The Best Religious Joke Ever

When I was in college I owned a tape of an Emo Philips concert that was quickly stolen. I’ve always thought Philips was one of the funniest men alive, and I loved the tape largely for the following joke about religious intolerance which is both hilarious and all-too accurate.

I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said, “Stop! Don’t do it!” “Why shouldn’t I?” he said.

I said, “Well, there’s so much to live for!”

He said, “Like what?”

I said, “Well…are you religious or atheist?”

He said, “Religious.”

I said, “Me too! Are you Christian or Buddhist?”

He said, “Christian.”

I said, “Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?”

He said, “Protestant.”

I said, “Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?”

He said, “Baptist!”

I said, “Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?”

He said, “Baptist Church of God!”

I said, “Me too! Are you original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?”

He said, “Reformed Baptist Church of God!”

I said, “Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915?”

He said, “Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915!”

I said, “Die, heretic scum!” and pushed him off.

What Were Paul Tagliabue and Carmen Policy Thinking?

So yesterday near the end of the game between the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars and the Cleveland Browns, the Browns fans became so incensed that they start throwing bottles of beer on to the field. Sure, the bottles are plastic, but I certainly would not want to get hit by a full plastic bottle chucked from a distance.

The fans who did this were idiots, but the behavior of NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Browns president Carmen Policy were almost as dumb.

The call which angered the Browns was a replay revue of a catch made by a Browns receiver. After viewing the replay, the officials ruled the catch was actually an incomplete pass. Since it was fourth down, that meant the Jaguars were given the ball. So they had first down, with only 48 seconds to go, and a 5 point lead.

With the bottles raining down, the officials and both teams quickly ran into the locker room rather than finish the 48 seconds. Tagliabue actually phoned the officials and ordered them to play the remaining 48 seconds. What is the point of potentially endangering athletes simply to watch the Jaguars take kneel down twice and then walk off the field? That made no sense at all.

The NFL needs to change its rules so that if officials deem there is a potential threat to players and both coaches agree that the outcome of the game is no longer in in doubt, that a game can be halted and a winner declared even if there are a few seconds left on the clock.

Even worse was Browns president Carmen Policy who refused to criticize Browns fans. At a postgame press conference, Policy said, “I don’t think Cleveland will take a black eye from this. I like the fact that our fans care.”

Presumably if a Jaguars fan hit Policy in the head with a bottle of beer, he would not be in the mood for celebrating the fact that Jacksonville fans “care a lot” about the team. When players forget and make throat-slashing signs on the field, they get fined by the league. Hopefully Tagliabue will not restrict his fear about encouraging hooliganism to the players and fine Policy for such a ridiculous remark.

Was Glenn Miller a Victim of Friendly Fire?

A documentary to be broadcast on Great Britain’s Channel 4 on New Year’s Eve claims to solve one of the minor yet vexing mysteries of World War II — the disappearance of band leader Glenn Miller.

Miller’s plane took off from Great Britain on December 15, 1944 to carry the bandleader to Paris where he was scheduled to perform for American troops. His plane disappeared in the fog and was never seen or heard from again.

Reuters reports that the Channel 4 documentary revives a claim that had been previously rejected — that Miller’s plane was a victim of friendly fire from Allied bombers returning from an aborted bombing mission.

Fred Shaw, who was a navigator on one of those bombers, claimed in the 1950s that the aborted mission likely took out Miller’s plane. In order to land safely in England, the 139 bombers released all of their bombs into the English Channel. Shaw claimed that he saw the bombs hit a small plane beneath the bombers, but didn’t realize until much later that this was likely Miller’s plane.

Shaw’s claims have generally been rejected, largely because he was perceived as a publicity seeker and there were a number of open questions about whether Shaw’s bomber group and Miller’s plane could have possibly crossed paths since the two flights seemed to have about an hour-long difference as to when they would have been over the channel.

Aviation historian Roy Nesbit claims he’s solved those and other mysteries. The hour-long time difference, which supposedly made Shaw’s account impossible, turns out to be no discrepancy at all. Nesbit claims the alleged time difference is entirely due to the fact that the Americans recorded Miller’s departure in local time, whereas the British recorded the bomber flight’s departure and arrival time in Greenwich Mean Time.

Nesbit also argues that the flight path that Miller’s plane would have had to take would have put it only a couple miles from a zone over the English Channel designated for bombers to dump munitions (and which was kept secret, so Miller’s pilot would have had no idea he had ventured into airspace where munitions would be ditched).

Add to that Miller’s pilot’s inexperience with instrument flying and that he would have had to rely solely on a compass in the heavy fog that day — and the possibility that Miller could have been a victim of friendly fire doesn’t look so farfetched.

But the key is still whether or not Shaw could have properly identified Miller’s plane, with a lot of folks wondering how Shaw could have possibly recognized Miller’s Canadian-made Noorduyn Norseman, when only a handful were used in Great Britain. Nesbit’s answer: Shaw received his aviation training in Canada, where the Norseman was in widespread use.


Glenn Miller ‘died under hail of British bombs’. Peter Lemon, The Guardian Unlimited, December 15, 2001.

Glenn Miller killed by friendly fire, paper says. Reuters, December 15, 2001.

Federal Officials Tried to Fake Lynx Data

An ongoing point of controversy in the western part of the United States is the protection of lynx habitat. Environmentalists claim that lynx habitat is endangered and want new restrictions on private and public lands, while developers and others argue that lynx habitat is not endangered and new regulations are not needed. In the midst of this controversy comes word that federal employees of the U.S. Forest Service and The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service apparently tried to plant evidence indicating lynx were present in a federal forest that is currently part of a three-year study of the species.

The research in question was a three-year study authorized by the Clinton administration to study the habitat of the lynx population in and around the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the Wenatchee National Forest in Washington state. The study used rubbing posts in the forests which were then examined for the presence of lynx hair.

But at least seven government officials were disciplined for planting at least three samples of lynx hair on the posts. When the DNA of the lynx hair was analyzed, two of the samples matched a lynx living in an animal preserve, and the third sample match that of a lynx that had been held by the government until its owner reclaimed it. The government officials had taken hair from those animals, and affixed it to the rubbing posts to make it appear as if lynx had been in the area.

Had the ruse succeeded, this could have led to restrictions on human activity within the two parks.

When caught, the three Forest Service employees, two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials, and two Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife employees claimed they were simply trying to “test” the lab’s DNA expertise. Those who participated in the scheme have been banned from any further participation in the survey, although the government will not release their names citing privacy issues.


Rare lynx hairs found in forests exposed as hoax. Audrey Hudson, The Washington Times, December 17, 2001.

Britney Spears Wants to Work with an Animal Rights Group that Does Not "Distort the Truth" (Good Luck!)

The on again, off again relationship between Britney Spears and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is once again off as the entertainer’s spokeswoman accused PETA of falsely claiming that Spears would pose nude for a PETA promotional effort.

This whole episode began when PETA threatened to protest Spears over her use of live animals onstage. Spears agreed to stop using the live animals in her act and also agreed to lend her image to a PETA poster.

Then media reports surfaced claiming that Spears would pose naked for PETA’s “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur Campaign.” Spears’ publicist Lisa Kasteler told the BBC that the singer only agreed to provide a photograph of herself, fully clothed, for a PETA poster at a New York night club that excludes people who wear fur.

Kasteler accused PETA of falsely spreading the rumor that Spears would appear in the nude, and told the BBC, “Notwithstanding the meaningful work that PETA does, we cannot be involved with an organization that would distort the truth.”

Kasteler said Spears is still very interested in animal rights, but I suspect she’ll likely run through her 15 minutes of fame long before she is able to find an animal rights group that doesn’t distort the truth.

The best part of the controversy, though, was seeing PETA’s Dan Mathews (the same Mathews who admires serial killer Andrew Cunanan) telling the BBC that, “We’ve never distorted anything. We simply confirmed that we planned on doing a poster with her — we never said anything about nudity.”

PETA? Distort something? How could the press even think such a thing, given PETA’s track record? Oh yeah, right. Scratch that.


Fur flies over Britney posters. The BBC, December 14, 2001.

Spanish Court Rewards Rapist for Being Drunk

In what it Women’s eNews right calls its “Outrage of the Week,” Spain’s Supreme Court recently reduced the sentence of a man convicted of raping a mentally retarded girl. The sentence for the 18-year-old rapist was reduced from 13.5 years to 8 years on the grounds that the man was drunk at the time. Two co-defendants who helped pin the girl down also had their sentences reduced. The Supreme Court ruled,

Having ingested alcoholic beverages throughout the night, the three accused manifested an intellectual capacity that was slightly below average. Taken together, these may be considered to have keenly affected their volitional faculties.

Since the men were drunk, they had a limited capacity to choose not to commit rape! This is absurd. The only thing these men have a limited capacity for is living within the rules of society. What a stupid decision.


Spanish Rapist’s Sentence Reduced: He Was Drunk. Women’s eNews, December 15, 2001.