Alan Perlman's Blog (98)

Memorial Day 2013: Not for MY Freedom

"To lead an uninstructed people to war is to throw them away."

Confucius

“Youth is the first victim of war; the first fruit of peace.  It takes twenty years of peace or more to make a man; it takes only twenty seconds of war to destroy him.”

King Baudouin I of…

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Added by Alan Perlman on May 23, 2013 at 4:30pm — 8 Comments

Jewish Atheist spreads reason and heresy on the Net

I was contacted by www.askimo.com , a new internet portal featuring video interviews of experts talking on their field of expertise.  I decided that my field of expertise would be “what the Torah really says” (since I am one of the few laypeople who has actually bothered to find out), along with related questions about atheism, blasphemy and the “clear alternative to the Torah” (It's SCIENCE!). 

The questions were partly supplied by me, generally…

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Added by Alan Perlman on May 8, 2013 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Q&A: Jewish Atheist replies to Christian Atheist

In an email exchange, an old friend and fellow English-prof colleague wrote this:

"I know you're 'the Jewish atheist,' but don't you feel a strong sense of identification with the Jewish ethos, aside from religion? You've sought out Jewish wives, and friends to some degree could be, the way I might seek out writers as friends. I think of my former Catholicism not angrily but gratefully. When I grew up, I decided on my own that I didn't believe. But my Catholic education was excellent;…

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Added by Alan Perlman on May 2, 2013 at 12:23pm — 7 Comments

Why Religion Persists

Professionally I advertise myself as a “language expert,” which is quite accurate (see www.language-expert.net ), and I get a wide range of contacts from attorneys and private citizens regarding anonymous letters, plagiarism, contract interpretation, copyright infringement, and other issues where money, reputation, or something else of value is at stake. 

I also get questions about grammar and usage, which I answer gratis, just to…

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Added by Alan Perlman on April 11, 2013 at 2:30pm — 32 Comments

The Apotheosis of Dennis Rodman

 “[People] make themselves believe that they believe.”

Michel de Montaigne

I first met this gangly man-child with a semi-Afro as a lukewarm Pistons fan in the late 80s. I started following the team. There was an ensemble cast, each member of which played his role perfectly.

There was Bill Laimbeer, the flopper, jersey-puller and all-around pain in the ass -- to opponents. Vinnie Johnson, nicknamed The Microwave,” because he could come off the…

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Added by Alan Perlman on April 6, 2013 at 7:00pm — 2 Comments

Happy Easter, Bloody Easter

“In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it, You’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade…

On the Avenue, Fifth Avenue, photographers will snap us And you’ll find that you’re in the rotogravure…”

Irving Berlin

“They tried to nail him down, but he got away.”

Marquee outside church in Massachusetts

Well, it’s that day again, and our Greek Orthodox friends, as well as our Roman Catholic brethren and sistren, are celebrating the…

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Added by Alan Perlman on March 31, 2013 at 3:33pm — No Comments

Let my people go!

“Men create the gods after their own image, not only with regard to their form but with regards to their mode of life.”

Aristotle



I have been hearing from people who have had to sit at Seders year after year, uncomfortably, stifling their inner thoughts about what nonsense this is, how tedious, what’s the point?  Early in her adulthood, my wife decided that THIS was the year she was going to stand up at a family Seder (with two rabbis present, mind you) and…

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Added by Alan Perlman on March 30, 2013 at 10:10am — 2 Comments

Reply to Matthew's Bar Mitzvah Invitation (not sent)

I recently received an invitation to the bar mitzvah of the grandson of my first cousin; this ceremony is, as you may know, the induction of the youngster into Jewish adulthood. 

The invitation itself was colorful and cheery, produced, no doubt, with invitation-creation software and thus exhibiting neither coherence nor originality but just an electronic mad mix of fonts, patterns, and such, chosen from among an infinity of alternatives.

Strangely, the trifold invitation had a…

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Added by Alan Perlman on March 17, 2013 at 9:00pm — 1 Comment

A Pious Jewish Prick (updated)

“I find it necessary to wash my hands after I have come into contact with religious people.”

Friedrich Nietzsche



True story:

A Jewish American young man, baby boomer generation, grows up and gets married in the New York area. His wife is a nice Jewish girl. They live on Long Island.  They apparently believed themselves unable to have children, because they adopted a child, sort of through a gray market, but they got a Caucasian child, a daughter, whom they…

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Added by Alan Perlman on March 10, 2013 at 8:00pm — 24 Comments

Happy 10th, Iraq War

“I have been meaning to write to you for some time, and the tenth anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war provides as good an occasion as any to do so. Distracted by other, more recent eruptions of violence, the country has all but forgotten the war. But I won’t and I expect you can’t, although our reasons for remembering may differ.”

--Andrew Bacevich, letter to Paul Wolfowitz, Harper’s magazine, March 2012

 

Dumb question: Why have the…

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Added by Alan Perlman on March 2, 2013 at 3:02pm — 3 Comments

The Healthy Atheist: Disputing and Refuting the “Spirituality/Health” Connection

“All religions are the same: Religion is basically guilt, with different holidays.”

--Cathy Ladman

 

“Prayer is like a rocking chair: It’ll give you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.”

--Gypsy Rose Lee

 

“When you go to war over religion, you’re basically killing each other to see who has the better imaginary friend.”

--Richard Jeni

 

I have kept…

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Added by Alan Perlman on February 17, 2013 at 7:30pm — 10 Comments

Speechwriting for the Pope: Suggested Draft, Farewell Remarks

“The philosophy of Atheism represents a concept of life without any metaphysical Beyond or Divine Regulator. It is the concept of an actual real, world with its liberating, expanding and beautifying possibilities, against an unreal world, which, with its spirits, oracles, and mean contentment has kept humanity in helpless degradation.”

Emma Goldman

 

On the occasion of the Pope’s retirement, I provide at no charge the valedictory remarks I know he would…

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Added by Alan Perlman on February 14, 2013 at 6:30pm — 11 Comments

The Battle for Zachary’s Brain V: Tears on His Pillow; The Consequences of Unbelief

“Do you know that many people believe in God?

They think God made the world and runs the universe.

Some people grow up and learn that God is JUST PRETEND like Santa.

But some people still believe God is real. . .

Some people believe in a god who gives rewards to favorite people.

They imagine a place called Heaven with gold and crowns and music and no pain or work.

Some people believe in a god…

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Added by Alan Perlman on February 9, 2013 at 7:23pm — No Comments

“Does God ‘Got Game’?” Hits All the Right Buttons

"In America it is sport that is the opiate of the masses."

--Russell Baker

 

"Pro football is like nuclear warfare.  There are no wionners, only survivors."

--Frank Gifford

 

"Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play.  It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules, and sadistic pleasures in witnesssing violence: in other words it is war minus the…

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Added by Alan Perlman on February 4, 2013 at 8:20pm — 4 Comments

The Existential Meaning of "Groundhog Day"

“Now that I’ve shed my skin completely, One true reality alone exists.”

Zen saying

 

Zen monk: “How should I escape birth and death?” Zen Master Shih-kung: “What is the use of escaping it?”

 

“In this world, we eat, shit, sleep and wake up.  After that all we have to do is die.”

Inkyu

 

Once again it’s Groundhog Day, which was nothing more than a rather witless locally-oriented celebration (and an American…

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Added by Alan Perlman on February 2, 2013 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Remembering Bill Perlman

February 1 is the anniversary of the death of my father, Hyman William Perlman (1910-80). 

He was indirectly responsible for this blog – and in fact for all the secularism, skepticism, atheism, and humanism that have been the foundation of my intellectual life.  He was the first skeptic I ever met, and the effect was lasting.  Every time Mom would babble on about “God’s will,” he would snap back, “What’s God got to do with it?”

What indeed.  Things may happen for some reason or…

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Added by Alan Perlman on January 31, 2013 at 4:05pm — 1 Comment

Thanks to readers/commentators

I want to thank everyone who has taken or will take the time to read and comment on my latest post on the concept of race.

I knew this was a touchy subject, and if I was going to ruffle some feathers, so be it. Hell, the same thing got me in trouble in Corporate-Carpet-Land.  But I was also going to articulate what some people were already thinking, politically incorrect as it might be.

The important thing is the dialog.  Racism, real or perceived, is still a raw nerve for many…

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Added by Alan Perlman on January 28, 2013 at 8:00pm — 4 Comments

Will America ever be able to shut up about race?

“C’mon people now, smile on your brother

Everybody get together try to love one another – right now.”

Lyrics, “Get Together,” The Youngbloods

“[Thomas Sowell’s book Migrations and Cultures] is a strong indictment of both affirmative action and multiculturalism. The former because it tends to be self-defeating, the latter because it discourages minorities from shedding old habits and adopting new and more functional…

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Added by Alan Perlman on January 26, 2013 at 9:30pm — 29 Comments

Reminder: 9/11 was about RELIGION

“Infidel, n.  In New   York, one who does not believe in the Christian religion.  In Constantinople, one who does.”

--Ambrose Bierce

 

 “If you believe in Judgment Day, I have to seriously question your judgment.”

--Bill Maher

 

 “If the kind of God exists who would damn me for not working out a deal with him, then that is unfortunate.  I should not care to spend eternity in the company of…

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Added by Alan Perlman on January 19, 2013 at 1:30pm — 10 Comments

In Memoriam, Martin Luther King: 45 years later, Blacks still enslaved

"Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation.  The foundation of such a method is love.”

 

Martin Luther King, Nobel Prize Acceptance speech, 1964



This week we celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday.  He would have been 84.  There are tributes and speeches.  After all, we have a (sort of) African-American President.

1968 and beyond

King was murdered in 1968 –…

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Added by Alan Perlman on January 15, 2013 at 11:36am — 5 Comments

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