I’m Away for a Day or So

I'm turning 60 on Thursday.I've been planning to go on a whale-watching tour near Boston, but a surprising number of obstacles have fallen in my way. I still MIGHT get to do it, but I have to wake up at 5 a.m., rent a car and drive for about 4.5 hours to get there. After the whale tour (several hours, I imagine), I'll most likely be driving for another 4.5 hours to get home and sleep in my own bed.Argh. Pretty arduous 60th birthday. But still ... whales!When I get back, I have a lot more … [Read more...]

And can anyone tell me …

Why has my old post Calvin &  Hobbes Epilog — Extra Bacon!, from July 22, gotten so many hits today?My stats page has it about equally popular with my two recent Beta Culture posts. Where are all these people coming from? How are they finding this more-than-a-month-old post?An epilog to Calvin and Hobbes is definitely worth looking at, but hey ... I'm tryna change dah woild heah! Show some respect. … [Read more...]

Bloodsucking Rabbis Vow to Defy The Law

Briefly but vividly imagine this:  At your request, a trusted member of your religion removes the foreskin of your newborn son and then ... dips his head down and PLACES HIS MOUTH onto the open wound. You really have to hope there are no communicable diseases on his lips or floating around in his saliva, because there would be no better time to pass them along.According to the New York City Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene, it happens. … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: Don’t Teach the Controversy

Thinking about some of the things Beta Culture will entail, I know education has to be an early and definite part of it.I’ll talk about one aspect of that. We secularists have been almost frantically hands-off when it comes to the intersection of religion and children. Something you hear extremely often is the bit about “Well, let’s give them both sides and let them make up their own minds.”I’ll tell you where I think that comes from. It comes from fear of being wrong. Of telling kids wro … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: The Heart and Soul of American Ideals

Subtitled: Hey, Where's the Blue Collar Atheist, and What's This Citizen of Earth Crap?_________________I’ve heard you say it.You said “If Bush gets re-elected, I’m leaving the country.” You said “If Romney gets elected, I tell you, I think America is over! I’m looking to move to Australia, or Canada.”Hey, I thought it myself, a couple of times in the past. But what I DID was, I stayed and, in my own small way, fought. Because if you believe in something, you don’t just leave off believin … [Read more...]

Wanted: Lessons in Strategic Thinking

I worked for a weekly arts and entertainment magazine in Arizona some years back. We’d have these periodic brainstorming sessions to figure out what the cover story would be in each upcoming issue. Anytime an urgent current event came up, we might pop that on the cover, but usually we could plan things out for weeks or months. The advertising sales staff needed to know so they could target particular advertisers for ad buys.So: One week, the local train museum. The following week, local m … [Read more...]