Author: Jimmy Pete

Taylor E-2 Cub

Taylor E-2 Cub

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My dad and his best friend (who became my Uncle JB) “borrowed” (kinda stole) this airplane when they were around 15 years old. It was owned by Wes Hillman, who kept it in a barn in Vinton, Virginia that is now the Southampton neighborhood. They had taken a few “lessons” (glorified rides) from Wes and knew Wes was going to be away for the day. They decided to sneak it out of the barn and just taxi it around on the ground but not fly it. They jumped out of the hayloft a few times to get their nerve up. Then one of them got into the plane while the other spun the prop to start it. Then the prop man jumped into the plane once it was started. The taxiing around plan was dropped when they taxied it too fast and had no choice but to take off. People saw the plane flying around (an unusual occurrence circa 1941) and mentioned to Wes that they had seen him flying. Wes put two and two together and confronted my dad and JB, who confessed. Then Wes forgave them and taught them both to fly. 

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Here is the entry, backdated in my dad’s first log book, written after Wes had confronted them and forgiven them. June 6, 1941. My dad had turned 15 one month before. He had logged 8 hours and 48 minutes riding in planes. It took about a month for Wes to get over it and let the two boys hang out with him again.

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This is the first page of my dad’s log book. He was 13 years old when he took his first airplane ride in 1939.

The Dixie Drive-In Movie Theater in Vinton, Virginia

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I remember sneaking into the back of the Dixie one night when I was around 14 years old. A few of us boys slept out in sleeping bags in the back yard and snuck away in the dead of night (probably around 10 p.m.) a few minutes after our parents turned out the lights. There was a double feature playing, and we knew the second movie was rated R, which meant nudity. The movie starred Richard Thomas, the dude who played John Boy Walton on tv, which was really weird, because John Boy was such a pure and innocent lad. It was an absolutely horrible movie, but we were determined to sweat it out. We sat back in the bushes, hiding from the old dude that owned the drive-in. He would patrol the perimeter and raise hell when he found kids sneaking in. It took forever for the scene that made the movie into an R to show up, but finally near the end, there were about three seconds of titty projected on that old screen in the climactic scene. Actually I don’t remember if it was the dramatic climax, but it was the visual climax for sure. 

Dawkins Scale

dawkins scale

If Richard Dawkins made this, then I’ve just lost some confidence in his logic.

Theism and its opposite — atheism — have little to do with a belief about whether there is a god or not.

Theism is not simply the belief that there is a god. Theism is the belief that there is a god who can be influenced by his human believers. (What good is a god who doesn’t change stuff anyway? Can’t make any money on that kind of god, can we?) 

Atheism, on the other hand, is not by definition the belief that there is no god. Atheism is only the belief that no matter how much you sing, dance, grovel on your knees, cry, weep, scream, shout, mutter under your breath, or swing incense, there ain’t no god who is giving a single shit about it.

So, that doesn’t mean that atheists must believe there is no god. It just means that if there is a god, atheists believe he’s not listening to you. He doesn’t give a shit about you or your prayers. He doesn’t engage in do-overs. He doesn’t come to your rescue. He doesn’t give you your daily bread, or cure your illnesses, or decide who wins your goddamn football games.

To an atheist, the likelihood of the existence of, for instance, the God of Abraham, is approximately equal to the likelihood of a giant tortoise carrying the earth on its back, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or Zeus, or Apollo, or any other of the thousands of deities we’ve created, or any other random explanation made up of whole cloth from zero evidence by illiterates sitting around a campfire.

But whether such a disinterested deity exists or not doesn’t actually matter. An uncaring, unresponsive god has absolutely zero effect on the laws of physics, and thus, it has zero effect on our lives. 

So an atheist does not have to believe there is no god. An atheist only has to believe that there is no god who is subject to influence by human believers.