Ballpoint Adventures for December 7, 1998 by ThePete
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Webcast666* episode 2 from Website666.com! News, Media, Money, I’m bagging on everything! Listen as I rant about Balloonboy, the media’s crappy coverage of Balloonboy, the integral flaw in the structure of loaning money, war and how we’re still very much waging it, religion and how it functions to control us, and how freedom is pretty much an illusion. Sorry for the sound in this ep—I was a little loud in a couple spots and thewater creates a very strange sound when the audio file got compressed. Apologies for that! I’m also hoping to figure out a way to better encode this and still have the file size be south of 10MB, as most free hosting sites don’t accept files bigger than that. Got an opinion on anything I’m saying? Please leave a comment! You can Tweet @website666 or @thepete. Thanks for listening! *link to mp3 hosted at archive.org added 20100907. Also: the podcast is now called the 666cast. Just an FYI!
Webcast666* episode 2 from Website666.com! News, Media, Money, I’m bagging on everything!
Listen as I rant about Balloonboy, the media’s crappy coverage of Balloonboy, the integral flaw in the structure of loaning money, war and how we’re still very much waging it, religion and how it functions to control us, and how freedom is pretty much an illusion. Sorry for the sound in this ep—I was a little loud in a couple spots and the
water creates a very strange sound when the audio file got compressed. Apologies for that! I’m also hoping to figure out a way to better encode this and still have the file size be south of 10MB, as most free hosting sites don’t accept files bigger than that.
Got an opinion on anything I’m saying? Please leave a comment! You can Tweet @website666 or @thepete. Thanks for listening!
*link to mp3 hosted at archive.org added 20100907. Also: the podcast is now called the 666cast. Just an FYI!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Author Barbara Ehrenreich on “Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America”
In her new book, author Barbara Ehrenreich documents what she says is the destructive power of the positive thinking movement in the United States, from breast cancer to the workplace, to the economy, to politics as a whole. Ehrenreich opens the book by writing about her own experience with breast cancer culture after being diagnosed with the disease in 2000. She says in the prevailing positive thinking culture of America, breast cancer patients are urged to avoid feeling angry and instead find meaning and even uplift in the disease. She writes, “In the most extreme characterization, breast cancer is not a problem at all, not even an annoyance—it is a ‘gift,’ deserving of the most heartfelt gratitude.” [includes rush transcript]
She suggests, among other things, that the “thinking positive” mindset places you on equal footing with whatever you are facing (even if you’re not) and also suggests that it’s all up to you to triumph and if you don’t, it’s your fault you failed and no one else’s.
Forget that cancer is not entirely understood. Forget that fate can throw curve balls at you. Forget that sometimes there are damn good reasons to get angry.
Ehrenreich is right when she suggests that “thinking positive” may not always be enough and sometimes may be the wrong way to go entirely.
It’s just more of the over-individualization of our society. Where an unfair amount of responsibility is placed with the individual rather than taking a critical look at where responsibility may really lie.
For instance, with cancer, I always come back to the idea that it’s absurd that the USG spends over a trillion dollars on keeping us safe from phantom menaces in the desert but a comparable pittance to help find a cure for cancer, which kills hundreds of thousands of people yearly. It’s absurd. But no—it’s your fault you’re dying of cancer, because you didn’t think positive enough.
Hey, so I just added a feed that allows you to download Webcast666 and take it with you. Yes, in episode 1 it’s called “Podcast666” but it turns out people are already using that name, so now I’m calling it Webcast666. I know, clever.
Anyway, you can subscribe using your favorite podcatcher thanks to the brilliant service Twaud.io. I have their feed shunted through feedburner, however, thus allowing me to offer you the easy-to-remember URL:
You can also find the link in the sidebar under the big “rss” link.
So, there ya have it! Hope you enjoy all future episodes of Webcast666!! Thanks for listening!
WHOOPS: Suddenly the feed’s not working. Download the track directly here:
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Episode 1 of Podcast666!* A podcast about challenging the way we live our lives. In this 30 minute recording I explain why I think there’s a need for Podcast666 and what it’s all about—the nutshell: because too many of us are thinking inside the box and suffering because of it. I want to explore challenging ideas—different ideas—that will improve the planet and our lives instead of buying into all the BS and rhetoric. Have a listen and feel free to comment here or Tweet at me (thepete). You can also follow Website666.com on Twitter! http://twitter.com/website666 And if you do, thanks for listening! *link to mp3 hosted at archive.org added 20100907. Also: the podcast is now called the 666cast. Just an FYI!
Episode 1 of Podcast666!* A podcast about challenging the way we live our lives.
In this 30 minute recording I explain why I think there’s a need for Podcast666 and what it’s all about—the nutshell: because too many of us are thinking inside the box and suffering because of it. I want to explore challenging ideas—different ideas—that will improve the planet and our lives instead of buying into all the BS and rhetoric.
Have a listen and feel free to comment here or Tweet at me (thepete). You can also follow Website666.com on Twitter! http://twitter.com/website666
And if you do, thanks for listening!
*link to mp3 hosted at archive.org added 20100907. Also: the podcast is now called the 666cast. Just an FYI!
Friday, October 9, 2009
I recently found this in my inbox, sent to me by a family member whose name I don’t need to mention. It’s a prayer I’m supposed to say and then forward to everyone I know. I thought, “I’ll do better than that and blog about it!” …and add my own commentary.
Hey, I’m an Atheist, after all. What am I going to do, happily swallow it when Christians shove their faith down my throat? They can dish it, but can they take it? We’ll see:
You never know when God is going to bless you!!
Well, unless he’s rude, I’d hope he’d do it after I sneeze.
Good things happen when you least expect them !!!
And sometimes when you totally expect them, too! Like the birth of babies, the end of the Bush Administration (January 20, 2009!! WAHOO!), or, like, when you actually plan to do something good! You know you can take actual control of your life and plan to do good things every day of your life. Pretty cool, huh?
Dear Lord, I thank You for this day,
Yeah, because, like what ELSE were you going to do? Like you’ve got other universes to mess with?
(You’re not cheating on us, are you?)
I thank You for my being able to see and to hear this morning
Oh, DEFINITELY, God! I mean, you not inexplicably making me blind and deaf while I slept? That was SO COOL OF YOU TO NOT DO!!
And thanks for not robbing me of my other senses, too. I dig those a lot, as well.
I’m blessed because You are a forgiving God and an understanding God.
And only occasionally give cancer to family members when I masturbate. I really appreciate the reminder that masturbation is wrong. (Sorry about causing your cancer, grandpa! Well, you’re dead, what do you care now?)
You have done so much for me and You keep on blessing me.
Actually, you’ve missed quite a few sneezes over the years. Plus I had another family member get cancer last year and I’d cut waaay back on my masturbation. Not fair.
Forgive me this day for everything I have done, said or thought that was not pleasing to you.
Yes, if I upset you in anyway, please don’t make me blind and/or deaf while I sleep or give me or my family members cancer, or orchestrate any traffic accidents I may witness today so that they will somehow wrap themselves around me. I REALLY appreciate you keeping me out of traffic accidents. (Of course, my own actions might have something to do with that, what with me not owning a car and taking the subway everywhere and looking both ways before crossing the street.)
I ask now for Your forgiveness.
Uhhh, I do?
I don’t remember committing any sins lately.
Well, I did masturbate this morning. :)
Please keep me safe from all danger and harm.
And late-night bouts of blind-and-deafness.
Help me to start this Day with a new attitude and plenty of gratitude.
Actually, I’m down with that. Though, I’m more thankful that the universe functions the (quite random) way it does. You know, that way that randomly allowed us to exist at all, instead of being space dust. That’s pretty cool.
Of course, it could all end in an instant when an asteroid slams into us. But that’s part of the bizarre universe we live in—er—I mean—the Magic of the Lord.
Let me make the best of each and every day to clear my mind so that I can hear from You.
Uhhh, God hasn’t spoken to me since I was 12 when he told me “I don’t exist!”
All right, to be honest, I told him that he didn’t exist because it would be stupid and impractical if he did. I remember the day clearly. I was in Sunday school and the teacher told me that God was all around us. I thought that was ridiculous and raised my hand. She called on me and I pointed to the middle of the table I was sitting at. “So, God is right there?”
“Yes,” was her response.
“Why?” was mine. I went on: “That’s stupid. Why would he be in the middle of this table?”
Since then, I’ve had momentary lapses of my lack of faith, but in the end, logic, facts and evidence always win out. When I see something that makes me honestly believe there’s a God of any kind, I’ll let ya know. But I digress…
Please broaden my mind that I can accept all things.
Wait—all things?? Like slavery and war and crime and bigotry and other really bad things? I’m going to go on faith ;) that these are not the things that the prayer is referring to.
That said, this I’m all for, but I think that only I can do this for myself. How is some deity (even if he does exist) going to help me accept gays and blacks and gun control and other things the Christian church stereotypically hates? I think it makes more sense for me to simply examine where these types of hate and fear come from and decide for myself if such causes merit such hate and fear.
Let me not whine and whimper over things I have no control over.
Like God? :P
Yeah, because complaining about government response to natural disasters is just STUPID (yet, clearly, we citizens have no control over what our government does, sadly).
And give the best response when I’m pushed beyond my limits.
Again, isn’t this entirely up to the individual? The individual has everything it needs to triumph—even according to Christian cliche’s like “God doesn’t put anything more on your shoulders than they can bear.”
So, what do we need God’s help for if he doesn’t stick us with anything we can’t deal with?
I know that when I can’t pray, You listen to my heart.
Wow, and I thought Big Brother was bad!
Continue to use me to do Your will.
WAIT! So, masturbation is part of God’s Plan after all?? AWESOME!!
Continue to bless me that I may be a blessing to others Keep me strong that I may help the weak…
Yeah, because like, once again, I can’t do that on my own? Why do I need to ask permission to be a good person? Why can’t I just decide to do it on my own? You know, take responsibility for my own actions?
Keep me uplifted that I may have words of encouragement for others.
Actually, I’d like to rephrase this:
Please stop giving my family members cancer. You won’t give me cancer because I eat really well, don’t smoke and general keep myself in good health. But please, lay off my family. You’ve been shitty enough to them. I mean, you know, if you exist. (And BTW, my family are Believers in You.)
I pray for those that are lost and can’t find their way.
Actually, I pray that those that are lost find a GPS. My new iPhone has GPS and I never get lost anymore, it’s AWESOME.
I pray for those that are misjudged and misunderstood.
Meh, it happens to all of us at some point. It’s a flaw in that whole “spoken language” thing. If You would just give us Mental Telepathy, God, we’d probably achieve world peace in like 5 minutes. But you know, I guess, us misjudging and misunderstanding each other is much more fun for you to watch—or something.
Say, why the hell did you create us, anyway? Is this just some sick fun you’re having? Watching the middle class dwindle, home owners get foreclosed, Palestinians get occupied, Israelis get blown up in pizza parlors, African kids get soldierized, polar bears get extinct, women get raped, people dying of cancer and bombs and bullets, it all must be pretty damned entertaining to you to let it go on for so long.
I pray for those who don’t know You intimately.
Eewww!! I don’t want to know God THAT way!! That’s gross!! Besides, I’m married! What would my wife think??
I pray for those that don’t believe.
Why? What’s wrong with us? Why do we need Your Help, God?
But I thank you that I believe that God changes people and God changes things.
So, wait—I’m supposed to thank God that I believe he does things?
That makes no sense.
Like, I’m supposed to thank the lawn mower for my belief that it will cut the grass.
I pray for all my sisters and brothers.
Man, how big a family am I supposed to have?
Isn’t there enough pressure on the world’s resources already?
I pray for each and every family member in their households.
…I pray that they will win the lottery and remember me. :D
I pray for peace, love, and joy in their homes.
But screw those Iraqis. Saddam was insane. We HAD to invade!!
I pray that they are out of debt and all their needs are met.
Because debt is a work of Satan.
Actually, that part probably is true. ;)
Though I think it’s HILARIOUS that the word “debt” sneaks into a prayer to God.
I pray that every eye that reads this knows there is no problem, circumstance, or situation greater than God.
If that’s true, why do we have to believe in Him? If a planet full of nonbelievers is a smaller problem than God, why does it matter if we believe or not?
Really, Christians, you seriously need to stop presenting arguments that have more holes in them than Bush’s reasoning for invading Iraq.
Every battle is in Your hands for You to fight.
Whew! Here I thought I would have to take personal responsibility for something! I sure am glad I can just say God lost the fight, not me!! :D
I pray that these words be received into the hearts of every eye that sees it.
“…the hearts of every eye”?? What the hell does this mean?
“I pray that these words be received into the hearts of every eye that sees it”???
God, please grant your believers a better grasp of their own language. Far be it from me to cast the first stone (I am a grammar sinner, as well) but writing like this just makes Your People look like they don’t care enough to proofread.
If you prayed this prayer, change the number in the subject box before forwarding the message so people can See how many people have done so.
…because God loves it when you brag about how much work you do for Him. o_O
God Bless You!!!!!
WOW—how did you know I just sneezed?
MAYBE THERE IS A GOD!! O_O
Just repeat this phrase and see how God moves!!
God, I love you and I need you.
Come into my heart, please.
Uhhhh, I don’t see any movement at all.
I think your prayer might be broken.
Is it still under warranty? Can you take it back to Best Believer and have the God Squad repair it?
I mean, I can do that with any of the things I use to learn and grow and be a better person. If my computer craps out on me I take it back to the store and they fix it.
Science is neat that way.
If you go back to your priest or minister and complain that God didn’t move, you’ll just be told that he did, you just have to look for his movement.
Imagine getting that reply from the guy at the Geek Squad at Best Buy.
“Actually, sir, your laptop does work.”
“No, it doesn’t. The screen won’t come on.”
“That doesn’t work. You just have to look more closely.”
I’d take my laptop to another store, just like I took my soul away from the Church and into my own, rational hands.
I like to take responsibility for myself and my actions. I don’t choose to absolve myself of all guilt and responsibility when things don’t go my way or when I screw up. Yes, it’s probably harder for me that way, but, you know, at least I’m not lying to myself.
God will bless you.
YeeeeNo, he won’t.
Know that you are already blessed by the person who sent this to you.
So, regular people can bless? So, the next time I hear someone sneeze, I can say something like: “Steve bless you” or “Sally bless you”?
Wait—this last part of the prayer sounds like the writer is congratulating themselves.
“Be glad in knowing that someone was so cool as to send you this prayer. Aren’t they awesome?”
OK, kids. Here’s what seems to really be going on.
There’s a lot of shit in the universe we just don’t get.
Scary, fucked up, wrong-ass shit.
You could die while you’re reading this.
POP could go a blood vessel in your brain and POOF you don’t make it back from your lunch break.
It’s scary to contemplate this, I understand.
Believing in an entity that controls all of this is a massive security blanket. By believing you can appeal to a power greater than your own, for beneavolance and good fortune, you have hope where you might not, otherwise.
Likewise, belonging to a church allows you to experience that Cheerio Effect. You know how the last few Cheerios in the bowl seem to always cling together? That’s what churches and other religions are for. You feel lonely and scared to be in the big bowl of milk by yourself, so, you cling to others of your own kind and everything’s cool.
Of course, ultimately, the Spoon of Death (SoD) will come for each and every remaining Cheerio.
Pray to God All You Want and you won’t live forever (nor will you get into heaven because there isn’t one).
However, put your trust in science, facts, and learning, and you just might find a cure for everything that kills us.
While George W. Bush has been busy fighting the forces of Evil in the middle east, he could have been spending that trillion dollars on finding a cure for cancer or AIDS.
But no, Bush wages his “crusade” against “evil doers” and believes God has put himself in the White House (actually, it was the Supreme Court).
Meanwhile, you are trusting that God will sort it out.
Got any family members or friends who are dying of a disease, virus or from injuries? Yeah, that’s God’s fault, isn’t it? He could save them, couldn’t he? Remember, no problem is bigger than God, so he’s choosing to let that family member or friend die.
He works in mysterious ways.
Or, it could be that the universe just isn’t fair sometimes.
Which is easier to accept?
That God is a prick? Or that sometimes, life just sucks?
I’ll take the latter. The former would breed confusion and hatred.
You can keep believing prayer works. I’ll keep believing that if we can just stop bombing other countries we might be able to solve some serious problems facing America and humanity at large.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Back on July 1, 2008, the headline on Drudge reported on Saudi Arabia admitting they would NOT be raising the output of oil to allow humanity to lower the price of gas.*
Yeah, SUV sales in decline, Hummer my sell the brand, Saudi king says “deal with it.”
If you don’t live in a city or town with exemplary mass transit, it’s time to pick up that skateboard because the end is seriously nigh.
I and many others have been watching this situation get worse and worse since 2000. High oil prices, inflation, and now high food prices all tell us it’s only going to get worse because the causes of our problems (Peak Oil/Middle East wars and inflation) aren’t going away and probably never will.
Just an FYI.
Now go run and hide from your responsibility. ;)
You know you wanna…
*this post was edited on 8/13/9 because Drop.io for some odd reason deleted a screencap I was using to head up this story.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
I remember when I first learned there was no Santa Claus. My mom was driving me somewhere and I was telling her how some kids in school, that day (I was in the fourth grade), were making fun of me for believing in Santa Claus. They insisted that there was no Santa. I asked my mom point blank: “Is there a Santa Claus?”
She looked over at me for a moment and seemed to see me as an adult for the first time.
“No,” she told me.
My mind raced.
“Well, then there’s no Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy, either, is there?”
She looked like she felt guilty, but my mind was still racing. In the days and weeks that followed, I quietly pondered this discovery—if there was no Santa, or Tooth Fairy, then who else wasn’t real? Then it hit me.
Santa, we were told, would reward us (with presents) if we were good and punish us (with coal) if we were bad.
Now, why does that sound familiar?
God, we are told will reward us (with heaven) if we lead a good life and punish us (with hell) if we lead a bad life.
So, Santa doesn’t exist, but God does, yet both are used to make us behave?
Once you see that dynamic, I don’t know how anyone can still believe in Santa or God. Both are such obvious scams. I’m not saying you’re stupid for believing in God, I just don’t understand how you can’t feel like you’re being lied to in order to keep you in line with society.
And don’t go saying that God is a lie required by society to keep people civil. I’m so tired of the black and white argument. There’s more to life than “on” or “off,” “belief” or “disbelief.”
I consider myself a very moral person, despite the fact that I’m pretty sure there is no God (or god). I don’t need Christian rules to tell me what to do or the threat of Hell or the lack of Heaven to keep me in line.
I’m not a child.
I don’t rape, steal and murder because I don’t think those are nice things to do and I don’t want to be remembered as a bad person when I’m no longer here. My legacy is what makes me behave in a moral fashion. I want people to think I was a good guy when I was alive. We don’t really have immortal souls—not literally. The closest thing we do have is our memory. Sometimes it’s a very tangible, obvious thing, like remembering Bob Hope or George Washington. While other times it’s more abstract—something you learned from your father and have passed on to your son without realizing it. Still, even though your (hypothetical) father is dead, your son remembers him in a way.
You, quite literally, live on through the lives you touch.
Heaven lies in being remembered in a pantheon of great dead people—not in a realm of white clouds, harps, angels, and so on.
Now, I would say “this is just my belief” but it’s not really a “belief” since I’m not referring to anything that doesn’t have proof of existence. My concept of heaven is completely, 100% real and provable.
One of the podcasts I listen to is KCRW’s Minding the Media the weekly short opinion column is delivered by Nick Madigan of the Baltimore Sun who never shies from calling a spade a spade. Which is rare these days. In his latest column he talks about how both insiders in the government and a few mainstream journalists feel like both the government and the media have lost a lot of credibility over the past few years, mainly over the Iraq mess. I tend to agree, but not just about the Iraq mess.
There’s Katrina, too, where state and federal governments failed to do much to save the people in harms way. The media, too, while on-location a lot have dropped the ball on following up on just how poorly state and federal governments are helping Katrina victims get back on their feet (not to mention the victims of past hurricanes in other states). This whole thing brings to mind movies like Mad Max and Road Warrior or any other film that presents a post-apocalyptic reality.
Think about it—we can’t trust our leaders to tell us the truth or even to be there if something bad happens. We can’t trust the media, the watchdogs of our leaders, because they just deliver the press releases our governments give them. What’s left to trust? A great many people in power seem to be doing generally whatever they want with a general disregard for anyone else’s real safety or concerns. The governor of the most financially powerful state in the union referred to a fellow politician as “sick” and to another as a “hack”. These guys don’t even respect each other.
From the latest Minding the Media column I refer to above:
Reporters who cover politicians and corporate executives have to cultivate confidential sources in order to cover their beats properly, but some of those relationships are too clubby, too self-serving and, ultimately, harmful to the notion of a free and open press.
As Tim Rutten wrote in the L.A. Times, the Libby trial’s “unintended seminar in contemporary journalism” shows that Cheney and his staff believe that truth is malleable, and that they knew that some members of the Washington press corps would “cynically accommodate that belief for the sake of their careers.”
“It’s a sick little arrangement,” Rutten said, “in which the parties clearly have one thing in common: a profound indifference to both the common good and to their obligation to act in its service.”
We The People, no longer know what the hell’s really going on and the sad thing is, we’re not even very concerned about that. It’s like the end of all the civilized parts of civilization. Now we’re left only with the appearance of civilization. At least, that’s how I see it.