The Poland Delusion (A thinking person’s guide to A-Polandism)

The Poland Delusion (A thinking person’s guide to A-Polandism, according to the wisdom of Richard Dawkins)

Every now and then a survey is done which ascertains how a myth, superstition, or an amusing piece of folklore has become embedded into the cultural consciousness to the point that it is being taught in schools as fact by well meaning teachers, or in homes by well meaning but woefully ignorant parents. A recent survey has exposed another, almost tragic example of this occasional hiccup in our educational growth. There is an alarming percentage of Americans, who because of cultural influences or because of poor research by public school teachers, believe that Poland is a real country that actually exists. We can offer them some grace in this matter as it seems that there have also been, since at least the 1980’s, school textbooks which list Poland as a real nation, even labeling it on the maps within. Before these mistakes can do any damage, our educational system needs to look at the facts.polish parade 1_edited-2 Read more of this post

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The Atheism Orthodoxy CHALLENGE!

Dear friends,

I was having a rousing discussion on Twitter with the People’s Atheist (@PplsAtheist ) and a great question came up which I would like your help in addressing:

What is Atheism Orthodoxy?

I am not asking what all Atheists believe (for I’m sure they believe all sorts of things), but rather “What are the tenants of a consistent Atheism?”
That is, if an atheist is consistent, and not a hypocrite or stealing pieces of Christianity as they suit him- what is the list of Atheist faith statements which MUST LOGICALLY follow from the starting point of denying the existence of God?

As I told the People’s Atheist, IF you declare positively, “There is no God,” then certain other beliefs logically MUST follow. While self-professing atheists may not hold to them, there are certain doctrines of Atheism which are part of that worldview, whether they hold them or not, whether they like them or not.

So, my request to you is, can you please help me make the list of Atheism Orthodoxy. What must any Atheist believe to not be self-defeating, hypocritical, or inconsistent?

And have fun with it.

Thanks for your time!
Bryan Thomas (Writer at Creation Soapbox)

And check out the Evolution 101 series on:

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Friend Your Rent A Friend on Facebook

Your Rent A Friend is now on Facebook! Come find me, LIKE me, and let your Rent A Friend be your Facebook Friend!

Where is the Rent a Friend?

Your rent a friend is listening to: Nothing due to SLOW internet connection speeds which rival only those of ancient Mesopotamia.

His mood is: fairly uncertain what his mood is or ought to be. But he’s enjoying his gum.

Greetings friends! In case you have wondered where your trusty Rent a Friend has gone, rest assured that I survive and have not been arrested. So, why have I not updated the blog? Here’s a partial list:

My wife and two bunnies have been sick, my water heater exploded, my in-laws came to stay with us for a bit, I had to get the breaks fixed on my wife’s car, I became a part time web master, and I discovered Myth Busters is on Netflix instant play.

So, I been kinda busy making sure my wife and rabbits survive, my house was not destroyed, the car could stop, my in-laws had a place to sleep, and I learned all I could about blowing up household fixtures.  But I plan to get back to all of you very soon. Wish me luck.

Have a happy Easter, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Why we celebrate the resurrection of the incarnate God and messiah by pretending bunnies are painting eggs and delivering baskets full of jelly beans, I don’t know. I’m guessing this was designed by the same marketing team responsible for Santa Claus and Green Beer. Those guys will someday answer for their crimes against humanity. In the mean time, does anyone know how I can send them my resume?

Your Rent-a-Friend

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The END OF THE COMB-OVER!

Fellow citizens, for too long we have tolerated this present evil! For too long the lurking horrors have darkened our streets and various shopping establishments. For too long our children have been at the mercy of fate, often facing this hideous menace with no warning and no defense. It is time. Time to bring about the END OF THE COMB OVER!

It is a mystery as old as time itself- why does a man of otherwise average intelligence allow his head to be mutated into the horrible monstrosity we know as the comb-over? Why does a man whose head follicles have begun to dwindle let the darkness take his brain and allow himself to believe that, by growing out the side of his hair, and combing it over the bald spot, he will mask the ever growing patch of hairlessness on his dome and appear as he did in his youth? Why does a man with a degree in science, or a job as an educator, or even simple access to a mirror and the basics of logic, allow himself to drag the sad few remaining hairs from as far away as his ears, all the way across the surface of his skull in a piteous attempt to cover the majority of scalp with such a clear minority of hair?

I have two theories as to why this is. The first is this: Some men are very delicate. The fact that they are balding is a subconscious attack on their manhood/machismo, so they revert to denial. The comb over says, about their balding, “If I can’t see it, it’s not really there!” It starts out small. The part in their hair moves over a little one day. Over the course of the years, that part moves further and further from center until it starts just above the sideburns on one side. All the while denial continues to creep in. Eventually they have their entire head covered by eleven hairs, all a foot long and originating at his left ear. And for some reason that hair starts to get yellowish. It’s all jaundiced and nasty, and anytime there is the slightest breeze, the wad of hair shifts all together, further emphasizing the sad attempt to cover what is, essentially, a head without hair. Rather than face the glaring truth of their bald and glaring head, they have managed to convince themselves that eleven hairs looks no different than the thousands of hairs did thirty years ago. Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt. It’s a crying shame.

Aside from the delicate self-image, a man will resort to a comb over because something fundamentally important is missing in his life: a woman. One can always tell when a man is under the influence of a woman, and when he is not. Left to their own devices, men will forgo various physical concerns, like shaving, getting regular hair cuts, washing their clothes, or making any attempt to look human. The cave man is not the ancient past of all humanity, it’s the inevitable end result of a man being left without feminine influence for too long. Those pictures you see in various high school science books of cave men are actually modern day men who have remained bachelors long into their adult lives. The only things missing in those images are the television and the comb over.

Most women would eventually get to the point where they would say, “Honey, your hair looks terrible. Do you really think you’re fooling anyone by sweeping your dwindling hair over like that? Just shave your head and salvage a little dignity.” And then they would take him shopping for clean shirts, pants without holes in them, and a decent electric razor. When God said, “It is not good for man to be alone,” this is exactly what He was talking about.

So, men, let us reach into our hearts and find the strength to face the truth. When your hair recedes, stand strong and tell your barber, “Cut my hair so it doesn’t look like I’m trying to hide the fact that I’m going bald.” And ladies, you have been put on this earth for a purpose- to help men. Help them see the futility of self-denial. Help them have some fashion sense and hygiene. And help them have some self-respect. If we work together, we can change the world for future generations. We can end the comb over in our lifetime!

Streaks of Light, Like Heaven’s Scars

The Perseids Meteor Shower has come and gone, and I’m thankful to Google for highlighting it on the main page, or I might have missed it. My wife and I took some law chairs and went into the shadows across the street, out of sight of the streetlights, and watched the sky on a beautiful summer night. For a short time I felt just a little foolish, fairly certain that what I was looking for could not be distinguished from dust in my eye or an atmospheric flicker in my peripheral view. Then we saw it. Stretching across the whole of the sky, like a firework on the 4th of July, only going across the horizon instead of fleeing from it. It burned brighter and brighter, going from white to yellow and almost orange before it disappeared. As it burned itself out, I swear I was waiting for the explosion and a crowd with their children around me going “Ahhhhh…” It was silent, but it was the most amazing thing we’d see that night.

Before we went in for the night, my wife had counted more than a dozen of the shorter white streaks of light, and I had lost count. Being raised in a generation that relates its real experiences to the movies we’ve seen, we both had the slight sensation that we had watched a really good special effects show, but it was real. Somewhere, miles over us, tiny rocks and ice were hitting the atmosphere and blasting into light across the sky. It was amazing.

From the very first one, I could not get out of my head the line from this Murry the Bug poem that says, “Streaks of Light like Heaven’s Scars…” Well, I can sing it because I know how the music goes. Most of Murry’s poems have no music, but I wrote this one into a song some years ago, and it remains both cheesy and incredibly sweet. So, whether you saw the meteor shower or not, I will here share with you the poem I was singing all that night, as I enjoyed the sweet wonder of the world right outside my door, and up.

Not So Very Long Ago

Dancing through a field of plastic flowers, Eating up days and tasting the hours

Wearing our torn sheets while clouds offer showers, Pouring the milk of life till it sours

Streaks of light like heaven’s scars are meteors from out past Mars

You and I caught falling stars and took them home in small glass jars

We held hands, we held our breath, Living life and taunting death

The sun was shining in our eyes, We danced until the moon did rise

the skies put on a dozen shows- the summers burned the winters froze

winter’s flakes fell on our nose, the summer’s sand between our toes

Running away from fear and disease, falling in love and skinning our knees

chasing the sun as it climbed through the trees, we did what was right, we did as we please

the past did fade as we did grow- time has flown away like a crow

but we will dance again, this I know, like we did not so very long ago

-Murry the Bug (2001)

Shopping for a new Outlook

I’ve been shopping for an outlook. Rose colored glasses worked for a while, but then I took them off and put them down, and now I can’t find them anymore. I even looked under the couch, and they’re just gone. So, I’m shopping.

Pessimism is very popular with the kids these days, but I fail to see why. Apparently being pessimistic makes you very “cool” or something, but since my liberation from coolness some years ago, I’ve not been too keen to go back to it. Not being cool has worked out very well for me. So I think I’ll be taking a pass on pessimism. Oh, I’ve heard the pitch, I’ve read up on the features, and I’ll be honest, I don’t think it works. It’s great on paper, but in practice it’s just destined to fail. The number one reason being that if it ever succeeded, you’d have to give it up. How can you feel positively good about the success of your pessimism? You’d be on Dr. Phil’s show, addicted to some medication before Christmas.

My slacker friends all recommended Procrastination. I don’t know if this is really an outlook, but I read the brochure, and it looked great. I told them I liked how it looked, and it comes in a wide variety of styles to choose from, and one of these days I’m going to make time to actually give it a try. I really will. I know, I’ve been saying that for ages, but you know how it is, things come up. But I’m serious, maybe next week, I will try it out myself.

I have tried apathy. It’s not bad, but I can’t say it’s all that great either. I mean, if I had to go with it, I guess I would, but I’m not really itching to. You know what I mean? I’ll admit, I didn’t read up on this one as much as I did with the others, but I couldn’t find the energy to. It’s just not inspiring. I hate to say it, but I grew bored with it rather quickly.

I was going to try ignorance, but I couldn’t find any information on it. And no one at the store could answer any of my questions. For people who don’t know their product, they do an amazing amount of business, but I imagine they have a lot of repeat customers. Some people just don’t know any better I suppose.

I looked into Intellectualism. There was a lot of information about that, but most of it wasn’t true. I looked into Freudianism, but it seemed totally crazy to me. I would have tried Marxism, but I don’t like to share. I looked into Feminism, but apparently to do that, I’d have to get some serious “upgrades” to my hardware, and that sounded painfully expensive (Or maybe just expensive and painful.). I looked into Darwinianism, but  I couldn’t even get a brochure. They guys at the store told me that the information supporting it changed so fast that they stopped printing the brochures. It wasn’t that things are evolving that quickly. Surprisingly, the problem is just the opposite.

Finally I looked into rugged individualism. It seem the goal is to be as unique as you can, and not conform to any group or subculture. But by the time I was looking into it, everyone was doing it. So, these days, I try to be different than everyone else by trying my best to fit in and conform.

I think I’ll follow my grandmother’s technique. She had a sunny outlook. Things are brighter, warmer, and you have a lot less chance of stumbling over something. And unlike my rose colored glasses, I think I’ll be seeing things in their actual color for once. From what she tells me, my future’s so bright, I’ll have to wear shades. I’m ok with that, even if I do run the risk of looking cool.

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