Wednesday, January 11, 2012

An Announcement For The Podcast

I'm making some changes to the podcast.

I'm currently working on format and content, as well as grabbing a few co-hosts. I thank you all for taking the time to listen and I hope you will all enjoy the updated podcast once it's released.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Io, Saturnalia!

Time for a post on my War On Christmas! Today's topic is Saturnalia, the Roman winter solstice holiday!
Saturn eating his offspring.
Saturnalia is the celebration of Saturn, the youngest of the Titans and the father of the Greco-Roman pantheon, most importantly Jupiter. The holiday was started around 217 BC to raise citizens morale after a crushing defeat by the Carthaginians. Originally celebrated on December 17th, it soon became very popular and went to a week long celebration ending on the 23rd, despite Augustus's attempts to shorten it to 3 days and Caligula's attempts to shorten it to 5 (both of which resulted in citizens rioting).

To celebrate Romans would untie the ropes on the statue of Saturn that usually bound him the rest of the year. The traditional greeting for the holiday was 'Io, Saturnalia!" (pronounced ee-oh), which means "Ho, Glory to Saturn!" They would wear a garb called a synthesis, which was informal wear and very colorful, and the pileus, or freedman's hat, because Saturnalia was a relaxed holiday. The colors they would wear were golds and greens. They would decorate live trees (they didn't cut them down and bring them indoors) with garlands and gold decorations of moons, stars, and suns. It was also a time where the social order was reversed. Slaves would often be forgiven instead of punished, and sometimes they would be given a feast by their masters. Though this sounds nice, it wasn't quite as it sounds. Often the slaves would prepare the meal and their master's, be served by their master, then have to clean up. It was very controlled role reversal. It was also a week where everyone drank heavily and exchanged small gifts, such as candles, clay figurines, and poems.
This is the pileus.
So let us join in drunken merriment this December 17th-23rd, Io Saturnalia!

Also, I wan to include this somewhat related video showing how effective the War On Christmas has been.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

And Now For Some Utah Politics On Liquor

A local beer. One of my favorites!
Utah's Hospitality Association, a group that represents hotels, bars, and clubs, is suing the state of Utah over it's liquor laws. This would repeal some of the newest legislation foisted upon us drinkers in the state that makes it illegal to advertise drink specials. This same bill, bill SB314, also limited the number of liquor licenses available in the state, creating a two year waiting list to be considered. On top of that it also made the City Weekly's (a local paper here) Beer Festival illegal, citing "overconsumption" as an issue, despite the fact that no arrests were made or citations given to any participant of the festival.  This legislation came into effect shortly after Utah got rid of it's private club laws, which made it so that you had to pay a membership fee to enter a "private club" (bar). When that legislation went away, I was pretty happy, only to have it replaced with this. 

The Hospitality Association claims that the laws violate the Sherman Act on trade and is unconstitutional because it violates the separation of church and state because, wait, there is more to the story! Turns out the Mormon Church is another reason the state is getting sued! The LDS church had a hand in crafting SB314, allegedly sending two representatives who,

"...warned lawmakers that if they did not agree with that Church's support of SB 314 [a big alcohol bill] there would be repercussions."

And the fact that the author of the bill received,

"...approval...from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

Senator Valentine (he's in charge of the liquor law committee) has said numerous times that the church has a stake in the liquor laws, so of course he listens to their opinion. He has even admitted in a radio interview on a local station, X96, that the laws have a religious basis because a majority of our population is LDS. He also says the LDS church has the freedom of speech, so we should just butt out. Valentine completely misses the point that the separation of church and state trump the first amendment. By having the church help craft laws, you are violating the Constitution. They can have their opinion all day long, but they can't force that on the public via legislation, whether a majority of the population belongs to that faith or not.

Sadly, this isn't new in Utah. Every so often there is a big scandal here that the church may be influencing the legislation. They get caught, get a slap on the wrist, and proceed to be sneakier than ever about it. It's depressing, really.

I hope the Hospitality Association's lawsuit goes well. It will be a victory for church and state separation, and a victory for those of us who choose to drink in this state. If this lawsuit fails, I see prohibition right around the corner.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

They Want A War? I'll Give Them A War!

Sorry Thanksgiving, even I'm passing you up (for a moment).

It seems like every year after Halloween all the Christmas decorations go up. Hell, if you're Target you put them out on Halloween. Thanksgiving is entirely bypassed by most stores. I have yet to walk in to any store and see any Thanksgiving decorations, promotions, ads, or any kind of acknowledgment that the holiday exists.  It's all Christmas stuff. So by now you're probably thinking to yourself, "Self, everyone knows this. Why is he going on about things we can all readily see?" And I think that is a good question. The reason I bring this up is The War On Christmas.

That's right. There is supposedly a war on Christmas going on as we speak (read, whatever). My problem is that I have never seen any evidence of the war. There certainly aren't Hanukkah decorations in my work place. No Kwanza decorations either. Every year we hear from Limbaugh and O'Reilly about this conspiracy to eradicate Christmas. They rail against people and companies who say "Happy Holidays!" because this is America, and in America we celebrate Christmas goddammit! I guess the strategy of making all of your customers feel welcome makes you unAmerican. Again, I don't see any evidence that this is the case.

Let's take a quick sidetrack. I, personally, despise Christmas. I find the materialism of it to be sickening, the fake care for ones fellow man that fades after the holiday sickening, really all of it. It's a commercialized sensationalized holiday that I feel has no value. I do enjoy spending time with family during the holiday season, but I enjoy that year-round. That's about where my enjoyment of Christmas ends. I don't like decorating, gift giving, gift receiving, or carols.

I hate this attitude
With all of that said, I have decided I am going to wage an actual war on Christmas. It's not a conspiracy, it's not secretive, I'm going right out into the open. I am waging a full on war against this holiday. I will say "Happy Holidays" to everyone. I will refuse to partake in the festivities that are Christmas specific. I will actively denounce the materialism that is inherit in the holiday nowadays. I will spread a message of caring about your fellow humans year-round. Part of my war on Christmas will be to research the pagan holidays that Christmas borrowed heavily from and share them with my readers. There are some fascinating festivals from around the world. I'm hoping that by doing so I will show that Christmas is a patchwork of pagan holidays with a dash of Christianity added and a heaping scoop of materialism. This is the strategy that I am hoping will bring the holiday to it's knees.

This is what my War On Christmas will most likely look like.

So stay tuned for fun Christmas history and join me in my march on Christmas!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo, Say What?

Last year I heard about this fun little thing my friend Wit was doing, NaNoWriMo, also known as National Novel Writing Month. the goal of which is to write a novel by the end of November. I was intrigued, and so I decided to join in this year. The minimum is 50,000 word, or about 1,667 words a day. The only rules are that you make it to at least 50,000 words and that you can't begin before November first or end after November thirtieth. You can write any genre you want with any characters you want. They say on the site "If you believe you are writing a novel, then we believe you are writing a novel." If you win all you get is a little paper that you can print out and an internet banner you can put on your site, so there is no real reason to cheat. It's more about the satisfaction of writing a rough draft of a novel. (Edit later, the goal is to get a rough draft. If you edit it will be infinitely harder to make the goal.)

The main reason I decided to participate this year is that I keep telling myself I need to write more. I need to get in the habit of writing regularly. I also want to write a comic book script (something I have been 'working' on for over a year now) and I feel that this will help me get into the habit of writing fiction instead of just my opinions on things. Anyway, I have started my novel this evening and I am excited to complete this challenge! I also encourage everyone to join in! It's easy to do, just click on that NaNoWriMo link I have up there and sign up! If you are already participating, or just signing up, pleas feel free to share a little bit about your novel, I would love to hear about it!

Monday, October 31, 2011

I Guess I'm A Beta Male

I have recently come upon MRAs, Men's Rights Activists, on the net, and wow. Just, wow. There are a very small minority of them that aren't bat shit insane and actually have some legitimate gripes, such as male circumcision, but those guys are truly rare. Most MRAs are women hating, misogynistic gas bags.

Today I want to talk about Alpha Males. Read that. I'm sure it will make you...angry. These are just a few of the things that come from 'Alpha Males'. Alphas can do whatever they want, whenever they want. They are the dominate people in the room. No woman can be their equal in physicality, intellect, or social standing. Alphas get tail whenever they want and they cheat on their girlfriends (they also don't get married, because that's how women get ya!). I have even read forums where violence is suggested as a way to make a woman submissive to their Alpha. Alphas are emotionally unstable, the slightest criticism can set them off. (Seriously, read the comment section on those posts. The few voices who criticize the writer's posts have their comments rewritten.)
I'm not emotionally insecure at all!
So upon reading what an Alpha is, I think I would rather be a Beta. The blog linked above says that all Beta's are a whiners and cockblockers. Or even worse, nerds. Really, I think that a 'Beta' male is anyone who isn't clinically psychopathic. I would rather be considered a Beta male than do any of the things Alpha males do. I just can't see treating women like property, or a game. I can't advocate violence or psychological abuse to get what I want. I can't imagine a world where women can't be equals. I can't advocate cheating in a relationship either, though open relationships are a different story. There isn't anything wrong with being clever, kind, loving, empathetic, or gentle. Those traits might make a male a Beta, but they also make them far superior to an Alpha.

To make you feel better about the whole MRA thing, here are some links to sites that regularly dismantle the misogyny. They also have a list of links, so feel free to explore!
Alas, A Blog!

I Attract These People...

While I was on lunch the other day at work, a coworker came in and started talking to me. Normally this would be odd, as I usually don't socialize with others at work while eating, but this was especially odd because I was obviously busy. I was eating, reading, and had headphones in, but all that seemed to scream, "Please have a conversation with me!" I tried to ignore her, but she was persistent. She asked what I was reading about, and I told her I was reading about feminism. She then asked me about what that was (how anyone couldn't know that is beyond me) and eventually she turned the conversation to gay marriage and religion, a place I was trying to avoid if at all possible. She then dropped this little gem,

"I have my own religious beliefs on the sanctity of marriage, and I don't want to get into them, but I personally don't see anything wrong with gay marriage."


I said, "OK", and she left the room because her break was over. 

Cognitive Dissonance in action!
Then I sat there and pondered what I had just heard.  This brings me to the point of this post, well one of them. Most Christians are more moral than their god. She is OK with gay marriage, but her god will damn those dirty sinners. This brings two things to mind. The first, if you are more moral than your god, why worship him? He is obviously of lower moral character, but you look him for guidance and authority. The only reason I can see is fear. He is the great cosmic bully. He is a terrible person, but they are too afraid to not follow. It's cowardice, plain and simple. The second thing it brings to mind is this cognitive dissonance in believers. She has two completely opposing ideas in her head, but thinks both are true. She is fine with homosexuals getting married, but she knows god isn't. God says it's an affront to the sacredness of marriage, that it is dirty and evil. She thinks it's completely fine and harms no one. These ideas can't both be true at the same time. The only way to make them seem like they are is to do mental gymnastics.  

Your brain on cognitive dissonance.
These kind of statements just astound me. When I hear people say these things I know that they haven't taken any time to actually think out their position. They just regurgitate what's been force-fed to them their entire lives. God is all loving, but orders genocide. God is all loving, but hates those queers. God is all loving, but eternally punishes his purposefully made imperfect beings for finite crimes. They just dance around the obvious logical holes like perfect mental ballerinas. 

That's for being exactly how I made you!
The second point of this post is that I just seem to attract these people, especially at work. Talking about religion at work is something I try not to do with coworkers I don't know well (I have a few friends who share my same opinions that I talk to). They always seem to find me though, the religious nutters, and anything short of shouting at them won't stop them from talking to me. Even wearing headphones while reading and eating lunch.