The Test: How the Coconut Made Me An Atheist

I apologize for the length of this post, but if you stick with it, I hope you will find it to be worth your time.

It was a raining Chicago day today. So I took the bus home (and I am so glad I did). At the Moody Bible College bus stop, two young women - probably 18 to 25 - hopped on the bus looking like classic home-schoolers. If you are unfamiliar with this look, think ankle-length corduroy skirts, bleached jean jackets, and matching hand-knit scarves, hats, and mittens.

They sat next to me and spoke unusually loud for bus conversation. I easily overheard all they said (without trying). One of the girls was apparently flying out of O'hare and the other was accompanying her since she was afraid to take the "el" alone. Adorable.

Then came the good part. Right before they got off the bus to transfer to the blue line, one of the girls took something out of her purse and set it on the seat next to her (and next to me). I looked at it and my eyes widened. It was a pamphlet! A apologetic, evangelistic tract! And it was wonderful. "The Atheist Test." Apparently based on a book by Ray Comfort, it was filled with arguments that will convert atheists to Christianity. In it's quest to convince atheists, it brimmed with unintentional humor.

Consider this gem (which is written exactly as it appears in the book):

The banana--the atheist's nightmare.

Note that the banana:
  1. Is shaped for human hand
  2. Has non-slip surface
  3. Has outward indicators of inward contents: Green--too early, Yellow--just right, Black--too late.
  4. Has a tab for removal of wrapper
  5. Is perforated on wrapper
  6. Bio-degradable wrapper
  7. Is shaped for human mouth
  8. Has a point at top for ease of entry
  9. Is pleasing to taste buds
  10. Is curved towards the face to make eating process easy

Now if that didn't just convert you to Christianity, I don't know what else possibly could.

I was ecstatic with this new approach to converting the pagans. I was also hungry for a banana. So I went home, opened up the fridge, and grabbed some fruit. Unfortunately, I grabbed a coconut. I was struck with sudden despair. Where was the perforates tab? Where was the "ease of entry"*? Was the coconut the theist's nightmare? How could a there be a god if a piece of fruit is difficult to eat? I put the coconut down, deciding that I would ponder the coconut another day.

I turned the page, hoping for some argument to revive my shattered faith. This page contained a quiz with "yes" or "no" boxes and "yes" or "no" questions by them.

Question #1: "From the atom to the universe is there order?"

I checked "yes."

Question #2: "Did it happen by accident or must there have been an intelligent mind?"

Uh oh. I was stumped. Do I check "yes" or "no"? My head hadn't hurt that much since I read about Schrodinger's cat. I checked "yes, it did happen by accident or there must have been an intelligent mind." Next question.

Question #3: "What are the odds of 50 oranges falling by chance into ten rows of five oranges?"

Again, this pamphlet was too smart for me. Was I supposed to be able to do this math in my head? I wanted more information. I found myself wondering: "How high were the oranges dropped? Did they have time to reach maximum velocity? What is the terminal velocity of an orange anyway? Were these oranges dropped individually or as a group? What about the contours of the ground - smooth or rough? Why am I still reading this pamphlet?"

That last question struck me the hardest. I put the pamphlet down and went to eat a banana (green - TOO EARLY!). From now on, I'll spend my mental energies on something more simplistic. Rick Perry advertisements, here I come!

In the end, I have realized that some mysteries, like the coconut, are best left unsolved.

*I could easily have written a trashy blog-post about the double-entendre or innuendo in many of the points. If those points escaped you, read the banana arguments again. Still not getting it, congratulations on the purity of your mind!

Just to prove that it's real.

Judge Me!

Alright sports fans! It is now time to play: "Dan: dull-wit or sharp-wit." This is the hit game where I describe something that happened to me and tell you my reaction and let you decided: am I half witted or fully witted?

Today's set-up: Dan walks in to the barber shop to get a quick hair cut.

From the moment I sat down, I knew this barber was a piece of work. She immediately launched into a soliloquy about her son as she began to cut my hair. I mean immediately, she did not even ask me what I wanted done. But apparently her son had hair like mine so she said she knew exactly how to style it. I said,"great, maybe I can learn something." That was my first mistake.

She then proceeded to describe - in great detail - everything she was doing as she did it. Every snip, clip, trim... like she was doing the director's commentary on the DVD extras of the hair cut movie.

Then came the part where we style the hair. Here she said she'd show me the trick that she taught her son. I was intrigued... "go on." Then came the pain. She said to style hair you must first really massage the gel into the roots of the hair... massage isn't the right word... it was more like giving my hair a good pummeling.

"Then," she said, "the hair must be dried." So then next ten minutes were spent with the hair dryer on the hottest setting shooting hot air into my ear canal. "Now we can really style it" she announced. I was still with her, hoping for some stupendous result. But when I put my glasses on and took a look, I quickly realized this was one of the worst and most uneven chop jobs of my life. I looked like how I imagine Medusa looks when she first rolls out of bed after a long night of turning people to stone.

And here comes the part where you get to vote...

She had spent so much time with me - almost an hour for what is usually a 5-10 minute job - and seemed to invest herself so heavily in my hair that I ended up leaving about twice the tip that I normally would (and I'm normally a pretty good tipper). I just felt guilty since she had put so much time and effort into destroying my hair.

So, for the leaving of a good tip for a terrible service, what do you say: Am I dull or sharp, halfly or fully witted? Let's answer this question once a for all.

Reflections on the Day I Became a Man - by Dan

When I was 16 or so a group of men and boys - including my father and I - from my church went to a Promise Keepers Saturday retreat/conference. The event was organized around the topic of "becoming a man." (For those not familiar with Promise Keepers, the topics fluctuate between becoming a man and the feminist castration of American manhood).

The events key speaker spoke about the Jewish rite of the Bar Mitzvah. He told us how boys studied for years for this big day and that it clearly delineated their lives into pre- and post-Mitzvah. Further, once a Jewish boy passed through this ritual, he was fully accepted in the community as a man.

The speaker went on to lament that Christians don't have such a wonderful rich tradition. And the lack of this tradition has forced many men to find their own way into manhood, leaving many scarred forever as man-boys.

Everyone was thinking, "Wow, that Bar Mitzvah sounds like the bees knees."

Then the speaker said that he had a big surprise and sent all of the boys out into the narthex of the monstrous communist-style mega-church. The doors were closed and we all sat in the hall way wondering what our surprise was. Personally, I was hoping that Randy the Macho Man Savage would be in there when the doors were reopened.

Finally, a man opened the door and said he'd call our names one at a time and that we would then go up to the stage. One by one we were called. We could hear a great commotion, but were still unsure what lay behind those doors for each of us. Finally, my name was called, I went in the enormous sanctuary of the beast church and was greeted by hundreds of grown men all standing in a row down the center aisle. They were clapping and shouting my name. I was told to run down to the stage. I did. The cheering jubilant men all joyously slapped me heartily on the back and ass as I ran the 5-K aisle of the beast-church towards the stage.

Finally I arrived, huffing and puffing, my back sore from the vigorous man-pounding. And there was my dad on stage. We were told to hug and then I was handed a certificate that said my name on it with the word "man" on it's heading.

I imagine the speaker preparing his talk and asking himself, "How can we do our own Bar Mitzvah, but condense the years of preparation into 25 minutes? Eureka, we'll just have the boys run a gauntlet while strange men slap their asses!" Problem solved. Manhood achieved. Great success!

And that is how I became a man. The End.

Two HUGE Announcements and one short observation

Howdy sports racers!

First of all, an observation: Have you ever noticed how nearly every shampoo/soap commercial ever made has some shot of a woman getting splashed in the face in slow motion? I'm not talking about the slow motion shower scenes where the naughty bits are artfully covered up. Nor am I talking about women splashing themselves (like men do in shaving cream commercials). I am talking about some bucket of water being thrown from off camera at a woman's face. This is strange. In my experience women don't like being splashed in the face, whether it is at fast/slow or normal speed. Anyway... next time you see a commercial, take notice.

Now, the two HUGE announcements:

The first is my New Years' resolution: Throughout 2011 I will be writing and recording one song per week and posting them to the website for the enjoyment of my readers/listeners. Head on over and check out the first few weeks.

Second, I am excited to announce a new album by The Anachronists (my band): The Ascent of Dance!

Buy at iTunes: Buy at Amazon:

Also, stay tuned for my next blog when I tell the story of the day I became a man. (Don't worry, it is G-rated)