Thursday, February 28, 2019

My Pillow: A Review of Sorts

Completely unbeknown to me, I bought into an item sold by a self-proclaimed Christian company. In and of itself, not a problem. But there's more and, last night, I realized that I was annoyed enough to write about it here on my blog.

I'm on a lifelong search for a decent pillow. My closets contain about ten rejects ranging in price from a few dollars to up to a hundred dollars. YES, I did that.  😒 
I simply want a pillow that I can sleep on with a modicum of comfort. 
No miracles necessary.

A few months ago I was, again, on the warpath with my pillow. I was waking up with neck aches, cricks in my neck, and just poor sleep, so I went to a local home store. This place has an entire department just for pillows. It seemed like a likely place to find something just right for me.

I did my Determined  Shopper best to lay my head on each pillow, all while leaning vertically against various store fixtures, looking for firm but not too firm, soft but not too soft. Comfy. Durable. Perfect for side sleepers. At one point I remembered seeing this woman*  walk into the store with a determined stride and walk up to the check-out with two My Pillows. So I, foolishly, decided at that moment to give it a try.I mean, the pillow bag itself claims Guaranteed to be the Most Comfortable Pillow You Will Ever Own!  That sounded good to me!

I had no idea I was buying into a controversy.
I thought I was buying a pillow.
I had never heard of the brand; I had never heard of the company. I knew of no claims made by the company. I knew nothing about the pillow reviews or controversies. I knew nothing of pricing issues. I definitely didn't know the story behind the company owner.
It was just a pillow.
That cost me about fifty bucks.  😑

For at least two weeks, maybe three, it was quite comfy, if a bit firm or overstuffed, as many pillows seem to be in the beginning**. Very soon, however, I began to wake up with my head floating just an inch above my mattress, the pillow puffed up on either side of my head. My head was actually engulfed  by the pillow. Weird.

I kept with it and started simply pushing the sides together to give me a nice comfy lump in the middle...only to find that collection of fluff off to the sides again by morning, head nearly resting on the mattress, engulfed in pillow. It simply couldn't hold its pillow shape. And finally, it always seems so hot! I guess it holds the heat in, meaning I have to flip it and scrunch it every time I think about it.

And now here I am, about six months later, actually writing a review on my blog for this thing! I now know that the company has had to pay upwards of a million dollars for false claims. If I hadn't read so much about the company and the false claims I would have simply stuffed this dog into the closet for some unsuspecting sleepover guest.

I'm now in the market for my next pillow.

 Have you tried it?.
 Suggestions for pillows?.

* I now think that her bouffant-ish hair style should have given this away to me... Sorry bouffant wearers.
** WHAT?! I told you I'm a pro at test driving pillows!

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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Carnival of Atheist Parenting: CAP

A few years ago, in 2014, I tried to start a blog carnival for atheist parents and atheist parenting blogs. Although there were many, many freethinking parents who were extremely interested in the idea, the carnival didn't fly because there were not alot of openly-atheist or secular parenting blogs being written.

I have been getting some evidence that there is interest in such a thing again.

I am going to send this out into the internet world and, if I get enough interested people commenting below, I'll do it!

To give you a small idea what I mean by a blog carnival, follow this link

This carnival is for all atheist/agnostic/ humanist/secular parents who are THINKING and QUESTIONING and wanting to create a healthy, vibrant, and positive upbringing for their beloveds and who want to share their ideas and encouragement for secular parents in this nonsecular world.

If you are an atheist/secular/freethinking parent or blogger with interest in making connections with like-minded people, please comment below! And PLEASE keep in touch!

You might also be interested in these:

 CAP: Carnival of Atheist Parenting
Carnival of Atheist Parenting Call to Attention

Sample of a Carnival of Atheist Parenting

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

There But For the Grace...

I see those people saying God PUT the fossils in the rock layers to TEST us and I think, that could have been me...because it used to be me!

I spent so much of my life believing that Good People believe. Good People are Christians. And I so wanted to be a Good Person. For many years of my life, deep down in an unverbalized part of me, I wanted to be seriously GOOD, yet I didn't quite know how to do that. I felt like a bit of a orphan, in a way, like a lost person in need of rescue.

If you notice, I'm capitalizing the word good because, at the time, in my mind, it was this nebulous OTHER, this goal that I had, without guidelines or understanding of it. Even if that sounds like of weird to you, believe me, as sad as it sounds to me now, it was a real desire of mine.

I was ripe for religion. 
I was very open to someone telling me what was Good, what was important to be Good. I looked outside of myself for some kind of esoteric knowledge, wisdom, or something that would make it obvious to myself and others that I was Good. I was vulnerable to some authority to come along and to tell me the exact thing that would make me Good. And while I was heavily into the church, I was certain that I was on to something with this journey of mine.

I bought in to it hook, line, and non-Freethinking sinker.
I taught Sunday School. I did Bible study. I worked at the parish picnics. I supported the mission work that people were going on. I believed in prayer. I was doing all of the things that the Good People were doing...

I was really and truly convinced.

Today, I could STILL be this person!
I'm so grateful for my innate need to Learn More because that is the only way I found my way out. It was an unwilling path I walked at first, the pathway to atheism. My brainwashing was excellent and I am surprised, today, that I am not this same Good Girl, imprisoned in apologetics and rhetoric.

  Can You Relate?.

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Saturday, February 16, 2019

I Got Goosebumps

I'm sorry.
The fact that your body reacted to an unknown stimuli in some way does not mean that your god was there. When your dog barks at nothing you can detect, still no god or demon or ghost. When you hear a noise that you don't recognize, no spirits. When stuff feels haunted, coincidence, unexplained tactile experiences, good or bad luck, strange dreams, creepy-feeling things, all of these things that give us goosebumps.

What that is, actually, in insufficient curiosity or what some people call God of the Gaps. Your lack of knowledge or inability to understand or to find an explanation equals God. But, I'm sorry. No.

Have you ever been to the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs Colorado? Or to the Grand Canyon? Or to the Twelve Apostles in Southern  Australia? People, if you ever want to feel a sense of awe, visit one of these places. You will get goosebumps and you will find yourself speechless and your senses will not believe what you are seeing. Yet these places exist.

I did not take any of these pics, though I have pics of all of these places.
All pics here are stolen from the interwebs.

Your inability to believe it or to understand it does not prove anything supernatural. In fact, in all of the cases of the above natural sites, millions of years of natural processes (billions?) explain them completely. Sure, our entire species created thousands, probably millions, of religions and supernatural beliefs based on this kind of ignorance. There was a time when we did not understand physical or mental illnesses. Relief from these illnesses. Pregnancy or birth. Loneliness. Weather. Volcanic activity. Eclipses. Magnetism. Bad dreams. Our seasons. The night sky. Shooting stars. Good crops. Fire. Fossils. Location of food sources. Adequate shelter. All manner of natural phenomenon. Death. All of these phenomenon used to be attributed to the local god of the unknown.

As we, as a species, discovered more and more things, these gaps began to recede. Yes, in fact, even today some people believe in a god of this ever-receding gap between the known and the unknown.

People think that epilepsy is divine simply because they don't have any idea what causes epilepsy. But I believe that someday we will understand what causes epilepsy, and at that moment, we will cease to believe that it's divine. And so it is with everything in the universe.

Why am I blogging about something so seemingly obvious?
I recently had someone tell me a story of their unbelievable GOOSEBUMPS when hearing a sound from an unknown source.
Certainly, that was evidence of something supernatural!  😑
How dare I question that.

I understand it to a degree, this human propensity for magical thinking. Our brains are actually hard-wired to seek explanations for all things. Including things that we simply do not understand at the present so, therefore, our brains are responsible for the creation of supernatural beliefs. The same brain, in fact, that also does research, asks the questions, looks for answers, seeks viable solutions, and identifies this type of logical fallacy.
Same brain.

What I do not understand, or, indeed, forgive (much) is a person's unwillingness to go and find out. We are living in a world where information is available to us at an unprecedented level to nearly every human being living in a first-world country. I'm certain that fear of death is the number one fear, responsible for most religions in first-world countries. Muslims and Christian, in other words.

What I'm hoping for is for more people to get out there and debunk such sloppy and lazy claims of the supernatural. One doesn't not have to out one's self as an atheist to be more openly skeptical. Neither does one have to out one's self to ask for more evidence of such sloppy and ludicrous supernatural claims so many people out there are making. One simply has to ask for evidence.

Do you know who Victor Stenger was? In addition to being a particle physicist, he was an advocate for removing the influence of religion from scientific research, commercial activity, and the political decision process. In my day, back in the dark ages, he was one to publicly denounce the baloney of Uri Geller, the famous illusionist of the 1970s and self-proclaimed psychic. Stenger coined the phrase Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings. Stenger was the first skeptic that I ever knew.

The God of the gaps argument for God fails when a plausible scientific account for a gap in current knowledge can be given. I do not dispute that the exact nature of the origin of the universe remains a gap in scientific knowledge. But I deny that we are bereft of any conceivable way to account for that origin scientifically.
Victor J. Stenger 

I'm calling on the my ethical readership to pick up the banner and to openly question any one claim. One, your choice. Go out and Stengerize stories. Use that opportunity to get more people questioning what they think they believe. Let's get out there!

  Do you get goosebumps? 

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Friday, February 8, 2019

T. Greenwood's The Golden Hour

T. Greenwood is a new author to me and she's the type of author I want to keep an eye on. Though she already has twelve novels under her belt, I think that the best is yet to come. I think her artistic word craft will continue to improve.

The Golden Hour is a story about a woman who is in the process of sabotaging her own life just at the moment when the man who attacked her in her childhood, Robby Rousseau, is about to be released from incarceration. Wyn Davies is falling apart from the inside out and all of her life is evidence to this. She takes her daughter to an island home off of the coast of cold Maine to the vacation cottage of her friend to get her head together, to get some rest, to reevaluate what she's got going on, and to find a sense of safety.

The vacation home of a friend.
Is this an over-used trope?
I've never had a friend offer me a vacation home at my times of struggle.

SHRUG, it works.

The aged house Wyn agrees to care for on a rugged Maine island has been empty for decades; somewhere in an aged nook or cranny in the basement Wyn discovers a box of 35MM film canisters labeled Epitaphs and Prophecies. Intriguing, right? As anyone would do, Wyn begins getting rolls of film developed with her meager funds. Like time capsules, the photographs begin to help her piece together the life of the house’s former owner, an artistic young mother, and, somehow, to find a connection to Wyn's own vulnerability and fears...and to her own past, badly in need of closure.

My minor criticisms of the novel include the incomprehensibly literate four-year old daughter and the poorly-planned, taped-on man in the woods at the end of the novel, helping a conclusion to occur in the rain. But these two things can be overlooked or the reader can sustain the fantasy; I simply has a few moments of Oh, Hell No.

I did, most sincerely, enjoy the storyline constructed by the found film. It was like a cellulose strip of film negatives. Blowy, compelling, mysterious, exposing, ephemeral. A very well-done bit. I also loved, most sincerely, the conclusion and the secret-reveal. The conclusion of the book was quite satisfying and wonderful for a reader, if a bit brief. I also loved Greenwood's warm prose and beautiful light, even in a dark story. That is what will bring me back to her.

For this book and this author, I give a respectable six stars with plans of reading more.

T. Greenwood's website

Sunday, February 3, 2019

The Golden Hour by T. Greenwood

Where has T. Greenwood been my whole life?

This is my first book by this author and it will not be the last. Give me a few days to write a review, but, for now, consider reading anything by her!

More information on T. Greenwood can be found at her websites: and