If you like beating your head against a hard surface, read this post by Rebbecca Watson about the sexist insults still being leveled against her weeks and weeks after the elevator incident. Read it, and then cry as your forehead methodically strikes wood over and over and over again.

For real insane bile, try reading this guy. While I love me a good ad hominem attack, I have to take off my hat to the professionals. I don’t think I’ve ever directed that level of sustained spite at anyone, no matter how much they pissed me off. When did dismissing the points Rebecca and PZ made turn into a loathing this creepy and obsessive?

Brad Hirschfield is a grumpy old man sitting back shaking his head at nasty atheists being naughty.

Apparently, a skeptic group had an event where they tour up pages from the bible photocopies of pages from the bible. Great, reminds me of the great cracker abuse of 2007, only less controversial. Suffice it to say, I’m all for this kind of activism. We need to get over the idea that ideas and symbols can be sacred and beyond reproach.

In the article entitled When Atheism Turns Ugly, Hirschfield manages to be patronizing, castigating, and offended all at once, or as Regretsy would put it butthurt. Without any irony or an iota of self awareness, Rabbi Hirschfield claims that “Fanatical atheism is no worse and no better than fanatical religion, though it may be more bitterly ironic.” Ooh good one there Brad.

No what’s bitterly ironic, is that a Jewish man fails to recognize an oppressed minority when he sees one. Oppression can come in many forms, and calls to sit down and shut up are historically used to silence your opposition. While I will not compare the plight of atheists today with the discrimination relentlessly leveled against the Jewish people in the past. I will say that in much of this country, its still hard to be outspoken and an atheist in public without risking some kind of reprisal.

While the tired old arguments about “fanatical atheism” apply to this article, Mr. Hirschfield’s pompous attempts to put himself somehow above it all, are even more obnoxious. The end of his article calls on religion to be more humble and fanatical atheists to not be so fanatical. His conclusion?

Oh wait, if that happened, we wouldn’t have culture wars. Difference and disagreement? To be sure. But the kind of ugly street theater that was played out in Huntington Beach, no.

What does he think disagreement and difference look like?

Disagreement doesn’t mean not offending anyone. If you hold contrary opinions, there’s someone who will always take it personally and be offended… as Hirschfield demonstrates.

The gay rights movement has put up with this shit for years, too, “Why can’t they just do it in the privacy of their own homes?” “I don’t want to hear about that;”  “Don’t ask, don’t tell;” etc. But it wasn’t until gay people started to become public about the lives, that any positive change happened at all. That’s why pride parades exist, to promote solidarity, to gain strength from numbers, and to have a public presence so you can’t be stifled.

It pisses me off when assholes like Hirschfield try and hand down judgement on activists without addressing a single one of their points. The bible is full of hateful stuff, that was the point of the protest. The Rabbi ignores that in preference of calling for humility and while showing none of his own. Mr. Hirschfield needs to grow a thicker skin, and stop wining about how “ugly” we atheists are. The bible is a book, it deserves no more respect than any other.

Automobile-Sized Refridgerator! That's A Great Idea!

Chevy ridin' high.

That’s A Great Idea!

from the 1961 Home Handyman Encyclopedia & Guide.

I’m a DIY enthusiast, I really am. I prefer to build things for myself rather than buy them, and if I can do so in a timely manner, I will. I like solving problems, and improving things, I think all makers do. But there’s solving a problem, and then there’s creating the solution to a problem you never had in the first place. Really though, this article in no way provides solutions of any kind. In every way it is an invitation to frustration, humiliation, and failure.

According to Popular Mechanics this refridgerator is “Considered an accessory for automobiles of the future.” Wow, what an amazingly accurate prediction! It turns out they were absolutely right…if you’re a rapper, a billionaire, or a limousine driver.

I need that fridge for my purple drank.

I need that fridge so I can get paid to drive rappers around, otherwise my child support check will bounce.

If you’re not, like me, it turns out its a useless waste of time, money and space. Really the whole design has three fundamental flaws:

You have to cut a larger refrigerator in half to make it fit in your car.

That’s right. Remember, its 1961, the mini-fridge is still an accessory of the future.

Jack Daniels Mini-fridge

What's that officer? Oh, I need it in the car so I can keep my whiskey cold.

They recommend starting with a small apartment size refrigerator, one that’s say… 5 feet tall. Then the intrepid home improvement expert should cut off the bottom and the top, remove the middle and reassemble it into a smaller unit. If a welder is not available, simply use sheet metal screws and epoxy!

I guess air tightness and insulation was of secondary importance to having a bitchin’ car fridge.

Your DIY fridge hack involves releasing the coolant from the fridge straight into the air.

NASA projection of ozone concentration if we all added refridgerators to our cars.

Ozone Layer? What ozone layer? This is the sixties, you can still buy bottles of liquid mercury in a drug store (more on that later).  All that coolant will just harmlessly dissipate into the atmosphere. Won’t hurt a thing.

I guess they forgot to put in the articles “How to replace your windows with UV resistant glass,” and “Do-It-Yourself Sunscreen.”

“Because the compressor-unit motor will draw from 6 to 25 amperes, it is not advisable to run it very long with the car motor shut off or it will drain the battery.”

Um…so you can’t let it cool down unless the car is running? So in exchange for losing all of my trunk space, and having a noisy fridge compressor inside the cabin of the car…I get a cooler…unless the car is running, and then its an actual fridge. I can just imagine camping with this amazing labor saving device…

Timmy: “Dad can we go hiking now?”

Dad: “Not yet son, I have to sit here with the car running for an hour, so the hotdogs don’t go bad.”*

While, I’ve stated before that the Home Handyman Encyclopedia & Guide is a work of inspired genius, it is not without its minor flaws. I’ll be back next week with more of the volumes best. Next Week: Electric Motors.

*On the way home, Timmy would tragically be crushed by camping gear stowed in the back seat, along with the family dog.

The Home Handyman Encyclopedia & Guide is ©Popular Mechanics. Stills from Lil’ Wayne’s “Lolipop” music video © Cash Money Records
All images used for purpose of review, and/or satire.
Home Handyman Cover

"What do you need to provide a better life for you and your family?" (pg. 3)

Before I say anything else, I’d like to thank Popular Mechanics for the masterpiece I am about to reveal to you. This awe inspiring 16 volume set features 971 articles designed to provide comprehensive “revelation in what your family can accomplish by yourselves towards enriching… your lives.” Perhaps you know about it, perhaps you’ve read about it, perhaps you own a copy, but I am of course talking about the 1961 Illustrated Home Handyman Encyclopedia & Guide.

Of course not all of the articles which promise “instructions for creating almost every kind of equipment or aid… for better living in the home or at work and play” quite match the expectations of safety we expect in the modern era. Additionally, some of the articles may have, perhaps, aged somewhat badly in light of modern knowledge and taste.

So without a doubt while this monument to DIY has stood the test of time; there are a few articles worthy of note, funny to some, perhaps meaningful to others, that I will be writing about on a weekly basis, for purposes of review.* The series will be called “That’s a Great Idea!” and continue in no particular order until I cease finding articles worthy of note. I’ll be back in a few days with the first of many: “Automobile Sized Refrigerator? That’s a Great Idea!”

*Pleasedon’tsuemeplease.

In case you’re not familiar with the work of Brian Malki, you should immediately check out his webcomic Wondermark. He collects Victorian illustrations, remixes them, and adds speech bubbles to create one my all time favorite comics. What’s this have to do with making stuff, you might wonder. Well back in April he published the Tinkerers’ Handbook. If you haven’t seen this thing, go check it out. Its a perfect satire of MAKE Magazine and its like, done like all Malki’s work, in remixed Victorian illustrations.

Tinkerers' Handbook

"The magazine for people who cannot leave well enough alone."

Malki perfectly imitates both old and new DIY magazines with their claims of increased efficiency, savings or fun if only you can build a __________*. Of course, invariably, you need a tool you don’t have, get overwhelmed with work that you actually get paid for, or just run out of enthusiasm, and then your project sits in a corner, rusting, until finally years later you admit that it was a stupid idea in the first place.

Part of the reason I started this blog, in fact, was to try and keep myself honest and record my progress on various projects. Of course, this site is in itself, well…another project.

*Insert your own unfinished, probably useless, and expensive project here.

After giving my girlfriend a pep talk about how she should start her own blog, I realized I should get off my ass and do the same thing. This is the Unapologetic Maker blog. I’ll be writing about my own projects and experiments, as well as the projects of others. I hope to comment on DIY, and making in general, both new and old.
That said, I need to go help my girlfriend scape some paint.