Showing posts from December, 2011

Pronouncing "2012"

   . Okay, it's very important that we all agree that "2012" is henceforth to be pronounced "twenty-twelve" as opposed to "two thousand and twelve"!   Why—you might ask, given all that is going wrong on this planet—is this issue important?   It's for reasons of being vocally "green," of course! Consider, blog readers, that "two thousand and twelve" has five syllables whereas "twenty-twelve" has only three .   Just three !   Tonight on NBC News as the announcers covered stories about the advent of 2012, the coming year was intoned using both possible pronunciations.   But the announcers who said it correctly (three syllables) had more breath and air time to get out two extra syllables, thus perhaps altering their careers for the better.   Nonsense, you may mutter—Whaley has lost it!   How can it ever make any difference?   But consider that this issue is not just a one year affair, but will go on for 88 more yea

An Atheist's Christmas Card

    . I actually sent out the card reprinted below at Xmas time in 2007, but I thought it might amuse you, so in 2011 I send it to all my readers.  Here it is: FRONT: INSIDE:     ------------------------------------------------- Related Posts: “Catholicism and Me (Part One),” March 13, 2010 “Superstitions,”March 21, 2010 “Catholicism and Me (Part Two),” April 18, 2010 “How To Become an Atheist,” May 16, 2010 “Imaginary Friend,” June 22, 2010 “I Don’t Do Science,” July 2, 2010 “Explosion at Ohio Stadium,” October 9, 2010 (Chapter 1 of my novel) “When Atheists Die,” October 17, 2010 "Escape From Ohio Stadium," November 2, 2010 (Chapter 2) "Open Mouth, Insert Foot," November 21, 2010 (Chapter 3) "Rock Around the Sun," December 31, 2010 "Muslim Atheist," March 16, 2011 "An Atheist Interviews God," May 20, 2011 "A Mormon Loses His Faith," June 13, 2011 "Is Evolution True?&

The Second Anniversary of This Blog: Greetings to the Planet Earth

  . At this second anniversary of my first post, I start by thanking the thousands of readers who have visited this site.   Every day when I look at the list of visitors (who are identified in the stats by city and country only), I'm overwhelmed.   As I explained last year on the first anniversary of the blog (see "Related Posts" below), this blog has unexpectedly changed my life.   It occurred to me the other day that my musings were really a form of autobiography coupled with my life philosophy and the outpourings of a compulsive teacher who (rightly or wrongly) has a lot to say on a wide variety of topics.   Then there are the stories I get to tell in final form (having told and retold them all my life).   I'm from a family of storytellers (the high-falutin word is "raconteurs"), and my favorite stories have turned into blog posts, one after another, detailing the adventures of my family, friends, partners, pets, and people I barely know.   Taken all

Needed: Readers of the Final Draft of My Novel "Corbin Milk"

    . Since my retirement in 2004, as readers of this blog may know, I've gone back to writing novels.   My first published novel, "Imaginary Friend" (available on both Amazon and Kindle) has been selling well since I put an ad for it in the December issue of Free Inquiry magazine.   That periodical is produced by the Council for Secular Humanism, and has a subscription base of 17,000; the ad for my atheist thriller will run for six issues, through next year.   My second novel, "Corbin Milk" is still a work in progress.   I'm very close to saying that the current draft is the final one, but I'm still uneasy about the ending.   Some days I think the ending is perfect and on others I'm not so sure.   I guess it needs a few more eyes and suggestions, so I'm asking readers of this blog if any of them would be willing to download the novel, print it out, and read it.   I'd much appreciate hearing whatever feedback they have (paying particul

Atheists, Christmas, and Public Prayers

    . The President Publically Praying The duplicate bridge club to which I belong has an annual "Holiday Dinner" at this time every year which includes both a meal and then a large-field bridge game.   At this year's event I was seated at dinner next to one the players, an older woman named Donna.   As the salad was served she remarked to me, "Last year, right about now, we had to sit through an 'Invocation' that sounded a lot like a prayer, and I hope that won't happen again."   Amused and interested, I asked Donna if she was an atheist, and she nodded vigorously.   Just then a microphone-enhanced voice from the head table announced it was time for the invocation.   Donna snorted in annoyance, and as we were all instructed that at this time of the year we should all feel grateful for the blessings conferred upon us by "Our Lord," she continued to eat her salad in determined defiance of the message.   I did not bow my head, as most p

Finding Bobby Startup

          . Bobby Startup, 1960 My first three years of high school were spent in a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee, at Donelson High School (1958-1960), before my family moved to Virginia and I had my senior year there.   During those three years my best friend was Robert Newton Startup, who lived three blocks away from my family's house in Donelson.   We were the greatest of friends, spending huge amounts of time together, laughing, getting into trouble, learning to smoke and drink, climbing in and out of windows to escape parents, and more.   His note written in my copy of the 1960 yearbook mentions "the road block with the broken leg, the days you didn't go to school, and the secret of the attic," among other adventures.   "The days you didn't go to school" is a a euphemism for our frequent cutting of classes, and "the road block with the broken leg" must refer to some incident I don't recall having to do with the leg I broke whi