Monthly Archives: September 2016

The Nightmare Song

I love Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. The music is fun, and the lyrics are always amusing, sometimes downright hilarious, especially the “patter songs.” The patter songs from HMS Pinafore, The Mikado and Pirates of Penzance are widely known, but a less well-known G&S work, Iolanthe, has a good one called “The Nightmare Song.” The subject, as it often is in G&S works, is unrequited love, and the tortured fantasies of a lovesick Lord Chancellor. If you hear this performed, you Read more [...]

Classical, Romantic and Bombastic

Composers have written Requiems for hundreds of years, encompassing the full range of musical composition styles, from Renaissance to contemporary and everything in between. Three that stand out for me were written by Mozart, Brahms and Verdi. I call them classical, romantic and bombastic. Now calling Verdi’s “Manzoni” Requiem bombastic is not meant to be derogatory. It’s a stunning piece of music. Verdi was an opera composer, and he liked grandiose gestures (Think “Aida”). So it is Read more [...]

Robert Ingersoll’s Creed

Robert G. Ingersoll is one of my heroes.  He confronted religious faith and showed that it was nothing more than primitive superstition.  At the end of the 19th century, he had accumulated quite a following for what he called "freethought," based on reason, logic and experience.  Sadly, he died in 1899 at 66, far too soon.  He still had much work to do, and nobody of his stature arose to take his place.  His writings, speeches and debates are collected in twelve volumes which can be found at Read more [...]

Abstinence Is Hard

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. -Anonymous The author of this proverb is unknown. Some say Shakespeare, but that is questionable. Nobody really knows…and that is good, because it is nonsense. I am immensely fond of my wife, but before I retired, when I went on business trips, I did not become fonder. I got horny! Substitute horny for fonder in the above proverb, and it would make more sense. But wait, it isn’t my heart that gets horny. I know enough about my anatomy to know where horniness Read more [...]

On Human Cloning

Recent advances in stem cell research have reopened the controversy that has surrounded the issue of human cloning.[i]  There is widespread opposition throughout the world to the reproductive cloning of a human being. Many countries have enacted laws prohibiting it. The UN struggled with the issue for years and finally enacted a non-binding Declaration on Human Cloning in 2005, calling for a ban on all forms of human cloning “inasmuch as they are incompatible with human dignity and the protection Read more [...]

Why is the Vatican a State?

[This was written a few years ago when the pedophile priest scandal was at its peak.  The scandal seems to have died down, but the questions that were raised have not gone away.] The central office of the Catholic Church, The Vatican, is considered a nation.  No other religion is accorded this honor.  Why does the Catholic Church deserve such recognition? This is not a matter of great antiquity or longstanding tradition.  It happened in 1929, less than ninety years ago.  The hallowed figure Read more [...]

Who Gives More To Charity?

Conservatives frequently claim that they give more money to charities that help the poor than liberals do. Is it true? I did some digging and came up with some numbers. In 2010, individuals and their estates gave over $290B to charities.  By far the largest category, (35%) of all charitable giving went to churches.[1]  That’s over a hundred billion dollars. The next largest recipient was educational institutions at about $40B. White evangelical Christians are big contributors to their Read more [...]

Quotes by Victor Stenger – One of my Heroes

Victor Stenger was a physicist, author, philosopher and a religious skeptic. He wrote several books, including “God: The Failed Hypothesis” Subtitle: “How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist.” I have read most of his books, and had a few conversations with Vic via Email. I found him very approachable and friendly…just like his books, which are written in a direct, no-nonsense style. Sadly, he died in 2014, suddenly and unexpectedly. Here are some quotes from his books and writings. “In Read more [...]