May 152007

It’s been interesting today to see the various reactions on the death of Jerry Falwell. A large number of people on my friends list rejoiced at his death, while a few were critical of the rejoicing. No one was actually sorry that he, Jerry Falwell, was dead, I noticed. My reaction was very clear and, at the time, heartfelt. I do not apologize for it. I was genuinely happy that Mr. Falwell would no longer be spewing his particular brand of intolerance, hypocrisy, and bigotry, but, to be honest, his relevance had become so diminished over the years that he didn’t seem to have much impact anymore. His idiotic rantings after 9/11 seem to have been the final nail in the coffin of his worldly influence. If Fred Phelps, however, had ceased to be, I’d be throwing a “God Hates Phelps” party. Anway, I had my moment of celebration and moved on.

Some people think that, unless suffering a terminal illness and in terrible pain, we shouldn’t be relieved or happy when anyone dies; that sentient life is a rare and precious gift, and we should be sorry to see it end regardless of what that person did in life.

I disagree, and here’s why: First of all, that “rare” business. There are six and a half billion people on this planet. Thousands die every minute, and more thousands are born. On this planet, at least, intelligent life is as common as dirt.

Second, the overwhelming majority of those people will live their lives and die in obscurity, with little or no impact on the world around them beyond their circles of family, friends, and colleagues. I love my life, and I know I have influence on the people around me just as they influence me in turn. But I have no illusions about my insignificance to the world at large, and I’m ok with that.

Some people, however, have influence out of proportion Oh screw this. Here’s the point: The world is a worse place with some people in it, and it gets a little better when they leave. If someone’s only work in life was to promote narrow-minded intolerance and bigotry, or worse, why would you not be glad they’re gone?

Some may quibble about the definition, but I consider myself an atheist. I don’t believe in gods of any variety, and I’ve never seen or heard of any truly convincing evidence of an afterlife. I would like to be able to believe in such things, because they’re comforting, but comfortable illusions are still illusions. I don’t think Falwell is suffering any kind of judgement or punishment; he’s just dead. So what matters are the things he said and did in this life, and they were pretty awful by and large.

May 092007

— “We let them get out of the habit of watching television a little bit, and it’s going to take some time to get these people back in front of their television sets,” said David Poltrack, chief researcher for CBS (owned by CBS Corp.).

May 072007

This was surprisingly accurate, considering all I did was pick the image that appealed to me most…

Your Brain’s Pattern

You have a dreamy mind, full of fancy and fantasy.
You have the ability to stay forever entertained with your thoughts.
People may say you’re hard to read, but that’s because you’re so internally focused.
But when you do share what you’re thinking, people are impressed with your imagination.
May 012007

The American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2007 report on the Best and Worst Cities for air quality. This explains why my head was totally clear the entire time we were in Aruba, and stuffed up again as soon as we returned to Detroit. We so need to get out of this area…

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