If All Your Friends Jumped Off a Bridge …

A phrase popped into my head yesterday while I was thinking about something completely different, and I’d like to toss it at you: “challenge food.”A challenge food is that stuff you’re expected to eat, not because it’s good, not because it’s something you would normally like, but to prove to your friends that you’re tough. Or daring. Or ... willing to go along with the joke.How many times have you heard people rave about chili hot enough to bring tears to your eyes? Or read some story abo … [Read more...]

Brushing Up My Redneck Credentials

Nothing to do with atheism here — this is me being rustic.Bishop, California, a town on the eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada (a range of mountains that runs north-south through the heart of California), has a big Memorial Day weekend bash every year called Mule Days. Mules have been a part of the local scene for ... well, a damned long time, having long been used as cargo carriers for people interested in seven-elephants camping in the John Muir Wilderness. … [Read more...]

Lifeboat of Knowledge, Dinghy of Power

A long one, here. Sorry.I’d like to revisit my recent post, Reason Not to Rest, in which I touched on the idea “We won and we can relax now.” I want to expand on that, to look at it from a slightly different angle, and basically reinforce my own conviction that now is definitely NOT the time to relax.  So: … [Read more...]

Short Stack # 14

If your twin brother gets your wife pregnant ... is it still your kid?------------------------------I'm always one of the late adopters. Apparently eating people's faces is all the rage in this week's news, but I think I'm going to wait a few weeks. I'm trying to lose weight.------------------------------Just saw Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets again and I'm wondering ... what would happen if you stabbed a Bible with a basilisk fang? … [Read more...]

The 30,000

[ This is a reprint of an earlier post, to keep new readers happy while I work on some new ideas. ]Say someone gave you $30,000, in cash, and the deal was, you had to live on it as long as you could. You couldn’t do any other income-producing work in that time, you just had to live on the 30 grand.You’d have to pay all your bills on it, provide for all your daily needs. You’d have no additional money coming in, and all your entertainment needs, your health needs, your travel and leisure needs … [Read more...]

Book Review — Alone in the Universe: Why Our Planet Is Unique (Part 4)

[ I'm reviewing this book because I liked it, but also for a larger reason which will become evident here, and in the weeks ahead. ][ Also, in case you missed it: Part 1 — Part 2  — Part 3 ]Alone in the Universe: Why Our Planet Is Unique by John GribbinWhat’s So Special About Us?When you think about it, just our one solar system alone is evidence of the rarity of our type of life. Out of the presumed trillion or so objects orbiting the Sun (counting the planets, asteroids, the Kuiper Belt … [Read more...]