Letters to the Editor

Dear The 100 Billionth Person:

It is getting pretty tiresome to read your blog.  SO NEGATIVE all the time.  There are lots of fun things about the world, why don’t you write about those?  You could post some selfies from places you ate dinner at for example.  I’m tired of all the downward spiral stuff!  Get a real life instead of all the philosophy.  How about some jokes!  Thanks,

Just Another Frustrated Reader

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Dear Just Another,

Thank you for correcting me.  I have been a rather naughty boy, if I may be so bold, sir.  Perhaps I need a good talking to, if you don’t mind my saying so.  Perhaps a bit more.

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Dear 100 Billionth Person:

I just got through reading the first letter, and I have to say, Amen!  No wonder no one reads your blog.  Atheists are no fun!  You made fun of Jesus Christ in your last post and I won’t forgive you for that.  If that’s the best you can do, then you should give up your blog and seek help.

I can recommend someone who can help.  His name is Jesus Christ and He is the Son of God, whom you should listen to.  If you were inspired by His holy writings, you would have many happy readers and you would be happier too.

Jesus will take care of the sick and oppressed of this world, so stop complaining about them and start praying for them!

A Proud Disciple of The Word (but not yours!)

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Dear Proud Disciple,

I try to take a “live and let live” stance in my blog.  Yes, I’m an atheist, but I don’t go out of my way to pick fights with believers, even though I think this world would be a better place if it were free of the irrationality of religious belief.  What can I say — humans still have an appendix and humanity still has religion.   Evolution is a slow process, but let’s not get all constipated and bring it to a halt.

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To The 100 Billionth Person:

Your blog can be mildly amusing at times, but I always thought you should rename it to “Ipse Dixit.”  The Wikipedia entry for “Ipse Dixit” describes your pieces perfectly:

Ipse dixit, Latin for “He himself said it,” is a term used to identify and describe a sort of arbitrary dogmatic statement which the speaker expects the listener to accept as valid.

The fallacy of defending a proposition by baldly asserting that it is “just how it is” distorts the argument by opting out of it entirely: the claimant declares an issue to be intrinsic, and not changeable.

Mr. 100 Billionth Person, you can dixit til the cows come home, but it’s still only your ill-informed opinion against the entirety of human deliberation.  Good luck with that.

Regards, Oliver Wendell Douglas

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Dear Mr. Douglas,

You have a point.  It may be on the tip of your pitchfork, but it is a point.  Next, please.

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Dear 100 Billionth Person:

I am looking for an interesting new summer drink recipe.  Do you have one?

Signed, Looking for New Summer Drink Recipe (An Interesting One)

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Dear Looking,

Finally, a reader to the rescue.  When we were in Paris, we went to an Italian restaurant near the Eiffel Tower named Villa Verdi.  It turned out to be my favorite from our vacation.  I was in an adventuresome mood that evening and did something I never do: I ordered one of the specialty cocktails.  They called it “Martini Sprint” and it was sparkly and refreshing.  I asked our server what was in it, and he answered, “Prosecco and martini.”  By martini, he meant Martini brand of white vermouth.

The Martini website calls this a “Martini Royale Bianco” and recommends a 50/50 mixture of prosecco and vermouth, with a squeeze of lime, over ice.  To my taste, this is a bit heavy on the vermouth.  You want enough vermouth so you know this is not plain prosecco, but not so much vermouth that it overpowers.  Do your own experiments, but I think a 3:1 ratio of prosecco to vermouth is about right.

So here’s my recipe, along with a late-afternoon “Pom” variation.  Fill a rocks glass with ice.  Slowly (to avoid excess foam) pour in a decent brand of prosecco (not Barefoot please) until the liquid level is about a half-inch below the rim.  Add a quarter-inch of white vermouth.  Jiggle a stirrer up and down in the ice to break up the vermouth layer.  Squeeze in a lime and enjoy.

For the “Pom” version, buy some fresh pomegranate juice and freeze it in an ice cube tray.  Substitute one cube of juice for one of the regular ice cubes.  One cube is enough — that will give you a dry start and a tasty finish — and the red cube looks cool too.

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To The 100 Billionth Person:

I remember reading on your blog back in February that your goal was to finish one book a month.  But I don’t see six books in your “2014 Reading List.”  What gives?  How can we believe anything you say anymore?  And I bet that drink tastes awful.

I’m Watching You, You Slacker

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Dear Watching,

I admit that I have fallen behind in my reading.  I was doing all right until I started to read “The Language Instinct” by Steven Pinker.  I tend to select rather dense books, which can be slow-going whether they are good or bad.  If they are good, i.e. content-rich, then they can take a while to absorb.  If they are bad, i.e. full of verbiage and repetition, then it isn’t very rewarding to pick them up and read.  “The Language Instinct” is content-rich but also repetitive at times.  I have plowed halfway through it.

The next book on my list, “The Sleepwalkers,” is about the events leading to World War I.  That should be a breeze.

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