Revisiting the Harvard Classics: day 2

School day poems of John Milton. Written at the age of 16 years old, Milton showed promise of being a future poet. This section was found in volume 4.
On the morning of Christ Nativity brought me back to the things I needed to read for religion class. 13 years of religion class is difficult to forget and hearing those words again, regardless of their context, brought back memories from long ago. These days Christianity has a new meaning for me. The stories and mythology were finally explained to me as an adult and not an idiot for once. I don’t know why the church always treated people as if they were simple minded and couldn’t handle the meaning behind what was being said, it took a clinical psychologist to explain the old testament in a way that didn’t make it appear to be a huge pile of infantile crap wrapped in a diaper. So maybe there is something more out there then we could ever understand, things that science doesn’t have answers for. Milton had a talent for poetry, a skill he clearly worked at. Some would say that he was blessed and that the talent came from somewhere else, I would like to think he had the skill and focus to improve something he enjoyed.

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Bill Maher: so many drugs, so little time

I know that weed is legal in many places these days, including my own state of Michigan, but whatever Bill has been smoking please take it away from him. After a series of hoaxes over the years Stan Lee finally died, for real, like permanently. Instead of a short word of respect, or keeping his mouth shut, Bill decided to talk shit about guys reading comic books and bitching about comic movies. When he was called out on his stupid behavior, he again took the low road and even quoted the bible, his favorite book, to make the argument about being an adult.
I would like to point out that I like Bill, I have always liked Bill, but I think that Donald Trump becoming president broke that man’s brain. How much did he smoke that night, that week, after the election? Was he buying bad shit, or really good shit, like really good my brain no longer functions shit? As someone who grew up reading comics, I can say that in some ways, yes comics can be childish. Big guns, big tits, superheroes with painted on suits, the list can go on and on, but isn’t what Bill is doing no different than the high school antics of the stoner kid making fun of the other kids at the bottom of the totem pole for being nerds? A man died whose legacy will out live most of ours, including Bill’s. With everything that is happening in the world defending his shitty comment was at the top of his list along with having his secret fuck buddy Ann Coulter on the show. Seriously, let’s dive into this one. Bill has never been married, no kids, smokes weed god knows how often, takes nothing seriously, and caters to women who are out of his league. But he says guys reading comics are immature and need to grow up. Like most stoners Bill didn’t bother doing his homework for his monologue either.
There was a list of literary works that he claimed were never criticized for their merit. For starters some comics have won literary awards including Sandman and The Watchmen, that’s just for starters. To get back to the literature let’s start with Moby Dick, a book that was criticized for having the narrator of the story dying at the end, leaving the reader asking the question “if the narrator just died, then who is telling the story?” Shakespeare was thought to have been losing his mind when his last piece, A Midsummer Night’s Dream was written because people didn’t know what the hell it was supposed to be. Great literature, like comics, has been criticized over the years for being improper or immature pieces of trash. Hell, nobody read The Great Gatsby while Fitzgerald was alive. Of course, Bill wouldn’t know about any of this, he just slapped his retort together like he did with his original comment, straight out of his ass, read off of some fresh toilet paper.
Bill, you lost your damn mind. It was going to happen eventually; all the great ones lose it in the end. Over the last two years you tried to recover, having Jordan Peterson on as your own personal Dr, Phil moment but not listening when he asked you the question “how do you accept the Trump voters when their party loses?” You have been so caught up in Trump’s pubic hair that you don’t see the forest for the stump. There is no destination in your thinking, the current plan has no goal and you are riding the wave of a tsunami not knowing how to get off the board. In your frustration you resorted to the lowest of the low, acting like Trump, belittling those who you think are inferior to yourself. What you don’t realize is that one day, not long from now, you’ll wish you had a hero to sit by your bedside keeping you from that horrible act of trying to suck your own dick one last time.

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The Second Coming Civil War?

On January 1 of 2019, James Weasley Rawles wrote a post for his Survivalblog.com about a coming Civil War. Unfortunately, people are taking this poorly argumented post to heart. Prepper channels all over YouTube shared the message with their own interpretations and crappy excuses for why their personal wet dreams will come true. One channel, Praxis Homesteading and Survival Skills, created a video called “USA Food Riots Within 60 Days” using the current government shut down as an excuse to blame poor people for the coming riots they predict. Of course, the logic behind this is the lack of funding for programs like WIC and food stamps, which I would like to point out are NOT affected by the partial government shutdown. While Rawles doesn’t discuss this argument in his essay he instead takes a religious tone instead.
The history book was thrown out for this essay, making claims that the FBI was once nonpartisan and could uphold the law without discrimination. J Edgar Hoover would be wetting himself with this praise if he was here today. Rawles comes across like a Muslim Cleric in post invasion Iraq talking about a war between the godly and ungodly, whatever the hell that means? Then he caters to the Trumpets pointing out the landmass map of red and blue states while complaining about the colors used for the demographics. I can’t figure out what kind of religious purge he is envisioning, or why he thinks 87% of the population that label themselves at Christian are being oppressed and unrepresented. I guess when you live in your own world, isolating yourself from the rest of the country you start to think that people who are different are a danger and need to be “taken care of.”
I have seen this before in my own life. People who are not satisfied with how their lives turned out trying to find someone to blame for their own mistakes in life. If you work in a factory and your job is shipped overseas, well you blame the poor or immigrants. Another school shooting it must be those gun hating liberals trying to take our weapons. Doesn’t matter the shooter came from a conservative home where guns were readily available. Rawles has become the front man of the conservative blame game. Why shouldn’t he? If works great for other outlets like Blaze and FOX news. Give your viewers someone to hate and sent them on their way, hell they will even throw money your way to keep hearing the message. It’s like their own person self help guru feeding the flames of their discontent and pointing them in the direction of their own self destruction. For a group who talks about fiscal responsibility and moral leadership both are lost somewhere on the horizon of their past.
Post that have followed the new years essay have been about funding for the website and asking for money. Rawles won’t use Patreon and instead ask for cheques to be sent to help keep things up and running. Survivalblog.com has become the southern welfare states of America, hating gays, the poor, and minorities while not seeing they are what they attack. In the words of Ron Swanson “people are idiots” and the last day has shown me how right he was.

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The world is always ending for someone

April 15, 2018 and the world is covered in ice, at least where I live. An ice storm is rolling through and we are stuck in the house for the day after a busy couple of days. My fiance’s father died yesterday and the days leading up to it were busy with a lot of driving, finding babysitters, and losing several hours of sleep. fortunately the last on we are professionals at dealing with. As of today I am two episodes behind on my podcast and this is the first post for a while, I haven’t kept track.

While Sarah was spending her time with her dad, trying to maintain his care, I was busy with several projects. During the day I am the primary care giver for my daughter. While I have her I try to do some productive things while keeping her entertained. On Friday night i returned home from work to hear the news that we, as in the united states, had bombed parts of Syria. This had me worried and a few hours later i received the call that Sarah’s dad had passed away after a long fight with cancer. The next morning, while Sarah stayed in bed catching up on sleep, I took Zoey with me to the store and filled a cart with non-perishables to load into the pantry. This was more for my personal feeling of security than anything. Did i think we were heading for war, hopefully not, but I did worry that things would move into a direction I didn’t want to imagine. For the sake of my family and myself i loaded up the car and carried everything into the basement while Sarah slept. she still has no idea how much i bought or added to our stockpile.

On Friday, I took Zoey with me to my house and dug up a few Iris and Tulip bulbs. Sarah had been looking forward to her yard being cleaned up and I wanted her to have some flowers to look forward to. I planted the Iris and tulips in appropriate spots along with some sunflowers that I hope will fill the space along the fence in the backyard.

While I try to plan for the unexpected Saturday was a rough reminder of how things may not turn out as you expect. Sarah’s dad was a young guy, only 58 when he passed. While I can look at my family’s history and see the long lifespans that preceded me I can’t expect to be that lucky. Religion teaches us to look towards the end times while ignoring the day to day events that are in a sense a personal apocalypse. This will be the second funeral that I will be attending this year. My Grandmother passed away a few weeks ago and she was buried on St. Patrick’s Day, finally giving me a reason to drink on that day. I have been to plenty of funerals during my life. Many were the result of self inflicted ends of one kind or another, some natural causes, either way these should remind us that everyday life is a danger in itself and that the end could always be closer than we expect.

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Confessions of an Atheist Prepper

I have had people in the past ask me how what got me involved in the prepper (survivalist) movement? While many reasons are religious based and involve practices taught to them by their faith, I can only attest to a partial truth in that answer. I did grow up during the 80s and while baby boomers and a few numbers of Gen Xers can remember the nuclear drills that schools did back in the day, I can still recall in detail putting a book over my head and thinking this was somehow going to protect me from the radiation and intense heat that would strip the flesh from my bones like Sarah Connor in Terminator 2. The drills were ridiculous and even one kid in my class asked the question on how to not look once you saw the light when a nuclear detonation happened?  As he pointed out once you saw the light your retina was already burned. The drills and precautions done during that time were pointless and amounted to nothing when the real event came upon us and fortunately for us it never did.

There was something else that happened when I was in middle school. The administration at St. Monica’s had gathered together and tried to figure out what issues the future generation might have to be prepared for. Out of nuclear war, plague, over population, or devastating asteroid, climate change ended up being the winner of the conversation. Our class learned about gardening solar energy, and peak oil, an issue they were hoping might happen sooner than later in order to counter the effects of climate change. Global Warming was the term we heard back then until the Bush administration changed the term to make the effects sound more natural and less dangerous. Regardless there was an importance instilled in me about the future and what science said was coming.

During that time my parents were doing a lot of things around the house that were also prepper related. Buying large amounts of canned goods and storing them away, canning their own vegetables, growing a garden, attempted bouts of hunting that ended with throwing the deer in the bed of the truck after hitting it in the road. Most of these activities were for the purpose of saving money and instead resulted in the hobbies being quickly dropped due to the time and energy involved in them. I was seeing and learning these things as I grew up but the thing that turned me off from it for a long time was the religion aspect that was tied to it. With every event, news story, political concern, and scientific study there was a reference to the book of revelation or the apocalypse. During the cold war, we faced nuclear annihilation and that was God’s plan. After the fall of the Berlin wall it changed to the Iraq war and the battle of Armageddon where Saddam was the anti-christ and America was the Christian warriors who were fighting for the side of good. I remember my mother worried about Saddam’s chemical weapons and destroying the planet, an irrational fear told to a child and something that a more intelligent person would have found to be ludicrous. Still this was the world I was growing up in and no matter how many times the end of the world didn’t happen there was a push by the religious right to find the next big thing. I became tired of this and other aspects of religion as I grew older.

Going to catholic schools there were several times that what I was being taught and what the school did were opposites of each other. While the teachings of the new testament were prioritized as the most important aspect of the bible, the school and church were run under old testament rule. When I pointed these things out and argued against the things I was seeing I was told that was not how the real world worked and not to question authority. Wasn’t that exactly what Jesus did? Question the old rule of the Jewish state and try to change minds to a better world? And why was I the only one who was trying to practice what was being taught?

I never went back to the catholic church after graduation feeling no need or desire to connect myself to an organization that blackmailed people with threats of where they would be after they died. I later married into a Methodist church where I thought there might be a resemblance to the teachings I was taught but that fell to the wayside after a pastor complained about a person calling the church asking for help, then demanded that the parish donate to the church so that they could install air conditioning. I quickly left the church after that.

For a few years, I found a home in Buddhism and practiced that philosophy for a while until there was an issue with what the “true path” was. I still find meditation handy and feel disappointed with the organization of a philosophy whose teacher stated, “Everyone can find enlightenment in their own way, this is what worked for me.”

Since then I have found a comfort in atheism. After all of the ridiculous stress and anxiety that came with being the member of a world ending religion seeing a reason and logic behind what was said had a comfort, the book of revelations would never offer. What was the point of doing anything when those around you were constantly saying “this is the end.”

With science, climate change came back into view. Because the effects of this event continued to come into play over long periods of time it didn’t have the effect for the churches to claim it as part of their world ending religion. The end of days has a very specific short term time line for any idiot to follow. Climate change on the other hand is an event that takes years if not a century to show its full effect. While religion depends on events like solar eclipses and other events that can be predicted through science to legitimize it, a long-term event like climate change is something that churches or religion in general have not only been unable to fit into their dogmatic role, but also denying its existence regarding it as a threat to their own existence. I can’t help assume that not only do the leaders of these churches know that climate change if real but that they deny it for the simple short minded reason that it will cost them money in the end. The shell corporation knew that climate change was real in the early 1970s and even taught their staff members about it to figure out what to do in order to stay in business while not destroying the planet. In the 1990s they changed their tune and started a campaign to deny the existence of climate change and not reduce the use of oil but figure out more ways to extract it in more costly ways.

Becoming an atheist didn’t change my view on the end of the world, it focused my attention to the one route it was proven to take that religion was denying. Sure, there is still fear of nuclear holocaust and another world war considering the current administration in office, but if I had to put my money on anything, climate change is the one circumstance that won’t change even if other events don’t happen first. A hundred years from now, if we don’t have a nuclear holocaust, world war, or plague that wipes out half of civilization, the earth will still be warmer, the seas levels will rise, and a good portion of the species on the planet will be gone. Out of all the ridiculous situations that we consider to be a threat to our way of life we ignore the one that is in our face and currently happening.

These days our government distracts us with things that are less likely to occur like terrorism from a threat that will cost their donors money. Terrorism is one of the issues that can promote while making a profit. To wage war on climate change is anti-climactic and while it does save the planet the enemy is hard to see and the positive effects of the efforts are difficult to measure over time. During war, bodies can be stacked and counted. Saved lives are harder to measure. How does one estimate lives saved from doing something that some would argue “might happen.” This argument was made at the end of WWII to justify the use of the atomic bomb against the civilian cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The White house argued the lives saved was greater than the lives lost to end the war early. History would later show that not only was this assumption false but the reasons were more sinister than that.

Al Gore tried to bring the issue of climate change to the forefront and succeeded for a short time. His efforts were overshadowed by the Bush administration’s war on terror and soon Gore was forgotten and his push to change light bulbs was thrown to the wayside. Gore’s attempt to save the world backfired like Jimmy Carter’s attempt to change the American psyche.

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