Why I Need to be Outspoken About Atheism


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Someone posted this on my Genesis Bible Commentary page and since I don’t get too many comments around here, I thought it warranted its own post.

I must confess that I have not read you commentary, just seen some of your pages while looking for something else.
But  I was just wondering why someone who clearly does not believe in God go to such extreme lengths to proof it. Like someone building a plane to proof that a plane can not fly.
Just let go! If you carry on reading and studying like this you run the risk of becoming a believer! Enjoy your carefree life, I mean, if you are dead you are dead, why worry.

Hi Josua, thanks so much for stopping by and inquiring. It’s a fair question, but it would also be fair to ask a MADD member why they want to stop people from drunk driving or why an interventionist keeps trying to get people to go to treatment or why social workers are always trying to convince people to end their abusive relationships. Because we care about people other than ourselves.

You must understand, I’ve seen some pretty awful things happen in the name of religion, and I had some very intense, insane, and in retrospect, terrifying experiences during the couple years I was a believer. I also had a friend who put a knife to a woman’s throat over a religious disagreement. I had another who jumped off a bridge because Jesus told him he could fly. I’ve had two close friends (two that confided in me about this, anyway) who were depressed and borderline suicidal because they were convinced that God hated them and wanted them to suffer. I have seen enough effects from religion to know these are not just isolated incidents.

And finally, I had a next-door neighbor, whose family actually introduced me to God when I was a kid, who murdered six people in the name of Jesus in 2008.

It’s hard to see all this needless suffering and not want to speak up to try to make a difference. I feel sometimes like I could have saved those six people if I had just wandered to the end of the road and given my neighbors grief for what they believed. I was too respectful, or too shy or young, or just didn’t care. Maybe I never could have made a difference, but I’ll never know. I don’t ever want to feel like that again, so I decided that I wasn’t going to hold back in my fight against the insanity.

I totally respect and care about all the religious folks out there who are being victimized and don’t realize it, but I don’t feel obligated to respect a religion that promises to “draw people toward goodness” and pretends like it’s bringing communities together, then turns around and directly causes this much suffering in my friends and neighbors. I do, however, feel an obligation to speak the truth and help others avoid that suffering.

First Page of another Action Novel


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Here’s the first page of a novel idea I’ve had bouncing around in my head for a year or two now. It’s probably something I’m not gonna actually write for a  long time. I’ve got too many other writing and programming projects I want to do right now, but I do really like the concept for the opening, so I thought I’d just write it out for the fun of it. The style is a bit different than what I’m trying to do right now as well. Very male action-violence oriented.

I know the whole amnesia thing is a little cliche in an action story, but I feel like I’ve got kind of a unique take on it, at least when we get to the explanation of why our character has it. I promise, this isn’t like Lost. I do have explanations for everything. I never start writing unless I have a pretty clear vision of where it’s going.

As he stared into his whiskey glass, listening to the jingling of the ice cubes, somehow still audible through the familiar sound of The Outlaw Torn blasting on the jukebox behind him, everything he’d ever known and cared about disintegrated, and he was left with a vague sense that he was in the right place at the right time. He was just where he was supposed to be.

He knew he was listening to Metallica, knew it was Tullamore Dew swishing in his glass, but as he looked around the dingy bar at the mix of country rednecks and pseudo-gangsters, he realized he had no idea where he was. An odd bar. Blacks and rednecks conversing comfortably with one pronounced gay man sipping a martini as he waited for a beautiful woman in tight, dirty white cargo pants to take her shot in their game of pool.

Where the fuck am I?

He sipped his whiskey. What else do I not know?

My name.

He thought. Nothing.

His eyes wandered back to his glass. Did someone spike my drink?

Possibly. But somehow that thought didn’t prevent him from taking another sip.

Am I one of those people who forgets everything constantly and every ten minutes I start this same conversation over again, each time forgetting that my brain doesn’t work? I’ll be having this “who am I” conversation with myself over and over again until I die.

Maybe I wrote a note to myself. He checked his arms. That guy in Memento had written all over himself.

His arms were bare.

He looked back at the woman in the white cargo pants, tight around the ass, loose the rest of the way down, frayed and torn at the bottom, with lots of pockets, more than enough room for phone, cash, drugs, switchblade, condoms and whatever else a girl might need for the evening. His real concern should be figuring out what the hell was going on, but somehow he had a hard time taking his eyes off those pants and that ass.

Wallet.

He felt something in his pocket and set his drink down to pull it out. A standard black leather wallet, full of cards and cash. A driver’s license showed through a clear plastic cover. He looked at the picture, then up at the mirror behind the bar. The same person. Scott Donahue. That’s my name… but somehow it didn’t sound familiar.

The wallet was thick. He opened the long side pocket to reveal row upon row of crisp, brand new hundred dollar bills.

Interesting.

He slipped the wallet back in his pocket and looked up at the bartender. Somehow this all had to do with this glass of whiskey.

He took a sip.

“Do you need something?” the barkeep said with a friendly smile.

“Do you remember what time I came in here?”

The man looked at the clock above the bar. “Like ten, I think. You losing track of time there Buddy?”

“Yeah, kinda.” He looked at the clock. Nearly midnight. “Can I get a water?”

“Sure thing.”

He looked back around the bar. All these people, drinking, laughing, bitching about sports or how someone cut them off in traffic or shouting about how much they love the next song on the jukebox, none of them having any idea this strange man had just lost everything he had ever known. Three minutes ago everything changed and he had no idea why, and somehow he knew no one could help him.

His eyes wandered back to the woman, the only woman in the bar other than the old lady sitting in the back next to her husband, taking a healthy drink from her twenty-four ounce can of Pabst.

Those cargo pants. Worn by the type of girl he knew would never speak to him. Her ass swayed as she leaned over the table to take another shot. He watched. I don’t care if she notices me staring. I’m a new man now, as of right now.

She missed her shot, but didn’t seem to care. She stood and turned to reveal the black, seemingly brand new Slipknot tee shirt molded around her tits and showing just an inch of tight belly. She caught his eye for a moment then moved on, glancing toward the back of the bar.

No. He stopped himself and spun back around on the stool. What was he doing? He needed to figure this out. I need to get to a computer and Google myself.

Midnight. Everything would be closed.

He felt something in his back pocket. Keys, probably. Maybe he would recognize a car in the parking lot.

I don’t even know what city I’m in. When I walk out that door, will I be in downtown LA or out in the Wisconsin country side?

He rapped his hands on the bar. Just finish your drink, pay up, calm down and head outside. You’ll be okay. You might not remember, but you can still think. This could be a good thing. This could be a new beginning. Maybe there were things better left forgotten.

He took a long drink of his whiskey.

Then a presence appeared behind him and a moment later a softness against his back and a gentle hand to his side.

There she was. The girl in the cargo pants. Her breasts pressed into his back as her hand pulled around his stomach and her long dark hair melded with his own.

That’s why he couldn’t take his eyes off her. She was already his.

Her lips brushed against his earlobe and she whispered, “Ryan, Baby, we need to get the fuck out of here.”

I thought I was Scott. But somehow Ryan felt better.

“Okay,” he replied softly. “Can I finish my drink?”

“No. Pay up.” She paused as she nuzzled his neck with her chin, then returned to his ear. “I think they’re onto us. The guy by the wall.”

The wallet came out with one hand and a wave to the bartender with the other.

“Close out?” he asked.

Ryan nodded. The lady had decided that was his name.

“Twenty-six bucks.”

Ryan slapped a hundred down on the bar. “Gimme sixty back.”

“Thanks Buddy. Appreciate it.” The bartender saluted as he brought the bill to his eye to check the authenticity. A moment later the sixty bucks came back over the bar, and Ryan and this girl had slipped from their spot to head, arm in arm, to the front door. They pushed through the tiny foyer stinking of stale cigarettes and out into the open, hot desert air.

He looked out on dark rolling hills, sand, a gas station and a highway heading off into the distance. A strip mall in the middle of nowhere.

“Can they see us from in there?” she asked.

“I don’t know.” He looked back at the windows. “I don’t think so.”

But she was already sprinting. The gravel crackled under their feet as he worked to keep up. She headed toward an old black sports car and slid to a stop at the drivers side. Thank God, because Ryan had no idea where they were going. He came to a stop at the passenger side.

“Keys!” she shouted.

He reached into his back pocket and tossed them across. She snatched them from the air and a moment later she was inside, unlocking his door.

“Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!” she stammered as she cranked the keys in the ignition. They backed wildly into the parking lot, the sound of pebbles flying and tires spinning matching the volume of the engine revving. She slammed the brakes again, Ryan’s hands slapping against the dashboard as they hit the middle of the parking lot. “The case!” Her left hand fished under her seat as her right threw the car into first gear. “Thank God. It’s still here.”

A second later he was thrown back into his seat as he snatched for the seat-belt caught behind the headrest. They burst out of the parking lot and skidded onto the open pavement as Ryan looked back to see four men run from the front tavern door. They paused only a moment before sprinting toward their vehicles.

“Fuck!” she screamed as she shifted from first to third.

He slipped the seat-belt into its latch and looked at her just as she shifted up to fifth. “Fuck!” She slammed her palms on the steering wheel. “How the fuck did they find us?”

Was it really such a smart idea to follow this woman?

That was probably a question he should have asked a long time before he forgot everything. As he looked at her, his heart thumping in his chest, somehow he knew he could trust her. In the back of his mind he knew it might be a trick of her beauty, but in his heart he knew she had his back.

“Baby?” she said. “What the fuck you doing? The rifle’s under the seat. Don’t waste no fucking time.”

Destroying Lives Based on Time of Day


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Someone sent this around an email chain today, kind of as a joke about wanting to only work half days. This is an article about “decision fatigue”, the idea that if you make tons of decisions in a day you just kinda get worn out and your brain just doesn’t want to keep going. It’s an interesting idea, but my point has nothing to do with this.

Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue? – NYTimes.com.

The article is talking about a parole board in Israel who judged the prisoners, not by what they had done or how they had improved, but by what time of day they appeared for their hearing.

Prisoners who appeared early in the morning received parole about 70 percent of the time, while those who appeared late in the day were paroled less than 10 percent of the time.

Now think about that. This isn’t just one judge. This article is talking about a trend in human thinking, something that may be affecting all judges and parole boards all over the world. 70 percent versus 10 percent. That’s a ridiculously big difference, and when you’re dealing with human lives you’re talking about phenomenal levels of unfairness. If you compare black and white people going to parole boards I doubt you would see a difference that huge. Why is race-based unfairness such a horrible crime but time-based unfairness is just a light-hearted side note?

What I find amazing is that we can have these kind of articles and information printed for all to read and yet people still try to tell me that criminal justice is fair.

There was nothing malicious or even unusual about the judges’ behavior.

Seriously? Nothing unusual? And sure it wasn’t malicious but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s cruel, wrong, and makes a mockery of our sense of justice and fairness. (Upon re-reading this, I remembered that putting people in prison is inherently malicious. That’s the whole point. It’s designed to make people suffer.)

It’s funny too that the New York Times can start off an article describing a horrible injustice, but because it’s an injustice against criminals they just move on to the psychology and how it affects our lives, never stopping to care about the human lives. I think this really illuminates society’s total lack of compassion for anyone labeled, for whatever reason, a criminal. We don’t even see them as people. How can we seriously expect them to reform and have respect for society when we treat them like this?

Customize or Remove Header and Footer in PDF Creation Station


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Occasionally folks have asked me if they can remove or customize the headers and footers in my WordPress plugin, PDF Creation Station. Unfortunately I’m trying to focus more on my fiction writing right now so I’m on a development hiatus and haven’t been adding to this plugin. However, if you can hack some simple PHP, someone left this comment explaining how to do it yourself.

Thanks for the info Luis!

yes you can!, i´ve done it on mine, $objTcpdf->SetPrintHeader(false); $objTcpdf->SetPrintFooter(false);

this lines are to remove the header or footer and have to be written on kalins_pdf_create.php somewhere around lines 218 – 220

or search in the tcpdf.php file for –> public function Footer() { function and there you can add some text or change the black line

for example to add some text on the left side of the footer i add

$textofoot = utf8_decode(‘CONFIDENCIAL: La información aqui contenida,es para la evaluación del cliente.’);

$this->writeHTML($textofoot);