The subject of fear came up in the comments on a recent post, one writer lamenting the life-freezing effects of it. Because the writer’s words felt soooo familiar, I both winced and chuckled. Winced because I’ve been there, chuckled because once again I realized that I’m not the only one who feels this sort of thing. Quoting Richard Nixon, “Let me just say this about that …” (more…) Read more

Well worth reading: We’re Telling Them They’re Wrong: Why Coming Out Atheist Is Inherently Oppositional I think we need to acknowledge that, for us, coming out is an oppositional act. That’s not all it is, of course. It’s also an act of visibility, of community building, of personal honesty and integrity. It helps overturns myths and misinformation about us. It helps normalize atheism and make it seem less scary, both to believers and to incipient atheists. It makes it easier… Read more

One of my readers left a comment on my Religion vs. Science piece and provided a link to the site “Soulgineering.” Muddling around in there, I came across this article, Physics and the Immortality of the Soul. I can’t argue the science, but – being a writer and editor – I do have something of a feel for language, and the article is a not-very-artful mess of waffling and padding. If this was an article about heroin addiction, the writer… Read more

Say someone gave you $30,000, in cash, and the deal was, you had to live on it as long as you could. You couldn’t do any other income-producing work in that time, you just had to live on the 30 grand. You’d have to pay all your bills on it, provide for all your daily needs. You’d have no additional money coming in, and all your entertainment needs, your health needs, your travel and leisure needs, all would have to… Read more

Any serious writer could tell you: Not everything you write ends up on a page somewhere. Some of the stuff just isn’t good enough. Some of it is good enough, but not germane to the piece you’re currently writing. And some of it is good enough but … just doesn’t fit anywhere. This is a piece of a piece that never made it into my book. It’s sort of a double reject — the chapter in which it appeared was… Read more

This was buried fairly far down in a previous post, Obama’s Speechwriter … sort of, and I thought I’d pull it out on its own and repost it. Because, damn, I’d love to hear him make it, or something like it. (Click through to the earlier story to read the context, which was a freelance speech I wrote for the 2008 campaign.) ——————————– ABCD Speech (1,188 words, about 10 minutes to deliver) One of the major issues of this presidential… Read more

“The Rapture” — by Robert Bissell I was in a Schmuckapalooza supermarket in my hometown in upstate New York, at 6 p.m. on May 21, 2011, when I realized the end was coming. I remember it exactly because a Christian minister, Harold Camping, had predicted that precise time and date for the Rapture. According to Camping, 200 million Christians would be spirited into Heaven at just that moment. The rest, the left behinds, would live out their days on an… Read more

Kudos to Wausau, Wisconsin firefighter Jamie Giese and teammates on the Wausau Fire Department, for saving the life of 7-year old Labrador retriever Koda. After rescuing the unconscious dog from a burning house, Giese gave Koda “mouth-to-snout” resuscitation. I’ve heard it argued more than once that there’s something shameful or unnatural in valuing an animal in the same way we value our fellow humans. I like to think that view is somewhat less popular than it once was, but I have no… Read more

Goddammit, it’s not enough that the world is ending today. Now we have to stop touching ourselves too. Because wanking makes you fabulous. Don’t misunderstand me — it’s okay to be fabulous. Nothing wrong with it. Some of my best friends are fabulous. There are fabulous clubs right here in my hometown, and I see fabulous people walking around in my own neighborhood. There are fabulous parades and celebrations in major cities all over the world. After generations of being… Read more

The significance of all the rapture rhetoric from Harold Camping isn’t that Camping is … well, probably pretty far gone into senile dementia. And it isn’t that, even as far gone as he is into senile dementia, he can still sound fairly sane, by Christian standards. (more…) Read more

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