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 endless, … [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 compassionate, w … [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 less often as I … [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...]

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 final.This may … [Read more...]


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