Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Busy, Busy

I know I promised the answer to the word riddle in the last post but I am super busy so I'm going to have to give it to you next week.

Although it seems as though most everyone knows it and now I just feel dumber for having brought it up!

This is a drive-by posting....

Like a Bee, Ruth!

P.S. See y'all next year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Riddle Me This

I finished the 3rd book in Stephen King's Dark Tower series - The Waste Lands.

It ended very strangely. Not to give too much away but the 4 adventurers are in a machine and they've struck a deal with the machine. If the travelers can answer all the machine's riddles, they get to live.

The end.

Seriously. The end. No riddles, no drama, just... done. He has an Author's Note at the end that says the books he writes take on a life of their own and they say where they need to end. And I've heard other writers say the same thing. The book ended at around 400 pages and from the beginning of Book One, King said there were going to be 3+ books so it's not like it's a huge surprise. Just a bit odd.

My husband would cry Bullshit. He would say it's just a ploy to make people buy the next book and just on principle, he would never read another Dark Tower (or probably any more Stephen King at all) again.

I have no such principles and Dave's not really a fan of SK anyway so I don't think it'll ever come up.

I'm looking forward to Book 4 but I'm taking a little detour to read Shutter Island. I told y'all I saw the preview for the movie at the theater and thought I had it figured out but comments on that post told me I was wrong (yay!) and also let me know it was a book. A friend in my knitting group lent me the book and I've started reading it. So far, it's still background setup but the writer's style has already got me anticipating a very good read. He's very visual. I like that.

But, back to the Dark Tower. The Waste Lands has an underlying, running theme of riddles. It becomes very important at the end of the book. I love riddles! I'm not a very logical thinker so they are usually quite difficult for me. One of my favorite parts of The Hobbit is the riddles between Bilbo and the Golem.

Several years ago, Dave and I were in a bookstore and we were looking at these odd little books shaped like toilets. They were logic and quiz bathroom books. We flipped one open to a random page and we saw a riddle. We couldn't get the answer so we flipped to the back of the book and there were no answers! We were cracking up saying that if we couldn't even find the answers to the logic book, we should probably just put it down before we hurt ourselves.

We eventually did find the answer and more hilarity ensued but I'll tell you about that next time. Here's the riddle...

Hoarse, Mousse, Guerrilla, Links, Bare

What do these words have in common?

I guess it's more of a word problem then an actual riddle but whatever.

If you know the answer, don't say in the comments, just raise your hand.

Happy Holidays One and All, Ruth!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fighting with Mormons

Do ya'll know about Reddit.com? It's a site where you can get headlines, the latest viral videos, and other cool internet stuff all in one convenient spot. They have categories like religion and politics and.... other stuff - all kinds of stuff. My husband is on that site a lot.

Yesterday, I looked over his shoulder at the screen and saw a post that read, "Hey Reddit Atheists, I think religion, like money, is merely a catalyst for bad and good in people." I think that's brilliant!

If you've been here awhile you already have some ideas about my views on religion. I have a friend who is a practicing Catholic and I think she believes I'm against religion as a whole. Truth is, I don't care about religion, if people have it or not. I think if people have religion and it makes them feel happy and comforted and whole, that's great for them! I just don't need it.

The only time I get irritated about religion is when people start trying to push it on me. Like the other day when some Mormon boys came to my door. I love when those guys show up. Seriously! I'm not even being sarcastic! It's great fun for me to have... we'll say "debates" with them.

They knock on our door and it's always, "Hi, we are (insert names here). We're your local Latter Day Saints." To which, I reply, "Hi, I'm Ruth! We're your local Atheists." The looks on their faces is always a treat! And it's usually enough to have them shoving a pamphlet at me while they hurry on to the next door for fear of being struck by lightning or something.

The particular set of LDS boys who showed up the other day were not to be deterred. I'll call them Jay and Silent Bob as the one guy did all the talking and the other said not a single word the whole time. Jay was bigger and seemed to be a bit practiced in handling heathens. Silent Bob was a thin, slight guy who let Jay do all the talking.

I'm going to insert the videos I was telling him about so you can see them but, here's our conversation (you might want to get a snack).....

Me: Hi, I'm Ruth - we're your local Atheists.

Jay: Well have you prayed about it?

Me: Um. No. Why would I? Do you know what Atheism means?

Jay: Yes, but I was just wondering if you've ever prayed about it.

Me: Again, why would I? As Atheists, we don't believe God exists so what exactly would I be praying to? Look, my husband and I had enough religion fed to us as kids that we find no need for it now. I went to church 3 times a week as a kid. Then I started doing my own research and decided it wasn't for me.

Jay: Why not? What about it wasn't for you?

Me: To me its seems as though a person can live a good life but if they don't do that one little thing - accept Jesus - then I still go to hell? That just means that God is like a petulant 4 year old throwing a fit because they didn't get their way. Also, I never agreed with the tenant that a person can be a puppy-raping pedophile but, if on their death bead, they say, "Oh, I'm sorry. I believe!" then that person gets to go to heaven? No. That's not right.

Jay: That's not what our religion believes, that's the Catholics.

Me: [laughing] OK, you got me there. But what about the not accepting Jesus thing? If I live a good life, and I don't do that one little thing, I still have to go to hell? I can't get behind that either.

Jay: Well, let's think of it like this. You have kids, right? [he could hear them playing in the room next to my open front door]

Me: Yes...

Jay: And you have rules for them, right?

Me: Yes...

Jay: And you probably have discipline for them and consequences for breaking those rules?

Me: Yes, because I'm raising good citizens.

Jay: Well, that's what God has for us as his children.

Me: Ah, yes. See, this is one of my favorite arguments. The difference being that, if the boys don't make their beds, I don't withdraw my love and send them, at ages 8 and 6, to an adult prison where they'll be passed around like candy. The punishment has to fit the crime. And I don't see how skipping this one step completely negates the rest of my well-lived life.

Still Me: There's this video on Youtube from a guy named Matt something-or-other that likens God to a Mob Boss. Matt used to be a preacher for some 20+ years and he went to seminary school and the things he was "learning" and being told... he took a step back and decided it was all bullshit and became an Atheist. Now he has a show that gets posted on Youtube and it's pretty right on with the way I think about religion. Like a Mob Boss, God says, "You need protection, Jesus is that protection and if you don't take that protection, you're going to hell." But who's going to send us to hell? God.

[Here's the video...]

So then Jay goes on to tell me a bit about his story...
Jay: Like that preacher, I had my own crisis of faith a few years ago but I prayed about it and I got my answers.

Me: You did? How?

Jay: Well I just did.

Me: Come on now, you're here to spread your message and your story so tell me how you got your answers? I'm not making fun of you. I'm truly curious as to how those answers came to you. Was it a letter, did Jesus appear to you, was it a voice in your head? How?

Jay: I just did. I got my answers.

Me: sigh. OK. But couldn't that just be your own conscience or your own free will, your own personal experiences telling you which is the right way for you to go and live your life?

Jay: No. It wasn't like that at all.

Me: OK. Then how did you get your answers?

Jay: Through the power of prayer.

Jay was clearly getting irritated with me, so I didn't make my next point which was, "I think you are confusing belief with proof." Plus, I was trying not to be insulting and I although I think it's a valid point, I'm pretty sure he would've taken it as a personal insult.

Jay: Well, what are you going to teach your kids about it?

Me: Oh we're all set for that. We have a whole shelf on our bookcases dedicated to religion.
There's the Book of Mormon, the King James version of the Bible, there's Sufi books, Taoist books, the Koran. We've got the major ones covered. If they have questions, we'll point them to the shelf and tell them, "Have at it! Do your own research! Make your own decisions." Have you done your own research?

Jay: Yes, I have.

Me: Have you really? What have you looked at besides your own religion? One of my favorite books on that shelf is called Jesus and Bhudda. I used to really be into Taoism and other Eastern philosophies and this is one of my favorite books. On the left page it has what Jesus said and on the right page it has what Bhudda said. They are almost identical in their teachings, only Bhudda said it about 2000 years before Jesus.

Jay: Well, did you know Bhudda said, "A man cannot come to Nirvana except through the white being with the pierced hands and feet."?

Me: OK. Um. I'm not a close personal friend of Bhudda or anything but I'm going to have to ask you to show me that passage.

Jay: Well I don't have it with me but I can come back later and show it to you. Well, let me ask you this. What if you're wrong?

Me: Another favorite question of mine! Are you honestly telling me God would be OK with me getting "fire insurance"? That I can just fake it and except Jesus into my heart when your All-Knowing God knows the hearts of every man, woman and child. I can fool him into thinking I believe? There's another video I'd show you but my laptop takes forever to download stuff. There's this guy on Youtube who is about 24 and he's so smart and eloquent it pisses me off that he's so much younger them me! Anyway, he has a video entitled, "What if I'm wrong" or something like that. He says all the things I think and it's so well thought out I'm going to butcher it here talking to you but the gist is... "What if I am wrong? I would hope that when I get to Heaven and face judgement that God would pat me on the back and say, "Good job. I gave you free will, you used the brain I gave you and you used that free will and you made your own choices. You did your research and followed a path that was right for you. You lived a good life and you get to come in. Good job." And if it doesn't work that way, I can't imagine having to spend Eternity with a god who makes me sick to my stomach."

[Here's that video...]

Me: Look, I just can't get behind religion. Any religion. For one, it's very divisive. Mormons especially! My husband was best man at a Mormon wedding and he couldn't even go into the church because he wasn't Mormon?! And even beyond that, just dividing men and women.

Jay: What do you mean?

Me: If you can show me one religion - I'll even narrow it down to one Christian religion - that does not subjugate women, I might be willing to get on board.

Jay: I think I could but it's getting late and we have to do more missionary things. Can I come back later and talk to you about this some more sometime?

Me: I would LOVE that! You come back anytime. I'm not going to change your mind, I can guarantee you're not going to change my mind but it'll be a great conversation! I'll show you my books, you'll show me yours. I'll show you my videos, you'll show me your videos refuting them. It'll be a great debate with lots of show and tell!

And with that, we said our goodbyes.

I'd like to leave you with one last video. It is how I wish relgion actually was. It's simply brilliant...

Wouldn't it be lovely if that was really the way it worked?

I don't think Jay and Silent Bob are coming back, Ruth!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I got an email from a friend asking where my blog went. I'm still here, just a bit busy.

Actually busy with xmas knitting! I have some FO's to show you but I have to get the pic's off my camera and into the computer so I'll do that later.

I've also been having some sort of small mental breakdown/cliche' midlife crisis something or other. I think the stress of the last three years has caught up with me all at once, so that's nice.

On Monday, Dave and I were driving around and the AC/DC song Highway to Hell was on the radio and if you know that song, you know it has a very definite ending. Boom. Done. Dave said, "See, that's the way a song should end." I looked at him quizzically and he elaborated, "I never understood songs that fade off. Like the band just walks away from the mike still playing?"

I laughed my ASS off. I never thought about it but that's so true! I said, "Yea, so I'm picturing the wandering minstrel walking away still plinking on his lute." And Dave said, "Or the band is on some flatbed truck driving to the next town."

I couldn't stop laughing. Literally. I was getting a touch hysterical! Then, out of nowhere, I got this huge lump in my throat - the kind you get when you're trying not to sob - and I seriously almost started crying. WTF???

Have I ever told y'all about my love affair with stairs? When I was 5, we moved to the ranch and it was the first house I lived in with stairs. I spent an inordinate amount of time sitting on those stairs. I'd sit there and daydream or read. Our cabin up at Shaver Lake (CA) also had stairs and those were even better since they were sort of dark and secret.

Then divorce and moving and no more stairs. Until I was in Basic Training. That was my only solace. I'd sneak off into the stairwell and be alone until someone saw me and I'd have to go back to whatever we were supposed to be doing.

Some stairs here and there throughout my time in Army barracks then no more until we moved to Colorado three years ago.

Our house in Parker had two sets of stairs (yay!). I'd usually sit on the set leading to the bedrooms. It was a great set as it was also close to the kitchen so I'd sit on them while waiting for things to cook. Our new place has just one set of stairs but they are good ones.

Dave doesn't understand my stair-sitting. He says, "Why don't you come down and sit with the family?" That's the whole point of stair-sitting! It's a chance to be alone but still be able to hear your loved ones and listen to them and how they interact with each other. It's a place to be still and be quiet. Stairs have always been an area where I don't have to think or worry or do anything but just be.

This would be my dream staircase leading to a little room just for me. The only thing I'd change would to make the stairs a bit wider.

So don't worry about me, friends. I'm here. I'm a bit stressed, even a bit delirious at times, but still relatively sane and sitting on my stairs.

I blame lack of sleep, Ruth!

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Lovely Pair

I had my first mammogram today. The mammotech (who is about 10 years older then me) had me in the mammoroom and I was fiddling with my mammokimono when she said,

"Wow! Those are really nice!"

Me: Um.... thank you?
Her: They are really awesome!
Me: Ummm.... thanks?
Her: Seriously! I've been looking for a pair just like those forever! Where'd you get them?
Me: Well, um, I guess, I mean... I.... grew them... in the... normal way?

Then she looks at me strangely... pauses.... turns beet red and says, "No, no, no, ohno. I had pointed to your glasses. I was talking about your glasses!"

Then we were both beet red and laughing until we both had tears streaming out of our eyes.

Why can't anything be normal and not embarrassing for me?

The girls are pretty awesome though, Ruth!