Darwin for Congress

Paul Broun, Congressman from the Georgia 10th District, member of the House Committee on Science and Technology, made a bit of an ass of himself, declaring evolution, embryology, and the Big Bang Theory, pretty much all of modern science really, to be “lies from the pit of hell.”

Needless to say, having a blithering idiot making science policy rubbed some people the wrong way. And by “some people,” I mean anyone who never skipped science class for a bible study. Even conservatives in Georgia are alarmed that Broun faces no opposition in the coming election, worried that biblical literalists like Broun make Republicans look less enlightened than Salem witch hunters. This is unfair. Biblical literalists are exactly as enlightened as Salem witch hunters.

So a planet biologist named Jim Leebens-Mack, University of Georgia, started a Facebook page promoting Charles Darwin as a write-in candidate for Broun’s seat. There are a few niggling details that could spoil this cheeky bit of political protest. One, the deadline for write-in candidates has passed. Two, as a British subject, Darwin is not a citizen, much less a resident in the 10th District. Three, and most annoying, he’s dead. Still, after more than 120 years of no brain activity, Darwin is more qualified than Broun to serve on the science committee.

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The Real Ann Coulter?

I have a theory and it goes something like this:

The real Ann Coulter is an old-school, died-in-the-wool, Berkley liberal, and what we have seen for the past decade or more is just an extended piece of performance art, in which she attempts to embody and personify everyone’s worst stereotypes of conservatives.

If that were indeed her goal, she would have succeeded brilliantly. Sadly, she appears to be sincere.

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The Devil’s Malarkey

The Discovery Channel series Curiosity had an episode this past Sunday called “The Devil’s Triangle,” appropriating the more melodramatic name we have for the section of ocean inside the lines connecting Miami, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico. It is supposedly the planet’s most voracious region for devouring ships and planes.

The film Close Encounters of the Third Kind opens with a reference to the Triangle’s earliest and most famous victims, the TBM Avengers of Flight 19. They disappeared while flying a training mission out of Pensacola. It is an article of faith among believers that the disappearance of five small Navy bombers in an area known for its unpredictable weather is somehow “mysterious.”

This show actually triggered feelings of nostalgia for me, reminding me of the cheesy documentaries, usually narrated by Rod Serling, that I saw as a child. Only this show had actual experiments instead of just sinister music and Serling’s purple delivery. Continue reading “The Devil’s Malarkey”

Your Imaginary Friend Does Not Believe in Me

Can you spot the logical flaw in this sign?

God, as described by Chistians, Jews, and presumably Muslims, is a non-empirical phenomenon. An atheist’s non-belief does not affect the existence/non-existence of the aforementioned deity, any more than the believer’s faith creates her/his/its existence. God is not Schrödinger’s Cat. There is no box into which we can peek to collapse the probability wave.

Atheists, on the other hand, have a physical reality that is self-evident. Ever heard of/read a book by/seen a man named Richard Dawkins? How about Frank Zappa? Janeane Garafolo? Douglas Adams? Ricky Gervais? Larry King?

Just off the top of my head, I was able to name six people who are, by their own statements (or were when they died), verifiably atheist. They indisputably exist, therefore God’s opinion on the subject is either irrelevant or Pastor Sonny Manuel’s sign is just another example of empty fundamentalist bumper-sticker reasoning.

Of course, the two scenarios are not mutually exclusive.

Stupidity as a Lifestyle Choice

Meet Charlie Fuqua, candidate for the Arkansas State House of Representatives and another self-published writer like myself. I’m assuming he’s self-published, because I would hope that no self-respecting publisher would touch his book, God’s Law.

His e-book is, among other things, a call to return to a more “Biblical” approach to child rearing. To wit:

The maintenance of civil order in society rests on the foundation of family discipline. Therefore, a child who disrespects his parents must be permanently removed from society in a way that gives an example to all other children of the importance of respect for parents.

Yes, you read correctly, gentle readers. Mr. Fuqua has suggested that we take disobedient children, strap the little fuckers to gurneys, and pump potassium chloride into their arms. Unless, of course, he’s advocating a truly Old Testament approach and we’re just supposed to stone them to death at the city gates.

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GoodReads.com for Authors

For most people, GoodReads.com is a little like Facebook for reading. I guess they couldn’t call it Booksbook. Because that would be silly. It combines the social media aspect with something similar to DVD collection sites like DVD Aficionado or the late, lamented DVDSpot. You are able to list the books you’ve read, the books you’re reading, and the books you want to read. It also has a separate list for the books you actually own, so you can include library books and borrowed books on your reading list.

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Who Would Have Thought?

In 1984, I took the second of about five creative writing classes during my college career. The instructor was an author named James P. Blaylock. If you haven’t heard the name, then you’re not a fan of Steampunk fiction. What is Steampunk, you ask?

Steampunk stories tank place during Victorian times, often but not necessarily in London, and features technology that are advanced, steam-powered equivalents of modern devices. That’s it: Victorian society, semi-modern steam-powered tech. Within those parameters, it’s a pretty big sand box.

So this Blaylock character writes Steampunk, right? Is that all? Oh, no. It’s better than that.

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Lake Forest Author’s First Novel Pushes Back Boundaries

Self-Published High-Tech Thriller Features Gay Character in “Jason Bourne” role.

June 27, 2012, Lake Forest, CA — Paul McElligott, of Lake Forest, California, has published his first novel, Human X, a futuristic thriller about a man who has lived thirty-five years unaware that he was the product of an illicit military genetic engineering project. Continue reading “Lake Forest Author’s First Novel Pushes Back Boundaries”