FThere is a blogger whose posts I occasionally read, even though he and I couldn’t be more different in our philosophies and ideologies. But sometimes I get a kick out of the mostly nonsensical (in my opinion) things he posts on his blog. For example, in this post, titled “If You Don’t Believe In God, They (sic) Why Are You Afraid,” he claims that atheists seem to fear death.

I’d like to examine what he said in that post and respond to his questions/comments about atheists, God, and death.

First he asks, “[F]or those who claim to be atheists, what are they so afraid of on the other side of life?” Just to be clear I don’t “claim to be” an atheist, I am one. I do not believe in the existence of some sort of mythological, mystic, supernatural, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent being. I believe that God didn’t create man, but that man created God.

Second, as an atheist, I don’t believe there is an “other side of life.” When you’re dead, you’re dead. Your life ceases. Since I don’t believe in an afterlife, I’m not afraid of it.

But the blogger is correct when he says that, “If [atheists] don’t believe in God, then they don’t believe in a final judgment. He claims that, “The Godly seem to fear the temptation of life that they will answer for come their judgment.” Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble, but atheists don’t live their lives in the hope of being found worthy of getting admitted to heaven for eternity by the magical judge in the sky. We live our lives to the fullest extent possible because there is nothing to “live for” after death.

Then he writes, “Atheists claim to be free and enlightened, yet they don’t seem to exhibit that which they claim.” I have no idea what he means by that. What is it that he believes atheists claim that we don’t exhibit, I wonder.

And finally he claims that “The atheists seem to fear death.” I don’t fear death and none of the atheists I know personally do either. I love life, and I want to live it as long as I can. But I know that death is inevitable and that once I die, it’s all over. It’s not something I’m afraid of. What I do fear is a slow, painful death, so when I die, I hope it will be fast and peaceful, preferably in my sleep.

By the way, don’t you love it when someone who is not something claims to have a special knowledge about, or insight into, something he’s not?

A Message from God

A5259EB7-2ABE-40CC-812D-191CEB68E8C2The Hobby Lobby chain of craft stores was planning to stay open during the pandemic after the CEO’s wife received a message from God. In a letter to employees, CEO David Green explained that while the coronavirus pandemic is “certainly concerning,” God informed his wife, Barbara, last week that He will specifically protect Hobby Lobby and its employees and “groom us to be better than we could have ever thought possible.”

Well, either God had a change of heart or Barbara garbled God’s message to her. Seems that Hobby Lobby has now started closing its stores and laying off employees. In a letter to the terminated employees, one senior exec said, “It is with a tremendously broken heart that I’ve been forced to take these unimaginable actions, and I genuinely hope you know that my prayers are with you and your family.”

Hobby Lobby fired its employees by email. People lost their insurance and were offered no severance. David Green told the fired employees that, while he does not know what the future holds for the business, everyone will have to “tighten” their belts. He also stated that “God is in control” of the situation.

God and Trump…so in control, right?

#writephoto — Alien Giants

8AD18621-EFD3-427C-96C2-A617BDD2D00B“Do you remember this, Viggo?” Antonio asked, pointing to the upright rocks on the green plateau.

Antonio shrugged. “It looks familiar, Viggo, but it was so long ago, I can’t be sure.”

“Ah, Antonio, you old bastard, your brain is all muddled,” Viggo said. “Where else do the rocks stand at attention like that, my old friend? We used to ride our bikes along this path and play among the rocks.”

“Oh right,” Antonio said and smiled. “When we were boys we used to pretend that those large stones were alien invaders and you and I would save humanity by battling and defeating them. But that was back when the world was normal, before the virus took its toll on our country and the world.”

“Yes, you do remember,” Viggo said, his eyes glazing over as he recalled life as it used to be. “Maybe we were right, Antonio. Maybe those giant rocks are aliens and they unleashed an alien virus that wiped out half of humanity.”

Antonio shook his head. “Viggo, my mind may sometimes be muddled, but this horror didn’t come from outer space. We humans pillaged and poisoned our planet. We concocted this virus by using genetic modification to alter the molecular structures of natural elements until one such concoction turned around and attacked us and we had no defenses to combat it.”

“Are you saying, Antonio, that we did this to ourselves?” Viggo asked.

“Not intentionally, Viggo,” Antonio said. “But I think humanity’s cavalier attitude toward our planet and negligence to take action to preserve our air and water led to the need for the forces of nature to clean house, so to speak, sort of like the biblical Great Flood.”

“So this was God’s work?”

“God, Mother Nature, science, alien giants, or simple human stupidity,” Antonio said. “I don’t know. But I hope that those of us who somehow survived will learn from this.”

“Don’t count on it, old friend.”


Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. Sue has asked us not use her challenge as a platform from which to share our partisan political opinions. I think my (hopefully) fictional tale transcends partisan politics.

#writephoto — Welcome to Purgatory

C32E9638-7188-462B-89A1-1DD256BFD3A3I was one of a group of half a dozen rather unworldly-looking beings, almost ghostly in our appearance and seeming to be without material substance. I had no memory of how I got here and no knowledge where I was. But I knew that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.

It was very dark and I could see nothing other than a blueish glow emanating from my companions and me. They all seemed to be as confused and disoriented as I was. I tried to speak but, I could produce no sound.

Without warning, an apparition appeared before us, emerging from the darkness and literally gliding into view. She had the appearance of a woman with long, flowing red hair and she was carrying some sort of bowl in her hand, in a fashion as one might when making an offering. She possessed an ethereal look, translucent and pulsating in such a matter that made it seem as if she was, at the same time, both there and not there.

In a voice that was soft and delicate, yet lilting, she said, “Welcome to Purgatory, my friends. Each of you has died in God’s grace, but you are still imperfect and must undergo the process of purification so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.”

“Damn,” I thought to myself, since I was unable to vocalize. “It seems that I bet on the wrong horse when I was alive. I believed neither in God nor in the afterlife.”

The apparition floated over to me, took the bowl she was holding, lifted it over what once would have been my head, turned it upside down, and emptied the contents of the bowl over me, causing me to experience a pressing sensation on my chest. “No,” she said, “you are right where you belong.”

Then I heard what sounded like a cat’s purring and as I slowly returned to consciousness, I discovered that I was in my bed and the pressing sensation on my chest was from my cat sitting on my chest and kneading me.


Written for the Thursday Photo Prompt from Sue Vincent. Image credit: unattributed.