Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Don't Be a Daytime Television Man Whore

So I'm off work today. I had some vacation days to kill so here I am. I spent most of the day buying and selling online but I kept the tv on in the background. One of those daytime talk shows came on and I didn't change it. It had just started and they were talking about some guy who created 4 babies with 4 different women in the same year. I don't think my reaction was typical because as soon as they said this I felt an overwhelming feeling of sorrow. It hit me so suddenly and so hard that I was a bit surprised. I muted the tv and choked back the tears. I felt so terrible for those poor children. Here their moms were acting like two bit sluts with this man whore and their kids were the ones who would pay the price. These kids will all grow up with out dads because their so called parents had the self discipline of dogs in heat. This isn't entertainment this is a tragedy. That show should have ended like another popular daytime television show. In the words of Bob Barker "Don't forget to get your dogs spayed and neutered."

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Conversation about God

By happenstance I recently was reacquainted with a friend from high school on facebook. We both graduated from Central Baptist, a small private school. This is an interesting conversation for any of you who have ever questioned the existence of Jesus or of God himself. This is a long conversation but it's worth reading if you have questions about the historical Jesus or what to say when asked these questions. I don't have all the answers but I do my best. Here is the conversation that we had. It's not a private conversation being that it is posted on my facebook wall so am just re-posting it here.

Friend: wow i would've thought a smart guy like you would've seen the man behind the curtain by now...

Me: I have. Mark 15:38
(Mark 15:38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.)

Friend: ha ha humorous remark but an unfortunate resistance to reality.

Me: You are correct about one thing, I am a smart guy, ha ha. I also believe that most of religion (but not all) is indeed a ruse of sorts. Some do it for power, others money, but a lot are just misled. I would think that even you would agree that to discount all possibility of a higher power would also be an unfortunate resistance to reality. After all, universal statements can neither be proved nor disproved and the human mind is much to small to explain 99.9% of what exists. I believe that God is bigger than what I imagine him to be. If he is real than he has to be. If I were to argue for my beliefs, I would say that it is not based purely on history, science, and my small minds sense of logic but also upon my personal experience.

Friend: great retort my long lost friend. i shall retire briefly to compose my response.

Friend: certainly religion is a ruse in most cases, little more than an overgrown example of the ills of the traveling quack physician of centuries past. and certainly my knowledge and reason are lacking when faced with the all encompassing questions of the universe. while it seems fair to say that whatever started this ball o' rock a' spinning will never be answered in full detail while we yet breathe. never the less it also seems clear that there are prospective answers that are, how do i put this delicately, less than likely to be correct. one would have to agree that information coming from the time-frame in which most religions were started is highly suspect at best. but personally i believe that our parents hitched our sails to the most absurd of the lot. certainly the big three who start with abraham are similar enough to detest but the tale of christ is that of johnny applesseed or paul bunyan to me. or worse yet because the hero is not someone i could ever exalt and the evil to which he was sent to protect against was mild in comparison to the evil from whence he is said to have come.

Me: Well, I guess if I can get you to agree to be agnostic rather than atheist that's better than nothing. In an interesting side note, my father was an atheist for years before coming to Christ. He was neither convinced nor contrived into doing so. It didn't even happen at a church or with a street corner preacher. It came from personal experience in his car. Do you deny the existence of Jesus, the divinity of Jesus of or both? From a historic aspect the existence of Jesus is pretty well documented as far as 2,000 year old historical figures go.

Friend: yeah no doubt there was a man named jesus who did some crazy things and spoke some new concepts into an old world, but his divinity will never be anything but a joke to me. paul bunyan and johnny appleseed were real people too, but with time they became greater in stature and capability than any rational human being would believe, and yet for some reason greater attributes from a time further back are accepted and wars are started for the belief. to me this is the greatest absurdity of all time. i mean these people were stoning anyone who said the earth was round despite seeing the sun and moon "hanging" in the sky.

Me: Human nature, being what it is, will take anything, good or evil, and use it for self-enrichment. Rather that be the name of Jesus or saving the earth from pollution, anything is game. The difference between the examples you gave and Jesus is Jesus was written about in bigger than life terms by multiple writers within a relatively short period after his works were said to have been performed. They were written about not only by followers but also by Jewish and pagan historians. Not only was Jesus talked about as being perfect in the Gospels, it's writers showed themselves in an often less than flattering light. If the gospels were nothing more than a well written stories, why did the writers not make them selves also look better. What was the point. It is true though that proving the divinity of Christ is all but a futile argument.

Friend: i must have missed something there, who are these historians outside christianity that wrote about him? i have no doubt that an easily deceived writer may have believed what he wrote, just as i can see it in daily life as americans are easily deceived and fervently defend something to which they have no evidence. and if i may make so bold, the point was then as it is now and has ever been and likely will ever be, the almighty one: Gold.

Me: The most important one would be the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus. Some other ancient writers that talk about Jesus would be Cornelius Tacitus, Suetonius, Thallus, Pliny the Younger, and Lucian. The Jewish Talmud also talks about Jesus. Some are positive, some are negative but all reinforce the existence of Jesus as a historical figure. It's been a while since I've read any of them but I'm sure you could google what each one says.

Friend: i have now looked again upon that which i once read and again expected. in this list of writers there is no certainty gained, the Josephus text is widely considered fraudulent, tacitus and Pliny spoke only of the persecution of christians. lucian was born long after the fact and was considered a martyr as he was a christian. unless you are ... See Morereferring to a different lucian. and the seutonius remark is less than vague and fleeting in length. im not saying there wasn't a historical jesus, but none of these are good examples that there may have been. you should reread those i think,

Me: Pliny spoke of the persecution of Christians in the 1st century. Lucian was about 100 years after the fact but from what I read he was a pagan. I don't find the Seutonius remarks to be all that vague but I guess to each their own. As for Josephus, only the first reference to Jesus is debated, the second shorter reference which reads "the brother of... See More Jesus, who was called Christ."" is generally agreed to be untampered with. Of course there is also Mara Bar-Serapion, and The Babylonian Talmud. Also many of the places and characters in the New Testament have been confirmed accurate through archeology. I think you will find that most classical historians agree that Jesus did exist but like I said his divinity is unprovable.

Friend: yeah most of the references made were about the knowledge of an uprising and a persecution of its followers. again i say, undoubtedly, there was a man named jesus, but his capabilities and attributes are grossly exaggerated. just as there was likely a man named moses, and a man named muhammed but their true meaning is like to that of Martin Luther... See More King jr, great men with great deeds but not gods not saviors.
furthermore, even were the tale true, and the god of the old testament was truly the one god, still i would not bow for to me he is not worthy of praise in any manner. but i sleep well none the less, because there isn't even an inkling of doubt in me that this might be the one true way. why should god need money, all knowing, all powerful but he cant manage a bank account for some reason? why would jealousy be a sin but actively evidenced by god? there are not only too many questions with too few answers, the available answers are down right unfathomably offensive.

Me: This all leads to one key question. What is good, what is evil? Is there such a thing or is it all relative. Is man somehow born with a sense of right and wrong and if so why and how? Are there absolutes when morality is concerned and if so then why? What is your opinion on this seeing that you already know where I stand.

Friend: oh that's a bundle, gonna take a few at least.

Friend: well i certainly don't believe that there is an inherent notion of good and evil in us, where it is gained and how are matters for debate I'm sure. but i tend to lean on the nurture side of the argument. as for absolutes in morality, its tough to say i would say that situational ethics is a more viable choice. while it seems like it might be easy to think of an example of something that's always wrong, i don't know that that is enough. i don't claim any religion, but i would say that taoism lines up most closely to what i believe. i think perhaps if you read up on tao you will understand my perspective better. but i don't believe in the duality of good and evil or god and the devil.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

They Sell Bubble Bath at Kmart

That girl sure liked to talk. We talked and talked and talked, mostly about movies and rather or not the movie characters were real. In case you were wondering the talking fish in Finding Nemo are not real and neither is Batman who lives in Gothem, a pretend city. I was however at a loss as to how to describe what a robot is.
"I took a bath this morning." she informed me.
"Me too." I said.
"I took one with bubble bath." she excitedly proclaimed, "Did you take a bubble bath?"
"No I didn't" I admitted.
"Why nooooooot?" she inquired.
"Well, I don't have any bubble bath."
"They have it at Kmart." she informed me.
"Well then maybe I will have to buy some for next time." I smiled.

He shook my hand and then asked an important question. "Are you my buddy?"
"I sure am" I said.
"I love you, do you love me?" he wanted to know.
"Yes I do love you." I replied.

She was probably only 4 feet tall and walked bent over with a walker. I don't think she knew how to talk. She did however know how to laugh and that may be more important. She was fan of slapstick. When my mom accidentally dropped the Christmas tree on the floor she cracked up laughing. I really think she would enjoy watching the Three Stooges.

He didn't talk much. I didn't hear him say one word. He sure did enjoy music though. When the music came on he would hum along and sway side to side. He was good at swaying.

I don't remember much about her but I do know that she said that she wants a top hat for Christmas. A top hat, that's a great Christmas wish. Another guy said that he wanted popcorn for Christmas but personally I would rather have a top hat.

The only words that I heard him say were "bye." He walked with a bit of a sideways limp and he walked fast. High fives and asking the time were his things. He seemed excited and would often put his fist in his mouth. A nervous habit I suppose. He point out the window at the snow. "I like snow too" I would say. If he was sitting he wanted someone to sit next to him but most of the time he was walking. He really liked to walk.

I did puppets with my mom today at a home for the mentally disabled where she works. It was a Christmas party. Everyone likes a party. This was a new experience for me. It wasn't uncomfortable and it didn't feel strange, it was just different. I wonder what it's like to never grow up, for your mind to remain in a state of suspended animation. I felt a lot of emotions while I was there. I think most of them were happiness. I like seeing people smile. I was happy that they were happy and most of them looked happy.

Monday, December 21, 2009

21 Things I've Never Done

- I've never been to a Starbucks
- I've never owned a cell phone
- I've never drank a Red Bull
- I've never bungee jumped
- I've never had sex
- I've never carried health insurance
- I've never owned a pair of boxers
- I've never watched the movie Forest Gump
- I've never owned a car with electric windows
- I've never drank an alcoholic beverage
- I've never broken a bone
- I've never owned a brand new piece of furniture
- I've never been to the Newport Aquarium
- I've never used a cell phone to send a text message
- I've never played an organized sport
- I've never been hunting
- I've never taken a ride in a helicopter
- I've never been trick or treating
- I've never thrown a piece of garbage out of my car window
- I've never used my recycling bin
- I've never owned a dog

+ I've never given someone the finger

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Perspective is:

I went bowling. My friends were celebrating because they broke 100 by getting multiple strikes in their last frame. The guy in the lane next to us was angry because he only got a 289.

A guy at the bowling ally told me that Great Clips could cut my hair for $5.99. He didn't mean for me to hear it. I did. I thought it was a great opportunity to start a conversation with a stranger.

While waiting in line for a ferry at Elis Island the line was cut off at me and my brother. I immediately let out a "Wohoo" and proclaimed "we're first in line."

I paid $2.50 to cross a bridge in New Jersey. I thought it was a great deal after paying $8 to cross a bridge in New York.

The auctioneer at the auction I went to a few weeks ago said he was going to be moving pretty fast. The people behind me said they couldn't understand a word he said. I left after an hour because he was so slow it made me want to scream.

I heard a lady at Kroger say that, "It's creepy as H*** when you open the refrigerator door at the grocery store to get some milk and you hear talking back there." My Dad says that if they are ever out of milk at the store you just open that door and yell back there, "Hey you guys have any more milk back there?"

One of the grocery store employees walked up to me the other day and called me Jesus. He then asked if I wanted to see his impression of the Virgin Marry. How could I refuse an offer like that. So, he took a large gold plate that he was holding and put it behind his head. Yep, that kind of looks like her.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

White People Don't Know Jack About Hats

Whatever happened to white people wearing cool hats? Remember Abraham Lincoln? Now that was a nice hat. There was a day when everyone wore hats. Women wore there wide rimmed sun bonnets and gentlemen wore their fedoras and derbys. But not anymore. White people just don't appreciate a good hat. This is however not the case with all the races. Black folks still understand what it is to wear a nice hat. I went to a predominantly black church last night and let me tell you, they know their hats. The women have hats, the men have hats and I even saw a baby wearing a nice hat. The men wore their fedoras and the women wore every matter of hat imaginable. Everywhere you looked people where wearing nice hats. Big hats, small hats, hats with flowers, hats with animal prints, hats that shined when the light hit them, and hats that were subtle accessories. Hats, hats, hats, everywhere nice hats. It's not like that with white folks though. The problem with white people is they only understand the ball cap. Sure, they will wear the ball cap and an adventurous few will sport a golf hat but that's about it. What is wrong with all of you white people? What do you have against wearing nice hats? Come one folks, remember Abraham Lincoln. Now that was a nice hat.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Who Asked You?

On facebook there is this silly application where people can answer question about you. Unfortunately I can't see who said what. Never the less, here are the questions and the answers given. I will correct the ones that need to be corrected.

1) Would Dan Thoms make a good spouse? Yes
(You know you want me don't ya you dark sexy stranger on facebook you.)

Do you think that Dan Thoms would look good in a bikini? No
(The correct answer to this is actually maybe. Wait, let me use my imagination, hmmmm, ok maybe not.)

Would you trust Dan Thoms with your life? Yes
(Hmmmm, well then, what shall I do with your life.)

Do you think Dan Thoms has ever pulled an all-nighter? Yes
(I actually never have. I was always one to study way too much and way in advance.)

Do you think that Dan Thoms swears like a sailor? No
(I did curse one time. Yep, just once, I think I was 12. I'm not going to tell you which word it was but it wasn't nice.)

Do you think that Dan Thoms smells? No
(This is half right because I smell of sweet sweet roses)

Do you think Dan Thoms is cool? Yes
(This was an obvious one)

Does Dan Thoms have a face only a mother could love? Yes
(Ok, whose the wise guy who answered this one? Whomever it was is obviously in love with me and is hiding that through insults.)

Do you think that Dan Thoms has showered today? Yes
(I took a bath. I think that counts. I'm not Brazilian though, so I don't shower twice a day. Dang fresh smelling Brazilians.)

Would you trust Dan Thoms with your life? Yes
(Sweeeet, another one)

Do you think that Dan Thoms is a freak? No
(Only at night because that's when the freaks come out)

Do you think that Dan Thoms is tone deaf? No
(I like to think of myself as tone disabled)

Do you think that Dan Thoms has ever lied to avoid a date? Yes
(Um, I don't remember ever doing this. I bet this was answered by either a very old friend or a family member)

Do you think that Dan Thoms has ever done anything they're ashamed of? No
(Yeaaaaa, um, stutter*, uh, yea this is the correct answer)

Do you think that Dan Thoms has ever lied in an interview? No
(Not only that I've gotten every job I've ever interviewed for.

Do you think that Dan Thoms has ever stolen money from their friends? Yes
(Sucker please, I don't need your money, I've got money.)

Do you think that Dan Thoms has ever gone to a strip club? No
(Correct, I have never gone to a strip club. Maybe I can steal my friends one dollar bills and take a trip though. Then again maybe not.)

Do you think that Dan Thoms has ever gone hunting? Yes
(Surprisingly, unless you count antique hunting, I have not)

Do you think that Dan Thoms has a deep dark secret? Yes
(Not one that you'll ever know.)

Do you think that Dan Thoms has ever given money to a homeless person? Yes
(True statement.)

Is Dan Thoms fun to be around? Yes
(Hooray for me.)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Anual Christmas Blog

This post is a re-post from last year. Love it, hate it, leave a comment and state your case.

While I was in India I had the pleasure of getting to know an older, gray headed Englishman by the name of Keith. Keith and I shared a 10x10 room , went to work together on the worlds most crowded bus, and lived life together for those two weeks. Needless to say we had many fun and enlightening conversations. Keith is a devout atheist while I am a devout follower of Christ. This no doubt led to some interesting conversations. I can remember walking down the street one day when Keith looked at me and said,"You know, I used to believe in Santa Clause."

I chuckled, "I know where your going with this," I said. "I've made this same argument, for different reasons of course but still, the same argument."

"I used to believe in Santa Clause but then I grew up and found out that he wasn't real. You know I used to believe in God? But then I wised up. God and Santa, both imaginary, things people make up to make themselves feel good. They may be fun but they aren't real."

Keith was a logical person, an intelligent person, well read, a world traveler, and this was logic. Keith wasn't the first person that I've come to know who as a child or as an adult came to these same conclusions. After all, they are logical. My mother is one of those people who for a period of time doubted the existence of God for these same reasons.

At what point did tradition trump morality? When did it become acceptable to lie for the sake of fun? Right and wrong isn't determined by the out come of a situation, family tradition, how fun it is, or what everyone else is doing. I'll leave you with a few more stories that I've been told.

"It was a let down. I was in second grade and had suspected there was a cover up for a while. The creepy thing was, I told my mother I knew there was no Santa and she got this peeved look in her eye and said, "Children who don't believe in Santa don't get Christmas gifts". I was stunned. So, I said, "I guess I believe then". With that bit of creepiness, I went on to pretend to believe in Santa for years. Strangest part is that she responded similarly when I stopped being Christian."

"I can't remember how old I was (probably around 8). I remember I was obsessing about getting my Christmas list done so I could give it to Santa. I was trying to find good paper for it and I was probably annoying my parents to no end. I remember getting a slip of wrapping paper and announcing that I was about to write my list.

That's when my dad told me to come to him. He said that they made up Santa Clause and that he wasn't real. I was devastated. I really did believe in him with all my little heart. It felt like the magic of Christmas shattered before my very eyes. He said that all parents tell their kids the same story. I asked why they would do such a mean thing- to make them believe in something and then tell them it isn't true. He said that it was so parents could give gifts to their children without taking the credit for giving them. I understood that side of the argument, but I was angry and heartbroken that parents would put their children through that. I asked him why he told me and he said it was because I was old enough to know.

After that, I didn't want to write my list. He told me to do it, though, and so like a good little girl I obeyed. However, the list seemed to be significantly less important to me that year.

It never occurred to me to question the existence of God right then and there, but I did wonder about it later. I mean, if they lied to me about one man doing miraculous things, why wouldn't a supernatural, all-seeing, all-knowing being be a lie as well?

I know it seems nothing, but I really did believe in Santa with every fiber of my being, and that experience was absolutely unforgettable. Since then, I have vowed never to tell my children about him- or at least I would say that it's just a story from the very beginning. Strangely enough, I haven't changed my mind all these years. "