Shit that Pissed me Off – 4/28

San Antonio Mayor Implies Atheism Causes Poverty

Actually, that’s not what she said.  A lot of Atheists are kind of up in arms and the thing is, I think what she said is worse than if she just targeted atheists.

Asked what causes poverty, she responded:

To me, it’s broken people. People not being in a relationship with their Creator, and therefore, not being in good relationship with their families and their communities, and not being productive members of society. I think that’s the ultimate answer.

So yeah, she could be talking about atheists.  But let’s assume, for a moment, that what she meant was broader.  She meant that people are poor because they don’t have a good relationship with god.  God literally looks down from heaven (or up from heaven given that Earth is a sphere and we don’t actually know where heaven is located) and says “those people don’t go to church enough.  I’m going to make them poor.”

I guess that makes sense if the god we are talking about is Loki.

It suggests that the only people who are productive members of society are people who have a good relationship with their creator. That would obviously exclude people like Bill Gates, who is an open atheist.  He’s clearly not being productive.

It would also include people who call themselves Christians but don’t really go to church or do much to support their faith.

Basically, she’s blaming poverty on a lack of belief in god.

It seems silly to me given that Jesus was poor and I thought his relationship with god was supposed to be pretty solid.  Poverty is not caused by god.  It is caused by people.  People who, like San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor, treat poverty as some sort of punishment which people deserve.

They suggest that if we just get poor people to church, god will fix them.  Never mind that the poorest states in our nation are some of the most faithful.  Faith has nothing to do with poverty.  Belief in god doesn’t make you rich or poor any more than atheism makes you rich or poor.

Her answer is insulting to poor people.  And atheists.  And people of faith.  When it comes to hitting a tone-deaf home run, she killed it.

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Shit that Pissed me Off – 4/21

For Easter, Someone Decided to Vandalize an Atheist’s Truck

In Crookston, Minnesota, there aren’t a lot of atheists, I’ll wager.  I would go so far as to guess even fewer are out about it.

Jeff Carter had a couple of magnetic bumper stickers on his truck that made it clear he’s an atheist.  That’s cool, right?  I mean, one truck with a few atheist slogans is hardly a problem when there are probably dozens (or hundreds – I didn’t bother to look up the population of Crookston*) of vehicles with Christian bumper stickers in the same town.

Apparently flaunting your atheism in Crookston is not cool, though.  At least not cool to the (I assume) Christians who vandalized Carter’s truck.

Jesus rose from the dead! Praise god! Let’s go write some Christian shit on an atheist’s truck!

How do we know they are Christians?  Because they wrote phrases like “Jesus is Great” and “God is Life” on his truck.  Now I suppose it is possible that a couple of Crookston Jews pissed off at Carter’s atheism but decided they should frame some Christians but that might stretch the imagination a bit too far.

And look – I know these assholes are not indicative of almost every other Christian in the country.  Even the ones who voted for Donald Trump.  They are outliers.

They serve as a reminder, though.  The next time a Christian complains about how they are being oppressed by modern society, remember that there aren’t a lot of atheists going around vandalizing cars with Christian bumper stickers.

I assume because they aren’t really sure what to write on the car.  “Science is great?”  “I totally came from a monkey (even though I didn’t – monkeys and I share a common ancestor)?” “Atheists make better cookies (citation needed)?”

*I lied – It’s 7,904

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Shit that Pissed me Off – 4/14

United Airlines Fails Spectacularly at Customer Service

United Airlines had a fully booked flight but also had several employees who needed transport to where they would be working the next day.  They asked passengers to give up their seats for an $800 travel voucher.  Nobody volunteered.

Maybe because it was a Sunday night and they all had work the next day.  And their boss wasn’t going to pay them for the day off.  What a bunch of selfish pricks.

Anyway, rather than upping the offer (which they totally could have done), the airline opted to pick people at random.  And one guy didn’t want to go.  So they had security drag him off the airline in front of a bunch of cell phone cameras.

As you might imagine, it has been a bad week for United.

I’m not the only person who remembers when this was United’s ad slogan, right?

But it has also been a bad week for the passenger who was dragged off the plane.  As soon as his name became public, news organizations began to dig into his past and it turns out he’s not a perfect person.

I’m shocked to discover that as everyone else I’ve ever met is completely perfect.

His past transgressions have nothing to do with not wanted to be forced to take a different flight after he paid for his ticket and the airline made some poor planning decisions.

The response from a few corners of the internet have been, basically, he deserved it.

Um…no.  The guy was violently removed from the plane.  Not removed from the plane. Violently removed from the plane.

You can argue all you like how three other people voluntarily left after being randomly selected.  Doesn’t matter. Beating people up just isn’t something you should be doing unless they are a Nazi.

And in spite of all the muckraking our media has done over this fellow, they have not been able to turn up any evidence that the guy is a Nazi.  So I’m going to say the beating was entirely unjustified.

He didn’t deserve it.  That’s the problem with this whole “let’s wait for all the facts to come out” mentality.  It doesn’t matter what type of guy he was.  It doesn’t matter if he was a little bit belligerent when told he’d have to leave the plane after buying a ticket.

He was violently removed from the plane.  He didn’t deserve it.  That is the only fact that matters.

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Short Story – Dark and Stormy

The inspiration for this story began with the cliche opening “It was a dark and stormy night.”  While I’m not the first writer to try to come up with something interesting to do with that sentence I can say that I am, for a brief period of time, the most recent.

Because the line is a well worn cliche, I chose to use a character I created for a radio play about three years ago.  Rick Dickerson, cliche private eye, seemed like the best character to deal with the most cliche opening line ever.

The result is a short piece that is, I hope, pretty silly.

I’ll be reading this story live during the pre-show to Power Point Karaoke on Friday, April 14th.  If you are in the area, you should come and watch!  Two other writers will be presenting stories as well!

As always, you are free to comment and share!

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Shit that Pissed me Off – 4/7

Trump Corner – We Bombed Syria

Look – as someone who has done a lot of improvisational theater in my life, I have a lot of respect for improvisation.

But Donald Trump feels like an improvisational President.  Syrian President Assad uses chemical weapons on his own people and Trump’s first response is “we should do something.”

So everyone responds by saying “yeah – OK – can you be a little more specific?”

And Trump responds by saying “BOOM!  Just bombed a military base!  How do you like that something?”

Well, Donald, you did the second part but I don’t think you really understood the first part.

And everyone is like “?????”

Never mind that Trump pretended to be a dove on the campaign trail and managed to convince far too many people Hillary Clinton would have us in a war with Syria before she finished her inauguration speech.  Never mind that this bombing run did nothing to prevent the next chemical weapons attack on civilians.

In the end, it is military theater.  It makes Trump look tough without actually risking anything.  Nobody really cares about what is going on in Syria anyway.  I mean, we care in the sense that it sounds awful but we don’t care in the sense that it affects our lives in any tangible way.

Kind of like the way that military strike affected the actions of Assad.

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Short Story – Collecting Lives

This week’s short story was written to be presented as part of The Encyclopedia Show at Die Laughing.  The theme of the show was public transportation.

The format for The Encyclopedia Show allows performers to present anything that connects to the theme.  Because I’ve been writing a lot of fiction, I decided to write a story about a bus driver

It’s a much more bittersweet story that I typically write and it is more of a character study than anything else.  But hey – it’s about public transportation!  Sort of.

For being written in a state of sleep deprivation at 8:00 in the morning, I feel like it turned out well.  As always, feel free to read, comment, and share!

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Short Story – The Forest

This week’s story is a very brief little horror piece.  In a rare occurrence, the entire narrative came to me all at once.  I knew the beginning, middle, and end.  Often, I know only the end or the beginning when I start writing.

When I think about horror, sometimes what I’m looking for is an object that isn’t particularly dangerous but has a hidden feature that makes it dangerous.  In this story, I picked something that often ignite people’s imaginations but aren’t inherently dangerous outside of your own fears.

Then I asked myself “what if there was a really good reason to be afraid?”

As always, I hope you enjoy and please comment and share if you are so inclined!

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