Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

an answer to prayer

November 28, 2010

I was talking to my mom on the phone yesterday, telling her about my new job (YAY).  The whole thing happened so quickly– there was less than a week between applying and accepting the job offer– and my [Christian] mom made this observation: “I know you probably don’t see it this way, but it seems like an answer to prayer, doesn’t it?”

And since I absolutely avoid all types of religious debates with my mom, and since I am not in the habit of being in any way rude to her, I didn’t say, “It can’t be an answer to prayer if I didn’t actually pray.” Instead I went on to tell her why it happened so quickly (both the reason I was sure of and the reason I suspected).

But that’s not the whole story. 

I only had a day to prepare for the interview and I spent the whole day doing it.  And that night as I went to sleep I thought, “Boy, I sure hope I get this job.”  And where a few years ago I would have prayed, you know what I did, last week, as an atheist?

Said a prayer.  To Persephone.  It went a little something like this.

Dear Queen of the Underworld,

I hope your winter is going well.  We miss you up here.  I would be very happy to send you a nice photo of California springtime, to encourage you during these cold months, especially if you would be so kind as to help me get this job.

All the best,


And since I got the job, I was gonna hit a Friends of the Library Bookstore for a nice photo to send Her way.  I guess I’ll burn it?

Yeah.  Probably best not to tell my mom about this one.  She’ll think I’m totally off my rocks.  Which I might be.  But this amuses me.


Confirmation bias

April 20, 2009

I attend a “Marriage Enrichment” Sunday School class with my husband, and yesterday, we learned about confirmation bias.

I repeat: we learned about confirmation bias at church.

In other words, we learned about the mind’s tendency to see what it wants to see, and how to exploit that.

I don’t think I was sitting there grinning — the irony!  how it tickles! — but I might have been.  At one point the instructor (who knows I am an atheist) glanced in my direction and did a small “Oh shit!”-double-take, but didn’t say anything.  He’s a good man, and he’s wise about many things, but I was sorry to learn that although he is very well informed about science, he chooses to remain a young-earth creationist– not because he finds the evidence more compelling, but because it fits with his faith better.  That’s sad to me.

But yeah.  Confirmation bias.  That’s when you are running late to work and you’re already having a bad day, and you are certain that you miss every single light even though you hit a few green ones.  And then, what do you call the fallacy where you attribute an event to an actor even though there was no actor?  Like, you conclude that the reason the lights are turning red because a) Satan is attacking you, or b) God is turning those lights red to save you from an accident that would have somehow happened if you hadn’t had to stop for the red light.

How much more useful would it be to learn about logical fallacies and how to think scientifically and logically?  I should start a humanist Sunday School. 

I would like to add that there were no typos in this post even before I ran the spellcheck.


April 2, 2009

Last night a friend told me she is taking the real estate exam tomorrow (today), and I said, “Well, I don’t believe in luck, so… I hope you’re smart.”

Does it ever seem like jokes come up on you like sneezes?  For me, sometimes I open my mouth and start talking, and I don’t know what I’m going to say, but I can feel it’s going to be funny.

Lucky for me (ha!), this time she laughed.

reading selections

March 5, 2009

So my reading for today’s commute included “The atheist’s way” and “Eat, pray, love”, which I thought was an amusing pair.  Even better, yesterday also included “X: an erotic treasury.” 

Also, today the CA Supreme Court is hearing challenges to Prop 8.  I kinda hope they decide today but I won’t hold my breath, seeing as they have a 90 day deadline.  Good grief.


March 3, 2009

I accidentally made my Mormon housemate sin again.  (The first time was when I made chile with coffee in it.)

“Alice, that bread pudding was really good!  What’d you put in it?”

“Uh, stale bread, milk, cream, vanilla, eggs… nutmeg…”

“What made it tangy?  Was that lemon?”

“Oh.  No.  That was the rum.”


“Yeah.”  [Here I mimed pouring in a lot of rum]  “Glug, glug, glug.”

“But… it was baked, right?”

“Yes, it was baked.”

This from a woman who, on finding her dog had eaten spilled coffee grounds, exclaimed, “Oh, no!  Annie, you’ve sinned!”  I am pretty sure she was joking.  She then added, “You won’t be able to go to Paradise with me!”

Hmm.  “Do dogs get to go to Mormon heaven?” I inquired.

She didn’t know.

fake deconversion story

February 12, 2009

Because lying is okay as long as it’s funny (Alice 3:16):

Threats of Hell didn’t drive me away from Christianity. See, it was more like, the Bible is supposed to have answers for everything, right? But I looked and looked through the scriptures and just could not figure out if it’s okay to wear mid-calf boots with skirts that fall above the knee. So then, I was watching TV one day, and I realized, either Stacy London and Clinton Kelly are deities, or there are none. They weren’t listed in the yellow pages under churches, but I found a local atheist group on the internet. Now that’s what I call a sign.

What do you think?  How about you, do you have good one?

Adventures in Atheism

December 11, 2008

Last night I hosted an event with my local atheist group.  It was at a coffee shop, so as folks started coming in, they would greet me and we were all waiting in line to purchase a beverage.  The guy standing next to me says, “Hello,” and I didn’t recognize him, but I assumed he was with the group and so I greeted him.  (I’m a little new to the group and don’t recognize everyone yet.)  I got my drink and I turn to the guy and ask him, “You’re here with the atheist group?”


Yes, that was cheeky of me, since I was aware that he might not be with us, the atheists. 


And here I should add that this guy was about 6’5″ and built like a Viking.  Long blonde hair and beard and everything, and a long black trench coat to boot.


And when I asked him my question, his eyes bugged out a little.  “What??”


“The atheists,” I explain calmly, throwing caution to the wind.  “We’re meeting in the upper room.”


“Well, I’m not an atheist,” he says slowly, “but I’m not conventionally religious, either.”


“Oh, yeah?” I ask.


“Yes.  I practice the traditions associated with what would be the Norse version of Satan.”  He said it really fast, but it was brave of him to say it at all.  He probably figured that if an atheist could talk about that, then by golly, he could talk about his Norse Satanism.


“Oh, really?”  Now here I did this thing where, when I’m really surprised by something someone says, I try to make my face go all blank.  It’s probably a very obvious poker face, but at least it’s better than looking prudishly shocked, right?  Besides, 1) I don’t like to appear shocked when someone says something that probably took a lot of courage to say, and 2) if they were trying to shock me, I don’t like to give them the satisfaction.  🙂


So the man, encouraged, starts to tell me how his faith is a sort of “don’t fuck with me or I’ll fuck you up” sort of belief system (“Oh really?”) and how he believes humans are a cosmic accident (“Yep.”), and mutations over time making us rather than a god (“Yeah.”), and I’m standing there with my hot chocolate, nodding and wondering what the hell (Hel?) he’s going to say next.


“My son is a mutant,” my new Viking friend says.  “He’s got 12 toes and 11 fingers.”


“Really?  How’s that working out for him?”  (Yes, I said that.)


“He was running when he was 11 months old.”


“That’s awesome!”


“Yeah.”  He turns to get his drink.  “He’s so smart,” he adds. 


And I nodded and said “Cool!” and walked over to my group.


Adventures in Atheism!! 

side effects

November 24, 2008

I just started taking a new medicine, and I think I am getting an unfortunate side effect.

I can’t add.

I just added 2 and 7 and got… 7.

Then I said, wait a minute!  And counted on my fingers.  Still 7.

What the!

I had been starting with 2, and instead of adding 7, I was just saying, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.  Seven!


November 13, 2008

I was working on setting up my health insurance via my employer’s website, but something wasn’t working right so I had to call the support desk guy.  It took him awhile, but he got it done for me.  And when he was confirming the change, he said, “The additional amount per paycheck will be $16.66.”


And of course I gasped.  “Did you say 666??”


Here he paused, a little “is she insane?” pause, and then repeated himself.


“Yeah, but it’s got a 666 in there!”


Poor guy.  “Did you want to change it, ma’am?”


“No, no!  I’m only teasing.  I’m sorry.” Once I realized that he didn’t get it or didn’t find it funny, I backed off. 


He made me repeat myself twice to make sure he knew what the hell was going on.  Yes, I want to keep the change.  Sorry to confuse you. 


I would not be in the least surprised if this has actually happened before, where someone ends up freaking out and changing it so that it’s $16.67 or something.  All this trouble for pre-tax deductions for health care expenses!  It’ll be worth every penny.  I need new glasses.  And talismans to keep away bad luck, of course, but I’m not sure that counts for health care.  I should call that guy back and ask him!

the cutest

November 3, 2008

I was listening to Prairie Home Companion last weekend and they sang a ton of songs, including a wierd and awesome one called “Todd” (as in Palin), “So long” to some guy I never heard of, and a couple hymns.  But the cutest one, which I had never heard before, went like this.

Who knows how long I’ve loved you
You know I love you still
Will I wait a lonely lifetime?
If you want me to I will.

For if I ever saw you
I didn’t catch your name
But it never really mattered
I will always feel the same.

Love you forever and forever
Love you with all my heart
Love you whenever we’re together
Love you when we’re apart.

And when at last I find you
Your song will fill the air
Sing it loud so I can hear you
Make it easy to be near you
For the things you do endear you to me
You know I will
I will.

Yeah… it’s the Beatles.  What kind of person raised by my parents’ generation has never heard the entire White Album?  A person raised by Fundies, that’s who.  Thanks a lot, Jesus Movement, for making my dad “go the wrong way and end up in Albuquerque,” as he puts it these days.