June 15, 2007

My Health Scare

I've been battling laryngitis for months now. I finally saw an ENT doctor yesterday:

I know I should really rest my voice, but I will have a hard time of it. For example, I made the above video which consists of non stop babbling for over 5 minutes.

In mid February I went to watch my nephew, the best goalie prospect in Canada play.
I started talking to my brother, and nothing but non comprehendable whispers came out. I dismissed it to the air in the coldish arena. When I got back home, my voice was fine.
The reason I wasn't so concerned, is the same thing happened before at the end of "discussions" about meaningless futile stupidness with my wife.
I noticed by late March that my voice would weaken considerably as the day went on. This continued to the point that I would only have a good hour of voice a day.
Those closest to me were starting to bother me about going to the doctor. I'm a man, and I need to be doubling over in pain before I see a doctor dammit. And my laryngitis was not painful. I was not spitting up blood. But I knew this wasn't normal.
I started doing lots of internet searches. And I kept telling those bugging me to see a doctor, lets wait a week. A week turned into months. Finally, at the end of April I went to a walk-in clinic. He told me to go to the hospital for a heart and lung xray. I went in 3 days, which was a Friday. Took the xray. The nurse told me, "you can go." What did that mean? Did it mean, yep the xray came out because I can see all the lumps in your lungs? I asked when will the doctor contact me regarding the results. I was told the technician won't be in until Monday.
The suspense was killing me. I waited until Thursday and since I didn't hear from the doctor's office, I decided to call. I said, "did you get my xray results." I was told they are fine. "What about the referral?" We are waiting to hear back from the referring doctor's office, I was told.
My voice got progressively worse. My internet searches got more refined. Did I have the big C. Is that why I can't speak normally at all now? Is the tumor in my throat getting bigger? I know it could be anything. But I am pessimistic by nature.
I started thinking it had something to do with GERD, because I was noticing an acidic taste in my mouth in the mornings. I started taking Rolaids extra strength tabs, but they weren't helping. I starting drinking lots of tea and cutting down on pop and coffee.
I finally got a call on Monday. A cancellation freed up an appointment slot for me Thursday (yesterday). I really didn't want to go, but I knew I had to.
Within one minute of sticking the camera up my nose to view my throat, the doctor told me my vocal cords are crossed. And this happened from misuse of my voice. WOW.
I asked if that was common, he said no. I asked about GERD, he said it is a possibility since I have ulcers that are in my vocal cords as well. He hesitantly prescribed omeprazole. But I'm starting to think the pills are helping me already.
He recommends that I go to a speech pathologist to learn to talk (and shout?) again.
Canada is great for medical. OHIP covers everything but the drugs. The drug plan I am on paid for 90% of the prescription (which would have been $77 without the plan, for 50 tiny pills).
Now about my "crossed" vocal cords. It is just starting to hit me. What the hell is that? I haven't found anything about the condition on the internet. Is it naturally reversible? If not, is my voice screwed forever? Is there an operation available to correct it (good luck convincing me to go under the knife for something like that).

During this whole process, I never once lost my faithlessness.

As an atheist, I realize this is my only shot at life. I thanked the doctor and sincerely meant it (because he saw no signs of cancer). I am too young (46) for The Big Sleep. Plus I am motivated to outlive my wife. I don't want to die until I can experience what it is like to be single one more time:)

I haven't posted the following video on this site yet. It does shows how bad my laryngitis is. This one is funny (at least I think so). Jews Control The World:

June 12, 2007

Rabbi Marc Rubenstein is another clueless imbecile

Rabbi Marc Rubenstein from Temple Isaiah in Orange County put out crap. He is now open for a good reaming. It is obvious that the religious world is becoming more insecure these days, as the internet with all the resources available, and most importantly, the resilience of the internet secular community when it comes to online debate between theist and non theist, believers are rightfully beginning to question their own beliefs, and most likely the religious clergy are being inundated with tough questions by many, not just a few. Brushing away things today, won't work on many, like the old days.

Here is a recent message he wrote on his Temple's web site accompanied with my comments:

THE RABBI’S VIEWS - The Daily Pilot, In Theory,
June 2, 2007 - The question put to religious leaders: Why the uptick in atheism?

Several books about atheism are topping the best-seller lists. Some observers think it's because of a growing resentment about the widening influence of religion in society. What's your take on this rising interest in atheism?

"People who are atheists suffer from a lack of intelligence. Religionists believe that a Creation demands a Creator. My temple office is in the Back Bay. If any person would find a $1,000 watch there, it would dictate that there was a designer and a craftsman who could make such a watch. Common reason illustrates that someone had to leave the watch there. So it is the case with the universe.
Lack of intelligence? 65% of Americans who dropped out of high school believe the earth less than 10,000 years old and that evolution is hooey, compared to 25% of Americans who attended post secondary school. Scientists are stupid? As we know many scientists are atheist or agnostic.
Creation demanding a creator? Who created God? If you can accept that the God needs no creator, it isn't a great leap to accept the universe doesn't need one either.
A watch isn't a living being, and yes it had to be designed. But the things that make up the watch do not need a designer in their rawest of forms. And nobody says that a watch evolved from a one celled animal, or that it had a common ancestor.
Common reason requires evidence or analyzing lack of evidence. There is no evidence that God exists or created the universe.

Religion solves the question of what came first, the chicken or the egg? The obvious answer is the chicken, because God created all its creatures. Many people mistakenly abandon religion because the world is billions of years old. You don't have to accept the entire Bible to believe in God.

True, you don't have to accept the entire bible or any part of the bible to believe in God. You don't have to have read any part of the bible to believe in the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus either. The fact is that there is no evidence that God exists, none whatsoever.
Religion does not solve the question of who came first. It offers a theory (without any proof) of who came first, unlike abiogenesis which offers scientific theory of who came first.

Those people who don't believe in God have little meaning in life. Without a God, there is no morality or sense of social justice.
Bullshit. Atheists make their own meaning just as theists do. What is the meaning of life if God does exist? Does my dogs life not have meaning, how about a fruit fly? Maybe so, or maybe not. Meaning is subjective. As far as morality and social justice goes, atheists are under-represented in jails. We evolved a sense of morality and social laws and justice represent our innate morality more or less, though some social laws are cultural and not universal.

What basis for these two principles would you follow? A sense of religion anchors you and gives you meaning. When something goes wrong with your life, you have something to fall back on.
OK, now at least you admitting that religion is a crutch. You sound like a Fundy Christian offering up belief in God to give us a better life, just as they say belief in Jesus offers up eternal heaven.
Admitting religion is a drug to help you deal with problems life has to offer, does not make religion or drug addiction right, nor does it prove God.

If one accepts that there is a God, then there are only two dilemmas in life: the problem of evil and pain. These are tough questions to answer. However, without a God or sense of religion, tougher questions arise — like a purpose in life. To the atheist, life is simply an accident without any purpose. If there is no God, then one must answer all the other questions that life poses." RABBI MARC RUBENSTEIN
I don't accept God, and I am faced with "evil" and pain too.
Again, purpose in life is in the eye of the beholder. I still haven't heard a reasonable answer to how God gives life purpose. How does God give a fruit flies life purpose, or a cicada who lives in the ground for 17 years, and last only 2 weeks above ground just to shed and mate, if it is lucky enough to do so. Of course, lucky is also in the eye of the beholder.
So let me get this straight, you need to believe in God so that you don't have to deal with reality and answer tough questions.........that science, incidentally, has mostly answered and in time will answer.

Marc Rubenstein's argument is just Pascal's Wager, which works better on stupid people, not intelligent atheists.

June 9, 2007

The Sopranos Finale: My Predictions

I really started getting hooked on The Sopranos around 4 years ago. I've seen every episode at least once, but mostly three times. After over 8 years it is about to end.
Everything must die and there will be life after The Sopranos. I'm sure of it.

One piece of trivia before my predictions: Me and James Gandolfini are the same age. I'm a few months earlier. Chris who got knocked out of the series a couple of episodes ago is actually 41 years old. He definitely played someone at least 17 or 18 years younger than Tony on the series.

Now for the predictions:

1. Tony will flip. He'll realize that he and his family have no future as members of the Mafia. This will sort of vindicate the shrink, as she will take credit amongst her peers for the flip. 9 years ago, Lorraine Bracco's legs were an asset to the show, but in the last few years, they have been pretty hidden by the cameras. Yeah, yeah, I know, she is 52 years old, give her a break.

2. The show will revolve around Tony and his family finding a new location far far away from New Joisey. AJ will start crying because he is going to be separated from his new crazy bimbo.

3. Before leaving, Tony makes an effort to track down the Arabs after finding out they are in town and most likely plotting a terrorist act (this will piss off the CAIR terrorist apologist organization in real life). He finds them, and kills them in a very brutal manner, in a scene that immediately follows his shrink bragging about how great her therapy was.

4. When bargaining with the Feds, Tony insists on taking Uncle June with him, but not his sister, to his new home, showing his true family loyalty.

5. Before leaving, Tony stops off at Chris' widows house to tell her he has to leave and he just wanted to say goodbye and see Chris' kid one more time. He winds up banging the hell out of her in a passionate way, of course.

6. Last scene: Tony runs into Phil at the Airport. Tony and his family are leaving and Phil and a body guard are coming back. Tony stops and says "hi Phil, how is it going" and then he smirks as Phil gives him a very "mean in a scared kinda way" look back.....OK, now for the final tune: How about The Way We Were by Streisand?

I wonder if the end of series will end my recurring Sopranos dream. I am one of his crew members, who winds up in a car with Tony, and I have no idea if he is going to kill me or continue to be my friend.

June 7, 2007

I Don't Mind Theists Like Rabbi Jonathan Ginsberg

Rabbi Jonathan Ginsberg is not a reality denier. Well, almost. He accepts evolution and an ancient earth thanks to overwhelming evidence, but I don't think he's read The Bible Unearthed yet, or chooses to ignore the fact that the Exodus never happened.
Maybe he should watch these videos. I'd love to see his take on it.

But when it comes right down to it, he is not the type of theist who is going to hinder education.

OK, so he got the 20 light years wrong and the age of the earth (not 20 billion years old). He isn't the Jewish version of Dr. Ken Miller, that is for sure. But at least he doesn't deny reality.

He has over 100 videos on Youtube. Check them out. He has lousy delivery on his jokes. I guess he realized that, and became a Rabbi instead of a stand-up comic. If you want to learn a bit about Jews and Judaism, watch some of his videos.

Here is his take on Noah's Flood. I think he'd like to believe that the story literally happened, but I think he is smart enough to know it didn't:

June 4, 2007

Lots of theists are amateur psychologists

I think just about every atheist blogger gets unsolicited emails from amateur psychologist theists. We also get mail from nasty theists as well who tell us where we are going and many tell us why there is a God, some of these theists are nasty, some aren't. What bothers me mostly about theist to atheist email is that if the theist has such great convictions, why not just leave comments on my blog?

I'm going to make this post simple. Theist email, followed by my thoughtful reply.

Dear Beaj:

Do you ever read your own stuff? I came across your blog, quite by accident. You were taking take a strip off Rabbi Gelman for saying atheists are angry. Then you spend the next four or five paragraphs telling everybody why you're pissed off. Go figure.

As a believing Catholic, let me tell you a true story.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen was walking into Westminister Cathedral to attend mass on a cold rainy Sunday morning, in the city of London. Out in front of the cathedral was a guy with a sign saying: "THERE IS NO GOD." Archbishop Sheen walked passed him and said "glad to see you believe in God." The man looked at him incredulously and said;"You damned fool! Can't you read the sign?" Sheen responded: "Of course I can read. But a true atheist would be indifferent, at home in a warm bed on this cold Sunday morning. He surely wouldn't be in front of this cathedral, holding a sign saying there is no God."


You're pissed, no doubt about it. I don't why, and frankly, I don't care.

I have a theory that many individuals who call themselves atheists resent believers because they lack the consolation that believers receive by their faith. They would love to have this consolation, but they find it difficult or impossible to believe. However, down deep many of them haven't totally written off God. Actually, they would be utterly delighted if He showed up unexpectedly.

Atheism is no big deal. Many Jews and Christians in our society, even those who claim to believe, are for all intensive purposes atheists. Why? Because they may identify as Jews or Christians, but they behave as if there is no God. Often, but hardly always, real atheists are better people than believers are. Yet, I get so tired hearing from atheists who are always telling us what a horrible thing religion is, especially when you consider that the worst crimes in history occurred because people no longer believed in God. As Dimitri said in the Brothers Kramazov: "If God doesn't exist, all things are permissable." Then the dumb bastard went off and killed his father, just to prove his point.

Hitler and Stalin were hardly religious. The Spanish Inquisition never murdered on the scale of 20th century man. The Nazis killed more people at Auschwitz in two days than the Inquisition killed in all its history. Yet when people talk about the sins of religion, they seem to have historical amnesia. They seem to forget all the secular murderers we've had to deal with in the last 100 years.

So, if you want to be pissed at God, go for it. I just think it's a waste of time.

As Bobby McPherin says, "Don't worry - be happy."

My reply:

I'm not pissed off at God. My stance is that there is no evidence God
exists or has ever existed. There is no reason to believe in God,
other than to live a lie in hoping for an afterlife.
Sounds like you are giving me a generic letter (most of it) that you
are distributing to others. You obviously don't know much about my
views. Jews are an ethnicity AND/OR a religion. Hitler didn't ask
Jews if they believed in God or not.
If I'm angry at anything, it is what religion has caused in the name
of something that there is no evidence of, and in fact something
completely man made. Wars are fought in the name of supremacy (my God
is better than your God or my God is the only God anyone should
believe into).
As far as '"If God doesn't exist, all
things are permissible." Then the dumb bastard went off and killed his
father, just to prove his point.'goes. Atheist are under represented
big time in jail. In theory, you may say that without God, we are
free to be immoral, but the reality is that atheists are as moral if
not more moral than people who believe, thinking that they can always
beg for God's forgiveness.
Your theory is not correct. Atheists have written off the idea that
the invisible sky fairy exists (again because we know that religions
are man made, and that no evidence for God exists), but most of us
would definitely welcome God and the afterlife, but then again, we
would also welcome it if one million dollars miraculously appeared in
our jeans pockets.
Hitler was a believer in God, though he wasn't a good Christian.
Stalin grew up religious, and atheism was not the reason he was a
tyrant. Again, there are millions of atheists on the planet today.
Not too many are tyrants, or even communists.

I'm going to post your letter on my blog, but I won't use your name
and email addy, unless you want me to include it.



I was angry at Gelman because, like this theist emailer, he tried to tell me what I think, as if he knows something.

Now for a worthwhile email:

Dear Bacon-Eating Atheist Jew,

Hi I'm a blogger with a site at: http://rjjago.wordpress.com which is maybe beside the point. I'm trying to find as many atheists as I can as quickly as I can.

The CBC is doing this 'pulse of the nation' thing on facebook. It's called 'The Great Canadian Wish List' and it allows people to submit wishes for what they want Canada to be and then vote on them.

Long story short, religious people have taken it over and we atheists are getting beaten quite badly.

I've put up a wish for an atheist Canada. Right now it's just barely in the top 50 with 52 votes. The Christian ' revival of spirituality' wish is pushing a thousand. It matters because the CBC will be doing a TV special on Canada promoting the top ten or twenty wishes and I would prefer that at least one of those were mine.

I was wondering if you could:

a. Vote for that wish?

b. Promote it on your blog?

I promise, by the prophet's beard, that if you vote for this, you will get 72 virgins in heaven.

The wish can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/sgroup/subgroup.php?sub_oid=2382939609 . To support it you'll need to register for Facebook and click 'add support' in the top right of the wish.

Best regards,

If you are a Facebook member and a Canadian atheist, do the right thing:)
I would rather be voting for a totally secular Canada though. It makes more sense and might even be attainable.