• About TWIM

    The Warfare Is Mental (TWIM) reflects the mental warfare of an author, screenwriter, publisher and member of the Writer's Guild of America. Family, friends, health, humor, art, music, science, faith, fun and knowledge are some of the things that are important to me.

    TWIM is the first and only theist blog listed on the Atheist Blogroll, which currently contains over 1,000 blogs. It goes without saying that I don't endorse hardly any of the views of any of them. Contact Mojoey for more information.

    Ironically, TWIM won an award for "Best Atheist / Skeptic Site" from this site. Much obliged.

  • TWIM updates via email.

    Join 13 other followers

  • Feedback

    You and your commenters are a feast of thinking — great stuff.

    -C.L. Dyck
    I have no need to engage with racists, so will ignore cl’s further diatribes.

    cl resists following through on a thought even to provide a solid opposing position, and thus stifles many conversations. It’s a shame since it seems like cl has some brain power that could be applied to the topics at hand.

    [faithlessgod and Hermes] fit my definition of trolling. I didn’t take any of those attacks against you seriously, and quickly categorized them as trolls.

    -JS Allen,
    [cl] is, as many have noticed, a master of this warfare. I’ve been following him for quite some time and he’s one of the most effective Christian trolls out there. No one can completely destroy a conversation as effectively as he does, and with such masterful grace and subtly that he rarely gets banned. This isn’t a blunt-force “U R Hitler!” troll, this is the Yoda of trolling.

    This seems to imply that cl is, at least in part, disingenuous in terms of how he responds/what he claims. Is this most likely true, supported by evidence, or merely a subjective claim?

    -al friedlander,
    ...I wanted to get a message to you outside of the context of specific discussions on CSA. You make good, insightful contributions to that site, and since I often agree with you I'm glad there is someone else there defending my positions better than I sometimes can. However I don't think anything of value would be lost if you stopped engaging in personal combat with juvenile snipers.

    Thank you for your wonderful response - so reasoned in the race of [Waldvogel's] blustering.

    -Annie Laurie Gaylor
     Freedom From Religion Foundation
    Thanks for a great Op-Ed.

    -Marianne Ratcliff
     VC Star
    ...as atheists we need to make sure that someone like cl and any Christian readers of [An Apostate's Chapel] don’t come away with the perception that the atheists caved in or were incapable of responding. I’m sure that a lot of Christians who find cl incomprehensible at times and don’t even bother reading him themselves will come away with an assumption that cl is that sort of rare intellectual theist who can prove that gods exist. And that’s how those inane rumors about the feared xian intellectuals start…

     An Apostate's Chapel
    You are in so over your head here, you are embarrassing yourself...
    I am well versed in many aspects of evolution biology, through my academic background, and my professional life. Unless your academic degrees and background match mine, cease and desist. Return to philosophy and rhetoric, or whatever it is you perceive your strengths to be. They are definitely not science, even at the high school level.

    -R.C. Moore
     Evangelical Realism
    You're doing a fine job.

    -Prof. Larry Moran
     Dept. of Biochemistry
     University of Toronto
     re: R.C. Moore & others
    Phyletic change and vicariance (or, drift and selection versus population isolation), as cl points out, are much better ways of describing what are unfortunately more commonly known as micro- and macro- evolution, respectively.

     Biology postdoc
     Univ. of Cyprus
     re: R.C. Moore & others
    cl says, “The minute you call yourself a Christian or an Atheist or whatever the heck else, you automatically get painted by other people’s interpretations of those words, which are almost always different and almost always distorted.” cl’s point couldn’t be more on. As cl points out there is an important reason for not claiming any real religious (or lack thereof) belief. It puts logical constraints on one's arguments due directly to the bias of the individual that is translating the English to mind ideas of what it means to be religious.

    Just who in the bloody hell do you think you are, you Christian piece of garbage, to come here barking out orders? You're an arrogant, condescending piece of shit. You seem to think you're an intellectual of sorts, when all you are is a Christian who's read a few books. John, everyone, this really is the limit. BR, I'm more than a little annoyed that you continue to engage him. I'm out of here. I have better things to do than to waste my time with these cretins.

     Debunking Christianity
    How old are you CL? I'd guess you have not yet experienced much life. I'd say you were under the age of 21, too young to be here. I don't give a damn what you think of me or my deconversion at all. You're too stupid to realize that regardless of it you must deal with the arguments in the book. They are leading people away from you [sic] faith. I'm seriously considering banning you cl, as I've heard you were banned on other sites. You are much too ignorant for us to have a reasonable discussion.

    -John Loftus
     Debunking Christianity
    I admired the way you handled yourself in the discussion on John's blog. I'm not patient enough to keep my sarcasm in check with some of them blokes, but appreciate those who are.

    -David Marshall
     re: Debunking Christianity
    cl, I have to say, while I fundamentally disagree with you, you are an individual which I highly respect. I think your responses are always well thought out and your insights always well thought out and pertinently derived.
    [Y]ou have made me a stronger atheist in my regards to critical thinking and debating. I really can’t wait to hear more from you. Hell, I’d even buy you a drink, good sir. Cheers!

     Evangelical Realism
    Bottom line? Sometimes I think he's right about certain arguments, and I don't have a problem admitting that. Other times, however, I think he's wrong, and I've called him on that. But I have found he can be pretty reasonable if you (1) don't overstate your case, (2) make concessions when you have, and (3) insist he do the same.

    I like it when [cl] makes me stop, think and question if I am making unfounded assertions or if I am being sloppy. What has been annoying me about cl of late is that he is being excruciatingly anal...

    I really can't thank you enough for catching me on my error in rhetoric. I always love a good debate! And I always enjoy your posts, as well! Keep up the great writing and the excellent eye for detail!

    You make me smarter...

    -Mike G.
    ..thank you, cl. I discovered your blog on a random web search and saw it as an oasis amidst a vast desert of seemingly intractable theist-atheist debate.

    -Sung Jun
    It's good to be able to discuss with people who are open and respectful, and know that disagreement does not mean disrespect... You are to be congratulated, not only for your patience, but also your ability to hold an ever-growing debate together with an impressive degree of structure.

    My tone is derogatory... [cl is] ignorant and credulous and deserves to be mocked... In the time he's been here, he's shown a consistent pattern of antagonizing everyone he comes in contact with, monopolizing threads, derailing discussions with perpetual complaints, quibbles and demands for attention, and generally making arguments that display a lack of good faith and responsiveness... it's become intolerable. I'm not banning him, but I'm putting in place some restrictions on how often he can comment.

     Daylight Atheism
    This is no defense of the annoying cl, but what a self-righteous, prissy atheist you turned out to be, Ebonmuse. I'm disappointed in you, stealing a strategem from the theists.

    -The Exterminator
     to Ebonmuse
    I certainly didn't get any bad impression about cl, and I can't relate his comments with any of the things (Ebonmuse) said above. I actually thought it was quite interesting to have him around.

    -Juan Felipe
     Daylight Atheism
    Please continue to allow
    cl to post his views and make it clear that he is still welcome. And let me be clear, cl is not a lunatic.

     Daylight Atheism
    With one exception, you are the most coherent and intelligent theist I've seen on this site...

    -Steve Bowen
     Daylight Atheism
    I'm rooting for cl. I hope he perpetually manages to skirt the rules enough to do his damage, forcing rule revision after rule revision, ad nauseum. Awesome! Let's watch as Ebon, ever more frustrated, continues to struggle to figure out how to keep his precious private blog neat and tidy as cl keeps messing up his papers while one by one, readers leave due to an every increasing administrative presence. Outstanding! Well I won't go. The thought of this sounds like the most entertaining thing that probably would have ever happened on Daylight Atheism. Hot damn!

    Your visit has been something of a reality check to me. It seems that when you present rational arguments and criticisms, many commenters feel territory slipping and then work up vaporous or leaky responses. I also want to remark that your presence here has considerably moved me to try being a more careful and understanding debater...

     Daylight Atheism
    I do have a lot of respect for you too. You seem to be a very intelligent and thoughtful individual with a knack for getting to the bottom of a problem, cutting through all the bullshit rhetoric on the way down. The fact that many other atheists seem to unreasonably despise you bothers me a lot, because I think that maybe they aren’t acting in good faith.

    -Peter Hurford
    I am not going to waste any more time parsing your comments to decide if they've crossed the line or not... So I banned you.

    -Greta Christina
    Be rude... cl invites rudeness. Would you want an incontinent little puppy coming into your house?

    -(((Billy))) the Atheist
    Note to all my regular readers: Since An Apostate’s Chapel is a free-speech zone, I don’t censor conversations.
    As it appears that cl is a troll, please note that I will not be responding to him any longer. I ask that you refrain from doing so, as well. Please don’t feed the troll!

    -The Chaplain
    …I can’t reconcile being a "freethinker" with banning speech. [cl's] comments are not offensive in the normal understanding of that term, and he poses absolutely no threat except perhaps to some imagined decorum. Why can’t atheists lighten up, for no-Christ’s sake?

    -The Exterminator
    Is it going to distract from my meal when crazy uncle cl starts blathering out nonsense, pick his ears with a carrot or start taking his pants off? No. In fact, it might actually heighten the experience in some amusing way. So no, I don't see cl's work as damage.

    I am beginning to suspect that you are a troll cl. Albeit an evolved troll, but a troll nonetheless. Perhaps we should all stop feeding the troll?

     Evangelical Realism
    [cl is] is either a sophist or an incompetent when it comes to the english language... (sic)

     Evangelical Realism
    I’d say cl is pretty sharp... it may be tempting at times to think that “the other guy” is arguing out of some personal character flaw rather than a sincere desire to acknowledge the truth, I still think it’s better to debate respectfully... It is disrespectful to make unsupported accusations against people, e.g. by suggesting that their views are caused by an intrinsically corrupt and immoral nature.

    -Deacon Duncan, 3-9-09
     Evangelical Realism
    [cl] cannot refute my facts, so he needs must find (sic) some scapegoat in order to claim that he has confronted the enemy and proven them wrong... cl, sadly, has proven himself to be the sort of guest who comes into your living room and sneaks behind your couch to take a crap on the floor, just so he can tell all your neighbors how bad your house smells and what an unsanitary housekeeper you are... an interesting case study in the negative effects a Christian worldview has on a reasonably intellectual mind.

    -Deacon Duncan, 6-17-09
     Evangelical Realism
    I strongly discourage discussion of the character, abilities, motives, or personal ancestry of individual commenters, as tempting as such comments may be at times. I discourage the posting of comments that make frequent use of the pronoun “you,” as in “you always…” or “you never…” or “you are just so…”, when directed at a specific individual.

    -Deacon Duncan, 4-9-09
     Evangelical Realism
    I won’t be publishing your most recent comment because it’s a return to the same sort of schtick you’ve pulled here before: re-writing other people’s arguments to make yourself look misunderstood and/or unfairly accused, taking “polyvalent” positions so that when people address your points you can claim to have said something else, distorting other people’s arguments, trolling for negative reactions, and so on.

    -Deacon Duncan, 10-8-09
     Evangelical Realism
    [E]gomaniacal troll.
    You win... You’re a disingenuous sophist through and through, cl. And a friggin’ narcissist to boot! Since I’ve thoroughly and purposefully broken the Deacon’s rules of engagement, I shall consider my right to post henceforth annulled, and move on - dramatic pause, lights out.

     Evangelical Realism
    He either thinks in a very weird way or he's quite the con artist.

    I will gladly admit that I have a boner for cl. Maybe some day I’ll even earn a place of honor on cl’s Blog of Infamy.

     Evangelical Realism
    Long time reader first time poster... I like reading what you
    have to say over at Daylight Atheism so I figured I'd pop in here.

    He's just a jerk
    that likes to argue.

     Daylight Atheism
    You’re not a reasonable thinker in my book. You’re simply an arguer, for better or worse. I’m Michael Palin, you’re John Cleese. You’re just a disputation-ist, bringing everything into question...

     Reason vs. Apologetics
    Motherfucker, this is an interesting blog... Quite the group of commenters.

    -John Evo
    You are very articulate, and I can only assume that it's a result of high intelligence; an intelligence that's interested in, and can understand, healthy debate. However, at every turn, that's not what I or others seem to get.

    -ex machina
     Daylight Atheism
    You are a troll, a liar, and a useless sack of shit. Not only that, but you're still wrong even after moving the goal posts and trying to re-write history. So, you can stop cyber stalking me now and trying to provoke me. I know what you are doing, and you are doing it so that you can whine about how I'm being irrational and mean to you and stroke your pathetic martyr complex. You're a pathetic attention whore and I've already given you too much attention. So, back the fuck off, stop following me around the intarwebs and trying to provoke me, and fuck off.

     Daylight Atheism
    I would just like to say that, OMGF, having read the debate as a neutral observer, some of the things cl says about your style of argument are true, IMO. It is quite hasty, which means you occasionally haven't got the central point cl is trying to make...

    -John D.
     Daylight Atheism
    ...this is a difficult question that deserves more than a kneejerk reaction, not to imply that you're kneejerking. You're the least kneejerking person I've met.

    If you’re here playing devil’s advocate, then, hey, you do a great job at it, it’s a service, keep us sharp... You’re a smart guy, but those are exactly the ones who give the worst headaches!

     An Apostate's Chapel
    You are a waste of time, cl. A big fat black hole of bullshit sucking in everyone who comes into contact with you.

    -Spanish Inquisitor
    As for all that harsh invective that's come your way, umm... I gotta say, I've seen some of the invective, but I haven't seen the behavior on your part that called for it. Maybe I've just not seen enough? I don't know... from what I've read, I can tell that you're a smart person, and whether you deserved any of that treatment or not is quite frankly immaterial to me; I just want to deal with the smart person at the eye of that storm.

     She Who Chatters
    I now think that you’re an atheist, just having fun at other atheists’ expense. If that’s the case, kudos.

    -The Exterminator
  • Advertisements

Time For Some Change

*originally published in Manifesto, 2003


The tired custodian emptied the trash and locked up, departing to Al’s
Liquor via bicycle for his standard three quarts of
Schlitz Ice. He
pedaled off, not knowing the bank he had just cleaned so meticulously
was about to be visited by yet another customer. He didn’t even crack
the first quart before the commotion began.


A few seconds later, this unusual sound was followed by another one, different, yet equally foreign and intriguing.


The aural combinations would be juggled and repeated for hours into the
night. The smooth, marble benches and red, painted curbs surrounding the
monetary fortress have provided skateboarders with a challenging
playground for years, ever since they replaced the ugly, dried-up grass
that used to run the perimeter of the building.


Jake smiled, rolling away from his backside tailslide feeling empowered and having a lot more fun than usual.

Amazingly enough, nobody ever really bothered the skaters who went there. They
would often roll into the early morning hours with no contact from
society whatsoever, save a few pass-by’s from the local cholos or an
occasional visit from the testosterone charged security guard, whom
they tauntingly referred to as "The Tough Guy." Every time they saw the
headlights of his weathered Mazda mini-truck approaching, they would
give each other a heads up by calling out "TGA," which stood for "Tough
Guy Alert."


Jake whizzed through a clean frontside boardslide. A car pulled in.

Expecting The Tough Guy, Jake was ready to skip the drama and skate off, but as
the car came closer, he saw a face he didn’t recognize. It was the
stern and emotionless face of an unhappy, aging man, no doubt an employee
of the bank coming to catch up on some work. In the middle of his
hurried walk to the door, his briefcase somehow managed to escape the
vice-like grip of his pale fingers.

"Ah son of a bitch…" he hissed as documents scattered all around.

He gathered them up. As he rose, the searing pain in his lower back
reminded him of his deteriorating physical condition. As he passed
Jake, their eyes met for a fleeting second. The man immediately glanced
away to save himself from having to acknowledge Jake, a common social
behavior of a culture subdued by routine, impatience and isolation. It
didn"t phase Jake, though. As a skateboarder, he had grown used to the
looks of contempt and ridicule aimed his way by the other, more
respectable, members of society.

"Man, I’€™m thankful to be havin’€™ fun and not working,™" he thought to himself
in between a flatground nollie and a 360 powerslide. Another hour passed and Jake found himself working on a rare technical trick, varial heel back nosegrind.

"Damn, that was tight…you see that fool?"

The biggest of the three homies slapped his younger counterpart upside the
head and demanded that he hand him the joint they were passing.

"Here, gimme that thing homes…"


had been too engulfed in his pursuits to notice the three of them
smoking and drinking forties under a tree. He wondered why they had
never really started anything with the skaters. To him it was ironic
that these so-called gangbangers, considered subhuman fragments of society, could
give Jake’s maneuvers the appreciation they deserve while the rest of
the ‘upstanding’ civilization simply passes by with indifference, judgment or outright

"Those vatos are chill," Jake thought to himself.

the pressures and anxieties of twenty-something life dissipated as Jake
found his lines, functioning in the state sports psychologists refer to
as ‘the zone.’€™ His brief moment of satori-like bliss was abruptly
interrupted by the sound of keys and a slamming door that commanded
attention. The middle-aged guy was finally on his way out of the
office, at 1:48 a.m., three hours later. Jake sat down on his board,
sweaty and exhausted.


sound of uncomfortable shoes came nearer. He turned the corner and
there sat Jake on his skateboard, in such close proximity that the man
was forced into eye contact this time.

"How’s it going?" Jake asked.

just fine," the man snapped, almost angrily. Jake sensed that
something else would soon follow his sharp response, something hostile
and critical.

"…except that you damn kids have practically wrecked everything around here…" he blurted out, motioning towards the curbs.

"It’s a curb," Jake responded. "They paint right over it three times a year!"

"Just a curb, huh? I’ve spent the last eighteen years of my life here and that’s all you have to say for your damage?"

"Why don’€™t you complain about that?" Jake pointed to the numerous graffiti tags along the trash-littered retainer wall.

I was your age I had two jobs. What are you doing’?" The man attempted a
lecture of some sort. "I ought to call the police."?

"Yo, I’€™m over all this guilt trip crap. What are you my dad or somethin’?" Jake got
up. He didn‒t display the reaction of submission the man was expecting.
Jake just chuckled to himself, nodding in disgust at the high-strung
seriousness overly-material systems can produce.

"Everything is a joke to you people!" the man screamed as Jake skated off.


times Jake had the most fun skating home from these late night
sessions. There are a ton of obstacles to hit on the route: curb cuts,
the wallride behind Speedy Stop, some planter gaps, the gap to
manual…the list is endless. He always seemed to find some acceptable
canvas for his maple-titanium-urethane brush.

"That guy at the bank needs to chill…" he thought to himself after popping out of an extended manual.

this same moment the guy from the bank was traveling eastbound to his
elaborate home in north Scottsdale, the wanna-be Beverly Hills of the
Arizona desert. It was not unusual for him to spend his entire drive
dwelling over the petty, insignificant aspects of his own personal
microcosm. For some reason he found music uninteresting, so he just
thought about his life as he drove, juggling scenes of his children
asleep mixed with flashes of his wife impatiently awaiting his arrival.

all I need is her bitchin’ at me for not spending enough time with the
kids again…" he thought to himself as he pulled into the gas station.

"These and ten
on pump nine," was the extent of his acknowledgment to the younger
human behind the register that he deemed a cashier. They were muttered
very demandingly with an expectant voice as he slapped two candy bars
and a pint of Vodka down on the counter. "At least I can slip these in
their lunches before school…" he thought. "That’ll make’em happy…"

hours later he sat staring into the television, having undergone the
smooth transition from up’€™n at’€™em banker to drunk and frustrated
apathetic. A constant barrage of images served as his numbing
anesthetic while he sat and envied other people doing other things in
other times. Once again his attention left his environment and turned
inward. He flicked the channel.

"What a rough day…punk kid…I hate that place anyways…I’€™d really like to leave, but what about my retirement?"

scene popped onto the screen, one that evoked memories of friends, fun
and happiness, all feelings he hadn’€™t really felt for a long time. His
memories drifted from one to the next. He recalled the feeling of
younger hands sliding across fresh felt, the smells of perfumed
adolescent girls and chalk freshly ground into the cue and the sounds
of laughter and vitality exchanged amongst his fellow pool enthusiasts.
From the age of seven he had displayed extraordinary proficiency in the
game, so much so that he was highly esteemed by the local professionals
before he could even vote or smoke cigarettes while he played.

With a semblance of a smile, he sat and watched the game unfold. It was nine ball.

bet I could give any of these guys a run for their money…" he thought
to himself. "What a life they have. If only they knew."

the back of his mind he wished he had not chosen the life he was
living, a constant jumble of financial stress, marital concerns and
ever-increasing tension. He felt shackled by a self-constructed prison
of his own thinking. Embittered all over again, he rose abruptly,
hitting his balding head on the corner of the metal lampshade drawing a
pinprick’s worth of blood. He cursed before returning to deficit

"If I
wasn’t at that damn bank half the time I could get a chance to shoot
again…" he thought, finishing his pint. Buzzed, he decided to retire
for the night, only to get up five hours later and start the cycle
again; one more revolution, one more turn of the gears.

next day while walking back to his car from lunch, he saw a carefree
skateboarder approaching him, cruising down the sidewalk with
headphones on, completely lost in soulful carves. For a split second he
assumed his usual reaction of scorn when suddenly, the scenes of the
nine ball game on television
the night before were recalled to his
mind. He had forgotten about them completely until that seemingly
random, unrelated moment.

the carefree skateboarder neared, he still looked in the other
direction as usual, but this time he just laughed to himself,
continuing the walk to his car. He suddenly stopped his robotic pace
noticing a pay phone a stone’s throw away. He dug through his pockets.
It was time for some change. He found a quarter, dropped it into the
slot and dialed the number to his secretary.

Jane, it’s me. Listen, uh…something just came up that I really need
to take care of. I’ll be back in around two or so. Tell Allen I’ve got
the reports and I’ll be there as quick as I can. Thanks…"

hung the phone up and headed in the opposite direction, at first
hesitant, but as the reality of his decision set in he picked up his
stride. There was a small dive bar about three blocks down.

"Ah, what the hell…the cue sticks are crappy but it’ll be fun…"


2 Responses

  1. Great story man. Nine ball is my game…I don’t know about that ‘three quarts of Schlitz Ice’ line though…that’s some crappy ass beer!

  2. Hey Chris nice work! I like all the variety goin on here…I especially like your outlook on the Bush agenda. keep it up…it’s good stuff:)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: