Congratulations! You May Already Be A Wiener!

Powerball Jackpot Winning Ticket Purchased In Florida Here’s the truth: One person is going to win the Powerball Lottery. The other hundred million ticket purchasers (or however many there were) have already gotten screwed. I make no secret of the fact that I despise lotteries. For so many reasons, but this main one: Government sponsored “games of chance” engineered to sucker hapless victims out of their money? Really? Really?? The lottery is one of those things – like smoking, or … [Read more...]

4th Grade Quiz: Four Ways Not to be Fooled

Science Quiz

"What do you get when you cross an elephant with a rhino?"  goes the old joke. The answer: Elephino (hell if I know)! To the question of whether the attached image is the real thing, that's the best I can figure out. (Click to see it full-size.) I saw it this morning on the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Science and Reason Facebook page, a link shared by J.O., commenter from Gothenburg, Sweden. The original image appears to be from Imgur. The Imgur side-caption says the picture was … [Read more...]

Disturbing Early Morning Thought

If you lived with someone who had done EVERYTHING, say a superstar father or mother – a famous author or adventurer or actress or athlete – how would you gain a sense of your own worth and value? How hard would it be to chart your own life course? To find and develop your own talents? Would you live your whole life feeling inferior and lesser? Knowing that you could never do or be anything unique, that you would always live in the giant shadow of their spectacular accomplishments, that by … [Read more...]

Adventures in Cholecystectomy Land – Part 2

Argh. Survived. Recovering. Also caught a cold, so that makes it extra fun. Maunderings on Facebook and elsewhere, before, during (sort of) and after: After my cholecystectomy tomorrow, I expect to make medical history by being the first person ever to suffer the gallbladder version of PLP (phantom limb pain). A few hours sleep, then up early for surgery, something new and scary in my life. Dang it, wish I could talk to my Dad. I really am a little bit scared, and he'd tell me "You're gonna … [Read more...]

Interlude, With Gall Bladder

If you’ve been wondering why I haven’t been posting, I’m having a certain amount of pain pretty much every day, and it’s sharply diminished my writing output. I feel like a sissy saying it, considering what Greta Christina and Ed Brayton have gone through recently (and kept writing!), but ... you know, you have deal with your own experience, and this has been a low-level but definite ass-kicker. In a few days, I’ll be going to the local hospital for the preadmission tests. My … [Read more...]

To You and Yours

Favorite holiday moment of all time: I was away at college in about 1982, but determined to make it home for the holidays. In the dead of winter, I set out hitchhiking from the Sacramento area to the Eastern Sierra, a distance of more than 250 miles. In what turned out to be a full day of standing on the roadside, getting short rides, more standing on the roadside, etc., I finally reached my Cowboy Dad's house in the mountains at about 8 p.m. — 12 hours later. The last ride had been an … [Read more...]

Seeing the World Through Sane-Colored Glasses

Lest we forget, "The Crazy" is totally still out there. I'm probably reminding ME more than you. I've made an effort to be saner, to get all the religious craziness out of my head, and I've succeeded (with the religion part anyway) so well that I never think in any religious or superstitious way at all. I tend to tune out the nuttier stuff. As a result — is it the Dunning-Kruger Effect? — I always think the world around me is fairly sane. I'm prone to see humans as rational and … [Read more...]

Eschaton 2012 Open Thread and Beta Culture Post List

First: Wow. I had a fantastic time at Eschaton 2012 in Ottawa. Gushy thank-yous to the organizers and volunteers, especially Seanna, Evan and Ania. Kevin Smith, President and Chair of Center For Inquiry Canada, you and your entire organization totally rock. All of you give me hope. (Give me a shout for your next event, and I'll be there before the echoes die away.) Also, to my FTB co-bloggers PZ, Crommunist, Natalie and Ophelia, it was especially nice to meet you or see you again. Ian, you are … [Read more...]

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...]