Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Florida

As I write, I am sitting in a Greyhound bus, traveling from Tampa to Fort Lauderdale to meet David. I came to Florida a week early to visit family before I head off on my European Adventure.

Florida is dry, hot, and flat. The ground is very sandy and dusty. I was kind of surprised at how dry, but I was in Northern Florida. I haven't seen the Everglades.

I was warned to watch my step; poisonous snakes are deadly, and those that don't kill you, can make one severely ill. I avoided the snakes (only saw one, and from a car), but I did manage to get attacked by fire ants. Those bastards sting. I haven't seen an alligator yet, but I hope to.

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Most of my family in these parts are religious folk, going to church weekly and saying grace at every meal. So they invited me to attend service with them. I was happy to go. Manyatheists wouldn't consider such a thing out of some kind false sense of principal, but I'm talking about family.

Now, don't misunderstand, I'm not a closeted atheist. My family is well aware of my lack of belief. They respect me enough to not evangelize, and I treat them with the same respect. They invited me out of general courtesy, and I went out of general courtesy. Besides, I wanted to see my two year old cousin go Easter egg hunting.

The sermon was actually kind of interesting. It was about the resurrection, and how a couple of the apostles didn't believe that Jesus rose from the dead, and they wouldn't until they saw it for themselves. The pastor segued into how so many in our "post-modern society" need to see something first-hand before they can believe it. Some people lack faith. They need evidence. That part he got right.

So, he presented five proofs supporting the resurrection, which he got from some book. I don't remember which one; perhaps I should bring a pen next time I go to church so I can take notes. But, I've read similar crap before, as has many an atheist. Many an atheist has also heard the proofs debunked before, so I won't bother here.

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Religious billboards pepper this damn state. Seems like every road has someone that wants me to know that Jesus Saves. I just have to accept him into my heart. Our something. Though, the first billboard I actually noticed was from the Tallahassee Atheists. It made me smile.



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One of my cousins took me shooting. I haven't fired a pistol or rifle since junior high, maybe high school, so it was an interesting experience. Two things I learned: one, when firing a nine millimeter, make sure your thumb is well below the action. Otherwise, when it slides back, it will take out a chunk of your thumb. Two, I'm a lousy shot. But I did manage to hit a quarter at a hundred yards with a .17 caliber rifle. It took more than a few attempts.




I am aware that most liberals like myself are strong supporters of gun control, as I am. But, I do not support total gun control. Places such as NYC do, and ought to, have strict laws, and other places, such a rural areas have laxer restrictions. I do not support concealed carry without a permit, and I support licensing and training requirements. But I alsosupport the right of people to own and use guns for hunting and target practice.

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Okay, I just had to change buses in Orlando, and I was surprised to find that they had a security checkpoint. I've never seen such a thing at a bus station before. That's one of the few advantages buses actually have over flying. The others being cost and free wifi. Of course, if I didn't go outside for a smoke, I would not have had to go through security. One smokes when one can.

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My grandmother fell ill just before I arrived. Not life threatening thankfully, but she is in need of a bit of physical therapy before she can return home. So, she is in a nursinghome for the next couple of weeks. The staff there seem caring and decent, and the residents appear well cared for. But, it is obviously a poor place for poor people. The rooms donot have TVs or phones and the beds are the old fashioned hand crank kind. Even the call buttons are the old pneumatic style. The whole experience reminds me why we need single payer health care. Programs for poor people tend to become poor programs.

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One last note. Greyhound's wifi really sucks. They put an ad at the top of the browser page which slows things down and confuses pages that have flash. I am riding their bus,do they really need to show me an ad for themselves?

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