Welcome to The (Parenthetical) Atheist

3 February, 2008

Some of you already know me through my guest posts at vjack’s Atheist Revolution and The Spanish Inquisitor. I also regularly comment on many other sites (and as I get better at this, I promise (PROMISE) that I will provide links to my favourites).

 I originally posted as “Billy (A Liberal Disabled Veteran)”.”  I developed this handle after I posted a comment at Crooks and Liars and was accused by another commenter of being “a liberal weenie who wouldn’t know the Army if it bit him” (I do, and it did). I eventually dropped the modifier, but kept using the parentheses in my writing. The Exterminator, over at No More Hornets, keeps a list of frequent commenters. He named me (((Billy))) and that is now who I am. At least on line.

Off line I am a 42 year old man, happily married to another free-thinker (though she came about it through disgust with organized religion rather than thinking about it). I have two children. My son turns 18 in May and goes to college in September (I need loans, grants and scholarships). My daughter is 15 and is amazingly independent and mature (too mature).

I have four cats: Sherman is an old gray tiger (neurotic) who chews his own fur off; Oreo is a black and white curmudgeon who is channeling my late Polish Catholic grandmother (Its okay, I’ll just sit here, on my rusty brillo pad, with my stale triscuit; you go ahead and enjoy your life, don’t worry about me); Dust is, well, Dust (there are so many things I could say about him (it) (he weighs 25 pounds, has thick fur, drools and is aggresively affectionate)) (my wife claims he is part Shetland Pony); KC is a miniature version of Dust (though she still has her claws (and her dignity)) and is, well, a cat.


 So, why am I blogging?

 To my surprise, when I began commenting (hesitantly, at first), I discovered (at least I think I discovered) that I had something to add.  Not so much new ideas, but a different (and odd) perspective.  This blog will not be a news feed (though I may occasionally post news items).  I will (occasionally) write full essays (similar to the ones on Atheist Revolution and Spanish Inquisitor).  I will sometimes riff off of what others have written when another blogger’s post sparks a connection within this little mind.

 I make no promise of originality.  I cannot present legalistic arguments.  I cannot formulate symbolic logic equations.  I cannot be deeply philosophical.  What I can do (I hope) is make connections.

Welcome to my blog, The (Parenthetical) Atheist.



  1. (((Billy)))


    We’ve been waiting for you. I’m proud to make the first comment at your new blog. I know it will be a “keeper” (I know this from your comments)at my blog and others))so I will be back many time)))you can count on it)))).

  2. Hey, I get the first comment! Welcome, officially, to the Atheosphere. And don’t be scrimping on your comments just because you have your own damn blog.

    By the way, I’ve converted your Frequent Commenter link to feed over here, and I’m also going to break my own rule and include you immediately on my Godforsaken Blogs roll. For whatever that’s worth, you should be flattered, because I’ve never broken that rule before.

    Keep up the good (godless(meaning without any (whatsoever)gods))work, pal.

  3. Well, here’s my second try at formally welcoming you to the Atheosphere.

    I’m still the first commenter. (And now the second, too!)

  4. By the way, great to have yet another cat lover in our midst (what is an atheist without his/her cat?, I always say). Of course I understand if the atheist happens to be allergic to them – but what an EMPTY life. TWENTY FIVE POUNDS? The largest of my two (Shadow) is about 15 lbs and he is a good sized house cat. I think you might have a young panther or leopard!

  5. (((Billy)))
    I’m thrilled that you’ve got your own blog. I’m adding you to my Chapel Choir as soon as I’ve finished submitting this comment.

  6. (((Billy))):
    Do you have comments enabled? I left one a couple of minutes ago and it disappeared into cyberspace somewhere. Anyway, if you get this message, I’ve added to you the Chapel Choir blogroll at my place.

  7. SWEET, I’m the first commenter! Woo hoo!

    It’s about time you got your own blog, you weenie. 😉

  8. Balls, I’m not first am I? There’s some delay and I can’t see my first comment and it’ll probably show up like 10th and people will think, “why’d that dumbass say he was first?”. Damn it Billy!

  9. Okay, so I’m a little slow. I think I have the moderation off, but I’m not sure.

    For the record, John Evo was first.

    Ex: Thanks. And you weren’t the first. Not even the second.

    Chappie: Thanks. And I had no idea what comment moderation was.

    PhillyChief: You’re not a dumbass (a big stupid fish (dumb bass, get it?)).

  10. I guess this means I lost a guest blogger, and just when you were gettin’ rollin’. 8) Oh, well, my loss is the Atheosphere’s gain. Congratulations! And Welcome.

    I, too, will be putting you on my Atheoblogroll.

    BTW, I don’t think I realized where you were at. W-B. (And that’s not Warner Bos.) Both of my parents were born and raised there, and most of my relatives on both sides still live up that way. We might even be related.

  11. W-B? I briefly dated a girl in college from that area. Kind of open and empty around there from what I remember.

  12. SI: I doubt it. I’m from Maryland, California, Arizona, Maryland, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Missouri, Maryland, West Virginia, then Pennsylvania. My dad’s family is from Southern Maryland and Virginia, my mom’s family is from Massachusetts and Maine.

  13. How about that? I lived in the W-B area for much of my childhood until my family moved to Harrisburg in my last year of high school.

  14. Billy

    So what took you to W-B? I can’t think of any reason to move there, but a lot of reason to move away.


    You went to high school in Hbg? Where, and when? I graduated from Trinity in ’72.


  15. SI: I got a job with the National Park Service back in the early ’90s and moved up here from Harpers Ferry, WV. I was willing to go anywhere to get a permanent position, no term, no furlough. I ended up in WB because we could buy a house (three bedrooms, new kitchen, full basement, full attic) for less than $40k. My kids go to GAR which (and this didn’t surprise me (though it surprised my wife)) is rated in the top 10% of US public high schools. I figure to stay here until the kids move out and then go back to being a hobo (work and wander).

  16. (((Billy)))

    All that great commenting pays off. You are going to set some kind of a record for “first post comments”!

  17. SI:
    I graduated from Susquehanna in ’76.

  18. SI, I’m a year older than you but I graduated from University a year before you graduated from high school. Think about that one.

  19. Chappy

    Small world, eh?


    Let me guess. Your parents put you in Kindergarten when you were 2?

  20. Hey (((Billy))). Nice to meet another godless cat-lover. We have a pair of Maine Coons who are simultaneously the bane and a joyous addition to our household.

  21. Urban Viking: Our 25-pounder is an SPCA cat. Our vet (and my daughter) think that he is a Maine Coon / Rag Doll mix. He’s just plain big. Luckily, he’s a marshmallow, otherwise our lives would be in danger.

  22. Heh. I know what you mean. Our male is the most charmingly gormless creature I have ever had the pleasure of meeting but if he wasn’t he could probably wreak considerable, structural damage on our house.

  23. (((congrats!)))

    I’m sure I’ll be stopping by here a lot.

    I have a cat too! He’s black (and three-legged), and weighs 15 pounds (and meows constantly), and oh, his breath smells like poo (seriously, he’s old and needs to have his teeth cleaned (I think)).

    Oh, oh, and I drove through W-B on my way to Albany from Charlotte a few times. Can I join the club?

    Oh yeah, one completely unrelated tidbit I have to drop (because, well, I don’t know where I’d say this otherwise). I was listening to someone read out the transcript of the Tom Cruise recruitment video (on my way to work) and seriously the sentence structures (short, one word bits and short sentences and then really long sentences and lists) sounded just like our favorite Christian, trinity! (I wonder if she’s really Suri.)

    OK, don’t hit me! I promise I’ll stop the caffine.

  24. Could someone of the American persuasion please enlighten me as to where-the-hell W-B is?

  25. Urban Viking: If there is a bright center of knowledge and culture in Pennsylvania, Wilkes-Barre is not there. Actually, its not that bad. Strange, but not bad.

    Wilkes-Barre, PA is located in Luzerne County in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The area was originally settled by German farmers. Then hard coal (anthracite (90% carbon content) (which puts it about halfway between bituminous (soft) coal and Welsh coal) was found in the area and, from the 1810s through the 1950s, about 90% of the world’s anthracite was mined within one hundred miles of Wilkes-Barre.

    If the name sounds familiar, its because it was named for two English Parliamentarians. One of whom (don’t remember which off the top of my head) was prosecuted for pornography and fled to France.

    There are two colleges here, King’s College (not the one in Oxford) and Wilkes University. Both have a pretty good reputation.

    There was also a steam locomotive manufacturing company, the Vulcan Locomotive Works, in town. Their last engines went to, of all places, Turkey.

    That help?

  26. Sure does – thank you, sir.

    Sounds like an interesting area. Is this the same neck of the woods where the Pennsylvania D(e)utch are located?

    Incidentally, Kings is in Cambridge 🙂
    I had the pleasure of attending a choral service performed by their famous choir in the stunning chapel there last year.

  27. Yea, so I’m a little slow… welcome!

  28. The Pennsylvanie Deutch are down in the southern part of the state between Harrisburg and Philadelphia.

    Sorry, for some reason I thought it was King’s College of Oxford,

  29. Cool.

    Don’t sweat it. I only knew for sure where Kings was because I’d been to the choir thing 🙂

  30. Good stuff there billy the kid.

    Looking forward to what you have to say

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