South Carolina Pastor gets jail time for being too loud in church

September 16, 2014

Neighbours had complained repeatedly about Johnnie Clark and his “turn it up to 11″ approach to his church’s sound system, often running it at crazy volumes for evening services. The police had to go there dozens of times and the church has been fined several times. In June a judge granted them an injunction prohibiting loud services between 8pm and 8am which they refused to follow and now they’re reportedly shocked that a jury sentenced him to a couple weeks of jail time plus more fines. From WLTX:

“I can’t believe it, jail time, for serving God, what’s next,” said Pastor and First Lady Harriet Clark.

No no, honey. It’s not jail for serving god. It’s jail for being too fucking loud when you’ve already been told bunches of times to turn the sound down. Be nice to your neighbours and respect their right to a quiet night.

“They are trying to tell us how not to worship. We have church at 7:30, so what does that mean we only have 30 minutes to worship? ” Clark says.

At the “Pump up the volume!” level, yes. After eight, worship all you want, but at reduced volumes. I don’t see the problem here beyond outright stubbornness and a belief that you’re all above the rules. You have to abide by city rules too, not just the god rules you’ve cherry picked to follow. By this story, I guess “love thy neighbours” is one you’ve opted to ignore.

If you want more than a half hour of loud, have your service at 4pm or something. There’s nothing in the bible that states service must be at 7:30 or you all go to hell. Adjust your services so you can abide by the law. Stubbornness again.

Borders believes that their rights are being violated because they can’t praise God in their own way. He says the real problem is that the city noise ordinance isn’t specific.

This is not about the city’s general noise ordinance now. This is about the specific injunction you refused to follow.

“It’s up to the neighbors to say if its irritating to them or a nuisance to them. Well you can get a weed eater and go outside and if someone complains nothing will be done, but when it comes to worshiping God its now a problem,” said Borders.

Nobody in their right mind would hook a weed eater up to an advanced sound system and crank the volume for as long as one your services likely runs. If someone did that, you can be damned sure complaints would roll in and something would be done about it, pronto. Especially if the same thing happened night after night after night…

The church has owned the property for several years and thinks it’s not fair that they are being punished because of the close proximity to their neighbors.

Wah wah wah, we want special treatment! Sorry. You can’t have it. Rules are rules and you’ve been told repeatedly to be quiet after 8pm. Did you guys go deaf from all the loud music?

Also, did the neighbourhood pop up over night, or was the church property already surrounded by housing when you bought the land? Even if it’d been on the outskirts of town at purchase however many years ago, it’s part of the city now due to urban expansion and has to abide by city rules like everyone else in that neighbourhood.

You’re not like the alligator in Florida who used someone’s swimming pool because the swamp they used to hunt in got landscaped over when the city expanded. (The gator in the story was relocated to a special farm, not killed. That’s special treatment and deserved.)

The church admits they should have soundproofing but they’re complaining that it’s too expensive to overhaul the church. I wonder how much they paid to overhaul their entertainment system, myself. There was money galore for that, I’m guessing.

Maybe they should try a Kickstarter campaign or something. For all they know, their neighbours would be more than willing to throw a few hundred bucks their way in order to shut them up…


Oklahoma Pastafarian wears colander in official photo

September 16, 2014

For the truly dedicated like Shawna Hammond, the colander represents the freedom of religion.

I usually wind up finding British papers reporting on this type of story and the same is true here. The Mirror reports:

Atheist turned Pastafarian Shawna Hammond agreed to take off her glasses for the picture, but was adamant she should wear the kitchen utensil.

Oklahoma state rules say that religious headpieces are permitted providing they do not cause shadows and do not obstruct the view of the face.

Stunned driving office workers were left bemused and sent into hysterics by the choice of headwear and went on to question the unusual beliefs.

She told News Channel 4: “I asked if I could wear my religious headwear and he said, yes, it just couldn’t have any logos, or any type of writing. I told him it didn’t, and I went out to my car and got my colander.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has the final word on whether or not her license photo meets their critera in term of religious headgear. So wait and see if there’s an update to this story down the road.

At the end of the article they offer a poll:

pasta poll

At the time of posting:

pasta poll results

Talk about an unfun bunch of respondents. None was my pick, too, admittedly.

That said, these folks that fight for the right to wear pasta strainers on their heads do it to remind those in power (to whatever degree) that religion needs to be a choice. It’s not a life sentence with no chance of parole. There should always be the right to choose to opt out.


Atheist Scruples: how to get ahead in business

September 15, 2014

The question may be a bit out of date:

You are an illustrator struggling for recognition. You can’t get past a secretary to see an editor. Do you like and say a prominent critic sent you?

These days it’s less about office secretaries and more about online presence and knowing how to network in a virtual environment. It goes for any creative endeavour. The Man’s noticed this with his music work and efforts to build connections and team up on projects. He’s not a schmoozer by nature so pimping his stuff everywhere every five minutes is not the approach he’d feel comfortable taking and he’s already told me about at least one guy he’s unfollowed on his Facebook feed due to to similar behaviour.

He’s starting an illustration course next week as part of his USCAD art certificate. He was hoping to do a printmaking course this semester as well but it didn’t work out, sadly. That would have been cool. He’s looking forward to the class, though. On both cabin trips this summer he worked on a couple pieces with pen and chalk pastels. I can’t show the art, but I’ll include the pictures I took of the inspirations.

Wine and Glasses

Wine and Glasses

The piece he did of this he’s planning to give to his folks as it’s their cabin we were using. We already drank the wine ourselves. Whatever it was, it was nice.

The trees have eyes...

The trees have eyes…

He began to regret his choice to do trees as they’re really bumpy and difficult. He opted for a simpler storybook look to it that still evoked the sense of forest surroundings and it turned out well, I think.

The Guardian had a piece a few years ago written by an illustrator detailing how she got into the business. It’s a good read. Emma Block credits starting a blog for her artwork but admits there’s more to it than that.

I got my first job as an illustrator for card printer Moo’s pre-designed packs in 2008 just before I started university. Moo contacted me after they saw my artwork on a pack of their cards I ordered for myself. My next job came when the greeting cards company Woodmansterne (a client I am still working with today) saw my work on Moo’s website.

As well as my university work, I was busy producing work for myself and for online publications such as Amelia’s Magazine and Cellar Door. Free work has some value when you are establishing your career, but be picky about what you do.

The Man had a bit of luck lately with a fellow he knows who wanted music to rap over and even I liked it. And I seem to recall the fellow who put out his cassette at I Had an Accident Records noted a while back that his album had been in a shop somewhere in Europe. That was pretty cool news.

He’d love to make solid money with his music so he wouldn’t have to work cruddy jobs with cruddy hours. I feel for him. I hate seeing him unhappy.


Sounds of Sunday: Captain Groovy and his Bubblegum Army

September 14, 2014

You cannot discuss the sixties without at least mentioning the teeny bopper music known as Bubblegum Music. The birth of bubblegum is generally dated from the success in 1968 of The Lemon Pipers’ “Green Tambourine”, 1910 Fruitgum Company’s “Simon Says” and The Ohio Express’ “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy”, but music critics have identified novelty songs including The Dixie Cups’ “Iko Iko” and Patti Page’s “(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?” as possible precursors


via the 60s Official Site

The SILS Library system has a few of the Bubblegum Classics albums and I think they’ve got some kickass songs on them, at least in terms of other songs I like, like these:

“Knock Three Times” by Dawn
“Candy” by the Kids from the Brady Bunch
“Montego Bay” by Bobby Bloom
“A Little bit Me, a Little bit You” by the Monkees
“Sugar Sugar” by the Archies
“I’m Gonna Make You Mine” by Lou Christie

and what winds up being so sweet it’s almost too painful to listen to after a while: “Save your Kisses for Me” by Brotherhood of Man.

It’s just all the fun stuff I grew up listening to, and other things I’d never come across before like the one picked for the headline.

Or Indian Giver by 1910 Fruitgum Company, the very title very telling of its age. But, who hasn’t experienced that “I don’t want you anymore” moment with someone you really cared about – or at least thought you did. One could make a loose argument that the guy’s anger over the breakup is making him think in an unPC kind of way but maybe that’s actually why the woman broke things off in the first place and now we see him as she did.

Reading too much in the bubbles? Watch me turn into a tea leaf reader next… Doomed!. You’re all doomed!


The reason I failed Elementary Education…

September 13, 2014

Well, not failed, exactly, but I did wind up in a meeting with an adviser near the end of my second year in university who suggested I apply for a different program or be put on probation my third year.

So I went back and looked at my Arts and Science courses from year one and literally said to myself, which class had the best grade? Sociology it is…

I enjoyed university quite a bit after that. I complained about the essays but I’m still glad I didn’t have to fight against my total lack of aptitude and passion. Kids deserve teachers that love the work and know how to make it exciting.

The Man and I were working with the Little Man a bit this morning. He’s already had some “homework” from his grade 1 teacher related to shoe-tying — he knows how, he’s just really slow and deliberate with it due to lack of practice. Parent/guardian fail there, to not have him better prepared. “I can’t!” He’d say and start crying. “No, you know how. You can and you will get better at this. That’s what the practice is for.” We kept telling him the same thing in various ways. He’ll be doing more of that before we sit down for lunch, and before we make cookies and before he plays any more games or watches a movie. And before his mother picks him up later today.

It was a similar but slightly more frustrating experience when he decided to write a to-do list with one thing on it: “PLAY NINTENDO DS”. He figured out “play” easily enough but he does way too much guessing rather than thinking things through. His guesses get really wild like he doesn’t see the difference between what’s likely to be the next letter based on the sound of the word and what’s absolutely ridiculously wrong.

Also, his personality seems to lean toward quitting when things get hard and gets stubborn when we try to show him how to figure things out. It was a minor war just getting him to write the colour RED. He was guessing every vowel except the one he needed, even after I told him it’s the same one in the word TEN that he’d just written down moments earlier. I don’t know if this is lack of confidence or lack of care or if he’s running on mad hope that if he stalls long enough someone will do the work for him. A mix of all three, probably.

Bringing me back to the education side of things. I don’t know the tricks that make kids eager to learn. How much of that can be taught though and how much of if is inherent in the kid himself?

All he really seems to care about knowing right now is all the ins and outs of Skylanders so what I probably should do is get a book of Skylanders crap and he can practice writing all their names and start writing everything he knows about them – which is already far more than I could possibly give a damn about. But, play to his interests, that’s probably a big key to future success here.

All of a sudden I’m reminded of a girl I knew through 4-H back in the days when it was more about horses and cows than computer programming. We had a series of public speaking assignments for this particular English class one year at school and every one of her talks was about horses. She was mad for horses. The teacher got tired of hearing about horses for some reason, however, and asked her to plan her next talk – the major 10-15 minute show and tell – on another topic. So, she came dressed head to toe in jockey gear and talked about jockey gear.

Well played.


Lazy Saturday planned

September 13, 2014

At least in terms of blogging. Maybe I can throw something together later on in the day when I’m by myself…

The Man works a later shift and the Little Man will be — underfoot is the wrong term — eager to hang out with us. That sounds kinder. I plan to throw the two of them together for the morning so I can make some meatloaf and in the afternoon when it’s just the Little and me, we have a date to make gingerbread dinosaurs. I have person shaped cutters also, but that seems kind of boring. I may try making ring cookies while I’m at it, too. I have round cutters of various sizes and used together I should be able to make that work. Check this post again later and see if pictures get added.

Update 1:51 same day:

Cookie success. Gingerbread is always awesome. The dinos and circles turned out fine. The ginger people became a little more aliensque and mutant but that’s fine, too.

alien mutants

dino circles


Atheist Scruples: the swingers edition

September 12, 2014

I think that’s what it’s called, anyway.. I’m so unhip.

Your free-spirited mate wants you to participate in partner-switching with another couple you know. Do you agree to try the arrangement?

I’m flashing back to the days of internet chat and online dating attempts and some of the ludicrous requests I’d get from total strangers once they knew I was a woman. I really don’t want to join a threesome at 7:30 in the morning, block conversation…

It just ain’t my bag, baby…

I won’t judge couples that want to engage in swap meets, as it were, should people I know feel open enough to tell me that’s the kind of life they’re living. I just don’t think I’d be able to be that free and easy with my sexuality and gallivant with someone who was not my chosen partner, even for just one night. I’ve never been put in the position to know if I could, though, either. Of the few men I did date, none of them seemed to be people who’d engage in this and the Man, who I love dearly, thinks about this the same way I do. We’re both serial monogamists.

I’m completely pro polyamory, though. Hell. Whatever joy can be found in the world should be shared with as many loves as possible. The nice thing about polyamory set ups is that everyone’s on board and there’s no crippling jealousy to deal with or cruel sneaking around. Ultimately it’s the betrayal and secrecy and loss of trust that really wrecks relationships. I envy people who can make multiple partners work. Quoting from the Atlantic article just linked to:

Increasingly, polyamorous people—not to be confused with the prairie-dress-clad fundamentalist polygamists—are all around us. By some estimates, there are now roughly a half-million polyamorous relationships in the U.S., though underreporting is common. Some sex researchers put the number even higher, at 4 to 5 percent of all adults, or 10 to 12 million people. More often than not, they’re just office workers who find standard picket-fence partnerships dull.

And, from a practicality standpoint, not as economically viable. Wouldn’t a lot of people be better off with more sharing of expenses and child care? Three or four adults chipping in would make for something a little more secure than a single paycheque or one person trying to juggle two or more jobs to make ends meet.

Related: one film to look for called Hide and Seek, which recently won the top award at the Edinburgh film festival.

The jury, headed by Israeli director Amos Gitai, described Hide and Seek as “very innovative” and that “all those involved … we believe to be very talented”. The film, which stars Josh O’Connor and Hannah Arterton, is about a group of friends who set up a utopianist commune in an isolated rural environment and, according to the film-makers, are “seeking to challenge social conventions and their own tolerances by engaging in scheduled partner-swapping”.

Interested in trying a multiple partner experience and also a cruise? Topless Travel may still have room on their November tour of Haiti, Honduras and Mexico. They also have trips to Jamaica and Thailand. Prefer the locals? Check Meetup in your area, or start a group yourself if you have to. It’s unlikely you’ll be the only interested one.

So, there you go. Feel free to let me know how it goes, too…


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