Free Riders (or How to Get Rid of the Deficit)

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Thursday, December 31, 2009 | Published in

I've had a lot of time lately to do some recreation reading so I've been trying to bone up on Game Theory. You know, "the study of the ways in which strategic interactions among rational players produce outcomes with respect to the preferences (or utilities) of those players, none of which might have been intended by any of them". Just some light reading to keep me busy, nothing big. Anyways, I came upon the interesting concept of the Free Rider Problem. As Chris Firth put it:
Ernst Fehr has studied more complex economic games – called Common Good Games – in which many people play together. If everyone cooperates by putting their own money into the system, then everyone gains. But there are always a few people who behave unfairly. These are the free riders, players who realize that they can benefit from the fair behavior of other people without needing to donate any of their own money. Once free riders appear in the group, people gradually stop cooperating. Even the most generous player doesn’t see why she should go on supporting someone who is putting nothing into the system. As a result the group finishes up with less money than they could have gained with full cooperation. (emphasis mine)

This all sounded very familiar to me. Then it hit me! The Teabaggers are the Free Riders in our society. They are people that want to reap the benefits of living in a collective society without having to put in their share of contributions. They want to evade paying taxes while enjoying public roads, parks, police, firefighters, clean water, etc. But wait! There is a solution to the Free Rider Problem.
This is where altruistic punishment comes in. Ernst Fehr and Simon Gächter allowed players to punish the free riders. This was altruistic punishment since it cost $1 to punish another player, but that other player lost $3. When this punishment of the free riders is possible, then cooperation in the group steadily increases and everyone gains.
So there you have it. All we have to do is convince the government to sell permits to legally bop Teabaggers over the head with foam weapons. People would line up around the block for an opportunity like that. And just think, if we sell enough of them we can finally get rid of that nasty multi-trillion dollar deficit hanging over our heads. It's just crazy enough to work!

Happy Holidays to You

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Thursday, December 24, 2009 | Published in

Hope you have an enjoyable Christmas with your family. Eat, drink and be merry. Love those around you. And all of that stuff.

Substance Dualism

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, December 23, 2009 | Published in

There is an unwritten rule around here that I have to post every single video by QualiaSoup as it is released, so here is his new one about Substance Dualism. You know, the unevidenced belief that there is more to the universe than just the physical. Good stuff.

RAW on Discordianism

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Monday, December 21, 2009 | Published in

Here is another fantastic Youtube clip on Robert Anton Wilson. This time he explains Discordianism in 7 minutes. Hail Eris!

Corporate Demonology

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Saturday, December 19, 2009 | Published in

I can't be the only one who sees the Corporate Demons haunting my work. Every large work place has a couple of demons hidden in the shadows, ready to eat the souls of the less fortunate.

At my work place right now there is this vicious demon by the name of Attainment. No one really knows who this particular demon is or what it looks like. It is said to live in either the forests outside of Cincinnati or in the ancient city underneath present day Atlanta. This demon has a nasty habit of shackling people to their work benches for almost half the day. For some reason it passes over those who arrive early but attacks those that come in later. Some say that it is related to another evil gremlin Efficiency or the just vanquished demon named Yield. There's talk that this demon will try to ruin Christmas eve for many people if its hunger isn't satisfied. Pretty ironic for someone that shares a parentage with ol' Santa Claus himself. (I've even heard in hushed tones that there is an even worse demon named Engagement that is trying to Attainment's place as rightful ruler.)

But the thing I've learned about these corporate demons, is that there is really no way to permanently get rid of them. Once one is locked back into its box, another appears. If it wasn't Attainment it would be Volume or Sustainability or even one of those really weird ones that just goes by a random string of letters like SOP. If I didn't know better I would say that the executive branch were skilled conjurers. Those aren't really meeting to go over the newest business plan. They are busy poring over grimoires, trying to find just the right spell to cast.

No, no. That would just be too crazy to think. There's no way that demons really exist. But just the same, does anyone know any good banishing spells? I need one before Christmas.

A Quantum Koan

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Thursday, December 17, 2009 | Published in

John sat underneath a cherry blossom tree one day with his Zen Master listening to a cuckoo bird that was sitting on a branch.

The Zen Master looked up from his mediation and asked John, "What is the purpose of the cuckoo's existence?"
Not able to come up with a suitable answer, John replied, "I do not know."

The Zen Master picked up a nearby stone and asked, "What is the purpose of this pebble's existence?"
Still not able to answer, John replied, "I do not know."

Finally the Zen Master asked "What is the purpose of your existence?"
John thought that it was a trick question so he again replied, "I do not know."
John then watched as the Master threw the pebble at the cuckoo, who quickly flew away.

And thus John was enlightened.

Discordian Hymnal #020

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Tuesday, December 15, 2009 | Published in

Let us all rise and open our Discordian Hymnal to Page #020: "Television, the Drug of a Nation" by Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy.

Jack Chick and Me

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Monday, December 14, 2009 | Published in

PZ Myers did the world a favor a couple of days ago and brought it to everyone's attention that there was a great documentary recently put out about (in)famous Christian tract artist Jack Chick. Here's a quick trailer for it:

A documentary about the nuttiest form of Christianity that features "Dr. Dino" Kent Hovind AND Ivan Stang, founder of the Church of the Subgenius? Sign me the fuck up! Of course I had a moral imperative to hunt down a digital copy so I could watch it as soon as possible.

I watched it tonight and I must say that I enjoyed it. It's obviously not for everyone. If you've never read a Jack Chick in an utter state of horrormirth then you should probably skip it. For the most part it is interviews with people who happen to be ironic fans of his work and people who have worked around Chick Publications over the years. His cult followers and his "cult" followers, if you will. The stuff with Ivan Stang was obviously funny. There were also some fun animated sequences that helped bring some of his tracts to life. There was no interview with Jack himself since he is extremely reclusive. (They mentioned that no picture has been taken of him since the 1940s) Overall they did a good job piecing together as much information as they could out of the sparse details they could gather about Jack Chick's life and works. They mentioned his humble beginnings in the suburbs of LA. His brief time in the military and fighting at the Battle of Okinawa. How he built his "publishing empire" from the ground up. The part I found most interesting was the conspiracy theorists that influenced him heavily in the 70s and 80s: John Todd, Alberto Rivera, and Rebecca Brown.

I guess the main reason I have this morbid curiosity with Jack Chick is because I grew up around people who believed a lot of the stuff he was preaching. I was the member of a Methodist church as a teenager and I remember seeing Chick Tracts around all of the time. Hell, Rebecca Brown did most of her preaching less than 40 miles from where I am right now. I couldn't help but end up with Jack Chick Shrapnel in my brain.

Then again, it is hard not to see Chick Tracts everywhere. According to the film there have been three quarters of a billion tracts published in 100 languages over the last fifty years. He is easily the most published comic book author in the history of the world.

The scariest part of the movie for me was when Kent Hovind pointed out that Jack Chick has probably converted more people to Christianity than anyone in history. And I can't think of anyone that would come close to him. Maybe Billy Graham, maybe Emperor Constantine if you want to stretch it. That scares me because the Christianity that Jack Chick believes in is the most twisted version you could think of. Just as dogs start to look like their owners, gods look, think and act exactly like their owners. The god of Jack Chick is paranoid, vindictive, bigoted and seems to hate 90% of His creation. In Jack Chick's universe there are evil demons around every corner ready to posses unsuspecting teenagers. Witches covens meet on a regular basis to listen to rock n' roll music and sacrifice babies. Satan controls everything on this planet including the Catholic, Mormon and Jehovah's Witness churches. (Don't even get him started on the Muslims.) He's even attacking your children through Dungeons n' Dragons and corrupted science with evolution. To make matters worse, at The End God decides to throw everyone who doesn't say the Magic Words into a Lake of Fire for all of eternity. In essence, it is Christian through the prism of a paranoid schizophrenic.

Kinda makes you glad that Jack Chick's god doesn't exist. Haw haw haw.

Sky Cake

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Saturday, December 12, 2009 | Published in

Here's an amusing clip by Patton Oswalt on the origins of religion. In case you've never seen Patton Oswalt before, yes it is NSFW.

h/t to Unreasonable Faith

Musings of a Faceless Man

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Tuesday, December 8, 2009 | Published in

Looks like we've got yet another Discordian book to add to the collection. And this one may be the fairest prettiest one ever. Roaring Biscuit did an interesting mashup of selected works from the Black Iron Prison with some of his original stuff plus some amazing artwork. So, go over to Scribd. Read it. Stare at the pretty pictures. Download it. Find a color printer. Share it with your friends. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.

Musings of a Faceless Man

Zoom. Zoom. Zoom. Hopeful embedding it here won't mess up the site like last time...

I Am Not...

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Sunday, December 6, 2009 | Published in

The easiest way to sleep at night is to carry on believing that I don't exist - Thom Yorke

I want to let you in on a little secret... I don't really exist. I know, that makes me sound crazy. If I don't exist then who is sitting here typing these words? Someone who is not.

I don't exist because existence implies a finished work. Existence means "to be". But I am not. I am becoming. I am changed from one second to the next. The mind is not a static being. Every new input changes the circuitry. At every moment my body is dying and being reborn. Every morning someone new is in my mirror. I will never be completed until I take my last breath.

Sacred Chao Te Ching, Chapter 32
Chaos cannot be labeled,
Because it contains all labels.
Therefore, all definitions are incomplete.
It's Gödels, all the way down.
Order and Disorder unite,
And Illusion slips into Chaos.
When people learn language, labels begin.
With labels, one should know when to stop.
Knowing when to stop, the wise spags see the Illusion;
And are free to create as they see fit.

Likewise no human can be contained in mere words. I am not the sum total of all of the labels that are attached to me. There is no box that can contain me. There is no program to map a person. There is no conceivable way to finish the sentence "I am..." I am not and I never will be.

Meet the Fatheads

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, December 2, 2009 | Published in

Ok, I'm still alive. Somewhat. Kinda. Sorta. Still busier than a one legged man in a ass kicking contest though. To tide you over here is one of my favorite clips from a NickToon ever. This is roughly half of an episode of Rocko's Modern Life where the writers decided to go the meta-surreal route and just openly mock themselves. Fun times! And still funnier than anything SpongeBob has ever done.

Turkey Day!

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, November 25, 2009 | Published in

For Americans tomorrow is Thanksgiving, aka Let's Be Nice to the Injuns While They Give Us Food and Then Stab Them in the Back Later Day. The second name is hard to fit on cards so most of us just use the first name. It is time to give thanks that you only have to see your family a couple of times a year. It is also a day long feast to stuff yourself full of turkey and all kinds of carbohydrates. Because of this, it is a great time to try out your Patented Discordian Turkey Curse on the unsuspecting public:

Take a foot stance as if you were John L. Sullivan preparing for fisticuffs. Face the particular greyfaced you wish to short-circuit, or towards the direction of the negative aneristic vibration that you wish to neutralize. Begin waving your arms in any elaborate manner and make motions with your hands as though you were Mandrake feeling up a sexy giantess. Chant, loudly and clearly:

The results will be instantly apparent.
So get out there tomorrow and gorge yourself on the World's Stupidest Bird, pretend that you enjoy your family, yell at the Detroit Lions for being so horrible, and find something to be thankful for!

Random Thoughts

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Thursday, November 19, 2009 | Published in

Yeah yeah... I haven't been doing much lately. But I have a perfectly good excuse. I'm in the middle of a killer stretch at work: 17 days in a row, with several 12 and 13 hour shifts mixed in the middle. So I'm a bit run down and don't feel like clackety-clacking much. All I'm saying is that if you are planning on enjoying a nice fizzy beverage with your upcoming holiday meals: YOU'RE WELCOME!!!

Anyways, to tide you over here a few random thoughts, cool links, and shitz.

Jen over at Blag Hag has been doing a lot of interesting local (for me) stories lately. To summarize, Purdue has a homophobic librarian/professor that blogs at ClownHall, PZ Myers gave an interesting talk at Purdue, and Indianapolis Public Schools are currently blocking websites on Wicca, Witchcraft, Satanism, and atheism.

Random thought: Einstein was probably working on night shift when he came up with the theory of relativity. Working crazy hours where you don't know what year it is, let alone what day, can definitely make anyone think that time is relative and dependent on the observer.

Speaking of time: My current favorite Wikipedia page is the List of Musical Works in Unusual Time Signatures. I didn't expect a bunch of songs that I like to show up there. I'm starting to suspect that 5/4 is the best time signature ever. Check this list out: "Mars, the Bringer of War" by Gustav Holst, the Mission Impossible theme song, "Take Five" by the Dave Brubeck Quartet, "Happiness is a Warm Gun" by the Beatles, "15 Steps" by Radiohead, "Vicarious" by Tool, and, a song I now have more appreciation for, "Four Sticks" by Led Zeppelin. I'll give a special nod to "Shoreline" by Broken Social Scene which is in 7/4 and has some awesome vocals by Feist.

I've also been obsessed with a couple of British bands lately, Pulp and Psychedelic Furs. Pulp mainly because of the song "Have You Seen Her Lately?" Very underrated song, but I'm dying to hear someone do it as a country song. Actually, I think it would be pretty awesome in any genre, but country would be funniest. The Psychedelic Furs because I felt the weird need to go back and listen to a four month old episode of Coverville. Their lead singer Richard Butler confounds the hell out of me because he can write some damn good songs like "Pretty in Pink", "The Ghost in You", "Love My Way", and "Heaven" but then ruins them with his awful singing voice. They would have been an even bigger band in the 80s if they had bothered to hire someone else to sing.

Twitter stuff: I'm liking the new List option and hating the new Retweeting format. The lists are pretty handy for grouping your followers and keeping everyone straight. Much better than the Group format on Tweetdeck. It's been interesting to see what lists people have been putting me on. It's mostly Skeptic, Atheist, and Discordian. I'm still not sure why Maggie McFee (@tankgrrl) as a "vidnerd". I don't make videos and only occasionally link to them on Twitter. As for the rebooting of the ReTweeting: Fail! The previous system of having to copypasta everything wasn't cutting it but the current version isn't that great either. I would have been fine with a ReTweet button like almost all of the apps have. Stop complicating it, Twitter!!! As always, follow me on Twitter (@Jablair51), add me to all of your lists, TWEET ME BACK!

Ok, that's it for me now. I've run out of things to say. When my schedule gets back to normal I'll try to post more often with interesting stuff. Any question/comments, leave me a message. Goodbye!

Discordian Hymnal #019

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Tuesday, November 17, 2009 | Published in

Let us all rise and open our Discordian Hymnal to Page #019: "Liar" by Rollins Band.

23AE Gets a Reboot

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Friday, November 13, 2009 | Published in

Looks like one of the more popular voices for Discordia is going to do a reboot.

Important Transmission from Professor Cramulus:
23ae is a Discordian blog once run by Prince MuChao. You may remember him if you've read the Apocrypha Discordia.

It is, in my estimation, the most popular "Discordian" blog. It gets tons of hits from random Discordians who are not currently connected to this Discordian Society. When I was a young pinealist, I read every single goddamn thing on 23ae. It houses some good material, and a lot of fluff. It's where I first met Ratatosk, Broken AI, Dr Jon Swabey, The Other Anonymous, and the infamous Rev. Loveshade.

Prince MuChao never did much to moderate the site, he let everybody post pretty much whatever they wanted. That's how the place has a reputation (around these parts) for being what we would call "pinealist". But to be fair, it's hard to generalize about the users and content of the site. It's dead as a doornail right now, so there's nothing to generalize about.

Prince MuChao became frustrated with the place and backed off. He's a ghost now, only responding to about 1 out of 10 emails. Luckily, some people (myself included) have admin powers over there. I've continued to keep it warm, making sure I have something on the front page at any given time. I think I represent about 50-75% of the posts in the last year or so.

The other posts are either Loveshade posting info from his monthly snoozeletters, or DrJon posting about Discordian Holydays. It's fairly innocuous.

In the last six months the site has gone pretty much dead. There's about one post per month, and a half dozen comments.

So here's what I propose:

We can very easily transform 23ae into what we want it to be. All it would take is one post every few weeks or so to maintain a presence on the site. I guarantee that this will generate more attention for whatever it is we post about.

Cramulus sent this message out yesterday and has already gotten a number of volunteers to help with the effort. I think 23 Apples of Eris can once again be an important rallying spot for Discordians. If you are a Discordian author, designer, artist, archivalist, or otherwise would like to help in some way then be sure to get ahold of Professor Cramulus or join in the discussion at the Principia Discordia forums. If you don't have anything to add, just follow along with your favorite RSS feed and comment whenever you get a chance. Discordianism works best when everyone participates.

RAW on Language

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Thursday, November 12, 2009 | Published in

I just rediscovered this interesting clip on YouTube about Robert Anton Wilson and his thoughts on language. He does a good job of explaining e-prime, which is English without the use of the verb "to be". It's a tough speech pattern to pick up but can do wonders for your outlook on the world. When you stop focusing on what something "is" and start focusing on how it "seems" the less dogmatic your thoughts become. At the very least you get in less fights that way.

The Book of Dirty Tricks

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Sunday, November 8, 2009 | Published in

One of my most popular posts that still gets hits almost daily from Google was my piece on the OSS Simple Sabotage Manual from back in June. Since it was such a big hit with everyone I thought that I would post another interesting government document about fucking things up on purpose. This one is from the child of OSS, the Central Intelligence Agency. It is a little bit more nefarious than the Simple Sabotage Manual too. While The SSM merely talked about breaking machinery and gumming up the cogs of bureaucracy, the CIA Book of Dirty Tricks advises chemical warfare, fraud, property damage, and other downright nastiness. For instance:
Classified advertisements in your local newspaper are inexpensive little bullets that can cause major wounds to the mark's psyche if properly aimed. For instance, suppose you had a score to settle with some bitchy neighbors. You could insert a classified ad to "sell" their automobile. Price it five hundred dollars less than market value, instruct callers to call after midnight (shift work is the explanation you can offer), and explain in the ad that quick cash is needed for an emergency. That will bring in the phone calls.
And that is one of the tamer entries. Most of it is mean-hearted stuff that will easily gain you scads of enemies and/or jail time. Still, it is an interesting read that let's you see inside the brain of a sociopath bent on revenge. Enjoy!

CIA Book of Dirty Tricks

(As always, ChaoSkeptic does not advocate you doing anything mentioned in this document. Especially since most of it is highly illegal and immoral. Plus some of it is outdated and/or intentional misinformation. If you end up in the slammer I will not come bail you out.)

St. Gaga of the Gays

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, November 4, 2009 | Published in

I was so busy on Sunday that it completely slipped my mind that it was All Saint's Day. As you may or may not know Discordians have a tradition of canonizing people (both real and imaginary) that we feel best exemplify the Discordian virtues of Chaos, Discord, and Strife. This honor has been bestowed upon such varied peoples as Emperor Norton I, George Carlin, Ed Wood, Jarvis Cocker, George W. Bush, and Charles Darwin. Today I feel that the List of Saints needs to be expanded to include Ms. Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, known to you Earthlings as Lady Gaga.

Now, you may ask: "Rev. Ouabache, why would you pick a dumb old pop singer to be a Discordian saint? Aren't there any half-witted politicians that are better at pushing the Chaos Buttons?" Sure, politicians are always fun to poke at but Lady Gaga has hit a larger (and younger) audience than any politician ever could. She is the perfect agent of Operation: Mindfuck. She is an odd combination of one part Xtina, one part Björk, and one part KLF. An extremely talented singer with a ridiculous sense of style that isn't afraid to fuck with her audience's sensibilities. And as The Vigilant Citizen has recently pointed out in a two-part series, she is puppet of the Illuminati who wields symbolism like a scalpel.

At the very least she deserves sainthood for her performance of "Paparazzi" at this year's MTV Video Music Awards. It is beyond my ability to describe the massive mindfuckery she was able to put into a 4 minute long dance number. The last minute of which still hits me straight in the gut and produces feelings of horrormirth that I previously thought were impossible. The fact that she was able to pull it off in front of such a large and luminous audience just boggles the mind.

So with the power invested in me as Holy Pope of Eris, the goddess of All Chaos, I dub thee St. Gaga of God and the Gays. Here's to hoping that Fame and Power don't go to your head and that you don't get fat and stupid like Britney.

Discordian Hymnal #018

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Sunday, November 1, 2009 | Published in

Let us all rise and open our Discordian Hymnal to Page #018: "Philosophy" by Ben Folds Five.

The Best Church of God Protests Yeast

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Friday, October 30, 2009 | Published in

As many Christians tend to say, if you believe in the Bible then you have to believe in all of it. No cherry-picking. All or nothing. The atheist activist group Best Church of God decided to help their Christian friends out by throwing a little protest awhile back. In front of a bakery. Why you may ask?

Exodus 12:20: "Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread."

Yeah, yeah.. I can already hear the protests. Jesus came to abolish the Law. No one followed the Laws in the first place. LOL, CONTEXT!!1! But if you want to treat Genesis like a history book or use Leviticus to discriminate against homosexuals then you have to follow all of it. Not my rules, yours. So there!

As I Was Just Saying...

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, October 28, 2009 | Published in

H/t to Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.

Indy Star on Evolution, Pt. II

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Monday, October 26, 2009 | Published in

Arguing with a creationist is like playing Russian Roulette without bullets. It's pointless, & you eventually WANT to blow your brains out. - George Hrab

Ok, I really really didn't want to do this but it has been eating away at my brain since Friday so I guess I have no choice. Some of you may recall my post from almost exactly a month ago about Russ Pulliam's opinion column in the Indianapolis Star about evolution. I got some link love from both Exploring Our Matrix and Clever Badger over it. (Greetings if you are one of the people from there.)

On Friday Russ posted a follow-up piece in the Indy Star and I really want to do a rebuttal... but there is nothing to rebut. Now, I'm not saying that everything Russ wrote is correct, I'm saying that there is no substance to his column. But I guess I could point out a few of his mistakes because I've got time to kill and the scratching in my brain won't stop until I get it out of my system. For instance, he gets things very wrong in the first sentence:
I recently wrote an objection to the belief that Darwin's theory can be used an explanation for the origins of the universe.
I'm glad you object to that Russ, because Darwin wasn't trying to explain the origins of the universe. If you had read even the title of his book you would notice that it was about the Origin of the Species. The theory of evolution explains the diversity of life on earth. Nothing more, nothing less. The origin of the universe would be in the astrophysics classroom down the hall to the left. Ask them to introduce you to Georges Lemaître and Edwin Hubble.

Furthermore, Mr. Pulliam writes:
Many of Darwin's followers have taken his theory as the ultimate road map for where humans came from millions of years ago. They occasionally wander out of the science building and over to the philosophy and theology departments. They suggest, for example, that romantic bonding comes from natural selection. It's an interesting theory, and natural selection may have a part in romantic attractions, but it's also speculative.
First, saying Darwin's followers is just ridiculous. No one follows Darwin like a saint. Well, almost no one. He was a fallible man who had some very insightful ideas on biology. However, he knew absolutely nothing about DNA due to the time he lived in and couldn't have possibly known about such important concepts as genetic drift and horizontal gene transfer. No one takes his word as scripture. To imply so is just creationist dog-whistle language meant to make science look as dogmatic as religion.

Secondly, it appears that Russ wants us to limit scientific research to topics that make him feel comfortable. Why shouldn't science be able to research into topics like human sexuality and monogamy specifically? Why wouldn't natural selection (and sexual selection, obviously) play a huge part in the development of human bonding? If natural selection has nothing to do with it then why do we see similar sexual habits in our close biological relatives? And finally, does he have any other suggestions for how human sexuality came to be other than "God created them, male and female"?

He then goes onto mumble something about Dawkins. Yawn... I'll pick it back up just after he quotes another blogger:
Butler University religion professor James McGrath wants me to bone up on modern science. "Perhaps Pulliam's own ill-reasoned article is itself evidence that reason cannot be trusted, that we are too prone to self-deception. Yet even so, it can be argued that scientific methods do a better job of helping us avoid such self-deception and poor reasoning than anything else."
McGrath is the man behind Exploring Our Matrix, btw. Smart fellow who, unlike Pulliam, understands that science isn't a thing or a person or an organization. Science is a verb. It is a process. Or more accurately, it is a toolbox of processes. Pure reason can be very helpful but it can also be very deceiving. That's why you test, re-test, and then re-test some more to be sure. Then you send your work out to someone else to test it again. Get rid of as much bias and unnecessary variables as possible along the way. Yes, this process isn't always perfect but it's the best toolbox we have at this time.

Pulliam's response to McGrath's letter:
Perhaps, but scientific methods don't help when it comes to questions about purpose in life and ethics.
Well, duh! Science isn't about purpose or ethics. That would be the philosophy department, down the hall and to the right. Ask them to introduce you to Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. (Check out Søren Kierkegaard while you are at it. He's my personal favorite.) Anyways, Science isn't about explaining the why. Science is about explaining the how. Science is an attempt to map the natural world and the forces within it. Occasionally it will rear its head into the ethics classroom and yell "Hang on a minute" but only when the ethicists start straying away from reality too much.

I don't really have much to say about the rest of his column after that other than to say that I'm jealous that Clever Badger got a mention but that I didn't. I mean, c'mon! I made the exact same point that he grossly oversimplified evolution as amoebas changing into men. Would it have hurt you to slip my name in there? It would help your word count and my hit counter.

Also, it is good to admit that he isn't a Young Earth Creationist so at least he has half a brain. It would be nice in the future if he would just come out and say what his position on all of this is rather than just saying that science can't answer everything. Debating someone who refuses to state their position is like trying to eat jello with a fork. How can I hit you if you won't stand still, Russ???

Hopefully this will be my last post about Russ Pulliam. I don't want to turn this into a series.

Happy 6012th Birthday, Earth!

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Friday, October 23, 2009 | Published in

Back way way long ago there was a man named James Ussher who was the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate* of All Ireland. Very important man with lots of time on his hand. So much time that he figured he'd put it to good use by counting back all of the begats in the Bible to see exactly how old the earth is. After much calculation and triangulation he came up with an exact date: Sunday October 23, 4004 BC. Nightfall, to be exact. That means that today (presumably at sunset in Israel) the earth will be exactly 6012 years old. Happy birthday, earth! You've come a long way, baby! However, I must say that you are looking awfully old for your age what with all the wrinkles, stretch marks, and radioactivity. You really need to learn to take care of yourself better.

And now for a short rebuttal:

* - Yes, it is ironic that one of the icons of Young Earth Creationism openly called himself a primate.

The Yes Men and the US Chamber of Commerce

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Thursday, October 22, 2009 | Published in

The Yes Men are at it yet again! This time they found a hilarious way to pwn the US Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has been in the news a lot lately because they've lost several key members, including Apple, PG&E, Levi Strauss & Co, and Nike, over their non-stance on climate change. To help improve the Chamber's image, the Yes Men decided to throw them a press conference at the National Press Club.
In a dramatic announcement at the National Press Club today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reversed its position on climate change policy, and promised to immediately cease lobbying against the Kerry-Boxer bill.


Within minutes of the Chamber's dramatic announcement, it was revealed that the "Chamber spokesperson" was an impostor, and the press conference an elaborate hoax designed by activists to draw attention to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's "troglodytic" fight against climate change legislation. At the close of the news conference, a visibly rattled Chamber of Commerce spokesperson (Eric Wohlschlegel) barged into the room and declared the event a fraud.

Of course this was all caught on video:

Plus coverage by the Rachel Maddow show:

I was sorta disappointed by this one because there was no humorous angle to it other than having competing spokesmen trying to address the confused press at the exact same time. (I'm sure there was a better/funnier plan in place before the real spokesman showed up.) However, if it makes the US Chamber of Commerce readdress their stance on climate change then I'm all for it. Climate change is a settled scientific fact at this point. The only thing debatable at this point is how much is going to change, how fast, and what humans can do to slow it down. It's understandable the USCC wants to protect their business from over-regulation but there will be no business if we don't have a planet.

On that subject, here is a very handy link on How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic.

Discordian Hymnal #017

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Saturday, October 17, 2009 | Published in

Let us all rise and open our Discordian Hymnal to Page #017: "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" by Gil Scott Heron.

Where Did Lenny Go?

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Friday, October 16, 2009 | Published in

(Inspired by a letter from my Spiritual Advisor)

And did you see what they did to Lenny Bruce? All the man ever wanted to do was get up on stage in dark smoky nightclubs and tell dirty jokes. But They said that it was "indecent". They made the mistake of thinking that words can harm others. They wanted to protect the audience from the artist. They wanted to decide what people could and could not say in public. They didn't like what Lenny had to say so they hounded him around the world. They threw him in jail for "just words" and threw the book at anyone who dared to let him talk. The coroner's report says that old Lenny died of a morphine overdose but everyone knows that They were the ones that really killed him. They broke his heart and his spirit by taking his words away from him.

Thank the gods They know what's best for us.

Or Kill Me!

Havin' Us a Book Burning

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, October 14, 2009 | Published in

I've had a survey over there to the left for the last week or so asking what you plan on doing this Halloween. Looks like there was a certain option I forgot to include: Book burning.
A Baptist Church near Asheville, N.C., is hosting a "Halloween book burning" to purge the area of "Satan's" works, which include all non-King James versions of the Bible, popular books by many religious authors and even country music.

The website for the Amazing Grace Baptist Church in Canton, N.C., says there are "scriptural bases" for the book burning. The site quotes Acts 19:18-20: "And many that believed, came and confessed and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts, brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed."

Church leaders deem Good News for Modern Man, the Evidence Bible, the New International Version Bible, the Green Bible and the Message Bible, as well as at least seven other versions of the Bible as "Satan's Bibles," according to the website... "I believe the King James version is God's preserved, inspired, inerrant and infallible word of God," Pastor Marc Grizzard told a local news station of his 14-member parish.

Yes, you read that correctly. A Christian church is going to burn Bibles because the Bibles (which they are about to burn up) told them to. It's like Irony has turned itself into a snake and is currently trying to swallow its own tail. To show that they don't just hate the translation work of other Christians they gave us a handy list of other books they plan on burning:
We will also be burning Satan's popular books written by heretics like Westcott & Hort , Bruce Metzger, Billy Graham , Rick Warren , Bill Hybels , John McArthur, James Dobson, Charles Swindoll , John Piper, Chuck Colson, Tony Evans, Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swagart, Mark Driskol, Franklin Graham , Bill Bright, Tim Lahaye, Paula White, T.D. Jakes, Benny Hinn , Joyce Myers, Brian McLaren, Robert Schuller, Mother Teresa , The Pope , Rob Bell, Erwin McManus, Donald Miller, Shane Claiborne, Brennan Manning, William Young, etc.
I'll admit that I don't know half of those names but I can understand why a couple of those are on the list. Billy Graham, Franklin Graham, Rick Warren and TD Jakes have always been considered by fundies to be too liberal and squishy when it comes to theology. The Pope and Mother Teresa are obviously on there because Baptists have long hated all things Catholics. Some even go so far as to deny having a "common ancestor" as it were. Swagart and Hinn are there for being outright con men. The ones I don't understand being on there are Dobson, Colson and Tim Lahaye. They are about as far right theological speaking as you can get in the United States. At this point the only Christian authors left for them to read are John Haggee, John Calvin, Tertullian, and Genghis Khan.

To round everything out they will also be tossinga couple of old LPs and Satanic CDs onto the fire:
We will also be burning Satan's music such as country , rap , rock , pop, heavy metal, western, soft and easy, southern gospel , contempory [sic] Christian , jazz, soul, oldies but goldies, etc.
So presumably this means that Stephen Curtis Chapman, Carmen and DC Talk will join the usual suspects of AC/DC and Judas Priest in the flames. (Yes, all of my references to contemporary Christian music are from 15 years ago.) And you know you are dealing with the fringe of the fringe when a Baptist church in the South hates Southern Gospel music. It makes me wonder what kind of music they use in their services.

As always, Poe's Law is in effect here. This whole thing might be an elaborate hoax to make Christians look goofy. The point of Poe's Law is that there is no way to tell without an overt sign of humor. This is more than likely just a dozen people in a strange fundamentalist cult who feel like they are fighting the brave fight against modernity. I'm going to pull a Glenn Beck for now and just say that my sources have not been able to disprove anything yet.

Sell the Vatican, Feed the World

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Sunday, October 11, 2009 | Published in

Looks like that nice little Jew girl Sarah Silverman has finally come upon a brilliant plan to feed everyone in the world: Sell the Vatican. How could the Pope pass up such a huge opportunity to end hunger forever? Besides, he took a vow of poverty. At the very least he could sell some of his fancy Prada shoes and feed a village or two for a year.

(Hat tip to both Skepchick and Friendly Atheist)

The Myth of Starbuck

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Saturday, October 10, 2009 | Published in

Not all of Malaclypse the Younger's important writings actually made it into the original version of the Principia Discordia. Some of his crude notes were found many years later and included the very interesting story called the Myth of Starbuck. I think that it helps teach a very good lesson about human nature, perception, confirmation bias, and even Intelligent Design if you want to stretch it to the breaking point. I thought that I would take the time to reprint it here to share it with the world and make sure that it never gets lost again.

There once was a huge boulder, perched precariously, on the edge of a cliff. For hundreds of years this boulder was there, rocking and swaying, but always keeping its balance just perfectly. But one year, there happened to be a severe windstorm; severe enough it was, to topple the boulder from its majestic height and dash it to the bottom cf the cliff, far far below. Needless to say, the boulder was smashed into many pieces. Where it hit, the ground was covered with a carpet of pebbles--some small and some large--but pebbles and pebbles and more pebbles for as far as you could walk in an hour.

One day, after all this, a young man by the name of Ichabod happened on the area. Being a fellow of keen mind and observational powers, naturally he was quite astounded to see so many stones scattered so closely on the ground. Now Ichabod was very much interested in the nature of things, and he spent the whole afternoon looking at pebbles, and measuring the size of pebbles, and feeling the weight of pebbles, and just pondering about pebbles in general.

He spent the night there, not wanting to lose this miraculous find, and awoke the next morning full of enthusiasm. He spent many days on his carpet of stones.

Eventually he noticed a very strange thing. There were three rather large stones on the carpet and they formed a triangle--almost (but not quite) equilateral. He was amazed. Looking further he found four very white stones that were arranged in a lopsided square. Then he saw that by disregarding one white stone and thinking of that grey stone a foot over instead, it was a perfect square! And if you chose this stone, and that stone, and that one, and that one and that one you have a pentagon as large as the triangle. And here a small hexagon. And there a square partially inside of the hexagon. And a decagon. And two triangles inter-locked. And a circle. And a smaller circle within the circle. And a triangle within that which has a red stone, a grey stone and a white stone.

Ichabod spent many hours finding many designs that became more and more complicated as his powers of observation grew with practice. Then he began to log his designs in a large leather book; and as he counted designs and described them, the pages began to fill as the sun continued to return.

He had begun his second ledger when a friend came by. His friend was a poet and also interested in the nature of things.

"My friend," cried Ichabod, "come quickly! I have discovered the most wondrous thing in the universe." The poet hurried over to him, quite anxious to see what it was.

Ichabod showed him the carpet of stones...but the poet only laughed and said "It's nothing but scattered rocks!"

"But look," said Ichabod, 'see this triangle and that [square] and that and that." And he proceeded to show his friend the harvest of his many days study. When the poet saw the designs he turned to the ledgers and by the time he was finished with these, he too was overwhelmed.

He began to write poetry about the marvelous designs. And as he wrote and contemplated he became sure that the designs must mean something. Such order and beauty is too monumental to be senseless. And the designs were there, Ichabod had showed him [that.]

The poet went back to the village and read his new poetry. And all who heard him went to the cliff to see first hand the [carpet] of designs. And all returned to the village to spread the word. Then as the enthusiasm grew there developed a group of those who love beauty and nature, all of whom went to live right at the Designs themselves. Together they wanted to see every design that was there.

Some wrote ledger about just triangles. Others described the circles. Others concentrated on red colored stones--and they happened to be the first to see designs springing from outside the carpet. They, and some others, saw designs everywhere they went.

"How blind we have been," they said.

The movement grew and grew and grew. And all who could see the designs knew that they had to have been put there by a Great Force. "Nothing but a Great Force," said the philosophers, "could create this immense beauty!"

"Yes," said the world, "nothing but a god could create such magnificent order. Nothing but a God."

And that was the day that God was born. And ever since then, all men have known Him for His infinite power and all men have loved Him for His infinite wisdom.

Excerpted from a treatise concerning The Nature of Gods and The Eristesque Movement, to be found in the SUMMA UNIVERSALIA, the Holy Work of MALACLYPSE (THE YOUNGER), K.C., Omniscient Polyfather of Virginity-in-gold, and High Priest of The Heretic Fringe and Protestant Persuasion of the ERISIAN MOVEMENT of the DISCORDIAN SOCIETY ----- Hail Eris

Official Discordian Document #TD 1-1.2.2-4:11:64

(Hat tip to Rev. Loveshade and WikiSource for helping to keep this intact)

I'm a Holy Man and So Can You

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, October 7, 2009 | Published in

There are many paths to becoming a holy man in this lifetime. The so called traditional route is to take six to ten years out of your life studying from other holy men, absorbing their lessons, engrossing yourself in the holy book of your forefathers, constantly meditating on the meaning of life. After many years your teacher will have to decide whether you are truly worthy to wear the holy vestments and lead a flock of your own.

Or you could be like me and get yourself ordained online. That's right, there are several organizations out there that are willing to declare you a fully ordained minister if you are willing to fill out the proper forms. I went with the Universal Life Church Monastery because who doesn't like the word "monastery"? They will ordain you for free over the internet in exchange for your legal name, e-mail, and address. (Don't worry, they do not spam you unless you ask nicely).

If you would like to make the process feel more complete you can head over to their online store to buy yourself a Bestowal of Title Certificate with your name and any religious title of your choice (including Pope!) You could be like me and get the sleek looking wallet credential card. Or, if you are feeling especially smart, you can have your own Doctor of Divinity or Doctor of Metaphysics certificates. Sure, this may cheapen those doctorates but it's not like anyone gave them much respect in the first place.

What is the point of all this, you may ask? Well, as the website says you are now free to "perform a wedding, baptism or funeral for friends and family, regardless of your spiritual or religious denomination". Of course, the wedding laws vary from state to state so make sure you do your research before hitching people together in holy matrimony. You may have to register with the county clerk before you are allowed to sign any marriage certificates. Baptisms and funerals are always fair game and are only limited by the beliefs of those being baptized and funeralized.

As an added bonus, as a ULC Minister you have the legal authority to ordain new ministers into the ministry. So make sure to deputize all of your friends and family. Feel free to ordain your pets too. (I don't think that would have any legal backing though.)


Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Monday, October 5, 2009 | Published in

A lot of Discordian works came out of very careful plan. They often start with a kernel of an idea. Then submissions are taken. Stories are edited. Pages are formatted and re-formatted. Several rough drafts are posted on Scribd. It's a long and tedious process to achieve perfection. But occasionally, that process is completely scrapped and Divine Inspiration from the Goddess Herself strikes. A mood comes over everyone at the same time like the Spirit shaking everyone to their toes. The new work "Hey, LMNO..." started out as a simple post from The Good Reverend Roger to LMNO about "the bigass spider as big as the world". Then it takes a turn for the surreal. Things go back and forth pretty quickly between TGRR, LMNO, Richter, Kai, Rev. What's-His-Name and Nigel. There really is no way to describe this thing so go read it for yourself:


Big Thanks to Agent Pariah for the awesome formatting job here.

An Interesting Find

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Friday, October 2, 2009 | Published in

So Bill Maher, Robert Anton Wilson, Michelle Phillips, David Cross, and Bob Guccione Jr. all walk into a bar... Ok, not really. But back in 1996 all of their paths crossed for an episode of Maher's "Politically Incorrect". The subject for most of the show was Timothy Leary, who was extremely close to death at the time. They have an interesting round table discussion on Leary, LSD, and drug addiction.

(It's probably best to skip ahead to the 3:30 mark so you don't have to listen to the extremely out dated monologue. Also notice all of the 90's era Comedy Central ads in the middle. I keep forgetting how much voiceover work that Penn Jillette did for them.)

By the way, Maher is scheduled to receive the Richard Dawkins Award from the Atheist Alliance International this weekend. Personally, I agree with Orac and PZ Myers that Maher doesn't deserve the award since he doesn't live up to the pro-science criteria. I appreciate Maher for his comedy and his politics but his anti-vaccine and germ theory denialism are very odd. Here's hoping that he answers some of the hard questions this weekend.

Happy Blasphemy Day!

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, September 30, 2009 | Published in

“This crime called blasphemy was invented by priests for the purpose of defending doctrines not able to take care of themselves” - Robert Ingersoll

It was just 3 years ago today that the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten was brave enough to publish a dozen cartoons portraying the "prophet" Muhammad. The fallout from simply publishing a handful of comics was, of course, more overblown than it should have been. There were boycotts and protests. Death threats were made and bounties were placed on heads. Embassies were torched. People died. All of this simply because someone didn't bow down to someone else's religious beliefs.

Blasphemy, it has been said, is a victim less crime. Blasphemy is insulting something that isn't there. Blasphemy is having the courage to say out loud that religion is bunk. Yes, people will be offended. But my rights to freedom of speech beats your right to not be offended. Being offended is good for the soul anyways. Builds character. Let's you know that you are alive. It shows you where your boundaries are. It points out which beliefs are the most important to you. In fact, religious people should be thanking us instead of yelling that we should be behead or strung up from a tree. Besides, what is holy script for you is blasphemy to another.

So, Happy International Blasphemy Day. Go out there and offend as many people as possible. Don't leave any stone unturned or any god un-insulted. Do it to show you are alive and free. Do it to show that verbal dissent should never be opposed no matter what you believe.

And without further ado:

Fuck God
Fuck Allah
Fuck Vishnu
Fuck Jesus
Fuck Muhammad
Fuck Buddha
Fuck Krishna
Fuck Tao
Fuck Darwin

And above all, Fuck Eris

That bitch never calls me anyways.

Discordian Hymnal #016

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Saturday, September 26, 2009 | Published in

Let us all rise and open our Discordian Hymnal to Page #016: "Free Your Hate" by KMFDM:

Indy Star on Evolution

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Friday, September 25, 2009 | Published in

So, I was idly eating my dinner tonight at work while reading my local newspaper, the Indianapolis Star. Usually I just skip right to the comics section and do the cryptoquip for the groan inducing puns. Occasionally though, like tonight, I actually read the front section to see day old news and read the horrific opinions section. What should greet me there but a column from the opinions page editor Russ Pulliam entitled "Taking Darwin on Faith".Yeah, this is going to be a fun one. Surprisingly there aren't as many evolution-denying Young Earth Creationists in Indiana as you would think so this usually isn't a problem. In NCSE's last report on how well each state does at teaching evolution Indiana got an A, Good. I have a feeling that is mostly due to the rather large biotech industry here. Eli Lilly and all of the medical supply companies in Columbus know where their bread is buttered. A population that doesn't have a basic understand of science will eventually vote against research funding. That ends up hurting the companies and the state.

Anyways, back to the story... and it's kind of a big disappointment. Pulliam couldn't even throw in one of the standard Creationist arguments like how complex the eye is, how fine tuned the universe is, or even a dig about Darwin being a racist bastard who caused the Holocaust. Instead we get: blah blah blah 150th anniversary, IU is offering special classes on evolution, surveys show that most Americans are blithering idiots don't believe in evolution. Then he hits us with an old favorite of Kent Hovind:
Yet in the debate between evolution and creation, those on the Darwinian side of the discussion often make the same error that they see in their opponents. They observe nature and evolution within species, or adaptation. From there came Darwin's evolutionary hypothesis that humans evolved from the amoebas.
That's right, the old "Goo to the Zoo to You" card (with a side of "Microevolution, not Macroevolution" slipped underneath). Of course the problem with "Goo to the Zoo to You" is that it skips several trillions of steps in the middle. (Not to mention how supremely ironic this is for someone who believes that man was formed out of dirt and clay and that woman was made out of his rib.) No scientist thinks that several millions of amoebae got together one day and "decided" to become a man. It went unicellular organism, mutlicellular organisms, invertebrate fish, vertebrate fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, primates, apes, then humans with about 3 billion years from the start to today. In other words:Then he has to pull out the old "faith" card:
Many scientists contend that the theory has been proven, or rendered undeniable, by so much research. Yet there's a leap of faith involved in Darwinian theory.
Obviously he is using a definition of faith I had previously not heard. Faith is belief without evidence. With evolution we have evidence. TONS OF IT! Billions of it just lying about the place. For instance, all of genetics and paleontology scream Common Descent. It takes as much faith to believe in evolution as it does to believe in gravity, electromagnetism, germs, and the Big Bang.

To further present his case that every biologist in the last 100 years is wrong he employs the help of... a biologist that also happens to be a minister:

Bloomington Reformed Presbyterian Pastor Richard Holdeman also has a doctorate in cell biology and is a lecturer at Indiana University. He sometimes finds himself in the middle of this debate.

"Charles Darwin made careful observations and laid out an elegant theory explaining how biological organisms change over time," Holdeman said.
Carefully note that Professor/Pastor Holdeman has no issue with evolution at all. He even calls it "elegant" which Creationists never do. You aren't helping your case much here, Russ. Next time you want a helpful quote from a questionable authority that denies evolution try giving the Discovery Institute a call. I'm sure they are in your Rolodex.
What troubles Holdeman is how some followers of Darwin have taken his work and turned it into a theological treatise about the origins and purpose of the universe. "Science by nature does not answer questions related to meaning and purpose in the universe." he said. "It is wrong to use science to justify what are essentially religious beliefs. The result is that many religious people are offended by and reject evolution because of its supposed religious implications rather than its scientific merits or lack thereof.

Yes, it is true that evolution doesn't prove that God doesn't exist. That is a slippery eel that will never get disproved since the definition of God keeps changing to something unprovable. All evolution did was take away one of the gaps that God was hiding it. It took away the Teleological and anthropic arguments in one fell swoop and is very quickly working on the argument from morality. Add in the fact that the Big Bang Theory destroyed the cosmological argument and, well, God doesn't have very many places left to hide.
"In addition, some scientists have underplayed the significance of the unanswered questions relating to evolutionary theory. For example, where did the first cell come from? Thus there is a general mistrust of the scientific community among many people of faith."

GAAAAHHHH!!! How the hell does a cellular biologist not know the difference between evolution and abiogenesis??? Seriously, you work around cells all day and presumably have for the last 20 plus years. Evolution doesn't talk about where cells come from, the tell us what happens after those cells got here. A layman like me shouldn't have to tell you this!!!

I almost felt bad writing all of this because Russ's article is just a throwaway column at the end of the week. There was really no substance there except to say that "Sometimes atheists use evolution to say bad things about God." At least he and I can agree on one thing though:
Or, as Holdeman puts it, "As long as evolutionary theory is advocated in semi-religious terms, this debate is not going to go away."
The sooner religion learns to accept scientific fact, the sooner we can all move on to more productive debates. Like, where is my beer?


An Important Healthcare PSA

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, September 23, 2009 | Published in

A bunch of Hollywood big shots got together to make an extremely important public service announcement to tell us all about who is really getting screwed over in the current health care debate:

Purdue Pirates Praise Pasta

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Monday, September 21, 2009 | Published in

Those crazy Pasafarians are at it again. Waaay back in May I linked to a video of some of FSMists doing a little preaching at the Ohio State. (You are forgiven if you missed it because no one read my blog back then.) On Friday, which just happened to be Talk Like a Pirate Day, some members of the Society of Non-Theists at Purdue University got all dolled up in their best pirate regale and preached the gospel of His Noodliness all over campus. They proudly displayed some awesome signs while hanging out in front of the Class of 50 building. They sang pirate songs around Christian preacher Brother Jed. They hijacked the Boilermaker Special (the World's Heaviest Mascot™) They even made friends with a pair of Mormon missionaries. (No word if they exchanged pasta recipes.) All in all it looks like it was a successful day!

You can see tons of pictures and video from the day on the Blag Hag blog since Jen is the one that threw the whole thing together. You should be following her blog anyways. Here's how the local news covered it:

(Yes, all local news programs are that poorly done.)

Putting Faith in Its Place

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Friday, September 18, 2009 | Published in

Yeah, I know that I just posted a QualiaSoup video about two weeks ago but this is another good one that needs to be seen. It drive homes a point I have been saying for years: All of the faith in the world doesn't mean anything unless you have the evidence to back it up.

The Emperor's Sesquicentennial

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Thursday, September 17, 2009 | Published in

On this day 150 years ago, American history was changed forever. On that day, the United States got it's first emperor. It was September 17, 1859 when Joshua Abraham Norton, patron saint of Discordianism, sent the following letter to every newspaper in San Francisco:
At the peremptory request and desire of a large majority of the citizens of these United States, I, Joshua Norton, formerly of Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and now for the last 9 years and 10 months past of S. F., Cal., declare and proclaim myself Emperor of these U. S.; and in virtue of the authority thereby in me vested, do hereby order and direct the representatives of the different States of the Union to assemble in Musical Hall, of this city, on the 1st day of Feb. next, then and there to make such alterations in the existing laws of the Union as may ameliorate the evils under which the country is laboring, and thereby cause confidence to exist, both at home and abroad, in our stability and integrity.
NORTON I, Emperor of the United States.
And the rest, as they say, is history. A little over a year later he issued a decree dissolving the United States Congress. Later on he decreed that both the Catholic and Protestant churches ordain him Emperor. In 1872 he forever banished the word "Frisco" from the English language saving future San Franciscans from forever having to correct tourists. His illustrious reign lasted for a whole 21 years, almost completely unnoticed by the US government and it's army.

So, if you have the chance today raise a beer in honor of the first and last emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico. Declare yourself emperor of your own little corner of the globe. And if you are in San Francisco, don't forget to go put some flowers on his grave.

(Tip of the imperial sword to yhnmzw for the reminder)

Black Sheep are Still Sheep

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, September 16, 2009 | Published in

One of the most successful Discordian memebombs over the last couple of years has been "Black sheep are still sheep". According to my research it was originated by DJ RubberDucky near the end of 2006. It was featured at the bottom of page 6 in Black Iron Prison. It is also the fifth most popular memebomb in the One Sentence Memebomb Database. Whenever I post it on Twitter with the #memebomb hashtag it always gets retweeted at least 3 times. It has a power that resonates with people. It's five short words that connect with people right in the gut. It is everything that a memebomb should be.

The weirdest thing that I've noticed about it though is that it has a hidden double meaning. It has become a verbal Rorschach test. I wouldn't have even noticed the hidden second meaning if it wasn't for the fact that I have a nasty habit of hanging out on religious forums talking to religious type people. The meaning that they got out of these memebomb is that "Outsiders are still humans, just like us." People may act weird and wear strange clothes and have crazy political ideas, but deep down they are just like us. There is no reason for Us to be afraid of Them. We aren't so different after all.

Of course, the original intended Discordian message is that "Rebels are still cosmic schmucks". Or to put it more succinctly: "Doing everything exactly opposite from "The Mainstream" is the same thing as doing everything exactly like 'The Mainstream.' You're still using What Everyone Else is Doing as your primary point of reference." Actively rebelling against The System means that you are still playing by The System's rules. Fuck being a Hot Topic punk. Completely ignore what is popular. Be your own person. Think for yourself, schmuck!

Discordian Hymnal #015:

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Saturday, September 12, 2009 | Published in

Let us all rise and open our Discordian Hymnal to Page #015: "I'm Designer" by Queens of the Stone Age"