Beta Culture: Drowning Puppies So You Don’t Get Dogs

I’m a professional editor. I’m also a professional writer. I can tell you which one is easiest: Editing. When I sit down to a blank screen and have to write, oh boy, is it a challenge. Normally I write with what I call “the fire.” I might wake up in the morning with a ... well, call it a shape in my head, the shape of an essay or short story, and I can sit down and write the entire first draft in no time at all. When I don’t have the creative fire – annoyingly, it seems to come … [Read more...]

Bracing For Superstorm Sandy

Storm preparations:  Guns, knives, ammo ... check, check, check. Mormon neighbor with year's supply of food ... check. Storm Survival Tips #413: Lhasa Apsos are nicely marbled, but mini-dachshunds have more actual meat. Kiddinnnng! When Hurricane Irene made landfall in August of 2011, I lived in a nice, safe farmhouse well above floodline. We even had a fireplace, so if the power had gone out, we'd be warm and might have even finagled a way to cook. … [Read more...]

Tin Ear for Jesus, Black Eye for Xtianity

No, my objection to JesusWeen isn't the name. Although, dayyum, it does sorta grate on the ears, doesn't it? JesusWEEN. Jesus Weenie. It just sounds so silly — something thought up by one of those Christian-nerdy people who are tone deaf to common social nuance because they live in this weird little cloistered bastion of religiosity.  … [Read more...]

I’m Speaking at Eschaton2012!

I've been invited to give a talk at Eschaton2012: Celebrating Reason at the End of the World in Ottawa (woo-hoo!) on the subject of Beta Culture! Come to Ottawa for a weekend gathering of scientists, philosophers, authors, academics, skeptics, rationalists, humanists, atheists, and freethinkers, where you can see presentations and join discussions on science, skepticism, gender issues, theocracy vs secularism, godless ethics, parenting beyond belief. … [Read more...]

Fill ‘Er Up, Jesus — This Time With High-Test!

Did I post about these guys before? Forgive me if I did, but I'm newly horrified by the Christian Prayer Center. After 3 months of unemployment due to downsizing. Standing in faith & sowing down to my last $2.00 in my wallet/empty bank account; I have been blessed with a better job & benefits than my previous 2 jobs. I start this on Monday. I was offered another job @ less money $10,000 less than I made last year, but God told me not to accept it out of fear, but to trust HIM as this was … [Read more...]

Asking a Bit of Support for a Fellow Warrior

Another unfortunate hit to our beloved Greta Christina: I have some more news of the crappy variety. It’s not as alarming as it’s going to sound: it’s probably going to be fine in the long run, and even in the medium run. So even though your first reaction may be alarm, try to not go there if you can avoid it. But I want to fill you in. And I’m going to ask you for some help. The bad news is that I was just diagnosed with endometrial cancer. I got the initial biopsy results Saturday, … [Read more...]

The Passing of a Loved One

Greta Christina recently lost her father. My father died on October 1, 2012, at the age of 79. My dad, like me, was an atheist. And when you’re an atheist and a non-believer, and the people you love die, you don’t get to tell yourself that they aren’t really dead. You don’t get to tell yourself that you’re going to see them again someday, in some hypothetical post-death existence that somehow both is and is not life. You have to accept that death is really permanent, and really … [Read more...]

How the Wind Does Blow

I don't know why this intrigues me so much, but there's a place online where you can see close-to-realtime maps of the actual WIND — Wind Map — in motion! Click to zoom, mouse-hover to see the wind speed at any point, and look at some of the past maps to see weird and wonderful patterns of the river of atmosphere flowing over and around us. … [Read more...]

Balls Out at the Speed of Sound

There are a lot of "stunts" I don't care much for. David Blaine standing for 72 hours in a chamber with Tesla-coil lightning ... well, he might as well have stood there for 72 hours with a coin taped to his forehead. When I was about 5 years old I decided I would stay up all night by myself, just to see what it was like. The answer is: Boring. Ditto for David Blaine. Yes, it's sort of impressive that someone can stand on their feet for 72 hours without a bathroom break. But it's the standing … [Read more...]

October Is Flexagon Month. Wait … What?

Flexagons: Fun. I first got to play with them back in the 60s. I always wanted a flexagon business card.   … [Read more...]