A. J. Ayer on the G-Word

Language, Truth and Logic

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Today’s Our Periodic Pasta:
“The ‘person’ who is supposed to control the empirical world [but] is not himself located in it…is not an intelligible notion at all. We may have a word which is used [God], as if it named this ‘person,’ but…it cannot be said to symbolize anything…The mere existence of the noun is enough to foster the illusion that there is a real, or at any rate a possible entity corresponding to it.”
Sir A. J. Ayer

Divine Guidance

Photo scan of Susan B. Anthony from Life Magaz...

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Today’s Our Periodic Pasta:

“I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.”

Susan B. Anthony

Behind Closed Doors

Pony play (sexual habit). This is not a cartoo...

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Today’s Our Periodic Pasta:

Christian Fundamentalism: The doctrine (in part) that there is an absolutely powerful, infinitely knowledgeable, universe-spanning entity that is deeply and personally concerned about my sex life.”



Sir David Attenborough on the Wonderful Creation of Parasitic Worms

David Attenborough's Life Stories

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Today’s Our Periodic Pasta:

“I don’t know [why we’re here]. People sometimes say to me, ‘Why don’t you admit that the humming bird, the butterfly, the Bird of Paradise are proof of the wonderful things produced by Creation?’ And I always say, well, when you say that, you’ve also got to think of a little boy sitting on a river bank, like here, in West Africa, that’s got a little worm, a living organism, in his eye and boring through the eyeball and is slowly turning him blind. The Creator God that you believe in, presumably, also made that little worm. Now I personally find that difficult to accommodate…”

Sir David Attenborough


Peter A. Angeles on Creation Ex Nihilo

Today’s Our Periodic Pasta:

“What was God doing…for an eternity…before He created the universe ex nihilo? God existed by Himself through an eternity…without needing a universe. Why did He suddenly desire to create the universe?”

Peter A. Angeles, American philosophy professor


Upping One’s Spiritual Carbohydrate Intake

Touched by His Noodly Appendage, a parody of T...

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As a faithful member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) I would like to propose an alternative to the popular daily Christian devotional, Our Daily Bread. Pastafarians can learn from their Christian counterparts by feeding their spirits with reflections on the sacred (or in the case of FSM, the profane). As it is a religion of few words, you’ll notice that these Pastafarian devotionals will be very concise and will consist primarily of quotations. Likewise there won’t be a new installment every single day unlike its Christian analog. (This doesn’t mean, however, that these regular reflections on His Noodliness will be any less instrumental in the ongoing spiritual development of those who continually seek to be touched by His Noodly Appendage.) Without further ado, I give you the first installment of the Pastafarian devotional, Our Periodic Pasta:

Not only is God dead, but just try to find a plumber on weekends.
Woody Allen


Paula Kirby on Knowing God

Dogma Church

Knowing what kind of god someone believes in tells us a great deal about that person – but nothing whatsoever about the truth or otherwise of the existence of any god at all. (link)


Honoring a World-Class Educator

Group of children in a primary school in Paris

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Retire from work, but not from life.  ~M.K. Soni

My aunt, Karen Burd, is one of the most remarkable people I know. She has a huge heart, a sharp mind, and an uncanny ability to connect with children, their parents, and other educators. She’s retiring this year after 33 years as an educator, and I was so moved by her announcement in the school newsletter that I had to share it here:

“The best is yet to come!” This phrase reflects my thoughts as a member of Lowell Area Schools.

My first classroom of fourth grade children is now 43 years old. (I have a hard time wrapping my head around that reality, believe me.) After twenty years enjoying my work and relationships with children and their families in the role of classroom teacher, I was given the honor and responsibility to serve as Bushnell’s principal. The first Kindergarten children I supported in my role as principal will graduate from Lowell High School Sunday. (How can thirteen years have already passed???) This year I have been blessed to serve as Director of Early Learners Academy, supporting Lowell’s youngest learners at the beginning of their educational journey.

When children talk about a pending birthday or moving to the next grade level, I typically respond in the following manner. “Did you enjoy being five? Wait until you find out what being six is about! It is even better than five!” “If you loved first grade, second grade is going to knock your socks off! You’ll love it even more than first grade!”

I truly believe life continually gets better. Simply be watchful and ready to embrace the gifts waiting to be discovered and act upon them with an open heart and one’s best effort. With that positive outlook, I share with you my decision to retire at the conclusion of this school year.

Superintendent Greg Pratt will share plans for administrative support of our district preschool programs and Bushnell in the near future.

It has been an honor to partner with amazing teachers, dedicated support staff, supportive families, and professional administrative colleagues. With collective energies focused on the academic, social, and emotional well being of our greatest blessing – our children – every day has been a gift. Thank you all for allowing me into your lives, minds, and hearts. Thank you for the learning you’ve each provided me through the years. As you contemplate change, my response remains the same; the best is yet to come!!!!

With you, reaching for the stars,

Karen Burd, Bushnell Principal

Aunt Karen has touched countless lives including my own. When I was thirteen years old I became her “step-nephew” when my mom married her brother. From the moment I met her I was made to feel like nothing less than a long-lost blood relative by her and her family. It felt like a reunion. I can only imagine how much her schoolchildren and staff have benefited from exposure to her passion and grace. I can’t wait to see the next chapter of her life unfold as she continues to impact all with whom she comes into contact.


Dietary Dogma

Full course dinner

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Richard Nikoley, the man behind the health and fitness blog Free the Animal, subscribes to a rigorously scientific, “Paleo-esque” view of human health and nutrition. He takes crap from vegans and vegetarians for his promotion of the consumption of (grass-fed, organic, humanely treated) meat. He takes crap from low-carbers and certain Paleo Diet adherents for promoting the occasional potato or plate of rice. He takes crap from low-faters for promoting cooking with butter. And on and on. He takes crap from a LOT of people for not viewing nutrition in absolute, black and white terms.

Recently a reader gave him crap for promoting the consumption of fruit. (That’s right–fruit, that nasty sweet stuff full of evil sugar!) He responded with a post that included a toungue-in-cheek sample meal plan demonstrating the ease with which–with equal opportunity–he can perturb food-fundamentalists of all stripes:


Breakfast is eggs cooked in butter, with bacon and fruit; Lunch is a salad with grilled chicken or salmon; Dinner is a big steak and potato. (pisses off: low fatters, low carbers, vegetarians, egg white eaters and some paleos)


Skip breakfast; Lunch is the biggest steak you can find, nothing else; Dinner is a hunk of meat and a salad. (pisses off: dietitians, nutritionists, vegetarians, some paleos)


Nothing; fast day. (pisses off: dietitians, nutritionists, the USDA, the farmers who grow your hearthealthywholegrains, and just about everyone)


Breakfast is a huge amount of fruit, like two cantaloup or honey dew, or a big watermelon; Lunch is nothing; Dinner is a big helping of steamed white rice along with a meat, fish or fowl choice.  (pisses off: see above)


Breakfast is meat. Lunch is meat. Dinner is meat; a zero carb day.  (pisses off: Catholics, high carbers, – vegetarians and vegans contemplate suicide)


Breakfast is eggs with meat and fried potatoes; Lunch is fish with vegetables; Dinner is raw fish, raw oysters and any additional seafood you like. (pisses off: Catholics for being a day late, low fatters, low carbers, vegetarians, some Paleos)


Breakfast is two Bloody Mary’s chased with steak, eggs, potatoes and toast of choice; Lunch is a gin or vodka martini chased with pasta of choice; have a slice of pizza as an afternoon snack; Dinner is 1/3 to 1/2 bottle of single malt scotch and the biggest piece of rare prime rib you can find within 100 miles. (pisses off: Everyone)

I particularly like when he waxes philosophical:

Just eat real food, eat it often and exclusively — except now and then — enjoy your life, and create opportunities to socialize and share food with others.

Get good sleep, give your lover a decent f*cking, and laugh at anyone and everyone who wants to prescribe a life for you, especially as concerns politics and its whores.

Richard may be a bit brash, perhaps, but he sure knows how to make a point and keep things interesting. In some ways he’s kind of the Christopher Hitchens of the nutrition world.



Playing Chase with an Otter