Tag Archive for religion

This is Still Your Modern World

There’s a Czechoslovakian man who believes aliens are trying to assassinate him. Meteorites have struck his house five times in the past several months, and because this defies the odds, he’s concluded it must be aliens.

Now, I can understand the thought popping into his head. I once heard a thunk in my car and thought it might be a bomb (which, 13 years later, still amuses my wife to no end). How, though, do you hold on to this thought for more than a few seconds and not laugh about it? Let’s just assume for a moment that the aliens are out there. What does this guy do for a living that might make him a target? What could he possibly have done that could rouse their ire? Maybe they’re just doing it for the giggles, like some cosmic meatspace version of the Flying Spaghetti Monster game.

Even better is he’s reinforced the roof of his house to protect himself. Does this mean he thinks he’s safe if he’s having a beer at the local pub? Or if he checks into a hotel room every time it rains? Rather than spend all that money, why not just move? If the meteorites follow him to his new house, then it might be worth entertaining the notion of intelligent guidance behind the meteorites.

I can’t help but laugh at the image of him hiding under a table every time it rains. It makes me wonder what else he’s doing about it, like holding a rifle across his lap and shooting back when a new meteorite hits. We should put him in touch with Troy Hurtubise so they can turn the Angel Light into a superweapon and mount it on an Ursus Bearsuit to battle the aliens. Or at the very least he should file a grievance with the Vogons.

Shifting from the extraterrestrial to the divine, there’s a story in India about a girl born with two faces. Obviously that means she’s a reincarnated goddess. People from neighboring villages are already worshiping her as such, and the parents will not allow doctors to give the girl a CT scan.

I love it. When a goat is born with two faces or a cat is born with one eye, it’s a deformity. At the very least, superstitious or religious (pick your poison) folk will call it a curse or a bad omen. When it happens to a child, though? She’s a goddess! Can’t go tying bad mojo to our precious little babies! “Misfortune and mutation my ass, it’s a blessing!” As with all things religious, it’s all so arbitrary and convenient.

Taken together, these are a good example of how quickly people turn to paranormal or supernatural explanations for things they don’t understand. It doesn’t matter that one guy lives in a modern culture and the others in a Third World village; they both jump to extreme conclusions.

Welcome to your modern world.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Join the Space Cult

I glanced at a table near the bathroom in the local Borders store and found an Illinois MUFON application staring back at me.

I was in the mood for a laugh, so I snapped one up. It turns out for twenty bucks, I too can join the search for little green men in flying saucers. I wonder if there’s a membership card and a secret handshake. I’m half tempted to join just so I can find out if the majority of the membership is comprised of Stanton Friedman types or if they’re just your garden variety, mouth-breathing, basement-dwelling dweebs. (One may may be indistinguishable from the other from a distance, but at least you can hold a conversation with someone like Mr. Friedman.)

While it does make sense to me that there could be life on other planets, perhaps even (now or in the past) on other planets in our own solar system, I find most people are too quick to assign extraterrestrial origins to anything they can’t otherwise explain.

For example, an ex-governor of Arizona claims he spotted a UFO. The article has the following quote:

“As a pilot and a former Air Force Officer, I can definitively say that this craft did not resemble any man-made object I’d ever seen.”

That’s often enough for most people to tag him as an expert on the subject. However, when was his Air Force experience? What was his job? What was his security clearance? Engineers can conceivably be working on all kinds of strange and unusual technologies that he wouldn’t be privy to.

Consider the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber. I don’t doubt when it was first under development, many pilots would never have recognized it, much less your average Joe who spotted it flying high overhead. I wouldn’t be surprised if a number of UFO reports could now be attributed to the B-2. In fact, some say many of today’s UFO sightings may be attributable to the hypothetical Aurora or other deltoid aircraft with exotic propulsion systems like external burn.

Are there unexplainable events out there? Sure. But does that automatically make them the result of visiting aliens? Of course not.

2,000 years ago, people thought the Earth was flat. They explained things they couldn’t understand as the work of gods and monsters, including things like thunderstorms, which we now take for granted. They thought tornadoes and hurricanes were divine punishment (hell, we still refer to them as “acts of God”) rather than natural weather phenomena. People today have a much better grasp on science, however, so they instead conjure up science-based strangeness to explain the unexplainable. They replace Zeus and Hera with Martians and Greys.

On another side of it, the UFO chasers are very much a cult. I think so many of them so badly want to believe that they latch on to anything they can’t easily explain and call it alien rather than fully investigating the object or event in question. The Haitian UFO video is a perfect example of people disregarding the obvious because it contradicts their faith.

How odd it is to see a hybrid of faith and science when the two are so often mutually exclusive. Does anyone else think it’s funny that both divine creation and alien genetic engineering both site a Missing Link as a proof? They can’t both be right, and something that simply may not have been found yet is a flimsy piece of evidence anyway.

So I think I’ll take a pass on joining the great space cult. While UFO’s, extraterrestrial life, and spacecraft are, and always will remain, a fascinating subject for me, I’m not sure there’s such a big difference between alien abduction claims and the Virgin Mary appearing as a water stain.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

This is Your Modern World

Take yourself back a few centuries. You’re the head of a primitive tribe of people, and a severe drought has taken hold. Your crops are dying, and now you’re facing a water shortage. What do you do? Why, you call the witch doctor, of course. You have him do a rain dance to appease the gods and hope they’ll send water your way.

Flash back to the present. You’re the governor of a proud Southern state, and a severe drought has taken hold. Your crops are dying, and now you’re facing a water shortage. What do you do? Why, you call the witch doctor, of course (and subsequently get sued by an atheist group). Or at least you have your constituents pray to God and hope He’ll send some water your way.

The more things change…

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

They Can't Kill Halloween

I’ve been bummed for the last couple of weeks leading up to Halloween. While I’m not a big holiday guy, I think Halloween is the last truly fun holiday left. Plus I’m a horror writer, so I’m kinda obligated. It may be watered down some and I’m still disappointed more kids don’t dress up as something scary, but they get to get out there, collect a buttload of candy, and generally have a good time.

This year, however, I found out why our school doesn’t celebrate Halloween. I live in a fairly religious community, and a very vocal minority played up the Satanic connotations of Halloween and got it squashed. Our students can pray around a flagpole out front, but God forbid they go the opposite direction and put on a costume. Halloween became the Fall Festival, and the closest it came to anything horror were the spiders the kids built in the Midget’s kindergarten class and the spider he got painted on his face at the festival itself (most kids chose flowers and flags — I wonder if the art teacher would even know who Cthulhu is?).

There was a dress-up theme all week, with each day carrying a different theme. But the themes were simple, like Spirit Day where they wear the school colors, or Sports Day where they wear team uniforms or clothing. Today was dress-up day, and they dressed up as what they want to be when they grow up. The Midget happily wore his gi and said he wanted to be “a karate guy,” but not one theme was remotely Halloween related. They tied in an anti-drug theme, which is certainly respectable, but still not as much fun.

I had a brief respite on Saturday when I discovered our karate school did it up right. The kids all showed up at the main dojo wearing costumes, and a lot of them were horrific. Sure, there were pirates and princesses, but there were also zombies, witches, undead soldiers, Draculas, and monsters. The staff converted their aerobic kickboxing school in the storefront next door to a haunted house, and it kicked all form of ass. So much ass, in fact, that I’ll be blogging about it later.

Then it was back to school on Monday, and Ho-Hum Halloween. I looked forward to taking the boys trick-or-treating tonight, but I didn’t expect much.

To my surprise, it really was a great Halloween. We walked down an out-of-the-way street and discovered two houses all dressed up in actual Halloween gear (as opposed to a giant inflatable pirate Spongebob), one of which the Midget was afraid to approach because of the mechanical ghost on the porch. A couple houses gave out candy shaped and packaged like toes, ears and eyeballs, and there people dishing out the candy from cauldrons and pumpkins.

It was especially refreshing to see kids dressed in scary costumes after the bland dress-up week. I saw a killer werewolf costume, a kid dressed as the reaper with giant red LED eyes, kids wearing skulls and demon masks, kids with scythes and axes and swords, and a dude who looked like a psycho in a Krusty mask. I even heard several people complimenting the scary costumes, and acting appropriately scared when one of them shouted “boo!” or waved some implement of destruction in a threatening manner.

Halloween was suddenly fun again, and after an hour and a half walking door-to-door, the boys’ treat bags were filled to the brim. We did find that one house that’s in every neighborhood, the one that gives out healthy treats like raisins, but I was in such a good mood I didn’t bother throwing that little red Sun-Maid box back at the old lady behind the door. Nope. Nothing was ruining this Halloween rush.

So bitch all you want, ya commies. You can’t kill Halloween!

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Fleeting Moment

The mandatory moment of silence established in Illinois schools as part of the Silent Reflection and Student Prayer Act has now been formally challenged. I’ve already said my piece on the act, so I’ll only repeat that it was only a matter of time before this happened.

And the waste of time, money, and resources continues.

On a side note, according to a Pantagraph article, there isn’t even a penalty for failing to observe the moment of silence. Doesn’t that make the law pointless anyway?

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

More Huckster BS

Huckabee got busted again, this time claiming most of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were clergymen. Best case scenario: 4 out of 56 of them were practicing or former preachers. Only 1 was an active minister. (Thanks for the link, Tim.)

This is the second time this week he’s demonstrated religion is going to be behind every decision he makes, and people like that just plain scare the hell out of me. Fortunately Bush has pretty much sunk the Jesus lovers, so we shouldn’t have to worry about the Huckster come ’08.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.