My sister is an ultra-religious fundamentalist Christian. She and her husband believe that God himself decided on them having 8 children. I guess I can handle that, but as I get older I am less and less able to find any real satisfaction in keeping a friendship with her. I don’t want to just cut things off completely, but when we’re together the whole Jesus thing is ALWAYS there, hanging over us. She insists that she won’t try to convert me anymore, which always seemed to be the problem. I’ve realized lately, however, that it’s me who needs to get over her ever-present religion. It annoys the hell out of me. I am an atheist, but I don’t want to be the kind of arrogant atheist who goes around criticizing everything in sight. I would like to have genuine respect for her religious beliefs, but the truth is that I just don’t. How can I stop this trend of liking religious people less and less?
Atheist Rising Continue Reading
Q: Did The X-Files predict 9/11? Isn’t The X-Files, like, about aliens or something?
A: Relax, baby. Just sit back while blogger Benjamin Christopher quietly blows your mind.
This is a response to the novel The Absent City by Ricardo Piglia. Often described as a political thriller, the book is a journey through Argentina’s oppressive past. It features Junior as the novel’s protagonist and Elena, a machine that was created originally to translate stories but ends up twisting tales and memories that concern Argentina’s authorities.
The novel is a quest to unwind truth from fiction; in fact, it is an exploration into what truth actually is in terms of national identity, stories, narrative, and language. It is a dense read but highly engrossing…well…for those of you that love melancholy and semiotics, that is.
“What’s the Doughboy Afraid of?” Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream might not exist today if that question had never been asked. Find out how some guerilla marketing and relentless campaigning saved Vermont’s finest from national obscurity.
Reuben Mattus was a Polish immigrant. He was 47 when he decided to start his own ice cream company with his wife, Rose Mattus. They called it Häagen-Dazs, which as you may already know, means absolutely nothing. It’s two made-up words meant to look Scandinavian.
I probably don’t need to tell you that Häagen-Dazs was a huge success. In 1983, Häagen-Dazs was sold to the Pillsbury company for 70 million dollars.
Let’s go back five years from that, to 1978 in Burlington, Vermont. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, “a couple of hippies,” as they have described themselves, took a twelve thousand dollar investment– four thousand of it borrowed– and opened an ice cream scoop shop in a renovated gas station. They called it Ben & Jerry’s, and within a few short years, it became a staple of Burlington, Vermont. They opened their first franchise in 1981, and in 1983, the same year Pillsbury bought up Häagen-Dazs for eight figures, Ben & Jerry’s opened their first out-of-state franchise. Within a year, the two companies would be, more or less, at each others throats.
It’s not police code for pot. It’s not Jerry Garcia’s birthday, or the day that Jim Morrison or Janis Joplin died. It’s not the number of active chemicals in marijuana. Yet all around the world, 420 is recognized as stoner code for… For what exactly?
Anything to do with weed, is the general consensus. Whether it’s 4:20 in the AM or PM or 4/20 on the calendar, stoners have been using the date/time/number as an excuse to get high for decades. It’s an inside joke that nobody really seems to understand. So how did the seemingly random number acquire its drug connotations?
I’ll give you a few more hints: It’s not because April 20th, 1880 is the birthday of Adolph Hitler and it’s not because the Columbine shootings happened on April 20th, 1999. It’s not even because Albert Hoffman took the first deliberate LSD trip at 4:20 on April 19th, 1943.
Instead, the ambiguous drug-code came about because a group of high school students were looking for a magical, lost crop of weed in 1971.
Only one of the giant mounted televisions didn’t have football on. It was the local weather station showing a map of the continental United States; an enormous comma of white was spinning and curling over the entirety of the map. Earlier in the day one of the CNN newscasters had termed the weather biblical in proportion. The snowfall for the Chicago area had risen from 22 to 25 inches in the short time Tommy had been sitting in his seat. Now, knowing he had to leave, he took his shot.
“You wanna meet up for coffee when you’re done?” A hopeful question left hanging in the air, a soft volley that Stephanie could have spiked in a second but let it linger. Finally she raised an eyebrow towards the window.
A Record For the Ages
By Wilt Chamberlain, entered the great pie in the sky, October 1999.
Hello ladies. It’s been a long time. Too long, you ask me. What you been up to girl? What? I been tryin’ to call you, I just been busy, you know. Well because I’m dead. You right baby, that ain’t no excuse for a man like me but I’m back now and I’m ready to give you that supernatural kinda loving I know you need. So just sit back, relax, and listen to Wilt wax all kinds of philosophical on you.
Slowly I began piecing the events of the evening back together. I drank so much of the cheap bourbon that at some point between midnight and 1am, I passed out. When I awoke around 2:30, the TV was still on, still playing the carnage in Haiti on a round-the-clock loop, still asking for donations. Donating [...]