Friday, April 27, 2007


The 'Car Talk' show (on NPR) with Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers have a feature called the 'Puzzler', and a recent 'Puzzler' was about the battle of Agincourt. The French, who were overwhelmingly favored to win the battle, threatened to cut a certain body part off of all captured English soldiers so that they could never fight again.

The English won in a major upset and waved the body part in question at the French in defiance. The puzzler was: What was this body part? This is the answer submitted by a listener:

Dear Click and Clack,

Thank you for the Agincourt 'Puzzler', which clears up some profound questions of etymology, folklore and emotional symbolism. The body part which the French proposed to cut off of the English after defeating them was, of course, the middle finger, without which it is impossible to draw the renowned English longbow. This famous weapon was made of the native English yew tree, and so the act of drawing the longbow was known as "plucking yew". Thus, when the victorious English waved their middle fingers at the defeated French, they said, "See, we can still pluck yew! PLUCK YEW!"

Over the years some 'folk etymologies' have grown up around this symbolic gesture. Since 'pluck yew' is rather difficult to say (like "pleasant mother pheasant plucker", which is who you had to go to for the feathers used on the arrows), the difficult consonant cluster at the beginning has gradually changed to a labiodental fricative 'f', and thus the words often used in conjunction with the one-finger-salute are mistakenly thought to have something to do with an intimate encounter. It is also because of the pheasant feathers on the arrows that the symbolic gesture is known as "giving the bird".


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Operators vs Maintainers

I have noticed that there is a built in conflict between the people that operate things and the people that maintain them. Here is a good example of an airline company that put this conflict to use in a constructive way, with some humorous results.

After every flight, pilots fill out a form, called a gripe sheet which tells mechanics about problems with the aircraft. The mechanics correct the problems, document their repairs on the form, and then pilots review the gripe sheets before the next flight. Never let it be said that ground crews lack a sense of humor. Here are some maintenance complaints submitted by pilots and the solutions recorded by maintenance engineers. By the way, the airline these came from is the only major airline that has never, ever, had an accident.

Pilot: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement. Engineers: Almost replaced left inside main tire.

Pilot: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough. Engineers: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.

Pilot: Something loose in cockpit. Engineers: Something tightened in cockpit.

Pilot: Dead bugs on windshield. Engineers: Live bugs on back-order.

Pilot: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent. Engineers: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

Pilot: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear. Engineers: Evidence removed.

Pilot: DME volume unbelievably loud. Engineers: DME volume set to more believable level.

Pilot: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick. Engineers: That's what friction locks are for.

Pilot: IFF inoperative in OFF mode. Engineers: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.

Pilot: Suspected crack in windshield. Engineers: Suspect you're right.

Pilot: Number 3 engine missing. Engineers: Engine found on right wing after brief search.

Pilot: Aircraft handles funny. Engineers: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.

Pilot: Target radar hums. Engineers: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.

Pilot: Mouse in cockpit. Engineers: Cat installed.

Pilot: Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding on something with a hammer. Engineers: Took hammer away from midget!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Apocryphal Irony

Bizarre Death - 1994 Urban Legend

At the 1994 annual awards dinner given for Forensic Science, AAFS, President Dr. Don Harper Mills astounded his audience with the legal complications of a bizarre death. Here is the story:

On March 23,1994 the medical examiner viewed the body of Ronald Opus and concluded that he died from a shotgun wound to the head. Mr. Opus had jumped from the top of a ten story building intending to commit suicide. He left a note to that effect, indicating his despondency. As he fell past the ninth floor his life was interrupted by a shotgun blast passing through a window which killed him instantly.

Neither the shooter nor the descender was aware that a safety net had been installed just below at the eighth floor level to protect some building workers and that Ronald Opus would not have been able to complete his suicide the way he had planned.

"Ordinarily," Dr. Mills continued, "a person who sets out to commit suicide and ultimately succeeds, even though the mechanism might not be what he intended, is still defined as committing suicide." However, since Mr. Opus was shot on the way to certain death, but probably would not have died because of the safety net, the medical examiner felt that he had a homicide on his hands.

The room on the ninth floor, whence the shotgun blast emanated, was occupied by an elderly man and his wife. They were arguing vigorously and he was threatening her with a shotgun. The man was so upset that when he pulled the trigger he completely missed his wife and the pellets went through the window, striking Mr. Opus.

When one intends to kill subject A but kills subject B in the attempt, one is guilty of the murder of subject B. When confronted with the murder charge the old man and his wife were both adamant. They both said they thought the shotgun was unloaded. The old man said it was his long-standing habit to threaten his wife with the unloaded shotgun. He had no intention to murder her. Therefore the killing of Mr. Opus appeared to be an accident; that is, the gun had been accidentally loaded.

The continuing investigation turned up a witness who saw the old couple's son loading the shotgun about six weeks prior to the fatal accident. It transpired that the old lady had cut off her son's financial support and the son, knowing the propensity of his father to use the shotgun threateningly, loaded the gun with the expectation that his father would shoot his mother. The case had now become one of murder on the part of the son for the death of Ronald Opus.

Ironicly, further investigation revealed that the son was, in fact, Ronald Opus. He had become increasingly despondent over the failure of his attempt to engineer his mother's murder. This led him to jump off the ten story building on March 23rd, only to be killed by a shotgun blast passing through the ninth story window. The son had actually murdered himself so the medical examiner closed the case as a suicide.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

When I was a boy...

I came across this very amusing remembrance recently and pass it on to my 'faithful following'. In 1984, I was old enough to be this guy's father, but I cearly remember everything he is talking about here. Isn't amazing how the more things change, the more they stay the same.


When I was a kid adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were when they were growing up; what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning uphill both ways through year 'round blizzards carrying their younger siblings on their backs to their one-room schoolhouse where they maintained a straight-A average despite their full-time after-school job at the local textile mill where they worked for 35 cents an hour just to help keep their family from starving to death!

And I remember promising myself that when I grew up there was no way in hell I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it!


Now that I've reached the ripe old age of twenty-nine, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today. You've got it so darn easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a Utopia! And I hate to say it but you kids today you don't know how good you've got it!

I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have the Internet--we wanted to know something, we had to go to the library and look it up ourselves! And there was no email! We had to actually write somebody a letter, with a pen, and then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the "mailbox". It would take like a week just to get there!

And there were no MP3s or Napsters! You wanted to steal music, you had to go to the record store and shoplift it yourself! Or we had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio and the DJs usually talked over the beginning of the song and screwed it all up!

We didn't have fancy crap like Call Waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called they got a busy signal! And we didn't have fancy Caller ID Boxes either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was it could be your boss, your mom, a collections agent, your drug dealer, you didn't know!!! You just had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!

And we didn't have any fancy Sony Playstation videogames with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari! With games like "Pong" and "Asteroids" and the graphics sucked ass! Your guy was a little square! You had to use your imagination! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen forever! And you could never win, the game just kept getting harder and faster until you died!

Just like LIFE!

When you went to the movie theater there no such thing as stadium seating! All the seats were the same height. A tall guy sat in front of you, you were screwed! And sure, we had cable television, but back then that was only like 10 channels and there was no onscreen menu! You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on!

And there was no Cartoon Network! You could only get cartoons on Saturday morning, and then only if your dad didn't kick you out of the house (our Dad's lived with us, too -- talk about constant ass kickings and no trying to buy your affection with presents, but I digress). Do you hear what I'm saying!?! We had to wait ALL WEEK for five crummy hours of cartoons, you spoiled little turds!

That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy You're spoiled, I swear! You guys wouldn't last five minutes back in 1984!

Friday, March 09, 2007

More Humor

Here are a couple of good stories I ran across recently. I'm not sure if they are true, but they could be.

American Justice

A North Carolina, lawyer purchased a box of very rare and expensive cigars, then insured them against fire among other things. Within a month having smoked his entire stockpile of these great cigars and without yet having made even his first premium payment on the policy, the lawyer filed claim against the insurance company. In his claim, the lawyer stated the cigars were lost "in a series of small fires." The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason: That the man had consumed the cigars in the normal fashion.

The lawyer sued...and won! In delivering the ruling the judge agreed with the insurance company that the claim was frivolous. The Judge stated nevertheless, that the lawyer held a policy from the company in which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable and also guaranteed that it would insure them against fire, without defining what is considered to be unacceptable fire, and was obligated to pay the claim. Rather than endure lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the ruling and paid $15,000 to the lawyer for his loss of the rare cigars lost in the "fires." If you think that's a travisty of justice, just wait, there's more to the story.

After the lawyer cashed the check, the Insurance company had him arrested on 24 counts of ARSON! With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case being used against him, the lawyer was convicted of intentionally burning his insured property and was sentenced to 24 months in jail and a $24,000 fine. - Only in America!


A student comes to a young professor's office. She glances down the hall, closes his door, kneels pleadingly. "I would do anything to pass this exam."

She leans closer to him, flips back her hair, gazes meaningfully into his eyes. "I mean..." she whispers, "I would do... anything."

He returns her gaze. "Anything?"


His voice softens. "Anything?"


His voice turns to a whisper. "Would you... study?"

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Value of Work

Someone sent me this awhile back and I saved it because I thought it was one of those things that are funny but have a hidden serious side. I would like to share it with you.

Here is a rigours mathemtatical proof of the value of work...

Postulate 1: Knowledge is Power.
Postulate 2: Time is Money.

As every engineer knows,

Power = Work/Time

Since Knowledge = Power and Time = Money, we have

Knowledge = Work/Money

Solving for Money, we get:

Money = Work/Knowledge

Thus, as Knowledge approaches zero, Money approaches infinity regardless of the Work done, proving that some people are too smart for their own good.

Some Good Jokes

The world is a difficult and dangerous place these days. It's hard to pick up a newspaper without reading about some outrage against decent behavior. The world is also filled with hypocrisy and banal platitudes dispensed by leaders more concerned with their own bread basket than the welfare of people they are supposed to be serving.

So, I collect jokes. I'm pretty particular about what I keep. A good joke must make me chuckle, at least, and it must never be the kind of humour that is at someones expense. It can, however, be at the expense of the author. If we would all just lighten up a bit and give each other some wriggle room, the world would be a much happier place. When we take ourselves and our agendas too seriously, we cause problems for everyone around us.

His/Her Diary

My wife and I found this very funny because it really highlights the basic difference between the way most women and men think. Sometimes jokes are funny because they are too true.

1. Her Diary

Tonight I thought he was acting weird. We had made plans to meet for dinner. I was shopping with my friends all day long, so I thought he was upset. I was late,he made no comment. Conversation wasn't flowing so I suggested that we go somewhere quiet so we could talk. He agreed but he kept quiet and absent. I asked him what was wrong; he said nothing. I asked him if it was my fault that he was upset. He said it had nothing to do with me, not to worry.

On the way home I told him that I loved him, he simply smiled and kept driving. I can't explain his behavior. I don't know why he didn't say I love you too. When we got home I felt as if I had lost him, as if he wanted nothing to do with me anymore. He just sat there and watched TV.

Finally, I decided to go to bed. About 10 minutes later he came to bed, and to my surprise he responded to my caress. We made love, but I still felt that he was distracted and his thoughts were somewhere else. He fell asleep - I cried. I don't know what to do. I'm almost sure that his thoughts are with someone else. My life is a disaster.

2. His Diary

I shot the worst round of golf in my life today, but at least I got laid.

Baptist Dog

I found this joke funny because I was brought up in a Baptist church as a youth, attended a Mennonite church for quite a while and now attend a Pentecostal church. I find there are more differences between the beliefs held by individuals within each group than there are generally between these groups. Pentecostals, though, are known their belief in the healing power of the Holy Spirit.

Ever mindful of the congregation, the Baptist preacher and his wife decided to get a new dog, and knew that the dog also had to be a Baptist.

They visited kennel after kennel and explained their needs. Finally, they found a kennel whose owner assured them he had just the dog they wanted. The owner brought the dog to meet the pastor and his wife. "Fetch the Bible," he commanded. The dog bounded to the bookshelf, scrutinized the books, located the Bible, and brought it to the owner.

"Now find Psalm 23," he commanded. The dog dropped the Bible to the floor, and showing marvelous dexterity with his paws, leafed through and finding the correct passage, pointed to it with his paw.

The pastor and his wife were very impressed and purchased the dog. That evening, a group of church members came to visit. The pastor and his wife began to show off the dog, having him locate several Bible verses.

The visitors were very impressed. One man asked, "Can he do regular dog tricks, too?" "I haven't tried yet," the pastor replied. He pointed his finger at the dog. "HEEL!" the pastor commanded. The dog immediately jumped on a chair, placed one paw on the pastor's forehead and began to howl.

The pastor looked at his wife in shock and said, "Good Lord! He's Pentecostal!"

A Baptist Catholic

This joke reminds me of a clear memory I have from grade school, about grade 4 or 5. I had a friend that was Catholic and was not supposed to eat meat on Fridays. Unfortunately, our school was not very sympathetic to the Catholic dietary requirements and every Friday was 'Hot Dog Day' at the school cafeteria. I remember that my friend habitually forgot that it was Friday until his hot dog was completely eaten and then would suddenly remember and exclaim something like 'O my God, its Friday. I forgot.' Also, if you are from the Southern US, you will recognize the characters in this story. They are all archetypes.

Boudreaux, a Cajun highlander from Rapides Parish in central Louisiana, was an older, single gentleman, who was born and raised a Baptist, living in South Louisiana. Each Friday night after work, he would fire up his outdoor grill and cook a venison steak. Now, all of Boudreaux's neighbors were Catholic... and since it was Lent, they were forbidden from eating meat on Fridays. The delicious aroma from the grilled venison steaks was causing such a problem for the Catholic faithful that they finally talked to their priest.

The priest came to visit Boudreaux, and suggested that Boudreaux convert to Catholicism. After several classes and much study, Boudreaux attended Mass.. and as the priest sprinkled holy water over him, he said, "You were born a Baptist and raised a Baptist, but now you are Catholic."

Boudreaux's neighbors were greatly relieved, until Friday night arrived, and the wonderful aroma of grilled venison filled the neighborhood. The priest was called immediately by the neighbors and, as he rushed into Boudreaux's yard, clutching a rosary and prepared to scold him, he stopped in amazement and watched. There stood Boudreaux, clutching a small bottle of water which he carefully sprinkled over the grilling meat, and chanted: "You wuz born a deer, and you wuz raised a deer, but now you a catfish."

Original Title

Anyone who has had to deal with a bureaucracy to get anything done will appreciate this.

A New Orleans lawyer sought an FHA loan for a client. He was told the loan would be granted if he could prove satisfactory title to a parcel of property being offered as collateral. The title to the property dated back to 1803, which took the Lawyer three months to track down.

After sending the information to the FHA, he received the following reply (actual letter):

"Upon review of your letter adjoining your client's loan application, we note that the request is supported by an Abstract of Title. While we compliment the able manner in which you have prepared and presented the application, we must point out that you have only cleared title to the proposed collateral property back to 1803. Before final approval can be accorded, it will be necessary to clear the title back to its origin."

Annoyed, the lawyer responded as follows (actual letter):

"Your letter regarding title in Case No. 189156 has been received. I note that you wish to have title extended further than the 194 years covered by the present application. I was unaware that any educated person in this country, particularly those working in the property area, would not know that Louisiana was purchased, by the U.S., from France in 1803, the year of origin identified in our application.

For the edification of uninformed FHA bureaucrats, the title to the land prior to U.S. ownership was obtained from France, which had acquired it by Right of Conquest from Spain. The land came into the possession of Spain by Right of Discovery made in the year 1492 by a sea captain named Christopher Columbus, who had been granted the privilege of seeking a new route to India by the Spanish monarch, Isabella. The good queen, Isabella, being pious woman and almost as careful about titles as the FHA, took the precaution of securing the blessing of the Pope before she sold her jewels to finance Columbus' expedition.

Now the Pope, as I'm sure you may know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God, it is commonly accepted, created this world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to presume that God also made that part of the world called Louisiana. God, therefore, would be the owner of origin and His origins date back, to before the beginning of time, the world as we know it AND the FHA. I hope you at the FHA find God's original claim to be satisfactory.

Now, may we have our loan?"

The loan was approved.

Answering Malcomb Parry on Leviticus

Several months ago a columnist for the Vancouver Sun who specializes in writing about what's happening around town, usually with the monied set, wrote a short column criticizing some people's religious objections to homosexuality. A friend of mine sent me a copy of the column with an invitation to comment. I thought I would reprint the column and my comments in this blog.

Malcolm Parry's Writes

There's been some religious fuss recently about homosexuality, the widespread human condition referred to as an "abomination" in The Bible's Leviticus 18:22. But, as a correspondent advised me, many other biblically forbidden matters arouse no such ire from the pulpit.

For instance, Leviticus (11:10) also defined shellfish eating as an abomination, and (15:19) forbids contact with menstruating women. Lev 19:27 also says thou shalt not trim hair around your temples nor "tatoo any marks upon you." The latter is surely more widespread - and certainly easier to spot - than homosexuality.

Lev 11:6-8's proscription about touching the skin of a dead pig seems not to have impeded Notre Dame University's prowess on the football field, my correspondent notes. and, notwithstanding the commands in Lev 19:19, he says his uncle still plants two different crops in the same field and his aunt wears garments made of two different kinds of thread.

Picayune, you say? Well, Lev 25:44 says its ok to own male and female slaves, so long as you buy them from neighbouring nations. No problem-o, either, if you want to sell your daughter into slavery (Exodus 21:7). But never on the Sabbath, right? That would be work. And Exodus 35:2 says the penalty for that is death. [ (604) 929-8456.]

My response to my friend is reproduced below. This response is not to Mr. Parry, with whom I have no interest in debating, but to a friend who is searching for meaning in her life.


I know it has been a long time since you sent me that message from Malcolm Parry regarding Leviticus and homosexuality. Please be reassured that I took no offence at all and the reason I have taken so long to reply is just due to my desire to respond completely and the inertia of daily life interfering. So now, finally, I have some spare time and the 'spirit' is moving me to put some thoughts down and send them along.

I should start off by saying that Leviticus was one of the books in the bible that I often quoted when arguing against Christianity when I was doing that with my sister Beth on all those long walks we took in Mt. Lehman back in the mid 90s. She was very patient. I don't remember her coming up with any counter arguments at the time, but then, Beth is not a debater. Eventually God had to confront me Himself and point out the whole thing about context, or perspective to use another word. Many of the questions and arguments about the bible boil down to that.

What I mean by context is that every truth exists within an environment. Most truths are not universal, they exist in a context. For instance, within our context, the death of a child is a bad thing. We mourn it and wonder why God allows innocent children to die in train wrecks. But in God’s context this life is a fleeting visit to a physical world by an eternal soul. The dead child is not gone, he or she is back with God. So we should not make the mistake of judging God based on our experience or our instincts about what is fair or unfair. Actually, we should probably not make the mistake of judging God at all. After all, He made the whole universe, us and everything we can observe with our senses and probably a lot more. It makes even less sense than for a baby to judge his parents.

What we can and should judge or have opinions about is what the truth of the matter is. God gave us brains and senses and expects us to use them. There is nothing wrong with having questions. But who should we put those questions to, if not God? How can we put questions to God without faith? On the quest for answers to the really big questions you have to start somewhere. You have to have faith in something to begin. You can put your faith in science and limit your answers to those that science can provide or you can put your faith in God and have a chance at answers to questions that science can’t really deal with. I personally don’t think there is any conflict between science and God. After all, science is really just an investigation into the workings of God’s creation.

There is an important reason why we live in this context, why our lives are temporary and we have the free will to behave as we see fit and believe or disbelieve what we want. I don’t know what that reason is, but I am sure that it exists and is essential to what God is doing with mankind. Do we have free will so that we can be judged on the basis of what we do with it? Is there some kind of evolution of the soul going on? Why did God put Satan in the world to lead us astray? Is it to stress us (like sharpening a knife on a grinding stone), so that we will be motivated to adapt and change? I don’t have the answers to these questions, but I don’t stop questioning. The biggest change that ever happened in my life was when I decided to accept God in spite of my questions. That was where the journey began for me.

On the question of Leviticus, consider that the long list of rules outlined in this document were directed at the Jewish people, a people that God had singled out as a starting place for his work with men. He wanted the Jewish people to be set apart from the rest of mankind and not to mingle with them or become corrupted by other religious or social practices. Many of the rules listed here are dietary requirements and many of these make quite a bit of sense based on our current scientific knowledge. Not touching dead animals, for instance, might lead to healthier lives in an antibiotic free ancient world. The proscription against eating shellfish also makes some sense today since shellfish tend to absorb and concentrate toxins. What about the rule against contact with menstruating women? You know that during menstruation, the cervix is partly open and the uterus is more vulnerable to infection. Maybe there is sense in it.

The really important thing though is not the importance of all the arcane rules listed in Leviticus and other places in the old testament. The really important thing is that God became man in the person of Jesus Christ and allowed himself to be tortured and killed in order to redeem us from our sins. Jesus showed us, by His example and His teachings how we should live our lives. He gives us, through our faith in Him, the ability to approach God in spite of our sins.

Jesus expressed special contempt for the Pharisees, a particularly strict sect within the Jewish faith. He said that their insistence on keeping all of a very long list of commandments in a literal and rigid fashion was actually keeping people away from the love of God. When asked what the really important commandments were that we should keep, He said:

Mark 12:29-31‘The most important one’, answered Jesus, ‘is this: Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The Second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.

Now I know that some of your neighbors are homosexual. And I know that you and Mike both follow the second part of this commandment with conviction. So I understand your wanting to stick up for these people who, from no fault of their own, simply prefer to have sexual relations with partners of like gender. I don’t disagree with this, and I too try to love all my neighbors whatever their sins. After all, I am not without sin, and I love myself anyway. The only place where we might disagree is that I believe that homosexual behavior is against the will of God and therefore, sinful.

The big question for me is how do we keep the first part of this commandment. How can we love God without having a relationship with Him? How can we have a relationship when God is spirit and we are flesh? I don’t have the answer to these questions, but I think I know where to begin. Just as every living thing begins as a seed (embryo) , so a relationship with God begins with a grain of faith. If that grain is allowed to flourish, it will grow and mature over time and a real relationship will develop in which love will arise as a natural thing. Remember too, we are more than flesh. We are also spirit. Our minds arise out of a relationship between that spirit and our flesh (neurons, synapses, etc). Without spirit there would be no consciousness.
If you are interested in knowing God, start with a grain of faith and then pray and read the bible with an open and questioning mind and then bring your questions to God in prayer. You are already doing everything else.

Please keep in mind that I am not intending to preach to you about what you should do or how you should behave. I do not consider that I occupy any higher moral ground than you. I am only sharing some of the experience and insight that I have gained in the past ten years or so. Consider this…. If God is real and He created us, and He wants a real relationship of love with us, what could be more important than that?


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Is God Unfair?

I have a big 'fairness button'. Lately, I have become more aware of my emotional response to unfair situations and am trying, with some success, to moderate my reactions. One thing that helps is becoming aware of where my reaction to unfairness began.

I have a very clear memory from early childhood. I was two or three years old. My parents were living in an apartment in a small town in upstate New York, near the Canadian border. This is about my first experience with unfairness. I think this is where my anger began.

My parents went out for the evening and left me with a baby sitter - a teenage girl. As soon as my parents had left, she asked me if I had a 'victrola'. I had never heard of a 'victrola', so I said no. I remember her grabbing me by the hand and marching me to the hall closet, where on the top shelf there was a record player. She called me a liar and sent me straight to bed. I remember crying myself to sleep, angry and humiliated at having been called a liar.

I realize now that I had been set up. The girl just wanted an excuse to get me out of the way so she could listen to her records in peace.

I make a connection between this memory and the story of Adam and Eve in the Bible. Adam and Eve were innocent and naive. They were like babies. God knew that they were going to eat the forbidden fruit. It was a setup from the start. Why did God put the forbidden fruit in the garden in the first place? Why did God allow Satan to tempt Eve?

There are many other examples in the Bible of seemingly unfair behavior on the part of our creator. I personally have so many questions about the Bible and God and what our lives mean. However, I have chosen to love God in spite of those questions and I have never regretted that.

Here is a question for my agnostic friends. You instinctively know, even as a young child, what is fair and what is not. You even understand fairness in context and can distinguish between fairness in different situations. Yet you were not taught this. Where do you think your sense of fairness came from?