30 years.

Pearl Harbor and chance

It’s impossible to live in America and not be aware of being a non-Christian. The culture is one where belief in God is assumed and even expected. When athletes thank God for whatever success they just had, no one bats an eye (except insofar as it’s a cliche). Just the same, when some major travesty occurs, people will always be quoted as saying they had God with them or that their prayers had some impact. It even happened in an article about friend and me. So with all this overwhelming Christianity and god-belief, I found it rather refreshing to read this article about two Pearl Harbor survivors who ended up living next door to each other by chance.

“It was just luck — where you happened to be and how the Japanese planned to bomb,” Perrault said. “People say, ‘God was with you,’ but I think, ‘How about the 3,000 that died?’ How come God wasn’t with them?”

There’s no mention if Perrault is an atheist or not. He may just recognize that the Problem of Evil has no solution in Christianity, so he has turned to another god or just the broad idea of a deity.

At any rate, I am very happy to see someone in a media report recognizing one of the facts of life: it isn’t God – it’s chance.

Atheists at a Christmas parade

PZ has a post about how 18 atheists upset an entire town in Texas by having the audacity to march in a Christmas parade. PZ covers most everything, but I want to really emphasize a quote from the article.

The decision to parade though didn’t sit well with many of those in attendance.

“Wasn’t exactly happy about the Christmas Parade this year, I spent many years teaching my children to love and respect other people and to love the fact that they were children of God and I don’t feel that they should be influenced in any other way especially not at a Christmas parade,” said Tina Corgey, who is a lifelong Bryan resident.

I guess when Corgey talks about all that “love” and “respect”, she didn’t mean for other people. She just meant for other Christians. And she doesn’t want her children to be influenced by knowing that atheists even exist? That isn’t shielding her kids from something she thinks is bad; it’s keeping her children ignorant of a basic fact of the world. She ought to be ashamed.

But I’m sure she isn’t.

I’m a man of my word

After co-hosting trivia, I came to find that my beer had gone missing. So I did the most natural thing and start drinking someone else’s. I promised I would thank that person in a blog post, and I’m a man of my word, so:

Thank you, Nate.

Also, here are all the questions. One or two are different here because of last minute changes, but most are the same. Also, I’ve excluded number 30 because it was an audio question. The answers will be in the comment section.

1. Maine question: According to the Maine Geological Survey, how tall is Mount Katahdin in feet? Plus or minus 200 feet, 1 point. Right on gets bonus half point.

2. What does the E, m, and c squared stand for in the famous equation e=mc2?

3. What president authorized the construction of the U.S. Interstate System? Bonus half point, in what year?

4. What TV show had the characters Mike Nelson, Crow T. Robot, and Tom Servo?

5. Plus or minus two years, when was Super Mario Bros. for Nintendo released? Right on gets one point. Half point for margin.

6. How many U.S. aircraft carries were destroyed at the attack on Pearl Harbor?

7. Who wrote the poem “The Chimney Sweeper”?

8. What is a group of turkeys called?

9. What is the largest living species of fish?

10. What Major League Baseball pitcher has the most losses ever? Bonus half, how many?

11. The last Civil War soldier to die of his wounds was a native Mainer. Name him.

12. Tomorrow is the 30th anniversary of John Lennon’s death. How old was he when he died?

13. According to Guinness company, about how many times does a person lift their pint glass before the beer is gone?

14. Who was our 21st President?

15. 12. In what year was Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species published?

16. This line is from what movie?

“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you.”

17. 69 years after the explosion that destroyed Arizona, oil still leaks from the hull still and rises to the surface of the water. How much oil still leaks per day?

18. What is the name of Nirvana’s breakthrough album?

19. This former Prime Minister of the U.K. made headlines yesterday by predicting the decline of the West. What is his name? For an extra half point, who is the current Prime Minister of Great Britain?

20. Which T.V. show included characters named Patti Mayonnaise, Skeeter Valentine, Bebee Bluff?

21. What does the “L.L.” stand for in L.L. Bean? Half point for each initial.

22. One of my favorite movies from when I was a child was Labyrinth starring David Bowie. Who Directed it? Extra Half point: What year did the film debut?

23. According to the billboard 100, who has the number one song in America?

24. In 1964, congress recognized what alcoholic beverage as the “distinctive spirit” of the U.S.?

25. I am going to read a famous quote from a very popular novel. You tell me the name of the Book for a point and the name of the author for another half point: “Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it.”

26. Who was the first U.S. President to ride in a train?

27. Which New England Patriot was honored at yesterday’s game against the Jets?

28. According to a survey taken by AT&T, the average American changes residence how many times during a lifetime? Plus or minus one.

29. Chanukah celebrates the Hebrew reclamation of what famous city in 165 BCE?