Category Archives: Blogging

Contact Me: Please Try Again

Dear Readers,

If you have recently tried contacting me through my Contact Me page, please try again. The last four emails were deleted before I saw them.

I use a Spamgourmet email address for my WordPress account. All messages sent through my Contact Me page go through that address. It’s a disposable address which forwards a limited number of emails to my main email account. After the limit is reached, Spamgourmet starts deleting them.

I have it set to alert me when I run out. In fact, each time I receive an email through Spamgourmet, it tells me exactly how many I have left. I can update it at any time to make sure I never run out, but I dropped the ball after the last one this time.

I just checked my Spamgourmet account and it says that my last four messages were deleted. I have reset it and messages will now be forwarded to me again.

If you have tried contacting me since November 17th, or if you used my contact form and didn’t receive a reply, please try again. I am interested in hearing from you and always do my best to reply in a timely manner.

I apologize for the inconvenience, and will see to it that this doesn’t happen again.

Thank you for reading along and for all your feedback.


Butterfly Award

Yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised by a nomination to receive the Butterfly Award. This honor was granted to me by Heidi, author of Southpaugh Homeschool, who has been a source of encouragement to me for the past couple of months. I consider it an honor to receive this award from her:


By accepting this award, I agreed to the following:

1. Put the logo on your blog
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you
3. Nominate 10 blogs that you follow
4. Add links to those blogs
5. Leave a message to those nominees on their blog

First, a couple of things:

No one on this list should feel obligated to accept the award. Choosing not to accept or even not to respond to this post will absolutely not cause hard feelings on my part. By composing the list, I am simply acknowledging a few people whose blogs make me smile, encourage or inspire me or otherwise bring me pleasure. Thank you for your contributions and your thoughtfulness!

If you are not on the list, it’s not because I don’t appreciate you. It’s probably because you got one last time, so stop your whinging. ::wink::

Now, without further ado, I would like to offer the Butterfly Award to:

My Crazy Life would have definitely made the list, but since it’s Heidi’s other blog, it seemed redundant to give the award right back to her.

Thank you again, Heidi, for thinking of me and for all your encouragement!

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On

Attention Please

Several months ago, a gang of Jerry Springer guests got lost on their way to the show and somehow ended up here. I know this because I got a buttload of shrieking comments telling me how much I suck and threatening to kick my ass, throwing chairs around, snarling and spitting… You know the type.

Anyway, as a result of that I started moderating all comments and posted this comments policy.

Since it’s been a while and things seem to have settled down considerably, I’ve decided to open comments back up and see how it goes. I’ll set it so that after you have one approved comment, your subsequent comments will post immediately.

The main reason I want to try this is because of regular contributors whose comments end up stuck in moderation for hours at a time and occasionally overnight. While I love checking in and finding comments waiting, I also hate finding out that they’ve been stuck down the comment well for ages. This will also allow you guys to discuss things amongst yourselves in my absence. Ain’t that all cozy and stuff?

Thanks to everyone who contributes here and to those who read along but don’t comment. Now, don’t start talkin’ smak and make me regret this new policy or I’ll have to go all Jerry Springer on your ass!

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On

One More Thing: Palin Blames Bloggers

Sarah Palin just doesn’t know when to shut up, does she? Did you know that she is now blaming bloggers for the so-called misinformation and “gossip” that has been spread about her?

Yeah, Palin, it was just some blogger in pajamas hiding in his parents’ basement, spreading vicious rumors about you. It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the utter incompetence, sheer ignorance and downright stupidity you displayed all on your own. It wasn’t the mindless drivel you repeatedly drooled in front of the cameras, or the steaming pile of poo that came slithering out of your mouth every time you opened it.

Let’s have a look at some of Gov. Palin’s more memorable turds, shall we?

  • Inability to name a single Supreme Court decision besides Roe v. Wade
  • Complete ignorance of the Bush Doctrine
  • Mocking fruit fly research
  • The ability to see Russia from Alaska
  • Inability to name a single news source that she reads regularly
  • Bailout Bill was about healthcare
  • “Thanks but no thanks” on her Bridge to Nowhere
  • Race-baiting
  • Inability to define the role of Vice-President
  • “Real America” comments
  • Spreading the wealth
  • Publicly rebuking supporters at a rally, calling them protesters
  • Explicit refusal to answer direct questions in VP debate
  • Insisting that she had been cleared of any wrong doing or unethical behavior in the Troopergate scandal when the official report found that she had, in fact, abused her power and violated Alaska’s Ethics Act.

And that’s just off the top of my head.

As blogger, Gina Telaroli observed, we only used what you gave us, Sarah.

As for your record, Gov. Palin, it was investigated, and let’s not forget that you first welcomed an investigation, but later tried to derail it when you didn’t like where it was going.

And now you have the nerve to whine and say that your record wasn’t thoroughly investigated, and to top it off, blame legitimate reports on some kid in a basement banging away at a computer?

Way to insult the blogging community as well as the mainstream media! Not to mention the intelligence of the general population, too. Because let’s face it: none of us knows how to verify sources, we’re all bigger buffoons than you and we take at face value anything posted on any blog we happen to stumble across. The mainstream media has no credibility and routinely reports unconfirmed gossip, and people around the world gobble it all up without a second thought. Yes, the entire world has been duped by some pajama-wearing teenage blogger hiding in his parents’ basement.

Give it up! Just because you’re stupid and gullible enough to fall for an obvious prank doesn’t mean the rest of the world is.

There is no conspiracy against you, Gov. Palin! You made your bed and now you are lying in it. So, please, stop your paranoid whining and attempts to blame everyone but yourself for your own failures and shortcomings.

I’d say you were only making yourself look worse, if I thought that were even possible.

If you learned nothing else from this experience with the big, scary world of the lower 48, I would have expected you to learn just how little you actually know and that the rest of the world isn’t completely stupid. In other words: I would have expected you to learn when to shut the hell up.

Unfortunately, that lesson seems to have flown completely over your head, the same way most other things do.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On

Troubled Thoughts Of A Godless American

I’m still very troubled over the Godless Americans ad put out by Elizabeth Dole. I’m experiencing a mixture of emotions that I’m having trouble explaining. If I don’t at least try, though, it will continue to eat at me.

I’ve always known that atheists aren’t exactly embraced in the United States. I’ve experienced the prejudice and felt the contempt before. But this time it wasn’t just some jerk down the street who won’t let her kid play at our house because my kid used the A word to describe himself. It wasn’t some stranger on the internet who thinks I don’t have the capacity to love, and doesn’t understand what stops me from stealing or killing. While all that can be very irritating, this felt much more personal, for some reason.

A politician running for elected office used an aspect of who I am as a smear against her opponent. Despite the fact that it’s been all over the news, and all sources have been very quick to point out that Kay Hagan is a good Christian, no one in the media has addressed the bigotry of the ad. This seems only to reinforce the notion that there’s something inherently wrong with being an atheist and that associating with atheists is an act of poor judgment, at best.

As if the ad and the media responses weren’t bad enough, Kay Hagan’s response was to file suit, calling the ad an “egregious and shameful mistake”. But why? What makes it worse than the onslaught of negative political ads we’ve been seeing throughout this campaign? The A word? That’s what tipped it? Palling around with atheists is somehow worse than palling around with terrorists?

That’s how this is all reads to me.

Dole’s ad has been described in the following ways: the nastiest, most egregious ad of he entire campaign, despicable, deplorable, utter filth, vile, slimy and shameful. And that’s just off the top of my head. The only challenges to this that I have seen have been on the personal blogs of atheists. This tells me that most of my fellow citizens believe that atheists really are all those things; that we are the scum of the earth, the worst of the worst.

I am finding this quite painful and difficult to take in. I am raising a child in a country full of people who will hate him because he doesn’t share their religious beliefs. It’s painful to consider the very real possibility that he might never be able to reach his full potential because of prejudice, ignorance and bigotry; because we live in a country where hating him is so commonplace that most people don’t even think to question it.

I have cried many tears over this, and I’m sure there are more to come. I’ve written to Kay Hagan and to Elizabeth Dole. I’ve written to several news networks and will continue doing so. Every time I hear this story retold with no mention of the bigotry toward atheists, I search for contact information to the show on which it was aired, and send an email. I comment on every blog I see discussing it and failing to acknowledge the bigotry. I don’t know what else to do except to keep writing about it and continue promoting others who write about it.

In Kay Hagan: The Slanderous Accusation of Atheism, Alonzo Fyfe explains why Hagan’s response to Dole’s ad is just as bigoted as the ad itself:

Hagan isn’t making the claim that atheists are Americans too and have a right to present their views to perspective political candidates. She is not saying that the fault of Dole’s advertisement is that Dole is lying and promoting bigotry and hatred. She, in effect, endorsed the hate and answered, “How dare you accuse me of not being just as bigoted against atheists as you are! You take that back!”

I encourage you to read the entire piece as well as Senator Dole’s New Anti-Atheist Advertisement in which Fyfe makes the following argument:

The fight against anti-atheist bigotry has to be our fight. The idea that we can hide behind politicians and judges forever while they do the dirty work (and pay the political price) for protecting us – while we do nothing in our own defense is as absurd as the belief that the Earth is only 6000 years old. It is a willful denial of political reality.

This doesn’t mean that we all need to march on Capitol Hill. We can all contribute in our own ways through blogging, sending emails, writing satire… Whatever it is you do, keep doing it because it really is our fight, and no one is going to fight it for us.

Edit to add: I’ve been rethinking the second post I’ve linked to here. Not that Fyfe doesn’t make some good points, but I don’t think I agree that it’s “hiding behind politicians” when we expect them to speak out against this kind of thing. I’ll post more on this later.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On

Mom Hates Telling The Truth

In my quest for information about homeschooling (update on that situation coming soon), I keep coming across the blogs of what I call “creepy homeschoolers”: the people who, like Raani Starnes, come right out and say that they homeschool their children to keep them away from homosexuals. And they accuse gays of being sex obsessed. Yeeaah, uh huh…

So, the other day I came across a blog called Mom Loves Being At Home. I can certainly relate to that, but that’s also where the camaraderie ends.

The post that got my attention was entitled This is one of the reasons we homeschool. Can you guess what the reason was? You guessed it: those dreaded homosexuals! They’re hiding behind every bush just waiting to sodomize anything with a pulse, I tell you!

I want to take a quick detour here to say how utterly weird this is to me; I honestly cannot get my head around it. Even at my most religious, I couldn’t bring myself to care about other people’s sexual preferences or activities. I actually felt guilty at one point, convinced that I was a bad Christian because I just could not work myself into a queer-hating frenzy.

Anyway, Mom Apparently Also Hates Telling the Truth. She wrote, in a comment under the above-linked post, that the Day Of Silence was “about promoting the homosexual lifestyle in the public school system”. I posted a comment correcting her, but she deleted it. This wasn’t totally unexpected, so I copied it to a draft for safekeeping.

This is the comment that was so offensive it had to be removed:

Lottie, on October 24th, 2008 at 1:02 pm Said: Your comment is awaiting moderation.

No it is not about promoting the homosexual lifestyle. It is about not bullying and harassing LGBT students. It was held in memory of Lawerence King, an 8th grader who was murdered because he was gay.

Do you not see the difference? Do you seriously oppose a non-violent, civil and very quiet demonstration that serves only to bring awareness to such a tragedy and attempts to put a stop to this kind of violence?

Is that what Christianity does to people?

Of course, the truth doesn’t line up with the homophobic propaganda she’s been sucking down from the American Family Association before regurgitating onto her own blog, so she simply deletes it, which means she is knowingly and deliberately promoting a lie. Nice values there. Can’t let the truth interfere with the agenda, though!

Those pesky little facts always seem to send the hate-mongering fundies into hiding (Raani Starnes’ blog is now open only to invited guests).

Another thing a lot of these creepy homeschoolers have on their blogs is Proverbs 22:6, which says:

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

It seems that hate, intolerance and dishonesty are all part of the training for these people.

As much as I feel sorry for the kids at this point, I’m also glad, in a way, that they’re being kept home. This way, they’re not running loose in the public schools spreading the hatefulness their parents are indoctrinating them with. As if we needed anymore of that…

UPDATE: More underhanded, dishonest maneuvers from Mom:
After deleting my comment from her blog and then posting a 417 word comment on mine, she also posted the same long-winded comment on her blog in response to my comment which she refused. While she’s perfectly within her rights to do this, it’s just another example of how dishonest she is, and how she’s more interested in promoting an agenda full of lies and bigotry than in having an honest discussion.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On

My Atheism

My friend Gary has tagged me to answer a few questions regarding my atheism. Sorry it’s taken me so long, Gary. I’ve been a little preoccupied with U.S. politics, as I’m sure you can understand.

Anyway, here goes:

Can you remember the day that you officially became an atheist?
It was actually quite a process, so I couldn’t say exactly when I no longer believed. I do recall the first time I ever used the word to describe myself. It was strange but liberating.

Do you remember the day you officially became an agnostic?
Given that agnosticism is a statement or position of knowledge that can apply to atheists as well as theists, I’d say I was always agnostic. Well, maybe not always, but probably from around the same time I figured out there was no Santa, which was around age six.

I’ve always known and accepted the difference between belief and knowledge and, therefore, have always been agnostic.

How about the last time you spoke or prayed to God with actual thought that someone was listening?
I guess about eight years ago. Although I still believed that someone might be listening, I admit that I was beginning to feel a bit silly.

Did anger towards God or religion help cause you to be an atheist or agnostic?
This is the question I was looking forward to, in a way. I’ve avoided discussing this for years because I know how easily my answer can and will be misconstrued. I will begin by saying that, despite claims and accusations made by theists, no atheist is angry with any god. Anyone who is angry with a deity is not an atheist by definition. You cannot be angry with someone you don’t believe exists.

But, yes, I would say that anger with God played a part in my becoming atheist. Allow me to explain:

Throughout my life as a Christian, I often had questions and doubts about things. When that happened, I sought guidance from fellow Christians who reminded me that faith is the substance of things not seen, etc. I was discouraged from “thinking too much” — literally what I was told on more than one occasion. My doubts were just Satan trying to draw me away from God, and giving any time or consideration to the questions in my mind was dangerous to my faith and my “walk with the Lord”.

Being Christian and believing in God was all I had ever known. My mother was a preacher’s kid, my father a deacon in the church. I didn’t know how to be any other way, didn’t really see a need to; so I did what I had to do to preserve my faith: ignore the questions, pray and ask God to remove the doubt from my mind, order Satan to flee from me in Jesus’ name, etc. I did anything and everything, with the exception of being honest with myself and giving myself enough credit to accept that I was an intelligent person with legitimate questions and that I deserved better than excuses and fairy tales.

After a long battle with cancer, my younger sister died in agony at the age of thirty. And you bet your ass I was pissed off at God! This time I was angry enough, for long enough, to begin critically examining my belief system. I no longer accepted what I was being told. I was not “speaking” to God, so I couldn’t distract myself from rational thought by praying. I allowed myself to think and refused to feel guilty. I figured that if God couldn’t stand up to scrutiny, he wasn’t much of a god; if my faith couldn’t endure examination, it wasn’t worth having.

It was a process, but one by one, I was able to peel away the irrational beliefs I had held for more than thirty years. I did it with reason and good old common sense, by letting myself think. Eventually, I realized that I was no longer angry with God, but only because I no longer believed there was a god to be angry with. I was free to grieve my sister’s death without the added burden of a loving god who let her die and betrayed me in the process. It was cancer. It was dreadful, but it was no longer personal.

So, yes, anger played a big role, in that it lead to the process of critically examining what I believed and finally realizing that there was no reasonable foundation for believing any of it.

Here is a good one: Were you agnostic towards ghosts, even after you became an atheist?
I guess as agnostic as I am about anything else for which there is no evidence, one way or another.

Do you want to be wrong?
I wouldn’t say I want to be wrong, but I wouldn’t mind being wrong. To echo Gary (who echoed Christopher Hitchens) knowing God exists and choosing to worship God are two entirely different kettle of fish. And I would not choose the latter.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On

Idiosyncratica October Challenge

This month, Gessy challenged the group to write a short scene of about 100 to 300 words without using any adjectives. The following is my humble effort:

Do Not Disturb

Standing outside Russ’s door this morning, I knew. Today is Sunday, and the note inside his window had been there since Wednesday. It said, “Please do not disturb. I am resting today.”

I tried to convince myself that he just needed time. Or perhaps he had forgotten to take the note out of the window. But I knew.

I knocked on the door. No movement. Russ didn’t answer.

Walking back to my apartment, I saw the landlord coming toward our building. There were police officers with her. I watched as they climbed the stairs, and then as she let the officers inside Russ’s apartment.

They came back out within seconds. It was summer in Texas and the air conditioner wasn’t running. They spoke into their radios, using code I didn’t understand. I went inside my apartment and watched from the window.

Minutes later, people in uniforms were beginning to swarm. Men in suits drove a car that resembled a station wagon. Someone pulled a stretcher from the back of it.

How long had they been inside Russ’s apartment? I opened my door just in time to see them leaving again. There was something on the stretcher, but it wasn’t Russ. The bag was zipped from end to end.

The ground started moving toward my face. I collided with it.

Returning now from the hospital, I look up at Russ’s window. The note has gone.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On

Watch Me Twitter

That sounds kind of creepy, doesn’t it? Although it could sound kinky if you were in the right mood.

I really didn’t think I would ever give in to this whole Twitter thingamajig, but what the hell. The hard part for me is being limited to 140 words. I have trouble just saying hello in 140 words! Maybe I can use it to practice getting to the point, if nothing else.

So anyway, here I am on Twitter (there’s also a link over yonder ::points right:: ) if you want to stalk me hunt me follow me, or whatever it is we’re supposed to do on this fancy schmancy twittering thing.

Any tips on how to make the best use of it are welcome and appreciated.

Cheers! And, uh… happy Twittering.

Edit: Not 140 words, but 140 characters. Had a brain fart there.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On

National Punctuation Day®

Well, it was yesterday, so I’m a day late. But to make up for it, I always carry exact change.

I first read about this at SaintPaulGrrl’s Northern Exposure. I intended to post about it yesterday, but had a lot of personal stuff going on and simply forgot. Punctuation is something we use daily, though, so it’s just as important today as it was yesterday, I suppose.

In comments, Miranda gives a great example of how much difference misplaced commas can make, for instance:

The panda walks into a bar… he eats, shoots, and leaves!

The power of the comma changed a passive panda, which eats bamboo shoots and leaves, into a homicidal psychopath! It’s a crying shame.

Seriously, though, please check out the website for National Punctuation Day®. It’s a handy resource for all your punctuation needs. And they’re open seven days a week, 24 hours a day!

From their website:

5th Annual National Punctuation Day® helps schools and businesses promote good writing skills and literacy

PINOLE, CA — Why is punctuation important Jeff Rubin the Punctuation Man and founder of National Punctuation Day explains that without punctuation you would not be able to express your feelings in writing not to mention know when to pause or stop or ask a question or yell at someone and without punctuation you would not be able to separate independent clauses and show an example of how a business lost millions because of an errant comma so dont forget the most important punctuation mark $$$$$$ OK so a dollar signs isnt a punctuation mark but its important dont you agree

Do check it out!

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On