Jane Haddam’s WordPress weblog

The Bad Hare Day

with 2 comments

For what it’s worth, it’s always easy to figure out whether I’m having a good day or a bad one when I’m writing. 

If I don’t post to the blog until midmorning, or I don’t post at all, I’m probably doing well.  If the blog post is up early in the day…well.

It is, as I write, not even five thirty in the morning.  So there’s that. 

As I write, there are things on my mind that don’t matter, and yet I can’t get them off.  Which is how I end up with posts like this.

The first thing on my mind is the fact that our microwave died the day before yesterday.

This is not only not particularly interesting but not particularly important.  I don’t absolutely need a microwave–although I come close–so the fact that Ican’t go pick one up right away isn’t much of a deal.  And God only knows the  things are cheap enough these days, especially if you get them at Costco. Or Walmart.  Me being me, I tend to prefer Costco.

What’s really intrigued me about the death of the microwave is the way it died–that it did, in fact, just die.  It was about seven years old, which is pretty old for a microwave.  And a couple of days ago,  it just stopped heating stuff up.

That was it.  No drama.  Nothing dramatic.  Greg turned it on to heat something up and it counted down the time faithfully, but it didn’t light up or turn the turntable or get anything hot the way it was supposed to. At that point, Greg noted that the thing had been making “funny noises” for weeks.

If you’ve ever had a microwave die on you,  you’re probably sitting there wondering where this is going, because what I’m describing is absolutely expected.

I, on the other hand, have never before had a microwave just die on me before.

Usually, when we have to replace microwaves around this house, it’s because we’ve set the old one one fire.

Accidentally, of course.

But over the years, we’ve managed to do this with really remarkable regularity.

You wouldn’t think that there were all that many ways to set a microwave on fire, but we found them. 

There was the time I’d made a ham for Sunday dinner and made yams to go with it.  There were lots of yams and I didn’t need them all, so I left some to do something with later. 

We had dinner and the boys cleaned up, and because of that I didn’t realize there were cooked yams left over.  So, when Matt came to me the next day and asked me how long to microwave a yam, I assumed he meant the uncooked ones.

“Twelve minutes,” I told him.  And, of course, by minute six, the already-cooked yam he’d yapped on high was a little ball of flame.

When you set a microwave on fire, interesting things happen to the inside of it.

There’s a lot of smoke, of course, and you can see flames spurt through the window of the door.  The flames are small and don’t seem to threaten to burn done any of the rest of the house.

I’ve always found it the best idea to unplug the machine at that point and wait until the fire eats the oxygen inside and goes out of its own accord.

Then you open the thing up and  you find that the side walls and the top have all sort of bowed dramatically inward, creating the kind of thing some people like to call “found art,” but I don’t.

It’s very dramatic, and up until now it had left me the impression that microwaves didn’t just die out. 

I mean, why should I have thought that? 

The other thing that’s been on my mind is this:


In case you’re wondering, that’s the official statement put out by the Center for Inquiry on the subject of its CEO’s opening remarks at the Women in Secularism 2 conference.

You remember–Ron Lindsay standing up and opening that conference by saying that the problem with conferences like that one is that there are some people who call themselves “feminists” who use such venues and the jargon talk that goes with them (“privileges”) to shut other people up on the basis of their gender identity alone.

At which point, a stack of these same people–including the particular ones Lindsay called out in a later blog–proceeded to prove his point by acting like a pack of thugs and bullies.

All they wanted was an apology, they said–but of course, that wasn’t all they wanted.  They wanted abject groveling, along with a statement that everything he’d said was just bigotry and not true, and if they didn’t get both, they wanted him to resign.

They haven’t got his resignation yet–although that statement is so weak it doesn’t auger well for CFI’s long term behavior. 

And, as one other freethought blog put it “the exodus has begun,” and the two women Lindsay called out as well as several others, and some men, have cancelled t heir memberships.

So they may get him yet.

What makes this a little more interesting than these situations normally are is the fact that CFI has an internal problem–it’s a skeptical/freethough organization, not a left-liberal “social justice” one. 

That means it has a stack of men AND women on board who object to the “let’s talk about privelege and silencing” “feminists” at full throttle, and some of those people are very famous and very active and very generous with donations and time.

And THOSE people have made it clear that THEY’LL walk out if Lindsay is forced to apologize or resign over saying something that is, after all, true.

I’ve always thought it was a bad idea for secular organizations to advocate for one side or the other politically.

Over on the main page of the website I’ve got an essay up called “Why I Am Not A Humanist” that explains why.

It’s going to be interesting to see which of these two groups of people CFI thinks it’s more in need of over the long term.

What they should have done, of course, is not to  have sponsored a “Women in…” conference at all.

Because Lindsay was absolutely right–those conferences inevitably become captive to the sort of self proclaimed “feminist” who’s only interested in consolidating her power by enforcing ideological conformity.

A secular movement that honestly believes its business is to uphold truth and reason against superstition and authoritarianism cannot accommodate these people without losing its right to be taken seriously by people of good will.

Here’s hoping CFI responds to this “exodus” in the only way it can  while keeping its honor.

Let’s hope they look at the departing backs of ideological  Inquisitors and say:  good riddance to bad rubbish.

Written by janeh

June 19th, 2013 at 6:43 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses to 'The Bad Hare Day'

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  1. I’ve never lost a microwave at home to fire–though it has happened at work. There are, of course, such things as small appliance repair shops, though microwaves are iffy these days.

    I agree: an organization ought not to sponsor meetings extraneous to its own political agenda. It puts people who support the organization’s goals but not the goals of the meetings in a very awkward position. (By the same token, a church should be VERY careful only to adopt political positions which are inescapably part of the religion.)

    As for what happens next with CFI–well, moderate, sane secular humanism tends to be like moderate Islam: a reasonable enough position on paper, and frequently held in surveys, but somehow not a fighting faith. Maybe this time will be different. Good luck.


    19 Jun 13 at 2:48 pm

  2. A church has no business in supporting a political position. The one exception, I believe, is the abortion issue, since abortion is another word for murder, and most churches believe in the Fifth Commandment: “You shall not murder.” That being said, a church is a religious body intended to catechize its members in the religious beliefs of that body, not in the political policies of this country. Pastors who engage in political diatribe ought to be defrocked, as they do more harm than good to those who come to church and expect a religious experience. I thank God for my pastor who keeps his political views to himself and devotes himself to the Biblical interpretations of our denomination. I don’t need politics on Sunday morning; I need the grace of God.


    20 Jun 13 at 9:12 am

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