Hick Sacrifices Achievement For Superstition

15 Mar

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/highschool-prep-rally/kentucky-cross-country-runner-pulls-regional-championships-rather-111318529.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory

So flabbergasted was I by this story that it’s taken me like half a year to wrap my brain around it…

kentucky

This is the quality of mind that Kentucky is producing for the nation and the world.  I guess shouldn’t be surprised that the home to the Creation Museum should be responsible for such grievous mis-education of a young person, but unfortunately many other knuckle-dragging regions are allowing the backwards telescope of religion to influence the curriculum of children in the public school setting.  You know who you are, Bobby Jindal…

My initial, knee-jerk reaction was to ridicule this poor girl, young woman really, for an imbecile.

But then I softened and realized that it’s not her fault, but that of those close to her who are charged with her well being as a minor…

Parents have the right to raise their children as they see fit of course, but that does not extend to neglect or abuse.  The school and the state step in where their is a perceived need.  Both my parents were public school teachers, so I am well aware of the horror stories. Children under-clothed and underfed, emotionally and physically abused.  The state does not stand for this sort of abuse, so where are they when it comes to safeguarding a young person’s intellect?  The school should ensure the student receives the best possible education based on the most current available knowledge, both for the good of the child and for the betterment of society at large.  If the child and her family insist on her education being guided by archaic and untenable mythologies, then they should send her to one of the many “religious schools” (oxymoron) available to help fools like them lie to their children.  The public school has no business tolerating such notorious idiocy and should openly teach students to question it. To not do so is to risk falling even further behind the rest of the developed, and even developing, world in terms of education, science and technological advancement.

Recently whilst patrolling the halls of a very average local small city high school, I glanced at the photographs of the valedictorians down through the years which hung there.  The last 26 in a row, dating back to the late 80’s, were Asian. Thai, Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Japanese, Vietnamese and so on.  None of these kids would have refused to answer a question on her ACT because the number corresponded to an ancient taboo of her ancestors’ outdated belief systems.  Education, achievement, and advancement come first in their worlds.

The sad part is, this poor, misguided hillbilly will likely be lauded for standing up for fer her beliefs . This was a typical comment:

-Mary Ann

               “It really doesn’t matter what the rest of us believe, she believes and she stood up for what she believed. That is what                               counts.” (31 -2 likes over dislikes)
Sorry Mary Ann, what counts here is that her friends, teachers, coaches and school all failed to talk some sense into this poor kid.  The fact is that society does not fully trust what children believe.  That is why they are not allowed to vote.  Some of what they may believe may be deemed dangerous by society and therefore prohibited in the public school forum.  Rastafarians are not allowed to bring weed to school, the snake-handler cult people would not be allowed to bring a rattler to class, etc.  Most of what they may believe is simply stupid, and not to be tolerated by the public school, let alone advanced as some would have it.  Never mind the fairly obvious travesty of any belief at all in an invisible overlord.  The idea that this omnipotent being, who could create all we see in a week, might be offended by the draw of a random unit in an arbitrary numbering system, is so incredibly ridiculous that I am ashamed to share DNA with these people.  Besides, could no one have thought to simply pull out a Sharpie and scribble a nice ‘.1’ after the 666? Surely that would have confounded God and the Devil both!  Her friends would have made fun of the kid who was scared to wear the number 13, but somehow this bullshit gets a pass because it’s the prevailing national voodoo?  Every one involved here should have counseled her against sacrificing the possibility of real achievement for such half-witted reason. What does this kid do in math class?  Pretend one number doesn’t exist? 
                                  666
Clearly the only party involved in this idiocy who should be lauded is the committee who refused to change her number for such a complete non-reason.  To do so would have been a violation of the Establishment clause.  Freedom of Religion will always be a guaranteed right here, for adults, like other rights, such as voting and smoking tobacco.  The time has come for us to protect the minds of children, as well as their bodies.  Indoctrination to religion at home should be questioned and challenged at every level in the public sector.  After all, we don’t allow parents to keep kids out of school and teach them at home according to whatever standard they may like, unknown languages, unworkable math, etc…why should we allow them to twist their minds with unprovable myths?   We, as a society, owe it to our children and ourselves to provide them with the best of modern knowledge or we will flounder and fall even further behind the modern world.  When they turn 21, let ’em choose any myth they want, based on what they have learned, or none at all.  
Just like with alcohol, tobacco and drugs…
**In mentioning this story to someone, I heard that perhaps another runner had ended up switching numbers with her, which would have been a nice gesture I guess.  Then I thought, if the girl truly believes the number is evil, then it’s not very Christian of her to let her friend burn in hell for wearing it!  Then again, deep thought is not what I expect from Kentucky…    rm 
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Six Trips

12 Mar

Six Trips

Six trips around the yellow sun, six trips has made my son,
Each one a revolution born of notions new and fun.
Each evolution etched upon a happy child’s face,
Six trips, the same ellipse, a solar circuit set in place.
Six trips exactly similar in terms of time and space,
Yet each affects uniquely every runner in the race.
Six trips has made my son around the sun, my only one.
And those six trips around the sun in turn have made my son.

Atheist Mourns Congregational Church

10 Nov

The First Congregational Church Of Kenosha closed shop a few weeks back, and my atheist heart surprised me with twinges of remorse or regret, melancholy or mere pensiveness…..not quite sure which, or more pertinently, why???

IMG_2536 Of course, the obvious answer is that since I was raised a Congregationalist, the closing of any outpost of my former faith might quite naturally affect me, despite the sworn godlessness of my present existence.  Such gut feelings are easily overcome for a rationalist, just like the urges to call out to “god” in moments of desperation….lingering ghosts of childhood programming.   But as a confirmed and deliberate atheist, why do I seem to actually care?

IMG_2537  The gorgeous, historic church building itself, nearly 140 years old, is not lost…it shall retain its sentinel’s position above library square with its fine, impressive spire and original (I’m guessing) rose window.  Any half -wit can appreciate the value of that. But the loss of the congregation itself should be cause for rejoicing, a positive sign of the slow, inevitable death of religion.  Not so, I fear.

I’ve always thought that important or  interesting church buildings should be immediately re-purposed as museums, historical societies or institutes of anthropological research.  Newer buildings could be used as homeless shelters, public auditoriums or schools of actual learning, as opposed to the promotion of untenable myth as infallible truth for which they are currently appropriated.  Instead, this historic building is simply being occupied by another church.  And not a Methodist, Baptist or Presbyterian church either. No Wesleyan, Episcopalian, or Lutheran of any sort or synod.  Not even established fringe-dwellers like Seventh Day Adventists or Christian Scientists could fill the void here…nor any other traditional Protestant sect I could think of. Instead the non-denominational, evangelical mega-church “Crossway”, which occupies several acres of formerly productive farmland on route 50 west of I-94, apparently has birthed an offspring labeled “Christ The King”, which will occupy the noble monument.

The matron is one of those bloated bastions of born-again bullshit which have sprouted up like loosestrife across the prairie with increasing regularity over the past few decades.  New-Age and slickly marketed, these behemoths have great appeal to the under-educated believers of today, who crave their religion like everything else: in short, flashy, easily digested bytes of rock and roll. Bereft of sectarian snobbery, these church/businesses reduce traditional Christian philosophy into handy repeatable cliches, perfect for an audience unequipped to question the nature of the faith.  The baby is presumably an urban version of the same, minus the fancy new facility and the long commute.  Deluded downtown dwellers will no longer have to waste gas on their way to wasting their time and intellect.

Of course, I have no problem with the existence of this new brand of born-again church per se.  The grand tradition of Protestantism after all is the ability of each congregation to interpret the Bible in any way it sees fit, and that of America to worship as we please, or not at all.   The problem is the lack of critical thinking that leads people to these sorts of churches, and the endless cycle of new uneducated believers they naturally breed.  The Protestant churches of my youth in 1970’s New England were pillars of progressiveness and liberal thinking about the nature of faith and God herself.  No one ever, ever, posited Genesis as fact and I can honestly say I never even met a Young-Earth Creationist until the 90’s.  I value my Congregationalist upbringing for it introduced me to the kind of healthy debate over the Bible and the Christian faith that led me, in stages, to atheism itself.  At the same time, I know the Bible and understand the myriad pop touchstones it contains as the purported root metaphor of our culture (which I don’t believe it is so much as the people want it to be, but that is a subject for a different blog), something my elder daughter, raised an atheist, has missed out on….

Ironically, the tradition of liberal debate contributes to the decline of traditional denominations.  In the end, only 12 members attended the final service of the First Congregational Church of Kenosha.  As reported in the link above, members whose ideas are voted down are likely to jump ship.  Folks looking for the certainty of a simple message and an easy liturgy to follow are naturally attracted to increasingly fundamental congregations, where discussion is superfluous and dissent unknown.  Lip-service love of Jesus continues to have mad street-cred among those who come to religion on their own as a way out, and Biblical literalism is, as always, a ready salve for the weak of mind.  “Christ The King” will  begin its reign with 140 members, according to the article.

Happily, Atheism is on the slow rise in America, as every statistic shows.  Fundamentalism is one of religion’s death throes. with hardcore believers rallying together as churches slowly die away.  Sadly, as it turns out, liberal, progressive churches, a valued ally in the Atheist movement, will be among the very first to disappear…

Naked Pancakes

28 Sep

 IMG_2354

Naked Pancakes Taste The Best

When Fashioned In The Nude

Easily Outstripping

Any Other Breakfast Food

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Naked Chef Enjoys The Breeze

Across His Back And Legs

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Favorite Apron Keeping Warm

The Sausage And The Eggs

c 2013 Rob Moore

Wind And Water

16 Sep

 

waterspouts

Once In A While The Wind

Gets To Gambol

With Water As Well.

 

Elements Jealous

Of Frolicking Youth,

Babies On The Beach

As Fourteen Billion Years Of Truth

Obscure The Day

When They Would Play

Terra-forming Toddlers

Moving Mountains In Their Mirth.

Two Terrifying Twins

Of Mother Earth

Who Makes Their Home And Keeps Them Close

Lets Them Play Unchecked Across Her Back

Smiling Silent

While Their Sun

Their Father Bids Them Run

And Twist And Jump And Swirl And Fly

And Try To Fill The Endless Sky

 

Wind And Water

Well Recall When They Were Four

And That Was All

Parents And Children In Space And So Much Time

Nothing To Do But Play

And Decorate Their Mother

Beautiful Beautiful Blue-Green Gaea

Father’s Favorite Favorite Lover.

 

Wind Is Strangely Still It Seems

And Water Not So Clear

Which Eon or Century, Decade Or Year

Recreation Turned To Occupation,

Water Took The Path Of Least Resistance Every Time

And Wind Began To Really Blow Things Off.

Neither Even Noticed

Mother Father Started Making

Other Babies By The Billions

Silly Fragile Fading Uglies

Every Crazy Shape

Who Lasted But A Moment

Leaving Copies In Their Wake.

 

Unpaid Babysitters

Endure Extreme Indignities;

Dam The Water, Mill The Wind,

Please Don’t Drown The Millions

Of Your Microscopic Kin.

But Float Their Boats And Fly Their Kites

And Irrigate Their Stupid Crops

But Not Too Much!

And Blow Their Stupid Pollen Round

But Not Too Hard!

 

Wrinkled Water Weary Wind

Are Older Than Mountains

Older Than Dirt

And Patience Wears Thin

For Tired Titans Too.

Ponderous Water Considers Its Weight

Says Brother As Ever

I Go With The Flow

There’s A Twinkle In The Eye Of Your Storm Today

Reminds Me When Our Work Was Play.

Mischievous Wind

Finds His Fearsome Voice And Howls

Old Is Relative You Wet Fool

We’re Middle Aged

I Can Still Dance

And You Can Still Rage

Or If You Won’t Wake

I’ll Slap Your Belly Pink

You Fat, Sodden Puddle!

And You Call Yourself A Lake!

 

Wise Water Smirks

Retreats From Shore

Seeing Wily Wind Is Wound Up Tight

In Full Shriek Now Can Take No More

Announces Let Your Puny Sirens Sound

And Grab Your Plastic Shit Up Off The Ground

I Doubt I’ll Feel This Way Again

Before You’re Dead So Send Your Texts

And Snap Your Pics And Blog Your Vids

Sew Your Panic Scramble For Protection

Pitiful Ploys For Useless Extensions

Momentary Matchsticks In My Midst

I’m Scarce Aware That You Exist

Run Away But Witness This

And Teach Your Sons, And Show Your Daughters:

This, My Tiny, Transient Friends

…..Is How You Play With Water

 

-Rob Moore

Buffalo Ranch Chicken Pizza

8 Jun

 

IMG_1737A Fun Alternative To Traditional Homemade Pizzas,  This One Is Easy, Colorful, And A Huge Hit With Hungry Teenagers.

 

1  Your favorite homemade or premade Pizza Crust

4-6 oz. chicken breast, 1/2 inch cubed

bottle Mild to Medium Buffalo Sauce

bottle Ranch dressing

1/4 lb Provolone, sliced

1/4 Cup Crumbled Bacon, or Bacon Bits

 

Mix together equal parts Buffalo Sauce and Ranch to make about a half cup.

Pour enough on the chicken cubes to coat and set aside to marinate for half an hour. 

Preheat Oven according to crust instructions…usually 450-475 degrees

Use the rest of the Buffalo Ranch mixture to coat the crust like you would with pizza sauce. 

Top with slices of provolone, followed by chicken cubes.

Sprinkle with Crumbled Bacon.

Drizzle or dot with Ranch and Buffalo sauce SEPARATELY, to make it pretty.

Bake according to crust instructions…usually 7-10 minutes.

 

Let cool for a minute and watch it disappear!

The J-Dubs Came To The Door Today…

12 Apr

IMG_1567

Look At The Sweet Haircut They Gave Jesus!

He’s 70s Ken!  And He’s Into Gay Bondage….Who Knew?IMG_1569

Thai Yellow Curry

21 Feb

One of the happy side effects of the sudden closure of the local Thai joint was discovering how simple my favorite curries were to replicate at home, with the help of prepared curry pastes from the Asian market.

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Red, Green, Massamun, Panang….I have made them all to mouthwatering result, each with its own level of spicy heat.  A dollop of paste mixed with a can of coconut milk, then simmered with your favorite vegetables and/or meat…it’s so easy I feel like it’s not really cooking.  The pastes, which include a long list of exotic ingredients, would be great to make from scratch one day, but are so tasty, economical and additive free, there’s just no point.  Start with a ratio of 2 oz. paste to 2 cups coconut milk and adjust according to heat preference.  I usually cut mine further with broth because I like it thin and spicy. More coconut milk counteracts the heat.

I usually make this dish vegetarian or with shrimp, but for this recipe I used good old fashioned beef, potatoes and carrots.

In Chef’s pan, Heat:

2 Tablespoons Oil (I likes peanut)

Saute to Brown, then set aside:

3/4 Cup meat/shrimp/tofu (if using frozen shrimp, just add at the end and just heat through)

Add to pan and saute for 1-2 minutes:

4 oz yellow curry paste

1 small onion- chopped

Stir in to mix completely:

about 3 cups (1-1/2  14 oz cans) coconut milk

1 Cup beef or chicken broth, accordingly (optional)

Bring to slow boil and add:

3/4 Cup each Potatoes and Carrots – 1/4 inch sliced

Return to Boil and let simmer 10 minutes or until veggies are tender, not mushy.  Stir in remaining:

1/2 Can Coconut Milk

Return to boil. Return meat to pan and heat through.  Garnish with:

Chopped Cilantro

Chopped Peanuts

Serve with White Sticky Rice

Drool!

Pheasant Dijon

11 Feb

This killer sauce lends the dish a remarkable color

IMG_1223

Facing a Freezer Full of Frozen Pheasants….

… I propped up a simple hunter’s recipe I found online with fresh Marjoram and a wine reduction:

2 cut up pheasants, grouse or 4 quail

seasoned flour

2 T butter

2 T olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1.5 T fresh Marjoram, chopped

1/2 cup white wine

1 cup chicken stock

5 T dijon mustard

3 T lemon juice

chopped parsley

 

Dredge pheasant parts in seasoned flour. Heat oil and butter together in heavy skillet and brown pheasant on both sides. Set aside. Add onion to skillet and caramelize to a nice dark brown. Add garlic and marjoram and stir until fragrant and garlic begins to brown, just a minute or so. Deglaze with the wine and let it reduce a bit. Whisk together stock, mustard, and lemon juice and add to pan. Return to boil, then add pheasant to finish, turning and stirring often, 5 or so minutes.  The bird will finish quickly so try not to overcook.  Garnish with parsley.

Serve over wild rice and try not to slobber…

ChurchSigns

9 Feb

IMG_0762…And The Door Of Pedophilia Is Always Revolving….