Friday fragments

The Infrastructurist brings us “10 of the Dumbest Road Signs You’ll Ever See,” some of which are dumb, but some of which are kind of awesome.

To me the strangest road sign is the one that says “Form Two Lanes.” I used to pass such a sign every night at four in the morning on my way home from the paper, wondering, “How am I supposed to do that?”

Also infrastructure-related: the White Roof Project. That’s a Good Thing, though it might be even better as a nonprofit business employing people who need jobs than as a mainly volunteer effort.

Dave Lartigue points us to this depressing article about the Catholic Bishop of Toledo’s campaign in favor of breast cancer. I wish that were a joke, but it’s not:

Toledo Catholic Bishop Leonard Blair has banned parishes and parochial schools from raising funds for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, citing concerns that the global anti-cancer giant may someday fund embryonic stem-cell research.

So if you’re planning on donating to or fundraising for the Susan G. Komen Foundation any time soon, it might be fun to send a cheerfully polite note to Bishop Blair, thanking him for inspiring your gift.

Mike Todd finds that one of the lovelier remembrances of Amy Winehouse was written by Russell Brand:

When you love someone who suffers from the disease of addiction you await the phone call. There will be a phone call. The sincere hope is that the call will be from the addict themselves, telling you they’ve had enough, that they’re ready to stop, ready to try something new. Of course though, you fear the other call, the sad nocturnal chime from a friend or relative telling you it’s too late, she’s gone.

Frustratingly it’s not a call you can ever make, it must be received. …

The Rude Pundit: “A Scene From Our Unshared Sacrifices

… She was getting three prescriptions. The total was $6.00. This puzzled the old lady. She had never paid anything before, and even this seemingly small amount was obviously causing her consternation. The cashier checked with the pharmacist, who said that there had been a minor change to her plan, and now she had to pay a little for the scrips, a buck-fifty, three bucks. She apologized and put aside the couple of other things she was going to purchase to pay for the medicine. …

Ed Brayton tells us that Josh McDowell, professional convincer of the convinced, is still at the cutting edge of youth culture. He’s just discovered the Internet. He’s against it.

The Revealer’s Abby Ohlheiser explores the parallels between fandom and religion — “… it can do some of the things that religion does without actually being it” — in “Fans of Action: How Harry Potter Inspired a New Generation of Activists.” Dobby lives!

John says Your Yard Is Evil. Charlie Gardner says it’s Frederick Law Olmstead’s fault.

A pastor is asked about sexual ethics. He prudently notes that the nail that sticks up tends to get hammered down and — due to what he rightly identifies as “the scarcity of safe spaces” in the evangelical subculture in which to say anything at all about sexual ethics beyond strained prooftexts and purity rings — he opts to punt. Wise move.

And finally, The Consumerist points us to a resource that everyone ought to bookmark for future reference: the Corporate Consumer Contacts page from Have a complaint? Here’s your contact information. Very cool.

Sunday favorites
NRA: The most trusted name in news (is not 'Global Weekly')
Pray that you will be among those 'left behind'
This generation has far too many 'Ezras' already, thanks
  • Matthew McDonald

    This thing just doesn’t end. If ya’all would rather I shut up about this, say the word.

    He said:

    Maybe God put us together here on FaceBook so that I could tell you about Him. Did that thought ever occur to you?

    And yes, I am being very inconsiderate by trying to help you to find someone that can help you in your time of need. That is like the cruel person that sees a starving child and buys them something to eat, I hate cruelty like that, makes me very sad.

    The video from hell bothered you? Why would a “fairy tell” place bother you? Maybe it bothered you because you do doubt your beliefs?

    The fact that you continue to take the time to respond to me during your time of grief does lead me to believe you are wanting to hear what I have to say. It is not me speaking here, it is God speaking through me to help you.When I was a non believer it did not bother me in the least that people talked to me about what I considered to be a “fairy tale”. I laughed at what they said and it actually cheered me up. I was a true non believer and the world at that time was all about me and nothing or no one else. I was all that mattered to me, my own happiness. I never walked away from a good debate about religion, I spoke my opinion without ever getting mad or cursing at the other party. There was times I started laughing so hard at their beliefs that they would get mad and walk away. Then God found me and it all changed.The fact that I am not lashing back at you should tell you something.I lost my mother two years ago. It was the first loss I had had since coming to Christ. Losses before then were very hard on me because according to my beliefs they no longer existed. When mother passed away I did shed a few tears the day of the funeral but never another. I miss her but I do believe I know where she is and her suffering is over.I did not tell you at any time that I was sorry for your loss and I do apologize for that. I am truly sorry for what has happened to your friend and I feel for you on what you are going through. I did suggest you find someone to talk to about Christ and I will say that again. I would be happy to talk to you myself in anyway you would like. My phone number is:
    (removed for obvious reasons)


    I will continue to pray for you and if that bothers you you need to take a hard look at what you do believe

    I replied:

    I continue to take the time to argue with you for two reasons. One, when someone behaves like an asshole, and do not realize it, it’s the right thing to do to inform them of it, and why what they are doing is assholish. I have done this. The second reason is that I am constitutionally unable to allow someone else to have the last word in a fight. It makes me crazy.I’m beginning to think you’re trolling me. You can’t really be this blind. The fact that you could have written those first four paragraphs, which are some of the most self satisfied examples of passive aggressive attacks I have ever seen, and still honestly believe you’re not lashing back at me can’t be reconciled. Those four paragraphs are more vicious than anything I have said to you, even if they were said with a false sense of politeness. You’ve now turned this into a tone argument, because you simply cannot address the meat of what I said: The Grand Commission doesn’t say evangelize always. It is subservient to love that neighbor, and the order to roll in the ashes. Yes, you offered it at the end there, but after the truly cruel way you’ve treated me, do you really expect me to accept? If I did, you’d once again press your agenda on me while I hurt. You’re cruel because all you care about is winning a debate. All you care about is adding one more point to your eternal score card when I am fucking bleeding. You don’t care about me, you care about winning. Say otherwise all you want, but your behavior, especially in those first four paragraphs, tell the truth of you.And if you really don’t see how vicious it was of you to send me hellfire videos on the day I fed my Jessica to the flames, then I have no idea how we can even converse. You’re not human. You’ve so buried yourself in winning that you can’t even connect to basic human decency. 

     hurt. I hurt badly. And instead of helping, you’re a smug, self-sastified, vicious, selfish burden that I have to deal with because I’m not able to walk away from telling an asshole he’s an asshole.

    You do realize that the way you’re behaving will never work? That acting in this manner, that by kicking someone who’s down, that by refusing the command to rolling in the ashes with those who mourn, that you’ll never convert anyone, but will cause many more to be driven away? It is exactly because of this kind of bad behavior that Christianity has such a bad name among unbelievers. 

    I don’t know why I bothered though. You don’t care I hurt, and you don’t even care about an honest debate. By turning this into a tone debate, you’ve proven all you care about is weaseling your way into a false win so you can feel smug, so what I really should have left it at is this:

    Go suck a whole bag of dicks and leave me alone to mourn.PS. One has to wonder at the sheer unmitigated pride one must have to think he is literally god’s mouth piece.

  • Rikalous

    If ya’all would rather I shut up about this, say the word.

    You did say this is helping distract you, so I at least figure post away.

    Apart from whatever benefits it provides you, I admit to a morbid curiosity about how far this vulture sink.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    And I certainly didn’t mean to suggest that the poor deserve to be poor because of it, if that was your impression.

    No, that wasn’t my impression. Don’t worry.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    As a Catholic, I found this post to be the last straw. I will not come back to this site, and I’m letting other Catholics I know who read this site soley for the Left Behind critiques not to bother.

    S’OK. As a Catholic, I find this blog to be insightful and thought-provoking, and I keep coming back, and I’m letting other Catholics I know about Fred’s blog (especially the non-LB bits) because the ones I’ve referred so far have got a lot out of it.
    So we probably balance out in the wash.

  • Narm00

    In a way, I’m disappointed that the Moral Crusaders(TM) don’t target more obscure bits of media. Given the hullabaloo they make about D&D, where evil is an objective force that is there to be smote and one rulebook has a Risen Martyr prestige class, I’d love to see their reactions to, say Warhammer 40k with its genocidal, fascist warrior nuns, or Hunter: the Reckoning with its demonspawn (and demon-killing) protagonist group.

    Got the wrong White Wolf game there – it’s the Lucifuge from Hunter: the Vigil you’re thinking of. It’d be doubly hilarious because another protagonist group in Vigil, the Long Night, are a group of… Christian fundamentalists.

    (Although their reaction to Reckoning and its secret backstory - and for that matter Demon: the Fallen – would be amusing too.)

  • Matri

    It’s not serious, but they seem to be doing everything in their power to make it real: Link.

  • Matri

    It’s not serious, but they seem to be doing everything in their power to make it real: Link.

  • Chris Doggett

    This is more attention than a troll deserves, but what the heck…

    I got very disturbed at the general trend of condemning and mocking
    anyone whose faith wasn’t as sufficiently inclusive and liberal as your

    You came here for the Left Behind critiques, but got upset when he started critiquing other religious positions. Who could have seen that coming?

    Your implied position here is that faiths which are exclusive and segregating, which are narrow, hidebound, locked in tradition without concern for context, fixed and unchanging in a fluid society, these faiths should not be condemned or mocked, even when the harm they cause to parishioners and non-parishioners alike is clear. Got it!

    See, if you’d have
    bothered to look into this, you’d could have found out in five minutes
    the bishop did so because Susan B. Komen gives money to Planned
    Parenthood, whose primary business is abortion, and believed that it
    would be immoral to donate money that might be used for purposes the
    Church would find objectionable.

    If you had bothered to look into this, you could have found out in five minutes that
    a.) The Susan B. Komen foundation grants do not fund abortion.
    b.) The primary business of Planned Parenthood is not, and has never been abortion. Their legally required, publicly-released financial statements show abortion services account for 3% of their total business.
    c.) The Susan B. Komen foundation has two Catholic ethicists, Ron Hamel Ph.D. and Michael Panicola Ph.D. who concluded it was morally permissible for the church to be involved with Komen.

    . Susan B. Koman was asked awhile ago if the money given to them was
    specifically given to Planned Parenthood for their admittedly small
    breast health outreach, and the organization said it was given to them
    to do with as they want to.

    Blatantly false. As recently as June of this year, The foundation explicitly stated the funds they give to PP are not used for abortion. And unlike you, I cite my sources.

    You may not agree with the Catholic Church’s view on abortion, but the
    bishop’s action was in line with its teachings, and not hypocritical,
    and it sure wasn’t condemning women to die of breast cancer.

    The bishops action was born from deliberate acceptance of falsehoods and lies that are easily shown to be untrue. For an organizaiton that has as a commandment “do not bear false witness”, to openly and publicly take a stance based on known lies is a pretty clear case of hypocrisy.

    It’s interesting how people left of center seem to feel they have the
    monopoly on boycotting businesses and organizations because they don’t
    want their money to fund something they disagree with, and get upset and
    self-righteous when those on the right do the same.

    It’s funny you mention “the last straw”, because this is a pretty huge straw-man you’ve built.

    The “left of center” folks say ‘Hey, this business spent $8 million to fight same-sex marriage. I found this out by reading the company’s public statements on the matter, and I double-checked it against required campaign disclosures. I support SSM, so I don’t want to give money to someone with a proven, documented record of fighting against it.’

    The “right of center” folks say ‘Hey, I heard from a friend of a friend that this business is all about abortion, and this other business wants to give them more money that can be used for abortion. I read about it in an email my friend forwarded me. I think we should boycott both businesses without reading or researching anything further!’

    Left of center people get upset when lies and ‘truthiness’ are used for decision-making instead of evidence and reason, and they’re remarkably consistent about this. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the Church bearing false witness against Komen, or what we teach in public school science classes, or the rights and privileges we give to people regardless of sexual identity, or the services doctors can offer their patients.

  • Anonymous

    Which still leaves me confused as to what’s going on with the archetypal American suburb. Your typical meadow is still going to have coreopsis, wood-sorrel, clover, etc. in places. Why would a lawn be marred, then, if you have a few flowers that latched on? For ones who claim to cohere to individualism, we’re not seeing much in willingness to take to arcane things (in this case, individual choices in non-grass plants).

  • Lonespark

    hmmm, useful perspective.

    My homeless cousin has gotten some lovely tattoos as birthday and Christmas gifts from her otherwise total deadbeat of a father.  She likes tattoos.  She’d have liked him not spending her childhood in jail and whatnot better, but you take what you can get.

  • Anonymous for this one

    Wrong. Abortion is NOT the primary business of Planned Parenthood. In fact, MY Catholic girlfriend went there to get extremely cheap x-rays to make sure that her psychotic ex-boyfriends and stalkers had not completely broken her limbs. Fuck YOU for using a LIE to condemn other people.

  • Rikalous

    Got the wrong White Wolf game there – it’s the Lucifuge from Hunter: the
    Vigil you’re thinking of. It’d be doubly hilarious because another
    protagonist group in Vigil, the Long Night, are a group of… Christian

    (Although their reaction to Reckoning
    and its secret backstory - and for that matter Demon: the Fallen – would
    be amusing too.)

    The Long Night aren’t just Christian fundamentalists, they’re explicitly hunting to cleanse the earth of evil so the Rapture can happen. One of their other names is the Tribulation Militia. It’s actually a pretty positive portrayal, since one of their three main factions wants to turn the other cheek and redeem the monsters.

    Another gameline they’d hate would be Mage: the Ascension, not just for the magic-using, but the way the universe works. Basically, beyond a few basic things like gravity, the laws of the universe are what people believe they are. Technology is just another form of magic that the enemy faction has gotten everyone to believe in. Phlogiston bombs or magic words of ice aren’t any less real than the laws of thermodynamics, just harder to force pass the consensus. In other words, the absolute truth is that there is no absolute truth. The fact that the miracle-working group includes Jews and Christians and Muslims and Hindus and Pagans and probably a Scientologist or two all under the same banner would be icing on the cake.