A Question of Atheist Scruples – is this my business? edition

The only other person waiting at your bus stop is visibly upset and in tears. Do you say anything?

There are definitely some factors to think about here.

Is this a bus route I’m taking daily at the same time and used to seeing this person waiting at the stop with me every day? If that’s the case, perhaps I’d want to ask what’s wrong. But I don’t tend to be one who pries, so I don’t know if I’d feel comfortable interacting with a sobbing stranger, no matter how friendly we may have become as bus stop buddies.

Is this a teenager or someone even younger who’s clearly in serious distress or pain? Or elderly? Is there evidence of injury, or “just” sadness? I’d feel just as weird ignoring their obvious suffering, though, too. Yikes. I don’t know. I really don’t know with this one. Hopefully I won’t be heartless but I really don’t know if I’d want to get involved.

I don’t have a nice, pat answer to this question. Until I’m in this situation, I truly have no idea how I’d react in it.

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Sounds of Sunday – The King of Hell

I’ve never heard of this artist, or the guy behind the artist, Tom Morello, but I like this particular song.

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A Question of Atheist Scruples – unscrupulous media edition

Your gritty current affairs program is in a ratings war. You can take the lead by broadcasting the ‘execution of the week.’ Do you?

Now the game shows its age a wee bit. There was a time, boys and girls, when you could watch the news at 6pm and watch the same broadcast again at 11pm and otherwise you got no news. Seemed that way, anyway. I didn’t grow up with cable television or satellite at my house. My childhood in the ’80s revolved around the few hours of cartoons I could watch on a Saturday morning, and my university years were spent with Friends, X-Files and whatever dreck Sally Jesse Raphael, Maury, and Jerry Springer would air to compete with each other for audacity. A news circuit running non-stop 24/7 wasn’t much of a thing at the time. 20/20 or 60 Minutes or other current events programs were nothing I’d bother spending time watching either, but that’s the kind of show this question’s focused on.

I think this card would also need to be updated to “school shooting of the week.” Every week in the States there as at least one of those – most recently at a high school in Florida – and it seems impossible for news outlets to “survive” the ratings game unless they dissect the minutia of every possible rumour as to the shooter and his history. They probe his social habits on and offline. And, they run themselves ragged looking for experts to prop up the mental illness angle and “lone wolf” theory that sells these statistically similar boys and men as an ongoing series of unique one-offs. Thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families but god damn you if you try to talk gun control…Cold dead hands and shit…

I wouldn’t want to be in a career where the media piranhas circle a tragedy and add to the carnage by their reporting style. It’s hard enough for the victims without cameras in their faces to record the track of every tear. I don’t have the right mentality for that kind of job.

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A Question of Atheist Scruples – unexpected fitness edition

You are a contender in a marathon race when you accidentally trip the runner beside you. Do you stop to help him up?

Absolutely. I’d feel some guilt if my clumsiness got in the way of someone else finishing the race.

If someone tripped me, on the other hand, I’d gladly use it as an excuse to quit running. I don’t get the point of marathons, generally, but I’m not athletic nor competitive by nature.

There are those who run them on a mission to prove something, though, and that’s entirely different. I heartily approve of that.

I’ve been a fan of a podcast called The Dollop for a while now and one of their episodes a few years ago focused on the Boston Marathon and the women who first tried to run it.

In this New York Times article there’s a photo of Kathrine Switzer being harassed by race officials in the middle of her first attempt in 1967.

Kathrine Switzer’s marathon in 1967 became historic because she was the first woman to complete the all-male race as an official entrant — her registration as “K.V. Switzer” hid her gender. The race resonated far beyond a footnote in the record books when an official tried to force her from the course after a few miles.

“The marathon was a man’s race in those days; women were considered too fragile to run it,” she wrote in an essay for The New York Times 10 years ago. “But I had trained hard and was confident of my strength. Still, it took a body block from my boyfriend to knock the official off the course.” Switzer recovered to finish in 4 hours 20 minutes.

It took another five years before the rules changed to let women sign up as official participants.

(As an aside, the top woman in the 2017 marathon managed the course in 2:21:52 – Edna Kiplagat from Kenya.)

“In 1967, few would have believed that marathon running would someday attract millions of women, become a glamour event in the Olympics and on the streets of major cities, help transform views of women’s physical ability and help redefine their economic roles in traditional cultures,” Switzer wrote.

(Another aside, 1:28:17 was the wheelchair time for Manuela Schar, of Switzerland. The first wheelchair in the run happened in 1975 and these Boston Athletic Association prides itself on its inclusivity.)

How to end this… mind slightly changed on the importance of marathons, I guess I could say. Whether from an individual level or a cultural one, they can be a test of more than endurance and ability of a body; they can be a test of a society’s ability to change its mind as well.

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A Question of Atheist Scruples – wedding edition

You are getting married and want a small, intimate wedding. Your parents who are paying insist on a large, showy affair. Do you let your parents have their way?

I think my mother wanted me to get married back home and have the classic bridal shower with farm/local neighbours I don’t even know to get presents I don’t really need, and have to decorate a hall with crepe paper and silver bells and marry in a church I don’t attend..

Instead, I had a small do in Saskatoon with maybe 50 people total, at an art gallery, and skipped having a dance, a bridal shower, a gift opening, and most of whatever counts as “tradition”. I carried a book (Outlander, wrapped in paper to match the wedding red and because the Hubs reminds me of Jamie) instead of flowers and we had a justice of the peace. And yes, I did pass on inviting a couple people Mom wanted there as friends of the family. Not my friends…

It was lovely!

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Question of Atheist Scruples – Antiques Roadshow edition

Which reminds me – the Lions fundraising flea market is coming up on the February 17th. I go every year. I never buy a ticket to the 50//50 draw even though I know “You can’t win, folks, unless you get a ticket…” or whatever it is they say every three minutes in case people forget there’s a 50/50 draw. You don’t have to be present to win, but you do need to buy.. god, I’m not even there yet. Stop reminding me!!

This card comes from the 2nd edition of the A Question of Scruples, which was released in 1986. Note the Canadian spelling of “neighbour” there. Nice.

On with the card. Neighbour doesn’t feel like packing up all her crap, gives some crap to me. Somehow I find out that weird looking little thing I don’t feel like dusting is actually worth a few dollars. Yay! I mean, uh oh…

I can see this going a few ways.

One, I haven’t actually kept in contact with that neighbour once she’s gone because, while friendly with each other in a neighbourly way, we weren’t really friends socially. I likely have no contact information for her kids or other people she might know and, aside from randomly bumping into her again someday, it’s unlikely our paths will cross in the future. $500 could go towards some other things I actually need in the house.

B) I have kept in touch with her and she’s supremely offended that I’d sell one of her things for any price and that was an heirloom and “you always thought it was weirdly charming which is why I gave it to you!” and then she never wants to speak to me again. Now it’s guilt money I can’t happily spend on anything I want so it has to go toward bills.

On the other hand, perhaps she’s actually delighted to discover the thing was worth some money, says, “No, no, it’s yours now. I’ve got a few more things here I should check the value of…” and goes onto become an antiques expert of some renown and winds up on television.

Lastly, finds out I made money off her stuff, then comes back to my house some day when I’m not there and robs me blind…

That took an unexpected turn.

Truthfully, even if I did find out a piece of someone else’s history could make me money today, I don’t know that I would sell it. I would have to think about it for a bit. If I hung onto it a while longer, would the price get better or worse? How hard up for money am I right now? That kind of thing would factor in.

If I think of it, I’ll snap some shots of items up for grabs on Saturday, if they’re of particular interest. Like this piece from 2009.

Buy God![/caption]

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Question of Atheist Scruples – this sounds like a sit-com

Soon after hitting it off with someone special s/he has to leave town for a few months. Meanwhile, a new opportunity arises. Do you remain faithful?

(I don’t watch the show anymore but I’m reminded of that scene in Big Bang Theory when Leonard and Priya Koothrappali try long distance and he meets that chick at the comic book store and confesses his kiss, only to find out Priya’s already doing the do with another dude.)

First off, I would hope that prior to the move the two of us have sat down and talked about whether or not we’d want to try something long distance. It can work, and I’ve known people who’ve made it work across country, or the world, but it takes a commitment. Is this “someone special” someone I can picture wanting a long term relationship with? Or has this just been a bit of good fun for the both of us but not overly serious?

If we’ve agreed we’ve got a good thing going and are both willing work to keep the relationship running from a distance, then yes, I’d remain faithful to that person. Of course, if I somehow find out he’s done and gone pantsless around someone in his new town…

Bonus round:

You get an expensive gift you don’t like. You can return it for cash without anyone knowing. Do you?

I can’t say that’s ever happened. I have gotten presents that wind up unsuitable to hang onto because reasons (perfumed products, not my style) but I tend to send that kind of thing to Community Living eventually. Someone should be able to make use of it if I won’t.

I’ll admit, though, that we wound up throwing out the single serve coffee machine we got for a wedding gift.

It may have been a re-gift from my aunts as it was, as the coffee pods were close to expiry when the Hubs opened the box. It was also a brand we’d never heard of and getting replacement pods would have been a giant hassle as there were no local suppliers and I’m cheap — I’d rather spend $10.00 on a generic can with 200 cups worth of coffee grounds in it than $7 for 10 capsules that maybe don’t even make a full cup of coffee. I think the Hubs tried using two of them to make one whole cup and still wasn’t satisfied with the flavour.

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Scruples Success!

Here I am as of today, delighted to have come across not one, but two – TWO! – versions of A Question of Scruples. The second edition is one I’ve had before, but the ’90s is one I didn’t know existed! So exciting!

Here’s a sample card from the ’90s version. As a Member of Parliament voting against a 30% pay increase, what do I do with it when I wind up with it anyway? Charity? Hmm…

This is a bad card for me to start with, as I’m not politically minded.

A news report from from April 2017 – “MPs’ self-approved $2,300 salary increase is ‘self-serving’ says taxpayers’ group”

“The context matters,” said Aaron Wudrick, national director for the right-leaning Canadian Taxpayers Federation. Part of that context is the deficits the Liberals are projecting, he said.

Whereas Trudeau campaigned in 2015 on running “modest” deficits of $10 billion, that figure has consistently ballooned since his election and is now expected to reach $25.5 billion by March 31, 2018.

A year earlier, a “cruel joke” of an increase as well:

“Implementing a pay freeze when deficits are being run seems like commons sense, and would show some basic leadership,” Wudrick said in an email.

Every MP and senator received a pay hike of $3,000 to their base salary, but those in the upper echelons of power and influence saw a bigger increase.

The base salary for all 338 MPs has now jumped to $170,400 from $167,400 a year ago. That 1.8 per cent bump will cost taxpayers more than $1 million this year.

In light of both these stories, perhaps I’d be smart to advertise my “raise” as up for grabs to charitable organizations. Perhaps a different one each month? Two per month? It certainly would pay for a lot of orange juice — assuming each serving isn’t $16

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Sounds of Sunday – Jesus is my Friend

Pretty upbeat little number…

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1minion invites god in – humming your praise and joy

(see the tag Inviting God In for more entries regarding this book.)

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. Luke 1:46-47

From page 37 of Joyce Rupp’s book. Does it feel like God’s in here yet? Not overly.

If Mass at Catholic school, singing in the choir, and having religious friends into my first year of university weren’t enough to cement it, it ain’t happening.

This page was in the bit of the book regarding Christmas —

…so much emphasis is placed on material treasures, let us also look at our spiritual treasures and choose a few lines of a favorite song or create a few lines of praise and thanksgiving to God.

Up above I’ve shared some kind of meow hymn. Now is a piece I recall singing in Choir in grade seven:

Walking and leaping… years later I can still sing the chorus without needing the karaoke version.

I’m still recovering from my broken wrist; I have a “9 weeks later” print-out of exercises to put myself through while I wait for my next check-up in February.

Overnight we got 10 cm of snow, roughly, and I had to sweep the car off and shovel the driveway/walk before I left for work. Before I even got that started, I slipped on ice with my proper boots on (original slip was in slippers) but at least this time I just wound up awkwardly on my knees in freshly fallen snow. Don’t think for a minute that this atheist wasn’t grateful nothing worse happened. Holy crap, was I the lucky one. The Young One also slipped and fell on the way to the bus today, says the Hubs, but he was more concerned about not dropping his book in the snow — the dweeb.

It is time to check the size of our heart-door and see if it needs some expanding to let the God of glory enter in.

Nope. My heart is terrific.

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