Archive | Pictures

This is What Evil Looks Like

So much evil.

Look at all these evil, evil people. God-haters, anti-Christs, willing tools of the Devil, all of them. Nothing good can ever come of a group so filled with such hatred and lies.

If you’re anything like them – if you doubt your church’s teachings, or stopped believing in god, or prefer to trust your own reason over the shackles of dogma – then you’re better off joining them than contaminating your congregation with your filth.

They have a Facebook group where they announce regular meet-ups and talk about blasphemous things like thinking for yourself.

Disgusting.

Posted in Pictures4 Comments

The Filipino Freethinkers Go to Church! And Meet a Carabao with Wings in Los Banos!

This is the group shot from the meetup last February 5:

 

 

There were over 80 attendees that afternoon, and our usual haunt at Starbucks Ansons Ortigas was barely able handle all of that sexiness. So, we felt it was high-time to try out a non-commercial venue the next time around, and what better place could there be to house a bunch of heathens for some sweet, sweet sacrilege than this –

 

 

For the following Sunday meetup, the Freethinkers went to church. But it was a very special one — the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Makati, which is the home church of FF’s Reproductive Health Advocacy Director Kenneth Keng and his family.  The Episcopalians — basically the Anglican Church when set outside of England — are a more liberal bunch compared to Catholics. They have female and homosexual members in their clergy, and generally have a more progressive stance on social issues.

 

 

It’s very refreshing to see a church with a sense of humor.

 

 

Kenneth and his sister Michelle were awesome enough to arrange for a meetup in their church’s parish hall, a large room where they usually tag-team as Sunday school teachers.

 

 

Lot of great discussions that day. Thanks to the hall’s acoustics, which was an honest relief from all that blender-whirring from coffee shop meetups past, we could easily converse on several rich topics, from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ controversial new advertisement, to the current Republican war on contraception in the US.

 

 

Bishop Arthur Jones, the Presiding Rector of Holy Trinity, even dropped by to say hi. We very much enjoyed his short speech about always being inquisitive and open-minded. I personally would like to hear one of his sermons — tales of fire and brimstone they’re likely not.

 

 

And it seems the Episcopal god took kindly to us, what with the rainbow that appeared when the meeting was adjourned!

 

 

 

And then Red got insecure and started levitating to put us in our place. We’re sorry we doubted you, Red!

 

 

The following day, a few of us from FF’s Coordinating Council made the trek to Los Banos, Laguna to attend the meetup of the group’s burgeoning UP- Los Banos Chapter. Chapter director Api, along with LB Freethinkers Ryan, Peter, JM, and Karl were very, very kind enough to take us on a tour that afternoon. We started at the International Rice Research Institute, where we saw a 6,000-year-old grain of rice at the museum; then visited the UP Carabao Center for a quick snack; then took a leisurely trek by the woodsy roads near the Forestry.

 

 

We also saw an Abueva sculpture called the “Pegaraw,” although we were smart-asses and pointed out that the winged beast was more of a Pegasus-carabao hybrid, hence it should be called a Pegabao instead, but Kenneth was obviously delighted by it regardless.

 

 

Later that evening, we met up with the rest of the chapter for a nice meetup, where we discussed conspiracy theories, Red’s Satanic Challenge, and the chapter’s exciting new projects, which include accreditation in the university. We had dinner and drinks after, and while we had to head back to Manila at the end of the night, we knew we’d definitely be visiting more and more often. Awesome job, FF UPLB!

 

 

And I’m so sorry you had to see that.

Photos courtesy of Frank III Manuel, Patrick Charles Rigonan, and Chris Villanueva Sienna

Posted in Meetup, Organization, Personal, Pictures8 Comments

Freethinking: More Fun in the Philippines

Thanks to the Department of Tourism’s new campaign, people all over the world now know how much fun everything is in the Philippines. But beyond the wonderful marine life, historical sites, food and parades, our country has also become a shining beacon of freethinking and secularism. What better way of looking back at our struggle for reason, freedom and secularism than through a viral Internet meme? Continue Reading

Posted in Entertainment, Humor, Pictures3 Comments

Kissing and Coming (Out of the Closet) with the Filipino Freethinkers

Kissing and Coming (Out of the Closet) with the Filipino Freethinkers

Wait! What’s this? FF RH Advocacy Director Kenneth Keng and FF President Red Tani sharing a tender kiss? After all those months of putting up a front, claiming -4 on the Kinsey Scale and trying very hard not to pat each others’ asses, they’re ending up in a Public Display of Affection? How could this be? What environment could have led them to shed their fears and just admit to their raw, pulsing brahmance?

Answer: The 29 Steps for LGBT Human Rights festival, which was held last July 2 at the Quezon Memorial Circle’s People’s Hall. Presented by the Lesbian Activism Project (LeAP!) and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the event aimed to promote awareness of the Yogyakarta Principles—a set of principles on the application of international human rights laws on sexual orientation and gender identity issues.

There were film showings, musical performances, and several booths manned by pro-LGBT organizations, the Freethinkers included.

There was international human rights group Amnesty International Philippines, which recently voiced its support for the RH Bill

…the AIDS Society of the Philippines…

…STRAP, the fabulous Society of Transexual Women of the Philippines, and many other groups out to advocate gender equality and a prejudice-free society.

FF wanted a particularly interactive booth, and came up with the “Come Out for a Kiss or a Kiss” concept.

The idea was fairly simple: come out of a literal closet as absolutely anything you desire–gay, lesbian, straight, transgender, Belieber, atheist, hipster, human–and after being cheered on and getting your picture taken with your Coming Out Certificate, you have the choice between a chocolate kiss, or a kiss from one of the Freethinkers.

For instance, cheery Ging and Chris came out as Trans-Men…

…and got to kiss FF’s LGBT Advocacy Director Beatriz Torre!

Transgender beauty Magdalena came out as a Gender Non-Conformist…

…and got to kiss Kenneth. (As it turned out, Kenneth was a particularly popular choice, and would receive quite a few more kisses as the day went on.)

There were several participants who came out in pairs, like lovely lesbian couple Jam and Joey…

…bewitching singer Tao Aves and her partner AK, who came out as Mrs. Tao…

…and super-sexy sisters James and Angel from STRAP, who came out as Transexual Dyosas.

It was also great to have many participants from Deaf Rainbow Philippines (DRP), such as DRP’s President Bibo, who came out as a Beauty Queen…

…and Cutz, who came out as an Adventurer.

Suffice it to say that lot of people got very creative with their certificates. Aldrin, for instance, came out as a Freesexual.

While JM came out as Fabulous, Teng went for specificity and came out as an Ali-Top-Top!

Cy came out as a Bear Lover (as opposed to, say, an Otter or Twink Lover)…

…while Reighben came out as a Bottom Lover! The booth, it seemed, served an excellent secondary purpose as a Want Ad.

Not to be outdone, Pepe came out as a Delicious Treat to the crowd’s libidinous screeching.

Jack was very particular about his spelling of “Duqueza.”

UP Psych Prof Eric did away with the lengthy psych jargon and came out as a Gay Nerd.

Lia came out as a Gold-Star Lezzie, which she explained was a lesbian who has never had sex with a man. You learn something new everyday!

Jeiel came out as a Hipstersexual, which we can only assume entails obscure sexual acts in underground bunkers to the strains of a shoegaze band.

Babs came out as Human. ‘Nuff said.

Taking a break from sucking face with strangers, Kenneth came out as a Token Christian.

Sexy Lexi from all-girl rock group General Luna went for simplicity and came out as Bi-Sexual…

…as opposed to Ena Terol, the event’s official photographer, who went by the name Optimus Prime and came out as a Lezbatron.

The event’s co-host and singer Maegan Aguilar professed to being Bilingual in Sex…

…while Elmo fetishist MJ came out as Queer.

However, there was one particular “out-ing,” so to speak, that led these boys to show their unbridled enthusiasm. What, pray tell, could have made these boys so motherfreaking happy?

This, of course!

STRAP Founder Sass and her friend Santy came out as Lipstick Lesbians…and how! If that’s not coming out, I don’t know what is.

The moment was such fun, in fact, that Santy decided to go for a second round. This time she came out as a Nudist and, well, we don’t blame her.

All those sexy silhouettes aside, both the 29 Steps for LGBT Human Rights festival and our Coming Out booth were a definite success. It was very awesome to see everyone taking great pride in who they were, blind to their differences and working together for a Philippines free of bigotry. It was a great way to spend a Saturday.

I’ll leave you now with a chance photograph of the G-mik Barkada circa 2011. The Pajero in the background was paid for legally.

Did you come out of our booth and have your picture taken? Check out our FB photo album for your special shot! 

(Thanks to Garrick Bercero for the photos!)

Posted in Featured, Pictures, Recap, Society10 Comments

Forum: The Struggle for LGBT Equality in the U.S. – 27 May 2011

Forum: The Struggle for LGBT Equality in the U.S. – 27 May 2011

LGBT forum - 27 May 2011The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines hosted a dinner forum with LGBT advocacy groups on The Struggle for LGBT Equality in the U.S. on Friday, May 27, 2011, at 7:00 p.m. in the Botero Dali Room, Sulo Riviera Hotel, Quezon City. The speaker for the event was Ms. Christine Sun, former senior counsel, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation.


Forum: The Struggle for LGBT Equality in the U.S. – 27 May 2011
Some of us from Filipino Freethinkers were there to attend and discuss LGBT rights issues with Babaylan and other LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) advocacy groups.


LGBT forum - 27 May 2011
Mike from the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy introduced our speaker for the evening, Ms. Christine Sun, who was a former senior counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation. Topics of her speech included a brief timeline of LGBT rights in the U.S., its political progress and legal progress, current LGBT issues and ongoing challenges for the LGBT community. Then she answered some questions from the audience. The discussions were lively and passionate, as it included issues such as the suspected rash of hate crimes that are on the rise in Metro Manila.


LGBT forum - 27 May 2011Afterwards, during dinner, we got to talk more with our speaker and other LGBT advocates about the current issues in the country, and our plans of action. I got to meet a lot of great, passionate people.


One of us from FF got to interview Ms. Sun for a newspaper article.

LGBT forum - 27 May 2011

Here’s wishing all of us good luck in our endeavors.

Online resources:

[Reposted from The Entropy Blog]

Posted in Featured, Pictures, Recap1 Comment

Extreme Makeover: Congress Edition

After last evening’s Reproductive Health bill interpellation, the Honorable Representatives Roilo Golez and Pablo Garcia give the House of Representatives an extreme makeover, feng shui style.

Posted in Humor, Pictures4 Comments

Your Face is an Ordinance: A Recap of FF’s Latest Weekend Extravaganza

Your Face is an Ordinance: A Recap of FF’s Latest Weekend Extravaganza

Keep Your Theology out of My Biology; Get Your Rosaries out of My Ovaries; ‘Ala Bang May Utak sa Council; and the crowd favorite, Your Face is an Ordinance

Last April 9, the Filipino Freethinkers (FF) helped kick some ideological ass at the second protest versus the infamous Ayala Alabang Barangay Ordinance 01. Our placards were a hit the second we walked up to the village’s Madrigal Gate, lending a good bit of snark to the morning’s events.

Keep Xerez out of my Cervix; Abstinence Ain’t Valid

The protest kicked off with a lot of chanting among villagers and non-villagers. It was a heartening mix of people–upper, middle, and lower class alike…

Jesus! Give Us Some Privacy; CBCP Checklist: Delay RH Bill, Oppress Women, Protect Child Molesters, Pass Ordinance

united in their stand against the barangay council’s blatant violation of church-state separation and their outright mangling of the truth regarding reproductive health.

Alliance Against Vaginas; Modern Dei Fascists

Kenneth, FF’s RH Bill Committee Head and a member of Silly People’s Improv Theater (SPIT), was especially happy that day…

Thespian titillation at its finest

…after having met Broadway star and outspoken RH ally Lea Salonga.

The ironically-named “Team Unity,” composed of the barangay council members responsible for the ordinance

Apart from the chanting, villagers also encouraged motorists to honk their disapproval of the ordinance…

Honk if You are with Us!

…which many motorists did!

The chanting was soon followed by a brief string of speeches from some pro-RH personalities, such as Jay Ignacio, whose footage of the anti-ordinance villagers’ meetings and the latest ordinance hearing have made the rounds online…

…former Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral…

…Lea Salonga…

…Peter Wallace, one of the most prominent foreign businessmen in the country…

…Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines (DSWP) Chair Elizabeth Angsioco…

…and Dr. Guy Claudio, Director of the University of the Philippines’ Center for Women’s Studies, Senior Faculty Adviser of FF-UP Diliman; co-founder of the Likhaan Center for Women’s Health, prominent member of the Akbayan Party List…

Word up.

…and the person responsible for The Most Awesome Pic Evar.

The following day, FF banded together for its fortnightly meetup, which generated one of the liveliest discussions we’ve had in a while. This came as no surprise, however…

…thanks to the day’s main topics: Medication to Boost Your Morality, and Rights for Ugly People.

Kenneth is an Episcopalian, as evidenced by his shirt

Even Kenneth made sure to attend the meetup, despite the understandable aftershock of having met Kim/Eponine/Fantine/Jasmine/Mulan in the flesh.

In the end, whether rallying on the streets or engaging in discourse, the Freethinkers know how to make good use of the typical weekend–sans drugs and violence!

Although moments like this one can’t be avoided. Let’s call it an occupational hazard.

Photos courtesy of Garrick Bercero, Jeiel Aranal, and Patrick Charles Rigonan

Posted in Media, Meetup, Pictures, Politics, Recap, Religion, Science, Society5 Comments

The Filipino Freethinkers Perform at the Women’s Day March for RH

The Filipino Freethinkers Perform at the Women’s Day March for RH

UPDATE: Watch the video of the performance here.

On the morning of the 100th Annual International Women’s Day, the Filipino Freethinkers were busy making blood. They needed several batches of the stuff for  the Women’s Day March for RH that afternoon, where they would hold a special performance demonstrating the Catholic Church’s sins against women.

There were 22 bags of the stuff all in all, enough for a bloody good show. But what exactly were they for?

As 3 PM neared, the Freethinkers proceeded to the St. Peter Parish along Commonwealth Ave., where a group of supporters had started to assemble, and band Pinikpikan was keeping everyone stoked.

Soon enough, over a thousand demonstrators from various groups, who had assembled earlier at the Commission for Human Rights, marched in, chanting fervently for the passage of the RH Bill.

A new chant was then introduced to the crowd: “Tama na! ‘Di dapat makialam ang pari sa aming mga ari!” (“We’ve had enough! The priests have no right to meddle with our private parts!”)

At 3 PM, out came FF members Kenneth and Edgar, who were dressed as a bishop and his congressman-on-a-leash, respectively. Kenneth represented the CBCP, whose deceptive, anti-RH stance has been an utter detriment to the country, while Edgar represented the politicos who pander to these powerful bishops and actively delay the passage of the Bill itself.

The performance began with the bishop and congressman bullying five women around, only to have one of these women, played by FF member Margie, vehemently refuse to cooperate.

The four other women–played by FF members JM and Tania, and FF allies Tin from the Pink Rockers and Eliza from the Likhaan Center for Women’s Health–followed suit.

Margie then rebuked the bishop by listing down the Catholic Church’s many wrongdoings against women all over the world, from the outright lies it has been spreading about contraceptives, to its priests’ habit of raping nuns to avoid STDs. These sins were interspersed with cries of outrage from the crowd: “Tama na! ‘Di dapat makialam ang pari sa aming mga ari!”

The bishop then went into a tirade, spouting off even more lies about reproductive health…

…while his congressman-mongrel snapped at everything in sight.

One by one, as the bishop went on, the women started bleeding from their bellies. The blood packs from earlier were finally put to use!

First was JM…

…followed by Tania, then Tin…

…then Eliza…

…and finally, Margie.

The bishop and his mutt looked over the corpses in triumph. These women’s deaths represented the 11 deaths that occur day after day due to maternal complications, and which will continue to occur if the CBCP and the anti-RH politicians continue to throw their weight around irresponsibly.

To end the show, a few strong words on the plight of women and the need to uphold their rights were aired.

Headed by the FF performers, the entire group of demonstrators then proceeded to the Batasang Pambansa, where RH proponents were pushing for the Bill’s passage at the lower chamber’s plenary that same day.

The group soon arrived in front of Batasan and settled into their respective groups.

A very varied mix of supporters came from all over–FF’s fellow groups under the Reproductive Health Advocacy Network (RHAN), labor groups, youth groups, artists, musicians, educators, etc. By the end of that day, there would be over 7,000 supporters in attendance.

There were several supporters from overseas as well, such as Ida and Caroline, who hailed from Sweden.

There were many personalities who graced the stage that day, including Carlos Celdran, former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel (pictured), and Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello.

Rep. Bello delivered particularly thrilling news: despite anti-RH House members stalling the RH Bill’s deliberations for two whole hours, the deliberations still managed to push through!

As the night went on, more rousing speeches were given. FF President Red Tani was one of several group heads who went onstage to relay messages from fellow proponents.

The event also featured several musical performances, including sets from Aiza Seguerra, Nars Cabico, Bayang Barrios, Cookie Chua, and Imago.

It was an awesome day for reproductive health, and for women all over the world. It was also a landmark event for the Freethinkers; this rally was one of the biggest events they had attended thus far, and it was a thrill for them to work alongside so many passionate people for the very same cause.

(Photos courtesy of Jeiel Aranal)

Posted in Media, Pictures, Politics, Religion, Society7 Comments

Depart into the uttermost corners of the earth, and diligently do your appointed work

Was reading The Portable Atheist and I came upon the chapter about Mark Twain which discussed an excerpt from his work, “Fables of Man”. This reminded me of a very apt picture taken in Pakistan some time ago.

Depart into the uttermost corners of the earth, and diligently do your appointed work. Persecute the sick child; settle upon its eyes, its face, its hands, and gnaw and pester and sting… spare no creature, wild or tame; but wheresoever you find one, make his life a misery, treat him as the innocent deserve; and so please Me and increase My glory Who made the fly.
Thoughts of God
from Fables of Man
by Mark Twain

Pakistani children who survived heavy flooding lie covered with flies as they are forced to live in miserable conditions on a roadside in Nowshera near Peshawar, Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2010. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)

Posted in Pictures, Religion0 Comments

The Justice System, Courtroom Fashion, Typos and Why You Need to Read the Noli Me Tangere

The Trial of Carlos CeldranLast Tuesday was the first day of Carlos Celdran‘s trial. The charge? Apparently, he hurt some people’s feelings toward their imaginary friend — a crime in the Philippines. His trial is one of the highlights of the fight for the Reproductive Health Bill, which is encountering a ton of opposition from the Catholic Church and other Catholic organizations, even though the people themselves seem to be all for it. When Carlos entered that church in Ibarra garb, held up a sign saying “Damaso” and shouted to the priests to stop interfering with politics, it was because the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) had been trying to use religion to influence the outcome of the RH Bill’s passing, such as making thinly veiled threats of excommunication towards the president of the country.

The court session was scheduled at 1.30 pm, so some of us from the Filipino Freethinkers met up with Carlos at Starbucks around noon. I was trying to hold up one of the posters from the people at Sex and Sensibilities, but turns out I was holding it upside down.

Today in court

Carlos was in good spirits, even giving us a short demo of his current favorite gadget, the Samsung Galaxy Tab. (Which totally rocks, by the way.)

Today in court

Inside the courthouse, we saw a bunch of people in anti-RH bill shirts. These shirts were unfortunately colored bright yellow — the exact same color as that of the detainees who were there for their criminal trials. (Note to self: when dressing for court or planning propaganda shirts to wear to court, make sure to not wear the same regulation prison colors as suspects in custody. Because when you leave, the judge will try to get security to stop you.) I was wearing the grey “excommunication” shirt, while the others were in white, “Damaso” printed on the front and “Pass the RH Bill Now!” on the back. (Speaking of suspects, it was interesting that there was no effort made to separate the detainees and the spectators. There were guys in prison outfits and handcuffs standing right next to me during the session.) The room was airconditioned but there were too many people inside so it was still hot, and I kept fanning myself with my poster. It looked like this. I was seated close to the anti-RH bill people, so I’m pretty sure they saw it. No one said or did anything confrontational, though, which was promising.

It was over under an hour, I think. The complainant presented their case, the defense denied everything. The judge advised them to settle out of court. I don’t blame him. There was a woman who was jailed because she stole clothes amounting to around 1 to 2 thousand pesos, which was bailable, but apparently she couldn’t afford bail, so she’s been in jail for months. I believe our judges have better things to do than entertain ridiculous cases like “offending religious feelings”. After all, who here thinks we should go to prison for mocking Xenu? Oh, and next trial date was set for March 10. (Or was it May? I’m getting old.)

Today in court

When it was over, we trooped outside with the other pro-RH Bill advocates from the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines (DSWP) in the parking lot and waited for Carlos and his attorney to finish up the last details with the MTC. There were a few media people there with cameras and they took photos of us. When Carlos appeared, he posed for photos with us, holding up the posters.

Today in court

Today in court

The anti-RH Bill advocates had a banner. Don’t ask me why being the world’s greatest boxer should make your opinion on whether or not women should have access to reproductive health care weigh more than the rest of ours, because I’m stumped. Don’t ask me either why they spelled Pacquiao’s name wrong — I didn’t notice because I was too distracted by that colon. Later, a friend had to point out to me the missing ” ‘s “.

Today in court

Oddly, the Anti-RH advocates wanted to have photos taken with Carlos, too. They did not appear hostile in any way. In fact they were quite nice, logical fallacy and typos notwithstanding.

Today in court

The epic moment was when they shook hands with Carlos.

Today in court

Oh, and someone asked for Carlos’s autograph on a poster.

Today in court

There were some spectators watching us speak with the anti-RH Bill advocates and talk to the press. Lots of them wanted to have their photos taken with Carlos, and even one of them asked Carlos to kiss her baby (he obliged, laughingly). The funny thing was, some of them thought he was a priest. Most of them thought his name was Damaso. I’m not sure they knew what exactly was going on, it just seemed they wanted to have their photo taken with him.

“Magpapa-picture ako kasama si Father!” (I’m having my photo taken with Father.)

“Hindi siya pari! Tour guide siya.” (He’s not a priest, he’s a tour guide.)

“Oo, pangalan lang niya Damaso.” (Yes, he’s just named Damaso.)

(Ah, so they know Damaso was a priest, at least. Madame, I suggest you should put down your books once in a while and turn on the TV to watch the news. Haha.)

One of them asked me if I was the girl in the poster. Flattering, but no. For one, she clearly had better hair than I did.

Today in court

The posters were a hit, though. Lots of women (the spectators were mostly women) asked us if they could have some. One of them asked me what they meant. Before going home, we gave Carlos the remaining posters so he could distribute them on his tours.

Some of us stopped by Makati for a late lunch before braving the traffic home. The trains were full and the lines at the taxi stand were ridiculously long, so we took the bus. It took me more than an hour to get home. The truth is, no matter what side of the condom debate you’re on, we all get screwed by rush hour.

This post was reposted by the author from her personal blog.

Posted in Media, Pictures, Politics, Religion, Society7 Comments

A Quick Scientific Limerick :)

Come on guys, let’s show our love for science and poetry. Let’s keep the creative juices flowing. Here’s my start on this mess. :) I’m sure you can think of other creative limericks, whether they be about science, math, or anything under the freethinking sun, no? :)

There was a guy named Schroedinger
who was quite an exceptional thinker
He posited that
there’d either be a dead or live cat
Even before you laid down a finger
(to appreciate my limerick even more, here’s a good reference on Schroedinger’s cat)
:)
And I don’t want to leave another favorite subject of mine (among others) without its own limerick. ;)
Newton discovered calculus
So did Leibniz, plus its use
There was some dispute
on who’d bring the discoverer’s loot
But Isaac won over a ruse.
(to appreciate my math limerick, please see the Wikipedia article on the Calculus discovery controversy)
:)

Posted in Entertainment, Humor, Media, Personal, Pictures, Poetry, Science7 Comments

My list of some of the most romantic sci-fi lines

Okay guys, this is, among other things, a work/list in progress, so please feel free to suggest others I might have missed/forgotten. I’ve very limited time but I managed to draw these out of the top of my head. In no particular order, here they are:

kyle reese & sarah connor, The Terminator (1984)

“John Connor gave me a picture of you once. I didn’t know why at the time. It was very old – torn, faded. You were young like you are now. You seemed just a little sad. I used to always wonder what you were thinking at that moment. I memorized every line, every curve. I came across time for you Sarah. I love you; I always have”

-Kyle Reese, father of John Connor, talking to Sarah Connor in the movie Terminator (1984) while hiding form the terminator. Aaww. That is so romantic,  moving across time (and space) to be with the one you love. :D

mulder & scully

Mulder’s email to Scully:

I’ve resisted contacting you for reasons I know you continue to appreciate. But, to be honest, some unexpected dimensions of my new life are eating away at any resolve I have left. I’m lonely, Dana, uncertain of my ability to live like this. I want to come home. To you, and to William.

Scully’s reply to Mulder’s email afterwards:

I hold no hope you can respond to this. Or that it reaches you. I only hope that you are alive.

I cannot help believing that you jumped off that train because you knew what I now know – that these “super-soldiers,” if that’s what they are, can in fact be destroyed. That the key to their destruction lies in the iron compound at that quarry.

I am scared for you, Mulder. And for William. The forces against us are unrelenting. But so is my determination. To see you again. To regain the comfort and safety we shared for so brief a time.

Until then, I remain forever yours… Dana

- In ‘The X-Files’ season 9 episode, ‘Trust No 1″. Mulder is separated for a time from Scully and their son, because if he hadn’t, he would be putting Scully and their son in danger. Aaww. Sniff sniff. :)

Superman/Clark Kent and Lois Lane kissing, before Superman dies in Lois' arms, Superman #75 (1993)

Just remember…no matter what happens…I’ll always love you. ALWAYS.

- Superman to Lois Lane, before finally dying at the hands of the monster Doomsday, in Superman #75  (1993). The line really isn’t something new, but the situation and the overall atmosphere made it really special in my opinion.

So there you go sci-fi buffs, geeks, and nerds. Happy Valentine’s day. :D

Posted in Entertainment, Media, Personal, Pictures, Society13 Comments

If I’m a non-believer, why patronize theist music, film and other forms of artwork?

The Merriam-Webster website definition for patronize here that I use is the following:

“3 : to be a frequent or regular customer or client of

And not the derogatory meaning of the word, although this should not mean that all theist work of art, music, etc are all praiseworthy (at least from my viewpoint).

One of the things people ask me, assuming they know I’m a non-believer, is how I can possibly enjoy theistic works of art, music, etc. without believing in their religion, or even in theism itself.

What I would normally reply, given the appropriate amount of time, is that it’s quite easy to understand or imagine, really. This reply of course has little assumptions of its own, and one of those is that the listener should have an open mind. For the listener to somehow even ‘glimpse’ the reason why or how I can enjoy theistic works of art, music etc, he/she must have at least a mind that is open to rational,sensible logic and imagination. He/she must also not be one of those religious fundamentalists, whether it be in Catholicism, Islam, Judaism, etc. What I mean by religious fundamentalists in this sense are those people who kill or are willing to die and kill others, not just themselves, just because their holy books think it’s appropriate to do so. Although I’ve actually never met someone like that before, I would think that it will be really hard, if not impossible, to reason my cause with them. And I believe the reason for that deserves another blog post on it’s own.

Going back to the reason for my answer as to why I manage to enjoy theistic works of art, music, etc while being a skeptic, my answer is this:

For those of us who enjoy, for example, The Lord of the Rings trilogy or Star Trek , or Disney movies, we gather the fact that we acquire entertainment and amusement and wisdom from these works, without ever believing the characters really existed. Even as kids, teens, young adults, and adults, we enjoyed watching them, and probably at some points in our lives we deemed them to be true to life, we now know for a fact (I hope so) that they didn’t really happen or the characters never existed at all. We can enjoy songs by Josh Groban or Pavarotti for example, and be moved by how they sing, the emotions they put in their songs, the beautiful compositions, and the abstract or poetic meanings of their lyrics and still not be lulled into believing myths and fantastical stories they refer to in the scriptures.

Star Trek TOS (Spock & Kirk) - Alice in Wonderland (Alice & the mad hatter) - Return of the King (Aragorn & Frodo)

From this reasoning, it follows that one can appreciate, enjoy, marvel at, and even be astounded, amazed, and moved by works of different people from different walks of life and belief. And from that reasoning also it should be clear that when, for example one sings or watches or buys theistic works, be they movies, books, paintings, songs, one doesn’t (and I believe should not) have to believe in all those supernatural stories and myths. One can appreciate and enjoy Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, and other great artists and their works, as purelyfiction, and nothing more.

Of course the argument that what motivates people, artists, geniuses to create their masterpieces is faith, theism or religion is another matter altogether, and again deserves another blog post. One good reference for that is professor Richard Dawkins’ book The God Delusion in the chapter titled The Argument From Beauty.

The God Delusion -by prof. Richard Dawkins - UK paperback edition

In that chapter prof. Dawkins excellently explicates ( I always admire alliteration ) the arguments pertaining to this line of reasoning. Prof. Dawkins goes on to say that, since there was hardly any other option other than to believe in the local religion back then (particularly Catholicism or Christianity if we’ll be talking about European artists in this case), naturally the artists would’ve decided to be theists. The other, extremely harsh consequences of not believing in God then was not receiving any funding (even for example, food and money) to complete one’s work, a chance to display one’s talents, and it would even be tantamount to death. In other words, it’s believe or suffer/die. Obviously the choice is usually rather easy. And people of different religiosity, theistic or otherwise  derive their sense of awe, wonder, their motivations and inspirations not from the belief in a supernatural creator, but if you look closely, to more human sensations and experiences: respect, love (e.g. for a mate, one’s country), death, suffering, sex, etc.

In closing, for us non-believers (doubters, skeptics, agnostics, what have you) to be bothered as to why we allow ourselves to be immersed and to be able to appreciate theistic works of art, music, etc, thinking that it contradicts our non-belief, please don’t be. Enjoying something and believing it to be true are two entirely different things. For those of you out there who still cling onto faith, religion and theism just because you think you can’t leave your craft, be it making music, movies, books, etc. while being mentally gnawed by the irrationalities and inconsistencies of religion, you don’t have to be. There is a way out, and you can still enjoy your lives and your craft.

 

Posted in Media, Personal, Pictures, Religion, Society15 Comments

Short review on ‘The Big Bang Theory’ episode ‘The Einstein Approximation’

Warning: For those who haven’t seen this episode yet, spoiler alert!

This is the first, and hopefully won’t be the last, of a series of short reviews I’ll try doing each week for ‘The Big Bang Theory’.

This week The Big Bang Theory (TBBT) episode ‘The Einstein Approximation’ came out,  and is the 14th episode of the show’s 3rd season.
Let me just start this quick and short review of the episode by further stating what the guys there and I have in common, apart from the quite obvious facts that we’re all geeks/nerds by heart.
Even before TBBT, I’ve admired and idolized Einstein myself, because of his great mental feats (which were of course, backed up by other physical theories and experiments at his time). Great because by just the power of his mind Einstein was able to revolutionize our lives and the 20th century, paving ways for faster transportation, not to mention telecommunication and computing, which drove and is still driving the information revolution today. And of course, so much more benefits which we more or less take for granted in our daily lives. In fact, Einstein is oftentimes synonymous with the word ‘genius’.
Einstein was also very much interested in philosophy and politics, not just physics. He’s written several books, articles, letters to people outside the scientific community. He also has a quirky sense of humor, as seen from this  picture of him. At first I thought this photo of Einstein was edited. But as it turns out it was really him, tongue hanging out and all. :) It was at the time he was making fun of people taking pictures of him. Great stuff.

Silly Einstein

Of course Einstein is not without criticisms. Great and accomplished a scientist he maybe, history tells us he left much to be desired when it came to being a father or a husband.

Now, back to the episode review of TBBT. At this point I shall establish a partially objective, partially subjective point system of each episode relative to the earlier 2 seasons (which I have watched at least 2 times…) and a number of judging criteria.

This episode is a classic Sheldon episode, which is great in itself. Again we expected lots of ‘weird’ humor: Sheldon’s ability to complicate relatively simple things, as well as him belittling his friends, most noticeably Penny. Hilarious stuff once again. Bravo to TBBT production team.
Not a lot of scifi or comic book references were made though. But lines such as:

Howard: How long has he been stuck? (referring to Sheldon)
Leonard: Umm…intellectually about 30 hours, emotionally about 29 years.

And

Howard: Have you tried rebooting him? (referring to Sheldon)
Leonard: No I think it’s a firmware problem.

Are classics. :)

The part where Leonard and Sheldon were arguing inside the ‘ball play room’, with Sheldon going ‘bazinga’ everytime, was also hilarious.

Sheldon, and of course the rest of ‘the guys’ are fans of Einstein no doubt. Sheldon of course thinks he’s at the same level with Einstein so he tries to do what Einstein did in order to come at the epiphany that is the special theory of relativity: to work for a menial job so he can occupy his basal ganglia with a routine task so he can apparently free his pre-frontal cortex to solve his physics problem.

Another classic moment in this episode is the guest starring of Yeardley Smith, the not so well known voice actor behind the famous cartoon character Lisa Simpson (yes, of ‘The Simpsons’ fame). Absolutely entertaining piece of the episode.

Another classic dialog is again with Sheldon and Penny:

Penny: What are you doing here?
Sheldon: A reasonable question. I asked myself, what is the most mind-numbing, pedestrian job conceivable? And 3 answers came to mind: toll booth attendant, an Apple Store “Genius”, and “What Penny does”. Now, since I don’t like touching other people’s coins, and I refuse to contribute to the devaluation of the word “genius”, here I am (meaning at the cheesecake factory).

Lines like these make me think of the real meaning and application of LOL. :)

I suppose myself and those guys, as well as the show’s production team, can’t help cracking jokes at Apple. :D

Overall I’d give this episode the following scores:

* reference to sci-fi, comic books, and other geek/nerd pop culture: 6/10

* reference to physics and other fields of science: 9/10

* dialog humor factor: 9/10

* techie/technology factor: 8/10

which gives an overall score of: 8/10

:)

Article originally published here.

Posted in Entertainment, Humor, Media, Personal, Pictures, Reviews, Science11 Comments

Facebook.com/Freethinkers