Monthly Archives: September 2009

Reach Out

Some of my – how shall I put this? – more chronologically advanced readers may recall AT&T’s “Reach Out” advertising campaign from the 80s and 90s. If you need something to jog your memory, watch the video, then keep reading.

I don’t know if any of you have noticed it, but the phrase “Reach Out” has become a cliche in the USA. As I prepared breakfast one morning a few weeks ago, I noticed a pamphlet from my congressman on the table. It’s a good pamphlet with great information about the services the congressman and his staff provide for their constituents. The part that made me gag was near the bottom of page 5, in a textbox entitled, “7 Tips for Working with Congressman XYZ’s Office.” Tip #4 opens with the phrase,

Reach out early…

I hate the phrase, “Reach Out!” It’s so- cutesy, warm fuzzyish, New Ageish and fake. It reeks of faux intimacy. And, I hear it all the time. I’ll be on the phone with someone from a job placement center, and that person will inevitably say, “I’ll reach out to XXX and see if he’s interested in the position you have open.” What’s wrong with saying, “I’ll call XXX…?” Or, if I’m speaking with someone whom I haven’t heard from in a month or so, she or he will say, “I just wanted to reach out to you and find out….” No one in the HR field calls, writes or contacts anyone. Instead of doing such mundane activities, we supposedly “reach out” to people. And now, I can’t just call, write or contact my Congressman and his staff; I’m supposed to “reach out” to them too.

I don’t mean to be rude to my congressman, or HR professionals, or job applicants, but, frankly, I have no desire to be bosom buddies, BFFs, or pals with any of them. I’m interested in conducting business in a professional manner with them. To do that, I will write, call, or otherwise contact them. What I most certainly won’t do, is “reach out” to them.

— the chaplain


Posted by on September 13, 2009 in humor, society


Friday Foto #10


— the chaplain


Posted by on September 11, 2009 in photography


Couldn’t Have Said It Better

TXlife Got this via James Moore, at Huffington Post (go read his piece, it’s really quite good).

This, my friends, is fundogelicalism in a nutshell.

— the chaplain


Posted by on September 11, 2009 in humor, indoctrination, religion, sex, spiritual abuse



As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, I’m going to show you* the twelve cartoons that outraged Muslims around the world, and, in at least one case, motivated a conspiracy to commit murder.

I caution you** to think carefully before you read any further. What you’re about to see may cause dizziness, blindness, kidney and liver disorders, digestive difficulties, skin rashes, eternal damnation or – even worse – make you pee your pants.

Are you still here? Okay – don’t say I didn’t warn you. What appears below is the complete set of cartoons as originally published in Denmark:

Next, I have the one that, if I recall correctly, many Muslims considered the most offensive:

Finally, this is the one that I consider the funniest of the twelve:

If you are inclined to read The Cartoons That Shook the World, you will want to bookmark this post, so that you can return and take a gander at the visual aids that will complete your reading experience.

* This has been a public service, courtesy of the chaplain at An Apostate’s Chapel; no material goods or financial assets were exchanged for the display of these images (however, I think Yale University Press owes me for having bigger balls than they have and providing this valuable service to their customers).

** Neither the chaplain nor An Apostate’s Chapel is liable for damages to your eyesight, internal and external organs, soul or clothing incurred by the reading of this post.

— the chaplain


Posted by on September 10, 2009 in censorship, humor, religion, society


Yale University Press Caves In

censored2Yale University Press has removed from an upcoming book, The Cartoons That Shook the World, twelve cartoons that Muslim extremists deemed offensive.* Some of you may recall that, just over a year ago, Random House elected not to publish a book entitled, Jewel of the Medina, because they feared Muslim backlash. That book was published by Beaufort Books, a small publisher that proved to have a much stronger spine than the big boy on the bookseller’s block. Is it too much to hope that a small publishing house will publish a supplement to Cartoons that actually includes, you know, the cartoons?

These decisions disappoint and infuriate me. They disappoint me because publishers, particularly a university press, should have the balls to stand up for free speech and a free press. If nothing else, it’s in their own self-interests to do so – no need to worry about censors if one is willing to censor oneself. They infuriate me because decisions like these tell extremists that, if they throw temper tantrums and get violently nasty, then the rest of humankind will accede to their demands, no matter how unreasonable or oppressive those demands may be.

We in the west like to talk big about what we’ve fought for and how much we’ve accomplished. If we stop fighting for things that are worth fighting for – like freedom of expression – then we will lose those things to extremists who are willing to fight and die for nonsense. And, once we lose those freedoms, the chances are that it won’t be long before we’re not accomplishing anything worthwhile anymore. censoredThe USA is supposedly fighting terrorism and extremism in the Middle East, at least in part, to protect our freedoms (unless I missed the latest pronouncement about what we’re trying to accomplish over there this week). I’ve got news for the people who continue to waste precious financial, material and human resources in those wars, and to those who continue to justify that waste: if we willingly surrender our freedoms right here at home, just because some people may be offended by what we say or do, then we’ve already lost those wars. There’s no need to fight “them” over there, because “they” won’t have to bother coming here – they’ve already beaten us. Or, to be more precise, we’ve beaten ourselves.


* If nothing else, this seems to be a marketing fiasco: who in her right mind is going to read a book about controversial cartoons and their effects, yet settle for not seeing firsthand what all the brouhaha was about?

— the chaplain


Posted by on September 9, 2009 in censorship, literature, religion, society


Secularists Win First Skirmish in Phony Xmas War

great-christmas-warI just learned, via’s Atheism Examiner, that the Petoskey County School Board in Michigan rescinded its decision to change the designation of its winter break. Apparently, this change of mind was prompted by email complaints and the advise of legal counsel. (The Freedom From Religion Foundation’s complaint may have influenced the board, too.)

The school board’s statement says,

The School Board of Petoskey Public Schools will not continue with its plan to change the name of Winter Break to Christmas Break. In reviewing the legality of this change in light of Mr. Waldvogel’s email of August 10th, 2009 it is the opinion of this Board, along with legal counsel, that the School Board would not be successful in court if challenged. The ability or right to change the wording is not at issue. It is well settled that schools have the right to refer to the break as Christmas. Christmas is a federal holiday and the vacation period can be named as such as has been traditionally accepted. However, it is also well established that government actions (including Public School Boards) must have a secular purpose for their actions (Lemon v. Kurtzman 403 U.S. 602 (1971)). To change to ‘Christmas Break’ cannot be initiated or driven based on a religious agenda. This Board does not wish to expend the District’s limited resources on legal issues in which in all likelihood would not be successful.

Poor Jack Waldvogel. He won’t be able to misuse his position as a school board member to let schoolchildren “know that we are a Christian nation.” It must be hard being a theocrat in a secular society.

UPDATE: Here’s a screen shot of the email by which Jack Waldvogel damned his cause:

Waldvogel's email to school district employees

Waldvogel's email to school district employees

— the chaplain


Posted by on September 8, 2009 in politics, religion, secularism, society


Who Is This?

I came across several of these birds yesterday. I think this is a brown pelican. Can anyone out there confirm that, or give me the right answer?


— the chaplain


Posted by on September 7, 2009 in photography


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 105 other followers