Last night’s dinner, Hoisin-Glazed Boneless Ribs with a side of … Rob Bell

February 27, 2011

Last night I made hoisin-glazed boneless ribs with garlic broccoli. It was supposed to be broccolini, but my local grocery store was out of broccolini, and I didn’t feel like driving to a Whole Foods to find some.

I have determined that my local grocer is a broccolini hater.

The hoisin-glazed boneless ribs was a first-time recipe for me. I tend to feel like I screw up first attempts at recipes, so I don’t put a lot of time into the photo of a first-time recipe. It ended up being okay. The dark bits on the meat weren’t burned. They were places where the hoisin clumped up.

While I was cooking the pork, it seemed the recipe was lying and I lowered the heat before it said to do so. It was a mistake, and I kicked myself for it later.

I have learned that I should have trust in recipes from experts, because they have done this very act a thousand times and they are the professionals.

It’s like airline piloting or … science. The professionals in those fields are usually trust worthy. I almost wrote that I should have “faith” in professionals, but that’s not accurate. “Faith” isn’t the same thing. Faith isn’t even in the same ballpark.

Trust is different than “faith.” Faith is belief in something unseen. But I can see, taste, smell and hear the cooking experience. I can verify with my senses that a professional is communicating a recipe for a successful meal. Faith, on the other hand, has no such provable outcome.

Last night, the skeptic in me took over and it almost cost me the recipe. I ended up having to cook the meat longer, thus drying some pieces out. Trust the recipe and the meal will be a success. Doubt the recipe and the results may suck, and pizza delivery or making a sandwich may be the only salvation.

This is where I shove a wooden square in a round hole.

This may be contrived to say, but many believers see the bible as a recipe book for success. And in some ways, there are some good bits of advice in the book. But the book is also littered with a LOT of bad advice. So one part of the recipe says, “Love your neighbor as yourself” and the next bit says, “Hate your family and love Jesus.”

This is not a recipe for success. It’s a recipe that can’t be saved with a pizza delivery or a sandwich.

As opposed to cooking (or science), world religions require faith in the unseen and the unprovable. I criticize people for not acknowledging that. Religious people should recognize what it really is, and I think Rob Bell sort of does that for Christians — which is why people like my uncle think he’s full of shit.

Religion recipes often result in bad-tasting social behavior, which is why I don’t trust it. I want to trust that the outcome of my thoughts and behaviors are going to have positive results on my neighbors both near and far.

Chew on that for a second. Or don’t.

Last night, I checked my site stats before turning out the light. Le Café got a nice hit boost yesterday thanks to the post about Rob Bell.

I added a comment this morning to lure people into a conversation. I would imagine that anyone who likes Rob Bell isn’t a typical believer, and therefore might be worthy of a conversation.

Who knows if it will do any good.

Happy Sunday!

Infographic with your name on it

February 26, 2011

American distribution of wealth.

What Americans think it is.

What they would like it to be.

Via Clusterflock

Obligatory Chuck Palahniuk Quote on High School Wall

February 26, 2011

Photo from a high school in Vancouver.

“The things that you own end up owning you.” ~ Tyler Durden, Fight Club


It’s Caturday!

February 26, 2011

I’ve been holding on to this one for about five days. I forgot to schedule it, and I’m glad I saw it so that I would post it.

Look at that fine puss.

Rob Bell: Love Wins

February 26, 2011

There’s a new book from Rob Bell, a Christian pastor from Michigan, called “Love Wins” coming out at the end of March. I’ve read Rob Bell before, and he’s not horrible.

One of my uncles doesn’t think he qualifies as a Christian, so that means he must be doing something right.

Here’s what the book is about:

[Love Wins is a] Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.

Rob Bell addresses one of the most controversial issues of faith—the afterlife—arguing, would a loving God send people to eternal torment forever…? With searing insight, Bell puts hell on trial, and his message is decidedly hopeful—eternal life doesn’t start when we die; it starts right now. And ultimately, Love Wins.

Resident regular-reading believer Julie Ferwerda posted this video on facebook the other day, and I thought I would at least act as a sort of proponent of the book here. I certainly don’t agree with the message, but I can see the value in the message. It appears more and more Christians are sincerely trying to bridge the gap between Christianity and other ways of thought. And for that, we have to at least give it a nod.

WordPress won’t let me embed these videos, but give it a watch. It’s worth it at least for the photography and production value.

If I get my hands on a copy, I’d love to at least review it here.

Above is a screen cap.

Wang: Times Have Changed: No More “China Produces and America Consumes”

February 26, 2011

I thought this article was at least worth taking a look at:

When I started to write my book The Chinese Dream three years ago, people in the United States did not even believe there was a middle class in China. Today, China’s middle class is already larger than the entire population of the United States and is expected to reach 800 million in fifteen years.

If this prediction sounds too bullish, chances are it is not. In 2006, McKinsey predicted that the by 2025, the Chinese middle class would reach 612 million and China would become the third largest consumer market in the world after the U.S. and Japan.

These numbers are already outdated.  A recent Credit Suisse reportpredicts China’s consumer market will reach $16 trillion by 2020, overtaking the United States as the world’s largest consumer market in the world.

2020 is less than ten years from now. Whether or not China will become the world’s largest consumer economy remains to be seen. However, this much is clear: the Chinese middle class has already changed the dynamics of the world we live in. The world is no longer “China produces and the United States consumes.” U.S. exports to China are growing almost two times as fast as overall U.S. exports, supporting half a million jobs.

Read on

Thanks, Old Fart!


Reblog: Christopher Hitchens & Sam Harris vs. David Wolpe & Bradley Artson – Is There An Afterlife? » Atheist Media

February 25, 2011

Full debate available on Jewish TV Network


In this recent Whizin Center for Continuine Education program, renown scholar, author and atheists Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris square off against Newsweek top rabbis, David Wolpe and Bradley Artson Shavit to determine what may or may not happen in the hereafter.

The possibility of an afterlife has challenged believers and atheists alike for centuries. Because its very nature defies conclusive definitions or proof, it remains a heated topic for debate and exploration. This debate is moderated by the Editor-in-Chief of the Jewish Journal, Rob Eshman.

Via Atheist Media


Dim bulb Quote of the Day

February 25, 2011

We started today with a great quote from a believer. Now it’s time for a delightfully dim bulb quote from another believer.

WhiskeyRiver commented on this very popular post about Noah’s Ark and wrote (misspellings and bad grammar are Whiskey’s):

“When Clams are found at 13,000 ft on Mt.Arrarat,that are from the right time period,how can you stick to that theory of yours.Hmm,…”

Clever, right?

WhiskeyRiver screwed up a Young Earth Creationist (YEC) argument. The discovery of clams that YEC’ers use so often was on Mt. Everest. Mt. Ararat is the mythological place where Noah’s Ark supposedly landed.

How were fossilized clams found on top of any mountain? Simple science explains that mountains are formed through the movement of tectonic plates. At one time, areas that were below the water are pushed up into the atmosphere. That’s right, places that were once below water were pushed up, way up. That’s why you find fish fossils in Wyoming (Julie).

Why do I post WhiskeyRiver’s dirty underwear on Le Café Witteveen’s flagpole and hoist it up?

It’s a waste of time, right?

The Noah’s Ark post above gets between 20 and 40 hits a day.  It gets that many hits, because believers are constantly searching for terms like “proof of Noah’s Ark.” I happened to tag the post with those exact words. I hate to break it to you kids, but you’re never going to find proof, because





Even if Moses really wrote the first five books of the bible (the pentateuch),  he wrote down a story that was passed down through an oral history that predated his time by several hundred years (if you believe the bible is true). He, or whoever wrote Genesis, picked up the story from the Babylonians. And the Babylonians probably picked it up from yo mamma.

I don’t “believe” in science. I accept it. Belief implies faith. You can show me how tectonic plates work. We can feel how they work (just ask any Haitian or Christchurchian). You can show me how we’re genetically connected to animals through evolution.

But you cannot EVER show me a talking snake. You will never be able to show me walking dead people. You cannot show me any number of biblical miracles because they



That’s a bold statement only because I emboldened it. It’s really not that big of a deal. Life will go on if the bible isn’t 100% true.

Besides, the bible teaches you to expect disbelief from non-believers. It teaches to expect scoffing and disrespect. So chalk this criticism up to a biblical teaching and accept that I can’t believe your beliefs






The best caller ever (The Atheist Experience)

February 25, 2011

The best caller ever.

Atheist Experience
01/07/07 #482

“An Elegant Weapon for a More Civilized Age”

February 25, 2011

I had to steal Cynical-C’s headline on this one. This video got me. At the point I wondered, “Why am I wasting my time?” That’s when the shit went down.

Via Cynical C


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