It was about this time last year that I sat out on my front porch watching a young family move into the house across the street from me. It was a hot and muggy day, much like today, and I watched with fascination as the house came to life. It would be several more weeks till they actually began living there and I would get the chance to meet them. The young man was cutting the grass and his wife was scooping up the massive grass clippings by hand. I took them my rake and introduced myself to Chris and Meghan.

They moved back out this weekend and tonight the house sits lonely and sad, empty once again. I've tried not to look at it but for some reason, I can't not look. I did not know it this time last year, but that young family (2 year old daughter and two awesome dogs) would become a very important part of my life. Helping them move these past few days was pretty tough. I was glad to help them as I have done many times, but I also hated to see them go. They are back where they came from, the Lexington area, but only for a few brief months. Chris will be going into the Army come February and they will once again move, this time further away.

I'm sad tonight as I miss my friends, these very special people that oh so quickly came into my life and disappeared just as quickly. I know that what they have done is for the best but I can't help but be upset that I have lost two people who just seemed to mean more to me than any I had met in years and years. We'll stay in touch and watch our lives change via facebook but from now on, I won't be able to just walk across the street and feel like I am home.

Coming Out, Sort Of

More and more, I've found myself thinking about religion and what it all means for the way the World works. I often wonder who the first human being was that looked around and decided that the only way things could be explained was by making up some story about a higher being. History is full of human beings living their lives according to one faith or another. I have no idea how many religions there really are, but I suspect it's in the thousands. Each is a little bit different, some more crazy than the others, but when you get right down to it, it all seems pretty silly.

Nearly every single setback in human history has been the result of one religion or another, often times all of them. The Catholics hated the Protestants, the Jews hate the Muslims, the American Christian Taliban hates the Muslim Taliban and nearly everyone hates the Scientologist. Wars have been fought over which religion was right and who's God was more holy. Millions and millions have been killed all in the name of God. We've destroyed the planet because the Bible tells us to have dominion over the planet.

Imagine where we would be were it not for the Dark Ages, that time of anti-science thinking that set humanity back hundreds and hundreds of years. We might be exploring other stars and planets by now instead of being happy with a space station in low Earth orbit. We probably could have cured cancer, stopped heart disease and made contact with some other civilization. But we will never know because the church held us back and it's taken centuries to recover.

Now, as is pretty evident by just opening your eyes, the worst elements of religion seem to be taking over once again. One need look no further than Sarah "Fucking Idiot" Palin to grasp how scary this is. She is adored by the most religious people in this country and is seen as some sort of savior, here to bring God back into our schools, our homes, our communities and our laws. It doesn't matter that our Founding Fathers, especially Thomas Jefferson, had absolutely no use for religion.

If you are on Facebook you probably know what I'm talking about. I can't tell you how many messages I get from otherwise sane people asking me to pray for this or that. When someone tells me that they are praying for me, I want to tell them "thanks for doing nothing". I don't say anything of course but if I were to comment on the offending post I would be branded a heretic and told that I was going straight to hell. Heck of a religion you guys have there, one that wants to damn people to an eternity of misery.

So, today I am taking the plunge and officially announcing that I am an Atheist. I do not believe in God, none of them, but that doesn't make me an evil person. When is the last time you read about an atheist going on a shooting spree because voices told him to? Anyways, coming out as an Atheist is not an easy thing to do in this country. If I were living in France or the Netherlands, people would react with a yawn and say "what took you so long." In America, it will get you uninvited from "Good Company".

Listen Up

One of the great medical inventions of recent years is the Cochlear Implant, a device which helps most totally deaf people hear. I've had several students who use them and I can honestly say that they do work, though results certainly do vary from person to person. Anyways, watch these two short videos of Jonathon, an 8 month old deaf child who has recently been given the implants. In these videos, the device is turned on for the first time and the expression on this boys face when he hears his Mother's voice for the first time (the second video shows his left ear being activated and it works much better) just brings a tear to your face...

And here is another video of a different child having his activated...

Still Here

I'm still here, just feeling a bit down lately and no one needs to read that crap. It's been so freaking hot and humid and I just can't stand to even be outside. When that happens, well, it's not good. Hopefully these next few days, in which I have lots to do, will help change my mood.

Facebook Faithful

Facebook is full of religious fanatics who think nothing of putting up the latest Bible verse or asking the rest of us to pray for something. Now were I to put up a post about
atheism or or something negative about religion in general, I'd probably catch all kinds of hell. Alas, I'm okay with that and feeling up to the challenge. Anyways, here are a few cute cartoons for your pleasure...

I've Done My Part

My DNA ends with me and of that I am very happy. All of the problems that we are facing today, from a crashing economy to the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, are the result of having 6.5 billion people on this planet. In short, that's about 6.5 billion too many and if there is any hope for the rest of what lives on this planet, we must go quietly into the night...