January 26, 2021

Saturday Ramblings 8.6.11

Since Senior Rambler Jeff Dunn is driving cross-country at the moment, it has fallen to me, Adam Palmer, the completely stationary Junior Rambler, to sweep up the iron filings from the floor of the iMonastery’s smithy.

Here we go:

This week Christian apologist and all-around smart fellow Terry Mattingly wrote a thought-provoking essay about the faith of Anders Breivik, better known as the “Christian” terrorist in Norway who killed 77 people. It’s an interesting look not only at faith but also at the way different cultures define different words, in this case: “fundamentalist.”

Are women now more in dangers of the flames of hell than ever before? It would seem so, according to a new report issued this week by “researcher and pollster” George Barna. The most tantalizing part of this report: “If women become less of a mainstay in what occurs within churches, will ministries respond by increasing the male-friendliness of the proceedings? And, as women become less front-and-center, will men be pressured to upgrade their church involvement?” Yes, what will churches do now to attract an audience?

Apparently women aren’t just falling away from the faith, they’re also pulling back from nature itself. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control released findings this week that hospitals aren’t doing enough to support breastfeeding for new mothers. Dr. Thomas Freiden, director of the CDC, makes a good point about the financial aspects of nursing: “Promoting breastfeeding will in the long run reduce costs because it will lower the burden of illness in these children.”

Speaking of birth, celebrated smart-person Stephen Hawking is weighing on the creation of the universe. This week he promoted a new television special where he answers the question of whether God created the universe. You’ll never guess his answer (spoiler: no).

As long as we’re on the topic, and since I’m an astronomy dork, we had a couple of fascinating stories this week about our own solar system. One scientist has posited that Earth, at one time, had two moons, while NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has snapped a series of photos of the Martian surface that indicate the Red Planet may have liquid water. Or, as the article puts it, is it possible that Mars “is only mostly dead?”

And lastly, what would an Adam Palmer version of Saturday Ramblings be without a link to Popular Science? This week, they reported on an African rat that smears poison on its fur (hair? coat?) as a means of protection from predators. Surely there’s a joke in there somewhere about Evangelicals or the Tea Party or something. Feel free to find it and make it in the comments.

We all sang “Happy Birthday” this week to President Barack Obama, who turned a half-century old (and who is starting to look it), Francis Scott Key, who wrote the President’s favorite song, NFL quarterback and all-around hunky bloke Tom Brady, former WKRP heartthrob Loni Anderson (who is now eligible for social security benefits), Herman Melville, Peter O’Toole, Martha Stewart, for our UK contingent, Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

And since we always like to close with a video that might brighten your weekend, I picked this delightfully original song from one our national treasures, Weird Al Yankovic. Heed it well.


  1. Stephen Hawking doesn’t believe God created the universe……..(music from Psycho)………..say it isn’t so.

    In other news, it is amazing that someone who believes the teachings of science over the teachings of the Bible is labeled a Christian fundamentalist. Hmmmm…….maybe Stephen Hawking is one too.

  2. Earlier this week, Anne Rice posted a link on her facebook page to an article by Rev. Dr. Rita Nakashima Brock entitled “Atonement Theology: The Ideological Root of Christian Terrorism”, which attributes terrorism like that of Anders Behring Breivik and Timothy McVeigh to Anselm-esque atonement theology: “Such interpretations of the crucifixion assert that God requires violence to save the world. If people believe that God uses torture and murder, what is to stop them from doing the same or believing experiencing the same sanctifies them?” I have my own problems with Anselm, but I think I pulled something trying to make that leap of logic. Typecast atonement theology into a perverted interpretation, then make grandiose logical conclusions based on that strawman. But I have heard pastors preach on atonement in a way which would make that strawman seem justifiable.

    • Based upon your link, it sounds like she erred to even associate Breivik with any Christian theology.

      • Unfortunately, Anne Rice is drifting so far from anything remotely Christian. It is very sad to watch.
        Btw, iMonk, I LOVE your Weird Al video!!!

  3. Its a relief that Mars might be only ‘mostly dead’. All we need now is Miracle Max.

  4. “The universe in all its parts is the embodiment of wisdom. This vision was confirmed for me a few weeks ago when I met some well-known astronomers, physicists and biologists, who passionately expressed their conviction that they increased the awareness of the eternal wisdom in the structure of the universe by increasing the knowledge of our world. They rejected a science that gives knowledge without wisdom and a theology that neglects the divine wisdom shining through man’s knowledge of nature.” – Paul Tillich, from “The Eternal Now”.

  5. Great thanks, just what I needed! I will send all those spammers a link to this Weird Al video, just what they need!

    • Highwayman says

      Good idea, Erno, I think I’ll do the same – just as soon as I can get this plank out of my eye…

      • I enjoy Weird Al, but I probably would have enjoyed this song more if I knew what the original song had been. But I don’t.

        • conanthepunctual says

          Actually, about half of the songs on every Weird Al album are completely original compositions. I think this is off his new one because I hadn’t heard it before.

          Love Weird Al.

        • Conan is correct. “Stop Forwarding That Crap” is the 12th and final track off Al’s new album “Alpocalypse.” It’s an original composition, but written in the style of producer/arranger Jim Steinman (best known for his work with Meat Loaf, Bonnie Tyler, Air Supply and Celine Dion).

          Wikipedia is my friend …

  6. Small rant following: Part of the reason that breast feeding is not promoted by many hospitals is that the baby formula companies provide “new mother” bags to families that have children and pay lots of money to the hospitals for the privilege of knocking on my door, interrupting my little sleeping time, and trying to sell me insurance on my child’s life and providing free coupons for baby formula and a free plastic diaper.

    • And many lower income moms can get formula free through the WIC program, so there is no cost savings to breastfeeding, which surely motivated me as a young Mommy.

      I also think it has to do with lack of value placed on children and mothering in our culture. Have a baby and get back to doing something “productive” is often the message, and nursing a child takes time. BUT, it also provides bonding and superior nutrition. As a nurse who breastfeed my own boys, it is so sad to see babies propped in a carrier with a bottle instead of being fed and adored in their mothers’ arms.

      • WIC supplies the breast-feeding mom with extra food for herself. Ours also gave out breast pumps (manual).

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        I was born in 1955. When breastfeeding was at its all-time low. My stepmother (roughly the same age as my mother) actually told me once that “breastfeeding was unnatural.” I’m still trying to figure out that one without my brain going TILT.

        • I also was told by a hairdresser that she thought breast-feeding was “creepy,” as if the baby were sexually motivated (although she didn’t use those terms). Breasts are for sex alone, apparently, and any other usage would be perverse. I didn’t realize it until I was pregnant with my first child, but my family is unusual: every generation, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, all breast-fed. I’m grateful to my mother that I never knew that that wasn’t considered normal.

          Besides, when a baby cries, a bottle-feeding mom has to get up; a breast-feeding mom gets to sit down!

  7. I am shocked, shocked I tell you that our illustrious Dean of Science failed to mention that today is the 20th anniversary of the internet – but maybe there was hat tip with the Weird Al song. (I have enjoyed all the sciency references today.)

  8. David Cornwell says

    “Francis Scott Key, who wrote the President’s favorite song”…

    Once while running for President, Mr. Obama failed to put his hand over his heart during the singing of the anthem because ________________.

    By not doing so he proved that he is a ____________.

    By not doing so he proved that he isn’t a______________.

    Answer these correctly and you will receive a letter of commendation from Foxey News and may be interviewed by Rush.

  9. Not alone is today Saturday Ramblings Day, it is also the Feast of the Transfiguration, so in that vein:

    “Lord, it is good for us to be here!”


  10. Does anyone remember the “All I need to know about Islam I learned on 9-11” bumper stickers? They were quite popular around here. Now imagine the uproar that would accompany the “All I need to know about Christianity I learned in Denmark” equivalent.

    • Breivik in many ways is your mirror image religious terrorist. I’m blanking on the guys name, but he studied the profile of “Islamic” suicide terrorists and found they we’re mostly middle class, educated, not very religious, and saw their acts as being necessary to protect Islamic culture from the West. If someone claims to be a member of our religious tribe, claims our religion was a important motivator for him, we have to accept he’s going to be seen as a member of our religion, even if we strongly disagree with his theology.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Listen to the guy with 20+ years in Furry Fandom:

        There is only so much you can do to distance/distinguish yourselves from high-profile crazies who loudly proclaim to everybody (especially the media) that They’re One Of You. Even changing your name doesn’t work; nothing prevents the crazies from hijacking that name too.

      • Except Breivik didn’t mention Christianity as his motivator. When he says “Christian”, he really means traditional European, as opposed to immigrant Muslim, culture.

  11. … former WKRP heartthrob Loni Anderson (who is now eligible for social security benefits) …

    Along with Jaclyn Smith, Goldie Hawn, Diane Sawyer and Raquel Welch — all are, to paraphrase Hugh Romney, being paid by the government to breathe. (And come October, add Susan Sarandon.) If you can think of a better use of federal funds, I’d like to hear it. 😀

  12. David Cornwell says

    Today is also Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday. To me that’s scary thing. I was a young man (a kid actually) when “I Love Lucy” was going strong. Google’s home page is celebrating her birthday and her unique way of making us laugh.

  13. Thanks, Adam and Weird Al, for giving me a new theme song!

  14. Brilliant Video.

    Ahhh ~ Herman Melville. Before there was THE SHARK there was THE WHALE!!

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