Skip to main content


Showing posts from October, 2023

Using Popular Superstitions to Justify Slaughter

It is hard to believe that the world can get any crazier.  There is so much shameful, embarrassing,  and reckless talk about Biblical prophecies today because of the conflict between Israel and Gaza. We live in a world of nuclear energy, microelectronics, and 5G telecommunications.  And yet people invoke ancient superstitions to justify mass-slaughter.  When will the world say, "Enough!  These ancient superstitions are not needed in the world anymore."  I doubt that politicians in the US ever will say that.   What was it that Tocqueville said about America in the 1830s?: 'Religious insanity is everywhere prevalent in America,' or something like that.  By chance I watched an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation last night that fit in so perfectly with the situation today.  It was season 3, "Who Watches the Watchers?"    Some anthropologists were on a planet, covertly studying proto-Vulcans at a Bronze Age level.  But their technology used to disguise th

Side Canyons

Autumn is over.  Wasn't it just a month ago that I happily announced that summer was over?  Winter seems to hit Utah in late October every year.  But it was a good autumn despite being too short, so I have no complaints. I was camped at the foot of the city of "Stratos" (recall the old Star Trek episode) where I camped last week and posted about.  While the Little Cute One and I mountain biked into canyon country, it was possible to look up at Stratos and remember it.  For some reason this had a surprisingly strong effect on me.   This year I skipped visiting the main canyon -- it has gotten too crowded and touristy.  So I followed the advice of an old RV friend (at  .)  He was a Denver hiker and RVer who found a good way to work around the crowded hiking trails on Colorado "Fourteeners:"  he only went up mountains that were 13,950 feet high.  Doing so resulted in him having the mountain to himself. I have used his advice so many times,

The Judeo-Christian Tradition on Display Under Gaza's Rubble

 From time to time I reread Carl Becker's "The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth Century Philosophers."  It is a short and delightful book, written by a history professor of all things! It always brings a smile to my face to read, "They courageously discussed atheism, but not before the servants." That issue always came up when post-Christians ask whether God actually exists: "...but where would morality come from, if there was no God?" Keep that old trope in mind when you watch videos of Gazan children being pulled out of the rubble left by the Judeo-Christian tradition, acting through its military technology.  Great work, YHWH!  You were always such a charmer.   from

Levitating On the City of "Stratos"

Central Utah.  Several times this summer I have camped at altitudes high enough to feel like I was in that episode in the third season of the original Star Trek ("The Cloud Minders"), about the city that levitated in the clouds.  The city was called Stratos, where people pursued purely intellectual and artistic pursuits.  Down on the surface of the planet the peasants dug away in the mines and did other things that provided the material basis of the civilization. It brings a smile to my face to think of that episode when I am camp at a place like this.  But maybe there is more than a laughable pretentiousness to this experience.  Call it transcendence.  People flying on airplanes might feel that, too.  I even used to feel it when I reroofed my house, once.  You can feel liberated from the grubby details, the infinite clutter of things, and the useless busy-ness of life near the ground. Actually, verticality is not the dominant quality here; 30 or 40 miles away is a continuous

The Backcountry Babushka

It was about a year ago that I noticed laundromat prices rising sharply, especially the dryers.  I got angry enough to find a substitute: washing my clothes by hand.  It helped me get started in this new habit by visualizing a Russian babushka, with a scarf tied over her head, hauling a load of clothes down to the frozen Volga River, and then chopping a hole in the ice. (Something is wrong with the Brave browser.  I can't upload a photo.  I have to run to the Edge browser.) I got a shock the other day when I dunked my hands in the laundry bucket, early one morning.  It is tempting to start laundry earlier in the day now that days are shorter, so that they have time to dry.  But the water is cold!  Perhaps I should put the laundry bucket inside the van overnight.  Still, it was a satisfying experience.  Imagine that you have lived on restaurant food your entire life, and you suddenly got motivated to cook your own food, and that skillets and pans were a mystery to you.  How satisfyi

A Couple Run-aways Return

A man came by my campsite yesterday and asked if I had seen his dogs.  That seemed timely, because a day earlier I had lost my own dog for about an hour.  She was quite the little drama queen about it, but she has settled down now.  I have decided that she will never be allowed off-leash again.   Anyway, the man got his two dogs back, safe and sound.  We talked about getting a GPS tracker that talks to your smartphone.  I think it would work fine but ... he and I had an aversion to a monthly payment, especially if they try to automatically renew your subscription at the end of the year. The subscription model.  Everybody is adopting it on the internet.  Or trying to.  Personally I am getting better dropping out from anything that wants to charge me something on a monthly basis, forever.  It is a real shame that they are scaring me off.  Nothing is free and people deserve to be paid for their work.  But I prefer to make one-time-only donations at my discretion. So I don't know wha

Rolling Out "New" Heating Technology This Morning

It was quite a surprise to find that you can buy an old-fashioned rubber hot water bottle, not much different from what mommie gave you, as a child, for your ear-ache.  I am using it for the first time this morning.  It appears to be a good product.  Because its shape is flattish it slips better into a parka than a round plastic container does. The Little Cute One is wearing her doggie jacket.  She is sleeping under a pile of sleeping bags on my bed. I appreciate the better sleeping that goes along with chilly fall weather.  The Internet tells us that Hypnos was the ancient Greek god of sleep, and that he was only a minor deity.  Well, really!  Their theologians had their priorities all wrong.  Maybe they were just young. When the sun comes up in this part of the world (Utah), it is easy to appreciate the chilliness, because the air and sky are so crystalline and cheerful.  But it takes some work in the dark hours of the morning, assuming you aren't young and can't simply slee

Unanimity Is Not Healthy

The bizarre behavior of the Canadian Parliament of a couple weeks ago certainly got some attention.  As bad as saluting an actual Nazi was, there was something even more disturbing: their apparent unanimity.  That should have gotten more attention. The American Congress is trying to give them competition in the unanimity syndrome.  What is the number for Congress's support of Israel: 95% ? 97% ?  Wasn't there an old quote from some American politician of a few decades ago that went like, "You can't get a 60% majority to support a Mother's Day resolution?" There is something fishy about Congress's nearly unanimous support of Israel.  Something is broken.  But this is supposed to be an example of 'Freedom and Democracy' that we preach to the rest of the world?

Ancient Tribalisms and Superstitions Should be Shut Down

  I just watched videos showing Gazan parents carrying wounded children into the emergency rooms of hospitals.  It is a bit surprising that they even have hospitals in Gaza.  What should your emotional reaction be to visual images like this?  Both sides in the conflict are part of the YHWH cult, as are American Evangelicals, as well as American Jews, who are mostly-secularized!  Even NATO countries are one-sided in their support of Israel despite religion being pretty much dead in Europe. When will the world say finally say, "To hell with YHWH.  It is time to put these ancient superstitions and tribal fanaticisms aside.  They have caused enough suffering." How does the West reconcile their mighty Multiculturalism with one-sided support of Israel? Don't Palestinian Lives Matter?  If we are supposed to 'Celebrate Diversity' and all cultures are equally valid, then what is evil about Palestinian culture?  What hypocrisy! That is my reaction to these disturbing images

Palestine Rescues NATO

The various regimes of NATO including the Democrat party in the US must be feeling tremendous relief this weekend.  They were headed into a US election season owning a military debacle in Ukraine, inflation, and energy shortages.  They were going to have to explain to their peasants why they lied to them for years about the war in Ukraine. But now they have a chance to escape, thanks to Hamas in the Gaza Strip.  The Ukraine War can be allowed to fall "beneath the fold", to use an old newspaper metaphor.  The Israeli destruction of Gaza will become the "above the fold" story. All NATO will support Israel against the 'unprovoked' attack by Hamas, for 'as long as it takes.'  It will make NATO peasants feel 10 feet tall to look at their Asian-made television screens and see Israeli jets obliterating 'suspected terrorist' facilities in Gaza.  Americans will once again feel they are the 'indispensable' nation and are blessed with the 'g

A Few Stickers and Thorns are Worth It

The Little Cute One has made me pick her up a couple times, now that we are back in Utah and stickers.  At least there aren't a lot of thorns in this part of northeastern Utah.   Actually we are both being good sports about the stickers, because it is so good to enjoy autumn coolness, the absence of flying insects and rattlesnakes, and walking in arroyos again.   Walking in arroyos is something you don't do in the more northern states in the summer: water flows in the creeks up there!  So I missed these Utah arroyos. People who don't have dogs may not know what they are missing with cool dry air and walkable arroyos.  I never go to arroyos that are big brand names of the tourist industry.  I just use what is immediately available, right from my campsite.  More times than not, there are pleasant surprises to be found. The best times come from going with human friends and their animals.  Here is a photo from a Utah arroyo last year. Dogs are chasing scents of course.  But som