CUP Contest #7

I know that you’ve all been waiting with bated breath for the next Close Up Photo contest!  And so, without further ado, I present the CUP Contest #7! 

What is this?

All guesses submitted via the comments or by Facebook will be accepted.  The first person to guess correctly wins 100 internet points.  I will award or deducted points for additional guesses based on a completely arbitrary and whimsical set of rules known only to myself.  

Remember, the first person to win 1000 points will be the grand winner of the CUP Contest, and the recipient of Uber-CUP Winner bragging rights and a pretty lame-o prize.  The list of past winners and current rankings can be found on the CUP Winners page.

Happy guessing, and thanks for playing!

Cross-Country Connections: Thanksgiving Dinner

Cross-Country Connections is a biodork weekly blog entry dedicated to telling stories in pictures of three family members – me, my sister and Mom – living in very different locations across the country. Every week we choose a different theme and then take a picture of something in our area that fits the theme. This week’s theme is Thanksgiving Dinner.

From Erin in Bellingham, WA:

The first Thanksgiving I hosted is resplendent in such lovely table decorations as a mini pumpkin and indian corn (and apparently a broom handle in the balcony window). It was small but it had family and that’s all that matters!

From me in Minneapolis, MN:

The Thanksgiving dinner table, all set and ready for noming.  What you don’t see is the hungry, excited family of four standing impatiently behind me, urging me to finish the shot so they can sit down to eat!

From Mom – usually in Carbondale, IL – but this week in Bellingham, WA:

Thanksgiving this year was very non-traditional for me. Spending it in Washington State we decided to go for Salmon – fresh from the monger. Of course, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without Green Bean Casserole.

Turkey Day Gossip

Adventure blogging from the road!

I was exhausted last night and ended up crawling into bed at around 9:30pm.  So I wasn’t surprised to find myself up and about at 6:45 this morning.  I washed a few dishes, fed and watered Taz and Prada, and then went and gave some cuddle-love to my neighbor’s cats so they don’t go insane while she’s out of town.

Best. Chores. Ever!

The Hubby and I contributed home-made cranberry sauce, asparagus, and decidedly not home-made pumpkin and apple pies for Thanksgiving dinner.  We did Thanksgiving at the Hubby’s house in Roseville, MN (very yummy meal, great to see everyone!), which should have made for a nice, local, non-traveling Thanksgiving.  Except that now the Hubby and I are in a gigantic GMC Yukon driving 3.5 hours south to Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.  The Hubby has a work assignment down there tomorrow at 8am and I’m traveling along for the adventure of it, and hopefully a chance to see some friends in my college stomping grounds of Winona, MN on the way back.

This little trip is adding some spice to my Black Friday shopping. I love big group “to-do’s” and any excuse to be awake during odd times of the day, so I usually find myself out and about with the Black Friday crowds after Turkey Day. This year I’ll be in Prairie du Chien, and I have no idea what the store situation looks like down there. Plus I won’t have a car; the Hubby needs his work truck at the job site.

So here’s how I’m thinking this is going to go down: We’ll hit the town’s Walmart sometime in wee hours prior to the Hubby heading off to work. I’ll ask the hotel concierge for local Black Friday shopping suggestions, and if there’s some place that I *must* visit then I’ll walk or maybe cab it.

I’d love to pick up an inexpensive laptop, but I’m not really planning on that. I’d also love for an SLR camera to fall into my lap, but that’s even less likely! I’ll probably end up with a handful of cheap DVDs, and that will be just fine.

*****
We just drove through Rochester, MN, so that leaves us with about…2.5 left for the drive.

*****
And for what am I thankful? I’m thankful for winning the lottery in life. I have great family, awesome friends and health. I’m a citizen of a relatively wealthy, free country that allows me to pursue life, liberty and happiness. I have an enthusiasm for life that just won’t quit. I am one lucky lady. I am thankful for the opportunities that have been available to me.

*****

Okay…it’s getting late and dark and the Hubby wants conversation, so peace out!

Pad Your Pipe, Young Man!

You’ve all by now heard that the Pope says condoms are okay.  Well…except for use as birth control.  But if you’re a prostitute it’s okay to use condoms to prevent spreading sexually transmitted infections. Not that prostitution is okay, no, no, no – that’s still a sin.  But it’s not as big of a sin as prostituting AND spreading disease.

This evening on NPR I heard the most precious analogy detailing the Pope’s true intentions of his recent comments.  I believe that the analogy comes from Father Joseph Fessio, S.J. who wrote an article for Reuters on the topic:

Muggers are using steel pipes to attack people and the injuries are severe. Some muggers use padded pipes to reduce the injuries, while still disabling the victim enough for the mugging. The Pope says that the intention of reducing injury (in the act of mugging) could be a first step toward greater moral responsibility. [snip] Of course, one may morally use padded pipes in some circumstances, e.g., as insulated pipes so that hot water flowing through them doesn’t cool as fast. And one may use condoms morally in some cases, e.g. as water balloons.

The Father is using an analogy involving padded pipes to describe condom use?

And dude also just said that using condoms as water balloons is moral???  Quick, spread the word to Christian frat houses across the land!

Bwahahaha!

But in all seriousness, the Catholic church is still telling women and families how to plan their lives, and as Greta Christina recently discussed at Skepticon 3, espousing the idea that God cares about who you have sex with and how.  I think that Father Fessio captures the big picture perfectly:

In sum, the Pope did not “justify” condom use in any circumstances. And Church teaching remains the same as it has always been—both before and after the Pope’s statements.

Yup.

Cross-Country Connections: Landmarks

Cross-Country Connections is a biodork weekly blog entry dedicated to telling stories in pictures of three family members – me, my sister and Mom – living in very different locations across the country.  Every week we choose a different theme and then take a picture of something in our area that fits the theme. This week’s theme is Landmarks: Iconic landmarks that illustrate where we live/work/love.

From Mom in Carbondle, IL:

This picture truly represents Carbondale at this stage of my life.  The clock tower in the background is actually quite a recognizable landmark.  However, the building in the foreground – the one many of us, including myself weren’t sure would reopen before graduation – has come to represent not only my struggle but also my success both old and new.

From Erin in Bellingham, WA:

This was taken from the base of the Needle in the Seattle Center during Bumbershoot 2010, a fantastic music festival that my husband and I attended on our 1 year wedding anniversary.

From me in Minneapolis, MN

The Gold Flour Medal Factory sign can be seen from many parts of Minneapolis.  The long-since closed flour mill is now part of the Mill City Museum.  The old mill is located directly on the Mississippi River waterfront, and is intricately connected to the history of this city I love.

Anti-Vax Action Alert

Elyse over at the Skepchicks posted a notice about anti-vaccination advertisements being aired in several AMC movie theaters across the country.  And guess what – one of them is happening right here in Roseville, Minnesota.  Here’s the ad they’re planning to play:

One Minnesota pediatrician has written an concise response to the advertisement, and has made it SUPER EASY for your to add your voice to the cause, as well. If you visit AMC Corporate Customer Service and you agree with Dr. Jacobsen, you can simply click a button that says “I have this problem too” to speak out against fallacious anti-vaccination rhetoric.  There is also a place to add comments to share your own thoughts with AMC. 

This is not a free speech issue; no one is saying that AMC doesn’t have a right to air these ads. This is a misinformation issue.  This is a Let’s Scare The Crap Out of Pregnant Women issue. As one commenter wrote:

AMC has every right to run these ads. I; however, will go out of my way to not support any company that runs anti-vax campaigns.

As with any controversial topic, take a minute to critically consider the arguments. I happen to believe that not vaccinating against the flu is selfish, dangerous decision. If not for you personally, then for the vunerable people around you (old people, immunosuppressed people, babies too young to receive the vaccine) who may catch flu from you. The flu isn’t just an inconvenient achy, sick-feeling cold thing from which everyone can bounce right back  – people die of the flu, and encouraging fear of vaccinations is a public health danger that we should not condone.

***********

Quick update from the road: AMC will NOT be running the anti-vax advertisement AMC will not be running the anti-vax advertisements!. 2344 people have weighed in at last check. Skeptical activism at work, well done!

Hey Homos, Quite Picking on Christians.

‘Cuz you all are.  Don’t you know that when don’t let others threaten you, deny you civil rights and discriminate against you, that you’re infringing on their intellectual and religious freedom?

Cardinal Giacomo Biffi is bummed out that a woman lost her position on an adoption panel because she was turning away gay couples because they were…gay. 

“Is it still permitted … to be faithful and consistent disciples of the teaching of Christ … or must we prepare ourselves for a new form of persecution, promoted by homosexual activists, by their ideological accomplices, and even by those whose task it should be to defend the intellectual freedom of all, including Christians?”

If you define being persecuted as being called on your shit when you discriminate against someone because they are different from you, or because they don’t honor your supposedly personal beliefs, then…yeah, prepare yourself for “persecution”. 

But you know what isn’t going to happen?  Those doing the “persecuting” aren’t going to try to interfere in your love life, your children’s life, your access to health care, your ability to serve in the military, your  ability to marry, visit your partner in the hospital, challenge your bequeathment wishes…  oh, right. 

Who is persecuting whom, again?

Story via RichardDawkins.net

CUP Contest #6 Winner

Okay, I’m going to make this short and sweet because I’m having a BLAST at Pre-Skepticon, and by “BLAST” I mean large quantities of Canadian Club and Diet Coke, but I did want to fulfill my promise to announce winners within 24 hours of the contest post. 

So, thank you all for playing, you lovely people, you.  And with no further delay:

This was the original photo challenge:

And the answer is:

SO!

Jana is awarded 100 points for her guess of “a cup of tea (0r weak coffee)”.  Incidentally, this is what we call “black coffee” in many offices around the United States, but “weak coffee” is also 100% accurate.

Carly, Erin B. and Vicki all get 20 points for listing correct answers.

Noelle and Jeremy each receive 10 points for participating, but sadly, without correct answers. 

I love you all, please don’t think otherwise, but I now must head back to the hotel bar area for more entertainment and CC and Coke!  But not so many that I am unable to appreciate the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part I) that we plan to see in 90 minutes.

Have a wonderful weekend!  I know I will :)