Beta Culture: Earthman’s Journey – Part 3 of 8

[ Part 1 — 2 — 3— 4 — 5 — 6 – 7 — 8 ] Cutter After seasons of proving myself at many of the other chores of branding, on this day, I’m in charge of castrations. After the calf slides to a stop and both the heel rope and the top man are firmly in place, I step forward and kneel down by the calf’s belly. I stretch out the scrotum and slice across the lower third of it with a sharp knife. The testicles usually pop out on their own, but sometimes you have to fish around, pressing here and there, to … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: Earthman’s Journey – Part 2 of 8

[ Part 1 — 2 — 3— 4 — 5 — 6 – 7 — 8 ] Cowboyin' The early end of the beef industry involves a lot of labor at identifying and altering young bovines from their original, mint-condition wholeness to something more in line with human designs, as they make their first transition from free beasties to hamburger-on-the-hoof. The work can be done in sheer industrial efficiency, with metal chutes and shock prods and unconcerned hourly workers, or it can be done by working cowboys, in tune with a roman … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: Earthman’s Journey – Part 1 of 8

[ Part 1 — 2 — 3— 4 — 5 — 6 – 7 — 8 ]Somewhere above all this, all the roiling newness of the growing atheist and progressive community, there’s an overview. I’ve tried very hard to see it.It may be that there are plenty of people smarter than me, more educated, innately broader of understanding, who already know what it is we’re all working towards. But I have yet to read their books or hear their talks.I look out and see ... pieces. A chopped salad of efforts and understanding that … [Read more...]

Nothing to See Here, Move Along

This is a little nothing-much, posted mainly to see how I feel about posting. If you've been following my recent exploits, you know I'm just a week into recovery from surgery – the minor-but-major removal of my gallbladder – and I haven't felt much like writing. Or even turning on the computer.But today I felt pretty good. Woke up at 7 a.m., lay in bed thinking and reading until almost 10 a.m., then got up and … well, got a great deal done. … [Read more...]

Connecticut Shooting: Warm Lies, Cold Truth, Free Minds

This is a reaction to some of the goddy rhetoric surrounding the shooting in Connecticut:Even as an atheist good with words, I can barely express how repulsive I find the claim that those children are in Heaven, skipping along beside Jesus as he gives them a tour of Heaven. Yet we’ve heard exactly that, and more than once.When I posted on Facebook a day or so ago about a mental image related to the tragedy, one of my readers told me she almost threw up when that same image came to her: the p … [Read more...]

Free Will … Maybe — Part 2.1

In making the point of how much free will we don’t have, I wanted to write about a concept I came up with a few years back, something to help us understand the, well, “automaticness” of much of what goes on in our heads.Searching for something on it, I came across this chapter of yet another of my might-be books, a half-written volume titled Earthman’s Notebook.It’s fairly long, but it illustrates the ideas pretty well.I’m dividing it up, so it’s going to accordion three extra sections into … [Read more...]


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