Darwin Day in Wisconsin

Appleton Wisconsin in February has four to five foot-tall piles of snow all over absolutely everything. I live in Texas, where it is hard to remember what color snow is. I was invited to speak here by Alexa Blumenstock, a self-motivated activist whom I have encountered in Washington, Columbus, Omaha, Memphis, Manhattan, and I don't remember where else. It was a last minute invitation during a busy period for me, but I think it all worked out OK.If I didn't know these people already, I would … [Read more...]

Trumpless Debate Tonight

Donald Trump

In my opinion it is always a good idea to watch a presidential debate. Even though the GOP debates have been rancorous. At least tonight we won't have to cringe at Trump bullying Jeb Bush. More information is always better though. One of the objections I often hear that sets my teeth on edge is "both parties are the same". Any potential voter, who watches both of the party's debates has substantive reasons to tell you why that is not the case. It is a claim that can only be made in ignorance of … [Read more...]

Cruisin’ the UAE

Dubai for westerners

If you read my earlier article, Hopping through Arabian Airports, then you know how little I know I about Islam or the Arab world. That's actually why I went to the United Arab Emirates. It was by invitation of a rich [compared to me] Arab who funded that trip. He is an unbeliever, an infidel illegal in that country. But that is his culture, and he wanted me to see it as he does, first-hand and unfiltered. So we planned the trip to coincide with the conference in India. Upon my return, he put me … [Read more...]

The Cow


Last week when I was in the United Arab Emirates, someone gave me a copy of The Qur'an, a new translation by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem. I've already read the Avestas of Zarathustra and the Bhagavad Gita. So it's about time I read the Qur'an as well. But I'm not having a good time with it. The first chapter, The Opening is just a few lines of a pointless prayer and that's it. There is nothing there worthy of note. The second chapter, the Cow is the longest chapter, or sura, and there is quite a lot … [Read more...]

Tentative Solution


At different points around Delhi, I saw little tent communities like this one; where people literally live on the sidewalk -but with some privacy and shelter where they can actually sleep undisturbed and go about their day, earning enough to eat at least. I saw one of these rows of tents erected along a creek, and another where they were in the center median on the freeway. I'm conflicted about that. Because while that makes the homeless situation embarrassingly obvious, what does that matter … [Read more...]

How to get pneumonia in a tropical country


When I first arrived in Delhi, I stepped out of the airport to see a blanket of fog in late afternoon. Fog is an early morning occurrence. So what's going on here? At first the locals told me that the fog never lifts because it is winter and it is cold. But I don't think 25° C / 78° F qualifies as cold. I kept asking about it, and the next few people said it wasn't fog at all, but smog.I grew up in Los Angeles in the early 1970s, before catalytic converters. So I've seen extreme levels of s … [Read more...]

Riding through Agra


To get to the World Atheist conference in Vijayawada, I had to connect in Delhi. Having never been to India, I arranged a layover. A friend who lives there hired a car to take me to Agra for the purpose of seeing the Taj Mahal. If I'm in India anyway, I may as well see that, right?When we arrived, the cabby picked up a guide. That was his idea, and I thought it was a good one, since I don't know what all there is to see there. He did show me Fort Agra, and that was impressive. But … [Read more...]

Hopping through Arabian Airports

This image is from an article warning female tourists about inappropriate dress in Islamic countries.

I've heard that Qatar is one of those places where atheism carries a death sentence. We call it k'TAR, but the locals seem to call it CATTar. All I saw was Hamad Airport in Doha. It's a huge ultra-modern hub and the people are justifiably very proud of it. It tempts me to take a look beyond the veneer. If I could get out of the airport, (which my wife asked me NOT to do) will I see a contrast?The airport in Dubai was fascinating to me, because I saw numerous distinct sub-groups of … [Read more...]

Lemmy RIP


In 1982, I was all about Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath. But a few of my friends told me that I reminded them of someone else. They showed me a picture of Lemmy Kilmister, front man and bassist for speed-metal band, Motörhead. The thing is, at that moment, by sheer coincidence, I happened to be wearing the same clothes as Lemmy was in that picture, from the concert tee to the M-60 bullet belt. We even had on the same super dark black tear drop aviator sunglasses. How weird is that?I thought … [Read more...]

FBB fund against the Texas twister

Due to the F4 wedge tornado that killed a dozen people in our neighborhood last night, the Foundation Beyond Belief has initiated an aid donation facebook fund to help affected survivors. … [Read more...]